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 (and for preposition “to”). 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  Meaning Examples Translation Plural
-as across dot-as across the sea -asu
-dhog near, next to Orodruin-dhog next to Orodruin  -dhogu
-ghâra from Lugbûrz-ghâra  from Lugbûrz -ghâraz
-gus about Morgoth-gus about Morgoth -gusu
-ik before agon-ik before dusk -iku
-ir on ana-ir on the edge -iru
-irzi by grish-irzi by blood -irziz
-ishi in Mordor-ishi in Mordor -ishiz
-it behind dru-it behind tree -itu
-la after zabûrz-la after tonight -laz
-lata under nût-lata under the sky -lataz
-lût out Orthanc-lût out of Orthanc -lûtu
-ob of Nazgûl-ob of the Nazgûl -obu
-or at (place) Orthanc-or at Orthanc -oru
-ri ... agh ... between ... and ...  drâgh-ri agh ânghâsh between hammer and anvil -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, above uzg-tala over the land -talaz
-thu beyond gothum-thu beyond power -thuz
-tuk through tau-tuk through the forest -tuku
-u to (place) Mordor-u** to Mordor -uz***
-ûr for durub-ûr for the lord -ûru
-zi until ârsh-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”.

*** it could be confused with Past Tense suffix -uz (next lesson), see my comments about it at the end of the lesson.

Also note that in the Ring Verse, we have “lata nut” instead of “nut-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-uru lata-nut.
Three Rings for the Elven kings under the sky
[The word 'lords' is plural]

Udu Gazat-shakh-uru ulub ruz-ishiz gund-ob.
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone.
[The words 'lords' and 'halls' are both plural]

I think theese examples show that plural noun suffices should be placed after prepositions, not the fact of pluralizing prepositions.

It will be more correct to call these words postpositions, but I'll stick with more familiar term.


Translate the following into grammatically correct Classical Black Speech.

You (sing.) will call the evil elves to Mordor.
The Nazgul bring all the cruel beasts from Gondor.*
The trolls find the warrior under the sky.
Sauron rules by evil.
Ugluk 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 Nazgul (plural).
The stupid troll kills near Ashluk.
You will devour the beast with Ugluk.
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.

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

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”.

Uu-u – overusing “-u” suffix

If noun is ended with u (i.e. “mau” = warrior, “tau” = forest), place the preposition “to” before noun for clearance (u mau = to warrior). For plural nouns it's supposed to use -uz suffix (urbhuz = to the mountains), but again it may be confused with past tense suffix -uz (what “ghâshuz” means: “burned” or “to the fires”?) So my advice is to place preposition “to” before noun in this case too. If noun ending with u shall be put in plural form and combined with preposition “to”, you shall say “u tauz” (to the woods) for example.

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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.

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