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One Conlanger to Rule Them All

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 in Books, Conlangers, Rant

The One Ring with the inscription in the Black Speech

Today, I downloaded the relatively-recent English translation of Kirill Eskov‘s Последний кольценосец (The Last Ringbearer), the story of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as told from the viewpoint of Mordor and its inhabitants.

I’m only a couple chapters into it, but it got me thinking: Conlangers should really root for Sauron in Tolkien’s work, because Sauron is a conlanger! From what we know, he singlehandedly devised the Black Speech to be used by those who serve him.

Well, that wasn’t very satisfying. After all, Sauron is the bad guy. (At least in Tolkien’s work, not Eskov’s). Who wants to root for the bad guy? (Although, I must admit, I thought Darth Vader was the coolest until I found out he was Luke’s father. Ew! And, mind you, this was way back when A New Hope was the first Star Wars film. But I digress…) So, I started thinking, and remembered Aulë who created the Dwarves and devised a language for them, Khuzdul. It’s interesting to keep in mind that Sauron was originally one of the Maiar of Aulë.

To the best of my knowledge, Aulë and Sauron are the only two conlangers in Middle-earth. Yes, it’s true a couple elves (i.e., Rúmil and Fëanor) devised writing systems, but they didn’t create entire languages.

So, who ya gonna root for? Ash durbatulûk.