Since KWENE is probably expanded from KWE, the most primitive stem having to do with articulate speech, the term kwendî identifies the Elves as "speakers".
Note that the final short -e was not lost in the later languages, as it usually happens with other words.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar p. 360
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor": "Themselves they named the Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices, for as yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang."