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Entish, referred to once as Old Entish, was the slow, sonorous, rumbling and ancient language of the Ents, very alien in nature to Elvish or Mannish. Entish was a slow and thoughtful language like its speakers; words and names told the story of the things they described. This is perhaps part of the reason for the Ents' shyness about names, considering their own Entish names to be private things only to be told to trusted friends.
Entish was described as long and sonorous; it was a tonal language with many subtle vowel shades, and very longwinded. It is unknown if a non-Ent could even pronounce Old Entish. The Huorns and trees of Fangorn Forest could understand Old Entish and converse with the Ents and each other with it. Even the Elves, master linguists, could not learn Old Entish, nor did they attempt to record it due to its complex sound structure. The grammar structure of Old Entish was also quite bizarre, often described as a lengthy, long-winded discussion of a topic. The Ent Quickbeam was regarded as a very "hasty" Ent for answering a question before another Ent had finished. Ents as a rule would say nothing in Old Entish unless it was worth taking a long time to say.
The Elves taught much to the Ents. The Ents found Quenya a lovely language, and adapted it after their fashion to everyday use, and its vocabulary to Old Entish grammatical structure. The individual words were easily understandable, although they formed lengthy run-on sentences of redundant adjectives.
Even when speaking Westron, Ents fell into the habit of adapting it into their grammatical structure of repeating compound adjectives used to express fine shades of meaning.
Examples[edit | edit source]
- A-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lindor-burúme, a part of the name for a hill; described as a "the only extant (probably very inaccurate)" fragment of Entish.
- When Treebeard said (using Quenya words) "Taurelilómëa-tumbalemorna Tumbaletaurëa Lómëanor", he wanted to tell Merry and Pippin that "there is a black shadow in the deep dales of the forest," however, the literal translation is "Forestmanyshadowed-deepvalleyblack Deepvalleyforested Gloomyland".
- burárum, an Entish noise of disgust.
- When Treebeard described the Orcs, he said "evileyed-blackhanded-bowlegged-flinthearted-clawfingered-foulbellied-bloodthirsty," and added some Quenya: morimaite-sincahonda ("blackhanded" and "flinthearted").
[edit | edit source]
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard", p. 465
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Other Races"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Other Races", Ents, p. 1131
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), entry E burárum, p. 79