Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dwarvish #7

Risrithî ‘t-tebud
“Burn the corks”
risrithî: imperative plural of √r-s-r-th, causative (with -th suffix) from √r-s-r “burn”: “cause to burn” = “burn (something)”
it-tebud: id-, definite accusative prefix, assimilated to tebud, plural of tebad “stopper,” using the CeCaC pattern often used for words for tools, from a root √t-b-d “block, stop up.”

ekûn lu zayara
“There’s one missing”
ekûn: one person (√ʔ-y-k “one” + -ûn suffix of persons); should be êkûn
lu: not
zayara: 3ms. perfect of root √z-y-r “be present, be here”
one-person not is-here

Nê kikûn inthir!
“Never forget”
: “don’t”
kikûn: “ever, at any time”
inthir: imperative singular of root √n-th-r “forget”

The following was written for a scene involving Thorin, Balin, and a guard. I do not know if it appeared in the film or not.

Zimrith ib-bekan!
“Sound the alarm!”
zimrith: “sound, cause to sound”; imperative from the causative root √z-m-r-th, expanded from the root √z-m-r “make a noise”
ib-bekan: ib- accusative definite suffix id-, assimilated to following b-; bekan “alarm,” noun for a tool that “wakes” (√b-k-n) one.

“My lord?”
uzbad “lord” (agent noun from √z-b-d “rule”) + the 1sg. possessive suffix

Inkhith id-utrâd — igritu zû!
“Summon the guard! Do it now!”
inkhith: imperative from √n-kh-th, causative of √n-kh “come”: “cause to come” > “summon”
id-utrâd: id- accusative definite suffix; utrâd plural of utrad “a guard, a watchman” or “one who watches,” agent form of √t-r-d “watch.”
igritu: igri imperative from √g-r “do, act, perform, accomplish” + 3sg.suffix -tu (should be -hu)
: now

Kud tâti?
“What is it?”
Kud: what? (interrogative)
tâti: it is, 3sm. perfect of the root √ʔ-t: *ta-ʔt-i > tâti.

“A dragon!”
Obviously a loan from an Avarin or Nandorin word, with the Eldarin root √slok- (cf. Quenya hlókë).

Dwarvish #6

banak magar
“well done”
banak “well”: adjective used adverbially from the root √b-n-k “good” (in an ethical or moral sense)
magar: past participle from the root √g-r “do”

zanag bakarsu, pl. zangâ bakarsun
“you fought bravely”
zanag, pl. zangâ: adjective used adverbially, from the root √z-n-g “brave”
bakarsu 2sm. perfect, bakarsun 2pm. perfect, from the root √b-k-r “fight”

zik “yes”
I don’t know if this was included in the films; I hope not. I’d prefer to treat it as apocryphal, for the simple reason that I don’t like it (with this meaning).

Obviously related to lu “not.”


Four ways of saying “thank you” depending on the number of people on whose behalf it is said and the number of recipients. From the root √m-m-n “think well of, show gratitude to,” in the forms 1s. imperfect ammani and 1p. imperfect mammani, combined with the 2sm. suffix -zu or 2pm. -zun.

fund, pl. fanâd “elf”
Presumably a borrowing from something like *pend-, an Avarin (Nelyarin) cognate to *kʷend-, but with vowels adapted to the model of khuzd pl. khazâd.

Nê kikûn ikrid fund!
“Never trust an elf!”
: negative used with imperatives and other wishes; “don’t”
kikûn: “ever,” “at any time”; cf. kûn “when?”
ikrid: imperative sg. of √k-r-d “believe, trust”
fund: elf

Dwarvish #5

After those phrases, there follows a list of much shorter phrases and words, none more than two words long:

Insid, pl. insidî
“Sit down!”
Imperative from the root √n-s-d.

inkhir, pl. inkhirî
“Come away”
Imperative from the root √n-kh-r, which is an extension of the biliteral root √n-kh “come.”

ithmir, pl. ithmirî
“Get away”
Imperative from the root √th-m-r “leave, retreat, remove (from).”

ithmir b’tîr
“Get away from there”
bi: preposition “from, away from” (a location at or nearby something, not from inside it)
tîr: “there, that place” — usually of a place nearby or within reach; cf. yîr “there yonder” (sc. in the distance, though still visible) and kûr “where?”

idribtu, pl. idribîtu
“stop it”
Imperative of root √d-r-b, with 3s suffix -tu; as mentioned, this should now be -hu.

ithrik, pl. ithrikî
Imperative of root √th-r-k “hold steady, hold up, support”

therek ikhlit, pl. therkâ ikhlitî
“Hold firm”
therek, pl. therkâ: “firm, fast, steady,” adjective from the root √th-r-k “hold steady.” The ending here is an adjectival plural; therkâ is a syncope of *therekâ, vowels in open medial syllables being prone to syncope.
ikhlit, pl. ikhlitî: imperative from the root √kh-l-t “hold, hold tight, maintain”

sâti khuzd
“You are a dwarf” (a statement of vivid, current fact)
sâti “you (sg. m.) are,” imperfect 2sg.m. from the root √ʔ-t “to be”: *sa-ʔt-i > sâti.

