Also spelt: Adunaic (so in Lowdham's Report, our main source
this language, but Adûnaic in the appendices to LotR)
Also called: Númenórean
When Men awoke in Hildórien at the first rising of the Sun, they started to invent a language, just like the Elves had done at Cuiviénen millennia before. But as we know, Men were never as creative as the Firstborn: "The desire for words awoke in us, and we began to make them. But we were few, and the world was wide and strange. Though we greatly desired to understand, learning was difficult, and the making of words was slow." (Morgoth's Ring p. 345) If there ever was a language wholly unique to Mortal Men, it was already much watered down when their first representatives arrived in Beleriand. It did not take Felagund long to interpret the tongue of Bëor and his people, for "these Men had long had dealings with the Dark Elves east of the mountains, and from them had learned much of their speech, and since all the languages of the Quendi were of one origin, the language of Bëor and his folk resembled the Elven-tongue in many words and devises" (Silmarillion chapter 17). It is also pretty clear that Men had been in contact with Dwarves and had borrowed much from Khuzdul, the language Aulë made for his children: In PM:317, Tolkien refers to "the theory (a probable one) that in the unrecorded past some of the languages of Men - including the language of the dominant element in the Atani from which Adûnaic was derived - had been influenced by Khuzdul". We do not have enough material to identify whatever purely Mannish elements there may be in this mixture of Dwarvish and Dark-elven.
In Beleriand, Men eagerly learnt Sindarin, "but their own speech was not forgotten, and from it came the common tongue of Númenor" (Silmarillion chapter 17). The First Age ended in the War of Wrath. The Valar finally bent their cataclysmic power upon Beleriand and conquered Morgoth, but Beleriand was utterly destroyed and sank beneath the sea. However, Men received a rich reward for their suffering in the wars against Morgoth. (By the way, how could anyone possibly survive the destruction of Beleriand? The Professor never bothered to explain this. Wouldn't Morgoth suspect something if his enemies started to evacuate an entire continent? Well, never mind...) The Valar raised a great island out of the ocean, closer to Valinor than to Middle-earth. The Edain went over the seas and found their new home, and led by Elros the son of Eärendil they founded the realm of Númenor. It was to last for three thousand two hundred and eighty-seven years, until the terrible day when Ar-Pharazôn broke the Ban of the Valar, sailing into the West to conquer the Blessed Realm.
What was the linguistic situation in the Land of the Star while it stood? On the map of Númenor in Unfinished Tales p. 164 the names are in Quenya. But the same book tells us that Quenya was not a spoken language in Númenor. All places had "official" High-Elven names that were used in state documents, but in daily speech Sindarin or Adûnaic names, generally of the same meaning, were used instead. Sindarin, Grey-elven, was known by most people - the Númenorean nobles even used it as their daily speech. But the vernacular spoken by common people was and ever remained Adûnaic, a Mannish language derived from the tongues of the Men who had sided with the Elves in the war against Morgoth.
In Anadûnê, as Númenor or Westernesse was called in Adûnaic, this language underwent certain changes during the three thousand years the realm lasted. Some sounds disappeared and others merged, so that certain consonants were lost. On the other hand, new vowels appeared: Originally, Adûnaic only possessed the cardinal vowels a, i and u, but later the diphthongs ai and au were simplified to long ê and ô. Apart from the phonological changes, the language changed by a certain influx of Elvish loan-words. For instance, Quenya lómë "night" was borrowed into Adûnaic as lômi; interestingly, the word kept its cozy Valinorean connotations: A lômi is a fair night under the stars, and the dark is not perceived as something gloomy. We also recognize other Elvish names, especially the names of the Valar: Amân "Manwë", Avradî "Varda", Mulkhêr "Melkor". However, some words that may appear to be loan-words from Quenya do not, in fact, represent borrowings. When "sky, heaven" is menel in Quenya and minal in Adûnaic, the latter is a word that the ancestors of the Edain must have adopted from Avarin (Dark-elven) long before Men entered Beleriand. It is similar to the Quenya word simply because both High-elven and Dark-elven were ultimately descendants of the same language. In fact, there are quite a few obvious Elvish borrowings, early and late, among the Adûnaic words mentioned in Lowdham's Report:
adûn "west" (SD:247), Sindarin dûn (LR:376).
ammî, ammê "mother" (SD:434), Quenya ammë (LR:348). Likely a late loan from Quenya.
attû, attô "father" (SD:434), Quenya atar, hypocoristic atto (LR:349).
azra "sea" (SD:429), evidently from the Primitive Elvish stem AYAR (Quenya ëar) (LR:349).
bâ "don't" (SD:250). Primitive Elvish *BA "no!", Quenya vá, Telerin bá "I will not" or "Do not", Sindarin baw! "No! Don't!" (WJ:370-371).
bêth "expression, saying, word" (SD:427). Sindarin peth (lenited beth) "word". As bêth is derived from a stem BITH (SD:416), this is likely derived from the form Primitive Elvish *KWET "say, speak" had taken in some Avarin language, from which the ancestors of the Edain borrowed it. (We know that there was at least one Avarin language that showed p for original *kw, so it is plausible that there may have been a dialect that added voice to this p, producing initial b.) Cf. also later Westron batta "talker".
khôr "lord" (as in Adûnakhôr, Lord of the West), Elvish stem KHER "rule, govern, possess" (LR:364), Quenya heru "lord".
lâi "folk", Quenya lië (SD:435), evidently lai in one Avarin dialect (WJ:410).
lôkhî "crooked" (SD:247), Eldarin stem lok- "bend, loop" (Silmarillion Appendix).
narû "man" (SD:434), Elvish stem NERE (WJ:393; though according to the Etymologies, the original stem was DER, with NÊR as a special Quenya form - see LR:354, 376).
