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.


Pluralize the following nouns:

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

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

 English-specific by Un4givenOrc:

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.


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


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.


Shadowlandian Black Speech has no articles. However some other dialects have them. Some people use words “ash” (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.


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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