WRITING AND SPELLING
I. PRONUNCIATION OF WORDS AND NAMES
The Westron or Common Speech has been entirely translated into English equivalents. An Hobbit names and special words are intended to be pronounced accordingly: for example, Bolger has g as in bulge, and mathom rhymes with fathom.
In transcribing the ancient scripts I have tried to represent the original sounds (so far as they can be determined) with fair accuracy, and at the same time to produce words and names that do not look uncouth in modern letters. The High-elven Quenya has been spelt as much like Latin as its sounds allowed. For this reason c has been preferred to k in both Eldarin languages.
The following points may be observed by those who are interested in such details.
has always the value of k even before e and i: celeb ‘silver’ should be pronounced as keleb.
is only used to represent the sound heard in bach (in German or Welsh), not that in English church. Except at the end of words and before t this sound, was weakened to h in the speech of Gondor, and that change has been recognized in a few names, such as Rohan, Rohirrim. (Imrahil is a Númenorean name.)
represents the voiced (soft) th of English these clothes. It is usually related to d, as in S. galadh ‘tree’ compared with Q. alda; but is sometimes derived from n+r, as in Caradhras ‘Redhorn’ from caran-rass.
represents f, except at the end of words, where it is used to represent the sound of v as in English of: Nindalf, Fladrif.
has only the sound of g in give, get: gil ‘star’, in Gildor, Gilraen, Osgiliath, begins as in English gild.
standing alone with no other consonant has the sound of h in house, behold. The Quenya combination ht has the sound of cht, as in German echt, acht: e.g. in the name Telumehtar ‘Orion’68. See also CH, DH, L, R, TH, W, Y.
initially before another vowel has the consonantal sound of y in you, yore in Sindarin only: as in Ioreth, Iarwain. See Y.
is used in names drawn from other than Elvish languages, with the same value as c; kh thus represents the same sound as ch in Orkish Grishnákh, or Adûnaic (Númenorean) Adûnakhôr. On Dwarvish (Khuzdul) see p.492.
represents more or less the sound of English initial l, as in let. It was, however, to some degree “palatalized” between e, i and a consonant, or finally after e, i. (The Eldar would probably have transcribed English bell, fill as beolfiol.) LH represents this sound when voiceless (usually derived from initial sl-). In (archaic) Quenya this is written hl, but was in the Third Age usually pronounced as l.
represents ng in finger, except finally where it was sounded as in English sing. The latter sound also occurred initially in Quenya, but has been transcribed n (as in Noldo), according to the pronunciation of the Third Age.
has the same sound as f. It is used (a) where the f-sound occurs at the end of a word, as in alph ‘swan’; (b) where the f-sound is related to or derived from a p, as in i-Pheriannath ‘the Halflings’ (perian); (c) in the middle of a few words where it represents a long ff (from pp) as in Ephel ‘outer fence’; and (d) in Adûnaic, as in Ar-Pharazôn (pharaz ‘gold’).
has been used for cw, a combination very frequent in Quenya, though it did not occur in Sindarin.
represents a trilled r in all positions; the sound was not lost before consonants (as in English part). The Orcs, and some Dwarves, are said to have used a back or uvular r, a sound which the Eldar found distasteful. RH represents a voiceless r (usually derived from older initial sr-). It was written hr in Quenya. Cf. L.
is always voiceless, as in English so, geese; the z-sound did not occur in contemporary Quenya or Sindarin. SH, occurring in Westron, Dwarvish and Orkish, represents sounds similar to sh in English.
represents the voiceless th of English in thincloth. This had become in Quenya spoken s, though still written with a different letter; as in Q. Isil, S. Ithil, ‘Moon’.
represents a sound probably similar to the t in English tune. It was derived mainly from c or t+y. The sound of English ch, which was frequent in Westron, was usually substituted for it by speakers of that language. Cf. HY under Y.
has the sound of English v, but is not used finally. See F.
has the sound of English w. HW is a voiceless w, as in English white (in northern pronunciation). It was not an uncommon initial sound in Quenya, though examples seem not to occur in this book. Both v and w are used in the transcription of Quenya, in spite of the assimilation of its spelling to Latin, since the two sounds, distinct in origin, both occurred in the language.
is used in Quenya for the consonant y, as in English you. In Sindarin y is a vowel (see below). HY has the same relation to y as HW to w, and represents a sound like that heard in English hew, huge; h in Quenya eht, iht had the same sound. The sound of English sh, which was common in Westron, was often substituted by speakers of that language. Cf. TY above. HY was usually derived from sy- and khy-; in both cases related Sindarin words show initial h, as in Q. Hyarmen ‘south’, S. Harad.
