Can Tolkien's languages ​​be learned


The Sindarin is the language of the Elves of Beleriand.

External story

One day in the creative work of the young Tolkien a point was reached at which he thought to develop his own language, which reflects Welsh or Celtic in sound and feeling.

The development of this language can be roughly divided into three stages:


• From 1917 onwards was Goldogrin or I-Lam na-Ngoldathon (the language of the Gnomes or Noldor) the first form of this language, which he recorded in a detailed list of words and a grammar (published in Parma Eldalamberon). Some of these words can be found in the "Book of Lost Stories".

example: Ôni cailthi a · mabwid glen irtha - he pressed a kiss upon her slender hands.


• In the 1930s, when Tolkien was working on "The Lord of the Rings", this language had developed into Noldorin; history still dictated that this was the Noldor language they had brought from Valinor to Middle-earth. The late Noldorin is best in the Etymologies handed down, a historical list of words that Tolkien created during his work on "The Lord of the Rings" and that was published in Volume V of the "History of Middle-earth" ("The Lost Road & Other Writings") (so far without a German translation) .

example: The lift part brann i annon ar neledh neledhi gar godrebh - The door is five feet high and three side by side can pass through.


• Towards the end of the work on The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien changed the background history of his languages ​​fundamentally, and the "Celtic" common language of the Elves was no longer called Noldorin rather Sindarinand it was no longer the language of those who returned to Middle-earth, but of those who had never left Middle-earth. Sindarin thus now took the place of Ilkorin a, which apart from a few adopted words in the archaic North Indian-Dialect was completely discarded. Tolkien later referred to this several times Sindarin in Lord of the Rings, because although this is actually the case Noldorin the changes that Tolkien had made from one language to the other were comparatively minor, and there is virtually none in the forms documented in The Lord of the Rings that cannot be fully understood in Tolkien's later conceptions of Sindarin .

Since the difference was so small that only a few phonetic changes had to be made, "Etymologies" is the most important word list for Sindarin as well.

example: Naur an edraith nurse! Naur dan i ngaurhoth! - Fire for our protection! Fire against the werewolf horde!

Internal history

The internal history of Sindarin is not attested in detail, but from the late post-LotR documents of Tolkien (such as the Silmarillion) and earlier concepts from the time of Goldogrin and Noldorin, the following picture can be read more or less clearly:

The tribes had separated and the general language of the Teleri hardly changed in Valinor. In Middle-earth, however, various dialects had soon developed, all of which made it possible to guess the common origin, but only a few knew that not so long ago, for example, "swans" were still used alpai called (what they still did on the other side of the sea), now in Sindarin they said eilph.

There were probably three main dialects that came from the coast (Falathrin), that of the Mithrim from the north (North Sindarin or Mithrimin) and that of Doriath (Doriathrin). While the Teleri used to be together Wopentassē Arǭmeo ("the story of Oromë") would have said (in Valinor almost unchanged as uniform Vopentasse Arámeo), it was said on the coast of Middle-earth Gobenthas Araumh, but in the north Gobentas Arum, in Doriath even Gobentha's aroma.

The language in Doriath had sometimes gone its own way, remained archaic in some respects, while in the north other aspects remained archaic; but this northern dialect was probably closer to the most widely changed dialect, that of the coast. Later, when the Noldor came back and learned Sindarin, their mother tongue Quenya may have played its part in keeping the archaic aspects of Northern Indarin archaic, as many Noldors were later the main representatives of the Northern Indarin speakers due to their geographical location. Feanor himself never got to know more than the northern dialect.

It is not entirely clear which dialect the people who emigrated to Númenor spoke, but here too, at least later, a dialect of its own must have developed. But only the dialect of the coast survived the destruction of Beleriand, in speakers like Círdan and as early as the Second Age the language spread in northwestern Middle-earth, became the general lingua franca (but even now the language was of course subject to change, and the one above serving as an example fictional title would already have Gobenhas Araw> Gobenna's Araw lautet) and is in the former form z. B. obtained at the west gate of Moria: Ennyn Durin Aran Moria. Pedo mellon a minno. In the Narvi hain echant. Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i thiw out ("The gates of Durin, the Lord of Moria. Say" friend "and enter. Narvi himself built them. Celebrimbor from Hulsten wrote these signs").

Furthermore, different dialects now developed and while in the Sindarin the Noldor in Imladris, for example, a clear Quenya influence was noticeable, in Lothlórien and in the Mirkwood they spoke of Nandorin (the language of a related Teleri tribe) influenced dialects; here was z. B. lay ("green") too simple leg become (cf. pure Laegolas [laeg golas - "green foliage"] with woodland Legolas). The people of Gondor, on the other hand, had their peculiarities in the use of some words (erui ["alone"] they used for "first [e / he / it]") as well as in the pronunciation (Rohan for pure Rochan), and some of them had their own vocabulary (mirian and canath to name two of their coins).

Furthermore, Sindarin apparently tended more and more to a grammatical simplification (e.g. the verbs apparently tend to later use their past tense almost uniformly simply by means of the ending -ant even though there were originally many different verb classes, some of which treated this aspect very differently).

Final comparison

Sindarin so is not the same Sindarinthat from the Lord of the Rings and other works of Tolkien's so many familiar languages ​​were subject to many changes, both internally and externally.

A sentence like "he told of the language of the Noldor" should have been used during the writing of the Lord of the Rings for example still ho trenor o thlamb ngloeloeidh may be, while Tolkien in his later days would probably be something like e trenor o lam gelydh would have written.

And even in this later version, which is understandable to those interested, the information would have been hidden that a Beren Erchamion was probably more likely e trenaur o lamb gœlydh would have said the grandchildren of a King Elessar maybe e trenerant o lam geledh.


  1. A very successful and detailed site with grammar, pronunciation, word lists, et cetera:


      • Chapter I: From the beginning of the days.
      • Chapter V: Of Eldamar and the princes of the Eldalië
      • Chapter XIII:From the return of the Noldor
      • Chapter XV: From the Noldor in Beleriand
  • J. R. R. Tolkien: Letters. Letter # 144, Letter # 211, Letter # 230, Letter # 297, Letter # 347, Letter # 348.