Black Speech Library

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

While Tolkien created only a few words in Black Speech, fans and roleplayers have created their own dialects. One of the most famous dialects for English speakers is the LOS (Shadowlandian) Dialect, created by Scatha of the Land of Shadows Forum. In Europe, a major dialect for Swedish speakers is Svartiska.

The Red Hand Orcs Wordlist and an English translation of the Svartiska dialect is archived here at the Library of Minas Morgul. You will also find many other resouces pertaining to the Language of Mordor.

Fan-Created Dialects

Red Hand Orcs Wordlist
Lugrekh of the Red Hand Orcs (a LARP group) compiled this wordlist of Black Speech words taken from the LOS/Shadowlandian Dialect, the Horngoth Dialect and the MERP Dialect. The list is archived here with permission from Lugrekh. The Red Hand Orcs now has a new site.

Svartiska Wordlist in English
This is the famous Swedish LARP Black Speech dialect, translated into English by Bargash.

Black Speech School
This is the most extensive Black Speech site out there. It teaches the Land of Shadows dialect, plus has an extensive wordlist taken from a variety of fan-created dialects, including Land of Shadows, Svartiska, MERP, and Horngoth. The site also features a convenient word search feature, plus a forum where you can discuss Black Speech, ask for translations, etc.

In the Shadow of Elvish - The Zhâburi Dialect
This is a relatively new dialect of Black Speech which draws on three primary sources - Tolkien's limited wordlist, the theory that Black Speech is inspired by Hurrian, and the Svartiska dialect. Site includes etymological discussions, grammatical rules, word lists, translations, and more.

Shapog'gûr Black Speech - Rukh Nûlûrz Dialect
The Shapog'gûr is a live action role-playing group based in Germany that uses the Rukh Nûlûrz dialect. This dialect is said to be inspired by the Land of Shadows dialect, as well as Quenya. The site features a wordlist which features words in Rukh Nûlûrz and other Black Speech dialects. Site is in German, but can be translated into English through Google Translate or by using the Chrome browser.

Horngoth Dialect
Wordlists, grammar rules, translations of "Jingle Bells" and orcish conversations.

Colloquial Black Speech for Orcs, Trolls and Men
Some phrases and a wordlist in an unspecified dialect which appears to have simularities with MERP and Svartiska.

Scholarly Articles on Tolkien's Black Speech

Upon what language is Tolkien's Black Speech based? Some have suggested the language of the Hurrians, a group of people who lived in northern Mesopotamia around 2500 BC. Others argue with the Hurrian theory. Others have suggested that the Black Speech is based upon Turkish. True, in Turkish, the word "Nazgül" is a woman's name meaning "shy flower." However, whether Tolkien based Black Speech on Turkish or not remains unknown to the writers of this page.

Readers must decide the origins of Tolkien's Black Speech for themselves.

Here are articles in which Tolkien's Black Speech is discussed. (Keep in mind that these deal only with Tolkien's Black Speech, not the dialects created by fans.)

Ardalambion's Orkish and the Black Speech

A Second Opinion on the Black Speech by Craig Daniel

The Black Speech by A. Appleyard

Wikipedia Article on Black Speech

Creative Efforts

The black metal band Summoning has a song sung in Black Speech on their "Oath Bound" CD. The title of the song is "Mirdautas Vras" ("It Is A Good Day to Kill"). Lyrics in Black Speech and the corresponding translation to English can be found here.

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Contact Elfhild if you have any questions.

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