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Common Eldarin

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Common Eldarin is the tongue of the ancient Eldar of the Great March. It is the last common ancestor of all known Elvish languages (broken in Quenya and Common Telerin branches).


Grammatical note

Common Eldarin presented the ending of -r as a plural marker ofr uninflected verbal stems.[1]


Common Eldarin is an evolution of Primitive Quendian, the original language of all Quendi, or Elves, until the Eldar left Cuiviénen for Valinor. As the years passed, the language of those traveler Elves became a little different than the one spoken before the March. By the time they reached Beleriand, dialects had already been formed.

Since the Eldar dominate the annals of the Elder Days, all the Elvish languages that appear, come from this branch. The Avarin languages possibly followed a wholly different evolution, outside Common Eldarin, and the changes presented here, may not have applied during the evolution of their languages.

At least at one point, the changes reflected coexisting alternative forms of PQ. For example, the pairs of endings (m), (f) and (m), (f). This is mirrored in the evolution of short -u becoming -o and the short -i becoming -e.

Evolution from Primitive Quendian

During the Great March, minor changes to the Primitive Quendian brought the later Eldarin languages. These changes had to do with several developments of the word-forms, usually normalization. For example:

Medial h was lost
PQ: - > CE:
"Difficult" consonant clusters, usually those with nasals (like bm and dn), were rearranged
PQ: labmâ (root LAB) > CE: lambâ
PQ: stabnê (Root STAB) > CE stambê
ȝt > cht
PQ: maȝtâ (root MAȜ) > CE: mahtâ (pronounced machta)
Final short -a, -e, -o are lost, sometimes producing a long monosyllable as their trace
PQ: ndêro > CE: ndæ̂r[2]
(kwende > quendë is an exception)
Final short -i, -u became -e, -o
PQ: maȝiti > CE: *maȝite
PQ: ranku > CE: *ranko
Other minor changes
PQ: wo > CE: wa
a infiction in some stems which produced new diphthongs like ae, ao
PQ: *melâ (Root MEL) > CE *maelâ[3]
final long -â, -ê, -î, -ô, -û became short (later stage)
CE: stambê > stambe
CE: mahtâ > mahta
CE: lambâ > lamba

At some point, dialects separated the uniformity of that language, and produced the Common Telerin branch.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Quenya Phonology", in Parma Eldalamberon XIX (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 103
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, The Etymologies root NDER
  3. Vinyar Tengwar 39 p. 10

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