Even more examples could be listed. This gives weight to some words of Faramir's that did not make it into the published LotR, that "all speech of men in this world is Elvish in descent". (WR:159/PM:63. In the case of Adûnaic, we must nonetheless take into account a strong influence from Dwarvish as well as Elvish.) But despite its considerable amount of Elvish ingredients, Adûnaic was considered a Mannish language. Though it was the language of the common people, we definitely get the impression that it was not esteemed as highly as the Elvish tongues. We may compare the situation to that of medieval Europe: the vulgar tongues were held to be deeply inferior to the Latin superlanguage, no matter how few people actually knew it. The Akallabêth informs us that "beside their own [Adûnaic] names, all the lords of the Númenóreans had also Eldarin names", and in the case of the first fifteen kings, only their Quenya names are given. True, it is said of Aldarion, the sixth king, that he actually preferred Adûnaic to Eldarin (UT:194), but the very fact that this is mentioned indicates that it was not the normal opinion. Yet the star of Adûnaic was to rise, but only because all things Elvish fell out of favour.
Two thousand years into the Second Age, during the rule of Tar-Ciryatan and his successor Tar-Atanamir, the Númenóreans started to envy the Elves their immortality. The friendship between Valinor and Númenor became cold, and while the Elvish languages were once held in high esteem, the Númenóreans stopped teaching them to their children at the time of Tar-Ancalimon. The kings continued to use Quenya names, but only because this was what millennia of tradition demanded. The sixteenth king is stated to have used both a High-Elven and an Adûnaic name: Tar-Calmacil vs. Ar-Belzagar - and the "King's men", hostile to all things Elvish, used the latter. But it lasted until the coronation of the twentieth king before any monarch ascended the throne in an Adûnaic name: Ar-Adûnakhôr, the Lord of the West. The Elf-friends were not too happy when even he translated it into Quenya Tar-Herunúmen in the official Scroll of Kings, for only Manwë could properly be called Lord of the West. Adûnakhôr's two successors on the throne of Númenor followed his example and used Adûnaic names. However, the twenty-fourth king, Ar-Inziladûn, wanted to restore the friendship with the Elves and the Valar and called himself Palantir, the Far-Sighted, in Quenya. He was the last to reject Adûnaic. He died without sons, and his daughter Míriel should have become Ruling Queen. However, her cousin Pharazôn took her to wife without her consent, so that he would become King. Evidently he could not stand her Quenya name Míriel, so he simply re-christened her Zimraphel in Adûnaic (once again without her consent, we must assume). Ar-Pharazôn challenged Sauron in Middle-earth, and the evil Maia got free transport to Númenor by pretending to surrender. It is well known that by his cunning he soon became the chief councillor of the King, and later High Priest for the Satanic (or rather Morgothic) religion he instituted. If the Elvish tongues were not highly regarded before Sauron came, things did not become any better now. Yet Sauron's chief goal was to seduce the King to invade Aman, thus provoking a war between Númenóreans and the Valar. As Sauron well knew, the former would be utterly defeated and destroyed by the latter. In the end, Sauron had his will, and as he had foreseen, that was the end of Numenor. It also meant the end for Classical Adûnaic. Of the few Númenóreans who survived the Downfall, many were Elf-friends, led by Elendil, Anárion and Isildur. According to PM:315, the Adûnaic tongue was not tended in Middle-earth: The surviving Faithful of Númenor spoke Sindarin themselves and had no great love of Adûnaic, this being the language of the rebel Kings that had tried to suppress the Elvish tongues. Unloved and untended, Adûnaic changed into Westron, the Common Tongue of later ages. (We are not told whether the evil Black Númenoreans who had sailed to Middle-earth before the Downfall and eventually rose to power among the Haradrim attempted to preserve and cultivate a purer form of Adûnaic - at least as a noble or learned tongue among themselves.)
It seems, however, that Tolkien while writing the appendices to LotR was about to reject the whole concept of a special Númenórean language, despite all his work on Adûnaic less than a decade earlier. He toyed with the idea that the Edain had abandoned their Mannish tongue and adopted "the Elvish Noldorin" (read: Sindarin) instead. See PM:63. The idea that the Númenóreans spoke Elvish represented a revival of an earlier conception: In LR:68 it is said that Sauron, hating all things Elvish, taught the Númenóreans the old Mannish tongue they themselves had forgotten. Here the implication seems to be that the Númenóreans spoke Quenya; see Christopher Tolkien's note in LR:75. But Tolkien changed his mind several times, back and forth; the final outcome was that the Edain never abandoned their own tongue after all. By being mentioned and exemplified in the appendices to LotR, Adûnaic became a fixed part of the mythos.
Kadô Zigûrun zabathân unakkha... "And so / [the]
Wizard / humbled / he came..."
...Êruhînim dubdam Ugru-dalad... "...[the] Eruhíni [Children of Eru] / fell / under [the] Shadow..."
...Ar-Pharazônun azaggara Avalôiyada... "...Ar-Pharazôn / was warring / against [the] Valar..."
...Bârim an-Adûn yurahtam dâira sâibêth-mâ Êruvô "...[the] Lords of [the] West / broke / the Earth / with [the] assent / of Eru..."
...azrîya du-phursâ akhâsada "...seas /so as to gush/ into [the] chasm..."
...Anadûnê zîrân hikallaba... "...Númenor / [the] beloved / she fell down..."
...bawîba dulgî... "...[the] winds [were] black..." (lit. simply "winds / black")
...balîk hazad an-Nimruzîr azûlada... "...ships / seven / of Elendil / eastward..."
Agannâlô burôda nênud... "Death-shadow / heavy /on us..."
...zâira nênud... "...longing [is] / on us..."
...adûn izindi batân tâidô ayadda: îdô kâtha batîna lôkhî... "...west / [a] straight / road / once / went / now / all / roads / [are] crooked..."
Êphalak îdôn Yôzâyan "Far away / now [is] / [the] Land of Gift..."
Êphal êphalak îdôn hi-Akallabêth "Far / far away / now [is] / She-that-hath-fallen"
There are also a few Adûnaic exclamations made by members of the Notion Club "speaking in tongues":
Bâ kitabdahê! "Don't touch me!" (SD:250)
Narîka 'nBâri 'nAdûn yanâkhim. "The Eagles of the Lords of the West are at hand." (SD:251)
Urîd yakalubim! "The mountains lean over!" (SD:251)
The translations given here are sentences occurring together with the Adûnaic words. It is not explicitly stated that they are the translations, but from the Adûnaic words themselves it seems virtually certain that they are.
