Wish to learn elvish?

I, Gandalf the Grey, and my fellow dwarves, elves and hobbits will guide you on your journey.

But first you need to choose one of the two Elvish languages, will it be Sindarin, Quenya or both? The choice is yours!

Start by clicking on one of the languages below, good luck!

The History of Sindarin

Picture of a dwarf with a torch

Sindarin is a language spoken by the Grey Elves in J.R.R. Tolkiens books. The grey elves are the one who speaks this language in particular but is also used by other groups of elves. Sindarin went through a few changes from the first to the third age in Middle Earth. The version from the third age is one considered the most modern one and will be the one taught on this website.

Sindarin vowels

Picture og happy dwarf

Vowels in Sindarin are short except for the "í". The pronunciation of these vowels is almost always the same no matter where you find them in a word. However, it's important to note that the vowel's duration increases when an accent mark is used.

  • u = pronounced "uh"
  • e = pronounced "eh"
  • i = pronounced "ih" (but if placed at the beginning of a word or in front of a vowel the sound is a hard "y")
  • í and î = pronounced “ee”
  • a = pronounced "ay"
  • o = pronounced like "o", but short
  • y = In Sindarin a vowel, and pronounced "ooo" or "uuu"

Quiz - Vowels

Bilbo doing the dishes

Which vowel is pronounced like "eh"?

Sindarin diphthongs

An elf reading a map

Diphthongs are the combination of two letters which makes a single sound. For these diphthongs the stress is on the first element always

  • ai = pronounced "aye" ("hi")
  • ui = pronounced "eeoo" ("sueing")
  • ae = similar to "aye" ("eye")
  • ei = pronounced "ay" ("Hey")
  • au = pronounced "ouw" and sometimes "aw" ("crowd")
  • oe = pronounced "oy" ("toy")

Quiz - Diphthongs

Bilbo leaning towards a door

Which diphthong is pronounced like "ay"?

Sindarin consonants

Bilbo looking happy

Most of the consonants in Sindarin are pronounced as in English except for a few examples. Some consonants requires you to vibrate your vocal cords meaning they are voiced consonants. Lastly, double consonants are pronounced with a longer sound.

  • "C" and "Ch" are pronounced "K"
  • "Dh" = pronounced "th"
  • "f" = pronounced "v" when used at the end of a word
  • "G" = pronounced like a hard "g"
  • "I" = pronounced "I" with vibration
  • "Ih" = pronounced "I" without vibration
  • "ng" = more pronounced in the middle of a word rather than at the start or end.
  • "ph" = pronounced "f"
  • "r" = pronounced rolling or trilled
  • "rh" = pronounced "r" without vibration
  • "s" = pronounced without vibration
  • "th" = pronounced without vibration
  • "v" = silent if it appears at the end of a word
  • "hw" pronounced "W" without vibration

Quiz - Consonants

Dwarf leaning forwards

What is meant by "voiced consonants"?

Sindarin phrases

Happy looking dwarf

Now that you finally know how to pronounce every word you'll encounter in Sindarin you can rehearse some phrases that you can use in your everyday life.

Greetings

  • Ai! = "Hail!"
  • Mae g'ovannen! = casual "you are well met"
  • Mae l'ovannen! = formal "you are well met"
  • Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn = "A star shines on the hour of our meeting

Goodbyes

  • Novaer = "farewell"
  • Galu = "Good luck"
  • Boe i 'waen = "I must go"

Ni 'lassui (thank you).

The history of Quenya

Gandalf and Bilbo travelling

Quenya is the language of the high elves. It has gone through some changes from its first creation until modern times. The first form of Quenya is called "classical Quenya" the version you will learn here is the Quenay spoken in the third age.

Quenya vowels

Gandalf smoking a pipe

Quenya vowels are different in that they don't vary based on position or placement in a word. Long and short vowels differ in length and not qualitative or formation. The long vowels have an accent mark above.

  • i = pronounced "ih" while í = pronounced "ee"
  • a = pronounced "ah" while á = pronounced "aaaah"
  • e = pronounced "eh" while é = pronounced "eeeh"
  • u = pronounced "uh" while ú = pronounced "uuuh" (long "ooo")
  • o = pronounced "o" (short "ah") while ó = pronounced "oooh"

Quiz - vowels

The elven king

Which vowel is pronounced like "eeeh"?

Quenya diphthongs

Upset dwarf

A diphthong is a set of two vowels that make a single sound. In Quenya, there are six diphthongs. When other than the vowels listed below are put together they should be pronounced separately.

  • ai = pronounced "ai" ("aisle")
  • au = pronounced "au" ("mouse")
  • eu = pronounced "oh" ("foe")
  • iu = pronounced "ju" ("mule")
  • oi = pronounced "oi" ("soil")
  • ui = pronounced "ui" ("ruin")

Quiz - diphthongs

Happy looking dwarf

Which diphthong is pronounced like "ju"?

Quenya consonants

Bilbo finding the treasure

In Quenya, most of the consonants are pronounced as they are in English. Yet, there are a few exceptions

  • C = pronounced "K"
  • H = pronounced as "h" at the start of a word, "ch" if placed between consonants. Silent with hw,hy,hl or hr
  • ng = pronounced as in "finger"
  • r = pronounced rolling or trilled
  • s = pronounced unvoiced
  • y = pronounced as a hard consonant

Quiz - Consonants

Bilbo and Gandalf talking

How do you pronounce 'h' if it's placed between consonants?

Quenya phrases

The elven king with jewelry

Now that you finally know how to pronounce every word you'll encounter in Quenya you can rehearse some phrases that you can use in your everyday life

Greetings

  • Aiya = "Hail!" for help or attention
  • Alla = "Hail!" when issuing a blessing
  • Alatulya = "Welcome"
  • Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo = "A star shines on the hour of our meeting"

Goodbyes

  • Márienna = "farewell"
  • Namárië = "be well"
  • Mauya nin avánië = "I must go"

Hantanyel (Thank you)