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Words, Phrases and Passages J. R. R.


“Legolas … answered in the same tongue.” Nothing of their speech, however, is known
except this word yrch: their personal names and place-names (in Lórien) are Sindarin.
This is explained by the fact that when Beleriand was ruined, and most of it destroyed in
the last war ending in the overthrow of Angband, many of the Noldor and Sindar went
eastwards into Eriador and beyond. (Galadriel and Celeborn were the chief examples: but
originally the settlement at Eregion under Celebrimbor was also very important.) Being
Elves of much greater power and knowledge they usually became rulers of the Elvish
companies that they gathered about them; and even when the ordinary speech of these groups
was kept up their nomenclature became largely Sindarin. Many of these “wandering elves”
in Eriador appear also to have been not strictly Avari but of Telerin origin: and so, if long
separated, still ultimately closely akin to the Sindar: their tongues were not, therefore, alien
basically, but of Eldarin sort, and were much assimilated to Sindarin.
Frodo in fact knew very little of the Sindarin still used by the High…

¶ That is they are Nandor, a branch of the Teleri that deserted the westward march. Some of
these ultimately entered Beleriand and dwelt in Ossiriand; but many groups were left behind
in Eriador and the Vale of Anduin. Of the tongue of the Green-elves (or Silvan Elves) of
Ossiriand we have some (scanty) information from Eldarin historians. This is sufficient to
show that, though different in many ways from the Sindarin in Beleriand, it remained
basically a Telerin (and therefore an Eldarin and not Avarin) language, or group of dialects.
It was thus easily assimilated to Sindarin (as happened in the case of the Nandor in Doriath);
and this process had probably …
[quite different >> different in many ways.]

¶ Here and in 402 yrch is said to be in the tongue of the Elves who spoke natively a different
language from Sindarin: that of the Silvan Elves. (In 359 an elf, ?Haldir, of Lórien; in 402
Legolas of Mirkwood.) On p. I 356 it is said that “Frodo could understand little of what was
said between [Legolas and the Elves of Lórien], for the speech that the Silvan Elves east of
the mountains [sc. of the Misty Mountains] used among themselves was unlike that of the
West.” Nothing of this “Silvan speech” appears in the LR, except daro and yrch. Both these
are (or could be) Sindarin.
It is probable therefore that the speech was a Nandorin dialect — if it was not, in fact,
simply a locally modified form of Sindarin. Actually in the LR no Avarin language appears,
and such Elves as appear are, if not actually High-Elves of Noldorin origin, of Eldarin origin,
or small peoples that have come under Eldarin influence, and become assimilated.
† as in ch. 3
Avari would not, at this period, be found west of the Misty Mountains. In Eriador such
Elves as remained, or are gathered under the protection of Elrond, were either Nandor, or
else Sindar and Noldor, fugitives from the destruction of Beleriand at the end of the First
The Nandor were a part of the Teleri who deserted the Western March. Only a part again of
these eventually came westward and crossed into Beleriand, where they dwelt (sparsely) in
Ossiriand – except for those who entered Doriath and became more or less mingled with the
Sindar. Many of them remained in Eriador, where they were probably the Elvish inhabitants
of that great region in the Second and early Third Age. Many seem also to have remained
also in the Vale of Anduin (it was when faced by the crossing of Anduin, and the Misty
Mountains beyond it, that the Nandor originally abandoned the Great March.)