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Nouns and Articles

The grammar of nouns in Nûrlâm may be quite difficult, but we'll start from easy parts of it. Nouns in Nûrlâm do not have distinction in animacy, gender1) and even number! Yes, Nûrlâm do not have plural suffixes for nouns, moreover nouns are plural by default! For example “golug” may refer to one elf or many elves, but probably more than one. But how to specify that we are speaking about one person or object? Articles come to help!


Nûrlâm has words analogous to English articles. But to be precise, it has only one proper article – suffix “-um” (definite article).

Indefinite article

ash” (literally means “one”) is the equivalent of indefinite article “a”/“an”. The article “ash” clarifies that noun is singular, so it is used probably more often than English indefinite article. It introduces nouns that are referenced for the first time in the conversation or text, or nouns which identity, properties are unknown or not important. Example: “ash golug” = “an elf”, “one elf”. Indefinite article in Germanic and Romance languages actually also came from word “one”, but in Nûrlâm it haven't changed yet.

Definite article, singular

The definite article, similar to English “the”, in Black Speech is expressed with suffix “-um” added to the noun. “-um” always means that noun is singular, so “golugum” should be translated as “the elf”, not “the elves”. Article suffix “-um” is used with nouns that were introduced before, or it's clear for all participants of conversation that speaker means the one particular subject or object. Example: “Nazgum” means “the ring” that is already known to speaker and other participants of conversation or to reader.

Definite article, any number

The word “za”, which literally means “this” or “these”, may be used for translation of English article “the” with plural nouns. For example, Englis “the elves” should be translated into Nûrlâm as “za golug”, but it also may mean “this elf”.

New words

Memorize the following words:

  • ash (one, a, an)
  • dog (slayer)
  • golug (elf, elves)
  • gûl (phantom, wraith)
  • hont (eye)
  • lag (sword)
  • lug (tower, fortress)
  • lûg (dragon, big serpent)
  • mauh (warrior)
  • nazg (ring)
  • olog (troll)
  • rod (mountain)
  • tark (man, men, human)
  • uruk (orc, goblin)
  • za (the, this, these)

Countable and uncountable nouns

Some nouns are uncountable, they are usually marked in the dictionary of Nûrlâm. You can't use indefinite article “ash” with uncountable nouns. However definite articles may be used with them. Don't worry much about memorizing the distinction between countable and uncountable nouns. If you can add a number before noun in English, than the noun in countable, if the result makes not much sense in English (e.g. “five waters”), than the noun is uncountable.

New words

The following words are uncountable:

  • burz (darkness)
  • dug (filth, dirt)
  • dush (sorcery, witchcraft)
  • ghâsh (fire)
  • ghor (blood)
  • nîn (water)
  • push (shit, dung, excrements)

Exercise 1

Translate from English into Nûrlâm:

  1. the dragon
  2. an elf
  3. the eyes
  4. the filth
  5. the mountain
  6. the orcs
  7. a sword
  8. a troll
  9. the waters
  10. the wraith

show answers

show answers

  1. lûgum / za lûg
  2. ash golug
  3. za hont
  4. dugum / za dug
  5. rodum / za rod
  6. za uruk
  7. ash lag
  8. ash olog
  9. za nîn
  10. gûlum / za gûl

Exercise 2

Translate from Nûrlâm into English

  1. burzum
  2. ash dog
  3. dushum
  4. za ghâsh
  5. ghorum
  6. za lug
  7. ash mauh
  8. ash nazg
  9. pushum
  10. za uruk

show answers

show answers

  1. the darkness / the dark
  2. a slayer / one slayer
  3. the sorcery
  4. the fires / the fire / these fires / this fire
  5. the blood
  6. the towers / the tower / these towers / this tower
  7. a warrior / one warrior
  8. a ring / one ring
  9. the shit / the dung / the excrements
  10. the orcs / the orc / these orcs / this orc

See also

kinda, you can specify biological gender of living creatures with feminitive suffix, but we'll discuss it in later lessons
lessons/nouns.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/24 15:35 by morgoth