Note that consonants written twice, as tt, ll, ss, nn, represent long or ‘double’ consonants. At the end of words of more than one syllable these were usually shortened: as in Rohan from Rochann (archaic Rochand).
In Sindarin the combinations ng, nd, mb, which were specially favoured in the Eldarin languages at an earlier stage, suffered various changes, mb became m in all cases, but still counted as a long consonant for purposes of stress (see below), and is thus written mm in cases where otherwise the stress might be in doubt69. ng remained unchanged except finally where it became the simple nasal (as in English sing). nd became nn usually, as Ennor ‘Middle-earth’, Q. Endóre; but remained nd at the end of fully accented monosyllables such as thond ‘root’ (cf. Morthond ‘Blackroot’), and also before r, as Andros ‘long-foam’. This nd is also seen in some ancient names derived from an older period, such as Nargothrond, Gondolin, Beleriand. In the Third Age final nd in long words had become n from nn, as in Ithilien, Rohan, Anórien.
For vowels the letters i, e, a, o, u are used, and (in Sindarin only) y. As far as can be determined the sounds represented by these letters (other than y) were of normal kind, though doubtless many local varieties escape detection70. That is, the sounds were approximately those represented by i, e, a, o, h in English machine, were, father, for, brute, irrespective of quantity.
In Sindarin long e, a, o had the same quality as the short vowels, being derived in comparatively recent times from them (older é, á, ó had been changed). In Quenya long ê and ó were, when correctly pronounced, as by the Eldar, tenser and ‘closer’ than the short vowels.
Sindarin alone among contemporary languages possessed the ‘modified’ or fronted u, more or less as u in French lune. It was partly a modification of o and u, partly derived from older diphthongs eu, iu. For this sound y has been used (as in ancient English): as in lyg ‘snake’, Q. leuca, or emyn pl. of amon ‘hill’. In Gondor this y was usually pronounced like i.
Long vowels are usually marked with the ‘acute accent’, as in some varieties of Fëanorian script In Sindarin long vowels in stressed monosyllables are marked with the circumflex, since they leaded in such cases to be specially prolonged71; so in dûn compared with Dúnadan. The use of the circumflex in other languages such as Adûnaic or Dwarvish has no special significance, and is used merely to mark these out as alien tongues (as with the use of k).
Final e is never mute or a mere sign of length as in English. To mark this final e it is often (but not consistently) written ë.
The groups er, ir, ur (finally or before a consonant) are not intended to be pronounced as in English fern, fir, fur, but rather is English air, eer, oor.
In Quenya ui, oi, ai and iu, eu, au are diphthongs (that is, pronounced in one syllable). All other pairs of vowels are dis-syllabic. This is often indicated by writing ëa, ëo, oë.
In Sindarin the diphthongs are written ae, oi, ei, oe, ui, and au. Other combinations are not diphthongal. The writing of final au as aw is in accordance with English custom, but is actually not uncommon in Fëanorian spellings.
All these diphthongs72 were falling diphthongs, that to stressed on the first element, and composed of the simple vowels run together. Thus ai, ei, oi, ui are intended to be pronounced respectively as the vowels in English rye (not ray), grey, boy, ruin: and au (aw) as in loud, how and not as in laud, haw.
There is nothing in English closely corresponding to ae, oe, eu;ae and oe may be pronounced as ai, oi.
The position of the ‘accent’ or stress is not marked, since in the Eldarin languages concerned its place is determined by the form of the word. In words of two syllables it falls in practically all cases on the first syllable. In longer words it falls on the last syllable but one, where that contains a long vowel, a diphthong, or a vowel followed by two (or more) consonants. Where the last syllable but one contains (as often) a short vowel followed by only one (or no) consonant, the stress falls on the syllable before it, the third from the end. Words of the last form are favoured in the Eldarin languages, especially Quenya.
In the following examples the stressed vowel is marked by a capital letter: isIldur, Orome, erEssëa, fËanor, ancAlima, elentÁri; dEnethor, periAnnath, ecthElion, pelArgir, silIvren. Words of the type elentÁri ‘star-queen’ seldom occur in Quenya where the vowel is é, á, ó, unless (as in this case) they are compounds; they are commoner with the vowels í, ú, as andÚne ‘sunset, west’. They do not occur in Sindarin except in compounds. Note that Sindarin dh, th, ch are single consonants and represent single letters in the original scripts.
In names drawn from other languages than Eldarin the same values for the letters are intended, where not specially described above, except in the case of Dwarvish. In Dwarvish, which did not possess the sounds represented above by th and ch(kh), th and kh are aspirates, that is t or k followed by an h, more or less as in backhand, outhouse.
