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Uruk & You

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Uruk & You

Postby Icarus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:55 am

So, I wanted to kick of a discussion.

I wasn't about, it seems, when Uruk just became slang for Orc or Goblin. I had always been under the impression that Uruk distinctly meant a very specific type of orc, that in our gameworld doesn't exist yet.

So... what's going on here? Why is Uruk now just a word for orc/goblin?
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Letters » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:00 am

Uruk is just Black Speech for Orc.

Uruk-hai refers to a new breed of Orcs almost the size of Men, able to withstand sunlight, and first seen in 2475, when they sacked Osgiliath. By the time of the War of the Ring, Saruman had bred many Uruk-hai for his own purposes.

But Uruk on its own is just Black Speech for Orc, that's all.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icarus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:10 am

Ah, that would explain it.

So, since we don't speak black-speech (with the exception of certain long-lived terms, like snaga) should we perhaps phase out Uruk?
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Letters » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:23 am

Tolkien himself conflated and confused it, presumably under the guise of it really being a Hobbit doing the writing or something.

It is indicated that the Orcs of Mordor referred to themselves as Uruks if they were big and strong, and called those that weren't Snaga. For a speaker of the Black Speech, however, I am sure that the distinction between Uruk and Uruk-hai would be abundantly clear - Uruk-hai is a whole different breed (except they could still probably call themselves Uruks, because they're still big strong Orcs).

Still, if etymology is a concern: Orc is a word used by Hobbits and Rohirrim. It's also more obviously derived from Elvish words. I see no more reason for Orcs to call themselves Orcs than to call themselves Uruks.

Having said that, I wouldn't mind Uruk being filtered out just to get rid of the confusion with Uruk-hai. Uruk-hai are the elite troops of Sauron's armies. They aren't hanging out in the sticks.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby tehkory » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:28 am

Icarus wrote:Ah, that would explain it.

So, since we don't speak black-speech (with the exception of certain long-lived terms, like snaga) should we perhaps phase out Uruk?

No more than we ought to snaga or tark. Knowing your type noun seems perfectly sensible.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icarus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:46 am

I think in that context, what one calls an orc changes based on their appearance. At the very least, Staff affirmed and differentiated goblin/orc as being both the same thing, but with slightly different impressions, goblins being smaller, orcs being larger. We never touched on Uruk, simply because of its problematic associations with the Uruk-hai and the confusion therin.

If we supposed that the Orcs speak in a bastardized common tongue, and share that language with most of Middle-Earth, would they call themselves Orc in that tongue, and that word in Orkish would simply be more entomologically similar to Uruk?

That said, in the future if we introduce different races/roles, orcs would likely be distinct from goblins, and if we did something like uruk it would mean an even larger orc.
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby toofast » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:51 am

Yeah, I think the whole goblin/orc thing is about ten times more confusing than the orc/uruk situation that has been going on since launch.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Hazgarn » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:52 am

Icarus wrote:That said, in the future if we introduce different races/roles, orcs would likely be distinct from goblins, and if we did something like uruk it would mean an even larger orc.

If you're saying that no one should be using "uruk" because Uruk might be a subrace later, should we be phasing out "goblin" for the same reason?

I'm not currently playing an orc, but I do think it's beneficial for there to be a variety of possible nouns to use. It's more interesting to see a party whose sdescs indicate a wiry goblin, a gangly snaga, a beefy uruk and a scarred yrch as opposed to an orc, an orc an orc and an orc. Humans have a lot of different nouns they can use (man, woman, youth, maiden, girl, boy, codger, fellow). Is seeing the word "uruk" really so confusing that the option needs to be taken away?

ETA: And if it is, you could always incorporate some of the synonyms into the race's description so people know it's all the same thing.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icarus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:00 pm

Fair point Haz.

Anyways, my main question has been answered, that being where it has come from. For the time being, continue as you always have!
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Onasaki » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:11 pm

I have a question regarding language for Icarus.

