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Jackson's "Elvish"

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 0:33
Caves here.

Okay, so now that I'm back for a while on
CONLANG (sorry for my long absence),
I have a question that I'm sure has already
been thrashed on several threads so forgive
me (too lazy and beleagered by duties to
check through the archives): but what news
was anyone able to get about the work that
went into recreating the Elvish for _Lord of
the Rings_?   As far as I could tell, there has
been no attributions given to the linguists, in
either the credits or in the Official Film Guide,
or the Making, or anything.

Could any Quenya expert make out the
chanting?  The words spoken--briefly--by
Arwen and Aragorn?  Does anyone have
the score on CD?

Who has seen it multiple times? <G>

Sally Caves

Ash nazg durbatulu^k,
Ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatuluk
agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

Hmm.  Some reflections on the speech of
Mordor.  I'm rereading the Fellowship, of
course, in my plentiful spare time <g> and
giving this little ditty more attention than I
ever did before.

One ring to rule them ALL
One ring to find them
One ring to bring them ALL
and in the darkness bind them

Seems there are some things you can tell
about the Black Speech pretty readily.
Nazg obviously means "ring,"  and _ash_
"one"; that's easy enough.  So numbers precede.
The rest looks pretty agglutinative:  Durbat,
gimbat, and thrakat are some kind of verb/noun
or infinitive with -ul functioning as an accusative
plural pronoun, u^k being added to express
"in their entirety."  Curious the word for "and"
_agh_;  it's pretty Celtic.  _Burzum-ishi_.  Burzum
must mean "darkness" with postposition _ishi_;
So, head-initial language?  SVO?  I can't tell from
such slim evidence whether there's definiteness
expressed in ishi.  But the "-ul" intrigues.  This,
of  course, is the suffix (or the second element of
a compound) in Nazgul, "ringwraith."  What's the
plural?  Or is this word already the plural?  Is this
the only sustained use of the Black Speech that
Tolkien offers?  What does he say about it?
All languages spring from the original language
of the elves, so this must be a mutilated form.

Easy deduction:  where Elvish is all liquids and
voiced stops, the Black Speech is all voiceless
stops and gutterals.  Where Elvish offers open
syllables, the Black Speech is full of consonant
clusters.  Tolkien's sense of beautiful and ugly
speaking--deformed elves, deformed language.
I'll admit, though, that I'm fascinated by the speech
of Mordor and wonder what work has been done
on it, if there is more of it, that is.

Back to the Blair Witch Project.


Patrick Dunn <tb0pwd1@...>
John Cowan <cowan@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>