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Good article Quenya has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Hello. Wouldn't be a good idea to put a short sentence at the beginning explaining what Quenya is and who made it and why? Starting with a statement about Elves might not be very enlightening to people who have no background knowledge. Didn't want to do it myself though, as I know how touchy fans can be about these things. Thanks!

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

If noone minds, I thinks we should possibly put a complete Quenya dictionary onto Wikipedia to ease the search for people. As I am fairly decent at conversing in it and writing it, I ask if anyone wants to collaborate with me on this project and see if the admins mind. Xel Pos'tare 17:09, 13 September 2006 (UTC)User:CaptainXel

Celesti, Queen of Sovereign madness, bring thy power upon this earth, to cause the chaos of man to bring forth thy hordes of shadows...

Okay, put down the spellbook bought at the mall and take off the gothy makeup, dude...

I've removed two external links because they led to sites about Tolkien in general, and not about the Quenya language. These would be entirely appropriate at a general article on Tolkien, but here they just caused clutter. Crculver 20:01, 17 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. — Jor 17:56, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I submit 'the Three Houses of Elves' should be 'the Tree Kindreds of the [Elves|Eldar]'. The Term 'Houses' is generally only used for the Edain. {Mithrennaith o Unquendor}

Agreed. Is much more correct--Elistir 08:13, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Is there any information available about Quenya's phonology? I've been looking at one of the Quenya lessons and some of the vowels are apparently supposed to be different from those found in English; could someone see if they can find IPA equivelants? Thanks. 17:29, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Elementary Phonology

Quenya has five vowels, a, e, i, o, u, short and long; the long vowels are marked with an accent: á, é, í, ó, ú. The vowel a is extremely frequent. The quality of the vowels resembles the system in Spanish or Italian rather than English. To clarify the pronunciation for readers used to English orthography, Tolkien sometimes adds a diaeresis over some vowels (e.g. Manwë rather than Manwe to indicate that the final e is not silent, or Eärendil to indicate that the vowels e and a are pronounced separately and not drawn together as in English ear - the dots are not necessary for the meaning and can safely be left out in e-mail). The diphthongs are ai, au, oi, ui, eu, iu. (A seventh diphthong ei seems to occur in one or two words, but its status is uncertain.) The consonants are for the most part the same as in English, with the sibilants as the main exception: Ch as in church does not occur, neither does j as in joy, and instead of sh, zh (the latter like s in pleasure), Quenya has a sound like the German ich-Laut, spelt hy by Tolkien (e.g. hyarmen "south"). The h of English huge, human is sometimes pronounced as a weak variant of the sound in question. Quenya also lacks th (unvoiced as in thing or voiced as in the); unvoiced th did occur at an earlier stage, but merged with s shortly before the rebellion of the Noldor (see PM:331-333). It should also be noted that the voiced plosives b, d, g only occur in the clusters mb, nd/ld/rd and ng (some varieties of Quenya also had lb instead of lv). There are no initial consonant clusters, except qu (= cw), ty, ny and nw if we count the semi-vowels y, w as consonants. Normally there are no final clusters either; words end either in one of the single consonants t, s, n, l, r or in a vowel, more often the latter. Medially between vowels, a limited number of consonant clusters may occur; those described by Tolkien as "frequent" or "favoured" are in italics: cc, ht, hty, lc, ld, ll, lm, lp, lqu, lt, lv, lw, ly, mb, mm, mn, mp, my, nc, nd, ng, ngw, nn, nqu, nt, nty, nw, ny, ps, pt, qu (for cw), rc, rd, rm, rn, rqu, rr, rt, rty, rs, rw, ry, sc, squ, ss, st, sty, sw, ts, tt, tw, ty, x (for ks). A few other combinations may occur in compounds. Quenya phonology is quite restrictive, giving the language a clearly defined style and flavour.

Note that in Quenya spelling, the letter c is always pronounced k (so cirya "ship" = kirya). Tolkien was inconsistent about this; in many sources the letter k is used, but in LotR he decided to spell Quenya as similar to Latin as possible. In some cases, k in the sources has been regularized to c in the following discussion.

~ Fauskanger's Ardalambion

Yet the introduction to Quenya phonology in the Quenya course is quite extensive

Dedative case[edit]

Shouldn't there be a link to (and mention of) Dedative case - JustinWick 07:41, May 8, 2005 (UTC)

There is now. - Gandalf1491 03:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
It should be noted (both here and in the page for the "Dedative Case", which make it appear that Tolkien himself actually used the term, while in fact he is nowhere recorded as having done) that the names "dedative" and "respective" were not used by Tolkien himself, but are supplied by mere guesswork. In the "Plotz Declension" this case is unlabled. Formally it is a shortened form of the locative case. Beyond that, nothing can be said that isn't sheer speculation, either as to a name for the case or as to its function. cfh 14:39, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
See "The s-case" by Ales Bican for an extensive discussion of evidence for this case. cfh 17:06, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


The bullet below the pronoun table (plainly intended to be a footnote, with the asterisk appearing next to "-ntë" in the "3rd plu. abstract or thing" line) seems to indicate that this ending is not used for the dual number. However, I don't think it's clear that there is a dual number in third person pronouns, so I wonder if someone could comment on that. Furthermore, this ending is attested as applying to persons, in Cirion's Oath. ("Tiruvantes", "they will guard it"). (Unless the Valar are to be regarded as abstractions?) I am aware this is controversial, but I don't think it should be said to apply to an "abstract or thing" without qualification. TCC (talk) (contribs) 00:02, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Neither in mature Quenya nor n EQ we have exemples of a 3rd dual (in EQG is specified that exists dual forms only for the 1st and the 2nd [PE#14:85-86]. I see your point, but as far as we have no attetstation of a 3rd pl. used for abstract things, -ntë ahould be used. TO be honest I do't think that we would find such, as in EQ and in EQ doesn't existed a 3rd pl refered to things different from the one refered to people.--Elistir 08:23, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Pronoun problem[edit]

The chart of pronoun forms in the article seems to have the 1st person dual and plural forms confused. -lvë/-lwë is inclusive dual, -lmë is inclusive plural, -mmë is exclusive plural, and there's probably a fourth form *-ngwë for exclusive dual, although I'm not sure if there's any direct source for this one. The first two are interpretable directly from The Lord of the Rings: -lvë/-lwë from the possessive form omentie-lvo "of our meeting," in which "our" includes the person Frodo is speaking to; and -lmë in laituva-lme-t "we will praise them," which is a cheer from amidst a crowd, so both addresses and includes the rest of the crowd. (This one is more directly stated to be the inclusive plural in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.) The third, -mmë, while attested directly without a clear definition, also has the possessive form -mma in the first word of the Lord's Prayer in Quenya, ataremma "our father," in which "our" cannot include the person being addressed (since that's God). --D.M., 15:45, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Two notes re: Tolkien[edit]

I noticed that the dates at the top right of the Quenya article (presumably indicating Tolkien's birth-death) are incorrect. Tolkien was born in 1892. If "1917" is there for another reason, it's a little misleading. Also, in the section on "Non-fictional Development," the sentence which labels Tolkien as a "professional linguist" should be altered to something like "professional philologist" or "language professor and philologist." Tolkien had no degree in linguistics and himself eschewed the label of "linguist" in at least one of his published letters. (Being a newcomer to this, I thought it best not make the changes myself without opening it up for comments.)

Paul Spreitzer 19:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The infobox relates to the language, not the inventor. 1917 is when Tolkien began developing Quenya, ("Qenya") and he continued developing it until his death. (Compare Klingon language, which has one date since that language was invented all at a go, as it were.)
My sense is that perhaps Tolkien would be called a linguist in modern terms, as philology is much more rare as the name of a discipline than it was in his day. I don't know enough about it to express a strong opinion though. TCC (talk) (contribs) 20:19, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree with you. JRRT was a philologist. He invented his lambi because he was experimenting with sounds and grammar constructions. He devised the languages that "sounded like music" to his philologist hears; tHen he drafted his Legendarium to be able to give a context to his languages. So the process is completely different from, for exemple, Klingon.
And JRRT doesn't strated creating them in 1917 (that is the date of the GL). The Qenyaqetsa was strated around the 1915 (PE#12), and we have illutrations of his own with some EQ words alson in 1914. But usually is considered the 1915 as the anniversary of Qenya.--Elistir 07:51, 21 October 2006 (UTC)


From the article: "Quenya is usually written in Tengwar, although inside the fiction it was earlier also written in Sarati. The language can also be written in other alphabets: modes for Cirth exist, and it is usually written in the Latin alphabet." (emphasis mine)

This seems like a contradiction but I'm not positive or sure how to go about fixing it. Suggest that someone with more knowledge on this take a look.

