Elven languages

Many Black Speech and Orcish words incorporate roots taken from languages of Elves. While Quenya and Sindarin are well-known some other tongues (specially older in external history) mentioned at this wiki may confuse a reader. This page will shortly overview them.

Language Description Links
Common Eldarin1) Evolved from Primitive Elvish. Was the language of all elves of the West before their division Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway
Doriathrin Language of Doriath, The Hidden Kingdom of Beleriand, in the First Age. Almost all examples are from early drafts and Etymology chapter of The Lost Road and Other Writings. In Silmarillion it's considered as archaic dialect of Old Sindarin Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion
Gnomish also Goldogrin. Invented by Tolkien for the first drafts back to 1917. Lexicon is published in Parma Eldalamberon 11 and in shorter form in appendices to The Book of Lost Tales. By 1930 evolved into Noldorin. Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway
Ilkorin in early drafts was the language of Teleri elves left in Beleriand, later replaced by Noldorin and then by Sindarin in external history. May remain as “northern dialect” of Sindarin. Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion
Noldorin in early drafts was a combined language of elves of Fëanor (Old Noldorin) and dark elves of Beleriand (Ilkorin), later replaced by Sindarin. Tolkien Gateway
Old Noldorin replaced by Noldorin dialect of Quenya, also known as Old Sindarin Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion
Primitive Elvish also Primitive Quendian. The first language invented by elves just after their awakening. Precedes Quenya and Common Eldarin in internal history. Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion
Qenya Written by 1915, so predates any Legendarium. Published in Parma Eldalamberon 12. By 1940s it evolved into Quenya. Tolkien Gateway
Quenya Ancient tongue common for all elves. One of the best-developed languages of elves. By the time of The Lord of the Rings (Third Age) it became a scholar language not used in colloquial speech like it was the Latin in Middle Ages. The grammar of language was still changing after the publication of LOTR until 1973. Has two major dialects: Vanyarin (language of elves of Valinor, stayed to live there) and Noldorin (or Exilic) Quenya, a speech of elves returned to Middle-Earth. Noldorin Quenya was replaced by Sindarin in real usage during the First Age, while Vanyarin Quenya remains a spoken language of Valinor. Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion
Sindarin Language of “modern” elves of Middle-Earth. While it was born during the First Age (merging Exilic Quenya and Ilkorin) it survived as colloquial language by the time of The Lord of the Rings. In early drafts (before 1940s) was called Noldorin. Wikipedia,
Tolkien Gateway,
Ardalambion

Roots from “Etymologies” chapter of “The Lost Road and Other Writings” are often cited either as Common Eldarin or Primitive Elvish, but it is not always right. Sometimes Tolkien cited actual Primitive Elvish forms and they differ from corresponding root. “Etymologies” is more like Proto-Indo-European language, you can trace words of various languages of same family to it, but it doesn't mean that PIE words really existed in such form.


There are more Elvish languages existed but they are not mentioned in this wiki. If your are interested in other languages of Tolkien's mythos then following pages are essential.

1)
or just Eldarin
elven_languages.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 00:59 (external edit)