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Roger Kuiper. The Dwarven Tongue - Khuzdul Aglab.
The Dwarven Tongue - Khuzdul Aglab By Roger Kuiper
The Dwarven language is known as "Khuzdul Aglab" by all Khazаd, as the Dwarves call themselves. To human ears it sounds like a series of harsh consonants intermixed with a few vowels. Word form and intonation are crucial to determining meaning.
Most humans consider the characters representing the Khuzdul language to be complex runes mainly used for carving on stone. They do resemble runes, some of them simple geometric patterns. If you look carefully you may notice some of these letter symbols, known as Cirth, in "The Lord of the Rings" movies. I've provided two fonts, Cirth Moria.ttf and shodwari.ttf for use with the Khuzdul Aglab (Dwarven Spoken Language).
One of the difficulties in learning Aglab is that the words are constructed from biconsonantal and triconsonantal roots (C-C or C-C-C where C represents a consonant and - represents a vowel or consonant/vowel combination). This is explained further on the page "Morphemes."
Dwarven Aglab Sentences
A Dwarven Aglab sentence expresses a complete thought through a series or group of words, A simple sentence consists of two important parts, the subject (a noun or pronoun) and the verb. The subject noun is a person, place, or thing spoken of and the verb is the word that tells what the subject does or is. A group of words is not a sentence unless it contains both a subject and a verb. the declarative sentence states a fact. It ends with a period. The interrogative sentence asks a question. It ends with a question mark. The exclamatory sentence expresses surprise, disbelief, or deep feeling. It ends with an exclamation point. The imperative sentence gives a command. It usually ends with a period, but a strong command may be ended with an exlamation point. Imperative sentences in Aglab never beg. The subject you is often omitted, but understood. The subordinative sentence begs. It usually ends with a period, but may end with a question mark if a subordinate Dwarf (Khuzd) is asking a superior a question. Subordinative sentences in Aglab never command. The subject you is often omitted, but understood. Simple Sentences in Aglab may have compound subjects (more than one) or a compound verb or both in the same sentence. Compound sentences contain two or more simple sentences connected by a coordinating conjunction (AND, BUT, FOR, OR, NOR). In a compound sentence, each simple sentence is called an independent clause. Each sentence expresses a complete thought. A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. An independent clause contains a subject and a verb (eighter or both of which may be compound), and expresses a complete thought. A dependent clause (one which needs help) cannot stand alone and needs the independent (main) clause for its understanding.
A paragraph is a group of sentences working together to explain or describe a single topic. (it is usually short, but must be long enough to make the topic clear. Details, reasons, or examples on pragraphs are arranged in a logical manner, and the amount and kinds are left up to the speaker or writer. Each detail, however, is realated to the single topic. The topic sentence expresses the central though of the paragraph, the first sentence usually being the topic sentence. Ocassionally, an experienced writer will place the topic sentence at the end of the paragraph, but wherever it is placed, the topic sentence should catch the reader's attention so he will continue reading. After the topic sentence, other sentences expand the thought of the topic sentence. Each sentence should present additional details and keep to the point. Linking words and phrases make it possible for sentences in a paragraph to hold together in a proper and smooth order. The reader is led through the paragraph without experiencing sudden gaps in thought. Linking words and phrases are used to tie the sentences together. Some linking words and phrases are: First, Then, Next, Finally, Furthermore, For instance, As a result, Beside the, etc.
