• 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 – Pre- and Postpositions, Noun Cases, Phrase Verbs
• Lesson VIII – Verbs: Past Tense
• Lesson IX – Numbers
• Lesson X – Pronouns and Commands (Imperatives)
• * Lesson XII – Comparisons
• * Lesson XIII – Suffix Order and Indirect Objects
• * 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
• Appendix E: Canonical Tolkien's Black Speech
Lesson VI – Adjectives and Word Order
Note: these lessons are a little more challenging than the previous ones. I have tried to include hints for some of the trickier translations. Try not to be too intimidated. Orcs pay no attention to grammar, as you know.
Adjectives are fairly simple: they do not take the genderof the noun they modify; they are the same for male, female, or neutral nouns. They do agree with the noun in number, however. Plural nouns take plural adjectives.
If the noun is plural, add the correct ending to the adjective (u for adjectives ending in a consonant, z for adjectives ending in a vowel). Caution: Here's a rule that might confuse you, so be careful – even though you know that words for people or races don't take a plural, the adjectives modifying them do take a plural. For example, uruk mokurz = the hateful uruk. Uruk mokurzu, the hateful uruk (plural). This is done for clarity – it is easier to understand that someone is talking about more than one orc or more than one elf if he/she uses a plural adjective to describe that individual.
In Black Speech, many adjectives take the ending -ûrz, especially if they are formed from nouns or verbs:
|bûrz, dark, from burzum, darkness||bûrzu|
|globûrz, foolish or filthy||globûrzu|
|hurûrz, brave, from hûr, courage||hurûrzu|
|matûrz, mortal, from mat = to die||matûrzu|
|mokûrz, hateful, from mokum, hatred||mokûrzu|
|skrithûrz, mean, cruel||skrithûrzu|
|ulkûrz, evil (adj.), from ulkum, evil (n.)||ulkûrzu|
And many adjectives do not follow this rule:
|kû = old||kûz|
|kûf = ugly||kûfu|
|lorz = stupid||lorzu|
|snork = worthless||snorku|
|uf = scary||ufu|
An adjective always follows the word it modifies: shara matûrz, mortal man; Olog globûrz, foolish (or filthy) troll; Urûk skrithûrz, cruel orc. (This is a good general rule to remember in Black Speech: words that modify or describe other words always follow).
If the adjective is only one syllable long, it is suffixed to the word it modifies: sharkû, old man (shara + kû). Notice that the “a” is dropped, probably for ease in pronounciation. Globufu, the scary fools. (Again, both men and fools are people, so you don't pluralize them, but you do pluralize the adjectives.)
Please notice that in cases such as sharkûk (sharkû + ûk, “all the old men”) or nazgûk (nazgû + ûk) “all the rings”, you would drop one of the û's. Similarly, if you wanted to say, “the scary old urûk”, you would say “urûkûf” (urûk + kû + uf). This sounds very similar to urûkuf, “the scary urûk” (urûk + uf, an scary uruk who isn't old), except that you don't have the long û. This may seem a little confusing at first, but it is just a matter of practice. The difference between urûkûf (scary old orc) and urûkuf is just a slight difference in pronunciation.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that in Black Speech, whenever two similar consonants or vowels meet in this way, they are usually slurred together. This is especially true of Debased Black Speech. Later on you'll encounter a lesson in dropping sounds, so if this frightens you now, don't worry about it.
*Remember that this is not true of words that end in the “qu” sound.
Subject and Object Word Order
In Black Speech, most sentences follow a subject – verb – object order, with adjectives following the nouns they modify:
Caution: Please note that this rule seems to be difficult for English-speakers, who generally want to place the adjective before the noun. I have noticed that this is one of the most common errors beginners make. Offenders will be severely punished :)
Translate the following sentences into Black Speech:
The Nazgul will kill the ugly orcs.*
All the elves will find dark rings.
I will bring the brave man.
She will lure all the old orcs.*
They will gather the evil mortal men.**
You (sing.) call the all the brave Nazgul away.
I bring the worthless slaves.*
They will find the magical rings.
Sauron dooms the tough orc.
The Nazgul will gather the foolish trolls.
He will call the stupid elves.
I will hide the dark ring.
You (pl.) bind the old stupid Nazgul (sing.)
*Remember that words for people or races are not pluralized, but the adjectives modifying them are!
**When you have two adjectives, use the more important one first. In this case, it's more important to identify the men as mortal than to describe them as evil.
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