If we don't speak Black-Speech, like the canon lore says, what is Orkish? How did it come about? Are orcs really smart enough to develop their own language? I was under the impression they were kinda ignorant in the ways of silly human education, like reading, and such.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby tehkory » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:27 pm

Icarus wrote:I think in that context, what one calls an orc changes based on their appearance. At the very least, Staff affirmed and differentiated goblin/orc as being both the same thing, but with slightly different impressions, goblins being smaller, orcs being larger. We never touched on Uruk, simply because of its problematic associations with the Uruk-hai and the confusion therin.

If we supposed that the Orcs speak in a bastardized common tongue, and share that language with most of Middle-Earth, would they call themselves Orc in that tongue, and that word in Orkish would simply be more entomologically similar to Uruk?

That said, in the future if we introduce different races/roles, orcs would likely be distinct from goblins, and if we did something like uruk it would mean an even larger orc.



ETA: Onasaki, language is no true measure of intellect. Remember that orcs are Ages old, from the First Age itself, whereas Black Speech is a constructed language intended to replace Westron near the end of the Second Age. Remember also it was a failure.

It seems simple and obvious to me that even Black Speech is in some ways derived from Elvish languages, if only in this case. Yrc, orc, and uruk are so obviously similar and linked.

Edited by Pallando: fixed up the erroneous quote syntax for ya!
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icarus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:38 pm

Orcish is a bastardized variant of Common Speech, as is Dalish. They really are within the same family of tongues, think of Arabic spoken in Egypt vs that spoken in Lebanon vs that spoken in Afghanistan. Or perhaps English as spoken in the heart of Wales vs that spoken in Texas.
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Onasaki » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:38 pm

Makes sense then, alright.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icristhus » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:51 pm

Icarus wrote:Orcish is a bastardized variant of Common Speech, as is Dalish. They really are within the same family of tongues, think of Arabic spoken in Egypt vs that spoken in Lebanon vs that spoken in Afghanistan. Or perhaps English as spoken in the heart of Wales vs that spoken in Texas.


That wouldn't really be distinct languages within the same family. That would be distinct dialects within the same language.

Languages within the same family would be more akin to, say, English and Spanish sharing Latin roots many, many generations ago, thus you might have a few words the same (ie, No!) but the languages will still be distinctly different tongues.

Thus, a person who only speaks Spanish will have a very hard time speaking with a person who only speaks English, whereas two people who speak different dialects of English (Texans vs Welsh) could (comparitively) very easily speak without an interpreter.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Hazgarn » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:36 am

Except that English is Germanic with Latin influences, not Latin derived. Spanish and French or Italian might have been the better comparison.

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Re: Uruk & You

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:24 am

Icarus wrote:They really are within the same family of tongues, think of Arabic spoken in Egypt vs that spoken in Lebanon vs that spoken in Afghanistan.

Icristhus wrote:That wouldn't really be distinct languages within the same family. That would be distinct dialects within the same language.

Arguably, some of Arabic's so-called 'dialects' ought, on grounds of mutual unintelligibility, to be considered distinct languages. They're certainly less similar than, say, Hindi and Urdu. Go politics. ;)

/off-topic post

Except ETA: I second Hazgarn's point, too.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Icristhus » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Hazgarn wrote:Except that English is Germanic with Latin influences, not Latin derived. Spanish and French or Italian might have been the better comparison.

*runs away and hides in a geek-hole*


Ha, go figure. I was actually thinking of Spanish and English being very far away from one another while I was writing that post, and considering going with Spanish and French. But I double-guessed myself rather than bothering to research. :)
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby krelm » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:42 am

Whenever I used the word 'uruk,' I used it in referring to an orc that my character saw as an equal, or at least worthy of some respect.

Whenever I used the word 'snaga,' my character was referring to an orc that he had no respect for.

That's how I've always used them.
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Re: Uruk & You

Postby Hawkwind » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:23 am

If you can call yourself an uruk and not be beaten down for it, keep it. I see it like Krelm see's it, like Darth. A challenge to other orcs and goblins that you are stronger, faster and better than them.
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