PARMA ELDALAMBERON 17
in Various Tongues in
of the Rings
by J. R. R. TOLKIEN
Parma Eldalamberon 'The Book of Elven-tongues'
is a journal of the Elvish Linguistic
Fellowship, a special interest group of the Mythopoeic
The current issue is a commentary by J. R. R. Tolkien
from the late 1950s and early 1960s concerning the
words and names from his invented languages
incorporated into The Lord of the Rings.
This commentary has been edited and annotated by
Christopher Gilson, with the permission and guidance
of Christopher Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate.
"Words, Phrases and
Passages" is a collection of notes on the
Quenya, Sindarin, Dwarvish, Rohirric and Black Speech
examples occurring in The Lord of the Rings, with
detailed translations and syntactic explanations,
together with a discussion of the etymologies of the
various words and names. For the Elvish examples
these are traced back to their Common Eldarin
roots. The entries were arranged by Tolkien in
the order in which the words and phrases occurred in
the story and this arrangement has been preserved in
Although Tolkien never completed the commentary as
originally planned, he retained the more cursory list
of words and names from which he was working; and he
continued to compose further notes on the grammar and
history of the Elvish words and names in the
story. Many of these were placed together with
"Words, Phrases and Passages," and the main commentary
has been supplemented by these notes in this
edition. Together these texts give the clearest
picture we have of how Tolkien conceived of his
linguistic inventions in the forms they were revealed
to his readers.
In many of the notes in "Words, Phrases and Passages"
Tolkien expresses hesitation about his preliminary
explanations, or notices discrepancies between
elements occurring in more than one context. The
notes show how his reconsideration at this time of his
invented languages sometimes led to revisions in the
text of The Lord of
the Rings as it was published in the 2nd
edition of 1965. They also show how Tolkien
achieved new insights into the etymological
explanation of certain words and names.
Many of the entries in "Words, Phrases and Passages"
mention the roots of the Elvish components under
discussion, and this edition includes an index of
these roots. During this period Tolkien also
compiled several lists and collections of roots and
the words derived from them. These etymologies
have been combined with the index into a single list
alphabetically arranged by root, providing a fairly
comprehensive overview of his conception of the stock
of basic elements that underlie the Elvish languages.
The entries in "Words, Phrases and Passages" have been
annotated to point out their connections with the
examples of Tolkien's invented languages included in
his other writings, such as The Silmarillion; Unfinished Tales;
Letters; and The History of Middle-earth. This
edition also includes an index, arranged by language,
of all words and phrases that are glossed within the
entries of main list and the list of roots.
Cover art by Patrick H. Wynne.
Eldalamberon Issue Number 17 is a
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animations © 2001
- 2002 Adam Victor