Translations, Tattoos and Prayers

Hello my friends,

It has been quite some time since the last post here. Though it must be said the reason for that is nothing but good news (in my view). As I have been spending this time mainly on Neo-Khuzdul, both new documentation, video lessons, as well as some applications. So you can expect quite a bit of new info heading your way in the weeks and months to come.

This morning in fact I published the second installment of the Neo-Khuzdul video lessons, which you can watch HERE

I wanted to use this post also as an opportunity to talk about translation requests. Every now and then, either on this very blog or via email I get translation requests.  I have always said that my goal concerning this blog is to ensure people get all the information they could ever need concerning J.R.R. Tolkien’s dwarves, whether concerns their culture, language or history, so obviously my mailbox is always open for such requests.

At times though I do get requests from (mainly) writers of fan-fiction to translate words or sentences into Neo-Khuzdul.  I’m always grateful to get these and happy to work on the translation if time permits. Some of those requests are brilliant phrases that would be a great addition for the document on sayings, or words that previously  I had not added to the dictionaries.   At other times people ask me to translate poems or longer pieces of literature. I remember I once got a request to translate “The Hobbit” into Neo-Khuzdul. Though perhaps one day (when I’m retired) I might find the time, spirit and energy to start on such a massive job, at present that time isn’t here yet. So do take that into account when sending translation requests.   Any reasonable request will of course be translated, as always free of any charge, just send them to kstrongbeard[at] where, with a bit of patience, you’ll get your request translated.

When it comes to translations for tattoos (and I do get a few of those), I do want to stress that you must always take into account of course that Neo-Khuzdul, is not original Tolkien Khuzdul. It obviously uses all that Tolkien published on the language, yet much of it are inventions of myself based on my understanding of Tolkien’s work and Semitic Languages.

It’s important that all understand that before they would have anything inked permanently on their skin that they might regret later. In addition, I generally do not respond to request on tattoos on this blog, as I think the matter is a private one, hence anyone that has such requests should think of sending these to the email address listed above.

In closing, I wanted to share with you all a heartrending request I got recently from a reader in Brazil.  This reader had told me that his brother was in hospital going through a terrible ordeal. And as his brother and him were such great fans of Dwarves and Neo-Khuzdul in particular he had kindly asked me to translate “The Lord’s Prayer” into Neo-Khuzdul, so he could pray for his brother’s speedy recovery in very personal way.   I obviously could not refuse such a touching request and send him the text below, along with the best wishes of myself and my family.

Uzbadul Agrâf (The Lord’s Prayer)
‘Adadmâ ni khulthu, (Our Father in heaven,)
mailgin akhrâmzu. (hallowed be your name.)
Zibdînzu nekha, (Your kingdom come,)
amnâdzu muhula, (your will be done,)
ai-kâmin, azafr ni khulthu, (on earth, as it is in heaven.)
Ikhjim mâ ‘ala nurt hamdmâ nurtul (Give us this day our daily bread,)
ra latunsu mâ shakâdmâ, (and forgive us our debts,)
azafr ya lutunmâ ushkâdmâ. (as we also have forgiven our debtors.)
Ra ma sazbadi mâ ni ansâkh, (And lead us not into temptation,)
ini mahsansisi mâ udu ‘azn. (but deliver us from evil.)

Posted in General Updates, Language | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

TBOTFA SPOILER – Love is all you need

Updated 30/12/2014


Before you read on, if you haven’t seen The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies and don’t want to spoil it for yourself, come back when you’ve seen it.

If you have seen the film, or feel confident you can handle a bit of a spoiler, read on.

Literally the day after I saw the film I got this question via email from Emily: Early in the movie we see our favorite hottie dwarf Kili say something in Khuzdul (or is it Elvish?) to Tauriel.  I think I’ve got a good idea what he is saying to her, but want to be sure. Can you tell me what he says to her?

Images from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies main trailer -  all rights reserved

Images from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies main trailer – all rights reserved

Emily wasn’t the only one sending me this question, as I got many similar ones in the hours that followed.

So, without further ado, this is my view on that line.

Kíli says to Tauriel “amrâlimê”, which I’m pretty sure is David Salo’s Neo-Khuzdul. Tauriel says she doesn’t understand it, so it’s very clear it isn’t Sindarin.

I believe the word consists of three parts “amrâl”, “im” and “ê”


“amrâl”  – means “love”. It used the abstract construction aCCâC as seen in the Tolkien original khuzdul words such as “aglâb”.  The radicals in amrâl, MRL are faintly reminiscent of the Quenya “melmë” (love) and “mírima” (very lovely), and of the Sindarin “meleth” (love), while also hinting at the latin “amorem” (love).

“im” – Updated:  based on a screenshot from the video Appendices for DoS, provided by one of the readers of this blog (thank you Maite), it seems clear this is a genitive marker, indicating “of”. So, likely not a female indicator as previously assumed.

“ê” – is the first person possessive pronoun “my”, also use for “me”.

Putting all of this together we get “love-of-me”

Images from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies main trailer -  all rights reserved

Images from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies main trailer – all rights reserved

So, as a result we get: “My Love”

Again, this is my assumption based on Salo’s earlier writings, provided screenshots from the video Appendices for DoS (with thanks to Maite) and my study of neo-khuzdul.

I hope we’ll get it confirmed in the days and weeks to come.

I hope that answers your question Emily.

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Uncle Bob or Cousin Bofur?

For those unfamiliar with the details of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the dwarves (at first glance) appear to be short, plump, grumpy men with big noses and long beards – much like my uncle Bob come to think of it, but I digress.

Sure, they are stocky, quite a bit shorter and have long beards that can be tucked into their belts.  But they still have a human form, unlike some of the talking beings of Tolkien’s world, such a dragons or ents for example.

