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Learn the Black Speech of Mordor
The Land of Shadow’s Black Speech
This dialect of the Black Speech know as “Uzg Bûrgulu-ob” (Land of Shadow) or as we affectionately call it here, the Shadowlandian Black Speech was created specifically by the linguist Scatha for The Land of Shadow.com. It’s origins are rooted in The Lord of the Rings Appendices F ‘Orcs and the Black Speech‘ of which their are only a few sparse words and little information. However, the Shadowlandian Dialect takes it ques from the Black Speech used in Mordor during the latter part of the Third Age, which was a mix of the Black Speech in it’s ancient form, along with words of Orkish and debased forms of the Westron Tongue. It’s enunciation is guttural, brutal and barbarous, reflecting the hostility and malice of those who used it. We have updated these pages, ensuring the longevity of this dialect of the Black Speech and giving the dedicated students of the dark tongue of Mordor, a variety of ways to learn, speak and write the Black Speech. For more on this version of the Black Speech read Scatha’s introduction below.
We will be forever grateful to Scatha and the dedicated Black Speech linguists, who contributed to this dark work of linguistic wizardry, hopefully breathing life into the experience of Tolkien’s Mordor. We thank you Scatha!
Finally as the founder of this site and final arbiter of what is posted here, I would like to address concerns that have been raised by some that the Shadolandian Black Speech has too many confusing contributions. I strongly disagree. Scatha approached the creation of this version of the Black Speech with the intent of paying homage to the work done by Tolkien scholars, linguists and fans of Middle-earth, rather than simply making a language up from scratch. She put in a great deal of work to make sure our rendition of the Sauron’s Dark Tongue was in line with all we know of Tolkien’s intentions for the language of Mordor. As I see it, our version of the Black Speech is as close to what Tolkien intended as is possible.
An Introduction to the Dark Tongue from Scatha, Black Speech Linguist
J. R. R. Tolkien invented the Black Speech for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He created only a few phrases and orc names and so in order to develop the language for use and communication, we have invented new words and have developed some grammatical rules. To it clear which words came directly from Tolkien, and which ones were created, source abbreviations (in all caps) are given with each word in the Black Speech to English Dictionary. This dictionary was based on several online Black Speech discussions and resources. I tried to base my new words on Tolkien’s original Black Speech vocabulary and on his proper names for orcs. The rest was extrapolated from Quenya from various sources across the web.
Several different groups and people have invented various versions of the Black Speech. This is entirely in keeping with Tolkien’s observations that orcs spoke many different dialects. These “dialects” are named by their creators. Mine is called “Uzg Bûrgulu-ob” (Land of Shadows). There is also a dialect called Horngoth, another one by a Swedish LARP group called Svartiska, and a defunct one by the name of Mugbûrz. If you decide to create your own dialect, please give yours a distinctive name. Feel free to use, share, or copy these dictionaries and lessons as you wish, but please give credit to the various creators and a link to our site. Thank you.
*A note about accent marks: Accent marks or double vowels only indicate the length of the syllable, not stress. Because this dictionary was taken from many different sources, you’ll find both versions of some of the long vowels (sorry!) but the double vowels are identical to accented vowels: û = uu, î = ii, â = aa.) They are interchangeable. The double or accented vowel should be pronounced as a long vowel: uu = “ooh,” aa = aah, ii = eeh, oo = oh. This is important, because there are several words that would otherwise sound too similar (fil = cave, and fiil = bird.) Long vowels are alphabetized as though they were spelled out.
A note about pronunciation: According to Tolkien, the “l” should be pronounced like the American “dark l,” as in “look.” The “r” should be pronounced like the French “r.” This will give your pronunciation of Black Speech words an appropriately horrible and scary sound.
Abbreviations used in Learning the Shadowlandian Black Speech
Tolkien Sources: AO = 1st Age Angband Orkish, BOLT = Book of Lost Tales, BS = Black Speech, CBS = Classical Black Speech, DBS = Debased Black Speech, LOTR = Lord of the Rings, SD = Sauron Defeated, TH = The Hobbit.
Other Inventors: The < symbol indicates that a word was “taken from” a source and altered to conform with the LOS dialect. TK = Tolkien, LL = `Lalaith’, EL = `Elerrina’, AN = `Andrew’, AA = A. Appleyard. LOS: Mordor, Land of Shadow Message Board, 7N= Seventh Nazgul, RE = Rob Eaglestone, author of the Horngoth Orkish Dialect. MB = Mugbûrz Orkish (from a now defunct web site), SV = from Svartiska, a Swedish LARP site. I believe the authors are Mikael “Adragoor” Bynke and David “Meldon” Burström. This site uses many of the Mugbûrz words.
Information in these pages is from the Dark Tongue created by Scatha
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Appendix F ~ ‘The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age’