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 VII.  Prepositions-

In Black Speech, prepositions (from, in, of, to, by, etc.) are suffixed to the noun they modify.  However, this rule is often ignored in hasty speech, especially when orcs curse one another.  The following examples are grammatically correct, although orcs sometimes incorrectly place the prepositions before the word when they are speaking to one another (another example of Debased Black Speech.)
 

Preposition                     Examples                                                                  Plural

-dhog, near                      Orodruin-dhog, near / next to Orodruin             -dhogu

-ghaara, from                   Lugbûrz-ghaara, from Lugbûrz                         -ghaaraz

-irzi, by                            grish-irzi, by blood                                        -irziz

-ishi, in                             Mordor-ishi, in Mordor                                   -ishiz

-la, after                           zabûrz-la, after tonight                                 -zaz

-lata, under                       nût-lata, under the sky                                 -lataz

-lût, out                            Orthanc-lût, out of Orthanc                           -lûtu

-ob, of                              Nazgûl-ob, of the Nazgûl                               -obu

-ri __ agh __                     between __ and __                                       -riz __ agh __

-sha, with                         Saruman-sha, with Saruman**                        -shaz

-shi, at  (time)                   bûrz-shi (at night, at dark)                             -shiz

-shi, at (place)                  Mordor-shi, at Mordor                                     -shiz

-tala over                          uzg-tala, over the land                                  -talaz

-ûr, for                             durub-ûr, for the lord                                     -ûru

-u, to                                Mordor-u, to Mordor**                                  -uz

-zi, until                            aarsh-zi, until today                                       -ziz
 
 

** note that the Tolkien orc curse, "sha Saruman" and “u Mordor” are both grammatically incorrect.  Technically, the orc should have said, "Saruman-sha" and "Mordor-u."
 
 

Also note that in the Ring Verse, we have “lata nût” instead of nût-lata.  It has been suggested that this was done to make the verse scan as poetry.  By now you will have noticed that there are many examples in Black Speech where the speaker has placed the preposition before the noun.  Therefore, this is probably a fairly flexible rule, especially in Debased Black Speech.  However, for the purpose of learning Black Speech, try to observe the rule as much as possible when translating the lessons (at least for now).
 

Strictly speaking, the prepositions should also become plural when they modify a plural noun, but I have only seen one example of that.  It occurs in the Ring Verse, which is in Classical Black Speech, not Debased Black Speech.  (Please remember that the full Ring Verse was translated by a Tolkien fan on the Tolklang board, not by Tolkien himself.)  The ring verse uses the plural "ûru" (for), as well as "ishiz" (in).
 

Excerpts from the Ring Verse:
 
 

Gakh Nazgu Golug-durub-ûru lata-nût.

Three Rings for the Elven kings under the sky
 

[The word 'lords' is plural]

. . .
 

Udu Gazat-shakh-ûru ulub ruz-ishiz gund-ob.

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone.
 

[The words 'lords' and 'halls' are both plural]
 

Exercise
Translate the following into grammatically correct Classical Black Speech.
 

You (sing.) will call the evil elves to Mordor.
 
 

The Nazgûl bring all the cruel beasts from Gondor.*

(*note that the preposition modifies Gondor, not beasts!)
 
 

The trolls find the warrior under the sky.
 
 

Sauron rules by evil.
 
 

Uglûk will gather the old men in Udun.
 
 

He stands in Mordor.
 
 

She will fool the trolls under the sky.
 
 

Saruman calls from Orthanc.
 
 

I stand by the Nazgûl (plural).
 
 

The stupid troll kills near Ashlûk.
 
 

You will devour the beast with Uglûk.
 
 

She brings the orc of Mordor to Moria.
 
 

Saruman rules over all the orcs.
 
 

The warrior kills for Sauron.
 
 

He brings the ring for the elves.
 
 

He brings the troll between Mordor and Orthanc.
 
 
 Joining two prepositions together:   Whenever you have to use two prepositions together, you should join them with hyphens, although most orcs would never do this in Debased Black Speech.  For example, if you want to say, “into Mordor” (Mordor + in + to) you would connect the prepositions this way:  “Mordor-u-ishi.”  But because this combination would be somewhat difficult to prounounce, most Orcs would simply say, “u Mordor-ishi.”

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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