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Khuzdul

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Khuzdul

A translation chart from Khuzdul into English.

Khuzdul was the language of the Dwarves in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, written with Cirth script. It appears to be structured, like the Semitic languages, around triconsonantal roots: kh-z-d, b-n-d, z-g-l. Not much is known of the language as the Dwarves kept it to themselves, except for their battle-cry, "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!", meaning, "Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!".

According to the Lhammas, Khuzdul is unique in belonging to a separate language phylum, Aulëan, not related to the languages of Elves, which are in the Oromëan language phylum. Aulëan was named from the Dwarvish tradition that it had been devised by Aulë the Smith, the Vala who created the Dwarves.

There are many similarities between Khuzdul and the native tongues of men, such as Taliska, the language of the first and third houses of the Edain. This is because in the early days of Middle-earth, before men crossed the mountains into Beleriand, they had contact with the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin) and further East. Taliska was the ancestor of Adûnaic, the tongue of Númenor, and the direct ancestor of the Common Speech, and both languages still had Khuzdul influences.

It is said in The Silmarillion that Aulë, the creator of the first Dwarves, taught them "the language he had devised for them," which implies that Khuzdul is a constructed language even within context of the books.

Instead of 26, Khuzdul has 50 letters in its alphabet which are more like sounds than actual letters.

Behind the scenesEdit

The Dwarvish language sounds much like Hebrew, and indeed Tolkien noted some similarities between Dwarves and Jews: both were "at once natives and aliens in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue" (Letters, 176). Another reason Hebrew was chosen as a basis for Khuzdul is that it is unlike any of the European languages, and thus sufficiently alien to western ears to show just how different the Dwarven speech was from the Elvish languages. Although Dwarven symbols are identical to those of Nordic Runes, the symbols that correlate to specific English letters have been mixed around and even a few Runes have been inverted.

For The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, the linguist David Salo used what little is known of Khuzdul to create a semi-complete language for use in the movies. This is usually referred to as neo-Khuzdul by Tolkienists, which is a fully usable language.

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