The Gondolinic runes were a writing system used in Gondolin. They were created by J.R.R. Tolkien between 1920-1925, when he was devising the first writing systems for his Elvish languages. They were the first runic system invented by him, and one of the few alphabets including lower case letters. Like the Gnomic Letters, this early writing system was never used.
The only possible glimpse of these runes used within the legendarium is in The Hobbit: Glamdring and Orcrist, famous swords from Gondolin, had runes that the own Gandalf was unable to read, but Elrond (who knew of all types of runes) could. However it is clear that Tolkien did not consider using these letters in his writings, as in 1960, while rewriting The Hobbit, he found another explanation of why Gandalf could not read the runes: Glamdring was covered in dark blood when Gandalf found it, explaining why the runes were unreadable until cleaned by Elrond.
|n||n||m||m||ñ[note 2]||n, -ng||r||r||l||l|
|iAi||ǽ||Ö||long œ[note 3]||UU||long y[note 3]|
- This rune is described as x, however, this is an alternate spelling for the Sindarin sound ch, not the English x (Quenya ks). For x, the letter K was used.
- This rune seems to be used both for n and -ng (ñ).
- These runes were used for long œ and y respectively, but there are no such accented characters in typesetting, so they are displayed here as double. The sounds they represents are of those that appear in the alphabet, but not attested in any elvish tongue.
If we accept the values of the runes above, we can apply them to the inscriptions of the famous swords of The Hobbit:
- glamdriñ, Glamdring (Foe-hammer)
- orkrist, Orcrist (Orc-cleaver)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), p. 89
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Short Rest"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag End, p. 799
|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|