I'm starting to learn a bit of Quenya and I'm trying to transate a small poem I wrote last year to the language. I still have small understanding about all the suffixes.

The original poem is in Portuguese:

Deito sob o luar
Afago o chão de orvalho
Sonho com seu abraço

In English is something like (also presenting some variations I'm using because there is some Quenya word I didn't find directly):

I lie under the moonlight
I caress [or 'touch'] a ground of dew
I dream about your hugs [or 'your arms'].

And my last attempt was:

Caitan nu i-isilmë
Ápan talan rosséva
Ólan ranculyat

Is this correct?

EDIT: @Bobby Newmark provided some improvements:

Caitan nu i isilmë
Appan talan rosséva
Ólan ranculyat

Also, he asked for a tengwar transcription of it. Hope it's right:

Tengwar version of the poem

  • I might be able to help. I'll take a look at it tonight when I have all my Quenya stuff. Apr 28, 2016 at 22:56
  • Thank you in advance for any help, @BobbyNewmark!
    – CaWal
    Apr 29, 2016 at 21:05
  • Oh wow...that's beautiful, @CalWal! I love the way Tengwar looks! Apr 30, 2016 at 21:00
  • So do I! And the idea of it being a phonetic writing system is something I really like.
    – CaWal
    May 2, 2016 at 3:11

1 Answer 1


Let's take a look.

First the references (and if you're interested in Quenya, this is a great site), I get everything from Ardalambion and this dictionary.

Your first word "Caitan" seems correct. "Caita-" is the aorist form of "lie" and the "-n" is the pronominal suffix for "I".

Here's the definition of "Caita-":

caita- vb. "lie" (= lie down, not "tell something untrue"), aorist tense "lies" in the sentences sindanóriello caita mornië "out of a grey land darkness lies" (Nam, RGEO:67)

And here is the construction:

We also see -i- before all pronominal endings; indeed Tolkien very often cites Quenya primary verbs as aorist forms with the ending -n "I" attached (e.g. carin "I make", LR:362, tulin "I come", LR:395). A-stem verbs show no variation, but end in -a whether or not any further ending follows (e.g. lanta "falls", lantar "fall" with a plural subject, lantan "I fall", etc.)

Next word "nu" is also correct.

nu prep. "under" (LR:56, Markirya, Nam, RGEO: 66, MC:214; the Etymologies alone gives no [q.v.] instead). In Mar-nu-Falmar, nuhuinenna, q.v. Prefix nú- in nútil, q.v

So then we have "i" which is Quenya for "the". I don't think you need the hyphen here. The hyphen is usually used when a compound word is created, and that is not the case. (For example Mar-nu-Falmar, "Land (lit. Home) under Waves" is a compound word, a name for Númenor after it sinks)

"isilmë" is moonlight, so that's correct!

isilmë (þ) noun "moonlight", occurring in Markirya; free translation "the moon" in MC:215 (isilmë ilcalassë, literally "moonlight gleaming-in" = "in the moon gleaming"). Isilmë also appears as the name of a Númenorean woman (UT:210).

So far so good! Let's look at the next line.

"Ápan" is not quite right. It should be Appan "I touch" with Appa- being the aorist form and the "-n" the pronominal suffix. (I don't see any reference with the accent over the a.)

appa- vb. "touch" (in the literal sense; contrast #ap-, q.v.) (VT44:26)

"Talan" is ground.

talan (talam-, e.g. pl. talami) noun "floor, base, ground" (TALAM)

This next one is a little tricky, but I think you got it. "rosséva" is "of dew", with "rossé" being "dew" and the suffix "-va" meaning "of". I am not sure of the accent. It looks right, but I couldn't find the specific rule.

Here's the definition:

rossë noun "fine rain, dew" (ROS1, PM:371)

And the construction:

Then there is the possessive, by some called the "associative" or "adjectival case"; Tolkien himself speaks of it as a "possessive-adjectival...genitive" in WJ:369. This case has the ending -va (-wa on nouns ending in a consonant). Its general function is like the English genitive, to express ownership: Mindon Eldaliéva "Tower of the Eldalië". The function of the possessive was long poorly understood. In Namárië it occurs in the phrase yuldar...miruvóreva, "draughts...of mead".

And finally, line three.

"Ólan" is also correct. "Óla-" is the verb dream and again "-n" is the pronominal suffix.

óla- vb. "to dream" (said to be "impersonal", probably meaning that the dreamer is mentioned in the dative rather than the nominative) (UT:396)

The last word is very difficult, and I think you nailed it. "ranculyat" breaks down like so: "rancu-lya-t", rancu-=arm, lya=your and t=dual plural. Quenya has a special plural for natural pairs, like arms or eyes, and you got that suffix correct. Also, the "a" in "lya" does not get a stress because the dual plural suffix is "-t". (The first "u" may need to be stressed, but I couldn't find a reference for it.)

So...here's the definition:

ranco ("k") noun "arm", stem *rancu- given the primitive form ¤ranku, hence also pl. ranqui ("q") (RAK)

and the construction:

2nd person sg. formal/polite: -lya "your, thy"

The plural suffix of a pair:

Like the nominative plural, the nominative dual is formed with one of two endings. Most nouns take the ending -t, as in the word máryat "her hands" (two hands, a pair of hands) in Namárië. "Two ships, a couple of ships" is likewise ciryat (cirya "ship")

And finally, the stress:

When stressed, most of these pronouns have long vowels: ní, lyé, tyé, sé, sá etc. The vowel however remains short in the dual forms in -t (VT49:51).

So, the "a" in "-lya" stays short!

My translation would be very similar to yours:

Caitan nu i isilmë
Appan talan rosséva
Ólan ranculyat

You have done amazingly well, as far as I'm concerned. I think you'd like this course from Ardalambion...it's where I learned everything I know.

Also, it would be great to see it in Tengwar!

Hope this is helpful!

  • Thank you, Bobby! I will write in tengwar and post it here so we can take a look on it! I'm studying using this very same course! It's amazing!
    – CaWal
    Apr 30, 2016 at 12:03
  • I made a hand-written attempt to provide a tengwar transcription. I'll try to find a good tengwar font to provide a better image ASAP. ;-)
    – CaWal
    Apr 30, 2016 at 13:41
  • Awesome,CaWal! I'll take a look at it sometime today. Isn't that course amazing? Apr 30, 2016 at 19:33
  • Edited there! Added a better image and corrected an error in my handwriting (I wrote "raculyat" before). It's amazing indeed! It's really concise and well structured!
    – CaWal
    Apr 30, 2016 at 19:56
  • Three things: 1. You contradict yourself (or rather, your source) a bit here. Ólan is the verb óla- with the subject/object pronoun suffix, so if the dictionary is correct that it is an impersonal verb with the dreamer in the dative, ólan is not right. It should be óla nin or nin óla ‘for me is dreamed/[it] dreams’. 2. In a language that has a T–V distinction, the informal version seems more appropriate in a poem about dreaming of someone's embraces (unless they're a stranger). May 1, 2016 at 8:12

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