Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 09:51, 25 May 2009 by Elendil (Talk | contribs)
"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
This article or section is a stub. Please help Tolkien Gateway by expanding it.
"there are Tolkien's latest thoughts, his best thoughts, and his published thoughts and these are not necessarily the same." — Tolkien's Legendarium
This article is non-canon.

Noldorin is an Elvish dialect. Throughout the history of the legendarium, it can refer to two distinct concepts:

  • In the newer version of Tolkien's mythos, Noldorin defines the Quenya dialect of the Noldor (in contrast to the Vanyarin dialect); however since "proper" Quenya is mainly the dialect of the Noldor, the term "Noldorin" is even here used rarely. For more, see Quenya.
  • Originally, Noldorin was the early name of Sindarin. Its structure, history and background were different in the early versions of the mythos. This article describes this particular concept.


According to the background of the early legendarium, Noldorin derived from the Old Noldorin, the language spoken by the Gnomes/Noldoli in Valinor. That language was quite similar to Qenya, the language of the Lindar but had some differences.

When the Noldor came to Great Lands with Fëanor, their language was confused, mixed and mingled with Ilkorin, the language of the Dark Elves. This amalgam produced the Noldorin language of Beleriand.

External history

A celtic-sounding language spoken by the Gnomes/Noldoli existed since the beginning of Tolkien's mythology. In the first stage, it was called Gnomish quite similar to later Noldorin/Sindarin but also quite different.

It was revised through the following years. Noldorin, as was called during the 1930, was more compatible to Sindarin of The Lord of the Rings; this language appears in the Etymologies.

Noldorin with all its backstory existed even while Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings. The Elvish phrases and languages, while nowadays are known as Sindarin, were "Noldorin" in Tolkien's mind while he was writing them. It was only while writing the Appendices when he decided to retcon all the backstory and give Elvish a new history and name, and then the language was standardized as Sindarin.

The Etymologies Noldorin is so similar and compatible to Sindarin, that Tolkien consulted it while working on Sindarin, by "updating" in his mind the old words with the new data. This methodology is used even now by Elvish students when they need to "import" or "update" Noldorin words into Sindarin proper. This practice is often referred to as "Neo-Sindarin", to distinguish it from attested Sindarin.

Example of differences

For example Old Noldorin initial l-/r- became lh-/rh- in Noldorin respectively, however they remain the same in Sindarin. Also, the Old Noldorin diphthong ai becomes oe in Noldorin but ae in Sindarin.

Therefore according to the Etymologies, the Old Noldorin word raika evolved into Noldorin rhoeg but the very same word should be "updated" into *raeg to become Sindarin.