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From Tolkien Gateway

The Ann-thennath was one of the three Elvish Verse Modes. The other two being the Minlamad thent/estent, and the Linnod.


The verse form was used in the Song of Beren and Lúthien as chanted by Strider to the Hobbits beneath Weathertop. He stated that it was ”hard to render in our Common Speech.[1]


The ann-thennath can be broken up as follows: Sindarin ann = long, thenn = short, -ath = collective plural. Thennath could be related to the Elvish root ten. In this case, the ann-thennath could mean long lines.


The English metric mode of Beren and Lúthien consists in a iambic tetrameter (four pairs of unstressed and stressed syllable); in Classical Greek poetry however, the iambic tetrameter was originally 4 pairs of alternating short and long syllables, which is consistent to the meaning of the Sindarin term ("long-short"). This difference of terminology might account for Strider's adaptation/rendition from Sindarin (quantitative verse) to Westron (accentual-syllabic verse).

Patrick Wynne and Carl F. Hostetter explain that the metric and rhyme of the English text tries to imitate what the ann-thennath would have been in the original Sindarin poem.[2]

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