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Elvish languages

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There are several different Elvish languages of which Quenya and Sindarin are the most common and well known, but there were many variations and dialects.

Elvish

Elvish letters.

Elvish languages of Middle-earth

The languages originated as follows:

There were also the Tengwar and Cirth scripts.

Pronunciation

Sindarin and Quenya have in most aspects very much the same pronunciation. The following table gives pronunciation for each letter or cluster in international phonetic script and examples:

Vowels

Letter / Digraph Pronunciation IPA Further comment
a as in father, but shorter. Like fathom [ɑ] never as in cat
á as in father [ɑː] /
â (in Sindarin) as in father, but even longer [ɑːː] /
ae (in Sindarin) the vowels described for a and e in one syllable. [ɑɛ̯] Similar to ai
ai a diphthong, similar to that in eye, but with short vowels [ɑɪ̯] never as in rain
au a and u run together in one syllable. Similar to the sound in house [ɑʊ̯] never as in sauce
aw (in Sindarin) a common way to write au at the end of the word [ɑʊ̯] /
e as in pet [ɛ] /
é the same vowel lengthened (and in Quenya more closed; as in German) S: [ɛː], Q: [eː] Rural Hobbit pronunciation allows the sound as in English rain
ê (in Sindarin) the vowel of pet especially lengthened [ɛːː] Rural Hobbit pronunciation allows the sound as in English rain
ei as in eight [ɛɪ̯] never as in either (in neither pronunciation)
eu (in Quenya) e and u run together in one syllable [ɛʊ̯] never as in English or German
i as in machine, but short [i] not opened as in fit
í as in machine [iː] /
î (in Sindarin) as in machine, but especially lengthened [iːː] /
iu (in Quenya) i and u run together in one syllable [iʊ̯] later by men often as in English you
o open as in British got [ɔ] /
ó the same vowel lengthened (and in Quenya more closed; as in German) S: [ɔː], Q: [oː] Rural Hobbit pronunciation allows the sound of "long" English cold
ô (in Sindarin) the same vowel especially lengthened [ɔːː] Rural Hobbit pronunciation allows the sound of "long" English cold
oi (in Quenya) as in English coin [ɔɪ̯] /
oe (in Sindarin) the vowels described for o and e in one syllable. [ɔɛ̯] Similar to oi. Cf. œ!
œ (in Sindarin) as in German Götter [œ] in published writing often oe has falsely been used, as in Nírnaeth Arnoediad!
u as in cool, but shorter [u] not opened as in book
ú as in cool [uː] /
û (in Sindarin) the same vowel as above, but especially lengthened [uːː] /
y (in Sindarin) as in French lune or German süß, but short [y] not found in English, as in German "Hütte"
ý (in Sindarin) as in French lune or German süß [yː] /
ŷ (in Sindarin) as in French lune or German süß, but even longer [yːː] not found in English

Consonants (differing from English)

  • The letter c is always pronounced like the letter k, even before i and e.; for instance, Celeborn is pronounced Keleborn, and Cirth is pronounced Kirth.
  • The letter g is never pronounced in the soft form, as in giant. For instance, Region is pronounced unlike the English word region.
  • The letter r is lightly trilled, as in Spanish.
  • The digraph dh, as in Caradhras, is pronounced like the th in this.
  • The digraph ch, as in Orch, is pronounced as in German ach.

Most samples of the Elvish language are written out with the Latin alphabet, but the languages were written using Tengwar, or occasionally carved in Cirth. Tengwar can however be used to write many other languages.

See also: Languages of Middle-earth

External links

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