Normally, the "characteristic vowel" (CV) appears between the first and second consonant of the stem. Thus the base G-M-L with the CV i, meaning "star" or "stars", produces actual words like gimli, gimlê, gimlu, gimlat, gimlî, gimlîya (SD:413), sc. the noun "star" in various cases and numbers. But the CV may also be prefixed (IGMIL), suffixed (GIMLI) or wholly suppressed in its normal place between the first and the second consonant (-GMIL, with some other vowel prefixed). New words can be derived by moving the CV around like this: while gimli is the normal word "star", igmil means "a star-shaped figure" (SD:427). But if the CV ever disappeared wholly, it would become impossible to tell apart words having the same consonants in the stem. The golden rule is therefore that "one of the vowels of a basic stem must be either the CV or one of its normal modifications" (SD:423, on which page the modifications are described for those who are sufficiently interested).
More fundamental than the four "genders" is the division of all nouns into Strong and Weak: "Strong nouns form the Plural, and in some cases certain other forms, by modification of the last vowel of the Stem. Weak nouns add inflexions in all cases" (SD:425).
The Adûnaic noun is inflected for three numbers: Singular, dual and plural. Furthermore, it is inflected for three forms that may be called cases: A so-called Normal form, a Subjective form and an Objective form. For more detailed information about the various noun-classes and their inflection, see SD:436-438.
As the name strongly suggests, the Normal is the basic, uninflected form of the noun. In other words, the Normal singular is not morphologically marked as such by any affix. The Normal is used in cases where Adûnaic grammar does not demand either the Subjective or the Objective (see below). The Normal is typically used when the noun is the object or the predicate of the sentence, as in Ar-Pharazônun Bâr "King Pharazôn [is] Lord", Bâr "Lord" appearing in the Normal form because it is the predicate. It is possible to use a Normal noun as the subject of a sentence, but in that case the following verb must have pronominal prefixes. The Normal dual is constructed by adding the ending -at, so the dual of huzun "ear" is huznat "two ears". (It will be noted that the vowel of the syllable preceding the ending -at may disappear, thereby producing a new consonant cluster, like zn in this case - but this depends on what class the noun belongs to; long vowels are not lost). The Normal plural is formed by somehow introducing the long vowel î in the final syllable, the plural of huzun being huzîn "ears". (In some classes of nouns, î is added to the noun as a new final syllable, as in batân "road", pl. batâni - but also batîna.) Note the distinction between dual and plural: One might think that the dual simply denotes two things and the plural denotes three or more things, but it is not quite as simple as that. Duals are used in the case of natural pairs, like huznat "two ears (of one person)". If we chop off one of Dick's ears and put it on a table together with one of Tom's ears, the Númenóreans would say that huzin and not huznat are lying on the table: the ears do not constitute a natural pair. Only in archaic language was the dual used with reference to two things that belonged together only casually.
The Subjective is the form a noun is in when it is the subject of a verb; hence the name. It is also used when a noun stands in apposition to another noun, as in Ar-Pharazôn kathuphazgânun "King Pharazôn the Conqueror" (as opposed to the nominal sentence Ar-Pharazônun kathuphazgân "King Pharazôn [is/was] a conqueror", with the predicate kathuphazgân "conqueror" in the Normal form). The form can be constructed in various ways, depending on which class the noun belongs to. Strong Neuters undergo certain internal vowel-changes, like zadan "house" becoming zadân, khibil "spring" becoming khibêl and huzun "ear" becoming huzôn. (These forms are ultimately products of a-infixion or, to use Lowdham's term, "a-fortification": The inflected forms represent *zadaan, *khibail, *huzaun, aa becoming long â and ai, au being monophthongized to long ê, ô.) Weak Neuters take the ending -a, the element that was infixed in the strong nouns being suffixed instead. But the subjective of masculine and feminine nouns are formed simply by adding the endings -un and -in, respectively: Ar-Pharazônun azaggara avalôiyada, "king Pharazôn was warring against the Valar", *Zimraphelin banâth 'nAr-Pharazôn "Zimraphel [is] King Pharazôn's wife". (The latter example I had to construct myself, for Tolkien/Lowdham provided no examples of the feminine subjective in -in. As observed by Erendis in UT:207, we don't hear too much about Númenórean women!) It will be noted that though the verb "is" is understood in Adûnaic, its subject still appears in the subjective form. Common nouns take the ending -(a)n in the singular Subjective. The plural subjective is formed by adding the ending -a in the case of Neuter nouns and -im otherwise; the dual lengthens the -at of the Normal to -ât.
The Objective is not an independent form of the noun, but occurs only in compounds. It is formed by adding a u to the noun, as an infix or a suffix, often displacing another vowel or causing the vowel of the previous syllable to disappear: the Objectives of minal "heaven", azra "sea", huzun "ear", batân "road" are minul, azru, huzun/huznu, batânu, respectively. The Objective is used as the first element in compounds when the second element denotes an agent that does something to the first element. For instance, Quenya Eärendil "Sea-lover" translates into Adûnaic as Azrubêl with azra "sea" in its Objective form azru because the sea is the object of the love of the "lover". Azrabêl with "sea" in the Normal form still means "Sea-lover", but then in the sense of "lover from the sea" or something similar. Sometimes the "Object" relationship between the first and the second element of the compound may be somewhat ill-defined. In the Adûnaic equivalent of Quenya Meneltarma, the Pillar of Heaven, minal "heaven, sky" occurs in its Objective form minul: Minultârik. The idea is that the târik or pillar is supporting the sky, so that the sky is somehow the object of what the pillar "does". - The Objective has no plural or dual form; it is always singular. Hence the Adûnaic version of Varda's title "Starkindler" is not Gimlu-nitîr with gimli "star" in its objective form gimlu, for that would mean "kindler of a (single, particular) star". The form used is Gimilnitîr, gimil "stars" being an uninflected collective (hence grammatically "singular"). See SD:427-428. There are, however, a few compounds in our corpus where the prefixed Objective does seem to have a plural or at least numberless meaning; see the entries Ar-Balkumagân and Nimruzîr in the wordlist below. Perhaps Tolkien revised the grammar so that the Objective may sometimes be numberless rather than strictly singular.