So the question posted here today is… “What really makes a dwarf a dwarf?”

Could we for instance, sitting at a table in the Prancing Pony, mistake a stocky chubby strong-armed man with a long white beard (aka uncle Bob) for a dwarf ? I guess we could, but might quickly identify his true form when we took a closer look and talked to him for a bit, taking into account the following characteristics that perhaps might not all be that obvious at first.


There are no sources to suggest dwarves have a radically different anatomy to that of men.  No extra ribs, toes, or the likes.  They also reproduce in the manner of men (just as elves, hobbits or even orcs would), so have the required “equipment” for reproducing children.  The proportions of dwarves are quite different to those of average men though.  Their nose, ears, feet and hands are much more prominent than with average men.  On average 50% bigger (though in some cases double the size – especially true for noses and ears) which is the reason the actors of the Hobbit movies were wearing so many prosthetics. Adding to the fact that their torso, legs and arms are on average 25% broader, yet 25% shorter than your average man, this gives us our typical dwarf look.   The big question of course is… “Why, do they look the way they do?”.  Well, we have the Vala Mahal (Aüle) – the creator of the dwarves – to thank for that.  His impatience lead him to a guess as to what the children of Iluvatar would look like.  Not a bad guess I would say, after all he could have given them fur, claws and a camel hump.

Seriously though, if you look at the dwarves in The Hobbit movies their centre-point is very low compared to that of men, mainly due to their weight/muscle vs. height ratio, hence they walk very grounded.  Something I believe they’ve done exceptionally well in The Hobbit Movies (Compliments to Terry Notary , movement coach).


Image from The Hobbit – behind the scenes.


Their ability to withstand force, stress or even evil without being distorted or damaged is likely one of the key elements of being a dwarf. Mahal (Aulë) made the dwarves at a time when the World outside Aman still lay under the dominion of Melkor, and so he made them sturdy and hard to survive the dangers and hardships of that time.


The dwarves were made strong and unyielding (see sturdiness), and make light of heavy burdens which makes them stronger than most men or elves.  Working in the mines and forging will surely give you greater upper body strength as well than you would have by playing the tambourine all day, so most dwarves would undoubtedly posses greater physical strength than most men or elves.  The fact that Mahal (Aüle) made them unyielding to the powers of Melkor, not willing to endure the domination of others, means they have a great mental strength to resist domination, yet at the same time the same mental strength is worthless in matters of material greed.


Dwarves have great endurance, especially in the ability to resist heat and cold.

So, to what extent could dwarves resist heat?

“Azaghal and his people were the only ones able to withstand the fire and heat from Glaurung’s breath.”

Able to withstand dragon fire… if you consider the fact that dragon fire consumed four of the seven rings of power of the dwarves, that’s quite a feat, as gold melts at temperatures round 900°C (1600°F).

In comparison men would get third degree burns with ambient air temperatures that are a fraction of that.

Of course, Professor Tolkien is not stating that the dwarves are right in the line of fire (literally), though they might very well be, yet still, an amazing feat.  Which makes one think….  the Burned Dwarves*1, (after the battle of Azanulbizar) must have burned for a very long time before their ashes gradually started to disperse by the wind in the valley.  There was a great felling of trees in the valley, which remained bare ever after, and the reek of the burning was seen in Lórien”  [The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin’s Folk]

In the real world there are animals that would rival the dwarves when it comes to being heat-resistance.

The tail end of the Pompei worm (Living in the most hellish, deepest and darkest places on Earth) can resist a water temperate as high as 80 degrees centigrade, making the Pompeii worm the most heat-tolerant complex animal known to science.


Photo: National Science Foundation (University of Delaware College of Marine Studies)

Strangely enough we see that, though dwarves are able to withstand extreme temperatures, they seem to be the first to moan about a morning chill:   ‘My very bones are chilled,’ said Gimli, flapping his arms and stamping his feet. Day had come at last. – (J.R.R. Tolkien, “The White Rider”, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).   My guess here is that dwarves enjoy a good moan every now and then, though their bodies would in fact have little problem with either cold or heat.


The Naugrim were made “stone-hard, stubborn, fast in friendship and enemity, and they suffered toil and hunger and hurt of body more hardily than other speaking peoples.” The Silmarillion.

Yet at the same time when Thorin’s company and Bilbo continue their trek through Mirkwood the dwarves seem as hungry as our Hobbit (who is used to six meals a day).   “That night they ate their very last scraps and crumbs of food; and next morning when they woke the first thing they noticed was that they were still gnawingly hungry” – The Hobbit

So, what does this tell us really? Dwarves are able to survive with little food for a longer time than most speaking races, yet they complain about hunger just as much as any of us would.  Very similar to their reaction to cold or heat in fact.

Though we have no evidence that the same applies for pain, one could argue that hunger is a sort of pain, so we can assume that a dwarf with a stubbed toe might indeed whine about it, though in fact their bodies would have little discomfort.


Sickness was almost unknown to the Dwarves, as they were immune to human diseases. Corpulence, however, could effect them. In prosperous circumstances, many grew fat by the age of 200 and became physically inept.*3

“Sickness was almost unknown to Dwarves” might just be a reference to the “Dragon-Sickness”. Dragon sickness, being more than an illness, was in fact a disease – as J.R.R. Tolkien described it in the Hobbit: The old Master had come to a bad end. Bard had given him much gold for the help of the Lake-people, but being of the kind that easily catches such disease he fell under the dragon-sickness, and took most of the gold and fled with it, and died of starvation in the Waste, deserted by his companions. The Last Stage, The Hobbit

It is a disease one catches. Likely spread by the Dragon through the gold itself. Dwarves were known to be especially susceptible to dragon-sickness. Gold has been the foundation of empires throughout history and its lure seems no less great in Middle Earth. Yet Dragon-sickness goes beyond a furious greed for gold, it seemingly makes you lose all reason as you slowly become obsessed by an ever-growing unquenchable lust for gold. To the point you would even forfeit your own life for the sake of spending your last minutes with it.  Though one must take into account that its affects are not alike for all, and some are more susceptible to it than others. Bilbo for instance is a prime example of one not effected by Dragon-sickness.