îridzu du-khuzd
“You are a dwarf” — literally “Know yourself for a dwarf”
îridzu: îrid, imperative sg. m. of √y-r-d “know” (*iyrid > îrid) + suffix –zu 2sg. m. polite suffix
du “to, for”
khuzd “dwarf”

ashnakh: treason (root √sh-n-kh “betray”)
khurm: brother (nominal root √kh-r-m “brother”)
umral: (close) friend (root √m-r-l “love”)
udmay: comrade (root √d-m-y “accompany, go along with”)

Dwarvish #4

Ikhf’ id-ursu khazâd
“Feel the fire of the dwarves”
ikhfi: imperative of √kh-f, “receive, accept,” elided to ikhf’ before another word beginning with i-
id-ursu: “the fire (of)” the noun urus “fire” with a definite accusative prefix id- and a connecting (construct) suffix -u.
khazâd: “dwarves,” plural of khuzd

Igribî ‘b-bekâr d’zun
“Arm yourselves”
igribî: imperative plural of √g-r-b “take, seize”
ib-bekâr: “the weapons,” elided to ‘b-bekâr after a long î. Bekâr is the plural of bekar “weapon,” but the plural is more often used. Ib is the same definite accusative prefix as id-, but assimilated to the following consonant.
d’zun: contracted from du-zun “for yourselves” (preposition du “to, for”, -zun “you plural”).

“To arms!”
du “to,” bekâr “arms”

Gelekh d’ashrud bark
“Time to swing an axe”
gelekh: “time, occasion” from the root √g-l-kh “happen, occur (punctually)”
d’ashrud: du “for” + ashrud, gerund (or infinitive) of the verbal root √sh-r-d “wield, control.” On second thought I wonder if this should have been ashrudu, part of a construct formation with bark: “for the wielding of an axe.”
bark: axe

M’imnu Durin
“In Durin’s name”
mi: “by, with (some instrument)”; elided to m’ before another word starting with i-
imn: “name”; construct form imnu
Durin: proper name, in Mannish form, of the progenitor of the Dwarves; his true name would not be used above ground, or where non-Dwarves could hear it.

Continuing Dwarvish

Lu kalzatha bark
“Couldn’t lift an axe”
lu: “not”
kalzatha: root √ʔ-l-z “rise” > causative √ʔ-l-z-th “cause to rise, lift, raise” > ka- prefix indicating ability or potentiality + alzatha perfect 3ms. “he lifts/lifted” (as a matter of general fact, rather than an ongoing event)
bark: “axe”
“He has/had no ability to cause the axe to rise” = “Couldn’t lift an axe.”

Nê ikrid ûdar!
“Never trust a wizard”
: “don’t” — a negative particle used with injunctions or other non-real expressions. Lu negates things that are happening or have happened; negates hypotheticals, things that would happen or might happen or haven’t happened yet.
ikrid: imperative singular of √k-r-d “believe, trust”
ûdar: “wizard,” literally “knower,” from the root √y-d-r “know, be wise” placed in the uCCaC pattern. *uydar > *uwdar > ûdar; or perhaps the historically original root was √w-d-r after all.

Imrid amrad ursul!
“Die a death of flames”
imrid: imperative sg. of √m-r-d “die”
amrad: abstract noun from the same root
ursul: adjective “of flames, flaming, fiery” with -ul suffix added to urus “flame, fire,” with syncope of the stem (urus > urs-). The root is √ʔ-r-s “fire, burn”

Urus d’zun!
“Fire upon you!”
d’zun: contracted from duzun (stressed on the second syllable), from the preposition du “to, for” + the suffix –zun “you (masculine plural).”
I’m not sure of the context here, but most likely this should be dumên, not duzun, as the Dwarves tended to refer to their enemies using a (contemptuous) familiar form.

“Take that!”
ikhfitu: imperative ikhfi from the root √kh-f “take, receive” + 3ms. suffix –tu. As noted in a previous post, the neuter suffix –hu had not been invented at this stage, and should really be used instead of –tu here: Ikhfihu!

