Differences from Shadowlandian

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Even though Nûrlâm started as derivative of Shadowlandian, it became a clearly distinct dialect. This page will shortly summarize the most notable distinctions between standard Nûrlâm and Shadowlandian dialects besides the dictionary. Of course, there are more differences, but here I listed only those that occur even in the most simple sentences.

Shortly, Nûrlâm is different mostly in treating:

  • suffixes -um and -at of Tolkien's Classical Black Speech;
  • plural number of nouns and adjectives
  • word order
  • pronoun system
  • grammar of verbs

Suffix -um

All previous Neo Black Speech dialects including Shadowlandian treated -um as abstract noun suffix, similar to English -ness (as in “darkness”), while according to PE#17, J.R.R. Tolkien thought about it as article or “particularizing suffix”. Therefore, Nûrlâm uses -um as definite article (English “the”). The article -um may be also used as marker of singular number, while plural nouns are not marked in Nûrlâm.

Suffix -at

Shadowlandian treated the suffix -at as infinitive or 3rd person singular marker. PE#17 states, that -at is a suffix of participle, but translated as infinitive of purpose, or expression “for” + gerund. Nûrlâm author suggests the term gerundive, as the similar construct resembling simultaneously infinitive, gerund and participle was used in Latin. Please, keep in mind: Nûrlâm's gerundive is not a direct equivalent of Latin's, and their usage may differ sometimes. Thus, -at in Nûrlâm is used only as gerundive.

To resolve ambiguity, Nûrlâm introduced new suffix for pure infinitive, -ut. Infinitives in Nûrlâm are used almost exclusively in compound predicates, e.g. with modal verbs. They are also used as subject or object of the sentence, which is rare. You can compare usage of gerundive and infinitive in this table. By the way, “to resolve ambiguity” is gerundive, and “can compare” should be translated into Nûrlâm as modal verb “pâsh” + infinitive “bîkut” (despite “to” not used in English).

Nûrlâm also changed verbs' singular marker from -at to -â(t) (-t- is inserted only if other suffix starting with vowel follows 3rd person marker).

Plural number

Shadowlandian had a tricky rule, where unanimated nouns had a plural marker -u, while animated nouns didn't. This rule was frequently forgotten by Scatha (creator of Shadowlandian), other contributors, author of Nûrlâm dialect and basically everyone.

Standard Nûrlâm does not have a suffix of plural number for all nouns, pronouns or adjectives. Moreover, all nouns are treated as plural by default! For clarification the exact quantity should be used (“ash” = “one”) or words like “many” (= “mak”) or “few” (= “mûd”). The definite article “-um” is also used to indicate singular number. But verbs still have markers of singular or plural tense to reduce ambiguity.

Plural pronouns in Nûrlâm have distinct form and are less regular than Shadowlandian's.

Word order

Shadowlandian forced modifier words (like adjectives and adverbs) to be put after the words they describe. While majority of examples found in this Nûrlâm's wiki follow this tradition, this rule is not strict. Adjectives must follow the noun only in compound words (like “Lugbûrz” = “Dark Tower”) and when short adjective joins the noun (“ghâmporbgin” = “fresh potato”), while “rotten potato” may be translated both as “nirgûrz firdbugh” or “firbugh nirgûrz”.


Personal pronouns differ in all Neo-Black Speech dialects. Nûrlâm had to do it too. In PE#17 it is stated that “the verbal system [of Black Speech] must have included pronominal suffixes expressing the object, as well as those indicating the subject” and “particles indicating subject were usually prefixed”. Thence Standard Nûrlâm dialect have complex pronoun system with two sets of pronouns: prefixed subject pronouns1) and suffixed object pronouns. The article about pronouns have a full list of personal pronouns. Please note, that pronouns in grammatical cases besides Nominative and Accusative have a case suffix attached to subject form, and they are written separately from the verb.

Nûrlâm supports subdialects. So-called "Modern" or "Colloquial" Nûrlâm has pronouns similar to Shadowlandian, but it's grammar is very different, it is intended to copy analytic English morphosyntax. All pronouns in Modern Nûrlâm are written separately from verbs.

Demonstrative, relative, indefinite and question pronouns in Nûrlâm are organized into pretty regular system inspired by Esperanto and Japanese. The whole list of them is presented in article about Pro-forms.

Grammar of verbs

Nûrlâm changed the order of verb's suffixes and added a lot of grammatical particles that can join the verb, compared to Shadowlandian. As was stated above, subject pronouns join the verb as prefixes, also a new feature of Nûrlâm. Also, markers of 3rd person singular and plural were changed from “-at” and “-ut” in Shadowlandian to Nûrlâm's “-â” and “-û” respectively. -t- may be added to them in Nûrlâm if there is another suffix starting with vowel following 3rd person marker. 3rd person verb's suffixes are not used when subject is a pronoun, as it already joined the verb as prefix. See article about the grammar of verbs for detailed description.

Participle suffixes were organized into a more unified system in Nûrlâm.

tha can be written separately too
differences_from_shadowlandian.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/18 19:32 by morgoth