Adûnaic has no true genitive. Instead, compounds are often used; "the Land of Aman" may be expressed by what corresponds to "the Aman-land". Possession is typically expressed by the prefix an- "to, of", often reduced to 'n: as in Bâr 'nAnadûnê, "Lord of Anadûnê", Narîka 'nBâri 'nAdûn "The Eagles of the Lords of the West" (SD:251, 428).
We have several examples of ada "to, towards, against, into, -ward": Avalôiyada "against [the] Valar", akhâsada "into [the] chasm", azûlada "eastward". There are examples of mâ "with" and ô "from" in the phrase sâibêth-mâ Êruvô "with [the] assent of [lit. from] Eru". In both Avalôiyada and Êruvô a glide consonant appears between the final vowels i and u of the noun stems and the suffixed elements: y and v, respectively. See SD:424.
The "genitive" particle an, 'n discussed above may be considered just another prepositional affix, though prefixed instead of suffixed.
A little can be learnt about adjective formation. The adjective anadûni "western" is formed from the noun adûni "the West". As an is a particle meaning "of", anadûni is literally *"of the West", but it may be taken as an adjective and inflected as such. King Ar-Pharazôn is called "the Golden" in the Akallabêth, and pharaz means gold. If pharazôn is the word for "golden", the ending -ôn must be an adjective-former. But it may also be a noun derived from pharaz, literally *"Golden One"; -ôn is indeed listed as a nominal ending in SD:425.
We are told that "adjectives normally precede nouns" (SD:428). Bawîba dulgî "winds black" does not mean "black winds", it is a nominal sentence meaning "[the] winds [were] black" (SD:iii).
Christopher Tolkien extracts the following information from a few jottings his father made about
the Adûnaic verb: "There were three classes of verbs: I Biconsonantal, as kan 'hold';
II Triconsonantal, as kalab 'fall down'; III Derivatives, as azgarâ- 'wage war',
ugrudâ- 'overshadow'." (SD:439) He further presents the "four tenses" of the language:
(1) aorist ('corresponding to English "present", but used more often than that as historic present or past in narrative');
(2) continuative (present); what is here called the "accusative" must be the "Normal" form of the noun.) Hence, Adûnaic expressed a passive construction like "he was seen" by what corresponds to "him saw", i.e. "[someone] saw him";
(3) continuative (past);
(4) the past tense ('often used as pluperfect when aorist is used = past, or as future perfect when aorist = future'). The future, subjunctive, and optative were represented by auxiliaries; and the passive was rendered by the impersonal verb forms 'with subject in accusative'."
The "derivatives" referred to are evidently verbs derived from nouns; ugrudâ- "overshadow" is clearly derived from ugru "shadow". Azgarâ- "wage war" probably incorporates a noun "war" (azga? azgar?).
These are the inflected verbs that occur in Lowdham's Report and in the final forms of the Adûnaic fragments (I give the subject of the verbs because the verb may somehow agree with its subject).
Verbs translated by the English past tense:
unakkha "he-came". Obviously a form of NAKH "come, approach".
dubdam "[the Eruhíni] fell"
yurahtam "[the Lords of the West] broke"
hikallaba "she-fell-down" (she = Númenor)
ukallaba "[the Lord] fell" Bâr ukallaba "the Lord fell", bârun (u)kallaba "it was the Lord who fell" (see SD:429). These are forms of KALAB, SD:416, 439.
ayadda "[the straight road] went".
usaphda "he understood" (base SAPHAD, SD:421)
There is also the continuative past tense in azaggara "[Ar-Pharazôn] was warring".
There are only a few verbs that are translated by the English present tense:
yanâkhim. "[the Eagles] are at hand." (SD:251) The verb yanâkhim, here translated "are at hand", is clearly derived from the verbal base NAKH "come, approach" (SD:416).
yakalubim "[the mountains] lean over." Evidently a form of KALAB "fall down". (SD:251)
There is one example of what seems to be a kind of subjunctive: du-phursâ "[seas] so-as-to-gush".
There is one example of an imperative: Bâ kitabdahê! "Don't touch me!" (SD:250) Bâ is the negation "don't, not"; Elvish cognates are known (WJ:370-371).
Before these we can analyze the verbal forms themselves, various affixes must be identified and the basic verb-form isolated.
Plural verbs show the ending -m: yanâkhim "(they) approach", yakalubim "(they) lean over", dubdam "(they) fell", yurahtam "(they) broke". (We may add nam "are" from the earlier form of the fragment given in SD.312, clearly related to the Elvish base NA "to be", LR:374.)
Most verbs have pronominal prefixes. They are translated by English pronouns only when the subject of the verb is not expressed by a separate word:
u- "he" in unakkha "he-came", ukallaba "[he] fell", usaphda "he understood".
hi- "she" in hikallaba "she-fell-down" (compare ukallaba above)
yu- and ya- "they": yurahtam "(they) broke" (they = the Lords of the West), yanâkhim *"(they) are coming" (they = the Eagles), yakalubim "(they) lean over" (they = the mountains). Concerning possible distinctions between yu- and ya-, see note below.
ki- "you"? in Bâ kitabdahê "don't [you] touch me" (see below).
a- "it"? in ayadda "went", the subject being an inanimate object (a road).
These elements must be prefixed to the verb when its subject occurs in the Normal case (this subject must immediately precede the verb). The pronominal prefixes may also be employed in cases where the subject occurs in the subjective case (as in Bârim an-Adûn yurahtam dâira "the Lords of the West broke the Earth"), but are not required.
