Howard Shore and languages of Middle-earth


[October 4, 2001]


E! Online gives many details on music in The Lord of the Rings film. The article tells on Howard Shore, the LotR composer. We can read there: With the help of the screenwriters and Tolkien scholars, Shore is also using extracts from Elvish, Dwarvish and even Black Speech. "They're ancient sounds, beautiful to listen to, and they just transport you into Middle Earth." Later we can read: To achieve this, Shore set an Ancient Elvish text to music, translated with the help of a Tolkien scholar [David Salo? - Ed.]. Creative language and dialogue coach Roisin Carty was on hand to teach Shore and the choir how to pronounce the Dwarvish. 


All this sounds wonderful. We wait for the CD with soundtrack with impatience...


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More runes in Mazarbul


[October 3, 2001]


Andrew Durdin writes on ELFLING about lots of other runes all over the wall in the Moria scene. He says that some of them are quite visible: I can clearly make out s?lver (35, ?, 31, 4, 46, 12; A) behind the top of Pippin's head, for example; this I think is the word silver, though the obscure rune might be 45. If this indeed says silver, it is interesting to note that 35 was used for "s" rather than 54, although Appendix E says that in the Angerthas Moria, 35 was used for "the clear or glottal beginning of a word with an initial vowel".


Andrew says that the middle word analyzed below cannot be Khuzdl gabil. While the "ga" (19, 48; B) is clear, the "b" could possibly be an "m" (2, 6; B), but whatever it is that precedes "kh" (20; A), it looks to me nothing like "l" (31; A).


Visit Andrew Durdin's website to see well contrasted screenshots from Mazarbul. You can  find them at


It seems that all the movie Mazarbul inscriptions are English and not Khuzdl, but they have a lot of mistakes. It is a result of careless reading of Tolkien's appendices in The Lord of the Rings. As Andrew wrote: if others are interested, there are lots of runes visible in these pictures just waiting to be deciphered.


R. D.

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Dwarvish runes in Moria


[October 1, 2001; updated October 3]


Last movie teaser contains many scenes from Moria. Perceptive spectator can see many runic inscriptions on the walls of the Moria chambers. Here we can see one of them (behind Pippin and a dwarf skeleton). According to Johan Winge it may read: 


the gab.. kha..d.m     


See here for detailed analysis. If you have another guesses and interpretations write to me? 


Johan Winge & Richard Derdzinski


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dwarfrunes.jpg (32994 bytes)


Pippin and a dwarf skeleton



A fragment of the picture above with runes:

... the gab.. khaz.ddm ... 





Will Enya sing in Sindarin?


[October 1, 2001] website has published a track listing for Enya's latest works. One of them is called Anron: Theme for Aragorn and Arwen. The word anron is a Sindarin verb meaning 'I want'. Does it mean that Enya will sing in Sindarin? It is possible that she will sing the Quenya Galadriel's Lament too.


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What is Arwen's sword inscription?


[October 1, 2001]


This is a photo of Arwen's sword. We can see a short fragment of the tengwar inscription on the sword's blade. Only two or three letters are visible. Maybe you have any guess how to decipher this mysterious inscription? I am waiting for your messages.  



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arwensword.jpg (17585 bytes)


Bill Welden about the language trainings


[September 13, 2001]


Bill Welden, a language specialist in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy wrote recently on ELFLING (Digest Number 481) about the language trainings of the actors:

Each day, before dawn, while the actors are sitting in the makeup department (two to six hours), Andrew Jack or Risn Carty spend time with each of them coaching them on the pronunciation of the specific dialog for the day; mostly regarding English dialect, but when necessary on the pronunciation of archaic or invented words. An actor will very seldom have more then five or six sentences of dialog to deliver each day:  no big challenge to memorize.

During filming, one of the two coaches was always present, checking for correct pronunciation, or more correctly for proper lip movement, since filming is only about capturing the visual images which will be used. 