I do like the fix, but I did notice it said Tengwar was *not* uncommon. Personally, I think this should be changed (e.g. "not common"). Suggestions? ExNoctem 22:36, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
It's correct as it stands. In its fictional setting, Quenya was most often written in Tengwar, originally in Sarati, and occasionally in Cirth. In the real world, most of the Quenya we have is written in the Latin alphabet. This is what the article says currently. TCC (talk) (contribs) 22:52, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
and most of out corpus of Q(u)enya not written in latin alphabet, is also in ohter scripts or older versions of Tengwar.--Elistir 14:15, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
What, like the Etymologies? Sorry, but I don't recall seeing nearly as much material in other scripts as in "Latinica". Perhaps I'm just not widely read enough -- or do you mean to include material written since Tolkien's death? TCC (talk) (contribs) 20:32, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
No. I'm saying that apar from the part wirtten in Latin Alphabet (that is the widest), the other part of our Q(u)enya corpus is not only written in Tengwar, but also in other scripts or older version of them. For exemple we have some exemple of the Valmaric one. If someone is interested in finding out the ùtengwar coprus, I'll suggest to have a lokk at the MD's TTS.--Elistir 07:40, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Quenya dictionary[edit]

If no ne minds, I thinks we should possibly put a complete Quenya dictionary onto Wikipedia to ease the search for people. As I am fairly decent at conversing in it and writing it, I ask if anyone wants to collaborate with me on this project and see if the admins mind.

Xel Pos'tare 17:09, 13 September 2006 (UTC)User:CaptainXel

I don't believe this should be a project for Wikipedia as such. The thing to do might be to initiate a Quenya-language Wiktionary. And behold! Quenya is already on the list of requested languages. It's probably just awaiting someone willing to get it started. TCC (talk) (contribs) 17:21, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Also take a look at the Quenya Wikipedia incubator project --CBD 21:08, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
You might like to add to the Quenya language section on the English wiktionary. 12:39, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


ni lá mára tec Quenya lambë mal ni anta ta lelya. Manen elyë pol cenda ta mára? Think outside the box 07:53, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

The grammar in your sentences above is poor so it's very hard to be certain of understanding what you're trying to say. Could you please restate what you wrote in English? - Ing 16:04, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I tried to say: "I don't write very good in Quenya. Can this be understood?" I know its poor; I was just testing to see if anyone could understand it. Obviously you couldn't. Where did you learn? And what needs to be done to improve it? Think outside the box 16:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
See my talk page -Ing 13:58, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Do we really need "Grammar" and "Phonology" sections?[edit]

It's simpler and more complete to put a (highlighted link) to the wikibook on Quenya. The article will be only devoted to his fictional and non-fictional history. --Elistir 15:08, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Just fixed your link. Koricind (talk) 03:08, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


Some anonymous body from Helge Fauskanger's university ( who is already setting out to re-edit the David Salo page (recently unlocked) wrote:

"Still, most of the forms would be relatively uncontroversial among researchers, with the exception of tultëa as the proposed continuative form of an A-stem (by another suggestion, A-stems cannot make a distinction between aorist and continuative form)."

Just as others have already noted of Helge's prose, our anonymous somebody here uses the predictive term "would" to represent the supposed opinions of others without having to base them in any actually verifiable evidence or writings. Either such forms are, or they are not, uncontroversial; the fact that our anonymous somebody had to alter a simple statement about the verifiable fact that these paradigms are _not_ provided by Tolkien himself, I think indicates that things _are_ rather more controversial than (s)he "would" have it, so this is in fact POV.

cfh 20:05, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the corrections made by the "anonimous from HF univeristy", because the usage of the term "Neo-Quenya" is misleading. That term in linguistics envinroment (represented by Elfling if you want) is used differently from CH&co. You Mr.Hostetter labels "Neo-Quenya" every attempt to study seriuosly or write something in or about Quenya from everyone apart from the group previuosly known as Elfconner. In its widest usage instead is labeled "Neo-Quenya" eveything that has been completly invented, and is proposed as "true".
The verbal conjugation it's a proposed reconstruction based on real attestation: it's a scholar motivated reconstruction (people can agree or not), and not an "invention". As such it shouldn't be used the term Neo-Quenya, and the edit made by the "anonimous" is much more correct than the precedent. I'll prefer to mantain it.
I agree also with these modifications for the same reason above. I know your points (and I appreciate your efforts on VT and Chris one on PE), wikipedia should not display only your opinions, but everyone (WP:NPOV WP:NOT).--Elistir 11:41, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
You seem not to have understood my point, which has nothing to do with whether this should be called "Neo-Quenya" or not (I didn't even use the term, you did). Rather, I'm questioning the use of the phrase "would be uncontroversial" as POV, for the reasons stated, reasons which you somehow failed to address or acknowledge at all in your long "reply". As you state, "wikipedia should not display only your opinions, but everyone"
You also state "You Mr.Hostetter labels "Neo-Quenya" every attempt to study seriuosly or write something in or about Quenya from everyone apart from the group previuosly known as Elfconner" which is completely untrue, and further belies your own POV. cfh 15:16, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I'll quote you: the fact that our anonymous somebody had to alter a simple statement about the verifiable fact that these paradigms are _not_ provided by Tolkien himself. I'm not a native English speaker, but I read this sentence as: «the anonymous alter the previous simpler statement about the verifiable fact etc...». Well, even if I agree that the conjugations provieded in the article are not verifiable (there's no pubblished material that say "present is.." "past is..." etc), from your quotation I'll understand that the simple statement about the verifiable fact etc, is the text before the anonimous edit, that is: These conjugations were not written by J. R. R. Tolkien, they are neo-Quenya reconstruction.
And that's easy to undertsand why I prefer the edited version (for the reason above). Anyway, I agree that "would be uncontroversial" is not POV, I'll edit it. Let me know what you think now.
And about my POV on the sentence above... infact I haven't written it on the article page ;-) I differentiate my own thoughts, from the informations I provide on Wikipedia: i'd never wrote such a sentence in a "page" :-P
--Elistir 15:39, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Uses in LOTR #1[edit]

On the Caradhras, the spell Sauruman was chanting was in Quenya. -- 04:04, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


I think the tense chart should make it more clear that the *Quenya* aorist/present correspond to the *English* simple present/present continuative. Currently it seems unclear what the Quenya tense being represented is. Perhaps just changing the english tense by adding it in parentheses. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Silmenuquerna (talkcontribs)


I will not rule out that in some version it is Orome teaching the Elves to speak, but the Silmarillion should probably be considered more "canonical", and the alternative version should be clearly referenced. It strikes me as rather central that the Quendi should have an innate faculty for language, and the variant of Orome teaching them seems to rather spoil that (not that this matters if we can pin down the reference). dab (𒁳) 00:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Quiché - Quenya[edit]

Tolkien may have been inspired by the Quiché (K'iche') of Central America, when he invented the word and language Quenya. Quiché/K'iche' is the name the Mayans called themselves and their language. The Quendi elves also call themselves and their language by similar names. As a linguist, Tolkien would have ben aware of the Mayan's primary language. Both Quiché and Quenya are the language of the ab/original inhabitants of these respective lands, before modern man appeared. 04:18, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Tolkien never evinced the slightest interest in Mesoamerican languages, and there is no remarkable resemblance between /kʼiʧeʔ/ and /kʷɛɲa/. TCC (talk) (contribs) 07:18, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
If you can provide a RS and V source that agrees with your premise, then by all means add it. However the "may" in your statement suggests that it is OR, something not really appropriate for WP. Shot info 08:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)


Now this is more like it. I have noticed that the pronoun table before is based on older information and has not changed for some time. I have made a major revision on that, and thanks to Aelfwine for adding to it. Big improvement! RashBold (talk · contribs) 01:28, 7 July 2007 (UTC)


There is a big problem with the exclusive and the dual endings. I found a (reliable) source, used as a Quenya course on Wikiversity, and in that course they give -mmë as the excl. ending and -lmë as the dual one, while in this article the two of them have switched spots, just as in Wikibooks! Please tell me wich one is right! Mapar007 18:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

More trustworthy than Tolkien himself? As noted in the article, the current table of pronominal endings "is adapted primarily from two sources of c. 1968–69,[6] and does not reflect the pronominal system as it stood before that time". As referenced, those sources are Tolkien's own paradigms, as published in:
Tolkien, J.R.R. "Eldarin Hands, Fingers & Numerals (Part Three)." Edited by Patrick H. Wynne. Vinyar Tengwar 49 (2007): 3–37; and
Tolkien, J.R.R. "Five Late Quenya Volitive Inscriptions." Edited by Carl F. Hostetter. Vinyar Tengwar 49 (2007): 38–58.
The system you cite derives solely from a "theory" about these pronominal endings proposed by Helge Fauskanger.
cfh (talk) 23:30, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
OK, the problem is solved. According to Tolkiens latest edits (see Plotz letter) the endings are:
-lmë: exclusive
-lvë: inclusive
-mmë: dual
(and by the way, it was not Fauskanger's Quenya course I meant, but the course from Thorsten Renk)
Mapar007 (talk) 18:07, 4 June 2008 (UCT)
I didn't say it came from Fauskanger's course; I just said the "theory" was proposed by Fauskanger. Which it was. cfh (talk) 20:18, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah ok, sorry (Mapar007)

a posteriori?[edit]

Can we discuss the classification of Quenya as a posteriori? To me that term implies taking nearly all roots from existing languages. It would be more accurate imho to describe the Elvish family as a priori with some borrowed roots. On the other hand, a priori may connote philosophical languages; it's a false dichotomy. Elvish and Loglan violate the dichotomy in opposite ways: Elvish uses traditional structures and new roots (without imitating any language closely enough to be described as e.g. "relexified Finnish"), while Loglan uses borrowed roots (in a peculiar way) and new structures. —Tamfang (talk) 20:32, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that Quenya is not a posteriori. I believe the person who classified it as such either did not know what the term meant, or is in any case unaware of how the term "a posteriori" is used among the conlanging community. I'm changing it. Cevlakohn (talk) 10:21, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Sigh, motherfuck. It's one of those damned infoboxes so I can't just change the reference to a posteriori to apriori, I have to find what the goddamn code is for a priori. I absolutely hate infoboxes. Hate them. In the meantime I got rid of the whole entry in the infobox-- better no information than false information. If anybody knows how to fix it with Wikipedia's godawful infobox format, feel free. Cevlakohn (talk) 10:25, 25 November 2010 (UTC)


in addition, the -r nominative plural endings are reminiscent of Swedish).

