Yrksk Orðabók

Although there is quite a bit of Orkish in the films of The Hobbit, the vocabulary involved in the dialogue is quite small. This is for two reasons: first, the dialogue is fairly repetitive; second, the Orcs are intended to have had a fairly small vocabulary to begin with, supplementing it as needed by words from the languages of Elves, Dwarves, and Men, and also Black Speech, when that became widely used in Middle-earth again at the end of the Third Age. Even what can be considered the foundational vocabulary is itself a mélange of older borrowings, very few of which can be traced back to the aboriginal Orkish of the First Age — which was itself influenced by both Avarin and Eldarin languages, and may even have been a simplified Avarin language to begin with. One such word that might seem to have survived, in various forms, is golug “elf”; but it seems more likely that it was a revival, reimported from Black Speech. The original word, however, may well have been an alteration of the Sindarin word golodh “one of the Noldor.”

Because of the limited nature of this vocabulary, it is possible to list all of the Orkish words that have appeared in the Hobbit films thus far. Some of these words are pan-Orkish; most, however, are probably limited to the Orcs who lived at the northern end of the Misty Mountains, with a standard (if such a thing can be said to exist) originally set by the Orcs of Mount Gundabad, prior to the Dwarf and Goblin war, about 150 years before Bilbo’s journey. But the internal evidence of the language suggests that the vernaculars of several different tribes were combined to form this standard; and in the time since the war, much change and decay had already taken place, particularly the loss of final vowels, which are however retained in some situations. Here then is this short word-list, all that can (so far) be gleaned from the meager evidence.

A
a-, pref.: away, out
â, cj.: and
ab, pref.: after, behind, following
abgur, v.: follow, chase after, pursue
-ai, -ayi-: plural suffix attached to peoples
adad, n.: being
agor, agr(a), n.: blood
-an(i): past tense suffix
ân, n.: human being
arg, a.: other
argad, n.: another thing
ash, a.: one, some
ashad(o), n.: one thing, a single thing
az, pron.: I
azgar, n.: war [Adûnaic zagar-]

B
bag, v.: pay [Eldarin *mbakh-?]
bakh, n.: shadow
ban, v.: stay, remain
band, n.: town
bar, a.: advantageous
bir(i), prep./postp.: for, to
bolneg, a.: painless
bolum, n.: pain
borzum, n.: darkness [cf. BS burzum]
buzb, n.: maggot, fly [cf. Eldarin *buzb-]
, v.: passive auxiliary
bun, num.: two
bûn, v.: past tense of na-, “was, were”

D
, n.: land [*daɣ]
dai, cj.: then, therefore, in that case
dai, pron.: they
-d(o): 3rd person suffix “their”; “him, her, them”
dorg(u), n.: master [*durbgu]
du, cj.: than [probably the same as below]
du, prep.: to [cf. Khuzdul du]
dum, av.: to the end, to completion, to success
dur, av.: soon
durdur, av.: very soon

E
-esh, postp.: in [BS ishi]
êsh, a.: alone [*ashi-]

G
-g(i), -g(u): 2nd person suffix “your”
ganzil, v.: remember
gar, av.: already
garm, n.: wolf
gast, n.: fear
gast, v.: fear
gel, av.: around
gelnakh, v.: to surround
gim, v.: find [cf. BS gimb-]
gin, a.: new [cf. Eldarin *win-?]
gin, n.: report, news
gir, v.: try
gloz, v.: sleep
go, postp.: with
golgi, n.: female elf
golug, golg-, n.: elf
gonakh, v.: come together, gather (intr.)
gor, n.: death
gor, v.: kill [*gur-; cf. Eldarin *ŋgur-]
gorb, v.: catch, grab; understand
gorgar, n.: bane, killer, slayer [*gurkar-]
gorgor, v.: slaughter, kill in large numbers
gorun, a.: killed, dead
gorz, v.: end, finish (something)
gud, av.: for a long time
gukht(i), n.: horde [cf. Eldarin *wekt-]
gul, n.: trick, deception, illusion
gun, a.: near
gur, v.: run, go (quickly)
gûr, n.: heart [cf. Sindarin gûr]

Gh
ghâsh, n.: fire [pan-Orkish word]

H
hag, v.: do, act
hakht, v.: speak [Eldarin *pakt-]
har, v.: travel, move
hir, postp.: by, through
hirimbag, n.: controller, wielder [cf. BS krimp-?]
horug, v.: hunt
horuga, n.: hunter
hugum, av.: here
hukh, v.: curse word
hum, av.: now
hur, av.: so
hurnash, intj.: “so it is”; unquestionably, definitely, exactly
huru, n.: eastern region, the east

I
-i: precedes modifying nouns and adjectives, linked to preceding noun
i, rel. pron.: which, that
-(i)d: 3rd person object suffix: him, her, it, them
ishor, num.: three

