Common Telerin

From Tolkien Gateway

Common Telerin was an ancient dialect of the Common Eldarin, spoken by the Teleri or Lindar clan of the Elves.

It became the common ancestor of both Valinorean Telerin and the vernacular Elvish languages of the Westlands (the Sindarin dialects, and some of the Silvan Elvish like Nandorin).


It descended from Primitive Quendian, the original language of all Quendi, or Elves, but split off Common Eldarin early, at some time during the Great Journey, perhaps because the Lindar were further off from both Minyar and Tatyar.

Since many Teleri teams abandoned the March, and stayed in Middle-earth, all the languages of Beleriand of the First Age, like Sindarin, and the various Nandorin languages in the East, are descendants of Common Telerin.

Telerin of Valinor as spoken by the Falmari was the branch of Common Telerin that reached the West.


One major Telerin change was that where Primitive Quendian used 'KW', Telerin had evolved it into 'P'.

Another significant change was the simplification of palatal 'J' into the vowel 'I'.

Another yet characteristic seen in the Telerin languages was the loss of an unaccented pre-stress vowel, for example PQ turúmbê becomes t'rumbê and *berektâ becomes *b'rektâ.

A trait seen in Telerin languages was the evolution of the diphthong CE eu to iu in some dialects. For example *beurô evolved into beor with the alternative form bior. ndeuro evolved into Doriathrin dior.

In Telerin of Aman variants of the same word with iu would coexist with those in eu in its place.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The model of Common Telerin belongs to a newer part of Tolkien's writings. In his personal early unpublished writings like The Etymologies, the only languages which possess the qualities of the Telerin languages are Telerin and Old Noldorin (and by extension, Noldorin).

The other languages of the Great Lands like Doriathrin, Ilkorin etc don't; for example, they had retained the Primitive 'KW' (cf. Ilkorin cwess and Doriathrin cwindor)

Fans who believe that those early languages are not obsolete in the later continuity, interpret them as dialects of Sindarin and/or Telerin languages in their minds. In that case those "anomalous" words that don't fit Telerin, are "updated" in Neo-Sindarin (for example *pess and *pindor)

Languages in Tolkien's works
Elvish languages Avarin · Common Eldarin · Mátengwië · Nandorin · Primitive Quendian · Quenya (Exilic · Valinorean · Vanyarin) · Silvan · Sindarin (Doriathrin · Falathrin · Númenórean · Mithrimin · Old) · Telerin
Mannish languages Adûnaic · Dalish · Drúadan · Dunlendish · Northern Mannish · Pre-Númenórean · Rohirric · Taliska · Westron (Hobbitish)
Dwarvish languages Iglishmêk · Khuzdul
Other languages Black Speech · Entish · Orkish · Valarin · Warg-language
Earlier legendarium Gnomish · Ilkorin · Noldorin (Kornoldorin) · Qenya
Outside the legendarium Animalic · Arktik · Mágol · Naffarin · Nevbosh
Real-world AB language · Celtic · English (Old, Middle) · Finnish · Germanic · Gothic · Hebrew · Welsh
Scripts Angerthas/Cirth (Daeron · Erebor · Moria) · Gnomic Letters · Goblin Alphabet · Gondolinic Runes · Moon-letters · New English Alphabet · Tengwar · Sarati · Valmaric script
"A Secret Vice" (book) · "The Lhammas" · "The Tree of Tongues" · Sub-creation


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Eldarin Hands, Fingers & Numerals and Related Writings — Part Two" (edited by Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 48, December 2005 p.7