Is it distinctive of Swedish vs other (North) Germanic languages? —Tamfang (talk) 06:03, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Old Norse also has nominative plural -r endings, so no. — Eru·tuon 17:50, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
So has German btw. --Ulkomaalainen (talk) 12:34, 20 January 2011 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure the pronunciation of A is supposed to be [ɑ], no matter the length. --Oscararon (talk) 15:27, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

There's no source cited, so I wouldn't know how to check it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:58, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Latin influence example[edit]

As an example of Latin influence, word 'aure' (morning) is given. Although this explanation seems to be the most obvious one (also for me), I would like to point that there is a close resemblance to Finnish word 'auer' (haze, sometimes, esp. in poetry: morning haze 'aamun auer'). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:49, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Another one I've noticed is the genitive plurals of nouns, which are -aron, -oron, or -ion, which seem to take after Latin -ārum, -ōrum, and -(i)um, respectively. BGManofID (talk) 23:58, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Transcription of labiovelars[edit]

In the intro section, the consonant qu is transcribed as [kʷw] in the IPA transcription of Quenya, but as simply [kʷ] in the consonant table, without the [w]. Which is correct? Is the consonant [kʷ] considered as a double consonant for stress determination, and the transcription meant to represent this? — Eru·tuon 17:44, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

In Quenya <qu> (also written <q> by Tolkien) is not a consonant but a cluster. (talk) 16:08, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

"Chronology of publications of Elvish texts"[edit]

A number of entries in this section are about languages other than Q. I would move the whole section to Elvish languages (Middle-earth). —Tamfang (talk) 21:05, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Ha, I just made a similar comment on Sindarin. —Tamfang (talk) 21:00, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Italian influence on Quenya?[edit]

Thus, Quenya in its phonological qualities resembled Latin or Italian more than Finnish.

Like Latin in its vowel repertoire and stress pattern, but more like Finnish in its consonant phonotactics, e.g. avoidance of clusters and (more loosely) of voiced stops. As for Italian, where are the palatal consonants? —Tamfang (talk) 06:54, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Interesting question... Italian does have palatal l and n (gli- and gn), and the soft Italian c, g, and sc are like the Vanyarin ty, dy, and hy. Italian also uses nasal+stops (nt, mp, nc, nd etc.), and even favored clusters (rd, ld, st) much more than Finnish does, and uses qu and gu just as much as Latin. I suspect that Tolkien's Vanyarin dialect may have been his making a more Italian-sounding Quenya, given its properties which, in just about every respect, are more like Italian than Noldorin Quenya is (medial d, /z/, and how Vanyarin pronounces palatal consonants), but of course this is mere speculation. Tolkien did love Italian (and despise French): "I remain in love with Italian, and feel quite lorn without a chance of trying to speak it" (Letters:223). Here's an excerpt of subtitled Italian... it definitely looks like Quenya, don't you think? [1] BGManofID (talk) 08:24, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Interesting indeed. Fauskanger writes on his Ardalambion page that "the quality of the vowels resembles the system in Spanish or Italian rather than English" but does not relate any consonants to those two languages. De728631 (talk) 16:03, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
I suspect the similarity to Italian is mainly due to Tolkien's trying to apply a Latin basis with Finnish phonological rules to Quenya. Italian does have the most conservative (i.e., Classical Latin) consonants among the Romance languages. This as opposed to, say, Spanish, which routinely changed medial stops to voiced spirants (ex. c to g and thereby [ɣ], as in amigo), and got rid of all double consonants except rr (Spanish ll is actually ly). Italian, however, is like Quenya and Finnish and unlike Latin when it comes to final consonants; Latin uses final -t, -s, and -m a lot, Spanish uses -s for all its plurals, making it frequent in that language, whereas Quenya uses -s and -t relatively sparingly. And, if one compares Fauskanger's list of favored consonant clusters and compares them with those favored in Italian, they would be almost the same. Tolkien also wrote that t, p, c, are unaspirated (as in Italian and unlike English), and l is pronounced clear and light, unlike English or Slavic l. Now whether the similarities that Quenya has with Italian are deliberate on the part of Tolkien, or merely because Italian just happens to be Modern Latin (for lack of a better way of putting it), I don't know; but we do know that Tolkien did have a bias toward Italian and against French, which is just as Romance as Italian. BGManofID (talk) 23:45, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

vowel loss and consequent sandhi[edit]

In the late Ancient Quenya period, when vowels were lost in long compound words, the consonants or groups so created were as a rule changed or reduced:

"long compound words" and "groups so created" suggest medial vowel loss, but the examples shown all seem to be final. – Consonants are not created by vowel loss; how about 'exposed'? —Tamfang (talk) 22:02, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Use of Quenya[edit]

There is a discussion ongoing at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Middle-earth#"neo-language" regarding that paragraph and the use of "Neo-languages" in general. Please join us there and wait for the outcome before you edit that paragraph. De728631 (talk) 18:07, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Galadriel and Gildor[edit]

I removed the sentence about Gildor, who is mentioned nowhere else in the article, and is not "major" in any obvious sense. At the same time, I rearranged the first sentence for better flow (and better grammar):

Naturally these changes were reverted without comment.

I question whether the paragraph ought to be here at all. It's a reasonable inference, but we generally don't do reasonable inferences. Is there anything explicit in canon to support it? —Tamfang (talk) 04:36, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't see a problem with your version and with the paragraph at all. The Encyclopedia of Arda states that Quenya in the Third Age had become a ceremonial language only among elves so it's logical that Galadriel as the last major Noldo is the only noteworthy native speaker. De728631 (talk) 12:50, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Is that a reliable source? This is no place for logic. —Tamfang (talk) 21:56, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
There's also Glorfindel but he's also not prominent enough in LotR to be mentioned. De728631 (talk) 12:55, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Two timelines[edit]

For Tolkien's constructed languages we must distinguish two timelines of development:
  • one internal, consisting of the sequence of events within the fictional history of Tolkien's secondary world; and
  • one external, in which Tolkien's linguistic taste and conceptions evolved.

There ought to be some mention that Tolkien's conception of the history changed over time. There aren't just two lines: there's a series (external history) of parallel lines (internal history), forming a two-dimensional structure. How best to express this? Before the latest rewrite there was the phrase "Tolkien's conception of that world and its history evolved"; one would like to know why Laurifindil (talk · contribs) didn't like that, but L. has never yet responded to a question. —Tamfang (talk) 21:19, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

GA nom[edit]

I would encourage the article's keepers to expand the lead to conform to WP:LEAD before the GA review starts, as else it will quickfail. The lead needs to summarize the article, as is now it only gives an "in world" history of the languge. It needs to give a summary of the history of development and grammar as well. Also the structure is weird. The Syntax section should be with grammar and before vocabulary and it should be a lot more comprehensive. Also I think it needs to draw in more secondary sources.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:33, 14 October 2011 (UTC)


The table has a mistake: Quenya and English glosses are reversed. Also, the sources for these allegedly published words should be incorporated into the section for easy reference. Any neologisms should be discarded, like any derivatives of The Etymologies not specifically discussed by Tolkien himself. (talk) 15:13, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Page protected[edit]

I've fully protected the page for a few days due to the edit war over these references. While internet sources can be reliable (i.e. the reason given for removing them doesn't quite make sense), is "The Encyclopedia of Arda" a reliable source? Looking at it myself, it looks like an unofficial, personal website that someone maintains purely for enjoyment. Swarm X11|11|11 17:52, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Apart from the normal fanpage this site uses primary and independent references [2]. And while it is not comprehensive and may contain occasional errors there are mostly correct and reliable assessments of the general Tolkien-related topics and characters. What makes it reliable is the fact that it is not a Wiki that gets edited all the time. Apart from that, WikiProject Middle-earth has listed the site as a standard source: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Middle-earth/Standards.
In particular, the references that Laurifindil keeps removing state nothing else than the primary Tolkien source, i.e. that Sindarin was used as a standard language by the Noldor elves in exile. De728631 (talk) 21:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
See also Maunus' request for secondary sources in the #GA nom section above. Sourcing everything with primary sources is not always practical. De728631 (talk) 22:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This review is transcluded from Talk:Quenya/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jezhotwells (talk · contribs) 02:01, 9 November 2011 (UTC) I shall be reviewing this article against the Good Article criteria, following its nomination for Good Article status.