NOTE: Based on the example dubdam "[they] fell", I argued in earlier versions of this article that du- might mean "they", but as Matthieu Kervran pointed out to me, the du- is probably part of a base *DUBUD "fall". I had assumed that the stem was *BADAM, but the ending -am is probably inflectional (composed of a past tense marker *-a and plural marker *-m, to be compared to -am in yurahtam "they broke"). The subject of the verb dubdam, namely Êruhînim, occurs in the Subjective case, so no pronominal prefix should be needed. - The two different prefixes for "they", yu- and ya-, may well correspond to the endings u- "he" and a- *"it". Hence, yu- refers to a group of males (the subject of yurahtam being the Lords of the West), while ya- refers to a group of things or animals (the subjects of yakalubim and yanâkhim being mountains and eagles, respectively). May there be a prefix *yi- (for *yhi-) meaning "they" of a group of females, corresponding to sg. hi- "she"?
In our sole example of an imperative, the cry bâ kitabdahê! "don't touch me!" (250), bâ evidently means "not, don't". Kitabdahê, then, must mean "touch me". It may be that the base for "touch" is *TABAD, here represented by -tabda-, with a pronominal prefix ki- *"you" (listed above) and a suffix -hê "me". But it has also been suggested that -hê is an imperative ending, and that the literal meaning of bâ kitabdahê is simply *"not you touch". While nearly all the pronominal elements known from Adûnaic can be compared to Elvish elements of similar meaning, there are no Quendian first person elements even remotely similar to -hê. This fact may support the latter interpretation of this suffix.
Removing the pronominal prefixes and the plural marker -m where necessary, we arrive at the following basic forms:
Translated by English present tenses: nâkhi "is at hand, *comes" (base NAKH "come, approach"), kalubi "leans over" (base evidently KALAB "fall"). It may be that the i is actually be part of a plural ending -im (compare the Subjective plural ending as in Bârim "Lords"), so that the verbal forms are simply nâkh, kalub - but there is no evidence either way, and the system would be more symmetrical if we assume that the -i is part of the basic inflected form of the verb.
Translated by English past tenses or past continuative constructions: nakkha "came" (base NAKH "come, approach"), dubda "fell" (base *DUBUD), rahta "broke" (*RAHAT), kallaba "fell down" (KALAB), yadda "went" (*YAD), azaggara "was warring" (said to be a derived verb, the basic form being given as azgarâ- in SD:439).
Probable subjunctive: du-phursâ "so-as-to-gush" (*PHURUS).
Imperative: tabda or tabdahê.
A rather tentative interpretation:
The "present continuative" form of biconsonantal bases is formed by A-fortification of the stem-vowel (turning a, i, u into â, ê, ô) and the ending -i. Hence nâkhi "is at hand, *comes" from NAKH. (We must assume that a stem like ZIR "love" would have the present tense *zêri, while RUTH "scar" would have the present tense *rôthi.) Triconsonantal bases evidently form their present tense after the pattern 1-CV-2-U-3-I (sc. by placing the Characteristic Vowel between the two first consonants, inserting the vowel u between the second and the third consonant and adding the ending -i). Hence kalubi "leans over, *is falling" from KALAB "fall". No example shows how the present tense of a derived verb is formed.
The past tense of a biconsonantal base is formed by doubling the final consonant and adding the ending -a. Hence NAKH "come, approach" has the past tense nakkha (KH producing the aspirate kkh, sc. k + ach-Laut, when doubled). The form yadda "went" evidently represents a simple doubling d > dd (stem *YAD). When it comes to the past tense of triconsonantal bases, two distinct patterns are found in the material. All the forms show the ending -a, just like the past tenses of biconsonantal bases, but the behaviour of the second consonant of the stem differs. Three verbs are derived on the pattern 1-CV-23-A, with no vowel between the second and the third consonant: saphda "understood" (SAPHAD), dubda "fell" (*DUBUD) and rahta "broke" (*RAHAT). But the verb kallaba "fell" from KALAB behaves differently, evidencing a pattern 1-CV-22-CV-3-A instead: The second consonant is doubled and the Characteristic Vowel persists before the last consonant of the stem. Is this really the same past tense form as the above? May the tense form of KALAB that corresponds to saphda, dubda, rahta not rather be kalba, and may the forms of SAPHAD and *DUBUD that correspond to kallaba not rather be sapphada and dubbuda? Tolkien did use kalba before he changed the form to kallaba (with the prefix hi- for "she" in both cases); see SD:288. Did he change the tense or revise the grammar? I suspect that he simply decided to use another tense. Why may there be two forms that both translate into past tenses in English? Tolkien noted that besides the continuative past form, Adûnaic has an aorist "corresponding to English 'present', but used more often than that as historic present or past in narrative" (SD:439). It may be, then, that one of the "past" forms we have identified represents the aorist used as past in narrative, while the other "past" form is the past continuative. In that case, which is which? Our sole inflected example of a derived verb, azaggara "was warring", would by its English translation seem to be a continuative past form. The more basic form is given in SD:439 as azgarâ- "wage war". Interestingly, the continuative form doubles the second consonant g. Do we dare to assign a continuative meaning to all the verbs that double the second consonant of the stem, so that nakkha, yadda, and kallaba would mean *"was coming", *"was going", *"was falling" rather than simply "came, went, fell"? And do we similarly dare to declare saphda, dubda and rahta as aorists? (corresponding to continuative past forms *sapphada, *dubbuda etc.)
The only example of a subjunctive, said in SD:439 to be formed by some kind of auxiliary, is du-phursâ "so-as-to-gush". May the prefixed element du- represent the auxiliary? Phursâ, clearly representing a triconsonantal stem *PHURUS "gush", is by itself similar to the form tentatively identified as an aorist above - except for the lengthening of the final vowel. This subjunctive does not take the plural ending -m, even if its subject (in this case "seas") is plural.
The imperative verb buried in the phrase bâ kitabdahê "don't touch me" is either tabdahê or tabda, depending on whether we take the ending -hê to be an imperative ending or a pronominal suffix "me". Tabda (apparently representing a triconsonantal base *TABAD) is again similar to the form tentatively above identified as the aorist. We must conclude that the Adûnaic imperative is either identical in form to the aorist or is formed by adding the suffix -hê to the aorist.This concludes our discussion of Adûnaic grammar. For another study, see Lalaith's article at http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~lalaith/Tolkien/Grammar.html.
