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Sindarin was the Elvish language most commonly spoken in Middle-earth during in the
Third Age - in our world, it is universally referred to as, when not in canonical
context, "Elven".
Tengwar sindarin
Sindarin
It was the language of the Sindar, those Teleri who chose to stay behind on the
Great Journey of the Elves. It was derived from an earlier language called Common
Telerin. When the oldor came back to Middle-earth, they adopted the Sindarin
language, for the Sindar were more numerous and slower to learn the language of
Valinor, Quenya the Noldor's native language. Later events led to the banning of
the use of Quenya within and around Beleriand leading to it's eventual use as a
high language of law. Before the downfall, most of the Men of Nmenor also spoke
the language. Knowledge of it was kept in the Nmenorean realm in exile Gondor,
especially among the learned. Sindarin is the language referred to as the Elven-
tongue in The Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien originally imagined that the language which would become Sindarin was
spoken by the oldor (second clan of Elves). However he later decided that it was
the language of the Sindar. For this reason it is called Noldorin in the older
material, such as the Etymologies. When Noldorin became Sindarin, it also adopted
some features of the originally unrelated language Ilkorin. Tolkien based the sound
and some of the grammar of his Noldorin/Sindarin on Welsh, and Sindarin displays of
the consonant mutations that characterise the Celtic (especially Brythonic)
languages. The language was also probably influenced to an extent by the Germanic
languages, as Tolkien was a scholar of both Old English and Old Norse.

The written script alphabet of the Elven languages is typically Tengwar (the
Feanorian Characters), although Cirth can also be used.

Contents[show]
GrammarEdit
Sindarin is mainly analytic, though traits of its highly inflected progenitor can
still be seen.
PhonologyEdit
Sindarin was designed to have a Welsh-like phonology. It has most of the same
sounds and similar phonotactics.
Letter IPA Notes
a ?
b b
c k
ch x The "ch" in the German word "Buch", not as in "church"
d d
dh The "th" in "heather"
e ?
f f, v Represents [v] when final or before n, [f] everywhere else.
g g
h h
hw ?
i j, i Represents [j] when initial, [i] everywhere else.
l l
lh ? The same as the Welsh LL.
m m
n n
ng ?, ?g Represents [?] when final, [?g] everywhere else.
o ?
p p
ph f, ff Represents [f] when final, [ff] everywhere else.
r r
rh r?
s s
t t
th ? The "th" in "heath"
u u
v v
w w
y y Pronounced like German
An accent signifies a long vowel (, , etc.). In a monosyllabic word, a circumflex
is used (, , etc.). However, for practical reasons, users of the ISO Latin-1
character set often substitute for y.

Diphthongs are ai (pronounced like aisle), ei (day), ui (too young), au (cow), and
oi (boy). If the last diphthong finishes a word, it is spelt aw. There are also
diphthongs ae and oe with no English counterparts; Tolkien recommended to
substitute ai and oi respectively if one does not care about details. If one does
care, it is similar to pronouncing a or o respectively in the same syllable as one
pronounces an e (as in pet).

In archaic Sindarin, there was a vowel similar to German (IPA: []), which
Tolkien mostly transcribed as (usually not as oe as is often found in
publications like the Silmarillion, cf. Nirnaeth Arnoediad [read: Nrnaeth
Arndiad], Goelydh [read: Glydh]). This vowel later came to be pronounced ? and is
therefore transcribed as such [sc. Gelydh].

Archaic Sindarin also had a spirant m or nasal v (IPA: [?]), which was transcribed
as mh (though always pronounced [v] in later Sindarin).

NounsEdit
PluralizationEdit
Sindarin plurals are characterised by i-affection, or umlaut. The Sindarin term for
this is prestanneth (disturbance, affection). Almost all Sindarin words form their
plurals like English man/men and goose/geese by changing the vowels in the word.
The plural patterns are:
In non-final syllables:
a > e galadh > gelaidh
e > e bereth > berith
i > i dineth > dinith
o > e gowest > gewist
u > y tulus > tylys
y > y (no example available)
In final syllables:
a > ai anar > enair
> ai tl > tail
e > i adaneth > edenith
> hn > hn
i > i brennil > brennil
> ds > ds
o > y brannon > brennyn
> br > br
> thn > thn
u > y urug > yryg
> ui h > hui
y > y ylf > ylf
> ml > ml
au > oe naug > noeg
Note that ai can sometimes become (or, less commonly, ).
The reason for this is that the primitive plural ending - (still present in Quenya
as -i) affected the vowels in the word by making them higher and fronter. After
this sound change occurred, the suffix - disappeared when all final vowels were
lost.

