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Tengwar/Mode of Beleriand

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The Mode of Beleriand was a mode of Tengwar which used full letters for vowels instead of tehtar.



Parmatéma Tincotéma Calmatéma Quessetéma
q p
1 t
a k
w b
2 d
s g
e f
3 th
d ch
r v
4 dh
f[1] gh?
t[2] mm
5[2] nn
g -ng?
y m
6 n
h o
n[3] -w
Additional Tengwar:
7 r
u[4] rh
j l
m[4] lh
8 s
i[5] y
Silmë nuquerna
k[6] ss?
,[7] œ?
Essë nuquerna
9[8] h
o[9] chw?
Hwesta Sindarinwa
l e
. u
~ i-? ` i
] a
y+ mh?


  1. This letter is not attested in any Sindarin text, neither is the sound it theoretically represented, but we can theorize that this sound existed in very early Sindarin (g dissappeared in the middle of words via this sound. Cf. early Quenya 3). If the Noldor came to Middle-earth when this sound still existed, it is likely that they represented it by this tengwa, before finally disappearing. See also Gasdil.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Because of their doubled lúvar, those tengwar were considered as lenghtened forms of Vala and Órë, which had the values of m and n, respectively.
  3. Maybe for prevocalic and final w (e.g., tawarwaith, tiw). Shouldn’t be used for the diphthong au (finally spelled -aw).
  4. 4.0 4.1 These letters were used for the initial soft sounds rh and lh (spelled hr and hl in Quenya).
  5. It is not known if this tengwa existed in Aman or if it is a Beleriandic invention. In tehtar-modes, however, it was used when a tehta should be placed over Silme. In this mode, the sound it represents is the vowel y (not to be confused with the consonantal Quenya y in yulma)
  6. This letter (previously Ázë) became ss. But it is not known which took it from which. There are two probabilities:
    • Sindarin didn’t possess the z sound, so the Noldor gave it the value of ss. Quenya imitated this Sindarin mode and gave the value of ss to that letter, which had till that time the value of r.
    • The King’s Letter is a 4th Age Sindarin text. Maybe the value ss of this tengwa was an attribute borrowed from the Quenya mode of that time.
  7. We lack a letter for the umlaut sound œ found in early Sindarin (later becoming e), but a wild guess is that perhaps Essë nuquerna was used, similarly like Silmë nuquerna was used for y.
  8. Sindarin didn’t possess palatalised sounds. hy had became h. Hyarmen was employed for this soft sound, not to be confused with ch.
  9. This mysterious letter, said to have the value hw, had never appeared in any of the Sindarin texts. It is unknown why was it employed instead of Hwesta and when. It was probably used much later by the mannish modes, where Hwesta was used for the sound ch or chw.
  10. The lenited g sound was indicated by a sign called Gasdil, which is an elaboration of the letter Halla. It is used like Tolkien uses the apostrophe, to indicate a missing g: galadh, “tree”, but i ‘aladh, “the tree”


The history of this mode is not known but the name suggest it evolved in the First Age, on Beleriand, when the Noldor came to Middle-earth; we are told that they were forbidden by King Elu Thingol to use Quenya[1]and were forced to adopt Sindarin.

Normally, they adapted Tengwar to their new language, taking advantage of their inherent flexibility to other sounds, imitating maybe the way the Falmari of Eldamar represented the Telerin sounds that didn't exist in Quenya. For some obscure reasons we do not know, they found the most usual tehta-mode inappropriate for Sindarin, and they took therefore also example of the original Fëanorian Quanta Sarmë, using distinct tengwar for vowels.

The Mode of Beleriand seems to have been held "traditionally" by the Noldor who were established in Eregion during the Second Age, as seen on the West-gate of Moria Inscription written by Celebrimbor[2]. After Eregion was destroyed in Second Age 1697, the Noldor migrated to Imladris[3], where the Mode of Beleriand was perhaps used even till the Third Age[4].


It seems that Sindarin speakers found use only for 3 of the 5 témar since Sindarin lacked the palatalized (ly, ny, ty) sounds of Quenya as well as the labialized qu.


Of the Quessetéma, Wilya was used for a final -u (or -w). There is also an a-tengwa called Osse, not corresponding with any of the older ones known from Quenya; it could have been imported from a Quenya semivowel unknown to us, which belonged to the Quanta-Sarme.

The carriers took vowel values too: The telco was used for i, while the long carrier could have been used for the semiconsonantal initial sound y- (or i- as in Ioreth).[5]

Diphthongs were expressed by tehtar. Two amatixi (maybe a remnant of the earlier Tyelpetéma), used for -i in the diphthongs ai, ei and ui. Similarly for au (spelled -aw), perhaps the w-tehta was used (caun, a]é6). ae is attested written with the separate letters for a and e, and maybe the same applies to the diphthong oe too.

Labialised consonants

In Quenya mode, labialised consonants (kw, ngw etc) belonged to the Quessetéma. It's possible that the Mode of Beleriand used a w-tehta è over consonants for this (edwen, would perhaps be written here as l2èl6).[5]


Anto, Ampa and other letters used for nasalized stops in Quenya took different values. A tilde is used before stops for nasalisation.


A well-known tehta that indicates long consonants, the under-tilde, was not used. Long m and n were written with Malta and Númen (i.e., doubling of the lúva), and other long consonants were written with two letters (mellon, yljjh6).

A tehta was used to indicate long vowels, an acute accent called Andaith (á, ]R)


The best known sample of the Mode of Beleriand is of course the Inscription of the West-gate of Moria, written by Celebrimbor of Eregion; this suggest that this Mode was preserved there by the Noldor.

- l5I6 2.7`6 ]7]6 yh7`] - ql2h yljjh6 ] y`5h -
- `y 6]7r` 9]Ö6 ld]1p - aljlw7`wPh7 h l7ls`h6 1lÕ3]1p ` 3`n 9`6 -

Ennyn Durin Aran Moria. Pedo mellon a minno.
Im Narvi hain echant. Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i-thiw hin.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel was an aerlinn of the Elves of Imladris. Imladris was inhabited by the refugees of Eregion[6] and is one of the places that might have kept the Mode of Beleriand, even in the 3rd Age.

] ljwl7l3 s~j3h6lj A Elbereth Gilthoniel
8~j~r7l6 ql5] 6~V7lj silivren penna míriel
h yl6lj ]sj]7 ljl6]3 o menel aglar elenath!
6]d]l7l2 q]j]62~V7lj Na-chaered palan-díriel
h s]j]47lt~6 l5h7]3 o galadhremmin ennorath,
e]6.Öjh8 jl j5]3h6 Fanuilos, le linnathon
6lr ]l]7 8~V 6lr ]l]7h6 nef aear, sí nef aearon!


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Of the Noldor in Beleriand "the Exiles took the Sindarin tongue in all their daily uses"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Journey in the Dark
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  4. The Road Goes Ever On, A Song Cycle
  5. 5.0 5.1 This is the usage in the King's Letter which employs a similar mode
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age