Une seconde opinion sur le Noir-Parler

Par Craig Daniel

Edité par H.K. Fauskanger

[Au milieu de décembre 2001, Craig m'envoya cette analyse du Noir-Parler. Bien que je ne sois pas nécessairement d'accord avec tous les points de vue présentés, j'ai pensé que l'analyse était certainement suffisamment bonne pour être publiée, et j'ai demandé à Craig si je pouvais la placer sur Ardalambion comme 'seconde opinion' sur le Noir-Parler. Il m'a gentiment accordé la permission de l'utiliser.]

Ceci est ma propre reconstruction du Noir-Parler, à partir du même corpus que celui de l'article d'Ardalambion. (http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/orkish.htm) mais avec une conclusion différente. Bien que je sache que Tolkien haissait le Noir-Parler, je sais aussi que c'est sa manière de portraitiser Sauron comme personnage plus complexe - Tolkien lui-même était un créateur de langue avide, et le Noir-Parler, créé par Sauron comme langage auxiliaire pour ses officiers est le seul langage inventé dans toute la Terre-du-Milieu.

CORPUS

Voici le corpus de toutes les citations en Noir-Parler:

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

Un anneau pour les gouverner tous, un anneau pour les trouver,
Un anneau pour les apporter tous, et dans les ténèpbres les lier.

Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búbhosh skai!

Cette citations a deux différentes traductions. Pour les raisons dont nous discuterons plus bas, je vais utiliser celle-là.

Uglúk vers la fosse à fumier, avec la crasse de Sarumane puant, intestins de porc, gah!

LEXIQUE

A partir de ceci, je donne le dictionnaire suivant des mots du Noir-Parler, attestés ou impliquée par des formes attestées. Les formes non-attestées sont marquées par des astérisques. Ardalambion marqua spécifiquement les mots du 'bas Noir-Parler' parlé par les Orcs à Lugbûrz. Moi pas, sur la base que je pense qu'ils sont plus probablement de parler avec une grammaire pauvre que de ne pas être au moins raisonnablement proche du standard de Sauron's. Tous ces mots dans la liste d'Ardalambion qui n'apparaissent pas dans les citations sont inclues ici avec leurs signification; Il y a trop longtemps que j'ai lu les livres pour affirmer que la liste est complèrte.

agh - et
*at - terminaison indiquant une forme 'intentive' de verbe. Ici je diffère d'Ardalambion, parce que ne pense pas raisonnable de dire qu'un langage qui devrait être simple (pour des Orcs non-philologistes) devrait utiliser un suffixe infinitif. Il est plus probable qu'un dialecte utiliserait la racine nue comme infinitif.


ash - un
*bag - crottin. bouse, fumier
bagronk - fosse à fumier (probablement bag-ronk)
*bûb - cochon, porc
bûbhosh - intestins de porx (probablement bûb-hosh)
burz - sombre (Dans le nom d'en endroit Lugbûrz avec un macron, mais pas dans l'inscription de l'Anneau. Je traiterai la version de l'inscription comme étant correcte, car elle produit les tengwar corrects pour 'burzum-ishi' dans le TengScribe.)
burzum-ishi - in the darkness (probably burz-um ishi)
*durb - gouverner
*dug - terminaison indiquant une forme de participe de verbe
*gimb - trouver
glob - saleté, crasse
gûl - esprit maléfique servant Sauron
*hai - race
*hosh - intestins
*ishi - dans (post-position)
*krimp - lier
* - homme
lug - tour
*olog - troll
olog-hai - Trolls
nazg - anneau
nazgûl - serviteur de l'Anneau
*push - puer
pushdug - puant (probablement push-dug)
*ronk - fosse, trou
sha - et (liant des noms plutôt que des phrases, pour lesquelles agh est utilisé); avec
*shar - vieux
sharkû - viel homme (probablement shar-)
skai - [une interjection] (La traduction de 'fosse septique, cloaquel' donne 'skai' comme forme anglaise; la traduction 'fosse de fumier' utilise 'gah!'. La différence est probablement dans ce 'gah!' qui serait compris pas les anglophones alors que 'skai' non.) Ardalambion choisit de l'appeler 'une expression de contentement', mais je dis que les opinions qu'il exprime sont plus près du dégoût.
snaga - esclave
*thrak - apporter
u - vers (préposition, mais probablement utilisée de manière erronée comme telle et plus probablement une post-position dans la forme standard de cette langue.)
*ûk - tous
*ul - eux (Bien que le reste du Noir-Parler connu ne marque pas les nombres, ceci est probablement un générique de pronom de la 3ème personne.)
*um - un suffixe similaire à l'anglais -ness. (en français, -eté(?))
*uruk - Orc
uruk-hai - Orcs

ANALYSE DU CORPUS

Notes sur la probable grammaire du Noir-Parler, à peu près dans l'ordre dans lequel j'ai travaillé sur les différents aspects:

Dans le nom Lugbûrz 'tour sombre' l'adjectif suit le nom. Cependant, dans la malédiction de l'Orc, l'adjectif précède le nom - possibly an example of the 'debased' form of the Black Speech. However, there is a reasonable chance that a place name would be in a somewhat different, more poetic style. The 'adjective then noun' form is supported by such compounds as nazgûl (nazg-gûl, ring wraith). Thus we conclude that adjective before noun is the norm. I differ in this conclusion from Ardalambion, which ignores the case of nazgûl.

