In the Shadow of Elvish – The Black Speech and Orcish

Ash Zhâbur Durbatulûk – One Speech to rule them all

Month: April, 2020

The Hunter – words Angband Orcish

I was thinking about the awakening of the Elves and how they spoke about the Hunter and how the elves disappeared. They must have been talking about this Hunter in Primitive Elvish and I’m happen to be working on my Angband Orcish descended from Primitive Elvish. So I thought that the concept of the Hunter, hunt and so on could would be interesting in Angband Orcish as well. It would also function as a way to illustrate my idea of the connection between Primitive Elvish and Angband Orcish.

So the Primitive Elvish word for “to hunt, pursue” “hunt” is ✶sparā (which gives Quenya fara v. (a-verb) “to hunt”) from SPAR root. “hunt”. 

To this root we can attach the masculine agental ending and we get PE *sparnô “hunter”. The development is then loss of final vowel and then the loss of initial s in the consonant cluster sp which also lengthens the vowel > pârn ”The Hunter” (the article had not developed in Primitive Elvish yet as it would in Common Eldarin). This could then be Angband Orcish name for Melkor or maybe Sauron.

The root SPAR can also develop in other directions and give us more words. I imagine a augment of the stem like RUK > uruk“orc”. So SPAR > Proto Orcish aspar “predator” and then a sound shift in the middle consonant cluster > Angband Orcish ashpar “predator”.

When the old word for “hunter” pârn became “The Hunter” a new word for a ordinary hunter was needed. From the verb proto Orcish “to hunt” pâr– the agental ending –ad (where the a really is a redoubling of the stem vowel) is added > pârad. This ending is both inspired by the Hurrian agental dervative suffix –ade and the Primitive Elvish agental ending –.

So from the Primitive Elvish word sparâ we got three new words:

Pârn “the mystical Hunter” Melkor, Sauron or just some other entity.

ashpar “predator”

pârad “hunter”

Black Speech and Orcish for Peter Jackson’s films

For me Orcish and the Black Speech has very little to do with the film adaptations. When the first Peter Jackson film came out in 2001 I had already “studied” and used Svartiska for several years, from 1997 to be precise.

When I found David Salo’s site Midgardsmál where he published some of his inventions of Black Speech and Orcish it was several years after the construction of Zhâburi A. I found it when I was started to take another look at the language with a new creative burst in 2016 (and it was not until then I found out about the dialect of Land of Shadow).

I was quite delighted when I read Salo’s works on Orcish and the Black Speech because he had taken much the same view and approach as I had. I had been thinking for several years on a Black Speech based on a Proto-Orcish derived from Primitive Elvish. And then how new Orcish dialects developed during the Third Age.

There are some theoretical differences between the my work and Salo’s. First  Salo is only interested in the Black Speech and the Orcish dialects at the end of the Third Age. His proto-Orcish seems to be an pan-Orcish dialect from then end of the Second Age heavily influenced by the Black Speech.

Second Salo never constructed a deep base structure for his dark languages such as I am attempting with my Angband Orcish. This can be seen in the mix of inspiration of words. I remember him stating that he didn’t really have the time to develop a more fundamental structure for the languages. This is a pity and a relief. If Salo had developed these languages more consistently my work of Zhâburi would not be as interesting.

Lastly Salo has also stated that he don’t think that Tolkien was inspired by Hurrian for his Black Speech.

I recently realized that Salo’s site/blog was down so I decided to publish the material that I have saved. I have published under the page Yrksk (which is what I call his Orcish dialect) in addition to the analysis of his Black Speech I had already published.

Zhâburi C?

I have now really started to develop my Angband Orcish and I’m starting to think, or at least think about, that it might give me so much new ideas of Zhâburi that I develop a new version C. At the moment I don’t think so because it will probably not change the foundation or principles of Zhâburi B. But it will probably change quite a few endings and maybe some words.


The Rukh Nulûrz Ring Verse

Here is my version of the ring verse in the dialect Rukh Nulûrz (RN). It is of course very similar to the Land of Shadow (LoS) version as the RN is a variant of LoS. I will first present the RN version and after that a comparison between the RN and the LoS versions. See also my post of the LoS version of the ring verse. 

Gakh nazgu golugothu’ûr nut’lata

Udu gazatgothu’ûr ruz’ulbo’ishi gundum’ob

Krith tarku’ûr matûrz dûmpûrz matat 

Ash gothbûrz’ûr ulîma’tab’sûr

Uzgbûrz’ishi amal burgûlu kâtut


1. The elven line

Gakh nazgu golugothu’ûr nut’lata
Three rings elf-lords-to sky-under
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky

The only difference from LoS is the different words for lord. I could not find ‘durub’ in the RN word list so I used ‘goth’. There is no plural marker for persons in LoS but this is marked in RN with a –u suffix attached to ‘goth’. 

LoS line: Gakh nazgu Golugdurub-ûr nut-lata

2. The Dwarven line

Udu gazatgothu’ûr ruz’ulbo’ishi gundum’ob
Seven dwarflords-to hall-their-in of stone
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone

In this line I encountered the problem of suffix chains: in which order should the different suffixes of plural and postpositions be places. I used the same order as in LoS, i.e. plural before the postposition.

I elaborated with two another constructions: a compound ‘gundumruz’ (stonehalls); or stone as an adjective ‘ruz gundûrz’ or ‘ruz gundumûrz’ (stone hall).  

Compound construction: Udu gazatgothu’ûr gundumruz’ulbo’ishi
Adjective constructions: Udu gazatgothu’ûr ruz’ulbo’ishi gundûrz/gundumûrz

The differences to the LoS line are that the third person possessive pronoun plural (their) is ‘ulbo’ in RN and ‘lub’ in Los; and the words for ‘stone’ are similar but a bit different: ‘gundum’ in RN and ‘gund’ in LoS. 

LoS line: Udu Gazatgoth-ûr rûlub-ishiz gund-ob

3. The mortal line

Krith tarku’ûr matûrz dûmpûrz matat
Nine men-to deadly doomed to die
Nine for the mortal men doomed to die

This line is was more problematic. RN does not have any participles as LoS has. In the LoS I ‘doomed’ is a participle ‘dûmpugaz’ but RN explicitly use the adjective form so I simply put ‘dûmpûrz’ (adjective of doom) after the adjective ‘matûrz’ (mortal). Othervise the line is the same as the LoS line: Krith Tark-ûr matûrzu dûmpugaz matat.

4. The Dark Lord line

Ash gothbûrz’ûr ulîma’tab’sûr
One lord-dark-for throne-his-on
One for the dark lord on his dark throne

This line is quite straightforward and has the construction as the LoS line. The only difference is that the LoS postposition for ‘on’ is –ir instead of –sûr

LoS line: Ash Gothbûrz-ûr ulîmabûrz-tab-ir

5. The Mordor Line

Uzgbûrz’ishi amal burgûlu kâtut
land-dark-in where shadows lie
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie

The same as the LoS line