Class PluralEdit
Sindarin also has several suffixes which denote a so-called class plural. For
example, -ath indicates a group of something, e. g. elenath from elen (an archaic
form of l), meaning star and -ath. It means a group of stars or all the stars in
the sky. Another ending, -rim, is used to indicate a race, e. g. nogothrim from
nogoth dwarf and -rim, meaning the race of dwarves. The ending -hoth is generally
used in an unfriendly sense, e. g. gaurhoth from gaur werewolf and -hoth, meaning
werewolf-host.
MutationEdit
Sindarin has a complex series of mutations. There are three main different types of
mutations: soft mutation (or lenition), nasal mutation and stop (occlusive)
mutation. Additionally, a mixed mutation is also observed after certain particles
or prepositions. Finally, it is presumed that Sindarin also once had what we could
call an archaic spirantal mutation (also sometimes called liquid mutation by
scholars). It is still uncertain whether this mutation is still productive or if it
only occurs in ancient constructs.
Initial mutations must not be confused with assimilations that may occur in
compound words (such as, for instance, in the names Araphor, Arassuil and
Caradhras).

The following table outlines how different consonants are affected by the different
mutations.

Basic Soft Nasal Mixed Stop Liquid


b v m b b v
c g ch g ch ch
d dh n d d dh
g ' ng g g '
h ch ch h ch ch
lh thl 'l 'l thl 'l
m v m m m v
p b ph b b ph
rh thr 'r 'r thr 'r
s s s h s s
t d th d th th
Here the apostrophe indicates elision.
Words beginning in b-, d-, or g- which descend from older mb-, nd-, or ng- are
affected differently by the mutations:

Basic Soft Nasal Mixed Stop Liquid


b m mb mb mb b
d n nd nd nd d
g ng g g g g
Take, for example, the deictic article i, which triggers soft mutation. When added
to a word like tl, it becomes i dl. In Sindarin's phonological history, t became
d in the middle of a word. Because i tl at the time was considered one word, the t
became d, and thus i dl. However, without the article the word is still tl.
Mutation is triggered in various ways:

Soft mutation, the most widely occurring mutation, is triggered by the singular
article i, the prefixes athra-, ath-, go-, gwa-, -, and u-, as well as the
prepositions ab, am, adel, be, dad, di, na, nu, and , and after avo. It also
affects the second element in a compound, an adjective following a noun, and the
object of a verb.
Nasal mutation is triggered by the plural article in, and the prepositions an, dan,
and plural 'nin.
Mixed mutation is triggered by the genitive article en, and the prepositions ben,
erin, nan, 'nin, and uin.
Stop mutation is triggered by the prepositions ed, ned, and o(d).
Liquid mutation is presumably triggered by the preposition or.
PronounsEdit
Pronouns are perhaps the most poorly attested feature of Sindarin. What has been
reconstructed by the comparative method is largely conjectural and is not agreed
upon, and therefore will not be addressed in this article.
Sindarin pronouns, like those in English, still maintain some case distinction.
Sindarin pronouns have nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative forms.

First Person Second Person Third Person


Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative im me le, ci le, ci e, te ti
Accusative nin men len, cin len, cin ten, den tin, hain
Genitive mn ln dn
Dative anim, enni ammen
Enclitic -n -m -ch -r
VerbsEdit
Sindarin verbs are also quite complex. The number of attested verbs in Sindarin is
small, so the Sindarin verb system is imperfectly known; no verb has a full
paradigm of forms available. There are two main types of verbs: basic and derived.
Basic verbs have stems which end in a consonant, and derived verbs have stems which
incorporate some sort derivational morpheme (such as a causative ending) which ends
in -a.
Basic VerbsEdit
Basic verbs, though smaller in number than derived verbs, have a very complex
conjugation which arises from Sindarin's phonological history.
Basic verbs form the infinitve by adding -i: giri from gir-. This ending causes an
a or o in the stem to umlaut to e: blebi from blab-. Sindarin does not use
infinitive forms very often, and rather uses the gerund to achieve the same
meaning.

For all persons except the third person singular, the present tense is formed by
the insertion of -i, and the proper enclitic pronomial ending: girin, girim, girir.
As with the infinitive, -i causes an a or o in the stem to umlaut to e: pedin,
pedim, pedir, from pad-. The third person singular, because it has a zero-ending,
does not require the insertion of -i. This leaves the bare stem, which, because of
Sindarin's phonological history, causes the vowel of the stem to become long: gr,
blb, pd.

