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The Dark Language of Mordor
“Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.”
The LOTR:FOTR B1 C2
It is said that the Black Speech was devised by Sauron in the Dark Years, and that he had desired to make it the language of all those that served him. Some say that he failed in that purpose, but we disagree with that assessment. If Sauron had regained the One Ring and been victorious in the War of the Ring, then the Black Speech would have become the Common Tongue of Middle-earth, much as the Westron or mannish speech was at the end of the Third Age. Sauron was only just beginning to reassert his power in the world and those that say he failed in his attempt to make the Black Speech the universal tongue throughout Middle-earth, do not acknowledge what might have been if the One Ring had been reclaimed. Even if Sauron had not regained the Ring, but it had remains lost the Dark Lord of Mordor would still have held dominion over Middle-earth eventually. It was only the destruction of the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom the stopped him.
The inscription on the One Ring of Power was written in ancient Elvish script, though the words were those of the Black Speech. In the fires of Mount Doom, in the vast forge of Sammath Naur, where all other powers in Middle-earth were subdued, the Dark Lord fashioned the One Ring of Power to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them! With the power of the Ring, Sauron was able to bend the will of all who served him and so was able to imprint the dark tongue of Mordor on his servants and slaves alike. During the Dark Years, the black speech was spoken in all the areas where Sauron held dominion in Middle-earth.
When the Ring was cut from Sauron’s hand during the Battle of the Last Alliance, all of the Servants of Shadow were suddenly made bereft of his dominating will. When they fled and hid themselves in the darkest corners of Middle-earth, they devolved once more into disparate clans and tribes of orcs. The Black Speech fell into debased forms called Orkish, that was mixed with perverted words from other races. The Orkish tongues, became localized and rendered understood only by the orcs of that clan or tribe, with different dialects and vernaculars unknown to any outsiders. This was the state of affairs when the Nazgûl returned to Mordor in the second millennium of the Third Age.
When Sauron arose once more, the Ringwraiths retook the lands of Mordor, and paved the way for their Masters return. They once more made the Black Speech the language of Barad-dûr and it was soon heard in all corners of the Black Land. During this time as more Servants of Shadow flooded back into Mordor, they brought with them their various dialects of Orkish, with curses and profane speech littering the plain of Gorgoroth. There was much confusion among competing tribes and fighting often broke out. It was not until Sauron returned in secret to Mordor in 2942 of the Third Age, that he began once more to assert his will upon the Servants of Shadow, drawing all evil to him. Without the power of the Ring, Sauron could not as easily control the will of his servants. The establishment of the Great Eye in the Dark Tower allowed the Sauron through Morgul sorcery to bring the Orcs and Dark Men under his sway, as he exerted his will upon them.
The Black Speech was first used by the black captains and lieutenants of the Dark Tower and then spread out among all of those in command. Finally, it was used by orcs in the various fortresses and guard towers throughout the Land of Shadow. Without the Black Speech, it would have been impossible to have ordered the movements of such large forces in his war against the West. Sauron above all others, understood the value of order amid chaos, and so wanted to rule all of Middle-earth under the iron fist of the orc. Yet even as the large armies of Mordor began to assemble for the final assault upon Middle-earth, there were still pockets of resistance to the Black Speech on the plain of Gorgoroth and in many outposts within the Dark Lord’s realm. Had the Ring been regained and the War of the Rings won, the Black Speech would soon have been heard in every corner of Middle-earth.
Much of the knowledge about the creation and implementation of the Black Speech was lost after the fall of Sauron, but in the Library of Shadow found east of the ruins of Barad-dûr, some writings in the Black Speech were discovered, along with many other documents. One such manuscript was a leather bound volume know as Ghásh, the Book of Fire and in it’s yellowed and brittle pages was discovered alphabets, numbers, weights and measures. These pages were handed down through the ages along with writings from the Red Book of Westmarch.
What happened to the Black Speech after the fall of Sauron? It disintegrated into ever more debased forms, lingering for a while in it’s true form among some of his more devoted subjects. It is said that a legion of Black Uruks of Barad-dûr still thrive somewhere in the Ash Mountains amid the ruins of the Dark Tower and remain a shadow of fear in that part of the world. Even today, it’s not wholly dead, for those who carry on the knowledge of the Black Speech of Mordor, keep it alive and give homage to the power of the Shadow in Middle-earth.
Professor Tolkien had this to say about his creation of the Black Speech…
The Black Speech was not intentionally modeled on any style, but was meant to be self consistent, very different from Elvish, yet organized and expressive, as would be expected of a device of Sauron before his complete corruption. It was evidently an agglutinative language. I have tried to play fair linguistically, and it is meant to have a meaning not be a mere casual group of nasty noises, though an accurate transcription would even nowadays only be printable in the higher and artistically more advanced form of literature. According to my taste such things are best left to Orcs, ancient and modern.
We take his words as a challenge and so have our own version of the Black Speech, which all the orcs and dark minions of the Shadow who visit here can learn, speak and write.
Here in Mordor ~ The Land of Shadow.com we have a dialect of the Black Speech know as ‘Shadowlandian’ that was developed from various sources including notations made in the Red Book of Westmarch. The Shadowlandian Black Speech is a direct decedent of the Dark Tongue of Mordor, that has been curated and developed by the esteemed dark linguist Scatha. We have a full English to Black Speech Dictionary as well as Black Speech to English. We offer Prefix, Suffix, Appendix and Numbers, as well as a Weights & Measures chart. Most importantly, Scatha created a series of Black Speech Lessons to help in developing your linguistic skills in the Dark Tongue of Mordor! Lastly, we have our Orc Name Generator, that uses the specific linguistics of the Black Speech to form orc names, so that you too can discover your own Black Uruk of Mordor name!
Feel free to choose from the menu options above to access the various pages of the Shadowlandian Black Speech here in The Land of Shadow.com