Adpositions is the term combining prepositions and postpositions as they play similar role in the sentence. English language has only prepositions, but in many Uralic languages there are mostly postpositions and very few prepositions. Classical Black Speech is considered similar to them in that feature, but Debased Black Speech is closer to English. Nûrlâm supposed to be in between these two opposite concepts of language.

In Nûrlâm's dictionary there are approximately twice more amount of postpositions than prepositions, but postpositions are divided into two categories: clitic and standalone. Clitic postpositions take the role of case suffixes, standalone postpositions usually refer to place or orientation in space and consist of one syllable only, and prepositions are either two syllable long or refer to time. Standalone postpositions and prepositions are used together with noun in corresponding case (clitic postpositions), which should be memorized. Some words are used both as prepositions and as postpositions depending on meaning.

Adpositions may also serve as verb's derivational suffixes (as in Finnish, Turkish or Hurrian) or prefixes (similar to Latin, German or Russian).

Clitic postpositions

For list of clitic postpositions see article about grammatical case. They are functioning as case suffixes but usually translated into other (Indo-European) languages as prepositions. Attaching a clitic may change declension class of a word according to declension class of their own.

Clitic Grammatical case,
noun's declension class
Etymology Translation
-b GEN, II NL see -ob
-bo ABL RE off, from (top to bottom)
-ir ADE, I LOS on, on top of, at
-irzi INS, I LOS by, by means of, by use of, with use of, using, through (use of), via
-ishi ILL, I TK, RI into, inwards, in, inside, within
-ah ELA, I RE out of, from (bottom to top, one place to another)
-ob GEN, I EL of, 's
-or INE, I LOS at, in
-r ADE or INE, II NL at
-ri ITRT LOS between, amidst, among
-rzi INS, II NL see -irzi
-sha COM TK, OC (together) with
-shi ILL, II LOS see -ishi
-si ESS NL similar to, as a …, like a …, -like
-u ALL, I TK, OC to, towards, upon, onto
-ûr DAT, I EL for, to (somebody)
-zah ELA, II NL see -ah
-zir ADE, II NL see -ir
-zor INE, II NL see -or
-zu ALL, II LOS (SN) see -u
-zûr DAT, II NL see -ûr

Standalone postpositions

Standalone postpositions are single syllable short words usually describing place or position in space. Some of them are used together with specific case expressed with clitic postpositions, thus requiring memorization. Many of these postpositions may be used as standalone adverbs.

Postposition Etymology Grammatical
Translation Example
as LOS ACC across, through 1) kârshum as = across the sea
baub2) HORN ABL far from mokhbo baub = far from home
bug3) MB, SV GEN opposite to (place),
against (place)
ûghob iskob bug = against each other
dro4) NL < Gnomish “nodro” + LOS “ord” < HG GEN ahead (of),
dakob dro = ahead of us
ik LOS GEN before (place),
in front of 5)
hûmumob ik = in front of the gates
it LOS GEN behind,
after (place)6)
pandumob it = behind the door
kurn LOS < Quenya “corna” ACC around (place) ghâshin kurn = around the bonfire
lût LOS GEN outside (of);
for expressions “from outside”, “to the outside” or “at outside” use Allative, Adessive or Ablative case
goib lût = outside the city
mush MB, SV ADE7) or ALL8) next to, near, by (place)9) sîrumir mush = near the river
nâd NL < SV “nâdar” + Primitive Elvish “ndē̆” INE or GEN within (place), inside (of);
for expressions like “to the inside” and “from inside” use just Illative and Elative cases correspondingly
ambzab nâd = inside this room
thu10) LOS (beyond) ACC over11), beyond12) kaup thu = over the hills
tuk LOS INS through13) taurzi tuk = through the forest


Prepositions are used for referring time in adverbial constructions, but some polysyllable words specify position.

Preposition Etymology Grammatical
Translation Example
bug14) SV ACC against (someone) bug tab mâgz = against his master
furn NL < Etym. “BORÓN” (to last, endure);
compare with Quenya “vor”, “vora”, “vorë”, “voro”, etc.
ACC for (time), (with)in (period of time), during furn krul shil = for two months,
furn hîrbum = during the winter
ghâr HORN < LOS “ghâra” ACC since, from (only about time) ghâr ârshik = since yesterday
gus MB ACC about (mention somebody or something) gus harg = about wolves
ik LOS ACC by (some time), before (time) ik ânshum = before the dawn
irg NL < SV, ZA “erg” (at, on) ACC on (time interval) irg birtârsh = on holidays
ithu NL, LOS “it” + LOS “thu” + HORN “izu” GEN beyond ithu samdob = beyond sense
îzan NL “îz” + LOS “zan” GEN in the name of îzan Morgothob = in the name of Morgoth
kurn LOS ACC around (time) kurn ârshnod = around noon
la LOS ACC after (time) la ashrokil = after lunch
lata EL, reverse of “tala” ACC under, beneath, below lata nûtum = under the sky
oth NL < Etym. “OS-” ACC like oth ash bork = like an animal
shi LOS ACC at (exact time) shi muth = at dusk
tala EL, probably from Etym. “TÂ, TAGH-” (high, lofty) or “TALAM” (floor, base) ACC above, over, atop, on top of tala kaz = above head
ugil15) SV ACC by (some time), before (time), prior to ugil bhantab = prior to his leaving
ulmakh16) SV ACC along, alongside ulmakh mongum = along the road
zash17) SV ESS same as, as … as …, so … as … zash hîs tapsi = as fast as the rabbit
zi LOS ACC to (time), by (time), until zi mât = until death

Complex adpositions

Black Speech doesn't seem to have complex (two or more word) adpositions or has very few of them. Such English words as “into”, “within”, “in front of” etc. are all translated with one corresponding word. Some of compound prepositions actually belong to different words (e.g. verb and noun, see next chapter of this article).

Overlaps with other lexical categories

Beside the fact that some adpositions are used both as pre- and post-positions they may also be treated as other lexical categories. Usually the adpositions belonging to verbs are technically adverbs or particles, which also follow the words they describe similarly to postpositions, and some of them are attached to verbs as clitics or prefixes. Locative case postpositions and some standalone (like “ik” = before) form adverbial phrases together with nouns. These word also may connect together two clauses with different verbs, thus becoming conjunctions. So it can be hard to distinguish adpositions from other lexical categories. Anyway adpositions are never used as stand-alone member of sentence, only together with other words. Some words may belong both to adverbs when used stand-alone, and to adpositions when noun is taken together to form adverbial phrase.


Black Speech has following stages of language evolution in using adpositions.

  1. Classical Black Speech is considered to have only postpositions and majority of them are clitic.
  2. Nûrlâm further separates standalone and clitic postpositions by reducing number of cases, some postpositions became prepositions (usually referring time).
  3. Cases' quantity continue to drop. More postpositions become used as prepositions dithering the edge between them.
  4. More prepositions and standalone postpositions becoming used with Accusative case (with zero ending).
  5. In modern colloquial (Debased) Black Speech all adpositions became prepositions together with denying category of grammatical case.

Nûrlâm suggests also “along”, can be used as rare Perlative case
also adjective with -ûrz suffix or adverb with -arz suffix
also used as adjective or adverb
also used as prefix and adverb
Antessive case
Postelative, Postessive cases
for static position
for motion
Approximative case, Apudessive case for static position, Apudelative case for motion
also prefix
Superlative/Superessive case
duplicates Elative case
Prolative or Vialis case
also adverb
only in colloquial speech, “ik” is more preferable variant
more like adverb
more like adjective
adpositions.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/07 19:38 by