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Things of Middle-earth

Old Entish

Type: Languages & Writing Systems

Description:'... I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.' A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. 'For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I've lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

As soon as the whole company was assembled, standing in a wide circle round Treebeard, a curious and unintelligible conversation began. The Ents began to murmur slowly: first one joined and then another, until they were all chanting together in a long rising and falling rhythm, now louder on one side of the ring, now dying away there and rising to a great boom on the other side. Though he could not catch or understand any of the words -- he supposed the language was Entish -- Pippin found the sound very pleasant to listen to at first; but gradually his attention wavered. After a long time (and the chant showed no signs of slackening) he found himself wondering, since Entish was such an 'unhasty' language, whether they had yet got further than Good Morning; and if Treebeard was to call the roll, how many days it would take to sing all their names. 'I wonder what the Entish is for yes or no,' he thought.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

'Still, I take more kindly to Elves than to others: it was the Elves that cured us of dumbness long ago, and that was a great gift that cannot be forgotten, though our ways have parted since.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

Ents. The most ancient people surviving in the Third Age were the Onodrim or Enyd. Ent was the form of their name in the language of Rohan. They were known to the Eldar in ancient days, and to the Eldar indeed the Ents ascribed not their own language but the desire for speech. The language that they had made was unlike all others: slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed longwinded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity which even the loremasters of the Eldar had not attempted to represent in writing. They used it only among themselves; but they had no need to keep it secret, for no others could learn it.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: Of Other Races

Example

'For there was a great inrush of those, burárum, those evileyed-blackhanded- bowlegged-flinthearted-clawfingered-foulbellied-bloodthirsty, morimaitesincahonda, hoom, well, since you are hasty folk and their full name is as long as years of torment, those vermin of Orcs....'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, Many Partings

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 28Jan05

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