Checking against GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
    As the page was in an edit war until it was protected a day ago, this has to be a quickfail. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:10, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Quickfail due to edit war, please renominate when you have sorted out your problems. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:10, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Let's do a Wikipedia written in Quenya! --Sistemx (talk) 17:13, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Good luck with that. There are not even enough vocabularies to write the front page. De728631 (talk) 22:12, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
It's actually being done. See — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
But it's more of a "Wikitolkienpedia"...I don't think you can really cover nuclear physics in Quenya, for example, without inventing pretty much every word you use. Double sharp (talk) 15:22, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
And they're likely to get sued for copyvio. Not because of the language but for the massive uploads of artworks and book covers. De728631 (talk) 15:51, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
(The amount of redlinks in their templates listing characters is incredible, BTW...) Double sharp (talk) 16:28, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, they have a periodic table page. Although I am somewhat disappointed that not all the names were translated (hydrogen and oxygen appear to have been), just changed to fit Quenya phonology. In particular I don't like what they chose for fluorine very much. Double sharp (talk) 16:32, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Fluorine is from Latin fluere "to flow": -ine is a generic suffix for halogens. Suggest "flowing air"? air = vista (as substance), flow (as verb) = sir-, lutta-, lutu-: *lutuvista? (sorry for atrocious Quenya, please correct if need be!) Double sharp (talk) 13:44, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Me pursuing this: User:Double sharp/Quenya periodic table. Your Quenya is far better than mine, so please help correct my atrocities against the language! Double sharp (talk) 14:08, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Then again we could use "phthorine" instead... Double sharp (talk) 08:17, 24 June 2014 (UTC)


Is there a Quenyan Language Datasheet available? (talk) 22:41, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

What's a Language Datasheet with capital letters? —Tamfang (talk) 07:51, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Quenya/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Maunus (talk · contribs) 14:00, 3 January 2013 (UTC) I will review this article. More to come...·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:00, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Nominator: Thank you, Maunus, for reviewing this page. I appreciate this a lot. I'm going to respond to your particular comments below. De728631 (talk) 09:24, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written. Yes
    a (prose):
There are prose problems, odd phrasings, with redundancy, lack of clarity and coherence between sentences and paragraphs, odd phrasings etc. I would recommend a very good copyedit once the content issues have been taken care of.
Something else has recently been observed by Helge Fauskanger: the article may be too detailed for the general reader. I agree that it contains a lot of "linguist-speak" aka jargon. Therefore while doing the copyediting, I think the explanatory sections should be left in place most of the times. De728631 (talk) 16:25, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with details, as long as necessary jargon is explained. But I agree sometimes it is a good idea to spin out the details to daughter articles and have general summaries in place.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:45, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Reading through the sections I still think the prose could be a lot better. Many of the sections read like lists of information because there is no coherence between one sentence and the next, and no overall progression to each section. It makes for very choppy reading. Making the history sections chronological does give some structure, but the language itself could be a lot more coherent and flowing. I know that it often depends on the tastes of the reviewer the extent to which they attend to prose quality in GAs, and I wouldn't like to fail an otherwise well written article because of language problems, but here I am on the fence. It is particularly important to improve the quality of the prose if there are any plans for FA, because as it is it wouldn't stand a chance there. So if you have FA plans we might as well address the prose now. I will try to give it a copyedit to improve textual coherence and see if that a sufficient improvement.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:45, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for dealing with the lead, I was going to do that today. Anyhow, I for one don't have any FA plans for this article, but I'd be happy to lift it to GA status and let it rest there for a while. Apart from the history sections I don't see any possibilities though to improve the text flow since the linguistic parts are in fact mainly composed of samples and lists of rules. And you're right that this is largely dependent on personal taste. I'm always reluctant to write in a too coherent mode because that tends to drift towards an essay-like style which we don't want to have either. De728631 (talk) 13:15, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):

The lead is too short and does not provide an adequate summary of the article as a whole. The way tables are used is not the best graphical solution for the presentation of grammatical data since they break up the flow of the prose and make reading the article seem choppy. Also the lead has citations which it doesn't need. All of the material should be cited in the body of the article and then the citations in the lead can be removed. Especially since some of the citations are supporting facts that seem entirely uncontroversial such as that it was created by Tolkien etc.
Once the article body has been improved in terms of topics, I'm going to take care of the prose and will update the lead section. As to the tables, I'm considering breaking out the main part of the Grammar section into a separate article so we can present a compact text-only section over here with one or two short tables at most. See e.g. the featured article Swedish language where the Grammar section has been treated that way. De728631 (talk) 09:24, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
There's now a new article Quenya grammar, and the appropriate section in the main article has been trimmed a lot. De728631 (talk) 14:35, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I think that is a good approach.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:34, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I have now finished editing the main sections into a (hopefully) improved version. So tomorrow I shall take on the lead section. De728631 (talk) 20:37, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I have now started reviewing the grammar section, and it needs a lot of work. The information presented is not well organized it gives some very specific information and leaves out some general information and gives no real overview. For readability it is best if each section starts byt giving a general overview and then goes into specific detail e.g. "Nouns inflect for case and number > these are the numbers/these are the cases > the numbers and cases are formed like this" This makes it easier to read and understand. You could check out how Helge Fauskanger does it in his short grammar sketch for ideas[3]. You can also read the Greenlandic language GA for an example of how to construct grammar sections that go from the general to the specific. Also all information in the grammar section should be cited to a reliable source that is preferably not a primary source - I would not mind it if you cite Fauskanger's website as he is a recognized expert. Other sources could be Arda Philology or Tolkien studies. Or it could perhaps be Allan and Carson's "introduction to Elvish" or some of the other basic Quenya introductions - I do doubt they reach the level of Fauskanger or the other academic studies. I have introduced some embedded commentary where I have suggestions or specific questions for clarification.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:47, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the input. I have just added some references by Helmut Pesch and I shall look at the Ardalambion site too. I have also added some clarifications where you indicated them. But as to the general text flow, I'm beginning to think that the two of us have some fundamentally different views of what it needs to write an encyclopedical text. E.g. I can already find a lot of introductory parts for the various sections. While I agree that the general introduction to the grammar section could longer and more comprehensive I don't see a need for much improvement to the subsections. Please bear also in mind that this is not a feature review but "only" a GA check. De728631 (talk) 19:20, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I understand that it can be frustrating to have to look at one's text in relation to the expectations of others. I have written one language FA and one language GA and have undergone several unsuccesful nominations, so I know this is demanding and the critique can feel harsh, when one as a nominator felt the article was very close to meeting the criteria. But please be assured that I am not interested in failing the article - what I am interested in, is to make it of comparable quality to other language GAs - and I intend to help in that process. In order for the grammar section to be adequate I see a need for a substantial rewrite. It is simply not coherent or comprehensive. It seemingly arbitrarily goes into detail on some topics and treat others very cursorily. As a redaer you are not left with a general understanding of how the language works after reading this section. If you really think we have "fundamentally differrent views" you can ask me to stop the review and let someone else take over, but if you are willing to keep working with me the article will end up as a truly Good Article. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:39, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm certainly interested in continuing the work with you but from my comments you might imagine that I didn't realise how the article was of such a bad quality and would require that much work to become acceptable. Grammar section aside, I just came across your html comment about the vowels. That entire section is actually inferred from Gebhardt's treatise (p. 45 who writes it pretty much this way. He also provides a vowel chart with only 7 sounds. Admittedly though he does not directly compare Pesch's and Fauskanger's statements. When I added this part I think I couldn't go into any further details without beginning to paraphrase the source text. Also I don't know where the number ten comes from, after all, a, e, i, o, and u are only five basic sounds; and in his 2003 book, Pesch writes that there are five vowels, each of them being short and long. Please see my latests edits to that section. De728631 (talk) 22:05, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it is "bad" I just think the prose can be improved quite a bit to make it easier for the reader to understand the information. I'll look at Gebhardt (whoc should of course be cited) and then see how to solve the wording. I think that the discrepancy is that it mixes the phonological and phonetic levels - i.e. there are 5 phonemic vowel qualities with a length distinction which means that there are 10 possible vowel sounds. But then the issue is complicated by the fact that Tolkien states that long mid vowels are slightly raised relative to the short ones. And I do think Fauskanger and Pesch's views are not contradictory.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:18, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I removed the contrasting point of view from the article text. Now, as to dental vs alveolar consonants, I don't remember where that current table came from but there is a different version in Pesch (2003) that also includes alveolar and postalveolar consonants, namely s, n, l, and r, respectively. Since this can be cited, I suppose we should add it. With the names of the tengwar columns being used (Tincotéma etc.), I fear that this table was actually loosely constructed from LotR Appendix E some day in the past. De728631 (talk) 23:01, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)I now have removed the connection to the tengwar columns except for the image. It seems to be a common misconception to reconstruct the consonant values from the tengwar rows (témar) alone. Instead one should in keep in mind that Feanor aka Tolkien constructed the Tengwar so that they could also be used to write a whole number of foreign languages. Therefore, as stated in Appendix E of LotR, the entire 3rd téma could freely be used according to the respective language to write. As you have marked yourself, grouping all Quenya consonants into témar is inconclusive (alveolars etc.). There is certainly a connection between the sound they represent and their name but this should rather be shown in the tengwar article proper and not here. De728631 (talk) 14:05, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I disagree, IO think the tengwar shows a lot about how Tolkien thought about phonology. And it doesn't matter that not all the tengwar fit to a poa. If you remove the description then I think you should remove all mention of tengwar from the phonology section and only include them in the section on writing system. In fact i think the entire part of the consonant section that comes after the table is problematic - especially if it isn't preced b7y a description of what tengwar is and how they relate to phonology. Letters and sounds are not the same - but in this case letters have been devised to mimic sounds to the highest possible degree. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:10, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
My primary concern was to fix the consonant table. But you're right that the part right below the table needs more background. So I'm going to restore your text part about the tengwar but it should probably be noted that the auxiliary tengwar at the bottom of their table are not part of the usual scheme. Also, the palatals (tyelpetémar) do have a name but don't have a row of their own. Instead these tengwar are made up of the usual calmatémar with a diacritic (two dots below the tengwa). So this whole téma business is not very comprehensive in my eyes. De728631 (talk) 14:22, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Since you have already removed the tengwar completely from the phonology section, I think this is even better. We shouldn't mix up letters and phonemes. But I did like the "subgroups" – we're not writing for linguists, we're writing for the general public. ;) De728631 (talk) 14:28, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
But I don't even know what subgroups would mean, neither would a general public person - the article has to be linguistically accurate while also being intelligible to layfolk that is the challenge. Subgroups didn't convey any information. I suppose you mean that the velars are plain and labialized? But basically the prose description of the phoneme inventory should be complete, mentioning all distinct poa & moa and the distributions.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:33, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. It is factually accurate and verifiable. yes
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    I think it relies very much on primary sources and leaves out a lot of secondary literature that would be useful in describing the process of creation and the reasons Tolkien made the choices he did. Also there are many paragraphs and statements without sourcing. Some statements are evaluative statements that are only supported by primary sources, e.g. "Tolkien changed his mind" supported only by the primary source in which he describes a new version of the language, or the statement saying that Qenya and Quenya were substantially different supported by a citation to Qenyaqetsa - we can't use primary sources in that way because it looks like original research. It would not be difficult to find a source stating this (e.g. Gilson & Wynne "the growth of grammar"), but these are important required changes because otherwise the article suggests original research.
Some suggestions for sources to integrate:
  • Lawrie Barnes & Chantelle van Heerden Virtual Languages in Science fiction and fantasy literature. Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa, Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 102-117 2006; (OK, I read this one now and it is quite poor admittedly and gets lots of things wrong, I think you did a good job at taking out the only useful point they make) [In fact this peerreviewed journal article cites this very wikipedia article regarding the grammar of Quenya! Poor fools.]
  • Dimitra Fimi. Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits.
  • Ross Smith. 2006. Fitting Sense to Sound: Linguistic Aesthetics and Phonosemantics in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien Studies Volume 3, 2006 pp. 1-20
  • Christopher Gilson. 2009. Essence of Elvish: The Basic Vocabulary of Quenya Tolkien Studies Volume 6, 2009;
  • Petri Tikka. The Finnicization of Quenya. In Arda Philology 1. Beregond, Anders Stenström (ed.).

