THE TROLLISH TONGUE ("TRULTRUL")

RESEARCH HISTORY- ORIGIN - PRINCIPLES - PRONUNCIATION - SYNTAX
MIZZLE'S HISSES - NON-VERBAL - VOCABULARY

The Trollish language is a primitive, animalistic language that is defined by harsh, brutal and extremely loud sounds. Slobbering, snorting and growling are among the most common ways for a troll to produce words. This has often yielded the thought that trolls do not speak at all, but merely let loose all their orifices in (often despicable and filthy) different ways to communicate. That a true language system underlies these brutal and gruesome sounds has baffled scholars in whole Sarvonia. Despite difficulties researching the language (being eaten does not exactly motivate scholars to plan field trips up the Troll Mountains), the knowledge that we have about the language is growing as time passes. In this entry the specifics of the TRULTRUL language will be explained with several examples of this fascinating tongue.

Research History. Research on TRULTRUL, or "Trollish", has led many researchers to dead ends in the past. The primitive and animalistic quality inherent to the language long seemed to be beyond the grasp of scholars. However, since Mandrick Mizzle published his (now utterly famous) "On Trollish Phonology", the field of Trollish Studies has leaped forward and is now in a new era of discovery and contemplation. Much of the information below can be found in "On Trollish Phonology", although Mizzle wrote the book with a focus primarily on phonology (as the title suggests). It may well be that new features of the will come to the fore in the time to come. Return to the top

Origin. The origin of the language of the
trolls is hard to indicate. As trolls live all over Caelereth (Most tribes may be found on the Sarvonian continent, but some inhabit Cyhalloi and Nybelmar as well) it is impossible to speak of TRULTRUL in the sense that all trolls speak the same language. The language described below is mainly the language used by the Kloighut, or Mountain Trolls. This tribe lives in the Troll Mountains in north-eastern Santharia. Mandrick Mizzle, our leading expert on Trollish, has spent many years trying to approach these trolls and listen to their speech. In his book "On Trollish Phonology" Mizzle reasons that as the language of the trolls shows such an enormous conservative nature it might well be that the primitive language spoken by the Kloighut reflects the Trollish language in general, that is, spoken by all trolls in Caelereth. This has, up to this day, neither been verified or falsified. Mizzle does state that dialectal variations are unavoidable considering the distance between the different tribes, the isolated character of the tribes and the time that has passed without inter-tribal contact. More research will have to be carried out on the speech of the other Trollish tribes, like the Ighut, Ghereghut and Ighmeshut. Return to the top

Principles. The research of the Trollish language was thrust into existence by the discovery that the random seeming grunts and hisses of the trolls were in fact part of a language system. This language system has, since that groundbreaking discovery, been researched on a very sporadic basis (as it is not easy to blend into troll society) and the knowledge that we have is limited. It is, however, the believe of some scholars that this limited knowledge perfectly reflects the way that trolls regard their language, or any language for that matter. Trolls are very close to animals in the way they behave and interact with the world around them. This animal nature is reflected in their language. The vocal chords of the average troll are mainly used to growl and snort, so the language is based on growls, snorts, hisses and other animal sounds (as long as it is very loud and impressive). The vocabulary of the trolls is limited to a set of primitive words which they use for just about everything. Primitive, in this sense, means that the lexicon is limited to semantic items which are essential to a primitive culture.

Words such as animal (MOSH), troll (TRUL), death (MARGH), day/night (KHOLEM/MARGHOGH) are primitive in the sense that a primitive culture would develop them at an early stage. Words such as argumentative, corrosion, subtle, etc. are words which will not be found in the Trollish language. As troll society does not seem to have changed dramatically during the last ages, so has the language remained in a conservative state. It is possible that the trolls do not see the need for more words as they can interact with one another without difficulty. If trolls has been a species fond of trading and interactions with other species it might have developed a completely different TRULTRUL, with much more influences of other languages and lexically quite advanced. The only exceptions to the primitive vocabulary seem to be the words with a religious connotation. This is of no great surprise, as troll religion underlies their entire society. This religious vocabulary shows the interwoven nature of religion and life in trollish society, as religious terms (inner sight (GHUAKOL), shaman (KLOHMAGHI), etc.) seem to be part of this primitive word-set. Return to the top

Pronunciation. TRULTRUL words are presented with capitals to indicate the loud nature of the language. As indicated above, trolls basically construct their words using (loud) animal sounds. It is often hard to distinguish words from basic growling or grunting. Scholars, like the famous troll-expert Mandrick Mizzle, have endeavoured to create a list of the types of pronunciation common to most TRULTRUL words. Mizzle's "On Trollish Phonology" is a hefty work comprising of a detailed description of all TRULTRUL phonology. The following sounds are most common to Trollish vocabulary and each reflect a basic animal sound:

It should be stressed that the sounds described above form the largest part of the Trollish phonemic system. It does not constitute the entire pronunciation as trolls will use every type of sound producible by all types of orifice (yes, all types) to make itself heard by other trolls. Return to the top

Syntax. Trollish is a Statement Language, which means that instead of fully crafted sentences it relies heavily on context-sensitive short statements (with Mizzle's Hisses a lot of subtleties can still be inherent to these statements). This reflects the nature of the trolls; there is an enormous focus on the present and almost no need to delve into the past or imaginary future. It had been assumed that trolls have an alternative way of communicating to one another, as the limited vocabulary of their language would be insufficient on a day to day basis. The language itself would then only be used when larger groups converse and when trolls command other trolls. This has proven to be a misconception. TRULTRUL is the day to day language of all trolls, enabled by a language system which underlies the spoken words, Mizzle's Hisses.