K
kab, v.: have
kair(a), n.: life [cf. Eldarin *koir-]
ker, v.: hide
ki, pron.: you [cf. Eldarin *ki-]
ki, cj.: if
kibul, n.: silver [Khuzdul kibil]
kil, v.: hide, conceal
kin, v.: see [cf. Eldarin *ken-]
kirg, n.: crossing, (mountain) pass
kirm(a), n.: blade
kirz, n.: tooth
kirzad, a.: toothed, dangerous, vicious
kod,dem. pron.: that
kogum, av.: that place, there; where
kom, av.: that time, then; when [*ko-mi]

Kh
kharb, n.: beast
khobd(u), n.: head
khozd, n.: dwarf [Khuzdul khuzd]
khun, n.: dog
khurg, n.: guts, bowels

L
-l: accusative suffix
lo, prep.: beyond, exceeding, excessive, too
log, n.: horse [cf. Eldarink *rok- and Northmannish *loh-]
lôg, n.: lake
loga, n.: horse-rider
lum: suffix indicating units of measure; X-lum = “X by X”
lur, a.: wet
lurdâ, n.: “wet land,” swamp

M
marg, v.: attack
mazd, v.: think
-m(i): 1st plural suffix, “we”
mig, a.: small, little
migul, migl-, n.: tiny, despised thing
mod, pron.: what?
mog, v.: permit, allow
mogum, pron.: where?
mol, n.: associate, ally
mong, n.: road
mor, pron.: how?
morg(u), n.: bear
moz, dem.pron.: this
murg, a.: many
murg, n.: a multitude
murg, v.: to be many, multiply, abound
murgad, n.: number

N
-n: definite suffix
na, v.: be [Eldarin na-]
nakh, av.: backwards, back
nakh, v.: come [Adûnaic]
nakht, v.: cause to come, lead
nar(u), postp.: to, toward; till, until
narnar, c.: until
narg, v.: want
nauzd, v.: smell, have a smell
nazd, a.: near
-neg: privative suffix, without, -less
nuzd(u), n.: scent, smell
nuzd, v.: smell (something), track

O
ô, o, cj.: but
ob(o), prep.: about; with; from
-ob: suffix of deprecation
obgur, v.: escape, get away
obhakht(i), n.: excuse
obhakht, v.: “speak away,” to excuse oneself
obkhurg, v.: remove the bowels, disembowel
obrish, v.: cut off
om-: comparative or superlative prefix (when du is not used)
omash, a./av.: first
omgun, a.: nearer, nearest, next
ommig, a.: less, least
ommurg, a.: more, most
ord, n.: mountain
org, n.: orc

P
pog, n.: ten
poig, n.: boy

R
-r: accusative suffix (archaic variant of -l)
ragsh, v.: tear
ran, n.: king [cf. Sindarin aran]
rang, v.: abandon, leave
ri, v.: taste
rish, v.: cut
rizg, v.: impale
ru, prep.: on, upon
ruzad(a), n.: opportunity (literally “on-fall”)
ruzad, v.: come upon, happen on

S
silz, v.: lie
silig, v.: let, release, loose

Sh
-sh(i): 3rd person subject suffix: he, she, it, they
shâ, av.: not
shad, n.: nothingness, void, destruction
shadgar, n.: destroyer
shâgum, n.: no place, nowhere
shâhakht, v.: say no, refuse
shast, v.: hear [cf. Eldarin √slas]
shâzil, a.: unknown
shâz’liz, a.: any, whatever (literally “I don’t know”)
shir, a.: fresh
shirz, n.: fragment, piece; “cut”
shirzlum, av.: piece by piece, piecemeal, by pieces
shog, v.: drink [cf. Eldarin √suk-, √sok-]
shorâ, a.: pale
shorakh, shrakh, n.: scum, filth
shotag, v.: break [cf. Eldarin √stak-]
shûg, a.: foul
shûg, n.: filth
shul, v.: wait, stay, tarry, stop
shulun, a.: delayed, late

T
tar, v.: cross [cf. Sindarin thar “across”]
torag, v.: bring, fetch, summon
torask, v.: beat, strike
torkh, n.: nest, lair
tud, v.: watch [Westron]
tung, n.: price
tunum, num.: thousand
tur, v.: have power, be able

U
-ug: suffix of completeness or generality; “all”
ulg(u), a.: each, every
ul(u), a.: all
um, a.: bad, worse
-un: impersonal verbal suffix, “one” (archaic)
-un: passive participle suffix
unar(u), n.: father
undag(u), adj.: born [*ontaku]
undum, n.: birth

Y
-ya: future suffix
yaz, n.: name [cf. Q esse]
yaz, v.: to call, to name
-yesh: locative suffix, “in”
yun, n.: offspring, spawn