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────These are some very interesting sources but I'm afraid that they're not easily accessible. So far I've only gotten the conference paper by Tikka in full, and Fimi's book has a snippet preview on Google that is not very helpful either. The articles in Tolkien Studies cannot be previewed but I'm trying to find an abstract for them. Anyhow, Google Books should have more than these so I'm going to do a search of my own. De728631 (talk) 09:24, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

I've ordered Fimi and Solopova's books which should both prove useful. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:02, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
That's great. I've got Solopova's book which is pretty useful for a broad background on JJRT's general influences but doesn't go into much details when it comes to his languages. The Fimi book should be interesting though. De728631 (talk) 14:35, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I also think we should cite Hostetter and Gilson and Wynne regarding the development.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:51, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Do you mean the papers mentioned in "Further reading" or anything else? De728631 (talk) 15:15, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Primarily the further reading papers, which I think could be cited for many of the statements that are now based on primary sources or no sources. Probably it is a good idea to incorporate as many of the further reading sources into the references as possible.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:21, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): yes b (focused): yes
    I think it misses some major aspects such as an engagement with Tolkien's intent in creating the language, what was his vision of it and what was the role he assigned to it in the Middle-earth universe. The Quenya/Sindarin distinction is emblematic of the distinction between light and dark elves, and imply a hierarchy of being. This applies on all levels of description from the level of phonetics (why did he choose the sounds he chose?) Perhaps you could make a section called "Quenya in Middle-earth" describing how within the universe the language has a particular social/cultural/mythical significance, in relation to other languages spoken e.g. Valarin, Sindarin, Black speech etc. Also i think it would be an excellent addition to have a selection of the phrases in Quenya in the published works - LOTR and Silmarillion. This would be good to have before the grammar section, so that it gives the reader a sense of what the grammar analysis is based on.
I've been working a bit on the phonology aspect but including some quoted phrases is certainly a good idea. I think though that the role of Quenya envisioned by Tolkien is already mention in "Parmaquesta and Tarquesta", and in the Internal history section in general. Also Thingol's ruling to forbid the use of Quenya in Beleriand has been mentioned, so I don't see how we should add more in-universe content. De728631 (talk) 09:24, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I think the internakl history section could be consolidated which would make room for more information. Basically I don't think there is a need for separate subsections in the internal history section. many of the subsections are just a couple of sentences. What I think is missing in the internal history section is more information about the way that quenya/sindarin is emblematic of a hierarchic difference between High Elves and Dark Elves so that Quenya takes on a function as a kind of "classical language" tied both to religion, history and social status. I am hoping Solopova or Fimi will have more on this. I like what you did to the Grammar section - you can also see what we did at Greenlandic language for another way of integrating grammatical information without tables. Maybe a similar consolidation could be done for the phonology section spinning out an article on Quenya phonology for the more detailed material? ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:02, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I have now modified the internal history section a bit. I do think we should stick with the subsections since they provide a hierarchy and also function as a sort of timelime. I have however added some insight about the Light Elves and Dark Elves from V. Flieger's Splintered Light. While this is a first insight, I may dig deeper into that book to see what I can find. De728631 (talk) 14:35, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for correcting my terrible mistake of confusing Okrent with Okrand! That was really embarassing. If we stick with the subsections I think the small ones should be expanded. Another way of maintaining the structure would be to use simple bold headers instead of the == part. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:25, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  2. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.: Y
  3. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  4. Overall:

Issues with the grammar section – second opinion requested[edit]

  • I think the presentation of the article is complicated by the fact that Quenya is not a single language, but has different registers, dialects and stages of development. Overall the article would be improved by a greater degree of clarity about which variety is being described so that examples are primarily chosen from one variety. Alternatively I think it should be made fully clear what varieties examples represent.
  • The grammar section is very hard to read, it consists of short sentences with little coherence and a high information load, often with no supporting context for example one paragraph starts with "The plural forms (suffix -r in late Quenya) are used only with a detached plural subject." - this is a very specific piece of information that comes out of the blue and uses jargon that I frankly don't understand (being a linguist by profession) - I don't know what a detached subject is - and this information has not been preceded by any background information about what the inflectional categories of the Quenya verb are, or how they are encoded. This kind of writing makes the section very hard to read. It could be improved by starting each section at the general level and then moving into the specifics of different categories. E.g. "The Quenya verb inflects for agreement with number and person of the subject. Subject agreement is expressed with one of the suffixes..." Also examples should be glossed to make it easier to see what they mean, and they should illustrate specific topics. For example in the Pronoun section one paragraph starts with the sentence ""I love him" (or "her") can be expressed in Quenya as Melinyes or Melin sé." What is this example illustrating? What is the difference between the two ways of saying I love you? Context is urgently needed.
  • The issue of coherence should be addressed from the level of the structure of the entire section and to the level of the structure of each paragraph and each sentence. The section should be organized so that similar topics are treated together and in a sequence so that the reader gets the knowledge necessary for understanding each section. Solving this requires making a basic decision about what the function of the grammar section is. Should it provide a comprehensive catagllogue of the grammatical categories? Or should it simply give a basic typological overview of Quenya grammar? If the second then the section has too much detail in several sections (e.g. the section on a conjugated pronoun, adjective endings in late Q,), but if the first then it needs to be much more comprehensive. I think the wisest would be to opt for a relatively short typological overview that does not go into great detail but which provides examples of the major grammatical processes. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:29, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Thank you for these suggestions. Your first point is quite easy to address by restricting all samples to late exilic Quenya as has been done in the Phonology section. While I don't mind short sentences at all, I agree that some jargon could still be eradicated from the section. As to the major issue, coherence, I'm unsure whether the section needs to be struck down even more to merely present the "typological overview" as you call it. E.g. even your sample article Greenlandic language (see discussion above) has a quite detailed grammar section with many sub-headings and lots of lists instead of free-flowing prose. On the other hand, now that we have the separate article Quenya grammar it would be easy to just refer to that one for details. On that note, I'm planning to update the grammar article with the latest facts and phrases from Quenya proper once we've reached an outcome in the review process. Finally I should note that I didn't contribute much to this article before the review, but I found it ready to go when I nominated it. I'm not even a linguist so perhaps that is why I fail to see the incoherence here. De728631 (talk) 20:13, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, in Greenlandic we opted for comprehensiveness and the grammar section includes explanations and examples of all grammatical processes in the language. I wouldn't recommend this here because it would be more work, although it would make for a more exhaustive article that would be closer to FA status. I don't think the Greenlandic article has many lists, and all lists are tied to prose explanations. Articles that uses the typological overview approach is Swedish language and Nahuatl (both FAs). I agree that the best approach would be to take examples mainly from late exilic Quenya. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:21, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Aircorn's second opinion[edit]