One colourful fact about the dwarves is evident when you read the first chapter of The Hobbit. Apart from their colourful hoods they also have delightfully colourful beards. Examples are the yellow beard of Fili and the blue beard of Dwalin.

Now, I have often wondered is their hair really yellow and blue, or is it blond and black (with a bluish shine), perhaps grey (steel-blue is after all a shade of grey and blue is a name often given to grey fur animals, esp. cats – so there are a few arguments)

I believe the main reason for these rather odd hair-colours is the same reason why you’ll only find these hair-colours mentioned in The Hobbit, not in TLoR nor The Silmarillion.  The Hobbit was after all a children’s book, so the use of colourful characters is a logical one (even if their hair colour was blond in truth, it is far more amusing for a child to imagine “yellow hair”).  Dwalin though is not the only dwarf to ever be described as having a blue beard in Professor Tolkien’s works though, there is also one Fangluin Bluebeard, mentioned in ‘The Nauglafring’ in BoLT 2.


 “Dwalin” by Toni Foti (Fantasy Flight Games and Middle Earth Enterprises)


If we hear the dwarves in the Jackson film adaptations they not seldom have a rather deep voice.

Is this something that was added or was it indeed the case?

After all one could assume that the smaller you are the more high pitched your voice will sound.

There is however little doubt most dwarves would have a deeper voice than most men.

Their fast-growing thick beards indicate that their bodies are filled with testosterone, also noticeable with greater muscle mass and their competitive (and at times somewhat aggressive) spirit.  One other obvious result of a testosterone filled body is a deeper voice. We know dwarven women (and to a lesser extent even children) had a beard, hence: “…Dwarven women were alike in manner, voice and appearance to their menfolk”.  Hence I believe it is safe to say that all physically adult dwarves in general had a deep voice (deeper than men, elves and hobbits).


The life-expectancy of dwarves, and their manner of aging, is radically different from men or hobbits.

Dwarves not seldom reaching 250 years (if not struck down in battle), yet only physically reach “old age” about ten years before their passing.  More details on the age of dwarves can be found here.


In Professor Tolkien’s works dwarves generally speak in a well spoken dignified manner.  However, is this the case for most dwarves?  Hard to say really, as about 85 % of all lines in Tolkien’s works spoken by dwarves are either spoken by Gimli or Thorin Oakenshield (who both come from a Royal line) and are known for their ability to speak in such a manner.

So, let’s look at the other 15% shall we, hopefully that will tell us if this well spoken dignified manner of speaking is common or just reserved for a select few important dwarves.

Some examples:


A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,”

-“Well, it is the first time that even a mouse has crept along carefully and quietly under my very nose and not been spotted,” said Balin, “and I take off my hood to you.” Which he did.

-“Good-bye and good luck, wherever you fare!” said Balin at last. “If ever you visit us again, when our halls are made fair once more, then the feast shall indeed be splendid!”


– “Give me another length of rope and another hook,” said Fili

– “Get in now,” said Fili 

Neither of the above Fili examples very polite I would say (no “please”, but then again they were in a hurry).


“And mince-pies and cheese,” said Bofur. (no “please here as well, in fact rather rude).

There are many more examples in Tolkien’s works but I tried to pick those that jumped out clearly. As you can see both very polite and rather rude is all part of the dwarven manner of speech. In the end, like with men, hobbits, or elves, it all depends on personal character and upbringing.

Meaning that not all dwarves are very well spoken, yet when introducing themselves, or when making their farewells, dwarves generally attempt to be very polite and well spoken.


Another difference between other races and dwarves can be seen in some of the weapons they use.

Indeed many of those are the same (swords, shields and bows), some of them are usually seen with dwarves (axes), yet not exclusively.  There are however weapons which apparently are only seen with dwarves.  The clearest example being the war-mattock. The War Mattock is a heavy broad bladed pole-weapon often confused with a pickaxe.*2  – “In battle they wielded heavy two-handed mattocks; but each of them had also a short broad sword at his side and a round shield slung at his back.” 

bofur and war-mattock

Bofur and his war-mattock from The Hobbit movies


Concerning attire, there seems to be, at first glance, a difference between the dwarves of old, those mentioned in The Hobbit and those mentioned in Lord of the Rings.  Something perhaps to be expected as fashion changes frequently.

It is clear that at the time of The Hobbit hoods were all the fashion, as it seems no longer common at the time of the Lord of the Rings to sport such colourful hoods when in a travelling company (as there is no mention of colourful hoods worn by any of the dwarves in Lord of the Rings).

It might be as well that colourful hoods were more common with travelling companies, yet that seems unlikely.  When we glance at the brief mentions of attire of the dwarves of old (Azaghâl, Durin, etc..) it concerns their attire for war (chainmail, helms, armour and war-masks) and unfortunately no mention at all of their common attire. Is the attire of dwarves all that different from that of men? Apart from the fact that they have a passion for hoods and belts – used in some cases to tuck their beards in – (though both may have been a passing fashion trend) I see little difference.  Would dwarves make their own attire, or would they be inclined to buy their clothes from men as they would with much of their food?  I’m inclined to believe they would make their own attire and likely would have one or two tailors in a large mining settlement.  Clothes after all are apt to shred easily in the mines, especially with hardy dwarves working long hours.  Their stitching would therefore likely be double, and even more likely triple stitched.  Dwarves have a passion for crafting, for all things made by their hands, clothes would be no different. For that reason it is difficult to see that they would pay non-dwarves to make clothes for them.


