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Elvish Conversation (The Very Basics)- Sindarin

Arthfael

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Hello all, mae govannen, I hope you all are doing well and are ready for a somewhat lengthy post! 😊

First off, you need to know the difference between the two types of Elvish I will be covering in this post and the next, Sindarin and Quenya.
Sindarin: Sindarin is the Elvish I speak, and write in. Sindarin is the most common form of Elvish spoken in Middle-earth, being the language of the elves who did not leave middle earth for Valinor.
Quenya: Tolkien intended Quenya to be an archaic and ancient language for the inhabitants of Middle-earth of the Third Age, being comparable to Latin in Europe. Because of this, he decided to make Quenya look visually like Latin and substituted K for C and Q for QU.

Onwards!

(For a pronunciation guide, see my earlier post about Elvish Pronunciation) There are also the literal translations of the words, but in conversation you take the literal meaning of the word.

Sindarin
Hi
A

Hail!
Ai!

A star shines on the hour of our meeting.
Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn.

I greet you!
Literal: I greet [familiar] you
Gi suilon!

I greet you!
Literal: I greet [formal] you
Le suilon!

Well met!
Literal: [familiar] You are well met
Mae govannen!

Well met!
Literal: [reverential] You are well met
Mae l'ovannen!

Do you speak Elvish?
Literal: Do [familiar] you speak Elvish
Pedig edhellen?

Do you speak Elvish?
Literal: Do [reverential] you speak Elvish
Pedil edhellen?

When?
Na van?

With what?
Literal: What with
A van?

Which one?
Literal: What one
Man pen?

Who is leading?
Literal: Who leads
Man tôg?

Why not?
Literal: Don't do it for what purpose
Avo garo am man theled?

Why?
Am man?

Thank you
Literal: I am glad
Ni 'lassui

Thank you
Literal: [reverential] You are generous
Le fael

Farewell
Literal: Be good
Novaer

Good luck/Good Bye
Galu


Hope this was informative for you all!
Na lû e-govaned vîn (Until next we meet. Literal: To the time of our meeting)
 

Elhath

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I would say:

When?
Or van? (in light of erin.. "on (at time of) the.." in The King's Letter)
vs.
Man lû? (after Welsh pa bryd?)

With what? (an inquiry for the instrument)
Trî iuith man?

Which one?
Man uin/(e)din choth? Man uin/(e)din *beni? [OS *kwen-iie; cp. S serni ]
Man o/es sain?

Why?
Amman?

Why not?
Amman û?
Amman ú-garath-on?
(with 1sg. -on = "Why should *I* not do", vs. contextually appropriate person-suffix)

Thank you
Nin *raenad-og / -ol ("You make me gracious"; can be further strengthened e.g. with a verb-prefix such as tre-)
Eglerion i vudad lín ("I laud your labour")
No elian! ("May you be made to prosper!")

Farewell
Novae
 
Last edited:

Artreii

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I've wanted to learn Elvish for a few years now. I started with the dictionary and some YouTube vids. I also made a video on the basics, so you can learn them from it.
 

Elaran

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I am sorry to say that there are multiple problems in that video, so I would not recommend trying to learn with it. I posted a feedback comment for it on Reddit but I am unable to link it here at the moment. And sadly some of the same issues can be found in other comments of this thread. In any case, memorising phrases is far from actually learning a language, in my opinion. The website that Atwe suggested is (not the best possible but) the best out there at the moment, as it updated its lessons to be more in tune with our current understanding of the languages, unlike other websites.
 

Elaran

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It was so, years ago. Not anymore. This is the nature of Tolkienian Linguistics. Tolkien's notes and essays on Quenya and Sindarin are still being published, which teaches us new details each time and we unlearn many old ideas. So, older the work is, more out of tune with Tolkien it turns out to be. Meaning that, even if I publish a new course today (with all the information combined from previous publications), the next publication of Tolkien's notes (expected in a year or two) would likely make it obsolete, unless I keep updating it over the years to include new information and edit out debunked / rejected parts.
 

Elaran

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If you are referring to my message, it is actually very simple:

Step One: Fans/linguists release a Quenya/Sindarin course book/website.
Step Two: Newly published notes and essays by Tolkien debunk/replace the course.
Step Three: Repeat (back to step one) until all of Tolkien's notes are published.

Thus the older sources tend to be faultier, since they lack the information that came later.
 

Inziladun

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It was so, years ago. Not anymore. This is the nature of Tolkienian Linguistics. Tolkien's notes and essays on Quenya and Sindarin are still being published, which teaches us new details each time and we unlearn many old ideas. So, older the work is, more out of tune with Tolkien it turns out to be. Meaning that, even if I publish a new course today (with all the information combined from previous publications), the next publication of Tolkien's notes (expected in a year or two) would likely make it obsolete, unless I keep updating it over the years to include new information and edit out debunked / rejected parts.
Can you say something that helps? Could you please share your knowledge and resources? I am sorry, but many Tolkien 'admirers' seem to be so cold and reserved nowadays. We want to learn these things. Please.
 

Elaran

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I was under the impression that warning people about outdated sources is actually helpful.

I already pointed to a more up-to-date and thus more accurate resource. Or rather, since I cannot share links at the moment, I reinstated that Atwe shared it, which should be indicative of the fact that I can actually approve of things as well. Sadly, more often than not there is little to approve, partly due to what I already explained (outdatedness), hence my seeming but unintentional coldness, as you put it.

I am the administrator of (among other things) Parf Edhellen (ElfDict.com). I maintain multiple communities on the subject, helping hundreds of members alongside foremost figures in the field like Salo, Fauskanger, Rausch, Jallings, and others. I did not get a lot of opportunities to help people in the forum yet, so it is rather unfair to judge how helpful I can be (for better or worse) with my current post count.
 

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