Of various roots which could be translated “take,” √kh-f means “accept something given or dealt to one” (not necessarily something beneficial) and √g-r-b means “grasp or seize,” often, though not necessarily, with the implication that the thing taken is in another’s possession, and is relinquished unwillingly.

Singular imperative of the simple (intransitive) verb from the √ʔ-r-s root.

Further Dwarvish

Some more material prepared for The Hobbit, from the early stages of production. I present the forms exactly as I first wrote them, with some suggested emendations based on later developments.

Lu akraditu!
“I don’t believe it!”
lu: “not”, a general negating particle
akraditu: root √krd “believe, trust”; akradi “I believe”; -tu 3ms. suffix
Obviously that should really mean “I don’t believe him.” Originally — at the time I wrote this line — I didn’t have a masculine/neuter contrast, but at a later date I added the neuter suffix -hu, which would be more correct -hu: akradihu. I don’t know if this line ever actually was used in the film.

Smaug mamarda
“Smaug is dead.”
mamarda: root √mrd “die”; past participle mamard, used as a stem to which perfect endings (in this case -a, the 3sm.) are added.

Anthân lu sharagên
“Omens do not lie”
anthân: “sign, omen” a feminine noun that I intended to be both singular and plural. However, going by similar patterns I used later, it should have been anathân as a plural. The root is √nthn “point out.”
sharagên: root √shrg “to lie, to say a falsehood”, perfect stem with 3pf. ending -ên.

Karâk Urdekul
“Ravens of Erebor”
kark, pl. karâk: “raven:
urdekul: genitive/adjectival form formed by adding -ul to the name Urdek “Lonely Mountain” = urd “mountain” + êk, shortened form of ayik “alone, single, lonely.” I should have written Urdêk, Urdêkul.

Mafarrakh d’afrukh
“A burden to carry”
mafarrakh: habitual past participle of √frkh “carry,” here used as a noun: “thing habitually carried” > burden.
du: “to, for (the purpose of)”; here elided to d’ before a word beginning with a vowel.
afrukh: gerund “carrying” from √frkh

Lu mafrad d’abkâr
“Not fit for a fight”
mafrad: “prepared, ready” from the root √frd “prepare, make ready.” This is a different participial form, indicating some present state, so literally “being (now) prepared.”
abkâr: “fight, strife, battle” from √bkr “fight”; the word abkâr “a fight,” delimited in space and time, can be distinguished from the more abstract gerund abkur “fighting.”

Questions and Answers

I get a lot of questions about particular lines of dialogue in The Hobbit films, requests to translate and so forth. I would like to comply, but unfortunately I don’t have a complete script of all the films, or even DVDs, and even under the best of conditions it would be difficult to figure out which of the lines I contributed were actually used, and if so, where.

So I’m going to start doing the next best thing. I will start recording all of the lines I wrote for the film on this blog, with some analysis, though I may have to trade off thoroughness for quantity.

So here’s a start, with some of the Dwarvish lines, since these tended to be earlier and may, I guess, be a little more interesting than some of the other languages.

“Ready yourselves!”
Root √frd “prepare, make ready”
Imperative 2pm. ifridî
Pronominal suffix 2pm. -zun
Hence “you prepare yourselves”

Urâd Zirnul
“Iron Hills”
Root √ʔrd, singular urd “hill”, pl. urâd
Root √zrn, zirin “iron” (the metal) + adjectival ending -ul, with syncope of zirin > zirn.
I think this may never have been used in the films, and if so, might be considered slightly apocryphal. I would probably think twice about using the same word for both Erebor and the Emyn Engrin. Unless, from the Dwarvish perspective, the term relates not to the size of the rock visible above ground, but the extent of the caverns delved out underground.

Akkâ Belkulu Dain-Uzbad
“Lord Dáin’s Mighty Force”
Root √kʔ “have power” adapted to the (fairly common) aCCâC abstract noun pattern; here it appears that the glottal stop assimilates to a preceding k, i.e. *akʔâ (or perhaps *akʔâʔ; I can’t find any counter-examples) > akkâ.
Root √blk “be mighty, be strong” > belk “might, strength, power” + -ul > belkul “mighty, of might” + -u object suffix, as the “mighty force” is the object of Dáin’s azbâd — i.e., that thing which he rules or governs.

Nominal root √ʔfth “foot” > ifth “foot.” The following -u is not the objective ending, but rather a (rarely seen) construct ending which links it to a following noun taken as a genitive or attributive.
Ifthu-zirin = “foot-of-iron.”

Khuzd belkul
“A mighty dwarf”
Khuzd “dwarf,” belkul “mighty” (as above).