Troll Tribe Naming Conventions.
Each Troll type has a number of different tribes. Each tribe have dey own identity. De name dey have chosen (or been given) reflects dis identity for bettah or for worse.
Dese tribes typically named demselves once dey settled in a given region for a long enough time. Amani, Drakkari, Farraki, Gurubashi be meanin’ “of de Forest”, “of de Ice”, “of de Desert” an’ “of de Jungle” respectively. Dey capital cities be similarly named. Zul'Gurub, for example be meanin’ Great City of de Jungle. All oddah tribes we know today all came from dese four main branches. De only exceptions are de Dark Trolls (an’ Zandalari, obviously).
Dat said, every single livin’ Troll… or unlivin’, as de case may be… wit'out exception, can trace back to de Zandalari. Dis includes de ever elusive Dark Trolls.
De Forest Trolls have a special process wherein dey treat de barks of trees to make harvestin’ de lumber easier, as well as to make sure de wood dey get be extra special.
Each tribe has since refined de technique in dey own ways. De way it have been refined is reflected in dey names. Firetree an’ Smoldert'orn for example, be utilizin’ fire along wit’ de alchemy. Vilebranch an’ Widdahbark be concentratin’ more on a venomous mixture, reminiscent of de venom dat Shadra provides de tribes. Mossflayer stick wit’ de more traditional means wit’ only a little alchemical help, an’ Shadowpine an’ Shadowglen be envokin’ de spirits to help de process.
Revantusk be a bit of a mystery, even to me. It doh call to de tree treatment process at all. I suspect dat since dey were one of de smaller tribes, it was possibly an insult from de old days dat dey eventually adopted as dey own. Again, ah have to say, I do not know for certain, at all.
Drakkari and Farraki tribes.
De Desert an’ Ice Trolls chose a much simpler way to name deyselves. Dey call on de environs dem be livin’ in so dere ain’ no guessin’ when yuh hear dey names. Sandfury, Winterfang, Winterax an’ Frostmane. Simple. Sure, dey add a little somet'ing dat dey be known for to give it dat individual edge as most tribes do… but in de end, it is mostly jus’ named for where dey settled.
De Winterfang were noted for sharpenin’ dey canine teet’ an’ tusks to be razor sharp. De Winterax were famous weaponsmit’s. De Frostmane be named such because most be blue or white maned, which many believe is a result of bein’ in de frigid climates so long.
Sandfury were named by de nomadic Tauren of de T'ousand Needles who encountered de Sandfury de few times dey ventured into de desert. Dey noticed dat de Trolls never left de “safety” of de desert, so dere was never any trouble outside of Tanaris. Howevah, woe unto dem who dare enter dey territory. Dey became known as de “fury of de sands”.
Interestin’ note, Sandfury were part of de Gurubashi Empire. Tanaris was connected to de Eastern Kingdoms pre-Sunderin’. Some even say dat Tanaris was jungle at one point! Anyway, de point is dat de Sandfury might well have had a different name before dey were stranded in de desert away from de rest of Troll-kind.
Bloodscalp, Darkspear, Skullsplitter an’ Shatterspear all be named for various t'ings dey do.
Bloodscalp be callin’ demselves dat because dey tend to carve off de scalps of enemies an’ leave de corpses in de jungles. Drivin’ de point home even furdah, dem who aren’t born wit’ red hair bleach it usin’ specially brewed chemicals. Dey den use a dye made wit’ blood an’ crushed up flowahs to make de hair a bright red to match de rest of de tribe. Literally makin’ dem “blood scalps”.
In direct response to de Bloodscalps, de Skullsplitters dye dey hair blue. But more on track, de Skullsplitters be similarly named, but instead of takin’ scalps, dey prefer to chop de heads of dey enemies down de middle. Dis “procedure” normally be done wit’ an axe. In lieu of an axe split, dey will just as quickly bludgeon de head so dat it cracks open.
Dis has made it easy to identify which tribe is which, almost on sight. It also lets oddahs know which tribe is becomin’ aggressive, because dey leave specific callin’ card corpses at de site of de skirmishes.
