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la or (whenever stressed) is a negation adverb meaning "no, not".[1]

The word can get pronominal endings as if a negative verb when a verb is not expressed, apparently where the phrase "is not" is followed by a noun or an adjective as a predicate, or where some verb is understood , as in English "I do not".


Root LA[2]


See also

Other versions

In another conceptual phase of Tolkien's, had the opposite meaning "yes".[1]

Tolkien considered that the negation could receive tense markers however he later reconsidered it. The tenses where la was attested are:

  • la (aorist)
  • laia (present)
  • láne (past)
  • alaie (perfect)
  • lauva (future)


In Arabic languages, "no" is la'a. Tolkien said himself that this negative form "appears in Semitic".[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bill Welden, "Negation in Quenya", in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, pp. 32-33
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part One" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003, p. 25
  3. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 43, January 2002
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Eldarin Hands, Fingers & Numerals and Related Writings — Part Three" (edited by Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 49, June 2007, p. 15