A request for a second opinion was asked and I am willing to provide one. I haven't read the article yet, but thought I would leave a few preemtive notes. First, the reviewer will have the final say on whether the article passes, no matter my opinon. Second, judging whether an article is well-written is quite subjective. As a minimum I expect to be able to follow and understand what is being said. AIRcorn (talk) 09:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Okay I have had a read through. To be honest the phonology and grammar was a hard slog, but the rest was fine. A few more wikilinks would help for the more technical terms, i.e. "The Quenya consonant system has 6 major places of articulation: labial, dental, alveolar, palatal, velar and glottal." Many language articles (including a few featured articles) are like this, so I don't think it is a prose issue. I have some comments about the lead. AIRcorn (talk) 11:34, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • is a fictional language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien, and used in his fictional universe, often called Middle-earth. Why often called? What other names does it have?
  • Might want to say that it is elvish language earlier (maybe even in the first paragraph).
  • The third paragraph of the lead tends to stray a bit. Out of all the sections the lead should be the most focussed. For example:
"who left Middle-earth to live in Eldamar ("Elvenhome"), in Valinor the land of the immortal and God-like Valar. Of these two groups of Elves, the Noldor returned to Middle-earth where they met the Sindarin speaking Grey-elves. The Noldor eventually adopted Sindarin and used Quenya primarily as a ritual or poetic language, whereas the Vanyar who stayed behind in Eldamar retained the use of Quenya."
does not seem terribly relavant, especially for the lead.
Thank you very much for providing your opinion and the additional hints, which I think are very valuable. Wikilinks can easily be added to the introductory parts of the Grammar and Phonology sections, so any technical terms can be looked up. As to your specific points concerning the lead:
  • "Middle-earth" is actually only a small part of Tolkien's universe but in popular culture it has become the collective term for the entire world. I think this can be clarified with some simple changes to the lead.
  • Re: elvish language: Sure, this should be mentioned quite early.
  • This is actually the summed-up internal development of the language which is quite crucial for the internal history of Tolkien's world as has been published in The Silmarillion. I think it has also been mentioned in the main part of the article that Tolkien intended to give Quenya an archaic or ancient status compared to his other elvish language Sindarin. I think though that this can be clarified in the lead.
De728631 (talk) 17:45, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Ok, I personally think that coherence and organization is an important part of what makes an article reasonably well-written, and I find this article article to be lacking in that department. Certainly it is not close to FA level quality of prose and organization. But, I do think that my personal taste in prose should not be what keeps an otherwise well-researched article from promotion. I will take Aircorn's point and not fail the article on prose concerns. I would still prefer a higher ratio of secondary to primary sources, but when we have worke4d more on that - for example using Ardalambion for grammar and phonology then we should be very close to passing.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:04, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    • I'm tempted to shout "Auta i lóme!" Regarding primary sources, I think it's alright to use the "Outline of Phonology" and "Quenya Grammar" by Tolkien as long as the article does not contain synthesis from these sources. After all, the Tolkien papers published in VT and PE include a lot of direct "recipes" for the language as envisioned by Tolkien, so citing primary sources is ok in this case. Of course we can always add "Tolkien wrote", or "according to Tolkien" but that would become too tiring and repetitive. De728631 (talk) 20:22, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
It's not so much about the attribution, it is about the risk of synthesis which arises from choosing information from his unpublished manuscripts. It introduces the problem that the sources don't always accord, and we have tom ake sense of that somehow. We don't know which ideas Tolkien later discarded, or reworked, except when someone has done that analysis for us and published it in secondary sources. If you want to rely mainly on Outline of phonology and Quenya grammar then I think they should be described in separate sections that do not include information from other primary sources. Then secondary sources would mainly have to be used to put those two sources in perspective and provide analytic commentary.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
You may be on to something there. VT No. 19 states that the Outline of Phonology refers primarily to Quenya in Valinor [4] while we are attempting to present LotR-style Exilic Quenya. I have now added some secondary sources that actually confirm the facts attributed to the "Outline" for late Quenya, but of course there have been certain changes (not only in Tolkien's mind but also in the internal development). So I've dug out this paper by Fauskanger which I'm currently reading. That said, it seems to me that Ardalambion may be a bit outdated, especially since new findings have emerged in VT and other journals in the last few years. See also Ardalambion's timetable. De728631 (talk) 22:18, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
VT and similar Tolkien scholarship is of course an even better secondary source, but you said you didn't have access to most of that.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. The info I mentioned above is from their website that provides a sort of abstract for VT 19, but I don't have access to the full version of either journal. It would certainly be interesting to read the annotations by Gilson to the Outline of Phonology and other papers by Tolkien, but otherwise, Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon have resorted to publishing primary works only. Tolkien Studies may be an interesting source, at least here's a statement that Tolkien "to have remained largely satisfied by the 1951 phonology for the rest of his life."[5] But then again I can't get hold of it either. De728631 (talk) 22:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Sorry for the absence the last couple of days. I am going to look over the article today and give it a final copyedit, then I expect to be able to pass it tomorrow.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:40, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I am passing this article. Prose-wise I think it is not terribly well written, but it is reasonably well written. Same with comprehensiveness. It is a definitely worthy of being called a Good Article, even though there's a good way to go still for it to be among Wikipedia's finest work. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:46, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Hurray! Thanks a lot for your patience and cooperation. De728631 (talk) 14:42, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

ñw pronunciation[edit]

I have changed the pronunciations of Quenya and ñwarë which had the sequence [ʷw] is phonetically very implausible and for which there also is no justification in terms of sources or even logics since the qu graph translates as [kʷ] (so where does the w come from?) and the ñ translates as [ŋ] not [ŋʷ].·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:38, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


Given that the phonemes correspond directly to tengwar it would be really cool if the consonant table could include the tengwa corresponding to each sound. I don't know if this is reasonably possible given the difficulty of using tengwar fonts. Maybe if we did the consonant table as an .svg image instead of a wikitable?·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:55, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

I think it was not a good idea to remove the tema description, since this is really an interesting and important party of how Tolkien thought about phonology. The tengwar are based on point and manner of articulation and I think it is important to include this in the description of the phonology. Note that my description was based on the tengwar table not on the consonant table. I think it is ok to remove the temar from the consonant table, but maintain the prose description of the relation between poa and the tengwar.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:03, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

table of stop consonants[edit]

These are attested as initial consonants in the Etymologies. I made this table because it seems odd to have a table of only the nasals.

labial P→p B→v PH→f M→m MB→m
dental T→t D→l TH→s N→n ND→n
palatal-dental TY→ty DY→y   NY→ny  
palatal-velar KY→ty GY→y KHY→hy   ÑGY→indy
plain velar K→c G→∅ KH→h   ÑG→n
labial-velar KW→qu GW→w     ÑGW→nw,ungw

It ought to be checked against the corrections in Vinyar Tengwar.

Tamfang (talk) 08:49, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

There should be a comparison with what happens in Telerin and Þindarin IMHO. Double sharp (talk) 10:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
(still thinking how KHY could end up as [θ] in Telerin!) Double sharp (talk) 12:38, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

misc queries[edit]

Why would anyone think a word for 'book' was borrowed for 'ship'?

That he crafted an Elvish etymology for it doesn't establish that he didn't take it from a primary-world language in the first place; Tolkien's derivations worked both forward and backward in fictional time.

√GAR 'hold, possess' suggests garth 'enclosure' and French garde, merely putting the problem back one step!

On the other hand, there appears to me to be no such Latin word.

