The Black Speech

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Isilmr 17/Dec/2006 at 07:04 PM
Artisan of Lindon Points: 678 Posts: 11 Joined: 13/Dec/2006
I have always wondered, what was Tolkien’s basis for the Black Speech? Is there even one or did he make it up completely? Lastly, is the Black Speech fully developed?
Magradhaid 17/Dec/2006 at 07:28 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
The Black Speech is in no way even close to ’fully developed’. Tolkien even detested it and its sounds (he got a goblet with the ring verse sent to him by a fan, but used it as an ashtray). Alexandre Nemirovsky suggests that perhaps it was ’inspired’ by Hittite/Hurrian (like Quenya was by Latin and Finnish, and Sindarin by Welsh), but there is no proof in JRRT’s works, despite several convincing similarities (or coincidences). See here and scroll down to the appendix.
Kaulargorn 19/Dec/2006 at 12:43 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 938 Posts: 149 Joined: 30/May/2006
I think the inscription on the one Ring is the only example of black speech known apart from a few words like Lugburg which means dark tower. This languge was the language that every species that served Sauron spoke to communicate and was developed by Melkor. That is why some beleive that its basis is the language of the Valar as the first who spoke it were Maiar
geordie 19/Dec/2006 at 01:33 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Actually, no -in App.F, Tolkien tells us that though the orcs were bred in the First Age, they had no language of their own, but took what they could from the speech of others. Sauron invented the Black Speech during the Dark Years [ie the period between SA 1000 and SA 3441, the year of the Last Alliance.]

Tolkien goes on to say that though Sauron wanted all who followed him to use the B-S, ’but failed in that purpose’.

The largest bit of B-S I know of is the curse of the yellow-fanged guard in TT ’The Uruk-Hai’ - ’Ugluk u bagronk sha pusdug Saruman-glob bubosh skai’. Which has something to to with ’Ugluk to the dung-pits’ I think; but doubtless someone kind will come up with the correct interpretation.

    
Magradhaid 19/Dec/2006 at 02:39 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
The Orc curse is debased Black Speech; Tolkien wrote in PM that it meant "Uglk to the cesspool, sha! the dungfilth; the great Saruman-fool, skai!", but apparently he had already translated it as "Uglk to the dung-pit with stinking Saruman-filth, pig-guts, gah!" and forgotten about it; I don’t know which is the original.
Miriath 21/Dec/2006 at 02:48 PM
Counsellor of the Mark Points: 12524 Posts: 8617 Joined: 10/Feb/2004
The Black Speech, for some odd reason, reminds me of German. They’re both very ’rough’ languages compared to the smooth flowing of Quenya and the other Elven languages. I dunno why I feel this - I just think that whenever I hear of the Black Speech I think of the German language. Anyone else feel this way?