The sound of the dialog is actually laid down in a recording studio after filming is complete.  Here is where Andrew and Risn play their key role. Each actor records their dialog repeatedly until it is both pronounced correctly and in synch with the filmed images. This is the sound that you will hear in the theater. To answer your question, then, the chances are excellent that words will be correctly pronounced; and the process does not involve the use of the script at all.


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Elrond speaks Quenya and more


[September 13, 2001]


In the LOTR 2002 Daily Calendar we can see three new Elvish phrases from the movie. If you are interested in their analysis see here.  



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Did Hobbits use Latin script?


[September 1, 2001]


This photo published on shows the 'long-expected party' of Bilbo Baggins's 111st birthday. We can see a banner (see above the feasting hobbits) with inscription: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILBO BAGGINS. Unfortunately the inscription is in Latin characters. As we know the Hobbits used the Fanorian script. We read in the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings that the Hobbits learned their [of Dnedain] letters and began to write after the manner of the Dnedain, who had in their turn long before learned the art from the Elves. It is a pity the language specialists forgot about this important fact. What should be the inscription like? See here.  



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06_birthday.jpg (51792 bytes)


New picture of Bilbo's Sting


[August 28, 2001]


Patrick has published new photo of Bilbo's famous Sting. Again we can see the Tengwar inscription composed by the films specialists. [More]



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stingblade2.jpg (29477 bytes)


Gimli's phrase in Khuzdl!


[August 23, 2001]


First Dwarvish phrase from the movie has been revealed by Tolkien-Movies. They have managed to catch an interview from a contact that they claim is closely involved with the films. The interview reveals details on the films including fragments of script with Elvish and Dwarvish dialogs. The information comes from Eleder. It seems that the movie language specialists have composed dialogs not only in Elvish languages: Quenya and Sindarin. It is really possible that we will hear Khuzdl songs from Moria, etc. Now we know that Fellowship of the Ring will began with Galadriel's voice in Sindarin with subtitles. She will tell lines spoken by Treebeard in the book. For the first time we have a dialog in Elvish between Haldir and Legolas! And of course we can see a short phrase in Dwarvish. [More]



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Tengwar from Bilbo's Sting


[August 21, 2001]


Thanks to Patrick a.k.a. Gorel, a reporter of TORn we can see Bilbo's Sting and the tengwar inscription which can tell a lot about Bilbo's stay in Rivendell. Patrick has published this interesting picture and his linguistic analysis on his website. Find more here.



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bladeclose1.jpg (35560 bytes)


Maori choir singing Dwarvish?


[August 21, 2001]


Ain't It Cool News presented an interesting information from Howard Shore, a composer who makes music for the LotR movie. Harry, the reproter wrote: "Asking [him] about the choir, Shore began beaming... Turns out that it is about a 300 member all male Maori Choir singing Dwarvish version of Tolkien text. In fact, Shore tells me that this is something he is doing through out the score for Lord of the Rings, putting in quite a bit of Choir work, but using it to reinsert Tolkien's text into Lord of the Rings by way of the various tongues of Middle Earth. Elvish, Dwarvish and the darker languages as well..."


In a text by Bill Welden we can read that "Sindarin and Quenya are, however, only two of the languages used in the film". If so, maybe the Maori choir will sing in Quenya or in Sindarin? It is hard to imagine how the language specialists could translate something into such a mysterious language as Khzdul.



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What did Philippa Boyens said?


[August 21, 2001]


Look at and hear the Sindarin phrase said by Philippa Boyens during last Mythcon. Thanks to Patrick a.k.a. Gorel, a reporter of TORn we can analyze the next Sindarin piece by the language specialists from the LotR movie. [More].



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Bill Welden visits the set


[August 8, 2001]


Fragments of Bill Welden's relation from his August visit in The Lord of the Rings set. Bill Welden is a Tolkien scholar. He has been studying and writing about about Tolkien's invented languages for over thirty years. He was one of several Tolkien language experts who were consulted in the making of New Line Cinema's feature film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Find more here.



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Philippa Boyens speaks Elvish!


