This article deals with Black Speech as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
Note that, in spite of the relevance tag above, this article will in fact not remain at covering the language "as it relates to NationStates", but delve more deeply into the nature of Black Speech itself. The main reason for this is that the Wikipedia article on the subject, being part of an actual encyclopedia rather than a fictional one, contains little to no information on the exact vocabulary and grammar, since any such speculation has no place in an encyclopedic article. The information compiled below is gathered mainly from the Ardalambion (see external links), a well-known authority and source on Tolkien's languages.
Black Speech in NationStates
Nations that use Black Speech
Add to this list as seen fit.
Authentic Black Speech, as used in The Lord of the Rings, is present in only two original phrases, and several names. These are firstly the ring-spell:
- Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
- ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
Which, rendered in English, means:
- One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
- One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.,
And secondly, a curse uttered by an Orc:
- Uglûk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob bûb-hosh skai!
Which Tolkien himself translated differently at two instances:
- Uglúk to the cesspool, sha! the dungfilth; the great Saruman-fool, skai!
- Uglúk to the dung-pit with stinking Saruman-filth, pig-guts, gah!
Thus "glob" might mean "filth" or "fool", "push-dug" either "dungfilth" or "stinking", and "bub-hosh" either "pig-guts" or "great".
The original vocabulary of the language is thus very limited, though it has been complemented by a large amount of new words invented by fans.
It should be noted that most names of places either in Mordor or implicitly connected to Sauron are named in Elvish, not in the Black Speech. This includes Mordor, Barad-Dur, Dol-Guldur, Minas Morgul, Cirith Ungol and Orodruin.
The few known words (most of them corrupted or debased forms of words derived from other languages by
Tolkien) include (derived from Ardalambion):
agh : and ash : One at : a syllable indicating either infinitive, or possibly purpose. bagronk : cess-pool bub-hosh : great burz : darkness durb : to rule gimb : to find gûl : wraith ishi : in (preposition, attached after object) lug : tower krimp : to bind/tie nazg : ring push-dug : dungfilth sha : Exclamation of distaste/disapproval/scorn skai : Exclamation of distaste/disapproval/scorn thrak : to bring ûk : all/fully/completely (attached as suffix to the verb of action) ul : them uruk : Orc
From the few sources that are available, the grammar of Black Speech is nearly indiscernable. However, from the ring-spell it is possible to arrive at these conclusions (which are all conjecture, of course):
(Adjective) Subject (Object-Preposition) Verb
- Ash nazg burzum-ishi krimpatul
- One ring darkness-into to bind them
Personal pronouns are not separate words, but attached to the verb as a suffix.
- to find them (where '-ul' is 'them')
The preposition is attached by a hyphen to the object of the sentence.
The time or tense of the sentence is a suffix attached to the verb. This goes before the personal pronoun.
- to rule (where 'at' is 'to', either infinitive or 'purpose')
A sentence in Black Speech
Assuming there were sufficient vocabulary, it would be possible to translate the following sentence:
- I shall rule the world, and cast you all into shadow.
- (I) (world) durb(future_tense), agh (shadow)-ishi (cast)(future_tense)(you)uk.
Where the bold parts are actual words in Black Speech, and the brackets stand for missing vocabulary. Note I used shadow rather than 'darkness' (for which there is BS word, burzum), in order to better illustrate the word order.
- The Ardalambion (Site of Helge K. Fauskanger, a Tolkien linguist)