Language of Dale

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This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

The language of Dale was the tongue spoken by the Men of Dale and as a Northern language, it was related to Rohanese and, more distantly, to Westron.


Most of the people of Dale like most of the ancestors of the people of Rohan were descended from the Edain of the First Age or from a people closely related with them. As a consequence, their language was related to the Adûnaic of the Edain who had migrated to Númenor at the beginning of the Second Age and had preserved a likeness to the Common Speech who was descended from Adûnaic.[1]

Many of the high-sounding names of old Hobbit families, such as the Tooks and the Bolgers closely resembled the names of Men in Dale or names of Men in the Vale of Anduin where the ancestors of the Men of Rohan had lived, because most of these seem to have been taken from legends of the past of Men and of Hobbits.[2][note 1]

The language of Dale was adopted by the Dwarves from that region, such as the Dwarves of Erebor. In fact they used names from the language of Dale as their "outer" names,[2] because it was a taboo to use their true, original names in their own language Khuzdul when talking with persons from other races[3].

The writing system used by the Men of Dale was an old and simple form of the Cirth.[4]


In Tolkien's stories names of Dwarves in the language of Dale were represented by names in Old Norse,[3] a language related to Old English and modern English, because the language of Dale was related to Rohanese and Westron[1]. If the language of Dale and the Long Lake would have appeared in The Lord of the Rings, it would have been represented as "more or less Scandinavian in character".[3]


A suggested name for the language of Dale is Dalian.[5] Another "invented" name commonly used by fans is Dalish.[6][7]


  1. The relationship of the languages can be seen in Brand, the name of a king of Dale, Ferdibrand, the name of a Hobbit, and Erkenbrand, the name of the lord of Westfold in Rohan.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men", p. 1129
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation", p. 1135
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing". p. 1118
  5. Andreas Moehn, "Etymologies of the Atani Languages" (accessed 26 March 2011)
  6. "Breelendish, a Welsh-style Conlang" (message 33106; 12 March, 2006) at Elfling mailing list (accessed 27 March 2011)
  7. "Scandinavians in Middle-earth?" (message 1075; 15 July 1999) at Elfling mailing list (accessed 27 March 2011)
Languages and scripts in Tolkien's works
Elvish Angerthas (Angerthas Daeron) · Avarin · Cirth (Certhas Daeron) · Common Eldarin · Mátengwië · Moon-letters · Nandorin · Primitive Quendian · Quenya (Exilic · Valinorean · Vanyarin) · Sarati · Silvan Elvish · Sindarin (Doriathrin · Falathrin · Númenórean · Mithrimin · Old) · Telerin (Common) · Tengwar
Mannish Adûnaic · Dalish · Drúadan · Dunlendish · Halethian · Northern Mannish · Pre-Númenórean · Rohanese · Taliska · Westron (Bucklandish · Hobbitish · Stoorish)
Dwarvish Angerthas (Erebor · Moria) · Aulëan · Iglishmêk · Khuzdul
Other Black Speech · Old Entish · Orkish · Valarin · Warg-language
Earlier legendarium Gnomish · Gnomic Letters · Gondolinic Runes · Ilkorin · Keladian · Noldorin (Kornoldorin) · Melkian · Oromëan · Qenya · Valmaric script
Outside the legendarium Animalic · Arktik · Gautisk · Goblin Alphabet · Mágol · Naffarin · New English Alphabet · Nevbosh · Privata Kodo Skauta
Real-world Celtic · English (Old · Middle · AB) · Finnish · Germanic · Gothic · Hebrew · Runic alphabet · Welsh
"A Secret Vice" (book) · "The Lhammas" · "The Tree of Tongues" · Sub-creation