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Thread: Learning Elvish

  1. #1

    Learning Elvish

    I have been wanting to learn elvish for a while now but i don't know the best way to do it. Is there some kind of book or website that teaches you elvish or something? Has anyone else learned it?

    I would appreciate it if people posted things that they've found. Thanks in advance.
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    "So do all who live to see such times but that's not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

  2. Re: Learning Elvish

    I haven't learned Elvish apart from what I've gleaned from reading about Middle-Earth for years on end, but I consistantly hear these two sources for those interested in REALLY learning Elvish.

    ARDALAMBION - http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/
    A GATEWAY TO SINDARIN by David Salo.

    David Salo's book only covers Sindarin, so if you're interested in a book about Quenya, you'll have to look elsewhere.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    3,881

    Re: Learning Elvish

    This is probably the best site out there for this: Resources for Tolkien Linguistics. Towards the end there are links where you can download a complete Quenya or Sindarin course. There are also listings of some books if you'd rather have the feeling of an actual book in your hand.

    One thing I'll warn you: both of the elvish languages are difficult, for different reasons. Quenya--the older of the two langauges and one Tolkien described as being like an "elvish latin," is an inflected langauge--so nouns take different forms (endings) based on their use in a sentence. Word order, therefore, means almost nothing. The sentence, "The elf shot the arrow at the orc" could be written with the following word order:

    elf shot arrow orc
    elf arrow shot orc
    elf orc shot arrow
    orc arrow elf shot
    shot arrow elf orc

    Or any number of other combinations of word order. It is the case endings appended to the end of the words that let's you know what function the words serve in a sentence.

    Sindarin, on the other hand, which was the common everyday elvish at the time of LoTR, is not an inflected language. So the function of words in a sentence are dictated by word order--much like modern English. In that respect, it is a much simpler language than Quenya. However, Sindarin makes extensive use of consonent mutations, i.e. the letters of a word can change drastically based upon the "sound" of the word in front of them. There are many rules that govern this, and until you know all of them completely, it is very easy to get lost in the midst of a Sindarin sentence for lack of knowing what the words mean.

    Both are interesting, but both take a fair amount of work. Which one is easier for you might depend upon your past experience with languages; if you've already studied an inflected language (Latin, ancient Greek, Russian, Polish, etc.) then you may find Quenya to be the easier of the two to learn. If you have never studied an inflected language, then it might be that you will find Sindarin easier.
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  4. #4

    Re: Learning Elvish

    seems like i have a lot of work ahead of me . thanks for the replies.
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    "So do all who live to see such times but that's not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Re: Learning Elvish

    As do I
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