[August 8, 2001]


LotR screenwriter Philippa Boyens was interviewed during Mythcon XXXII in Berkeley, USA. Reports by Thomas Kelley and Patrick can be found at Mrs. Boyens asked what her favorite theme in the books was, replied with a verse in Sindarin that expressed the fading of the world. According to Thomas Kelley she spoke something that she then translated as 'The world is changing'. If you recorded her Elvish phrase send it to us. We will try to analyze it!



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New Sindarin phrases revealed!


[July 25, 2001]


Gernot Katzer from Austria has revealed new Sindarin phrases from the movie dialog list. In message 40.00 on the TolkLang list he said: Having written a few (German) essays about Tolkien and tengwar usage on the web, I was recently contacted by the person responsible for the translation of the LotR film into German. He asked me about some Sindarin sentences that seem to appear in the move, about their correct pronunciation and their meaning. You can see my analysis of these phrases here.



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  O'Brien's interview in full


[June 3, 2001]


Now you can listen to a longer piece of the Conan O'Brien interview with Liv Tyler. Liv (Arwen) quotes here the Sindarin phrase analyzed below. Conan's questions seem to be very funny. Conan: You are very tall to be an elf! Liv: Elves in Tolkien's world were incredibly tall (...) Conan: Wow! And giants in Tolkien's world were other people?! Conan O'Brien askes Liv Tyler about the Elvish language. Liv answers: I can not to remember my name sometimes but I never forget my Elvish language. She quotes the Sindarin phrase and Conan O'Brien says: It sounds like kind of Gaelic actually. It's very beautiful 


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Conan O'Brien's interview

[WinZip file, 502 KB]



  Andrew Jack on fans


[June 2, 2001]


The official movie site presents us a new sound file with a short interview with Andrew Jack, Dialect and Creative Language Coach in The Lord of the Rings film. He says: These languages were created by Tolkien and I think probably the most difficult thing for us is really to adhere to his work. Andrew Jack says about Tolkien-fans who require something that is authentic and true


It is very nice that the film-makers take great care of these fans who love the languages of Middle-earth. They know that the tale with its linguistic background is more authentic. Our heartly hennaid!


For more hear here.   


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Andrew Jack on languages and fans

[WinZip file, 199 KB]



Last word about the Arwen's lines (from a reliable source)


[May 31, 2001]


From a very reliable source I received an information that the Liv Tyler's Sindarin phrases actually are: 


Law, hr nn, dollen i Rw.  Anrach, nui l, gwannad uin gwaith ln?


'No, my lord, the winter hasn't come. Do you wish, before the time, to leave your people?'




Hon mabathon. Rochon ellint im.


'I will take him. I am a swifter rider.'

This information seems to be definite. For law cf. Quenya l, lau, laume 'no indeed not, on the contrary' (stems LA- and UGU-). Nui is from no+i, oi not being an acceptable Sindarin diphthong. The adjective ellint comes from al-lint < an-lint.  


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A thousand different lines in Elvish! (About the Elvish language training)


[May 26, 2001]


On the official website of the Peter Jackson's movie you can find now a beautiful booklet in the PDF format which is entitled The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Rings. One excerpt tells about the Elvish language (Sindarin) in the film: 


The entire cast underwent intensive training in ancient arts and languages for their roles. This included (...) practicing the Elvish language with dialog coaches Andrew Jack and Risn Carty. 

Jack and Carty developed a unique accent and cadence for Elvish, based in part on Celtic, yet entirely unique in the world. They gave the Elvish-speaking actors exercises during which they stood in front of a mirror, making curious noices and faces, learning to use their facial muscles in completely new ways. The result was that the actors each found their own accents spontaneously. Jack and Carty taught the actors as if they were learning a language from scratch, not just having them memorize script lines.


In an interview with Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom (see here) we can hear a lot about the Elvish language training. We can also hear that there will be many scenes only in Elvish. It means we will have a lot of new Elvish material to analyze! It is what we can read reported by Ringbearer


They started the interview speaking a little Elvish for the reporters, which was really cool to hear in person. A very melodic language that Liv and Orlando could both speak very well.