De Shatterspear split from de Gurubashi Empire durin’ de Hakkari civil war. At dis time, most oddah tribes favoured spears. De Shatterspear favoured hammahs. When dey defeated dey enemies, dey would dance an’ perform rituals. To show complete dominance, dey would crush de enemy weapons wit’ dey hammers. De pieces were often collected and catapulted back into de opposin’ villages.
Dis Shatterspear meanin’ took on a different interpretation when dey settled peacefully in de Darkshore hills. De few dat made it into de village before de Cataclysm confirm dat de Shatterspear had laid down dey arms an’ taken to focusin’ all dey efforts into pleasin’ de spirits t'rough song an’ dance. Dey claimed dat Shatterspear now meant dat dey were peaceful an’ de spear of war was shattered.
Dis clearly changed again after Deat'wing broke de world…
Darkspear be named for a very specific ritual dey do. Dere used to be a small Gurubashi village in Stranglet'orn dat revered de Loa of de Dead, Bwonsamdi more dan some of de oddah villages.
Dere was a belief dat if de dead were prepared an’ offered to Bwonsamdi, dat de livin’ who performed de rituals would be blessed. A second belief was dat spears could be buried along wit’ de dead an’ later, when de blessin’ was confirmed, de spears would be carefully dug up.
Dese spears blessed by Bwonsamdi would return from de grave blackened an’ brimmin’ wit’ supernatural powah. Upon seein’ dis, de small village was soon named village of de Dark Spears. De rest, as dey say, is history.
Hakkari an’ Atal'ai are named dat since dey be reverin’ Hakkar. De first to revere Hakkar were de Hakkari, which means “of Hakkar”.
Later, when some of de Hakkari began to falter, de most devoted who remained Hakkar-loyal were called de Atal'ai, which means “devoted ones”.
The Zandalar tribe.
Not much to say here, except dat de Zandalar Tribe is de grandmuddah tribe. We all come from dem. Zandalar be meanin’ “First”. Zandali be “Language of de First”. Zandalari be meanin’ “First People”.
An’ now yuh know where all de tribes get dey names from! Except of course, for de ones you don’t! Bwahaha!
- Shatterspear Tribe – Troll Compendium (formerly on the official site).
“The Shatterspear tribe split off from the Gurubashi empire after the defeat of Hakkar the Soulflayer. The various tribes claimed territories in the vast jungles of Stranglethorn Vale but quickly began fighting one another. The Shatterspear tribe has since settled at the northeast edge of Darkshore, a continent away from Stranglethorn. Highly reclusive and apparently uninterested in claiming further territory…”
- Zandalar Tribe – Troll Compendium (formerly on the official site).
“The earliest known trolls belonged to the Zandalar tribe, from which all other trolls are descended.”
- Sandfury Tribe – Troll Compendium (formerly on the official site).
“Several millennia before the War of the Ancients, the Sandfury tribe was part of the Gurubashi empire. The Great Sundering shattered the jungle trolls’ territory and left the Sandfury tribe stranded in the middle of what swiftly became the desert of Tanaris.”
- Troll Lumber Mill – Warcraft II Game Manual.
Troll Lumber Mill
“The Trolls, having lived in the forests of the far north for centuries, have devised a unique method of harvesting. By treating a group of trees with a volatile alchemical solvent, the Trolls can deaden and weaken large sections of wood. Though it is extremely hazardous to Peon and earth alike, this site makes the process of cutting lumber more efficient.”
- Atal'ai Scepter – In-Game Item.
“‘Atal'ai’ means 'devoted ones’ in Zandali…”
All in-game screenshots were taken from Wowhead, save for Jintha'alor, which was taken from Wowpedia. The pictures with the brown backgrounds were taken from battle.net (Dungeon descriptions). The still of Hakkar is from the patch 4.1 video trailer.
This entire article is non-canon. It is pure speculation and has no basis in any form of the lore (aside from the few excerpts).
The only confirmed one is Atal'ai, as it is directly stated in an in game item. Exactly what Gurubashi and the rest the others mean or why they are named such, I have no idea in reality. I just made stuff up. Use at your own risk!
Also, I am aware that the Winterfang are from the RPG Books, which have been officially struck from canon. I don’t care. You can chalk it up to being an in character entry