Triple stitching on leather boots.


In nature, the typical Dwarf is stubborn and secretive. Though once you befriend them they are loyal and good friends. They are also a proud and stern race. They do not suffer grievance or insult, and their enmity is long-lasting. They are said to be quick to learn new skills.

It is known Dwarves are greedy by nature, protective of their own and see the accruement of wealth as a priority in their lives.

The seven rings of the dwarves did not dominate them as Mahal (Aulë) made them strong and unyielding to domination by others, yet it enflamed their greed even more, as the rings sought to tempt their bearers according to their own nature (in the case of dwarves greed and the accruement of wealth).


Perhaps not something usually associated with dwarves, yet magic is clearly not unknown to them.  The dwarves of Thorin’s Company laid many spells on their buried treasure (“Then they brought up their ponies, and carried away the pots of gold, and buried them very secretly not far from the track by the river, putting a great many spells over them, just in case they ever had the chance to come back and recover them“.).

Now is this actual magic, or merely a superstitious belief of bringing bad luck to those that steal your treasure?  Considering it’s not the only form of magic the dwarves have experience with, I would say this is an actual form of magic, not mere superstition.

The other form of magic I’m referring to are the magical toys of the dwarves. J.R.R. Tolkien unfortunately never tells us much of the toys made or sold in Dale and Erebor. There are three references to magical toys in Tolkien’s books.

In the Hobbit Thorin Oakenshield recounts the story of his family’s history: “…Altogether those were good days for us, and the poorest of us had money to spend and to lend, and leisure to make beautiful things just for of it, not to speak of the most marvellous and magical toys, the like of which is not to be found in the world now-a-days.” In The Lord of the Rings these magical toys are mentioned twice, firstly right before Gandalf begins his fireworks display:

“On this occasion the presents were unusually good. The hobbit-children were so excited that for a while they almost forgot about eating. There were toys the like of which they had never seen before, all beautiful and some obviously magical. Many of them had indeed been ordered a year before, and had come all the way from the Mountain and from Dale, and were of real dwarf-make.”

The second instance magical toys are mentioned happens in the middle of Bilbo’s farewell speech: …Noises of trumpets and horns, pipes and flutes, and other musical instruments. There were, as has been said, many young hobbits present. Hundreds of musical crackers had been pulled. Most of them bore the mark DALE on them; which did not convey much to most of the hobbits, but they all agreed they were marvellous crackers. They contained instruments, small, but of perfect make and enchanting tones. Indeed, in one corner some of the young Tooks and Brandybucks, supposing Uncle Bilbo to have finished (since he had plainly said all that was necessary), now got up an impromptu orchestra, and began a merry dance-tune. Master Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table and with bells in their hands began to dance the Springle-ring: a pretty dance, but rather vigorous.

The crackers mentioned are likely paper crackers which pop when you pull them, at which a (magical) toy falls out. The “other musical instruments” may have been small bells, like the ones Everard and Melilot used.

Based on the above quotes it would seem the magical toys were indeed made by the Dwarves, either in their entirety or merely the enchanted components.  In what way were they magical though, and how did they make them magical? That remains a mystery unfortunately.

Yet there should be no doubt that dwarven toy makers knew very well the art of enchanting their creations, which makes you wonder why they would not use some form of magic on their tools or weapons.  Perhaps the dwarven magic was a rather limited form, meant for entertainment mainly, instead of bestowing great powers on tools and weapons.

Yet it could be argued that the Axe of Durin, a famed heirloom of the Longbeards, could perhaps have possessed some form of magical powers. Note though that various Old Norse stories mention weapons that talk, sing or bestow great powers on those that wield them.  Seeing Tolkien regularly used Old Norse stories as an inspiration for the dwarves, it would at least not surprise me if the Axe of Durin would posses such magic.


LoTRO: A Dwarf Runekeeper, wielding a magical rune-stone.


Probably the aspect most renowned of the dwarvish character are their master skills in the working of metal and stone, derived from Mahal (Aulë) their maker, the Vala whose province these things were. In ancient times, they were said to have preferred working with copper and iron, though in later days they wrought gold and silver, and from the second age onward the mithril they found in the Mines of Khazad-dûm.

In closing, I hope that next time you’re sitting at a table in the Prancing Pony you won’t mistake my stocky chubby strong-armed uncle with a long white beard (aka Bob) for a dwarf.



 * 1 – By custom, the Dwarves would lay their dead in tombs of stone, but so many were slain in the battle of Azanulbizar that their people broke tradition and instead burned their bodies on flaming pyres. From that day the phrase ‘burned Dwarf’ became a title of honour, used of those who had fallen avenging Thrór in the Battle of Azanulbizar. [TheReturn of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin’s Folk]

*2 – An axe cuts vertically with the blade vertical but an adze or mattock cuts horizontally with a horizontal blade which is ideally used for digging, carving and chopping. The are two main styles of mattocks: the pick mattock (pick and mattock) and cutter mattock (axe and mattock).

*3 – J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, “The Making of Appendix A”: (iv) “Durin’s Folk”   Years later, it was reported by Glóin that Bombur was “so fat that he could not move himself from his couch to his chair at table, and it took six young dwarves to lift him.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

We’ve moved… a new Hall

Greetings friends and welcome to the new home of The Dwarrow Scholar, wordpress!

It was with tremendous sadness that I had to say goodbye to the super boys and girls at mymiddleearth, where the story of The Dwarrow Scholar started. Their support, kind words and general grand attitude made my time there a true pleasure.

