Lessons


Lesson III – Nouns

Plural nouns

There are only three simple rules for pluralizing nouns.

Names for races or people are never pluralized. For example, the word Nazgul is both singular and plural. The word Uruk is both singular and plural. If you wanted to say “bring the three uruk”, you would simply say, “Thrak Uruk gakh”. If you are talking about an entire race of people, use the suffix -hai, which means peoples or folk. So uruk-hai means “the uruk-people”, olog-hai means “the troll-people”, and so on.

**Please note: Because words like snaga (slave), durub (ruler), and sharlob (human female) refer to people, you would not pluralize them. So snaga is singular and plural.

Nouns ending in consonants become plural by adding “u” (note that this is the short u, not û). Nazg, (ring) = singular, nazgu = plural.

Nouns ending in vowels become plural by adding “z”. (goi = city, goiz = cities). There are very few Black Speech nouns that end in a vowel.

Exercise

Pluralize the following nouns:

goi (city) lug (tower) golug people (elf)
mau (warrior)** hont (hand) goth (lord)**
mokum (hatred) ronk (pit) horn (beast)
sharkû (old man) shara (human man) olog (troll)
duf (knife) krimp (rope) ufum (fear)

** note that words for people, like warrior or goth, do not take a plural.

Information below isn't written by Scatha but by author of this site. It's harder than original lessons, so you can skip it for a while and return later.

 English-specific by Un4givenOrc:

Declension

Basing on different plural suffices I suppose that Black Speech nouns have two declensions. 1st for consonant-ending nouns and 2nd for vowel-ending.

Cases

English has only two noun cases: the common and the possessive. Shadowlandian Blackspeech had only the first. So if you want to say “orc's axe”, you should say “pilik uruk-ob” = “axe of orc”. Svartiska dialect has seven cases! It's too hard for the most students and confronts with idea about simplicity and regularity of Black Speech. But I think that Black Speech case system resembles to Finnish, where there are a lot of postpositions which take role of both prepositions and nouns' cases (like if every preposition was used with it's unique noun case). I also propose Oblique (or Objective) case for nouns, similar to English pronouns (“me”, “us” etc.). It is formed by suffix -ish if the noun is ended with consonant and by suffix -sh if it's ended with vowel. More on cases in Lesson VII.

Articles

Shadowlandian Black Speech has no articles. However some other dialects have them. Some people use words “agh” (one) as indefinite article and “za” (this) as definite article. They are placed before nouns in examples I saw, but if Black Speech had articles, they should go after noun as a suffix. Remember, confusing the articles is one the most common error of non-English speaking people, also articles in Black Speech would not carry any grammatical information as opposed to German or French, and Black Speech shall be pretty simple. So don't use them.

Gender

Black Speech nouns don't have gender, as in English. But in example, for German or Russian students it's strange. There are gender modifiers in English (she- and -ess), but in Shadowlandian BS there is only one gender modifier, the “-lob” suffix. It's used only with words referring to person or sometimes animal. Example: durub – durublob (ruler – femine ruler), sharkû – sharkûlob (old man – old woman), naur – naurlob (wolf – she-wolf). Because “-lob” is a bad interpretation of the name “Shelob”, I offer an alternative “-niz” taken from Quenya.

Collective Plural

The most of Black Speech linguists think that it has special Collective Plural nouns. But some of them call -hai (people) suffix so, others are for -ûk (all) suffix. But look, both variants are correct! In case of races (orc, elf, human) all of them become the whole nation (-hai), and for objects, animals or other individuals all of them are -ûk. Example: nazg – nazgu – nazgûk (one ring – several rings – all rings).

Plural nouns again?

Remember that -u suffix for pluralizing isn't invented by Tolkien. First Neo-Blackspeech authors (in 80s) used -i for that purpose. Also u has meaning of preposition “to”, which is Tolkienish. Therefore some authors recommend not to use plural suffix not only with nouns meaning living creatures or persons but with inanimate objects too. Of course, you should clarify what is meant in this case by specifying exact quantity or using words “few”, “many”, “some” etc. However I will stick to dual meaning of this suffix because it's already widely used. If had purpose to invent new dialect I would borrow from Svartiska.



