Minas Tirith Forums Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic
profile | register |
search | faq | avatars | citizens
donate | about | library
 
Minas Tirith Forums » Languages of Arda » Forgotten tongue?
Author Topic: Forgotten tongue?
Ulairë Gordis
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5350

posted      Profile for Ulairë Gordis   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Look at these quotes from LOTR.

quote:
1. He sat down on the ground, and taking the dagger-hilt laid it on his knees, and he sang over it a slow song in a strange tongue. Then setting it aside, he turned to Frodo and in a soft tone spoke words the others could not catch. From the pouch at his belt he drew out the long leaves of a plant.

2. `So said Denethor. And yet there lie in his hoards many records that few now can read, even of the lore-masters, for their scripts and tongues have become dark to later men. And Boromir, there lies in Minas Tirith still, unread, I guess, by any save Saruman and myself since the kings failed, a scroll that Isildur made himself.'

3. Then the Black Captain rose in his stirrups and cried aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten tongue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone.

I wonder – was the “strange tongue” or “forgotten tongue” actually Adunaic? But if so, was it so very different from Westron as to become incomprehensible by the end of the TA?
From: Minas Morgul | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wetwang
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1508

posted      Profile for Wetwang   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I just took it for granted that the language Aragorn spoke and that on the scrolls in Minas Tirith were Adunaic; but as for the Witch-kings words......his native tongue, Angmarian? (Is 'Angmarian' even correct! [] )

quote:
But if so, was it [Adunaic] so very different from Westron as to become incomprehensible by the end of the TA?

3000+ years since the loss of Numenore and the refugees set up home in M-e; I wouldn't be surprised if their native tongue was almost forgotten. I once travelled with a Dutch guy that had been away from Holland and out of touch with Dutch people for several years and he had started to forget his native language! []
Or another way of looking at it, how many of us native English speeking people would understand the English spoken a 1000 years ago?

From: West Sussex UK, well on the seafront in Bognor Regis actually! | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I would be a bit surprised if the language used by the Nazgul and that of the faithful in Numenor where the same!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ulairë Gordis
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5350

posted      Profile for Ulairë Gordis   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Wetwang, the Witch-King's native tongue was certainly NOT Angmarian. He founded Angmar around Third Age 1300 when he had been a nazgul for about 2400 years.

He was a mid- Second Age Man, most likely a lord from Numenor, thus his native tongue was Adunaic + Sindarin, as the nobility spoke it still then.

Sindarin would be readily understood by the Gondoreans, thus I believe the WK cried his spell in Adunaic. Alternatively, he could have used the Black Tongue, but it is easily identifiable by its horrible sound and couldn't be called "forgotten" as the orcs used it all the time.

As to your other point, sure, 3000 years is a long time, but wasn't modern Westron based on Adunaic mixed somewhat with Sindarin? I mean there were still some common words to make Adunaic at least identifiable for a Westron-speaking person...

quote:
Hamfast: I would be a bit surprised if the language used by the Nazgul and that of the faithful in Numenor where the same!
Actually, the Faithful preferred speaking Sindarin, leaving Adunaic to King's Men. Sindarin became prohibited in later days of Numenor. Black Numenoreans certainly continued to use Adunaic after he Downfall. The nazgul mostly used the High Black Tongue among themselves - but the three originally from Numenor certainly knew Adunaic.

[ 05-06-2008, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: Ulairë Gordis ]

From: Minas Morgul | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Dread Pirate Roberts
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2117
posted      Profile for The Dread Pirate Roberts   Email The Dread Pirate Roberts   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Even if the 'old' tongue was the basis for the current speech, language evolves over time and yes, to the point where it is incomprehensible, or at least requiring a learned person a great deal of time and study to comprehend.
From: Blacksburg, VA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Witch-King of Angmar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4899
posted      Profile for The Witch-King of Angmar   Email The Witch-King of Angmar   Edit/Delete Post 
Let's not forget:

quote:
Briefly Strider told of the attack on their camp under Weathertop, and of the deadly knife. He drew out the hilt, which he had kept, and handed it to the Elf. Glorfindel shuddered as he took it, but he looked intently at it.
'There are evil things written on this hilt,' he said; 'though maybe your eyes cannot see them. Keep it, Aragorn, till we reach the house of Elrond! But be wary, and handle it as little as you may!

Perhaps these were the same langauge-- and I would doubt that the words were ordinary language; rather at the gate, the Witch-king was clearly uttering some sort of spell.
From: Los Angeles, CA, USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I always thought that it that case, the Witch-King was using some kind of words of Command, perhaps a little similiar to the ones Gandalf used to light branches in snowy mountains, or force doors to close in Moria, although probably with some kind of Mordor influence!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Witch-King of Angmar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4899
posted      Profile for The Witch-King of Angmar   Email The Witch-King of Angmar   Edit/Delete Post 
The Men corrupted by Sauron, were always eager for knowledge of his craft and sorcery; and no doubt he taught the WK more than anyone.

Let's just say it was "that old black magic."