I really cannot thank them enough for all what they have done and hope all of you will visit Legendarium Media regularly at

With the move to our new Dwarven Hall expect some new articles soon… AND the long awaited updated dictionaries.

Stay tuned my friends 🙂

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Neo-Khuzdul comes to LoTRO

Well met all!

As part of the updated neo-khuzdul material (that has been finished and will be available in the very near future)… lessons will be offered to all you dwarves out there that are a bit rusty on the dwarf-tongue of old.

The lessons will be given in online form (replacing the current ones on the youtube channel), as regular LIVE Skype classes AND as classes in the Lord of the Rings Online Game.

Learn Dwarvish

Learn Dwarvish

Our first LoTRO lesson (done completely in RP) will start October 16th. at 3PM Server Time.  As Khuzdul is a secret language it goes without saying that ONLY Dwarf characters will be welcomed (time to roll a dwarf on the Laurelin Server if you don’t have one yet).

More news on the online and LIVE Skype classes will follow in the days and weeks to come, stay tuned!

Every at your service.

Posted in Durin's Folk Kinship, Events, Language | 3 Comments

A present for you….. at last.

After a hiatus of a few months, finally a full length post on the Dwarrow Scholar blog.

Reason why I shamelessly abandoned the fabulous readers of this blog ?

I was utterly consumed by a present.

“A present?”, you say.

Yes, call it a very late Durin’s Day gift…

As a gift from me to all who have been extremely patient in the past months (and year).

I am referring to the Neo-Khuzdul dictionaries and documents, which I’ve made available to all that have requested it via email (check your mail if you are one of them).


E-K Cover

Ever since I first read dwarvish words in Tolkien’s works I couldn’t help but attempt to figure out the secret language behind them. It took years before I eventually started (in 2008) to note down some of my thoughts on Khuzdul, which eventually lead to the upload of a first Neo-Khuzdul dictionary in late 2010.   The day I uploaded this tiny online version I was actually already actively working on a revision.  This revision ended up on in 2012.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought these documents would receive over half a million views a year later. A fact that continues to humble and baffle me.

From today you’ll no longer find this version on Scribd, as I don’t like the fact that this site charges for documents I make available freely. If I had known that at the time, I would undoubtedly have posted them on another site. As I believe all should enjoy these files without any charge.

Much like the previous version, as soon as it was released I started working on an update.

What started out as a small update turned out to become the biggest dwarf-related project I have ever completed.

Not only has the size of the dictionary expanded, it grew to massive proportions including many additional support documents, in addition to quite a few related extras.

Before I go into the details of what has exactly changed,

I wanted to take a bit of time to answer an important question about this release.

Some have wondered why it has taken over a year to release this new version of the Neo-Khuzdul dictionaries.

Unfortunately I had to reschedule the release date of these documents no less than 5 times since my first announcement of this update.  There have been a few reasons for this, the main one is that I underestimated the amount of work that needed doing.  I didn’t want to publish a version with one or two updated words, I wanted to make a full fledged dictionary, with added material, nearly turning into a book of its own.  Secondly, I had to rethink my Neo-Khuzdul version.

My initial Khuzdul version was based on Tolkien’s writings (obviously), the Neo-Khuzdul of David Salo, LotRO place-names and the little I knew of Semitic-languages. My own imagination filled in the many blanks I best I could.

The main challenge was to combine all these sources into a version that could stand on its own as an actual conlang.  This was as difficult as trying to fit four large square pegs into one tiny round hole.

Obviously I could not and would not sacrifice any of Tolkien’s original ideas and those had to be preserved 100%, which wasn’t a problem at all, as all other sources had obviously started from Tolkien’s works as well.  The issue was to make coherent the versions of Salo, LotRO and my own ideas on Khuzdul.  This resulted in the version that was published in 2012, including many documents that detailed how words were constructed.  The language had a root in Hebrew and Arabic, yet became a very artificial language – inspired by the fact that Aulë (Mahal – creator of the dwarves) “created” the language for the dwarves for them.


Though I was initially content with this version, the more I read and studied Semitic languages the more it screamed for a revision.  In between two major computer crashes, a mail hack and new professional and personal endeavors I continued to work on this version relentlessly. In January 2013 I even enrolled in Arabic classes, followed by Hebrew classes in May 2013, lessons I took (and still take) to ensure the new version would have a more natural Semitic structure and feel.

Every time I came close to releasing a new version, I wasn’t completely content with it or wanted to add something else to it, which added another month and yet another month to the project.  Until one day I said to myself… “you’ve kept people waiting long enough, just set a date and release it”.  To be honest, the weight of the project was consuming me and for my own peace of mind I had to post this version.  I say this version, as I will likely continue to update it as I see little errors or things I believe should be added.


Now what exactly has changed:

* General

* Verbs and conjugation

* Word structures

* Semitic and Scandinavian influence

* Jawbreakers?

* Additions

* Khuzdul for all


* General:

As I made the decision to turn the Neo-Khuzdul dictionary into a much larger project, I also had to make a decision of another sort.  The previous version had been mainly based on David Salo’s old neo-Khuzdul version. With the Hobbit movies in full swing, I had to consider making it (even more) in line with Salo’s current neo-Khuzdul version. Mister Salo has been absolutely brilliant in letting me have a closer look at his neo-Khuzdul work, either via his website midgardsmal, mail or Skype – Thank you again for your time, effort and patience David.  It was however never my intent to just copy his neo-Khuzdul version, as his interpretation of Tolkien’s dwarven tongue, though brilliant, is not always in line with mine. To clarify, there are elements of his neo-Khuzdul version that (I believe) do not fit with Tolkien’s writings on Khuzdul – an example of this is are the verb forms CaCaC+ / +aCCaC+, while some of Tolkien’s writings speak of other verb structures (Felek, gunud, etc..) clearly using other vowels. Yet at the same time I did not want RP-ers to have to make a choice between multiple Khuzdul versions.  I remained convinced that in the version I needed to make everything should somehow “magically” fit together. I believe I’ve managed in that intent and eventually was able to blend various concepts I used as inspiration, while (which was always my aim) remaining true to every single letter of Tolkien’s one and only real Khuzdul version.