Below is an example of one of the few Trollish conversations that we have successfully transcribed. The exact translation of this sequence of TRULTRUL has long been difficult to discern, but through the work of Mizzle, a new understanding of the conversation has been reached. (Note: Mizzle's Hisses have been added between /.../, more on these types of hisses can be found below.)

"AAGHUT /Friendly Hiss/ KHEGH!
KLOH /Predatory Hiss/ MOSH /Unknown Hiss/ NIKHNIKH
5 [Troll lifts five fingers] TRULTRUL MARGH! /Sad-Mourning Hiss/
LAGH KHOLEM /Opposition Hiss/ MARGHOGH!
AAGH! /Spurring Hiss/ AAGH! /Spurring Hiss/ ZAGHAKHA /Hostile Hiss/ MOSH"


- Klohtrul of the Kloighut tribe addressing his fellow trolls during a hunt -

Literal Translation (without taking the hisses into account):

Wartribe, beware!
Big animal trees/forest
5 Trolls death
Not day night
Attack! Attack! Yummy animal


Interpreted Translation (with interpretation of Mizzle's Hisses):

Hear me, oh wartribe!
A fierce creature dwells in the forest;
Five trolls have died (because of it)
Not today, but this night we will attack!
Attack! I desire the death of this beast!


- Translated by Mandrick Mizzle, On Trollish Phonology, appendix C -

As you can see, the hissing between words can carry different semantic loads to the words and even indicate markedness or focus. The translation by Mizzle demonstrates how a string of utterances can be interpreted as full-fledged sentences. Return to the top

Mizzle's Hisses. When trolls speak they frequently create sharp intakes of breath between words. These intakes of breath are produced with clenched teeth which creates a hissing sound. Although more research still has to be done on this subject, it seems as though these hissing sounds convey deeper meaning and context to the spoken words. Past researchers have posed the theory that these hissing sounds between words were caused by the bad shape of most troll teeth. Mizzle, however, has shown that this conception is quite erroneous, as the hiss is not always used between words and by pointing out that the semantic load of the different types of hisses is a conscious element of the Trollish language. This hissing aspect of the language points to the animalistic and primitive nature of the language, as it is akin to the growling/mewing/hissing sounds made by animals all across Santharia. They can be threatening, soothing, calm, etc. For example the TRULTRUL sentence:

ZAGHAKHA /Friendly Hiss/ SNITRUL (lit. 'yummy human/elf') would probably mean 'nice human' or even 'friend'.

ZAGHAKHA /Predatory Hiss/ SNITRUL would be indicating that the human or elf in question is being sized up for their nutritional value.

ZAGHAKHA /Hostile Hiss/ SNITRUL would mean that one should start running, as the troll is using ZAGHAKHA to indicate that it is intending to slay that particular person.

It should be obvious that the true complexities and nuances of troll language is difficult to discern, as there are more than fifty different types of Mizzle's Hisses attested in his "On Trollish Phonology". It may well be that the true meaning of TRULTRUL is lost to all other races, but the study of Mizzle's Hisses can lead to a better understanding of this fascinating race. Return to the top

Non-Verbal. Non-verbal elements in Trollish languuage can be summarized as follows:

Vocabulary. Below are the words that our researchers have gathered so far. It should be noted that trolls are capable of combining words to indicate something for which they do not have one single lexical item. The different types of Mizzle's Hiss have not been included in the table, but can, as discussed above, subtly change the meaning of each word. Here is the list: Return to the top

AAGH! Attack!
AAGHUT War tribe
EKH! Stop!
GH Being (untranslatable literally. Has the connotation of "sentience" or "living". Animals and some plants can be described with the GH syllable.)
GHANNAKH Male Troll
GHEREGH Cave, home, house, dwelling
GHEREGHUT Cave tribe
GHOMOGH Female Troll
GRUMPH Bite!
GHOAKOL Inner Sight (lit. "inner see")
GHRUAGHKOL Inner fire
HAMESH Ice, quartz (lit. "hard white")
HAMESHUT Ice Tribe
IGMESH Snow (lit. "white stone")
IGMESHHUT Snow Tribe
IGHUT Stone Tribe
KHEGH! Beware! Watch out!
KHOLEM Day, Sun
KLOH

 

Big, large, more, most, much, strong
KLOHMAGHI Shaman (lit. "great listener")
KLOIGH Mountain
KLOIGHUT Mountain Tribe
LAGH Negative
 
MARGH! Die! (also Death)
MARGHOGH Night
MASH Garment, cloth, covering
MESH White
MOSH Animal
MOGH Femaleness (also female genitals, encompassing, protecting, gathering)
MOGHMASH X-shaped wrap which covers/supports groin and breasts
MOSHMOSH Food
NAKH Maleness (also male genitals, strength, energy, creating)
NAKHMASH Loin-cloth
NIKH Tree
NIKNIKUT Forest Tribe
SNI Little, small, lesser, weak
SNIGH Pebble
SNIHUT Human race, elven race, etc. (used to address the race as a whole)
SNISNITRUL Dwarf, Brownie, other non-Troll small races.
SNITRUL Human, Elf, Orc
TRUL Troll
TRULTRUL Trolls, the race of trolls, all trolls in a group, "us".
UT Clan, tribe, group
ZAGHAKHA Mmm, tasty, yummie

 Date of last edit 28th Singing Bird 1672 a.S.

Information provided by Ishmaelion View Profile