The Land of Shadow's Black Speech
Nine Lessons for Learning the Dark Tongue of Mordor

Lesson I - Background Information
Lesson II - Black Speech Sounds and Pronunciation
Lesson III - Verbs:  Infinitives and Present Tense
Lesson IV - Noun plurals
Lesson V - Verbs:   Future tense

Lesson VI - Adjectives and Word Order
Lesson VII - Prepositions
Lesson VIII - Verbs:  Past Tense
Lesson IX - Numbers
Lesson IX - Pronouns and Commands

-Lesson VI.  Adjectives and Word Order-

Note:  these lessons are a little more challenging than the previous ones. 
I have tried to include hints for some of the trickier translations.  Try not to be too intimidated.  Orcs pay no attention to grammar, as you know.

Adjectives are fairly simple:  they do not take the gender of the noun they modify; they are the same for male, female, or neutral nouns.  They do agree with the noun in number, however.  Plural nouns take plural adjectives.

If the noun is plural, add the correct ending to the adjective (u for nouns ending in a consonant, z for nouns ending in a vowel).  Caution:  Here's a rule that might confuse you, so be careful-- even though you know that words for people or races don't take a plural, the adjectives modifying them do take a plural.  For example, urûk mokûrz =  the hateful urûk.  Urûk mokûrzu, the hateful urûk (plural).  This is done for clarity -- it is easier to understand that someone is talking about more than one orc or more than one elf if he/she uses a plural adjective to describe that individual.

In Black Speech, many adjectives take the ending –ûrz, especially if they are formed from nouns or verbs:

Adjective (singular)                                                Plural

bûrz, dark, from burzum, darkness                        bûrzu

dushûrz, magical                                               dushûrzu

globûrz, foolish or filthy                                       globûrzu

gorûrz,  tough                                                   gorûrzu

gothûrz, powerful                                               gothûrzu

hurûrz, brave, from hûr, courage                           hurûrzu

matûrz, mortal, from mat = to die                          matûrzu

mokûrz, hateful, from mokum, hatred                      mokûrzu

skrithûrz, mean, cruel                                          skrithûrzu

ulkûrz, evil (adj.), from ulkum, evil (n.)                   ulkûrzu

And many adjectives do not follow this rule:

Adjective (singular)                                                Plural

kû = old                                                           kûz

kraat = away                                                    kraatu

kûf = ugly                                                         kûfu

lorz = stupid                                                     lorzu

snork = worthless                                              snorku

uf = scary                                                         ufu

-ûk = all                                                           ûk ("all" is already plural)

An adjective always follows the word it modifies:  shara matûrz, mortal man; Olog globûrz, foolish (or filthy) troll; Uruk skrithurz, cruel orc.  (This is a good general rule to remember in Black Speech:  words that modify or describe other words always follow.)

If the adjective is only one syllable long, it is suffixed to the word it modifies: sharkû, old man (shara + kû).  Notice that the “a” is dropped, probably for ease in pronunciation.  Globufu, the  scary fools.  (Again, both men and fools are people, so you don't pluralize them, but you do pluralize the adjectives.)

Please notice that in cases such as sharkûk (sharkû + uk, “all the old men”) or nazgûk (nazgû + ûk) “all the rings,” you would drop one of the û’s.  Similarly, if you wanted to say, "the scary old urûk, you would say "urûkûf."  (urûk + kû + uf).   This sounds very similar to urûkuf, "the scary urûk" (urûk + uf, an scary urûk who isn't old), except that you don't have the long û.  This may seem a little confusing at first, but it is just a matter of practice.  The difference between urûkûf (scary old orc) and urûkuf is just a slight difference in pronunciation.

A good rule of thumb to remember is that in Black Speech, whenever two similar consonants or vowels meet in this way, they are usually slurred together.  This is especially true of Debased Black Speech.  Later on you'll encounter a lesson in dropping sounds, so if this frightens you now, don't worry about it.

(*Remember that this is not true of words that end in the "qu" sound.)

Subject and Object Word Order

In Black Speech, most sentences follow a subject – verb – object order, with adjectives following the nouns they modify:

Golug thrakut sharkû mokûrzu.

The elves bring the hateful old men

Urûk bugdat nazgûl skrithûrz.

The Urûk calls the cruel Nazgûl (singular).

Caution:   Please note that this rule seems to be difficult for English-speakers, who generally want to place the adjective before the noun.  I have noticed that this is one of the most common errors beginners make.  Offenders will be severely punished.

Translation Exercise
Translate the following sentences into Black Speech:

The cruel trolls will devour the tough beasts.

The Nazgûl will kill the ugly orcs.*

All the elves will find dark rings.

I will bring the brave man.

She will lure all the old orcs.*

They will gather the evil mortal men.**

You (sing.) call the all the brave Nazgûl away.

I bring the worthless slaves.*

They will find the magical rings.

Sauron dooms the tough orc.

The Nazgûl will gather the foolish trolls.

He will call the stupid elves.

I will hide the dark ring.

You (pl.) bind the old stupid Nazgûl (sing.)

*Remember that words for people or races are not pluralized, but the adjectives modifying them are!

**When you have two adjectives, use the more important one first.  In this case, it's more important to identify the men as mortal than to describe them as evil.

Information in these pages is is from the Dark Tongue web site created by Scatha.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them.
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