HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Valarin

Type: Languages & Writing Systems

Other Names:
Lambe Valarinwa
language of the Valar and Maiar

Description:

The language of the Valar and the Maiar:
Little is said in Ñoldorin lore... concerning the 'language of the Valar and Maiar'; though it has been supposed above that the application of Quenya to the speech of the Elves in Aman was due to the contrast between the tongue of the Valar and the tongue of the Elves, which they had before supposed to be the only language in the world. Considering the interest of the Ñoldor in all matters concerning speech this is strange. Pengolodh indeed comments upon it and offers explanations. What he says in the beginning of his Lammas is here summarized; for his comment contains all that is now known of the matter.

'Even if we had no knowledge of it,' he says, 'we could not reasonably doubt that the Valar had a lambe1 of their own. We know that all members of their order were incarnated by their own desire, and that most of them chose to take forms like those of the Children of Eru, as they name us. In such forms they would take on all the characters of the Incarnates that were due to the co-operation of hröa2 with indwelling fëa,3 for otherwise the assumption of these forms would have been needless, and they arrayed themselves in this manner long before they had any cause to appear before us visibly. Since, then, the making of a lambe is the chief character of an Incarnate, the Valar, having arrayed them in this manner, would inevitably during their long sojourn in Arda have made a lambe for themselves.

'But without argument we know that they did so; for there are references to the Lambe Valarinwa in old lore and histories, though these are few and scattered. Most of these references appear to be derived, by tradition of mouth, from "the Sayings of Rúmil" (I Equessi Rúmilo), the ancient sage of Tirion, concerning the early days of the Eldar in Aman and their first dealings with the Valar. Only part of these Equessi4 were preserved in the memory of the Lambengolmor5 during the dark years of the Flight and the Exile. All that I can find or remember I have here put together.'

The information that Pengolodh then gives is here set out more briefly. His preliminary points are these. Few of the Eldar ever learned to speak Valarin, even haltingly; among the people as a whole only a small number of words or names became widely known. Fëanor indeed, before the growth of his discontent, is said to have learned more of this tongue than any others before his time, and his knowledge must at any rate have far surpassed the little that is now recorded; but what he knew he kept to himself, and he refused to transmit it even to the Lambengolmor because of his quarrel with the Valar.

Our knowledge...6 is therefore now limited (1) to statements of the 'ancients' that certain words in Quenya were actually derived from Valarin; (2) to the occasional citation of words and names purporting to be Valarin (neither adopted in Quenya nor adapted to it), though undoubtedly recorded with only approximate accuracy, since no signs or letters not already known in the Elvish alphabets are employed; (3) to statements that certain names (especially those of the Valar or of places in Valinor) were translations of the Valarin forms. In cases (1) and (3) the actual Valarin words are not always indicated.

With regard to group (1) Pengolodh cites a 'Saying' of Rúmil: 'The Eldar took few words from the Valar, for they were rich in words and ready in invention at need. But though the honour which they gave to the Valar might have caused them to take words from their speech, whether needed or not, few words of Valarin could be fitted to Elvish speech without great change or diminution. For the tongues and voices of the Valar are great and stern, and yet also swift and subtle in movement, making sounds that we find hard to counterfeit; and their words are mostly long and rapid, like the glitter of swords, like the rush of leaves in a great wind or the fall of stones in the mountains.'

Pengolodh comments: 'Plainly the effect of Valarin upon Elvish ears was not pleasing.' It was, he adds..., filled with many consonants unfamiliar to the Eldar and alien to the system of their speech.

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Note on the 'Language of the Valar'


Examples
Nahar... the V[alarin] form that is recorded by Rúmil was næχærra.

Ezellohar.... V Ezellōχār.

Máhanaxar... from V māχananaškād....

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Note on the 'Language of the Valar'

Valarin words..., recorded but not adopted....

uruš, rušur 'fire'.

ithīr 'light'.

ul(l)u 'water'.

šebeth 'air'.

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Note on the 'Language of the Valar'

Valarin... names, recorded but not adopted....

Arda: V Aþāraphelūn (said to mean 'appointed dwelling'). Arda Unmarred: Aþāraphelūn Amanaišāl; Arda Marred: Aþāraphelūn Dušamanūðān.

Telperion: V Ibrīniðilpathānezel.

Laurelin: V Tulukhedelgorūs.

Ithil...: V Phanaikelūth. Said to mean 'bright mirror'.

Anar...: V Aþāraigas. Said to mean 'appointed heat'.

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Note on the 'Language of the Valar'


Notes

1   Lambe: a spoken language.
2   Hröa: the body of an incarnate Elf (plural: hröar).
3   Fëa: the soul, or indwelling spirit, of an incarnate Elf (plural: fëar).
4   Eques: a saying, a current or proverbial dictum (plural: equessi).

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language'

5   Lambengolmor: Loremasters of Tongues.

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language'

6   By which Pengolodh meant the knowledge available in Middle-earth. The Lammas was composed in Eriador.

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar: Author's Notes to Quendi and Eldar, Note 35

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 14Mar08

Related Library Entries

Things Search

   

Full Text Search


Search runs slowly