The period in punctuation serves as a stop sign for a sentence. It brings you to a halt. The period marks the end of a declarative sentence (a statement of fact) or an imperative sentence (a command). Every sentence that is a statement should end with a period. A question mark is also used as a full stop in punctuation. A question mark is used after an interrogative sentence. These sentences ask a direct question. An exclamation point is used after words, phrases, or sentences to express sudden emotion or feeling and forceful commands. Use exclamation points sparingly in your own writing, because they are like a voice raised in a burst of feeling. Commas are used as signposts or signals in writing. They are similar to a traffic sign which says Yield. When you want to change your thoughts, insert some orther idea, or identify parts, you use commas. Often, the sound of the spoken sentence with a pause and change in voice pitch will serve as a guide in the placement of commas in writing. Commas clarify the meaning of your sentences. They show you where one word or group of words ends and the next word or group of words begins. A comma is used before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence (and, but, for, or, nor). Common Comma Usage: To separate words and numbers in a series; to set off appositive; after a dependent clause as the beginning of a sentence; before quotations; with addresses and dates; to set off parenthetical expressions (unrelated words); to set off such words as Of Course, Indeed, For Instance, Moreover, No Doubt; after introductory words that are separated from the rest of the sentence; before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence. The semicolon is used to separate independent clauses of a compound sentence when they are not joined by a coordinating conjunction. It is used as a slow down signal, stronger than a comma, but not a complete stop. A semicolon looks like a comma with a period over it (;). You can remove a semicolon and put a period in its place, and you will have two complete sentences instead of one. The semicolon is used between independent clauses of a compound sentence when they are joined by the conjunctive adverb (moreover, however, consequently, nevertheless, therefore, besides, then). A colon (one period above another) is used before a series of words or a list of some kind introduced by "as follows," "thus," "in the following manner," or "for example." It is used after the salutation in a letter, and between the hour and minutes in writing the time. The dash marks a sudden change in the sentence. It is used when a sentence is suddenly broken off. The dash may be used in place of the comma where emphasis is desired. Parentheses are used to set off additions or expressions which are not necessary to the sentence. Unlike the dash, parentheses tend to deemphasize what they set off. Parentheses are also used to enclose figures within a sentence.The apostrophe shows ownership or possession, and is also used to show the omission of a letter (such words are contractions). Quotation marks are used to enclose the exact words of a person (direct quotation). Use quotation marks to enclose unusual words or expressions.
Capitalize the first word of every sentence. Capitalize the days of the week, months of the year, and holidays. Capitalize proper names and trade names (such as Trainer-of-Animals, Maker-of-Swords), abbreviations of proper names, and proper adjectives. Capitalize important events and documents. Capitalize place names. Capitalize the principal words in the titles of books or magazines and first word of every line of poetry.
B-D-SH Root concept
B-N-D Head concept
B-R-K Axe concept
B-R-Z Red concept
D-M Excavation concept
F-L-K Chisel, Hewer concept
G-B-L Greatness concept
G-L Language concept
G-L-B Spoken Language concept
G-M-L Oldness Concept
G-N-D Cave, Digging concept
G-TH-L Fortification concept
K-B-L Silver metal concept
KH-Z-D Dwarvish concept
MB-R Horn, antler concept
M-N Other person concept pronoun you
N-B-R Horn, tine concept
N-D Path, Course concept
N-L Bed (of River) concept
N-L-K Crafting, To craft concept
N-R-G Blackness concept
R-KH-S Orcish concept
S-G-N Length concept
SH-M-K Sign, Unspoken concept
SH-TH-R Cloud concept
T-R-G Beard concept
TH-R-K Staff concept
Z-G-L Silver color concept
Z-GH-L War concept
Z-N Dark, dim concept
Z-R-B Record concept
Z-R-K Spike concept
ai- prep. on (upon) aya prep. upon
-In suffix meaning place u conj.,prep. joining nouns
-u object suffix denoting rulership or ownership
-ish to form an adjective or patronym (son of)
CiCaC singular adjective
CiCiC plural adjective
CuCC singular noun
CaCAC plural noun
CeCaC noun derived from verb or verb requiring use of item (noun)
CaCuC construct plural state with u meaning of
CuCCu construct singular state with u understood as of
CeCeC verb requiring use of a noun thing
CuCuC verb root with item noun unstated
CaCCUn derivational: person, thing or place characterized by the root meaning
