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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).



Common Eldarin split off Primitive Quendian, the original language of all Quendi, or Elves, when the Eldar left Cuiviénen for Valinor. As the years passed, the language of those Elves as they traveled, became a little different than the one spoken before the March.

Since the Eldar dominate the annals of the Elder Days, all the Elvish languages that appear, come from that branch. The Avarin languages possibly followed a wholly different evolution, outside Common Eldarin.

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
ʒt > cht
PQ: maʒtâ (root MAƷ) > CE: mahtâ (pronounced machta)
Final short -a, -e, -o are lost, sometimes producing a long monosyllable as their trace
PQ: ndêro > CE: ndæ^r[1] (kwende > quendë is an exception)
Final short -i, -u became -e, -o
PQ: maʒiti > CE: *maʒite
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[2]
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, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, The Etymologies root NDER
  2. Vinyar Tengwar 39 p. 10

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