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Does Tolkien ever supply the name for the language that the Rohirrim speak, and if so what is that name?

(In the books this language is "translated" into Old English, but it should still have its own name, similar to how the language the Hobbits speak is called "Westron" even though it's "translated" into Modern English.)

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  • 1
    In "The Nature of Middle Earth" he uses the term "Rohanese", but in other places he simply called it "the language of Rohan".
    – user135790
    Sep 24, 2021 at 21:09
  • It is Rohirric.
    – Mithoron
    Sep 24, 2021 at 21:14
  • 2
    Do you have a citation for that @Mithoron ?
    – user135790
    Sep 24, 2021 at 21:19
  • 2
    @Mithoron - I do not believe Tolkien has ever used that term. But if you have a source for that you should post an answer.
    – ibid
    Sep 24, 2021 at 21:33

1 Answer 1

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Tolkien either calls just calls it "Rohan" or "Rohanese". An often-used fanname is "Rohirric", but that has never been used by Tolkien.

Rohan

This seems to be the term used most often by Tolkien, especially in "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings", where it's used at least twenty times.

The Sindarin form Araw is not quite regular: Orǭmē > Oraúmh > Araúv > Áraw. The Rohan Béma is of course derived from Anglo-Saxon béme 'a trumpet', √ʀᴏᴍ = noise of horn.
1955 Letter to Mr. David Masson, quoted in Parma Eldalamberon #17, page 153

Dunlendings. Leave unchanged except in the plural ending. It represents Rohan dun(n)lending, an inhabitant of Dun(n)land.

Shadowfax. This is an anglicized form of Rohan (= OE) Scædu-fcex ‘having shadow-grey mane (and coat)’.

Wormtongue. ‘Modernized’ form of the nickname of Grima, the evil counsellor of Rohan = Rohan wyrm-tunge ‘snake-tongue’. Translate by sense.
"Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings", published in *The Lord of the Rings

Rohanese

This one is less common, but Tolkien has used it at least three times.

Greyhame. Modernized ‘Rohanese’. Rohan grēg-hama ‘greycoat’. By-name in Rohan of Gandalf.
"Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings", published in *The Lord of the Rings

"Adorn" ... is, as would be expected in any name in the region not of Rohanese origin, of a form suitable to Sindarin; but it is not interpretable in Sindarin. It must be supposed to be of Pre-Númenórean origin adapted to Sindarin.
"The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor", published in Vinyar Tengwar #42 and The Nature of Middle-earth

Limlight, modernized from Rohanese Limliht (as in Story of Eärnil), which had no connexion with R. lim ‘limb’, but was a “translation name”.
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Dark and Light"

Rohirian (or Rohirin)

In Tyalie Tyelellieva #17 Lisa Star report seeing the term "Rohirian" on a manuscript in Marquette. However others doubt this and say she might have seen the term "Rohirin"..

Tolkien uses the word "Rohirian" for this language in Mq15:10, and it appears in PM:55. He also uses the name "Rohanese" on Mq15:17, though it is not absolutely clear whether he is referring to "true" Rohannish or to a form of Anglo-Saxon here.
Tyalie Tyelellieva #17 - "Terminology for the Westron Languages of the Third Age"

Unfortunately, Lisa's linguistic informations often are very imprecise. P.e. she refers to a supposed usage of "Rohirian" in PM p. 55 that does not exist; indeed the word does not occur anywhere in that book at all. Since "Rohirian" looks somewhat untypical for Tolkien's nomenclature, I would not be surprised to find that the word which Lisa found in Mq15:10 read in fact "Rohirin", tying in with standard Elvish/Dúnedainic words like "Sindarin", "Telerin", "Noldorin", etc. I shall therefore adopt Rohirin in this article.
Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages

Rohirric

This name is never used by Tolkien, but seems to be the fan-convention, likely because it had been picked prior to any of the examples of Tolkien's own words being published. The earliest usage of this seems to be in A Guide to Middle-earth, written by Robert Foster in 1971.

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  • Wouldn't it be nice if someone just asked the Marquette librarians for a photo/scan of the relevant page with Rohirian/Rohirin on it, and it sent to some people who can read the handwriting... Sep 26, 2021 at 2:44
  • @DavidRoberts - Marquette is not allowed to distribute scans of manuscripts without specific permission from the Tolkien Estate. They only own the physical manuscripts, not the copyright. Also "Mq15:10" doesn't even fit the convention Marquette uses to catalog their manuscripts, so I have no idea how you'd even find which page this was referring to.
    – ibid
    Sep 26, 2021 at 3:13
  • @DavidRoberts - Upon further reflection, it seems that this is referring to Mss-4/2/15, page 10.
    – ibid
    Sep 26, 2021 at 4:56

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