Postpositions are used in the Ring inscription, as in burzum-ishi 'in (the) darkness'. However, the Orc uses u as a preposition. This is probably the debased form rearing its ugly head, as *ishi-burzum would scan equally well in the poetry. This brings us to the conclusion that, had he been speaking standard Black Speech, the Orc would have begun with *'Uglûk bagronk u' instead of 'Uglûk u bagronk'.

No articles appear anywhere. This means that the Black Speech, like Russian, has no need to mark nouns for definiteness, nor does it need to mark them for number in many cases (which is not at all unreasonable; lojban for one doesn't do either).

The word 'nazgûl' seems to be used as both singular and plural; thus we see that in the only case in which we see both there is no plural marking. I will assume this is the norm in the Black Speech, as there are also no articles to mark number. Thus ul does not actually mean them but rather is a generic third-person pronoun. However, it is translated as them in the ring inscription, where its first appearance is marked with ûk, which specifically quantifies it as plural.

'Sharkû' and 'ishi' present problems. All the other words except for names of races are monosyllabic unless they are compounds. They all break down neatly into CVC form. 'Sharkû' breaks into either *shar- or *shark-. I therefore conclude that means man, and shar means old. However, we are left with exactly one word which is bisyllabic and is not a compound. 'ishi' should break into *ish-i, but unfortunately the concept of one thing being in another does not break down. Thus, we are forced to wonder whether our analysis of 'ishi' is correct (but no other presents itself, so we should assume it is for lack of an alternative).

DUNGPIT VS. CESSPOOL

There are two translations of the Orc's curse. I will refer to them by the first content word, which is the translation of the compound 'bagronk'. The Ardalambion article on the Black Speech uses the 'cesspool' version; I will use 'dungpit' instead.

'Cesspool' offers an older translation, but there is really no good reason for choosing either. Since I enjoy the linguistic detective work of decrypting the Black Speech, 'dungpit' offers the following advantages:

Nobody has deciphered the Black Speech with the use of the 'dungpit' version before.

'Dungpit' offers a regular pattern of adjectives preceding nouns, 'cesspool' gives it the other way around - however, there is independent confirmation in the uses of ash nazg 'one ring' instead of *nazg ash, and nazgûl over *gûlnazg, both of which are known to be standard Sauron-style Black Speech.

Either 'pushdug' or 'bûbhosh' will be a compound word standing by itself. Therefore, the different meanings of the other will become useful. In 'cesspool', bûbhosh probably means 'great' while in 'dungpit' the word pushdug means 'stinking'. 'Dungpit' therefore offers a more complete grammar (telling us how to form participles) where 'cesspool' offers us an additional bisyllabic word which cannot be a compound.

For these reasons, I have chosen to differ from the Ardalambion reconstruction by using the 'dungpit' translation.

GRAMMAR

To conclude the analysis above, I offer the following rudimentary and incomplete grammar:

Naked verb stems are probably used to form the infinitive. There are two known verb suffixes. Attaching -at to a verb gives the intent (ash nazg durbatulûk thus means one ring whose purpose is to rule them all). This could possibly be simply a subjunctive form, with other uses as well. To form present participles, -dug is added. I will use this also as a progressive tense, as there is nothing to suggest that there is any form of 'to be' in the Black Speech (why is it 'Saruman-filth, pig-guts' rather that something which would mean 'Saruman filth, he is pig-guts'? The cesspool version has the same problem, but with push-dug instead.)

The pronoun ul is a generic third person pronoun. Nouns and pronouns have no number, so to indicate 'all' the suffix -ûk is used. Other suffixes with similar purpose are not given.

The Black Speech uses subject-verb-object word order, like English. This interpretation, with durbatulûk being durbat ul-ûk (where ul-ûk is the object of the durb) is much more likely than the idea that the object would be a part of the verb, even though it is written as if this were the case.

