Just For Fun Friday: A Guide To Speaking Elvish

The end of the week is upon us! I hope that this post finds you looking forward to an exciting and relaxing weekend.

I decided that I wanted to dedicate this week’s Just For Fun Friday post to J.R.R. Tolkien, in recognition of the anniversary of his birth on 3 January. Little did I know that this ambition would lead me into the world of Elvish – the language created by Tolkien and used in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There are, apparently, two Elvish dialects – Quenya and Sindarin. Since Quenya is spoken by the High Elves, it is obviously to be given preferred treatment. So here I present a beginner’s guide to Elvish – the Quenya dialect (beyond this, you are on your own).

Pronunciation

Vowels:

á – long ‘aaah’

a – short ‘ah’

é – long ‘eeeh’

e – short ‘eh’

í – long ‘ee’

i – short ‘ih’

ó – long ‘oooh’

o – short ‘o’

ú – long ‘uuuh’ (sounds like ‘oooo’)

u – short ‘uh’

 

Dipthongs:

ai – aisle

au – house

se – so

ie – yule

oi – oil

ui – ruin

 

Consonant Oddities:

c – pronounced as ‘k’

h – pronounced as ‘h’ when at the beginning of a word; pronounced as ‘ch’ or ‘k’ when   between consonants; silent when ‘hw’, ‘hy’, ‘hl’, or ‘hr’

ng – always pronounced fully, as in ‘finger’

r – pronounced with rolling tongue

s – always unvoiced

y – always pronounced as a hard consonant

qu – pronounced ‘kw’

 

Useful Phrases

Hi – A

Hail – Ai

I greet you – Gi suilon

You are welcome here – Gi nathlam hí

Sorry – Goheno nin

Yes – No

No – U

I love you – Gi melin

Do you speak Elvish? – Pedig edhellen?

Where are we? – Mi van me?

What are you doing? – Man cerig?

When? – Na van?

Why? – Am man?

Behold! – Alae!

Beware! – No dirweg!

Stop! – Daro!

You smell like a monster – Sevig thu úan

And now you’re good to go! But if you feel the need for more, you can find a full Quenya-English dictionary here. Enjoy!

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