-a Subjective ending for plural Neuters (430)
abâr "strength, endurance, fidelity" (431). Evidently related to bâr "lord".
-ad, -ada "to, towards" (postpositional affixes) (429) Cf. Avalôiyada, akhâsada.
Adrahil masculine name (PM:439), replaced Agrahil.
adûn "west, westward" (247, 435)
Adûnâim *"Númenóreans", or perhaps rather *"Dúnedain" (426)
agan "death", personified Agân "Death" (426; masculine when personified, otherwise neuter). Cf. agannâlo "death-shadow" (247)
Agathurush *"Fenland of Shadow" = Sindarin Gwathló (UT:263)
Aglahad masculine name (PM:440)
AK(A)LAB(A), (A)KALBA evidently modifications of KALAB, not translated (418).
Akallabêth "She-that-is-fallen" (312) (also hi-Akallabêth), name of the sunken Númenor.
akhâsada "into [the] chasm" (247). (Incorporates -ada; hence *akhâs "chasm"?)
Alkarondas "Castle of the Sea", name of Ar-Pharazôn's ship (PM:156, spelt Alcarondas in SD:385). Seems to have replaced Aglarrâma of the same meaning. Others take Alcarondas as being properly a Quenya form, translation of the actual Adûnaic name Aglarrâma - but neither name is easy to match with the translation (?) "Castle of the Sea".
Amatthâni "Land of Aman" (assimilated from Amân-thâni) (435)
ammî, ammê "mother" (434)
an adjectival prefix with genitival meaning, "of", often reduced to 'n: (435): Narîka 'nBâri 'nAdûn "The Eagles of the Lords of the West" (251), thâni anAmân, thâni n'Amân "Land of Aman" (435) (also Amatthâni).
-an Subjective ending for Common nouns (also -n) (430)
anâ "homo, human being" (426, 434, fully inflected in 437); masculine anû "a male, man", feminine anî "a female" (434) (more technical words than naru, kali "man, woman").
Anadûnê "Westernesse, Númenor" (247, 426)
anadûni "western" (426, 435)
Ar-Abattarîk "Tar-Ardamin" (UT:222). Adûnaic *Abatta = Quenya Arda?
Ar-Adûnakhôr "Tar-Herunúmen", The Lord of the West (UT:222)
Ar-Balkumagân "Tar-Ciryatan", *"King Shipwright" (PM:151). Surprisingly, the name seems to incorporate the Objective of *balak "ship", though this should mean "builder of a (particular) ship", as the Objective has no plural form. Tar-Ciryatan "built a great fleet of royal ships" (UT:221), not just one. Cf. Gimilnitîr vs. Gimlu-nitîr; but for another example of a "plural" or numberless Objective see Nimruzîr. Did Tolkien reject the idea that the Objective is singular only?
Ar-Belzagar "Tar-Calmacil" (UT:222). The Quenya name seems to incorporate macil = "sword", Adûnaic *zagar? (This element would in any case be related to the verb azgarâ- "wage war".) Much less probably, the Quenya name may contain calma "lamp" = Adûnaic *bel or *belza?
Ar-Gimilzôr "Tar-Telemnar" (UT:223). Telemnar may mean *"silver-flame", but the Adûnaic name seems to incorporate gimil "stars".
Ar-Inziladûn "Tar-Palantir". (UT:223) The Quenya name means "the Far-sighted", but Adûnaic Inziladûn means "Flower of the West" (UT:227).
Arminalêth = Quenya Armenelos, name of a city (PM:145).
Ar-Pharazôn "King Pharazôn, Tar-Calion" (435). From pharaz. Subjective Ar-Pharazônun (247). Ar-Pharazôn kathuphazgânun "King Pharazôn the Conqueror" (429)
Ar-Sakalthôr "Tar-Falassion" (UT:223) The Quenya name seems to incorporate falassë "shore" = Adûnaic *sakal?
Ar-Zimraphel "Tar-Míriel" (UT:224), see Zimraphel. Replaced Zimrahil, PM:155.
Ar-Zimrathôn "Tar-Hostamir" (UT:223). The Quenya name incorporates mir (mírë) "jewel" = Adûnaic *zimra; cf. Zimraphel = Míriel.
Âru "King", Âru n'Adûnâi "King of the Anadunians" (429)
ASAD ??? (421)
Asdi ??? Often pronounced azdi. A derivative of the base ASAD. (421)
-at dual ending (429)
ATLA ??? Also in the form TAL(A). (418)
attû, attô "father" (434)
Avalê "goddess, *Valië" (428)
Avalôi "*the Valar, Powers" (305), Subjective pl. Avalôim (241); Avalôiyada "against [the] Valar" (247), incorporating -ada.
Avallôni "*Avallónë" (241, 305)
Avradî "Varda" (428)
ayadda "went" (247)
azaggara "was warring", evidently a form of azgarâ- (247 cf. 439)
azar "star" - so according to PM:372, but in Lowdham's Report the word for "star" is gimli, and azra (in SD:431 azar, later changed) means "sea".
azgarâ- "wage war" (439), cf. azaggara and Ar-Belzagar.
azra "sea", fully inflected in 431. Objective azru- in Azrubêl (q.v.); Subjective pl. azrîya in 247; also in azra-zâin "sea-lands" (435).
