Common Eldarin

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Common Eldarin
Created byJ. R. R. Tolkien
Setting and usageThe fictional world of Middle-earth
Sourcesa priori language, fictionally descended from Primitive Quendian.
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Common Eldarin, or simply Eldarin, is a constructed language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is one of the many fictional languages set in his fictional universe of Middle-earth.

Common Eldarin is a tongue spoken by Elves called Eldar or the West-Elves. Common Eldarin evolved directly from the original speech of all Elves, Primitive Quendian (called Quenderin in Quenya). It was the language of all the Eldar—those Elves who decided to undertake the Great March to Valinor—before their divisions.

Common Eldarin is not actually a constructed language in the proper sense, as Tolkien didn't elaborate on its vocabulary or grammar, but merely a chronological stage of the Primitive Quendian. Common Eldarin is mentioned mainly in the context of a set of phonological rules and evolutionary stages of the Elvish languages between Primitive Quendian and the later languages. Although virtually all Primitive Quendian forms can be reconstructed as Common Eldarin, there is no particular Common Eldarin philology.


The following table shows the consonant phonemes found in Common Eldarin according to the "Outline of Phonology".[1] The Quenya linguistic terms are taken from another work by Tolkien: "The Tengwesta Qenderinwa".[2] These were invented, according to Tolkien, by the Elf Rúmil.[citation needed]

English Quenya Parmatéma Tincotéma Calmatéma
Voiceless stops Puntar alómear ⟨p⟩ ⟨t⟩ ⟨k⟩
Aspirated stops Puntar alómea na-súrimar ⟨ph⟩ ⟨th⟩ ⟨kh⟩
Voiced stops Puntar ómaisi ⟨b⟩ ⟨d⟩ ⟨g⟩
Nasal continuants Vórear nengwear ⟨m⟩ ⟨n⟩ ⟨ñ⟩
Oral continuants Vórear milyar ⟨w⟩ ⟨l⟩, ⟨r⟩ ⟨j⟩
Spirant continuants Vórear suryar ⟨s⟩ ⟨h⟩

The spirant s was naturally voiceless in Common Eldarin, and tended to unvoice preceding consonants, including nasals. It was voiced to [z] before the voiced consonants: b, d, g, m, n.[3] This voicing was merely contextual and z did not occur as a separate word-building element; [z] was an allophone of [s].[citation needed]


According to Tolkien the original Quenderin vowels had acquired the following qualities and system in the Common Eldarin period before it diverged into the later dialects, i.e. as it was during the Great March of the Eldar.


Common Eldarin had 12 monophthongs : a, e, i, o, u ; ē, ệ, ā, ō, ộ, ū.


In Common Eldarin the diphthongs could be either primary or secondary.

The primary diphthongs were two: ai and au.

There were 8 secondary diphthongs: ei, ai, oi, ui; ou, au, eu, iu.

Reduced vowels[edit]

Common Eldarin had also "reduced vowels": a schwa ə and 5 syllabic continuants: ļ, ŗ, ņ, ṃ, ñ.

These were not inherited from Quenderin but resulted from vocalic reduction, under accentual laws.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien, "Outline of Phonology", Parma Eldalamberon 19, p. 89; except that y is here represented by j.
  2. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Tengwesta Qenderinwa 1", Parma Eldalamberon 18, p. 30.
  3. ^ did not occur in normal word-building or derivation in C.E.