"It's been sorted, Milord," the Orc informed him. "A goblin contingent from the Misty Mountains misunderstood an order. Their commander told them to shoot the horses, but they thought he said to aim for the wheels. They are being reeducated."

Had Sauron been corporeal he would have smacked his forehead. "This is outrageous. I constructed the Black Speech so that such things would not happen. I devised this beautiful language and instructed my creatures in every aspect of its form, but absent a few centuries' watchfulness they have only fallen back into dialect and disarray. What good is all of my Standardization if the dregs of my army will not use the noble grammar I have given them?"

"With respect, Milord, I don't think the problem is grammatical. It's more an issue of the homophones involved: northern snaga rukul and Mordor rûk."

"Oh, that makes it so much better," said Sauron icily. "I should just be glad they don't speak Dwarvish or they would have followed orders to shoot each other!"

Udalug's brow creased but he forbore angering his master further. In Sauron's current mood he would not appreciate a reminder that the Khuzdûl plural for "Orc" was actually Rakhâs.


Rûk ("horse"; Land Of Shadow Black Speech, devised by Scatha)

Rukul ("wheel"; Svartiska, a Swedish Orc conlang)

Rukhs, pl. Rakhâs ("Orc"; Tolkien's Khuzdûl)


Disclaimer: Tolkien's works, characters and concepts are copyright J. R. R. Tolkien. "A Question of Dialect" is copyright The Lauderdale and was originally published March 21, 2010 at Henneth Annûn.

This is a double drabble (200 words exactly) originally posted to the Henneth Annûn Story Archive (HASA) in response to a March 2010 birthday request from Elena Tiriel:

"So, I think my request is a drabble about Geeks being Geeks — whether you call them sages, scribes, lore-masters, healers, herb-masters, masters of tongues, jewel-smiths, Valar, or just The Wise. Anything about what they (alone) see as important, or how they see others, or how others see them."

Although I'm not sure who's geekier here: Sauron, Udalug or me.

My apologies to those hoping for a new chapter of Orc-brat. This obviously isn't it, but with the impending shutdown of HASA at the end of the year I figured I ought to post this silly thing somewhere else as well. If you yourself have stories saved on HASA or have favorites there that are not posted elsewhere, get thee hence and take care of business before January 1st, 2015.