The past tense of basic verbs is very complicated and poorly attested. One common
reconstructed system is to use -n: darn. However, the only time this -n actually
remains is after a stem in -r. After a stem ending in -l, -n becomes -ll: toll.
After -b, -d, -g, -v, or -dh, it is metathesized and then assimilated to the same
place of articulation as the consonant it now follows. The consonant then
experiences what could be called a "backwards mutation": -b, -d, and -g become -p,
-b, and -c, and -v and -dh become -m and -d. The matter is complicated even further
when pronomial endings are added. Because -mp, -mb, -nt, -nd, and -nc did not
survive medially, they become -mm-, -mm-, -nn-, -nn-, and -ng. In addition, past
tense stems in -m would have -mm- before any pronomial endings. Because this all
may seem rather overwhelming, look at these examples which show step-by-step
transformations:

cab- > **cabn > **canb > **camb > camp, becoming camm- with any pronomial endings.
ped- > **pedn > **pend > pent, becoming penn- with any pronomial endings.
dag- > **dagn > **dang (n pronounced as in men) > **dang (n pronounced as in sing)
> danc, becoming dang- with any pronomial endings.
lav- > **lavn > **lanv > **lanm > **lamm > lam, becoming lamm- before any pronomial
endings.
redh- > **redhn > **rendh > **rend > rend, becoming renn- before any pronomial
endings.
The future tense is formed by the addition of -tha. An -i is also inserted between
the stem and -tha, which again causes a and o to umlaut to e. Endings for all
persons except for the first person singular can be added without any further
modification: giritham, blebithar. The first person singular ending -n causes the
-a in -tha to become -o: girithon, blebithon, pedithon.
The imperative is formed with the addition of -o to the stem: giro!, pado!, blabo!.

Derived VerbsEdit
Derived verbs have a much less complex conjugation because they have a thematic
vowel (usually a) which reduces the number of consonant combinations which occur.
The infinitive is formed with -o, which replaces the -a of the stem, e. g. lacho
from lacha-.

The present tense is formed without modification to the stem. Pronomial endings are
added without any change.

The past tense is formed with the ending -nt, which becomes -nne with any pronomial
endings, e. g. erthant, erthanner.

The future tense is formed with -tha. With the addition of the first person
singular -n, this becomes -tho.

The imperative is formed like the infinitive.

DialectsEdit
During the First Age there were several dialects of Sindarin:
Doriathrin or the language of Doriath, a form of the language which preserved many
archaic forms;
Falathrin or the language of the Falas, later also spoken in Nargothrond;
North Sindarin, the dialects originally spoken in Dorthonion and Hithlum by the
Sindar, these dialects contained many unique words and were not fully intelligible
with the Sindarin of Beleriand proper.
With the exception of Doriathrin, the dialects were changed under oldorin
influence, and adopted many Quenya features, as well as unique sound changes
devised by the oldor (who loved changing languages). The distinct dialects
disappeared after the oldor and Sindar were dispersed during the later Battles of
Beleriand. In the refuges on the Isle of Balar and the Mouths of Sirion a new
dialect arose under the refugees, which mainly took after Falathrin. During the
Second Age and Third Age Sindarin was a lingua franca for all Elves and their
friends, until it was displaced as the Common tongue by Westron, a descendant of
Adnaic which was heavily influenced by Sindarin.
Sindarin is actually a Quenya term. The Sindarin word was perhaps Edhellen
("Elvish").

Sample PhrasesEdit
In The Lord of the RingsEdit
Ai na vedui Dnadan! Mae govannen! - Ah, at last, Westman! Well met![1]
Noro lim. - Run fast.[1]
Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen! Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen! - Elvish gate
open now for us; doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue![2]
Mellon nn! - My friend![2]
Ennyn Durin Aran Moria: pedo mellon a minno. Im Narvi hain echant: Celebrimbor o
Eregion teithant i thiw hin. - "The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend,
and enter. I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin [Eregion] drew these
signs."[2]
Yrch! - Orcs![3]
nen i-Estel Edain, -chebin estel anim - I gave Hope to the Dnedain; I have kept
no hope for myself.[4]
Sample ElementsEdit
aglar - radiance, glory
ar, ara-, aran - high, noble, king
aur - sunlight, daylight
celeb - silver
dath - dark, black shadow
el - star
eryn - forest, wood of trees
estel - hope
galad - radiance
gond - stone
-ion - son (a male suffix)
mith - grey
nim - white
orn - tree
randir- wanderer
ross - foam
taur - forest
tirith - guard
-wen - maiden (a feminine suffix)
Small Wikipedia logo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article
was at Sindarin. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with The
One Wiki to Rule Them All, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons
Attribution-Share Alike license.

ReferencesEdit
? 1.0 1.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter XII:
"Flight to the Ford"
? 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter
IV: "A Journey in the Dark"
? The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VI:
"Lothlrien"
? The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The
Nmenrean Kings, (v): "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"
The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names
Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of
the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
See also Edit
Quenya
Languages of Middle-earth
External linksEdit
Sindarin Translator at Fun Translations
Ardalambion, a site dedicated to the languages of Middle-earth
Helge Fauskanger's Sindarin article
Hisweloke's Sindarin dictionary project
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