Azrubêl "Sea-lover" (= Quenya Eärendil) (429, 305)
azûlada "eastward" (247), incorporating -ada.
bâ "don't!" (250)
*balak "ship" (pl. balîk, q.v.), Objective balku- in Ar-Balkumagân, q.v. Cf. huzun "ear", pl. huzîn, Objective huznu (430).
balîk "ships" (247). Sg. *balak?
banâth "wife" (fully inflected in 437)
Bâr "Lord" (428, fully inflected in 438), Subjective bârun in 429; Barîm an-Adûn "[the] Lords of [the] West", the Valar. (247) Here the Subjective plural is barîm; on p. 438 it is given as bârîm, that may be more correct.
batân "road, path", pl. batîna (247, fully inflected in 431; notice Note 16 on p. 435)
*bawâb "wind" (see bawîba)
bawîba "winds", Subjective pl. (247) Sg. *bawâb? (Cf. batân "road", pl. batîna.)
bêth "expression, saying, word" (but agental "sayer" as the final element in compounds, as in izindu-bêth). (427)
BITH "say" (416)
burôda "heavy" (247)
dâira "Earth" (247)
dâur "gloom" (earlier *daw'r) (423)
DAWAR *"gloom" (see dâur)
dolgu "night" (with evil connotations - contrast lômi) (306)
dubdam "fell" (pl. verb) (247)
dulgî "black" (pl.) (247) Evidently from the same base as dolgu "night".
du-phursâ "so as to gush" (247)
êphalak "far away"; êphal êphalak "far far away" (247)
Êru "the One", God (Quenya Eru); Êruvô "from Êru" (248, 249); Êruhînim = Quenya Eruhíni, "the children of God" (247 cf. 249)
gimil "stars", an uninflected collective referring to the starry sky in general. (427) Gimilnitîr "Star-kindler" = Quenya Elentári, title of Varda (428). Gimlu-nîtir "kindler of a (particular) star", deliberate mistranslation of Elentári to illustrate the point that the Objective is always singular (428).
Gimilkhâd masculine name, seems to incorporate gimil "stars" (UT:223)
GIMLI ??? Variant forms and derivatives are listed in 425. 434 gives GIM'L, plus a derivative GAIMAL (434).
gimli "star", pl. gimlî (427). Fully inflected in 431.
hazad "seven" (247). Any connection with Khuzdul Khazâd "Dwarves", given that the Dwarves were divided into Seven Houses? (427, 428 gives hazid.)
hi-Akallabêth "She-that-hath-fallen", Númenor. (247)
hikallaba "she fell down" (247)
huzun "ear", dual huznat "two ears" (428), fully inflected in 430, see also note 15 on 435.
Îbal masculine name (UT:194)
idô "now", evidently idôn when the next word begins in a vowel, cf. English a/an (247)
IGIML ??? Variant forms are and derivatives are listed in 422-423.
igmil "star-shaped figure", pl. igmîl (427)
-im Subjective plural ending for all other nouns than Neuters (430). Evidently in Adûnâim, Avalôim, q.v.
Imrahil masculine name (UT:246), identified as a Númenórean name in LotR Appendix E.
Imrazôr masculine name (UT:447)
-in Subjective ending for weak Feminines (430).
Indilzar "Elros" (PM:164)
inzil "Flower", isolated from Inziladûn "Flower of the West" (UT:227) and Rothinzil "Foam-flower"; cf. also the feminine name Inzilbêth ("Flower-sayer"???) mentioned in the Akallabêth.
izindi "straight" (247)
izindu-bêth "true-sayer, prophet" (427)
izrê (< izrêi < izrêyî) "sweetheart, beloved" (424, glossed and fully inflected in 438). From the base ZIR.
?IR "one, alone" (? = glottal stop) (432)
kadar "city"; kadar-lâi "city folk" (435)
kadô "and so" (247)
KALAB "fall" (416); kalab "fall down" (439)
kali "woman" (434)
kallaba "fell", a form of KALAB (429)
kan "hold" (439)
KARAB ??? (415) The base of karab?
karab "horse" (pl. karîb) (434). Masculine karbû "stallion" (434, 435), feminine karbî "mare" (434).
kâtha "all" (247)
kathuphazgân "conqueror", Subjective kathuphazgânun (429). This word may seem to incorporate the objective of (a word related to) kâtha "all" above. Is a "conqueror" perceived as *"one who subdues all/everything" or similar? The final element *phazgân unfortunately cannot be interpreted, but it may be an agental formation (same ending -ân as in [Ar-]Balkumagân *"[King] Ship-maker"; here it apparently does not mark a past participle).
kêw, kêu ??? From the base KIW (424).
khâu, khô "crow", pl. kwâwi(m), khôi (426)
khibil "spring", fully inflected in 430.
KIRIB ??? (415)
kitabdahê! "touch me!" (from the phrase bâ kitabdahê "don't touch me!" (250) Base *TABAD "touch" (-tabda-) with pronominal affixes *ki- "you" and *-hê "me"?
KIW ??? Cf. kêw, kêu. (424)
kôy, kôi ??? From the base KIW. Cf. KUY (424)
KUL'B ??? (422) The source of kulub? Variant forms and derivatives are listed in 422-423.
KULUB ??? The source of kulub? Variant forms and derivatives are listed in 425.
kulub "roots, edible vegetables that are roots not fruits" (431), an uninflected collective. Pl. kulbî "roots" of a definite number of roots of plants.
KUY ??? Cf. kôy, kôi (424)
lôkhî "crooked" (pl.) (247)
lômi "night" (414), with no evil connotations (306) - contrast dolgu
-mâ "with" (429)
*magân *"wright", isolated from Ar-Balkumagân, q.v.
manô "spirit" (from *manaw-, *manau), pl. manôi (424, fully inflected in 438)
mîk "baby boy" (427)
minal "heaven, sky" (414), Objective minul in Minul-Târik "Pillar of Heaven", name of a mountain; Quenya Meneltarma (429, 241). Minal-târik would mean "Heavenly Pillar" (429). Cf. also Minal-zidar "Poise in Heaven" (200). (241 gives minil instead of minal.)
mîth "baby girl, maid-child" (427), "little girl" (437), fully inflected in 438
miyât "(infant) twins" (427)
MIYI "small" (427)
-n Subjective ending for Common nouns (also -an) (430)
nadroth "hind-track", the wake of a boat; hence nad = "hind, *back"? (PM:376)
NAK- ??? (422). Variant forms and derivatives are listed in 422-423.
NAKH "come, approach" (416). Cf. unakkha.
nâlo "shadow", isolated from agannâlo, q.v.
