The following inscription appears on the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring book:

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Which in Black Speech can be written down as:

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,

Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

However, the inscription is using different letters. I've checked Tengwar, but I can't find any of the words (e.g. ash, nazg, etc.).

How should the inscription be read exactly, in other words, how it's transformed from the above fiery letters into latin letters?

  • There's an article on Wikipedia with list of known words. (The ring inscription section). Unless you mean the pronouncation
    – RedClover
    Feb 6, 2018 at 21:09
  • 1
    Letter by letter transliteration is possible using resources such as this, I'd done something similar for my answer here on SFF.
    – user649
    Jun 5, 2018 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


You are likely having a hard time reading these tengwar because of three big problems:

  1. the style itself is such that the tengwar are slanted and written calligraphically
  2. the mode used to write them is unusual and not common for Elvish languages
  3. there are no spaces between words!

The page linked should provide assistance; the issue is that the tengwar and tehtar behave (like in several modes) as in an abugida: the vowels are diacritics to the "host" consonants, and a null consonant is used for vowel-initial words (even when the words aren't separated by spaces).

  • (2) In particular, no attested Elvish language has /ʃ/ as in ash. But the title pages use tengwar and cirth for English; if you decipher those, you can confirm that (as mentioned in the Appendix) the columns of tengwar that represent t, p, k, kw and their kin in Elvish are used in English and Black Speech for t, p, č, k and their kin, respectively. Thus ash is written with the tengwa that in Elvish would stand for /kh/, while nazg and –uk use the tengwar for /gw/ and /kw/. Oct 8, 2018 at 19:05

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