Question: How hard was it for you to learn to speak Elvish?


Liv Tyler: A thousand different series of lines. Like the first couple of lines I had to memorize were very hard. But eventually it got easier for me and I really enjoyed it. I could actually do it really quickly after a while. Sometimes I would have to film three or four scenes in Elvish and I would have to take it in stages because if I memorized it all at once I would get confused so I would do them one at a time. After a while it became very natural.


Orlando Bloom: Well the thing with the Elves is there is hard to grasp onto as far as there is no real rhythm for how the Elves spoke. So I found it hard to learn at times.



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Arwen and Frodo's ride to the Bruinen Ford

(from the new trailer on the oficial movie site)



Arwen fleeing from the Nine

(from the new trailer on the oficial movie site)





Arwen's phrase once more


[May 20, 2001]


I present now my interpretation of the 'Arwen's Sindarin lines' analyzed below.


Lhaew hr nin, -dollen i rhw. Anirach nu i l gwannad uin gwaith thn?

[O] my sick lord, the winter [has] not come. [Do] you wish before the time [to] depart from your people?'


lhaew 'sickly, sick, ill' (LR 386). This word can be derived from the stem SLIW- 'sickly'.

nu 'under, *before' like in the Quenya Merin Sentence (see resources).

i l 'the time'. I do not use here the lention, because l never mutates before a vowel (see H. Fauskanger's article about Sindarin).

Why the lord (Aragorn) is lhaew or sick in this phrase? In the Appendix A to The Lord of the Rings we can find such an Arwen's phrase: "Would you then, lord, before your time leave your people that live by your word?". This is said before King Aragorn's death. In my opinion it is the same phrase like this revealed by Liv Tyler. Will we thus see King Aragorn's death in the LotR movie?



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Liv Tyler as Arwen

(from the oficial movie site)



















Tyler's Sindarin, again!


[May 20, 2001]


Another linguistic revelation on the! In the article Liv Tyler Speaks Elvish, Again we read: As reported yesterday, the BBC program Film 2001 last night was recapping the Cannes Film Festival, and included in that recap was a segment on Lord Of The Rings. The show begins with the presenter, Johnathan Ross working through the schedule from the show, and after talking about the main item on tonight's show [...]:

".......and Lord Of The Rings is premiered on the Riviera...well kind of."

The screen changes to show Liv Tyler standing in front of the castle where the party was held, dressed in black. She begins to speak elvish! I think it sounds somewhat similar what she said on the Conan O' Brien show a few weeks ago [...]. The reporter asks her what does it mean, to which she grins and says, "I'm not telling."

The recorded phrase seems to be the Sindarin version of the English 'I'll take him. I'm the fastest rider.' from the interview below (thanks to John Owens for his proper transcription)


Hon mabathon, rochon enlint im.


Him I will take away, rider fastest I [am].


Analysis: hon 'he' (LR 385); mabathon 'I will take away'; rochon 'rider' (UT 463), enlint 'fastest' < an-lint (UT 318); im 'I' (I 403). 

The form mabathon 'I will take' is the future tense form of a Sindarin verb *maba- 'take'  derived by the movie language specialists from the Common Eldarin stem MAP- (LR 371; cf. Quenya mapa- 'grasp, seize').


When did Arwen use such words? Maybe Arwen, in place of Glorfindel absent in the movie, will take Frodo with her before the Bruinen Ford. Do you remember these words in the book?

"You shall ride my horse", said Glorfindel [Arwen in the film], I will shorten the stirrups up to the saddle-skirts (...)" (The Lord of the Rings, Book II, Chapter Flight to the Ford). In the movie she can say in Sindarin to Aragorn: Hon mabathon, rochon enlint im 'I will take him, I am the fastest rider'.