*narâk "eagle"? Pl. narîka; cf. batân "road", pl. batîna.
nardu "soldier" (fully inflected in 438)
narîka "the Eagles" (sg. *narâk?) Narîka 'nBâri 'nAdûn "The Eagles of the Lords of the West" (251)
naru "man, male" (434, fully inflected in 437, that also gives an alternative form narû)
nênud "on us" (247)
nîlo "moon", personified Nîlû (426 - masculine when personified, otherwise neuter). Fully inflected in 431.
NIMIR "shine" (416)
nimir "Elf" (fully inflected in 436, Normal pl. Nimîr, Objective nimru- in Nimruzîr, q.v.) Cf. also WJ:386: "By the Dúnedain the Elves were called Nimîr (the Beautiful)."
Nimriyê "Nimrian [= Elvish] tongue", Quenya ("Avallonian") (414)
Nimruzîr "Elendil", "Elf-lover" (247). The use of Objective nimru- for "Elf" is surprising: As the Objective is always singular, this should mean "lover of a particular Elf" rather than "lover of Elves in general". Cf. Gimilnitîr vs. Gimlu-nitîr.
Nimruzîrim "Elf-friends" (PM:151), Subjective pl. of Nimruzîr.
nîph "fool" (426), also nûph (437)
nithil "girl" (427, fully inflected in 436)
nitîr "kindler", isolated from Gimilnitîr, q.v.
nûlu "night", with evil connotations (306)
nûph "fool" (437), also nîph (426)
nuphâr "parent", dual nuphrât "father and mother" as a pair (434)
-ô "from", prepositional affix. In Êruvô.
obroth "fore-cutting", the curling water at the prow of a ship (so ob = "(be)fore"?) (PM:376)
pâ "hand" (< *pa3a), pl. pâi (416, 426)
PA3 probable form of the base that yielded pâ, q.v. (416)
pharaz "gold" (426, also in LotR Appendix E). Cf. Ar-Pharazôn.
phazân "prince, king's son" (436).
pûh "breath" (426), fully inflected in 431.
raba "dog", masculine rabô, feminine rabê "bitch" (434, 437)
roth "cutting, track" (from a stem RUTH; in nadroth, obroth). Roth was also used of the track of boats on water and could therefore be used to mean "foam" (PM:376); cf. Rothinzil below.
Rôthinzil "Foam-flower" = Quenya Vingilot, Eärendil's ship (360). See inzil. Spelt Rothinzil in the opening paragraphs of the Akallabêth and in PM (e.g. on page 370); the latter reading should probably be preferred.
rûkh "shout" (426)
RUTH "scar, score, furrow", stem yielding words for plough and ploughing, but "when applied to boats it referred to their track on water" (PM:376). See roth, nadroth, obroth.
SAPAD ??? (421) Cf. sapda.
SAPHAD "understand" (416) Cf. usaphda.
saibêth "assent"; saibêth-mâ "with assent" (247)
sapda ??? (often pronounced sabda). A derivative of SAPAD. (421)
sapthân (p often being pronounced f) "wise-man, wizard" (421)
satta "two" (428)
sûla "trump" (419)
sulum "mast" (419) (explained to be a cognate of Quenya tyulma, here derived from Primitive Elvish *kyulumâ, evidently obsoleting the earlier reconstruction *tyulmâ in the Etymologies [LR:395])
tâidô "once" (not "one time", but "once upon a time") (247)
TAL(A) ??? Also in the form ATLA. (418)
tamar "smith" (fully inflected in 436)
târik "pillar", in Minul-târik "Pillar of Heaven" (429). Dual târikat (430).
thâni anAmân, thâni n'Amân "Land of Aman" (435). Also Amatthâni.
ugru "shadow", ugru-dalad "under [the] Shadow" (247; cf. 306). Verb ugrudâ- "overshadow" (439)
ukallaba "fell" (sg. verb) (429)
Ulbar masculine name (UT:195)
-un Subjective ending for Masculine nouns (430)
unakkha "he came", form of NAKH (247)
ûrê "sun", personified Ûrî (426 - feminine when personified, otherwise neuter); ûriyat "sun and moon" (428; actually Ûri + the dual ending, the "moon" being understood); ûrinîl(uw)at "sun and moon" (a compound of Ûri and Nîlu "Sun" and "Moon" + the dual ending), ûriyat nîlo yet another way of expressing "sun and moon", with the dual ending added to the first and the latter following in the singular.
urîd "the mountains" (251). Sg. *urud?
*urud "mountain", pl. urîd (251). Cf. huzun "ear", pl. huzîn (430)
urug "bear" (426), urgî "female bear" (435)
uruk "goblin, orc" (fully inflected in 436)
usaphda "he understood" (420), from SAPHAD. Less commonly pronounced usaptha.
yakalubîm "lean over", pl. (251) Evidently a form of KALAB "fall down".
yanâkhim "are at hand, *approach" (SD:251). Evidently a form of NAKH "come, approach".
Yôzâyan "Land of Gift", a name of Númenor (Quenya Andor). (In 241, 247, cf. UT:184). Incorporates zâyan (so *yô = "gift"?)
yurahtam "broke", pl. (247)
zabathân "humbled" (247)
zadan "house", fully inflected in 430.
zâin "lands", pl. of zâyin. From *zâyîn; in azra-zâin.
zâira "longing" (247), zaira, zâir in 423.
Zamîn feminine name (UT:194)
zâyan "land" (423), pl. zâin. In Yôzâyan, q.v.
-zê "at" (429)
zigûr "wizard" (fully inflected in 437). Subjective Zigûrun "the Wizard" in 247, referring to Sauron.
Zimraphel "Míriel", feminine name. *Zimra seems to mean "jewel"; see Ar-Zimrathôn. Quenya Míriel may be interpreted "jewel-daughter", so Adûnaic *phel = "daughter"?
zini "female" (noun) (fully inflected in 437, that also gives an alternative form zinî)
ZIR "love", desire" (423), cf. -zîr "lover" in Nimruzîr.
zirân "beloved" (247)
zôrî "nurse" (438)