Lore:Old Orcish

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Old Orcish (also known by some scholars as Old Orsimeris*) is the ancient language of the Orcs, and the precursor to the language known today as Orcish or Modern Orcish. While the period of time that this language was used by the Orcs is unknown, it cannot have been any earlier than the time of the death of Chieftain Torug gro-Igron, before the first siege of Orsinium in 1E 950, nor any definite evidence to when it evolved into Modern Orcish, although it is reasonable that it could not have evolved any later than 3E 417, in which Modern Orcish was well established by the Orcs of High Rock and Hammerfell. However, seeing that there is evidence for the Old Orcish language having been largely forgotten by 2E 258, it's impossible to know precisely when this transition occurred, due to the scarcity of literature and archaeological evidence for both the ancient and the modern language.

* This name has been suggested to show the connection between the language and its ancestral and sister languages

Language Family and Genetic Relationship[edit]

Old Orcish is part of the Ehlnofex Language Family, and a direct descendant of Aldmeris. It shares this ancestor with the other elven languages: Ald Chimeris, Dunmeris, Pyandonean, Dwemeris, Falmer, Altmeris, Bosmeris, and Ayleidoon.

Literature[edit]

Unfortunately, like many of these other ancient languages, Old Orcish lacks a linguistic corpus, its literature being preserved, in a vast enough quantity for linguistic analysis, in but one known sample of poetry: "Torug ag Krazak" (translated into Cyrodilic as "Torug at the Summit"), a series of inscriptions at the tomb of Torug gro-Igron, the founder of the first Orsinium. Apart from this, little remains of this language but scattered words and phrases.

Old Orcish Translation
Torug ag Krazak, Uhz

Goltragga Torug ne murimush lochan sim
Goltragga Torug ne rohi Ornim lochan norgim krazak

Torug at the Summit, One

Chief Torug will not allow the looters to find his remains.
Chief Torug will allow no lesser Orcs to find interment above him.

Torug ag Krazak, Uhg

Goltragga Torug dek vorkhim lorak eb norgimin sim
Torug dulg krazak eb Jur ugo sim ren tum beshkar

Torug at the Summit, Two

Chief Torug gathered up his armored bracer and his dying body.
He climbed to the summit and placed himself in a cairn of his own making.

Torug ag Krazak, Aht

Jur ugo sim ren tum Torug beshkar
Urgalick voshu Ornim tarask Torug golzarga ubeshka

Torug at the Summit, Three

Then he laid Sorrow's Kiss* upon his enchanted armlet.
Forever waiting for a worthy Orc to claim his most cherished possession.

* There was debate by the translator as to whether the faded letters in the original inscription contained the word "zugka", meaning "kiss", or "zugra", meaning "curse".

Old Orcish Word List[edit]

The following word list is one that has been gathered from the limited number of sources available, although those words marked with an asterisk (*), are words that scholars are doubtful or unsure of.

A[edit]

Ag 
At[1]
Agra 
Shield[2][3]
Aht 
Three[1]

B[edit]

Beshkar 
Cairn,[1] Forge[4]

C[edit]

Crun 
Blood[2][3][5]
Crunzarga 
Revenge (lit. blood-price)[5]

D[edit]

Dek 
Gather[1]
Dulg 
Climb[1]

E[edit]

Eb 
And[1]

G[edit]

Gesh 
Lay[1] (as in to lie down)
Glushun 
Sorrow[1] (specifically the mountain of Sorrow)
Goltragga 
Chieftain[1][5]
Golzarga 
Cherished[1]

J[edit]

Jur 
Place[1] (as in "to place")

K[edit]

Khazun Ghash 
Seamount[6]
Krazak 
Summit,[1] Above*[1]

L[edit]

Lochan 
Find[1]
Lorak 
Bracer[1]
Lorish 
Armlet[1]

M[edit]

Magicka 
Magic,[1] Enchantment[1]
Murimush 
Looter[1]

N[edit]

Ne 
Not Allow[1]
Nor 
Death[4]
Norgim 
Interment*[1]
Norgimin 
Dying[1]

O[edit]

Osh 
Iron[5]
Or 
Stone[4][5]
Ornim 
Orc[1][5]

R[edit]

Rakh 
Blade,[7] Sword[7]
Ren 
In[1]
Rohi 
Lesser[1]

S[edit]

Sim 
Body,[1] Remains*,[1] Self*[1]

T[edit]

Tarask 
Claim[1]
Tum 
Make[1]
Tumn 
Death[4]

U[edit]

Uba 
Time*[1]
Ubeshka 
Possession*[1]
Ugo 
Him,[1] His,[1] He*[1]
Uhg 
Two[1]
Uhz 
One[1]
Urgalick 
Forever*[1]

V[edit]

Vorkhim 
Armored[1]
Vosh 
Courage,[7] Worth*[1]
Voshu 
Worthy,[1] Courageous[1]

Z[edit]

Zagra 
Price*[1]
Zugka 
Kiss[1]
Zugra 
Curse[8][9]

Old Orcish Grammar[edit]

Articles

  • Articles - both the definite the and indefinite a/an are omitted.
Torug dulg krazak eb Jur ugo sim ren tum beshkar / Torug climbed (the) summit and placed himself in making (a) cairn.)


Concepts

  • Words are used in conjunction to present concepts.
...ugo sim... / ...himself... 

from ugo = he, him, his and sim = body, remains, self


Plurals

  • Nouns in the plural do not seem to inflect.
voshu Ornim...rohi Ornim / worthy Orc...lesser Orcs


Pronouns

  • 3rd person personal pronouns are more than often omitted.
Goltragga Torug ne murimush lochan sim / Chief Torug will not allow looters to find (his) remains. 
  • When they are not omitted, they are sometimes substituted for a personal name.
Torug dulg krazak eb Jur ugo sim ren tum beshkar / Torug (he) climbed the summit and placed himself in making a cairn.

Comparing Old Orcish to Other Languages[edit]

  • Magicka - magic, enchantment - cf. Aldmeris, Ayleidoon & Tamrielic Magicka
  • Ne - not allow - cf. Aldmeris ne- (not)
  • Ornim - Orc - cf. Aldmeris Orsimer, & Dragon Language Ogiim

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar Torug at the Summit, Complete Translation
  2. ^ a b Agra Crun
  3. ^ a b Azrath's dialogue
  4. ^ a b c d Strange Rituals of the Orsimer
    A Study of Death Rites of the People of Tamriel
    Chaplain Jorden, Priest of Arkay
  5. ^ a b c d e f Lashburr Tooth-Breaker's dialogue
  6. ^ Seamount Orcs' dialogue
  7. ^ a b c Vosh Rakh
  8. ^ Lady Clarisse Laurent's dialogue
  9. ^ Stibbons' dialogue