Quenya

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Quenya is an artificial language developed by the English philologist & author of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, etc., J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973). The native language of the High Elves, Quenya was inspired by Finnish, Latin, Greek & some smaller elements from other European languages.

Tolkien had written Quenya as a kind of 'Elven-Latin' for Middle-Earth, being an ancient language of the High-Elves that was spoken by the Vanyar & Noldor. It persists throughout the history of Middle-Earth as a language of lore among the elves & men.

It has not been a first language spoken of any elf since the early part of the First Age when King Thingol of Doriath learned of the Noldor's Kinslaying of the Teleri, as many of his kinfolk were slain among them & thus forbade the use of Quenya in his realm, thus the Noldor switched to using Sindarin for everyday use.

It has two known dialects, Vanyarin Quenya as spoken in Valinor, & Noldorin Quenya, or Exilic Quenya which developed in Valinor initially in pronunciation changes, but underwent greater changes when the Noldor returned to Middle-Earth, acquiring new words & grammatical changes. Of the two dialects, Exilic Quenya is the most well known & documented of the dialects.

Vanyarin Quenya is similar to Exilic Quenya, instead it kept archaic sounds and grammar that Exilic Quenya changed & removed respectively; 'th' (þ) & 'z', the accusative case & some words that derive from Valarin, The language spoken by the Valar, e.g. ulban - blue, tulka - yellow & ezel/ezella - green.

Quenya has ten cases (Nominative, Accusative[1], Genitive, Possessive, Dative, Allative, Ablative, Locative, Instrumental & Respective) & five verbal tenses (Present, Aorist, Past, Perfect & Future tense. The aorist tense is based upon the Greek tense with the same name).

  1. Found in Vanyarin Quenya, dropped from Exilic Quenya.

Grammar[edit]

Appendices[edit]

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Disclaimer: This book is about the version of Quenya as it is nowadays used. Some people call this language Neo-Quenya to distinguish it from the research made by Tolkien. He never made a definitive version of Quenya as he kept changing his mind about the details throughout his life.

Lots of facts in this book are derived from only a few examples. It contains some Qenya vocabulary. Qenya is the original language developed by Tolkien, he only later changed the name to the now more familiar Quenya. This book is meant to be used as a reference "as is". It is not meant to be authoritative in any way.