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Old Sindarin

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"Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" - Tom Bombadil
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

Old Sindarin is the hypothetical name for the earliest form of the Sindarin language, gradually mutated from Primitive Quendian.

This language was spoken in Middle-earth during or after the Great March. However when the Noldor returned to Beleriand at the rising of the Moon, the language had already evolved.

It is possible that Old Sindarin was the common ancestor of Mithrim, Falathrim and Doriathrin.

Other versions

In published writing referring to the early legendarium, only the term Old Noldorin was used. In that early conception, it was the language spoken by the Gnomes in Kôr, (in contrast to the later legendarium of The Silmarillion, where the Noldor spoke Quenya both in Valinor and later in Middle-earth). Old Noldorin does show some similarities to Quenya and Telerin.

Most of the corpus of ON is given in The Etymologies and their purpose is to illustrate the etymology of some Noldorin words. Even after Tolkien renamed "Noldorin" into "Sindarin", almost all rules of etymology and derivation have been retained the same (see Noldorin for the discussion of some minor differences).

More recent works like Quendi and Eldar show ancient forms of Sindarin that seem to possess the same structure and to belong to the same evolution as the Old Noldorin of the Etymologies. It is therefore possible that an ancient form of Sindarin similar to what Tolkien imagined as "Old Noldorin" did exist in the First Age of his later concepts; but Tolkien did not give a name to that stage of language, making "Old Sindarin" to seem a non-canon, but plausible name for it.

Note that in these recent sources, Tolkien provides these forms with an asterisk as "unattested", suggesting that they belong to an unwritten stage of the language. This is not the case in the "Old Noldorin" forms of the Etymologies where they are unasterisked.

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