So in alda, for example, does the d belong to the first syllable? —Tamfang (talk) 00:28, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Let me try to address these questions:
"Why would anyone think a word for 'book' was borrowed for 'ship'?"
Because if you speak neither Finnish nor Quenya and only read or hear the two terms you would think that they might be related.
"That he crafted an Elvish etymology for it doesn't establish that he didn't take it from a primary-world language in the first place; Tolkien's derivations worked both forward and backward in fictional time."
That would mean that Tolkien first took some real world forms like aure or Erde and then thought about any internal roots for them. I'm not sure that it actually happened that way. It should also be considered that Tolkien often invented words that he thought sounded beautiful, so if he created a root word and then applied his fictional development to it, it might have happened that familiar phrases came out. Anyhow, this is worth some more research.
"So in alda, for example, does the d belong to the first syllable?"
Yes, it's ald-a, not al-da. De728631 (talk) 00:15, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, as far as I know, the d belongs to the second syllable. That's not how syllabification works in Latin, and Tolkien based Quenya syllabification and stress on Latin. In Quenya and Latin (though Latin has a few exceptions), a cluster of two consonants (ld) is divided up between the syllable before and the syllable after. The first consonant goes to the syllable before, the second to the syllable after: al-da. A syllable is heavy if its rhyme has more than just a short vowel: that is, if it ends in a long vowel, diphthong, or consonant. I can't cite a specific source for my knowledge as far as Quenya is concerned, but this is how I learned it. Anyway, it's weird to syllabify a cluster of two consonants with the syllable before them, and leave the syllable after without an onset, and my rule is simpler than the one Tamfang quotes, which is not an either-or as far as I can figure it, but very difficult to simplify. — Eru·tuon 19:19, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
But alda is also the tengwa for the cluster ld so I suppose in this specific word the l and d should not be separated. De728631 (talk) 01:13, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't believe so. Certain consonant clusters are represented with a single letter (nasal-stop clusters, for instance) and others aren't. There isn't a very clear pattern as to which. I don't see why orthography should necessarily correspond to syllable structure. Orthography is incredibly varied in how faithfully it represents phonology and how much it's simply arbitrary. Latin and Ancient Greek have two-consonant letters (x, xi, psi), and they were simply considered as representing two consonants, which could be divided up between syllables just like any other two letters. It makes sense to treat the Quenya letters the same way. Not doing so leads to problems (either onsetless syllables or syllables with phonologically unlikely onsets); doing so removes these problems. — Eru·tuon 04:45, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
But if we syllabify Quenya words this way, it causes some problems with the stress rules. How are double consonants syllabified? Is halla (1) hal-la or (2) hall-a? If we take this definition of a heavy syllable, then taking (1) means that the first syllable is not heavy because it doesn't contain a biconsonantal cluster, which would mean that compounds involving this word, like Hallacar, would have to be stressed on the second syllable. And do initial biconsonantal clusters count? In ungwe, do we count gw as one or two consonants? (Do we have examples from Tolkien illustrating how the stress rules work on various words?)
Also, I'm curious when you say "onsetless syllables or syllables with phonologically unlikely onsets". Illustrative examples please? Double sharp (talk) 14:03, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Last question first. I mean if we keep the cluster ld together, we can syllabify in two ways: ald-a and a-lda. In both syllabifications, the final syllable has problems. In the first, it lacks an onset. It is generally preferred for syllables to have onsets. In the second, it violates the sonority hierarchy. L, a liquid, is more sonorous than d, a stop. When the two occur together in an onset or coda, the more sonorous one should be closer to the vowel than the less sonorous one. In an onset, the less sonorous should come first, so d should be before l, but it isn't. So lda is a less preferable syllable. Both syllabifications generate problems. The syllabification al-da lacks these problems, so it's preferable.
I'm puzzled by your first series of questions. According to the definition I give, a syllable only has to end in a single consonant to be heavy. It does not need a biconsonantal cluster.
Consonants in onsets have no bearing on syllable weight. Syllable weight is based on the rhyme of the syllable. I think ungwe would be syllabified un-gwe, but stress is on the first syllable of a two-syllable word no matter what.
Double consonants are syllabified like consonant clusters. One goes to the syllable before, the other to the syllable after: hal-la.
Hallacar is stressed Hˈallacar, not Hallˈacar. Stress depends on the weight of the penultimate syllable, not the antepenult. An antepenult does not have to be long to be stressed; it just has to be in a word that doesn't have a heavy penult. In Hallacar the penult is la and isn't heavy (or else it's a and is still not heavy), so the antepenult is stressed.
We do have examples of stress, though not syllabification, in Appendix E of the Lord of the Rings (or the Return of the King if the book is in three volumes). We also have a passage where, I suspect, the stuff about "two consonants" about two syllables came from. Here I'll quote the relevant bit:
In [words longer than two syllables, stress] falls on the last syllable but one, where that contains a long vowel, a diphthong, or a vowel followed by two (or more) consonants.
Tolkien's words may be interpreted as meaning that the penultimate syllable may end in a vowel and two consonants. This is a fair interpretation, but not the correct one, because he's speaking in imprecise terms to a layman. He is not describing Quenya syllabification, but telling someone who knows nothing about syllabification how to determine the stress in a Quenya word. Saying the vowel of the penultimate syllable is followed by two consonants is the same as saying that the penultimate syllable ends in a vowel and consonant. If the penultimate syllable ends in a vowel and consonant, there must be another consonant after it, because the last syllable must have an onset. Thus there are two consonants after the vowel of the penultimate syllable: the coda consonant of the penult, and the onset consonant of the ultima.
In Latin and Greek syllabification, onsets are prioritized over codas. You give syllables their onsets, and then if any consonants are left over, you make them into codas. Tolkien was deeply influenced by Latin and Greek, and it's unlikely that he would invent an entirely different syllabification system, in which consonant clusters get tacked onto codas (ald-a) before all syllables get their onsets.
Anyway, Quenya stress is identical to Latin stress (though not Greek). Here are the words Tolkien gives in Appendix E. Some of them are Sindarin, but it doesn't matter, because they follow the same rules. He marks stress by capitalizing the vowel of the stressed syllable. He doesn't capitalize the stressed syllable, which is consistent with my belief that he isn't attempting to describe syllabification. It is clear that isIldur has two consonants after the stressed vowel, but it is not indicated which syllable these consonants belong to.
isIldur, Orome, erEssëa fËanor, ancAlima, elentÁri, dEnethor, periAnnath, ecthElion, pelArgir, silIvren
These words would be stressed exactly the same way if they were converted to Latin orthography and Latin stress rules were applied to them.
Okay. I took way too long on this, and I need to quit. I probably answered your questions in way more detail than necessary. Whatever. — Eru·tuon 05:52, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
I know this is years later, and you might never see or respond to this, but I disagree with your analysis that Tolkien's mention of "two (or more)" consonants in a syllable is simply a result of him not addressing linguists or experts. Tolkien says, specifically, that "where the last syllable but one contains (as often) a short vowel followed by only one (or no) consonant, the stress falls on the syllable before it." Tolkien asserts that a single consonant in a syllable is insufficient to make the syllable "heavy." He further mentions that "words of this type are favoured [...] especially in Quenya." In such cases, do you assert that having a single consonant following a vowel in a syllable would be the same has having no consonant, and that the consonant would simply be the onset of the ultimate syllable? Corsair Caruso (talk) 06:50, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Heh, turns out I looked on my watchlist and saw my name, just a few minutes after you posted. Yes, essentially. As in Latin and Greek, a single consonant following a vowel belongs to the following syllable (if there is one). So súrinen is syllabified sú-ri-nen, and the penultimate syllable doesn't end in a consonant. Syllabifying as súr-in-en would be incorrect. — Eru·tuon 07:05, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for clearing up the confusion! Double sharp (talk) 11:00, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone have access to Parma Eldalamberon 19? I would edit the article to reflect this understanding of syllabification and stress, but for all I know, my surmises about these subjects might be wrong, and anyway, it would be a good idea to base a section on the source given for it. I wish the darned thing weren't a full 35 dollars, or that it were available someplace. — Eru·tuon 19:15, 29 September 2013 (UTC)


Having a duodecimal/hybrid decimal-duodecimal counting system is quite unusual. Shouldn't we give info about number words? Double sharp (talk) 11:43, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

User:Double sharp/Quenya number words?? Double sharp (talk) 12:36, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Initial x and ps[edit]

It ought to be made clear that although Tolkien says these are allowed, they do not actually appear in any words in our present corpus (AFAIK). For now all it does is make borrowing Greek woords into Quenya easier. Double sharp (talk) 14:54, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Where did Tolkien say that? At least for ps it has already been mentioned in the article in the intro for the consonants section that grouping of consonants only appears inside a word. As to x: in the beginning of a word this would equal the combination of ks or cs which is equally not valid. De728631 (talk) 18:04, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
In the article, under "Phonotactics" and referenced to Fauskanger's "Quenya" and Tolkien's "Outline of Phonology": "Quenya tolerates only the following initial groups: hl, hr; x (ks), ps; ty, ny, ly; qu (kw), ñw (became nw in Noldorin Quenya)." Fauskanger does not give x and ps as allowable initial consonant clusters, so I suppose it must be in Tolkien. Double sharp (talk) 08:19, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
That's weird. I think this got somehow mixed up with Fauskanger's list of medial consonants. I'm going to remove x and ps from the initials list in the article. De728631 (talk) 13:43, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Seems like I missed the Phonology article in Parma Eldalamberon. Unfortunately I don't have access to that so I can't check it. Apparently, Fauskanger doesn't count hl and hr as clusters; after all, the h is only meant to add an aspirated sound to the "main" consonant. De728631 (talk) 13:53, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

On hl and hr[edit]

