* Lesson XIII – Suffix Order and Indirect Objects

This lesson was completely rewritten in August 2017 (with correction in March 2018) because old version was inconsistent.

In previous lessons adjectives, prepositions, etc. were spelled as separate words or as suffixes separated by hyphen. But experienced language users usually write them in one long word. Why? Alphabets of Middle-Earth have no hyphens, so prepositons really shall be written without it. Tolkien himself wrote “sharkû” instead of “shara kû”, so joining short adjectives to nouns shall be a common practice.

This lesson is partially based on information by The Second Nazgul, Witch-Queen Of Angmar, maybe the only member of Black Speech Community who knew Scatha.

Suffix order

Below lies a table of suffix chains for most common and complex parts of speech. Given examples were chosen to contain as many suffixes as possible.

Part of speech    Suffix chain order Example Translation
  1. Forming (-ûrz)
  2. Degree of comparison
    (– / -ar / -az)
  3. Number
    (– / -u / -z)
golug gothûrzazu
the most powerful elves
  1. Infinitive (-at)
  2. Active/Passive
    (– / -ag)
  3. Tense
    (– / -uz / -ub)
  4. Person
    (– / -at / -ut)
  5. Object pronoun
    (optionally with case suffix)
  6. Completeness
    (– / -ûk / -âzh)
  7. Subject pronoun
(he) was completely burned
will frighten them slightly
I will kill them all
  1. Forming
    (– / -um / -al etc.)
  2. Gender modifier
    (– / -lob / -niz)
  3. Short adjective
    (one syllable long)
  4. Article = Demonstrative pronoun
    (– / -za)
  5. Possessive pronoun
  6. Case postposition
    (– / -ob / -u / -ish / -irzi
    or their equivalents for 2nd declension)
  7. Other postpositions in reverse order
  8. Number
    (– / -u / -z / -ûk / -hai)
about that ugly sorceress
from beneath his pits

I leave you with this little gem:

Latu ghashn narsrinkhshârzusharzrad
Translate that sentence and you are a master at suffixes. :D

Attaching pronouns to the verbs

While Scatha recommends to attach pronouns to the verb, even if it's subject of sentence, it could be very frustrating if the object is also a pronoun. See my remarks on Lesson X about pronouns and examples for verbs in suffix chain table above.

Indirect objects

Many people were confused with referring to two separate people in third person specially with many word modifiers (adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, etc.) in one sentence even without attaching them all into one word.

“I know what you mean about referring to two different people in third person. I also found that frustrating at first, but thing is, it's often clear from context which person you are talking about – here black speech differs from English, as you can leave the subject understood with no pronoun – or you can simply repeat the noun, which is the simplest and easiest solution. Though the latter does get repetitive after a while, it's not such bad form.” – says The Second Nazgul. She proposed using suffix -u with indirect objects but actually it is supposed by most verbs requiring two objects. I also recommend to add objective (~ accusative) case suffix -ish to direct object which was absent for nouns in Shadowlandian, but such novelty conflicts with old examples and the most of already translated texts. Let's see 4 possible variants of objects' combination:

  1. If neither the direct nor the indirect object are pronouns, the indirect object comes after the direct object. Both are separate from the verb. Adding objective case suffix to direct object is optional, because everything is clear from word order. However, if subject is a pronoun attached to the verb, then adding objective case suffix to direct object is recommended.
    Thrak nazg(ish)u Scathazu = bring Scatha rings (lit.: bring rings to Scatha)
    Thrak golugish urûku flîzûr = give an elf to orc(s) for sacrifice = give orc(s) an elf for sacrifice*
    (*) Without additional suffixes it was almost impossible to understand, what and for whom should we give. But better solution is to modify this phrase into “give an elf for sacrificing by the orc(s)” = “thrak golug flîugumûr urûkirzi”

  2. If the direct object is a pronoun, and the indirect object is not a pronoun, the direct object is attached to the verb and the indirect object is separate and follows. Adding suffix -u (or other case suffix) to indirect object is strongly recommended in this case.
    Thrakul Scathazu = bring them to Scatha.
    Azul goth(latub)ûr = kill them for (your) master.

  3. If the direct object is not a pronoun and the indirect object is a pronoun, the indirect object is attached to the verb and the direct object is separate and follows. Using additional case suffixes to both objects is almost obligatory in this case.
    Thrakul(u) nazg(ish)u = bring (to) them rings
    Azulûr golug(ish) = kill elves for them

  4. If both the direct and the indirect object are pronouns, the direct object is attached to the verb and the indirect object follows. Add case suffix to indirect object. If direct object is personal pronoun then additional suffix is not needed, because personal pronouns already have special form of objective case.
    Thrakul izishu = bring them to us
    Azul izishûr = kill them for us

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