117

What is seen in the image means "The world is ahead". The first part is hidden, but it is likely a variation of "Home is behind".1 In The Lord of the Rings books The quote Home is behind, the world ahead was first written in the Lord of the Rings as part of a poem titled A Walking Song. It is sung by Frodo shortly after leaving Hobbiton and encountering ...


56

Ardalambion, a fansite dedicated to analyzing Tolkien's invented languages, has asked this very question; according to him the answer is somewhere between 2 and 20, depending on how permissive you are when defining a language (emphasis his): If we consider the "historical" versions of the tongues that are relevant for the classical form of the Arda mythos,...


50

From Arika Okrent's In the Land of Invented Languages, page 284, talking about Tolkien and what made him different: Plenty of other authors throughout history have provided fictional languages for their imagined lands. The citizens in Sir Thomas More's Utopia (1516) have a Utopian language that looks very much like Latin. The inhabitants of the moon in ...


43

It's the Ring Verse. This is almost certainly a fan image as MPF points out in the comments below. The Gondorians had no reason to display the Ring Verse on a banner, and almost certainly were unaware of its existence in the end of the Third Age, with only Gandalf having read it while hunting for evidence of the One Ring. Black Speech: Ash nazg ...


41

According to Wikipedia, Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars "was possibly the first fiction of [the 20th] century to feature a constructed language" and preceded Tolkien. Tolkien was far from the first to write with any invented words. Part of the problem is that a work with constructed language is either successful or forgotten, with newspeak from ...


41

Tolkien wrote an essay on this subject in 1960, called "Dangweth Pengolod." The essay is rather long, so I'm not going to quote the whole thing, but the highlight for me is this passage: [T]o the changefulness of Ea, to weariness of the unchanged, to the renewing of the union: to these three, which are one, the Eldar also are subject in their degree. In ...


37

The best I've been able to do is "- the world is -d". There are five separate words visible in the image, but only four of them are distinct enough to make out the characters. I'm 100% confident that the second and fourth words are, respectively, "the" and "is". "The" has a special character in Tengwar1: And "is", phonetically "iz", is fairly easy to ...


35

Most likely Sindarin It was certainly not Khuzdul, as Mîm says they do not teach that tongue, futher, Mim is described as initially speaking a foreign language: They have no name, save in the dwarf-tongue, which we do not teach They led the old Dwarf away to their dismal camp, and as he went he muttered in a strange tongue that seemed harsh with ...


29

It would appear Mîm did indeed speak Sindarin, given this passage from Narn i Hîn Húrin from Unfinished Tales: Then Mîm clapsed Túrin about his knees, saying: "Mîm will be your friend, lord. At first I thought you were an Elf, by your speech and your voice; but if you are a Man, that is better. Mîm does not love Elves." This indicates Túrin was most ...


28

The original listing of these languages is so much more complicated than this, because Tolkien always changed or created new dialects. Tolkien's glossopoeia has two temporal dimensions: the internal (fictional) timeline of events described in the Silmarillion and other writings, and the external timeline of Tolkien's own life during which he continually ...


27

I can only find one reference to Gollum's mode of speech in the Letters. I believe there is only one error remaining in the text from which the Puffin was printed: like for likes (6th imp. p. 85 line 1; Puffin p. 76, line 23). This crept in in the 6th imp. I think. Not that Gollum would miss the chance of a sibilant! The Letters of JRR Tolkien Letter ...


26

Insofar as it was possible to do so, yes. Linguist David Salo was hired to develop Tolkien's languages into forms usable for the movie. He wrote this in a message to a mailing list devoted to those languages: Part of my intention, my particular vision and contribution to this movie, was to create sentences which would be intelligible to the people who ...


25

I admit to little skill, but it appears to say approximately "stargazing." [s][t+a][r][ng+a][z+i][n][ng] (Note that there is no simple "g" sound in Quenya.) I ruled out Sindarin in favor of Quenya because Sindarin diphthongs place the vowel before the consonant, which would give "satragizng." Thanks to Mark in the comments for pointing out the ...


24

Appendix F of The Lord Of The Rings ("The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age") has this to say: It is said that the Black Speech was devised by Sauron in the Dark Years, and that he had desired to make it the language of all those that served him, but he failed in that purpose. From the Black Speech, however, were derived many of the words that were ...


22

Hildegard von Bingen's Lingua Ignota was a 12th century fabricated language that may have been used for works of fiction (but this is difficult to say, since very little text written in it is known to remain). In addition, the 15th century Voynich manuscript is clearly a large fictional work, and while its writing system is not generally regarded as ...


