Forum: Languages in Arda

Discussing: Language in Rohan

Language in Rohan

Hi everyone! I have a quick question: What language would be spoken in Rohan? I know people generally say the people of Rohan spoke Old English, but what was the language called in Middle-earth? Thanks! ~Nienna

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

Rohirric, if my memory doesn't fail me...

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

Hi Nienna, I know people generally say the people of Rohan spoke Old English, but what was the language called in Middle-earth? Unfortunately, Tolkien did not give a name to the language of Rohan (and believe me, I searched *all* his books, including History of Middle-earth, to find one!), which is why the Resource Library entry is called Language of the Rohirrim. And the Rohirrim did not "speak" Old English; Tolkien just used Old English to represent the language of the Rohirrim in his writings, just as he used English to represent the Common Speech (aka Westron). He chose Old English because its relationship to English is similar to Tolkien's invented relationship between the language of the Rohirrim (and other Northmen) and the Westron language. Now, in a piece of fanfiction, I personally think that it is okay to use the term "Rohirric" for the language, because everyone immediately recognizes that term to mean "the language of the Rohirrim"... This is one case where I don't think that strict adherence to canon is as important as clarity and telling a good story... - Barbara

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

Thanks Beregond5 and Elena Tiriel! Both of you have been most helpful. I appreciate the effort! Farewell, ~Nienna

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

I saw this forum and wanted to ask a question that came up, as I am re-reading Two Towers right now. Can anyone translate: "Ferthu Théoden hal"? And am I right in thinking "Westu Théoden hál" means "Hail Theoden King"? Thanks. docmon

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

Hi Docmon As none of the many other people here who know far more than I do about this have answered yet, I thought I'd step in and do my best. There's a very nice site with translations of all the movie dialogue which translates Gandalf's words at Theodred's grave: " Westu hál. Ferðu, Théodred, Ferðu." as "Be-thou well. Go-thou, Théodred, go-thou.' So my undestanding is that "Ferthu Théoden hal"" means "Go well Theoden". Eowyn is essentially wishing him luck and success in the campaign. (Ferthu is derived from the same roots as the modern word "forth") And "Westu Théoden hál" means "Be well, Théoden". HTH Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

(Ferthu is derived from the same roots as the modern word "forth") Man, I love the geeks on this site. Y'all just make me happy.

 

 

Re: Language in Rohan

Hi Nienna! Very little is known about the original language of the Rohirrim, but Tolkien noted a couple of words (most of the material is scattered through History of Middle-earth 12). You can find these words and their etymological connections to other Mannish languages (esp. Adûnaic) on Lalaith's page "Etymologies of the Atani Languages," here: http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~lalaith/Tolkien/Fr_Atani.html (No easy read, but a very helpful resource for anyone who's interested in the languages of mortals.) Lalaith also has a page with pronounciation rules for Rohirian (or Rohirric), i.e. the Anglo-Saxon based names and vocables that appear in LOTR: http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~lalaith/Tolkien/How_to_speak_Rohirric.html Hope that helps! Cara

 

 

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