Where z occurs the sound intended is that of English z. gh in the Black Speech and Orkish represents a ‘back spirant’ (related to g as dh to d); as in ghâsh and agh.
The ‘outer’ or Mannish names of the Dwarves have been given Northern forms, but the letter-values are those described. So also in the case of the personal and place-names of Rohan (where they have not been modernized), except that here éa and éo are diphthongs, which may be represented by the ea of English bear, and the eo of Theobald; y is the modified u. The modernized forms are easily recognized and are intended to be pronounced as in English. They are mostly place-names: as Dunharrow (for Dúnharg), except Shadowfax and Wormtongue.
See App. F, 54.
There were thirty days in March (or Rethe) in the Shire calendar.
It was probably Orkish in origin: sharku, ‘old man’.
A few references are given to The Lord of the Rings by volume and page, and to The Hobbit by page.
In this edition the dates have been revised, and some errors emended: most of these were accidents occurring in the course of typing and marking,
Cf. I, 54; II, 54; III, 54: no likeness remained in Middle-earth of Laurelin the Golden.
I, 54; II, 54.
I, 54-54; II, 54.
Hobbit, 61; I, 54.
I, 54, 54,54; II, 54,54; III, 54,54
I, 39, 54.
See III, 54, 54.
II, 54; III, 54.
He was the fourth son of Isildur, born in Imladris. His brothers were slain in the Gladden Fields.
After Earendur the Kings no longer took names in High-elven form.
After Malvegil, the Kings at Fornost again claimed lordship over the whole Arnor, and took names with the prefix ar (a) in token of this.
See III, 54. The wild white kine that were still to be found near the Sea of Rhun were said in legend to be descended from the Kine of Araw, the huntsman of the Valar, who alone of the Valar came often to Middle-earth in the Elder Days. Orome is the High-elven form of his name (III, 54).
These are a strange, unfriendly people, remnant of the Forodwaith, Men of far-off days, accustomed to the bitter colds of the realm of Morgoth. Indeed those colds linger still in that region, though they lie hardly more than a hundred leagues north of the Shire. The Lossoth house in the snow, and it is said mat they can run on the ice with bones on their feet, and have carte without wheels. They live mostly, inaccessible to their enemies, on the great Cape of Forochel that shuts off to the north-west the immense bay of mat name; but they often camp on the south shores of the bay at the feet of the Mountains’.
‘In this way the ring of the House of Isildur was saved; for it was afterwards ransomed by the Dunedain. It is said that it was none other than the ring which Felagund of Nargothrond gave to Barahir, and Beren recovered at great peril’.
‘These were the Stones of Annuminas and Amon Sul. The only Stone left in the North was the one in the Tower on Emyn Beraid that looks towards the Gulf of Lune. That was guarded by the Elves, and though we never knew it, it remained there, until Cirdan put it aboard Elrond’s ship when he left (I, 34, 54). But we are told that it was unlike the others and not in accord with them; it looked only to the Sea. Elendil set it there so that he could look back with “straight sight” and see Eressea in the vanished West; but the bent seas below covered Númenor for ever’.
The sceptre was the chief mark of royalty in Númenor, the King tells us; and that was also so in Arnor, whose kings wore no crown, but bore a single white gem, the Elendilmir, Star of Elendil, bound on their brows with a silver fillet’. (I, 54, III 54, 54, 54, 54). In speaking of a crown (I, 54, 54) Bilbo no doubt referred to Gondor; he seems to have become well acquainted with matters concerning Aragorn’s line. ‘The sceptre of Númenor is said to have perished with Ar-Pharazôn. That of Annuminas was the silver rod of the Lords of Andunie, and is now perhaps the most ancient work of Men’s hands preserved in Middle-earth. It was already more than five thousand years old when Elrond surrendered it to Aragorn (III, 54). The crown of Gondor was derived from the form of a Númenorean war-helm. In the beginning it was indeed a plain helm; and it is said to have been the one that Isildur wore in the Battle of Dagorlad (for the helm of Anárion was crushed by the stone-cast from Barad-dur that slew him). But in the days of Atanatar Alcarin this was replaced by the jewelled helm that was used in the crowning of Aragorn.’
I, 10; III,54.
‘The great cape and land-locked firth of Umbar had been Númenorean land since days of old; but it was a stronghold of the King’s Men, who were afterwards called the Black Númenoreans, corrupted by Sauron, and who hated above all the followers of Elendil. After the fall of Sauron their race swiftly dwindled or became merged with the Men of Middle-earth, but they inherited without lessening their hatred of Gondor. Umbar, therefore, was only taken at great cost.
The River Running.