* Verbs and conjugations:

The previous verb structure (how verbs are formed) has been nearly completely abandoned.  Reason for this is three-fold. Firstly, though it was my initial intent to make the language feel more constructed than other middle-earth languages, the rules for verbs made it over-complex, to the point that an outsider would have had tremendous challenges to understand them and use them. Secondly, it had to come much nearer to Tolkien’s intended Semitic-structure.  And lastly, it needed to be more in line with Salo’s neo-Khuzdul version used in the Hobbit movies (see General).  The end result, is something I’m particularly pleased with (if I may say so myself), as Khuzdul fanatics will see Tolkien’s verb structures (gunud, felak) return while remaining true to other existing concepts seen in Semitic languages.


* Word structures:

Likely the biggest change made.  Unlike the previous versions, which was almost exclusively based on singular root forms, word structures are now based on the word types.  A concept that is key to Semitic languages and something I believe was a must in this revision (and my main motivation for it).   Meaning that I’ve gone from 15 rules to forming words, to 25 different word types.  Sound more complicated, but in fact, it’s much more simple to understand and learn.


* Semitic and Scandinavian influence:

It cannot be denied that this version feels more like a natural Semitic language than the previous one, something I’m thankful for.  My studies of Hebrew and Arabic have undoubtedly contributed to this, as many changes were made once I delved deeper into existing Semitic languages.   The main difference between my previous Khuzdul version and this one, is that in the previous versions I mainly used Semitic roots to form new words, while in this version I have drawn from Semitic languages to create the word structures and used other languages to create the roots behind each word. One of those languages was Icelandic, likely the biggest non-Semitic linguistic influence in this revision.  As Tolkien used the dwarven outer names from the Old Norse Poetic Edda, I found it a fitting tribute to do the same with many words.  An example of this influence.  The word for “permission” became êfâl – from Icelandic “leyfa”, transformed with the structure “aCCâC” (which we see in the Khuzdul word “aglâb” – a structure used for abstract type words), making it ayfâl.  Like in Arabic the “ay” changes into “ê”, giving us our end result.  As you can see the influence of Icelandic is there, yet very subtle, hidden underneath a few Semitic and Khuzdul layers.


* Jawbreakers:

“A fair jaw-cracker dwarf-language must be.” – Sam’s opinion of Khuzdul when he heard Gimli speak of the majestic Mountains of Moria. And I think my initial version of Neo-Khuzdul might have been a tad too heavy with the “jaw-crackers”, to the point is was extremely challenging to pronounce.  It was based on the letters found in the Appendices of LoTR, which I later realized were not all required to form the actual language.  Quite a few of these were only used by Tolkien in his other languages such as Quenya and Sindarin. In this version quite a few letters were killed off, that is to say not used to create Khuzdul native words.  Another major change to the sound of this Neo-Khuzdul version is the loss of the harsh fricative sounds (represented in IPA by /θ/ and /x/). Appendix E’s pronunciation guide clearly states Khuzdul does not possess the sounds. So even though I mainly used these in the eastern pronunciations (not the Longbeards), I chose to remove them completely.  You’ll also notice most of the Germanic sounding vowels (such as “ö”) have been removed for the same reason. I believe the result is a Khuzdul which is more natural sounding, more powerful and easier to pronounce.

* Additions:

Just too many to list here to be honest.  The total size of the dictionary has gone far beyond what I ever intended (currently 10 times the size of the previous released version), including over 100.000 nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc…

To name a few of the important additions briefly: gerund form, adverb forms, intensifier, energetic nouns, intimate diminutive, etc…

* Khuzdul for all:

Though I have always loved languages, I’m not a linguist, and don’t pretend to be one either. Hence the documents I’ve created have always been meant for anyone with an interest in the language, not for your average linguist.

With this version I have however included the proper “linguistic labels” (at least where I found them of use). When I used linguistic terminology in this version I have however always tried to explain it in accompanying documents.  To make my point, the Neo-Khuzdul lessons I made available for all via YouTube nearly two years ago are being updated – the first lesson of a whole series is available now HERE.

Lastly, those that really can’t get enough of Neo-Khuzdul (if you are as mad as me), I’m starting an interactive and free class (spanning several sessions) via Skype (on top of the interactive classes we are already having in LoTRO).

More news on dates and times later, but those that have an interest in signing up are free to let me know by replying to this post.

If you’ve enjoyed The Dwarrow Scholar Neo-Khuzdul dictionaries and accompanying documents and video content please take a moment and donate. By doing so you will be ensuring the site and documents remain add-free and future updates will be able to continue, in addition to new video lessons, free classes and much more.

Thank you and enjoy!