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Comments

Scatha  2014-09-24, 04:01:03

Has anyone here ever tried the lessons? I think some of them may need some corrections and updates.  Let me know your thoughts.


bjornaxen  2016-06-08, 09:43:39

The Swedish LARP-orcish Svartiska was not really created by a single LARP-group but by the community of orc-larpers where different groups created different dialects.


bjornaxen  2017-12-15, 00:47:08

On pronunciation

There is an orc name that begins with y - Yagul - in The War of the Ring (The History of Middle Earth, vol. 8 )

I think Tolkien pronounce Mordor in Elvish, it is after all an Elvish name meaning Black land in Sindarin (or "shadows" in Quenya). It has nothing to do with pronunciation of the Black Speech.

And what about the sounds in the excercise: -qu- in "throqu-" and sr- in "srinkh-"? Especially -qu- seems out of place. Why not spell it kv or kw?


Un4givenOrc  2017-12-16, 10:01:39
bjornaxen wrote:

And what about the sounds in the excercise: -qu- in "throqu-" and sr- in "srinkh-"?

Yes, there as some issues with qu, specially when next letter is also u. Could be also spelled like Q. It appears only in words borrowed from elvish languages. I will replace it with something else if I would create new dialect.

I think there is nothing special with sr, for me it's easier to say than thr (thrakatulat).


bjornaxen  2017-12-23, 02:02:28

Does comparative and superlative adjectives, and adverbs mark plural?

The dark tower - lugbûrz; the darkest tower - lugbûrzaz; the darkest towers - lugbûrzazu

urukû ghâshuzat hîzarz lug "the old orc quickly burned the tower"; urukûz ghâshuzut hîzarzu lug "the old orcs quickly burned the tower"
---
edit 1. I saw that the adverb is not agreeing in number so: urukfuz ghâshuzut hîzarz lug
---
edit 2. I saw that I somehow confused the adjectives - this i now corrected.


Un4givenOrc  2017-12-23, 15:41:51

I think adverbs do not have plural form. Adjectives do in any form


bjornaxen  2017-12-25, 21:08:42

There are two collective plural, -hai and -ûk. In contrast to the ordinary plural these can be used with people and races. So we have uruk-hai (the orc people) as the most famous example. And then in the lessons (IV) there is an example of the -ûk ending used with  sharkû (old man) > sharkûk "all old men". So both the collective plurals can be used with people and races but what is the difference between them. What does sharkû-hai mean "all the old people" or maybe "the society of old men" or is it equivalent to sharkûk? Or is it just gibberish.


bjornaxen  2018-01-01, 16:47:30

In lesson XIII on suffix order, verbs collective #6 two endings are given, -ûk and -âzh. The -âzh ending is used with a verb 'ufubulâzh' (will frighten them slightly). I cannot find this -âzh in the lessons or in the wordlists (there is "azh (conj, HORN) "also").

It seems to mean "slightly" but then it is not a collective. Confusing


Un4givenOrc  2018-01-09, 13:27:04
bjornaxen wrote:

n the lessons (IV) there is an example of the -ûk ending used with  sharkû (old man) > sharkûk "all old men". So both the collective plurals can be used with people and races but what is the difference between them. What does sharkû-hai mean "all the old people" or maybe "the society of old men" or is it equivalent to sharkûk? Or is it just gibberish.

I think it's Scatha's mistake.
I don't like interpretation of -hai as collective plural suffix nor simply as "folk", "people of" etc. However I can't offer better one.

bjornaxen wrote:

n lesson XIII on suffix order, verbs collective #6 two endings are given, -ûk and -âzh. The -âzh ending is used with a verb 'ufubulâzh' (will frighten them slightly). I cannot find this -âzh in the lessons or in the wordlists (there is "azh (conj, HORN) "also").

I've added this shortly before my HDD crashed. Online version of dictionary is not updated still.
Here -uuk and -aazh are something like verb's aspect (perfect and "partial" respectively). Interpretation of "-uuk" as "completely", "fully" is taken from A. Nemirovsky's analysis



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