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Arwen's Sindarin phrase, again

[WinZip file, 47 KB]




























Arwen's Sindarin lines  


[May 20, 2001]


In the portal we can find many interesting news about the LotR movie. On March 20, 2001 Flaunt Megaine wrote in Tyler: 'an amazing thing': Tyler [on the right - RD] is in awe over how Jackson poured excruciatingly over every detail of the mythology surrounding the books, to the point they made the actorts learn a new language spoken by its characters-Elvish. "It's an amazing thing, really," she gushes, "It's a legitimate language. There are only a certain amount of people in the world who can speak it, like Oxford professors and what not. It's such a beautiful language too, it's really brilliant." Asked to speak a few lines, Tyler obliges and though the words pouring out sound like gibberish, she speaks them delicately, fluidly, and it sounds like a gentler version of French done with a crisp New Zealand accent. Tyler translates, "I said, 'Now my Lord, winter has not yet come. Would you before your time leave your people?' And the last one I said was, 'I'll take him. I'm the fastest rider.'"

As Harri Perl wrote in his message on the elfling list, this must be the same line that Tyler has quoted in another interview in its original Sindarin form. The sound file with the Sindarin phrase is available here

According to David Kiltz the phrase is:

Lhawr hr nin, -dolen i rhw. Anirach no i lh gwannad uin gwaith thn?

'Now (?) my Lord, not has come the winter. Wish-you before the time (to) leave from people your?'


A problematic form is Sindarin lhawr which probably means 'now'. Maybe you can explain this form in another way? The last word can be either thin 'your' (mutated from Sindarin din) or in '[your] own' 

Any comments?

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Liv Tyler as Arwen Undmiel




Arwen's Sindarin lines

[WinZip file, 103 KB]


Bruinen Spell


The first version of The Lord of the Rings Movie website contained a very interesting file with the so called Bruinen Spell. The spell is in Sindarin or Grey Elvish but it does not come from the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was composed by the language specialists and is based on the existing Sindarin sentences by Tolkien. Following the discussion on the elfling list the sentence and its meaning are as follows:

Nn o Chithaeglir lasto beth daer;

Rim o nn Bruinen dan in-Ulaer!


'Waters from Misty Mountains listen to the great word; Host of waters of Loudwater against the Ringwraiths!'


Interesting feature of this sentence that say a lot about great care of the movie specialists is the stop mutation in Chithaeglir 'Misty Mountains' (not mutated form Hithaeglir), also lenition in beth 'word' (not lenited peth) and the Sindarin adaptation of the Quenya word lairi 'Ring-Wraiths'. The last word - that should probably be spelled Ulaer - is a loan-word from High Elvish and can be derived from Common Eldarin (hypothetical) *l-gaj-r.


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Bruinen by John Howe







download Bruinen Spell

[WinRar file, 49 KB]


Bruinen - another solution


A day after the first publication of the Bruinen Spell analyzis Mns Bjrkman from Mellonath Daeron sent another translation of this interesting Sindarin spell:


'Waters of the Misty Mountains listen to the great word, flow for me Loudwater against the Ringwraiths!'


He interprets this sentence as:


Nn o Hithaeglir lasto beth daer;

Rimmo nin Bruinen dan in laer!


You can see that in Måns Bjrkman's interpretation there is no stop mutation in Hithaeglir and where I have rim o nn 'host of waters' he has rimmo nin 'flow for me'. Another difference is long in laer.


If you have any comments concerning the Bruinen Spell write to me please.


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Bruinen by Malgorzata Pudlik

(Polish Tolkien Society)





Hobbit Accent


Here you can hear an audio concerning the Hobbit accent in the movie. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about the Hobbit language: The Hobbits of the Shire and of Bree had at this time, for probably a thousand years, adopted the Common Speech. They used it in their own manner freely and carelessly; though the more learned among them had still at their command a more formal language when occasion required (The Return of the King, Appendix F).


It is interesting to hear that American actors like Elijah Wood learn typical Midlands English to be like real Hobbits in the J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Such regional accents and dialects were of great interest to Tolkien. He himself felt a West-midlander: I am a West-midlander by blood, and took to early West-midland Middle English as to a known tongue as soon as I set eyes on it (H. Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien. A Biography, p. 137). 


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A typical hobbit hole




On the Hobbit accent

[WinRar file, 196 KB]



Actual news