Monday, August 9, 2010
tolkien. the 1 ring. the black speech of Sauron
The Ring Inscription
The only example given of "pure" Black Speech is the inscription upon the One Ring:
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
When translated into English, these words form the lines:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
Parallels to natural languages
Russian historian Alexander Nemirovski identified an ergative suffix (-uk in "durbatuluk" is the verb suffix meaning "them all" and is related to object and not to subject, verb forms related to object are specific to ergative languages), and claimed a "strong lexical similarity" to Hurrian (also an ergative language).
Hurrian was a recently deciphered language at the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, E. A. Speiser's Introduction to Hurrian appearing in 1941.
D: nice analysis of the Black Speech.
The black speech has a CVC syllable structure.
We will assume for the moment that gh is one sound, rather than a g sound followed by an h sound (which would be unpronounceable finally).
The following consonants are attested: sh, d, r, b, th, k, m, p, t, l, k, gh, z, g, n, h, s.
We know that the l and r are pronounced at the back of the mouth (similar to English but without exception) - this is a sound which the Elves find extremely unpleasant.
Some consonant clusters occur; these are thr, kr, gl, sk initially, and zg, mb, mp, rz, nk finally. Medial consonant clusters usually result from compounding or affixing.
D: now I have some fun.
D: I have had the ill fortune in my life to meet self-identified Otherkin.
I ran into them in gaming circles, being into RPGs myself.
Otherkin think they are various mythical creatures. "I'm an ELF!" Yeah, sure you are....
It is a strange fringe sect. By that I mean a religion that never got popular.
It can be best summarized, as by my roomie, who made a university presentation about this group, as if all the kids playing Shadowrun scifi/fantasy RPG about awakened modern supernaturals in the 1980s in their mom's basement managed to later network over the internet. LOL. Yeah, pretty much.
I played DnD 'n Shadowrun and whatnot. At no point did I think I was my character, or anything but human.
I don't mind some of them, but know too many unsavoury types in their circle to ever trust the group.
So here is where it gets funny.
They suggest maybe Tolkien was an otherkin.
Then they whip up subcultural idiom, all based on English phonotactics.
Well... if Tolkien's elves really hate the L/R sound, then that sinks that theory.
Leave poor Tolkien alone. He'd be rolling over in his grave if he knew!
As an aside, Tolkien learned Esperanto as a teen. At first he liked it.
Later, he lamented the lack of literature and a mythology/culture associated with this.
I took this to heart. I hope to breathe life into my language projects via sci-fi fiction.
Posted by Dino Snider at 5:55 AM