Postpositional phrases come before the verb ('burzum ishi thrakat ul', not 'thrakat ul burzum ishi') in the one attested case of them occurring together. This may be a feature of the Black Speech's grammar, or it may have been done to make the inscription rhyme. This may also be left up to personal style. I choose to treat it as a feature of the grammar, as there is no evidence to the contrary and no reason to assume that it would have to follow the English norms. When deriving grammars of unknown languages (and some would say in life), of course, one must always be wary of poetry.

Postpositional phrases are formed by putting the postposition after its object (as opposed to the prepositions of English). However, in colloquial Orkish speech, the postposition moves to before its object.

There is no article. Nouns are thus not inherently marked for number.

PHONOLOGY

Let us now move to the sound system of the language.

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. When this would result in a double consonant (note that this includes such things as *ghgh) the sounds merge.

It is probably reasonable to assume that there exist voiced *dh and *zh sounds and an unvoiced *kh, as this is an auxlang and therefore likely possesses a completely regular phonology. *Dhl (a difficult sound to pronounce using a frontal or 'clear' l sound, but not with the more rearward 'dark' l - which may be the origin of this pronunciation of l and r in the black speech) and zg are probably therefore permitted initially, while *ls (and possibly *rs and *lz) and *ng are permitted finally *sk. If so, note that *ng would be like that of the English word 'finger' in that it would be /Ng/ rather than /N/.

There are five vowels, a, i, o, u, û. The vowel o is rare but not unheard of; e is absent. It is reasonable to assume that the Orcs, some of them having been Elves once upon a time, would find the Black Speech easier to learn if the vowels a, i, o were as in Quenya. However, to better distinguish the û and u letters, I would be willing to guess that the u is lax (think u in English put) at least a reasonable fraction of the time, while û is always long.

The other reasonable assumption is that u represents the standard [u] vowel, and û is a rounded front vowel (like German ü), which would be more likely to cause sharkû to be corrupted into 'Sharkey' as the nearest vowel in any other language in Middle Earth is i. [Editor's note: The Middle-earth language Sindarin actually does have a vowel similar to ü, normally spelt y, e.g. in yrch 'Orcs'. But 'Sharkey' must be a Westron form presented in Anglicized spelling, and Westron apparently did not have this vowel.]

It is not unreasonable to assume that, in rapid speech, vowels would merge as the consonants do. Thus, I would use *shar-kûk for 'all the old men' instead of shar--ûk.

Rules for stress are not given, as there is not enough Black Speech quoted in the books to warrant doing so. Therefore, this aspect is a mystery to us, but since this is an auxlang we can assume that whatever the rules are they are quite regular.

Let us double-check that this is a reasonable phonology by computing the number of permitted monosyllables (to make sure there are no permissible clusters which we are unaware of, and maybe solve the mystery of 'ishi')

There are 20 consonants which may be initial or final. In addition, there are 6 initial clusters and 10 final clusters. This yields 27 possible initials (words can begin with vowels) and 31 possible finals (They may also end with vowels). There are five vowels, plus two diphthongs (ai and au), for a total of seven. Since each root has one of each, this yields 27 x 6 x 31 possible words, which comes to 4522 possible monosyllabic root words, meaning that the syllables above account for only about one half of one percent of the possibilities. This is significantly more than enough, making ishi more of a mystery than ever.

CORPUS REVISED

While the words are somewhat run together in Tolkien's rendering of the Tengwar of the ring's inscription, I propose the following, more divided form instead:

Ash nazg durb-at ul-ûk, ash nazg gimb-at ul, ash nazg thrak-at ul-ûk, agh burz-um ishi krimp-at ul.

The hyphens have been used here to separate morpheme boundaries within words; verbs have been separated from their objects (i.e. durbatulûk -> durb-at ul-ûk). My examples below will use this hyphenation scheme, to convert to standard writing attach any pronouns in the object to the verb, remove all hyphens, and use a hyphen instead of a space to separate postpositions from the words they immediately follow. However, when using the Orc's colloquialism of using them as prepositions, I will separate them from the next word with a space.

Here is the Orkish curse, similarly divided into its constituent roots and with its grammar corrected back to the standard of Sauron and repunctuated to follow English conventions:

*Uglûk bag-ronk u sha push-dug Saruman glob, bub-hosh. Skai!

SAMPLE SENTENCES

To test out whether this grammar is reasonable, I have put together a few sample sentences using only the vocabulary above. Sadly, while it is easy to vent one's feelings with this vocabulary, it is hard not to talk about vile things. Clearly there are many more words which do not appear in Lord of the Rings.

Uruk glob ishi krimp shar-kûk.
The Orc binds all the old men in the filth.

Nazgûl ronk ishi gimb olog-hosh sha uruk-bag.
The Ringwraith finds troll guts and Orc dung in the pit.

Shar-gûl thrak-dug nazg.
The old wraith is bringing the ring.

Ardalambion Index