Z
-z(a): 1st person possessive suffix, my
zad, v.: fall
zadgar, v.: cause to fall, cut down
zag, pron.: self (oneself, himself, herself, themselves)
zail, v.: learn
zey, n. & a.: light
zeyborz, n.: “light-dark,” a cycle of day and night
zidgar, v.: inform, make known
zidg(u), n.: wizard
zib, a.: fast
zibzib, a.: very fast
zil, v.: know
zog, v.: look for, expect, seek
zor, a.: hard
zorzor, a.: very hard
zung, a.: safe, secure
zungum, n.: safety, security
zur, v.: lose, lose track of

12 Responses to “Yrksk Orðabók”

  1. Shea Olivier

    One morpheme I can’t find on this list -um. Azog says it multiple times in both films, in “goridum”, but I can’t figure out how to analyze it. Bolg says “goridug” once in DoS, which is clearly kill-3.obj-all.obj, but “goridum” remains mysterious to me.

    Also, I notice there are almost no cognates (that I can find, anyway) between this list and the comparative Orkish wordlist you posted earlier. Is Gundabadian just that much more divergent that they have innovated almost all of their vocabulary, or did you decide not to use the earlier wordlist when developing it?

    Reply
    • David Salo

      I suspect that what he’s actually saying is either gurid dum “pursue them to the end” or horugid dum “hunt them to the end.”

      And the answer to both questions is yes: in-world, Gundabad Orkish is very divergent, possibly from being farther from Mordor and less influenced (in origin) by Black Speech; though Orcs like Azog know and use both languages. Mordor-Orkish, as heard in the Lord of the Rings films, is just a worn-down version of Black Speech, and Isengard Orkish a more distant cousin.

      In this world, the fact is that I felt a little guilty for the ‘cheat’ of having made Isengard Orkish so close to Black Speech; I could perhaps come up with some explanation, but my honest belief is that in Middle-earth it would have been much more different. So I decided to make amends by making Gundabad Orkish as different as Isengard Orkish should have been.

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    Thank you for the word-list. I have been trying to figure out the Orkish dialogues in The Hobbit for some time so this is very helpful. I still have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

    What does -ayin in “khozdayin” mean? Sometimes it is subtitled as “the dwarves” and other times as “the dwarf-scum”. Is it another plural form or a modification of -ai?

    There are two words I could not find on the list. The first one is “huru” (East?) as in “Khozdayin harish hurunar.” The second word is something that sounded like “kholnai” or “khulnai” and appeared in the sentence “Shâ hakhtiz khulnai go, golgi!” (subtitled as “I do not answer to dogs, She-Elf!”).

    Reply
    • David Salo

      Thanks for the questions! They pointed out a couple of omissions from the word-list, which I’ve now fixed.

      -ayin is two suffixes, -ai (or -ayi-) “group” + -n “definite.”
      Huru was left out by accident, and does indeed mean “east.”
      Khunai is the group plural of khun “dog”, which was also left out by accident. The literal translation of the line is “Not speak-I dogs-with, she-elf.”

      Reply
  3. Nicolás

    Thanks for this list! This post reminds me I would certainly love to go through the whole dialogue list for the movies. That would include Elvish, Orkish and Khuzdûl, would that be possible? Love the blog!

    Reply
  4. Tim

    Thanks so much for the list, but have you missed out something that sounds like “burnish” meaning “flesh”?

    Reply
    • David Salo

      To the best of my knowledge, no — I don’t recognize the word or its context, but it could be a verb ending with the common (third person) suffix -sh.

      Reply
      • Tim

        As far as I can remember, it was when Bolg was tracking the dwarves and Bard, and says that he can “smell another scent… Man flesh..”

        Reply
  5. Sarah

    I think the word might be bûnish (bûn + -i- + -sh) and it appears at least twice. In the first film Azog says “Ki go kairag baganig…ombar bûnish” (you cannot really hear the second part of the sentence in the movie, but it appears in the bonus features of the Extended Edition). In the second movie Bolg says “Nuzdi arg nash…hum ân bûnish” which is subtitled as “There is another scent…Man flesh!”

    Reply
    • David Salo

      The translation in the subtitles is inexact. Bûn– is an irregular past-tense form of na-, i.e. “was, were.” Nuzdi arg nash means “there is a scent of another” (or “there is another scent”); hum ân bunish simply means “a human being was here” (literally “here human was”).

      Reply
  6. Tim

    Also, as a Latin student, I was wondering if you had come up with any conjugations for verbs and declensions for nouns? I’m really interested in this stuff!

    Reply
    • David Salo

      Black Speech and Orkish are similar in structure, being primarily agglutinative languages; this means that they don’t have conjugations and declensions as such, but rather strings of affixes, each of which encodes a particular characteristic, like tense or person. I’m working on a post about Black Speech which will describe this in more detail.
      Khuzdul has an elaborate verb conjugation, a part of which is described in the post Paradixis. It also has very complex formations of noun plurals, but doesn’t decline nouns for case; equivalents of cases are usually formed by prepositions.

      Reply

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