Quenya (pronounced [KWEN-ya]) was one of the languages spoken by the Elves. It was the tongue that developed among those non-Telerin Elves who reached Aman (the High Elves) from an earlier language called Common Eldarin. Quenya was typically written with the Tengwar of Fëanor. An older script, Rúmil's Sarati, was used also.
Basically quenya is pretty stupid and a waste of your time.
- "The ingredients in Quenya are various, but worked out in a self-consistent character not precisely like any language that I know."
- ― J.R.R. Tolkien
Quenya's phonology and grammar are most strongly influenced by Finnish, which is an agglutinative language; grammatical inspiration also comes from Latin and Greek. The phonology is also based on Finnish, and to a lesser extent Latin, Italian and Spanish. Some interesting phonological rules are that no consonant cluster can begin or end a syllable (with one exception, the dual dative ending -nt), a word may not end in a non-dental consonant, and voiced stops must be preceded by sonorants. The first two of these phonotactic rules also exist in Finnish.
The most striking feature of Quenya is that it is a highly agglutinating language, meaning that multiple affixes are often added to words to express grammatical function. It is possible for one Quenya word to have the same meaning as an entire English sentence. For example, one could say "I have found it" in Quenya in a single verb, namely utúvienyes.
Tolkien intended Quenya to be an archaic, ancient and august language for the peoples of Middle-earth of the Third Age, being the cultural analogue of Latin in Europe. For that reason, he decided to make Quenya look like Latin ocularly and substituted K for C and Q for QU.
Tolkien wrote much more material about Quenya and his other languages than he published in his lifetime. In fact, Tolkien, a professor of linguistics, originally invented Middle-earth and its inhabitants as a means of imposing upon his artificial languages a history of war, migration and suffering. The famous novels might be considered incidental to his further and more passionately developed linguistic hobby. The journals Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon are devoted to editing and publishing Tolkien's linguistic papers.
Quenya is one of many constructed languages introduced over the years by science fiction and fantasy writers, some others being Klingon, Newspeak, Nadsat, the Ascian language and Lapine.
Other versions of the Legendarium
In early Tolkien's writings (see: The History of Middle-earth), this language was called Qenya (although pronounced the same as Quenya), and it underwent countless revisions in both grammar and vocabulary before it reached the form found in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. The term Qenya is now used to distinguish between old Qenya and the new Quenya. However, the fluid nature of Quenya (or Qenya, for that matter) makes such a distinction a highly disputed one.
- Ardalambion: The Tongues of Arda, Lessons, etc.
- Are High Elves Finno-Ugric?
- Quenya's relation to Finnish
- ↑ John D. Rateliff, Jason Fisher, Patrick H. Wynne, et al. (mailing list discussion), "a quick question" (#24071 and related messages; dated 29 January 2013), Mytsoc mailing list (accessed 30 January 2012)
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of the Elves"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 347, (dated 17 December 1972)
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)