For many years in various Neo Black Speech dialects suffix -at was used for infinitives, taken from literal translation of Ring Inscription. But on year 2007 in the issue 17 of journal “Parma Eldalamberon” it's analysis by J.R.R. Tolkien himself was published. And there was stated that -at was suffix of some sort of participle, but with another translation into gerund. So by combination of appliances as participle, gerund and infinitive it resembles Latin's Gerundive.
In Latin Gerundive is the form of verb that functions as verbal adjective. There is no full equivalent of gerundive in English. The closest translation is a clause with infinitive such as “books to be read”, combining a transitive verbs with it's object with a sense of obligation. Another translation is verb with prefix “must-” as in “must-read book”.
Nûrlâm's gerundive is neither a full equivalent of Latin's (or closer to late Latin where it was mixed with participles). The term was adopted as the closest one to Tolkien's definition of suffix -at found in Ring Inscription. Latin gerundives were used more frequently with passive meaning and as predicative. In Ring Inscription it's used as active adjectival phrase (“ring to rule them all”). Gerundive in Nûrlâm always have a sense of obligation, purpose or future action, thus changing modality of expression into some irrealis mood. Passive function of gerundive must be clarified with verb “to be” (= “kul”) and object in instrumental case (if present). Compare “durbatulûk” (to rule them all) with “kul durbat takirzi” (is to be ruled by them).
So functions of gerundive in Black Speech and it's translations include:
As it is seen in Ring Inscription, gerundives can take pronominal objective suffix (e.g. gimbatul). Gerundives do not take case endings. Gerundives rarely used as predicative in Nûrlâm except verb “kul” (to be) + gerundive, however verb “kul” is usually omitted in present tense (= “matters of taste should not be debated”, lit. “tastes are not for debating” ⇒ “shaub (kulû) nartishugbat”). Please note, as gerundive already marks the future tense, it is rarely used together with future form “kub” (= “will”) of the verb “to be”.
|The form of verb “kul” = “to be”||Usage|
|Past (kuz)||intention or purpose in the past: “I was going to kill a dragon” ⇒ “Dakuz dogat ash lûg”|
|necessisty in the past: “It was necessary to kill him” ⇒ “Kuzâ bolkarz dogatan”|
|Present (kul)||in most cases, especially descriptive function|
|Future (kub)||future passive: “It will be done” ⇒ “Kubâ krampat”|
|future (perfect) continuous: “Next month, the war will have been lasting for 13 years” ⇒ “Shi shilab gothum kubâ frunat furn nukrig lau”|
Because of similarity gerundives and infinitives are often interchangeable in colloquial speech. As gerundives are used more frequently, in Modern Nûrlâm infinitives take gerundive's ending -at, but combined grammatical form is called infinitive.
Here is the comparison chart summarizing distinctions between Gerundives and Infinitives:
|Roles in the sentence|
|Main verb of compound predicate||✔||✘|
|Main verb of impersonal sentence||✔4)||✔5)|
|purpose (“in order to” either implied or explicit, answers to questions with “why?”)||✘||✔|
|intention (“be about to”, “be going to”)||✘||✔|
|necessity (after impersonal sentences like “it's necessary” or “it's important”, without modal verbs)||✘||✔|
|habits (“used to”)||✘8)||✘9)|
|expression of strong advice in current circumstances “had better” and personal preferences “would rather”, do not have direct correspondence in Nûrlâm, but infinitives and gerundives may be used to translate them||✘10)||✘11)|
|commands and strong advices to explicit person, e.g. after verbs like “command”, “order”, “demand”, “insist”, “request”, “recommend”, “propose”, “suggest”, “expect”, “advice” etc. (Jussive modality)||✘||✔|
|desires and wishes to another person to do an action, e.g. after verbs like “want”, “wish”, “expect”, “wait” smb. to do smth.||✘||✔|
|conditional phrases like “to be honest”, “to think” with conjunction “if” (usually omitted in English) and other parts (when future tense is implied)||✘||✔|