From: Los Angeles, CA, USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orofacion of the Vanyar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1166

posted      Profile for Orofacion of the Vanyar   Email Orofacion of the Vanyar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Considering where the dagger came from it might be safe to say it was Adunaic. Also, if it were forged around the same time as the darker days of Numenor there's the possibility it did indeed have some "evil things written on the hilt" as Glorfindel said.

[ 06-13-2008, 06:55 AM: Message edited by: Orofacion of the Vanyar ]

From: Cincinnati, OH | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ulairë Gordis
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5350

posted      Profile for Ulairë Gordis   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Considering where the dagger came from it might be safe to say it was Adunaic.Also, if it were forged around the same time as the darker days of Numenor there's the possibility it did indeed have some "evil things written on the hilt" as Glorfindel said.

You mean the Morgul knife? I am not aware of any indication that it was forged in Numenor. More likely in Angmar or in Minas Morgul. And the words on the hilt Glorfindel saw could have been in the Black Tongue, not Adunaic. We have no data about it.
From: Minas Morgul | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orofacion of the Vanyar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1166

posted      Profile for Orofacion of the Vanyar   Email Orofacion of the Vanyar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Ulairë Gordis

Perhaps I was stretching a bit, but I like to think the blades the Nazgul cary were their original blades yet twisted along with the individual (granted their is no definitive proof to support my claim). Or maybe they were indeed forged under more evil pretense. Regardless...

quote:
We have no data about it.
Indeed, but somethings are more fun to imagine eh?
From: Cincinnati, OH | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ulairë Gordis
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5350

posted      Profile for Ulairë Gordis   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
No harm in discussing the possibilities, certainly. []

But a Morgul knife seems to be a disposable weapon, valid for one occasion only - remember the tip broke off in Frodo's shoulder to be able to move all on its own to the heart? And the Witch-King discarded what remained of the blade.
Now it the blade were an original Numenorean dagger "twisted" later, where would the nazgul get a second one or a third one when the original had been used? Much more likely the blades were forged somewhere in Mordor not long before being used - and discarded. Nazgul had the know-how to forge more.

As for their other weapons, swords etc., is it not likely, IMO, that every one of the Nine had a good sword when a living Man and was able to take it with him to Mordor. Not all of them were kings and warriors, some were sorcerers: maybe quiet bookish men. I would think that Sauron had provided blades for his nazgul - maybe even he had forged them personally: the swords and maybe also the Nazgul Lord's crown. I doubt Artano the High Smith (also known as Sauron) never forged anything else but the Ruling Ring in his life.

From: Minas Morgul | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orofacion of the Vanyar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1166

posted      Profile for Orofacion of the Vanyar   Email Orofacion of the Vanyar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Ulairë Gordis

A well thought out and highly plausible conclusion. You've convinced me! As for the nature of the blades, it does indeed seem they were somewhat disposable, like the venom from a serpent or spider. Equally it seems only natural that such a blade be forged by great evil, perhaps even Sauron himself as you mentioned.

So that leads us back to part of the initial topic in regards to the forgotten tongues. Something The Witch-King of Angmar pointed out in his quote was that Glorfindel mentioned Aragorn might not be able to see the writing. What does this tell us of the writing then, that perhaps only elves, maybe even elves of Glorfindel's stature could discern the writing, making it very unique and specific. Could it perhaps be some darker mutation of ithilidin.

It seems in general that Westron is comparable to the evolution of the English language, namely the Middle English period (Old English mixed with Middle French essentially). However, reading Chaucer versus reading Beowulf are two completely different things, even though there are a few similarities. So in this sense, Adunaic might not be comprehensible to Westron speakers. It was indeed a "lost tongue" at the time historically and geographically even.

[ 06-22-2008, 04:05 AM: Message edited by: Orofacion of the Vanyar ]

From: Cincinnati, OH | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ulairë Gordis
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5350

posted      Profile for Ulairë Gordis   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Something The Witch-King of Angmar pointed out in his quote was that Glorfindel mentioned Aragorn might not be able to see the writing. What does this tell us of the writing then, that perhaps only elves, maybe even elves of Glorfindel's stature could discern the writing, making it very unique and specific. Could it perhaps be some darker mutation of ithilidin.
I guess the writing was only visible to those with access to the Spirit World, thus Glorfindel the Calaquendi Elf and the nazgul could see them, but not Aragorn. As for the language of the writing, it could have been either Adunaic or the Black Tongue.
From: Minas Morgul | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Witch-King of Angmar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4899
posted      Profile for The Witch-King of Angmar   Email The Witch-King of Angmar   Edit/Delete Post 
Also not all Elves were able to see into the Unseen World, but only those who had dwelt in the Blessed Realm like Glorfindel.
From: Los Angeles, CA, USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Languages of Arda » Forgotten tongue?
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic       The Red Arrow!       Admin Options: Make Topic Sticky   Close Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic

About  ~ • ~  Contact  ~ • ~  Minas Tirith  ~ • ~  F. A. Q.  ~ • ~  Help

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.6.1