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I was reading the LOTR wiki page about Black Speech and it says:

The Black Speech is unfortunately one of the more incomplete languages in Tolkien's novels, because the forces of good refuse to utter it, as it attracts the attention of the Eye of Sauron.

What canon text supports the proposition that uttering Black Speech attracts the Eye of Sauron?

  • 4
    Lotr.wikia.com is full of wrong information, as a matter of fact. FWIW I'd recommend you to use tolkiengateway.net. – Alfredo Hernández Nov 29 '14 at 8:47
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    @AlfredoHernández - this is a nature of ALL fiction Wikis. Harry Potter is even worse. The problem is that people take a small piece of text from the work, and spin a narrative around that text, to explain it to their satisfaction. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 29 '14 at 14:12
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    ...and I see that it's already been edited out: lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Speech?action=history. Kudos if it was one of us. – user8719 Nov 29 '14 at 14:25
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    Also, to be clear, Sauron was not a literal eye – Kyle G. Nov 29 '14 at 20:20
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No canon text supports it.

The claim is correct in so far as "the forces of good refuse to utter it"; in Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf refuses to use Black Speech in Bag End:

The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here.

And he is admonished by Elrond for using it in Rivendell:

Never before has any voice dared to utter the words of that tongue in Imladris, Gandalf the Grey...

But there is absolutely no evidence that using it attracts the Eye of Sauron. It would indeed be extremely odd if it did so, since Gandalf did use it safely enough in Rivendell, after all.

  • And now I wonder where LotR wikia got that particular piece of misinformation from. It sounds like something David Day would invent, or more probably a computer game mechanic. – user8719 Nov 29 '14 at 12:30
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    The first frame of xkcd.com/978 is relevant: "Through a convoluted process, a user's brain generates facts. These are typed into Wikipedia." [or in this case, LotR Wikia] – Tim S. Nov 29 '14 at 16:01
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    While I agree, there are no specific references to the Black Speech attracting Sauron, there are certainly hints that it is dangerous to speak of evil things. Gandalf's reluctance to use the Black Speech is one, as is his annoyance at either Merry or Pippin (can't remember which) introducing Frodo as the Lord of the Ring after his recovery at Rivendell ("Hush! We should not speak of evil things here.") It's not surprising that it's interpreted by the literal-minded as having a practical rather than a psychological effect. – Cugel Nov 29 '14 at 19:49
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    Particularly as the act of speaking Elvish a little earlier (A Elbereth Gilthoniel!) has a very practical effect on the Nazgul. – Cugel Nov 29 '14 at 19:53
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    And Strider warns Pippin against saying the word Mordor too loudly en route to Weathertop. No doubt I'll think of more examples, but you get the gist. Speaking evil is seen to attract misfortune, by some mechanism or other. – Cugel Nov 29 '14 at 20:04
-1

Given the demonstrations of the power of incantation in the LotR universe (Arwen using the river against the Wraiths comes to mind), it's entirely plausable to imagine that the right words said in right order, but in the Black Speech of Mordor, could have actual physical and devastating outcomes. The often fierce rebuttals of even it's briefest use would suggest this as a possibility too.

  • Sigh. 1. Arwen and the River is a movie invention. – user46509 Jan 27 '16 at 8:04
  • 2. No one is "fiercely" rebuked for using black speech. Elrond merely comments on its use. – user46509 Jan 27 '16 at 8:04

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