aCaCAC agentive of the root
maCaCC past participle of verb, or noun which corresponds to the past participle in compounds the order of the elements is the same as in English However, adjectives attached to nouns use the pattern Cu(adj CuC)CuC
Khuzdul morphemes are defined by three consonants, to which various affixes (prefixes, suffixes and infixes) can be attached to create a word. For example, the tri-consonant "ktb" represents the concept of writing. Here are some of the ways in which "ktb" is turned into real Khuzdul words:
kataba - to write pattern: CaCaCa
?aktaba - to cause to write pattern: ?aCCaCa (where '?' is a glottal stop)
kaatib - writing pattern: CaaCiC
kitaab - a book pattern: CiCaaC
kutub - books pattern: CuCuC
kitaabah - writing profession pattern: CiCaaCah
kattaab - author pattern: CaCCaaC (note doubled middle consonant)
miktaab - writing instrument pattern: miCCaaC
In addition, verbs can be inflected to indicate person, number, gender and tense:
kataba - he wrote pattern: CaCaCa
katabna - we wrote pattern:CaCaCna
katabuu - they wrote pattern:CaCaCuu
yaktubu - he writes pattern:yaCCuCu
naktubu - we write pattern:naCCuCu
yaktabuuna - they write pattern: yaCCaCuuna
sayaktubu - he will write pattern:sayaCCuCu
sanaktubu - we will write pattern: sanaCCuCu
sayaktabuuna - they will write pattern: sayaCCaCuuna
And there are many, many other derivations. Note, however, that all of them have "k", "t", and "b" in common (in exactly that order - a different order will indicate a different basic concept). Thus, the three consonants define the basic concept, while the affixes (i.e., patterns) define the way that the concept is applied. In actual Arabic, most of the affixes are applied in a regular and predictable way. Some, however, are irregular, with basic nouns and their plural forms being the biggest offenders. The use of affixes inside a word, called "infixation", may seem strange at first, but even English has constructions that are reminiscent of infixation, such as "mouse/mice", "goose/geese", "take/took" and "sing/sang/sung". Note that these are not true examples of infixation, which does not exist in English, since they are irregular and unproductive. I use them only as an illustration. However, generalizing and regularizing the process could result in an extremely productive system. Incidentally, if you're interested in just how productive this system is, consider that Arabic has approximately 31 consonants (the actual number depends on dialect and on who's counting). Thus, the number of possible tri-consonantal permutations is 31x31x31 = 29,791. Not all of them are used, of course, but when you multiply that large number by the number of possible patterns (about four hundred), the result is an extremely rich and flexible lexicon, something for which Arabic is justifiably famous. Now, if you want to create an AL with this type of morphology, all you've got to do is define a concept for each tri-consonant and for each affixation pattern.
Here are some examples that I made up:
mbs => the concept of "beauty". CaCoC => an adjective describing a state. Thus, "mabos" = "beautiful".
CuCiC => a noun describing a state. Thus, "mubis" = "beauty". aCCaC => infinitive form of a transitive, causative verb. Thus, "ambas" = "to make beautiful, to beautify". Also, if you wish to inflect your verbs for person, number, gender and tense, you could, for example, use suffixes: "ambasufda" = "we beautify" "ambasufti" = "we beautified" "ambasufku" = "we will beautify" "ambasizda" = "he beautifies" and so on. puCCaC => an infinitive describing a state. Thus, "pumbas" = "to be beautiful". Again, suffixes can be used for inflections: "pumbasanda" = "she is beautiful" "pumbasanti" = "she was beautiful" "pumbasanku" = "she will be beautiful" "pumbasulda" = "they are beautiful" and so on. diCCaC => an infinitive meaning "to become" a state. Thus, "dimbas" = "to become beautiful". Again, suffixes can be used for inflections: "dimbasosda" = "it is becoming beautiful" "dimbasosti" = "it became beautiful" "dimbasosku" = "it will become beautiful" "dimbasufda" = "we are becoming beautiful" and so on. To create compound words, convert one of the components to a pattern and apply it to the tri-consonant of the head word of the compound. As an example, let's create a compound for the word mansion from the roots for wealthy and house. Assume that the tri-consonant for wealth is "wlt", and the tri-consonant for house is "hns". Thus, using the patterns I listed above, the adjective wealthy would be "walot", and the noun house would be "hunis". Furthermore, we will create rules that convert a tri-consonant to a pattern for exclusive use in forming compounds. I won't elaborate on what these rules could be, but will simply provide an example. Let's say that the adjective/noun compounding pattern of "wlt" is "waltaCoCCi". Thus, we can create the word "waltahonsi" to mean mansion.
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