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Mannish is a term used to refer to the languages of Men, as opposed to the Elvish tongues, or those of the other races of Middle-earth. By far the most prominent Mannish language was Westron.



Languages of Men started in Hildórien. When the Edain divided to migrate to the west. The groups that would eventually be known as House of Bëor and House of Marach, used one language. The third tribe, that wold be later known as the House of Haleth, used an unrelated tongue.

During the march, the tribes left behind various descendants in Eriador who continued their languages. In Beleriand the House of Beor quickly adopted Sindarin. However the language of Hador retained and was influenced by Khuzdul.[1]

The language of the House of Hador during the Second Age evolved into Adûnaic.[2] Meanwhile the descendants of the First Age in the Westlands became the Éothéod from whom ultimately derives the Rohirric language. The language of the House of Haleth also left descendants that were known as Pre-Númenórean languages.[3][4]

Early Adûnaic mingled with many words of the languages of lesser men and became a Common Speech that spread thence along the coasts among all that had dealings with Westernesse[4].

After the Downfall, the faithful considered Sindarin their mother tongue and used the Common Speech in their dealings with other folk and in the government of their wide realms; but they enlarged the language and enriched it with many words drawn from the Elven-tongues.[4]



Tolkien used real-life languages and names to present Mannish. The most known example is Westron, which is always replaced with modern English.

This logic went one step further by also presenting all languages akin to Westron in languages related to English, so that their "understandability" by the protagonists is simulated to the English reader. Since English belongs to the Germanic family, most names Tolkien used are Germanic (Norse, Gothic, et cetera) with some Celtic exceptions.

  • Ancient names related to Rhovanion (such as "Vidugavia") are Gothic,' indicating a relationship to Dalish but not recognizable by Westron.
  • Rohirric, the language of the Rohirrim was replaced by Old English, as Rohirric is an archaic relative of Westron, much as Anglo-Saxon is an archaic relative of English;
  • The Dalish, the tongue of Dale (from which came the names of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk), was translated into Old Norse, a language related to Anglo-Saxon and modern English as Dalish was related to Rohirric and Westron;
  • The hobbitish names of the Stoors, Buckland as well as some Bree-land names are Celtic;

Mannish languages unrelated to Westron that sounded alien to the protagonists (such as Dunlendish), were left in their "genuine" form.

External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Two: The Notion Club Papers"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F