Information on Khazdul
Essay title: Information on Khazdul
Mastering twelve languages, Tolkien’s skills as a linguist enabled him to realize complex consequences to creating languages of his own. The languages of Middle Earth are more than just mere compilations of grammatical structure and sounds, but have a complete history behind them that contributes to their structure, range of vocabulary, and identity. Khazdul, the language of the race discussed here, is exclusive to the Dwarves and is almost never discussed outside of the Dwarf community. Thusly, and as with the other languages, Khazdul has evolved over time to fit the linguistic needs of culture. However, our focus is not necessarily on Khazdul itself, especially since Khazdul was such an esoteric language that was rarely shared with communities outside that of the Dwarves; like the non-Dwarf races of middle earth, we know little about it. For instance, Dwarf interaction with other races in the affairs of trade created language barriers that were solved by the Dwarves learning the language of the foreign race, rather than the Dwarves teaching their trade partners Khazdul. Only once did the Dwarves teach their language to Elves as an experiment. However, the language itself is only the basis to what is discussed in this collection of works; rather the main objective of this project is to dissect how Dwarves translate their natural language into common tongue and express themselves through their syntax and diction choices. Naturally, the linguistic details of the native language of a race will also be reflected in how that race speaks in the common tongue. Dwarves will speak differently than Elves in the Lord of the Rings; similarly Ents will sound very differently from Hobbits, which are associated with a different language that is influenced by another history, culture, etc. So the objective is to identify how Dwarves express themselves in comparison to other races. What words they choose to relate certain events and experiences. What metaphors they use to draw parallels in description and how those metaphors relate to their own cultural history and experience. What we are able to identify as unique to Dwarf culture defines them as a race in the common tongue.
This collection of works by various authors will identify theses unique characteristics inherit of Tolkien’s Dwarf culture and history by showing as best as possible the methods by which Dwarves speak. The “how to speak like a Dwarf” section addresses the differences in speech specifically in English terms, bringing us into the mindset of the Dwarves and the fashion in which they talk. Furthermore, a detailed essay will interpret the language in terms of its historical background and practical uses that have developed it.
Hopefully, this project will be able to clearly identify major patterns in the syntax and diction of Dwarves throughout the Lord of the Rings and will be a guide that enables readers to understand Dwarf culture and interests better through the study of their language without delving into the complexities of Khazdul.
Language of the Dwarves
The Dwarf language, as Tolkien admits, is “complex” in its Khazdul form, as it is called by the Dwarves. It is most comparable to the Semitic languages, noticeably in its grammatical structure, but this is irrelevant to Middle Earth, where the language’s history has created it from it’s inception into the familiar language of the third age where we become familiarized with Gimli in the Lord of the Rings. Up to this point, the language of the Dwarves has remained exclusively within the Dwarf community. The confidentiality of the language allowed it to remain in a vacuum mostly, being shaped primarily by Dwarf culture with few direct cognizant words from other Middle Earth languages. The orientation of the race to the earth is also important in the creation and development of the language; this is noticeable in descriptive metaphors and overall syntax of the Dwarf language. Comparable to the geography in which Dwarves live, the language is also rough, rigid at times but does not posses of the same nature of the dark languages of Middle Earth, which have no euphonic value. Rather, Dwarves have mostly been crafted by their geography and culture more than anything else, two determinants that are magnified by the cultural tradition that keeps Khazdul to the Dwarves alone.
An overall important factor influencing the fashion in which Dwarves speak is naturally where they originate from. Like German dwarfs, Tolkien’s Dwarves seem to be of the mining occupation, concerned with such trades as weapons and armor crafting, however they are mostly different from the dwarfs of folklore. They do not have the power to disappear, are not necessarily