In the Shadow of Elvish – The Black Speech and Orcish

Ash Zhâbur Durbatulûk – One Speech to rule them all

Category: Grammar

Angband Orcish: A star shines on the hour of our meeting

One of the most famous Quenya (Q) sentences is the greeting elen síla lúmenn’  omentielvo “a star shines on the hour of our meeting [of our ways]” (From Lord of the Rings). In addition there is Telerin (T) version of él síla lúmena vomentienguo “A star shines upon the hour of the meeting of our ways”.

I have long been thinking of what this would be in Primitive Elvish and my proto-Orcish, Angband Orcish (AO). My understanding of Primitive Elvish is too poor to make me try to construct a version of it. But I have the creative control of Angband Orcish and I have developed enough Angband Orcish to make some kind attempt at it.

The sentence have the following elements:

elen “star”, noun nominative, root EL ““lo, behold; star”
síla “shines”, verb present tens of síla- “to shine”, root SIL “shine (white or silver)”.
lúmenna “on [the] hour, noun allative, lúme “hour”, root ULU; -anna case ending allative, the final a omitted because of the initial o in the following word.
omentielvo “of our meeting”; omentie “meeting” (lit.) “coming together of journey-path, meeting or junction of the directions of two people”, root MEN; -lvo “of our” genitive form of 1st person pl. inclusive: -lva “our”.

All these can be found at Eldamo.

The first word star could be seen as quite simple. We have the root EL which would simply become “al” but this is really too similar to the Elvish ‘él’. Another possibility is to render “star” from the Quenya word ‘elen’ which would give us zhán < lân < lên < elen. The problem with this is that I think that elen is a Quenya word and not really PE. But I use it for now.

For the second word shines Q síla I simply use the root SIL which becoms shil and a present tense ending –a give us shila. That’s really close to both the Q and T but I settle for that. The evolution of the PE verb system to the AO system is a bit complex and I will publish a text on it later on.

Now it starts to get more interesting as we break up the words. First lume from the root ULU “pour” > lūmē “time” > lúm > zhúm. To this we could either add the allative ending which is -na in PE and gives us -da in AO or we could use a locative ending –shi from PE –ze. This ending is a clitic postposition. 

The last part is the most difficult and interesting because now we have to decide on how pronouns and cases/postpositions should work in AO. 

The Q word for meeting omentie has a stem ‘men’ and a prefix o- indicating “together” and a suffix -ie for rendering nouns. From this I have taken the stem whith the edentical root MEN which has developed to AO bango proceed”. To this word a derivative ending –ar (taken from Hurrian) has been attached so we get banar “meeting”.

Then we have the pronoun “our”. Q have different pronouns for inclusive and exclusive we which AO does not. The first person stem in PE is ni and which gives us AO di to which the pluralmarker –m is attached: dim. To this the possessive ending –ba, from PE –, is added: dimba. The genitive ending or the postposition that corresponds to “of” is in AO –ghu from PE 3o/ho. 

So the first part of the sentence is quite clear now:

zhán shila zhúm-da or zhán shila zhúm-shi “A star shines on the hour”. But what about  the word order of the “of our meeting”? If we use the same structure we get banar-dimba-ghu. But I have another structure in mind where –ghu is attached to the noun banar but the pronoun dimba is freestanding and follows the noun.

So then we have the sentence (which is not to be seen as a greeting).

Zhán shila zhúm-da banar-ghu dimba or Zhán shila zhúm-shi banar-ghu dimba.

 

Changing some cases, again?

Just as I thought that my case system was stable I have started to think about changing the Possessive and the Equative cases. The current endings are –ba for Possessive and –da for Equative. The Possessive have been stable since I devised it but I changed the Equative case not long ago from –bi to –da, the former was taken from/Quenya ve (prep. “as, like, similar, after the manner [of]”) and the latter taken from the Hurrian Equative.

I changed the Equative for two reasons. First and most important, I didn’t like the sound of ‘bi’, and second I have changed the phonetical rules of how Primitive Elvish ‘e’ developes to Angband Orcish to ‘a’ instead of ‘i’. So the new ending would then be –ba which is the suffix of the Possessive (taken from Quenya -va/-wa ( suffix “possessive or adjectival ending”). 

But then I started thinking. There is an ending –ob which marks genitive and with possessive meaning in the all major Black Speech dialects (Shadowlandian, Svartiska Rukh Nulûrz and Horngoth) and in Zhâburi A the ending is –ûb (because one rule of Zhâburi is that there are no o in the grammar affixes). So now I’m thinking that maybe the Possessive case in Zhâburi B could be –bu. And then there is an opening for Equative –ba.