Are these clusters, or independent phonemic [ɬ] and [r̊]? (Either way they still wouldn't be in the consonant chart, because they merge with l and r by the Third Age.) Double sharp (talk) 13:42, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Voiceless sonorants are a thorny question in general, in Old English, Old Norse, and Modern English as well as Quenya. One way of differentiating between clusters and phonemes is how long they are pronounced, but regrettably we have no native speakers of Quenya whose speech we can analyze. Another way is if there's a clear phonemic distinction between clusters and individual sounds: that is, if we had /hl/ contrasting with /l̥/. That clearly doesn't exist in Quenya. So, we have only typology and personal preference left. Some people like to represent phonetic sounds with phonemic sequences, and other people like to have separate phonemes.
I personally find it most phonologically and phonetically plausible to analyze them as separate phonemes, at least right before the merger. The set of sound changes would go like this:
  • /sl/ (Proto-Elvish form)
  • [hl] (lenition: debuccalization of /s/)
  • [hl̥] (assimilation: devoicing of /l/ after voiceless consonant)
  • /l̥/ (lenition: elision of /h/)
  • /l/ (lenition: voicing of voiced sonorant)
I think historically philologists have called hnut > nut (an English sound change) cluster reduction. However, this doesn't seem plausible to me. Clearly hnut originally began with a cluster /xn/ in Proto-Germanic or even in Old English, but from the point of view of naturalness, it had to go through the intermediate stage of being a single phonemic voiceless sonorant /n̥/, or else it wouldn't merge with the single voiced sonorant phoneme /n/. I'm sure there are differences of opinion on this point. — Eru·tuon 00:26, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
How is phonemic conflation "more natural" than cluster reduction? Did English bomb, lamb need to go through a phase where mb was a denasalized m before it conflated with /m/? With xnut, why couldn't the h have voiced in assimilation w the n, and the elided, or gone straight to elision? — kwami (talk) 21:21, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
@Kwamikagami: A denasalized m would be b, causing bomb, lamb to become bobb, labb. A similar sound change occurred in Old West Norse, but we say bom, lam in English, implying elision (or perhaps assimilation to bomm, lamm at some point in the past). This example is problematic, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to disprove my point.
What I mean about naturalness is that voiceless sonorants are typologically rare and difficult to produce and hear, and therefore likely to voice. I also have the impression that English speakers typically use a voiceless sonorant in what rather than a cluster nowadays, suggesting that simple voicing occurred, but I haven't actually done acoustic analysis of the speech of wh-distinguishers. And perhaps I'm wrong: maybe it's more natural for voiceless sonorants to strengthen to fricatives, in which case what with a voiceless sonorant would've become fat.
Another possibility is that partial assimilation happened: that [xwat] became [hwat], [ʍwat], and then [wat], and similarly with hnut. I think something I read suggested this was the case. — Eru·tuon 21:51, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
There can be denasalized /m/ that is not [b]. In Korean, for example. My point was that, since voiceless sonorants are rare, why assume they occurred phonemically at all? Why not just /sl/ > /hl/ > /l/? — kwami (talk) 22:13, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Denasalized /m/ that's not [b] sounds fascinating, though I don't understand articulatorily or acoustically what it means. It seems like as soon as a stop loses nasality, it would become oral. Perhaps you can explain it to me.
I guess from a segmental perspective, the phonemic change you envision is much simpler. I'm thinking more of phonological features, though, and it makes sense to me that the sonorant would become voiceless and then be revoiced. However, I think I lack proper evidence to prove this is most natural. — Eru·tuon 22:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Korean nasals have denasalized allophones, especially initially. Sort of a head-cold voice, maybe. Korean tenuis stops are also voiced intervocallically. That is, /m, n/ may be [m͊ n͊], and /p, t/ may be [b, d]. But while an English speaker will hear them all as /b, d/ (though perhaps with an odd accent), a Korean speaker will hear them as entirely different. That could just be phonemic knowledge, but they don't seem to have merged. There are a few papers on this, but remarkably little given how important I suspect it is for phonological and historical phonological theory. — kwami (talk) 23:14, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm guessing, after trying to produce those sounds, that what happens is the stop is held, air exhaled into the occluded space, with the lips or tongue moving outwards due to the pressure. Weird. The difference could be duration. — Eru·tuon 23:29, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
If we're talking about Quenya, one way to determine this would be via the stress, as part of the definition of a heavy syllable (one that can receive stress if penultimate) is the presence of a cluster or doubled consonant, which makes its syllable heavy even if it doesn't contain a long vowel or diphthong. (Hy and hw apparently count as clusters in Book Quenya, but not in vernacular Quenya, so while in the former they can be taken as clusters, they must be independent phonemic [ç] and [ʍ] in the latter.) Unfortunately the only example of medial hl or hr that I can think of immediately is ohloni "diphthongs", which isn't helpful as the penultimate syllable is short and thus the stress must go on the first syllable regardless of the status of hl. Is there a better example anywhere? Double sharp (talk) 21:31, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Vowel Quality, Long versus Short[edit]

Could I make a suggestion for a change to the vowels in the phonology section? Tolkien makes note on page 71 of The Road Goes Ever On (3rd edition) that the short vowels "may be rendered as in [English] sick, bed, hot, foot (for ŭ), though ŏ is intended to be rounder than in modern [English]." I believe that the quality of short i is currently given as [i], which is not in agreement with Tolkien's assertion. The vowel sound in question is [ɪ]. I'm familiar with Fauskanger's Quenya course, and he makes note of the distinction but seems to believe it is obsolete. "In one early source, Tolkien himself quoted the word pit as an example of short "Qenya" i (QL:8). Later writings suggest that the quality of the vowel-sound should be like the i of machine, in English often spelt "ee" – start with this sound and shorten it." (Taken from Fauskanger's Quenya course-a). However, the Road Goes Ever On was published after The Lord of the Rings, and is the latest published source I'm aware of directly concerning pronunciation. Is there a reason that this might not supersede Mr. Fauskanger's analysis? Corsair Caruso (talk) 21:08, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

As a further note, the above distinction would render the short u as [ʊ]. I seem to remember that Fauskanger also asserts that the à vs a distinction also indicates a quality change, which I believe is accurately represented as [ɑː] vs [a].Corsair Caruso (talk) 16:56, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

25,000 Words?[edit]

I think this figure needs revisiting. I tried to find a reference, and a I found an essay from Ardalambion wherein it's mentioned "In total, my translation of the Johannine texts amounts to slightly more than 25,000 words." In other words, his translation into Quenya (or Neo-Quenya) was 25,000 words long. Presumably there were repetitions (e.g. the word for "and"). If that's the source of the figure, then it would seem that there are far, far, far fewer than 25,000 words. It's probably worth someone doing an actual count. (talk) 07:40, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Now that you mention it I think 25,000 is a vast exaggeration probably resulting from counting Kloczko's total translation. The known corpus without neo-Quenya has to be much smaller. I just did a rough count in Wolfgang Krege's 2003 Elvish-German dictionary and was already in the C section when I had reached only 200 individual words. Fauskanger lists "about one fifth of the published total", counting 973 individual words. This x5 would amount to some 4500 words. De728631 (talk) 15:40, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


If Tolkien says that resemblances such as Arda/Erde, Atalante/Atlantis, etc., are entirely coincidences... er... how serious do we have to take him? (Just reading that the most usual formula used by the Noldor in farewells is - wait for it -- Áva márië! and thinking that Tolkien was having a great bit of fun with such resemblances...--2001:A60:1513:3E01:FCC6:D437:7F83:CC65 (talk) 12:41, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

There is indeed a tendency to take statements by creators far too much at face value, but I doubt we can do anything until a reliable source comes up daring to do that. Double sharp (talk) 14:58, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Quenya/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 06:44, 19 December 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 03:40, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

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Favorite Romance?[edit]

The combination of a Latin basis with Finnish phonological rules resulted in a product that resembles Italian in many respects, which was Tolkien's favorite modern Romance language'

Actually we have plenty of material by Tolkien himself stating that his favorite Romance was actually Spanish, not Italian. From page 213 from the same book as the one used for a reference in this very sentence we read in relation to his personal influences in his taste:

Spanish was another: my guardian was half Spanish, and in my early teens I used to pinch his books and try to learn it: the only Romance language that gives me the particular pleasure of which I am speaking (...)

It even goes on to make a comparison to how he can perceive the beauty of Italian and English but in a different way:

[I]t is not quite the same as the mere perception of beauty: I feel the beaty of say Italian or for that matter of modern English (which is very remote from my personal taste): it is more like the appetite for a needed food.

This letter dates from June 7th 1955, the letter cited on Italian as favorite dates from August 15th 1955. However in a letter from October 25th 1958 he reiterates his preference for Spanish stating:

For instance I dislike French, and prefer Spanish to Italian (...)

I think his preference stands very clear in light of all the evidence.--Eremeldo 17:05, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Word Order Contradiction[edit]

So, the header at the Grammar section stated that the word order is SOV, but at the end of the sytax subsection, it states SVO. I'm not familiar with the subject and don't have time to do the digging right now, but someone familiar with it should get that cleared up. (talk) 23:49, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I have changed the header to SVO as is referenced in the syntax subsection. De728631 (talk) 13:47, 11 May 2017 (UTC)