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Goal! By Thorin Oakenshield

With the FIFA World Cup about to kick off I thought this might be an excellent idea for a bit of Middle Earth trivia about football.
For those of you outraged at the very idea that I dare mention football and Middle Earth in the same sentence… this bit of trivia might just give you a shocker.
Did you know that football was around in Middle Earth?
Poppycock I hear you say. No, I couldn’t be more serious, it was… furthermore, it was known to the dwarves… and I quote from the Hobbit, Chapter 4 Over Hill and Under Hill:
“This won’t do at all!” said Thorin. “If we don’t get blown off or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football.”
One of the Stone Giants in the first Hobbit movie.
And from down the same book (Chapter 8 Flies and Spiders): “There was a noise like the kicking of a flabby football, and the enraged spider fell off the branch, only catching itself with its own thread just in time.”
Not only did the dwarves know about a football, the fact that they know it is supposed to be kicked seems to indicate they played it themselves, or at least saw it being played. Thorin Oakenshield is the only Tolkien character that personally mentions the attribute of the sport. Who knows, perhaps Thorin was the striker in the local Thorin’s Hall “Ai-Mênu FC” football squad. Nah, surely he was the manager with Bombur in the goal and maybe one of them quick hobbits up front.
Seriously though, why does Tolkien mention “football” at all in his works? Well, most likely J.R.R. Tolkien (who wrote The Hobbit for his young boys initially) wanted to put a few familiar objects into the text.
So, go out there and enjoy the World Cup and just imagine Thorin shouting by the sideline and Bombur getting the golden glove award. 
By the way… one rule if you wish to post reply to this post, YOU MUST tell us who your favorite team is for the upcoming world cup.  
Mine is….. BELGIUM (what did you expect folks?)
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Insulting Elves

Update: June 20th: David Salo has since published a detailed explanation of the phrase seen in the films.   Thank you for that David.   All updates in the below article are placed in italic.


As many have requested my view on the neo-khuzdul insults Thorin delivers to Thranduil in the second installment of the Hobbit movies, I thought it might be interesting to make a post on the topic.

The first insult Thorin makes to Thranduil in neo-khuzdul is Imrid amrâd ursul! which is “Die a death of flames!” (lit: “Die a fiery death”). “Ursul” means “fiery” and in typical khuzdul (semitic) fashion it is placed after the noun. This phrase can also be found on page 97 in the Weta AUJ: Chronicles II. Though they seem to have forgotten the “^” on the second “a” in amrâd (which takes the aCCâC form – usual for abstract concepts – seen in khuzdul words such “aglâb” (language).


The second phrase has actually changed in meaning over the course of history.  As David Salo’s neo-khuzdul version has changed significantly, it’s original meaning (what Gimli says in the Extended Edition of Fellowship of the Ring) could no longer fit into his current neo-khuzdul version. (Apparently he never even wrote the line himself).  Originally it was: “Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul” and translated into “I spit upon your grave” (according to a German fan site).  This earlier neo-khuzdul version is not Salo’s own creation and obviously not the one used in the Hobbit movies.

Meaning that David Salo had to come up with something that sounded very similar but had an actual meaning in his current neo-khuzdul version.  The current phrase became: “îsh kakhfê ai’d dur-rugnul!” Witch sounds very similar but has a different meaning altogether.

It means (according to me – which is backed up by Richard Armitage’s own words and Salo’s site – see link above): May my excrement be poured upon the naked-jawed (ones) – Ish = likely a gerund form meaning “pouring” – and fits nicely into Salo’s overall scheme for imperatives, CiCiC; it could come from a root ʔAYAŠA , kakhfê (kakhf = excrement ê = my), ai = upon (as seen in khazâd ai-mênu), ‘d = id = objective article (“the”), Dûr simply means bare, naked, or uncovered, from a root √DAYARA (*√DAWARA) “strip, shave, make naked” (some have suggested this means “head”, but I do not agree as the mountain “Bundushathûr” means “cloudy head”, head would be “bund”); rugn (plural ragân) is the lower jaw (or chin).

So, that’s my* lesson in insulting elves, I hoped you all enjoyed it friends.

*Updated by the teachings of mister Salo of course.

Note: I do not support insulting elves, half-elves or elf-friends in any way, form or fashion and shall not take any responsibility for any physical injuries (or injuries of any kind) upon using the above insults.  😉

Posted in Language | 30 Comments

The Dwarrow Scholar needs you!

Well met!

Those that are giving me a somewhat angry look… mercy please! *starts waving a little white flag*.  It has indeed been a tremendous long time since my last post… and I’ve kept everyone waiting for the updated materials… however… I hope you’ll be thrilled to hear that the updated neo-khuzdul material is getting its last finishing touches. Hence the reason I have not been putting up any new posts on this blog recently… as I’ve used up every spare second of my free time to update and create new neo-khuzdul material for you! … yes you 😉

I’m not going to go into too much detail on the new material in this post (saving that for later), but those that have signed up should be more than happy with the result (if I may say so).

So why this teasing post ? Well… spending months updating and creating new documents has also made me have a closer look at the YouTube lessons I had made in 2012 (those currently online).  As all those needed urgent revision as well.  The result is that I’m in the midst of completing an entire “lesson pack” – containing no less than 24 individual neo-khuzdul lessons.  To make it a bit more interesting than before several stories have been created (finishing some of those now), which will form the backbone of the lessons.  For these stories I hope to find several people to voice the characters.

Dwarrow Scholar Needs YOU

Dwarrow Scholar Needs YOU

What exactly am I looking for:

* 4 to 6 people to voice-act the various characters in the lessons, both men and women of all ages are welcomed.

* People that speak English (does not need to be native, yet needs to have a very good understanding of the language) – if you are reading this without the use of Google translate I guess that means you!   You do not need an understanding of Khuzdul or Semitic-languages, though it’s a plus.

* People with a passion for languages and learning.

* People that are able to record .mp3 audio (via audacity or other) and a have a good quality microphone.

* People that are willing to do this for the glory of it and the good of education (all those sick of hearing only my voice in the current lessons will be tremendously grateful).  This is all non-profit as you might imagine, though your name (or alias if you prefer) will be listed at the credits of each lesson.

