• Lesson I – Background information
• Lesson II – Black Speech Sounds and Pronunciation
• Lesson III – Nouns
• Lesson IV – Verbs: Infinitive and Present Tense
• Lesson V – Verbs: Future Tense
• Lesson VI – Adjectives and Word Order
• Lesson VII – Prepositions
• Lesson VIII – Verbs: Past Tense
• Lesson IX – Numbers
• Lesson X – Pronouns and Commands (Imperatives)
• * Lesson XII – Comparsions
• * Lesson XIII – Suffix order
• * Lesson XIV – Questions
• * Lesson XV – Participles and Passive Voice
• * Lesson XVI – Conditional and Subjunctive Moods
• Appendix A: Prefixes and Suffixes
• Appendix B: Grammar quick overview
• Appendix C: Measures, Directions, Army Ranks
• Appendix D: List Of Abbreviations
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).
|-as||across||dot-as||across the sea||-asu|
|-dhog||near, next to||Orodruin-dhog||next to Orodruin||-dhogu|
|-ir||on||ana-ir||on the edge||-iru|
|-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|
|-tuk||through||tau-tuk||through the forest||-tuku|
|-u||to (place)||Mordor-u**||to Mordor||-uz***|
|-ûr||for||durub-ûr||for the lord||-ûru|
** 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 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:
Translate the following into grammatically correct Classical Black Speech.
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”.
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