Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect speech are both used by speaker or writer to describe, report or quote speech of other person. This person is usually mentioned in author's clause.


English Nûrlâm
Direct speech He said: “I will come tomorrow” Tagashnuz: “Daskâtub ârshab”
Indirect speech He said that he will come tomorrow Tagashnuz (zamash) taskâtub ârshab

Direct Speech

Direct speech is used to represent the speech of other person exactly with the same words as they were, with all errors and phonetical . Direct speech is not a member of complex sentence, but individual words may be syntactically analyzed within the direct speech.


In latin-based scripts the direct speech is put between quotation marks: “direct speech”. However genuine Tolkien's scripts Tengwar and Cirth lack such punctuation marks (regular european quotes are used). Tengwar1) has some punctuation marks resembling quotes «8qpEjL» – but it seems they represent parentheses.


Usually the term quote is used synonymously with direct speech but it is not always so. Quote may belong to member of sentence:

English Everyone knows that Ring Inscription starts with “Ash nazg…”, but what is next?
Nûrlâm ûgh îstâ zamash Nazg Zarbûrm îsâ “Ash nazg…” irzi, nân mash (kulâ) ab?

In this example with “Ash nazg” is an adverbial of verb starts and is not a direct speech.

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech is used to represent the speech of other person in speaker's words. It is usually introduced by relative conjunction “that” = “zamash”. Author's speech is introductionary clause of the sentence. Inside indirect speech personal pronouns are usually transformed from 1st or 2nd person into 3rd person. However if person who was addressee of direct speech in 3rd person becomes a listener of indirect speech, he will be mentioned in 2nd person.

English Nûrlâm
Direct Speech “Tell him that I will kill him “Gashnan zamash dadoguban
Indirect Speech He told that he will kill you Tagashnuz zamash tadogubam

Tense agreement

There is no special rules of tense agreement in Nûrlâm when using direct or indirect speech.

DTS50 and DTS51 – Sauron Defeated. Part Two: The Notion Club papers, “The page preserved from Edwin Lowdham's manuscript”
syntax_direct_speech.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 00:59 (external edit)