How will this work:

* The chosen voice actors will receive materials (transcripts and audio files – to help with the pronunciation) via email (including details on the story, which part they should record, etc…).

* You record your part before the given deadline (you’ll always have a minimum of two weeks to record and send the material)

* The lessons will be audio only (in the style of the 2012 lessons), so no need for any video application.

* The voice actors can always contact me via email or Skype when running into challenges, you won’t be on your own with this material.

* These lessons will be recorded and edited over a period of 6 weeks, after which the project ends.  At the start of each two weeks the voice actors will receive new material (see above), meaning that they’ll need to do three recordings sessions in total, each taking about an hour in total (if that).

What part am I auditioning for ?

That’s difficult to say at this point really, as the lesson stories have several male and female dwarven characters.   These range from soldiers, traders, miners, tavern keepers to famous characters such Ori or Thorin Oakenshield himself.

Interested ? Now what ?

* send me an email BEFORE MAY 23rd at kstrongbeard[AT] with a recorded .mp3 file.  This audio file should tell me a bit more about you (your name and interest in khuzdul is a good start) and should include the famous phrase “Baruk khazâd, khazâd ai-mênu”.  This way I should be able to tell if your audio quality and voice are what I need.

Thank you all and keep you posted!

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Kili’s Runestone


There has been some discussion of late related to Kili’s Runestone featured in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The Big question most have is (apart from why doesn’t WETA™ already have this in their shop?)… “what do the runes say?”

As I received a kind request from Kristie Erickson to help out with the translation… that I couldn’t deny in the spirit of Christmas after all… I jumped right in and had a closer look at the stone.

First of all, the stone is not your regular find-in-your-local-stream-kinda-stone, but appears to be a very beautiful polished Labradorite, which is a feldspar mineral.

Kili's Runestone featured in the Desolation of Smaug

Kili’s Runestone featured in the Desolation of Smaug

If we take a closer look at the picture of the runes, we notice it appears to consist of 6 runes. I say “appears”, as I’m not sure that some of the markings here are not just wear and scratches. In fact I personally believe that the last rune has some markings that very likely are not part of the rune.

Khuzdul (and the film version neo-khuzdul) is formed as a Semitic language, meaning amongst other things that the type of vowels and order in which these are arranged among the consonants in a word dictate the exact meaning of it. The linguist charged with forming the film version of Khuzdul is linguist David Salo. One of the characteristics of his neo-khuzdul is the iCCiC form (C being a consonant) for the imperative form (form used for command, orders, requests, permission and prohibition).

An example of that is found in the line “Nî ikrit fund” (meaning: never trust an elf). In this example the word “ikrit” is the imperative form of the verb to trust. We are, in a way, “commanded” not to trust an elf.

Now, what does all this have to do with Kili’s runestone? Well, we can clearly notice the runes for “i” on the first and third rune. Plus the stone also seems to have six rune markings, again consistent with the imperative form of neo-khuzdul. So chances this is some form of command or request are extremely high.

Another hint for this is given when we look at the lines from the film (spoiler alert reminder):

Tauriel:The stone in your hand, what is it?
Kili:It is a talisman…. A powerful spell lies upon it. If any but a dwarf reads the runes on the stone, they will be forever cursed… or not. Depending on whether you believe that kind of thing. It’s just a token… a rune-stone. My mother gave it to me so I’d remember my promise.
Tauriel:What promise?
Kili:That I would come back to her…. She worries. She thinks I’m reckless.

Kili clearly states that it is a promise to come back. This fits with our assumption that these runes use the khuzdul imperative form. “Come Back” (or “Return”) is an imperative form.

The question now is, does this really say “come back”?
What can the other runes tell us ?

Unfortunately not much. The forth could be a “Kh” rune. I say “could be”, as the little dot next to it could be the “h” of the K, but it could very well be the separating word dot (used as a space) to indicate the following word.  Let us assume this is a separating marker, a space indicating two words. The others I can’t be 100% sure of. As the second rune seems to be a form of “N”, the extra stroke is likely a duplication mark, meaning it would be a double “N”. while the fifth rune seems to be a “d”. The last and sixth rune is the biggest question mark. It looks like the rune for the extended “e” (ê), but I cant be sure as the markings are quite unclear.

So if we put all of these assumption together we get “innik dê”.

The main problem off course is that we are not sure what are scratches on the rune or what are actual rune markings. But if by some tremendous amount of luck my assumption would be correct than this word has the radicals “N-N-K”.

The consonants (or radicals) of a Semitic word will determine the general meaning of a word (while the vowels will make it specific). An example of this is (staying with our previous example): AKRÂT, means “The Trust” (using aCCâC form – making it the abstract form), while “IKRIT”, means “Trust!” (using iCCiC form – making it a command). All of the above tells us that if there is another word with these same consonants, we can identify the exact meaning.

The radicals N-N-K seem to be inspired by the biliteral root N-KH, meaning “come” (related to the Adûnaic form “nakh-“).  This could be linked to a duplication pattern we often see in semitic languages which intensifies the verb.  Turing N-Kh to N-N-K, turning “come” to “come back”.

The second word “dê” could be a merger of the word “du” (meaning “to”) and the singular pronominal suffix -ê.  We see an example of the word “du” in Thorin’s battle cry “Du Bekâr (to arms!) in the first installment of the Hobbit movies (at the Battle of Azanulbizar).   So translating this would give us “to me”.

Thorin at the Battle of Azanulbizar ® & ™ 2012 Warner Bros, Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thorin at the Battle of Azanulbizar
® & ™ 2012 Warner Bros, Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Though we can’t be sure of it at present, I personally remain convinced that it means “RETURN TO ME”

Update: David Salo has in the meantime confirmed our assumption:

Posted in Language, Writings | Tagged , , , , , | 33 Comments