22

Tolkien, a Translator As I've stated previously, Tolkien envisioned himself, and the world around him, as part of Arda, and was therefore not an author creating a world, but a translator of histories written before him. The texts you read in The Silmarillion and The Histories of Middle-earth are translations (of translations) of the histories of Middle-...


20

From Appendix E, "Writing and Spelling": In Sindarin long vowels in stressed monosyllables are marked with the circumflex, since they tended in such cases to be specially prolonged; so in dûn compared with Dúnadan. The use of the circumflex in other languages such as Adûnaic or Dwarvish has no special significance, and is used merely to mark these out as ...


18

There's no answer given in the movie1, but there are a few equally plausible explanations: He didn't read that far. When he reads the contract, Bilbo is more than mildly hung up on the liability clauses: Bilbo: Terms: Cash on delivery, up to but not exceeding one fourteenth of total profit, if any. Seems fair. Eh, Present company shall not be liable for ...


17

No There simply aren't enough words in Tolkien's Khuzdûl to carry on a conversation. This is noted by Christopher Tolkien in History of Middle-earth, when remarking on the use of the language in the inscription on Balin's tomb: The use of the Dwarf-tongue (Khuzdul) is possible in so short an inscription, since this tongue has been sketched in some detail ...


15

Definitely Klingon Although Tolkien's writings on Quenya and Sindarin are extensive, there simply isn't enough to carry on realistic conversations; unless you're willing to go into some of the fan attempts to flesh the language out, you and your Elvish-speaking partner are basically limited to quoting passages of the Legendarium at each other. Tolkien ...


14

It appears to be gibberish, unfortunately. The closest I could get to the characters in your image is as follows: Starting in the upper left corner and working around in a clockwise fashion, it reads something like: "An e echravlye avelan rav erash e h l e e an". This doesn't make sense in any language I know of. Update: I asked around and ...


14

As far as elvish goes, the transcription is incorrect. Rather, your idea that this is elvish is incorrect. What you have there is the same text in English language using the Tengwar alphabet. The alphabet can be used with English, but it doesn't make it "elvish". I think the English version is okay, though. But if you want real elvish, carry on reading. ...


14

The Black Speech certainly has a name. Sauron was the language inventor, and surely somewhere in his grammar notes he would have given it a name. Tolkien never reveals a "proper" name nor offers a hint as to what it could be. "B.S." is almost surely a sense-translation from the Westron name, and one would hazard the guess that its Elvish counterpart would ...


13

"Barad" is used in other names: Barad Eithel Emyn Beraid As is "Dûr": Emyn Duir Dol Guldur (Guldur = dark sorcery) While it's possible that Tolkien designed all these words around "Barad Dûr" being a strained pun, it seems more likely to me that it's a coincidence.


12

Tolkien once said that the reason he created Arda was because he needed a world in which the word Earendil would come to its right. There's some great material on YouTube about this: Christopher Tolkien on his father's languages A must see 3-part lecture: J.R.R. Tolkien: An Imaginative Life


12

I need to establish one thing first: The Common Tongue is not English The Common Tongue is another of Tolkien's constructed languages, more properly called Westron. From Appendix F: The language represented in this history by English was the Westron or 'Common Speech' of the West-lands of Middle-earth in the Third Age Return of the King Appendix F ...


12

The Noldor had arrived to Middle-earth after the First Kinslaying, and when Thingol learnt of the latter he banned the use of Quenyan throughout his realm. This rule took place many years before Turgon sent his people to live in the secret valley, and so The Silmarillion says that the Sindar refused to use Quenya, and the Noldor adopted it into their ...


11

I'm not very good at translating Tengwar personally, but every online source I can find agrees that it's actually the right-hand side of the top line: From a German fan named Gernot Katzer: From Reddit user Wiles_: And from a fan named Dan Smith, courtesy of theonering.net


11

In the invented languages, "C" is always hard There's a note near the end of the first part of Appendix E which clarifies this: In names drawn from other languages than Eldarin the same values for the letters are intended, where not specially described above, except in the case of Dwarvish. Return of the King Appendix E "Writing and Spelling" I "...


11

Quettar Special Publication No.1, 'The Writing Systems of Middle-earth', by David Doughan and Julian Bradeld, published in 1987. The Eldar used both a decimal and a duodecimal system, the Dwarves used a duodecimal system, and the Men of the West in the Third Age used mainly a decimal system. The digits used were as follows1: In all systems the ...


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