In the books, is there any information on what type of letters the Hobbits used when writing or printing? The Elvish scripts, runes, or something else? Thanks!

  • 2
    "What are moon-letters?" asked the hobbit full of excitement. He loved maps, as I have told you before; and he also liked runes and letters and cunning handwriting, though when he wrote himself it was a bit thin and spidery.
    – ibid
    Apr 7, 2022 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


From Appendix E, "Writing and Spelling," section II, "Writing" of The Lord of the Rings:

The scripts and letters used in the Third Age were all ultimately of Eldarin origin, and already at that time of great antiquity. They had reached the stage of full alphabetic development, but older modes in which only the consonants were denoted by full letters were still in use.

The alphabets were of two main, and in origin independent kinds: the Tengwar or Tîw, here translated as 'letters'; and the Certar or Cirth, translated as 'runes'. The Tengwar were devised for writing with brush or pen, and the squared forms of inscriptions were in their case derivative from the written forms. The Certar were devised and mostly used only for scratched or incised inscriptions.

The Tengwar were the more ancient; for they had been developed by the Noldor, the kindred of the Eldar most skilled in such matters, long before their exile. The oldest Eldarin letters, the Tengwar of Rúmil, were not used in Middle-earth. The later letters, the Tengwar of Fëanor, were largely a new invention, though they owed something to the letters of Rúmil. They were brought to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor, and so became known to the Edain and Númenoreans. In the Third Age their use had spread over much the same area as that in which the Common Speech was known.

(Emphasis mine)

So Westron (as Common Speech is properly named) was written in a variant of Tengwar, the "Tengwar of Fëanor."

  • 1
    I imagine that the Numenoreans went all-in on the writing systems of the Eldar, so that their influence on ME in 2nd and 3rd ages stressed that in much the way Latin alphabet landed hard with Western European tribes and civilization under the influence of Rome.
    – Lexible
    Apr 8, 2022 at 16:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.