That law was made in Númenor (as we have learned from the King) when Tar-Aldarion, the sixth king, left only one child, a daughter. She became the first Ruling Queen, Tar-Ancalime. But the law was otherwise before her time. Tar-Elendil, the fourth king, was succeeded by his son Tar-Meneldur, though his daughter Silmarien was the elder. It was, however, from Silmarien that Elendil was descended’.
This name means “Ship of Long-foam’; for the isle was shaped like a great ship, with a high prow pointing north, against which the white foam of Anduin broke on sharp rocks.
‘I gave Hope to the Dunedain, I have kept no hope for myself.’
It flows into Isen from the west of Ered Nimrais.
The Hobbit, p. 52.
Or released from prison; it may well be that it had already been awakened by the malice of Sauron.
The Hobbit, p. 229.
The Hobbit, p. 28.
Among whom were the children of Thráin II: Thorin (Oakenshield), Frerin, and Dís. Thorin was then a youngster in the reckoning of the Dwarves. It was afterwards learned that more of the Folk under the Mountain had escaped than was at first hoped; but most of these went to the Iron Hills.
Azog was the father of Bolg; see The Hobbit, p. 30.
It is said that Thorin’s shield was cloven and he cast it away and he hewed off with his axe a branch of an oak and held it in his left hand to ward off the strokes of his foes, or to wield as a club. In this way he got his name.
Such dealings with their dead seemed grievous to the Dwarves, for it was against their use; but to make such tombs as they were accustomed to build (since they will lay their dead only in stone not in earth) would have taken many years. To fire therefore they turned, rather than leave their kin to beast or bird or carrion-orc. But those who fell in Azanulbizar were honoured in memory, and to this day a Dwarf will say proudly of one of his sires: ‘he was a burned Dwarf’, and that is enough.
They had very few women-folk. Dís Thráin’s daughter was there. She was the mother of Fíli and Kíli, who were born in the Ered Luin. Thorin had no wife.
March 15, 2941
II, 54; The Hobbit, 162
It afterwards became clear that Saruman had then begun to desire to possess the One Ring himself, and he hoped that it might reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let be for a time.
Months and days are given according to the Shire Calendar.
She became known as ‘the Fair’ because of her beauty; many said that she looked more like an elf-maid than a hobbit. She had golden hair, which had been very rare in the Shire; but two others of Samwise’s daughters were also golden-haired, and so were many of the children born at this time.
I, 11; III, 54, note 24.
Fourth Age (Gondor) 120
365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds.
In the Shire, in which Year 1 corresponded with T.A. 1601. In Bree in which Year 1 corresponded with T.A. 1300 it was the first year of the century.
It will be noted if one glances at a Shire Calendar, that the only weekday on which no month began was Friday. It thus became a jesting idiom in the Shire to speak of ‘on Friday the first’ when referring to a day that did not exist. or to a day on which very unlikely events such as the flying of pigs or (in the Shire) the walking of trees might occur. In full the expression was ‘on Friday the first of Summerfilth’.
It was a jest in Bree to speak of ‘Winterfilth in the (muddy) Shire’. but according to the Shire-folk Wintrìng was a Bree alteration of the older name, which had originally referred to the filling or completion of the year before Winter, and descended from times before the full adoption of Kings’ Reckoning when their new year began after harvest.
Recording births. marriages and deaths in the Took families, as well as other matters. such as land-sales, and various Shire events.
I have therefore in Bilbo’s song (I, 54-54) used Saturday and Sunday instead of Thursday and Friday.
Though actually the yestarë of New Reckoning occurred earlier than in the Calendar of Imladris, in which it corresponded more or less with Shire April 6.
Anniversary of its first blowing in the Shire in 3019.
Usually called in Sindarin Menelvagor (I, 54), Q. Menelmacar.
As in galadhremmin ennorath (I, 54) ‘tree-woven lands of Middle-earth’. Remmirath (I, 54) contains rem ‘mesh’, Q. rembe, + mîr ‘jewel’.
A fairly widespread pronunciation of long é and ó as ei and ou, more or less as in English say no, both in Westron and in the rendering of Quenya names by Westron speakers, is shown by spellings such as ei, ou (or their equivalents in the contemporary scripts). But such pronunciations were regarded as incorrect or rustic. They were naturally usual in the Shire. Those therefore who pronounce yéni únótime ‘long-years innumerable’, as is natural in English (sc. more or less as yainy oonoatimy) will err little more than Bilbo, Meriadoc, or Peregrin. Frodo is said to have shown great ‘skill with foreign sounds’.
So also in Annûn ‘sunset’, Amrûn ‘sunrise’, under the influence of the related dûn ‘west’, and rhûn ‘east’.
Originally. But iu in Quenya was in the Third Age usually pronounced as a rising diphthong as yu in English yule.