Language of Dale

From Tolkien Gateway
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.

History[edit | edit source]

The language, as well as the personal names of the Men of Dale closely resembled those of the Men in the Vale of Anduin and those of the Rohirrim; even those of some Hobbits who used high-sounding names and words from the Mannish language of the upper Anduin.[1][note 1]

The language of Dale was adopted by the Dwarves from that region, such as the Dwarves of Erebor. In fact they used this tongue to introduce themselves to outsiders, forming their "outer" names, as it was a taboo to use their true, original Khuzdul names to other races.[2][1]

The writing system used by the Men of Dale was an old and simple form of the Cirth.[3]

Translation[edit | edit source]

In Tolkien's stories, the language of Dale was rendered with Old Norse, a language related to Old English and modern English as the tongue of Dale was related to Rohanese and Westron.[1][2]

Name[edit | edit source]

A suggested name for the language of Dale is Dalian.[4] Another "invented" name commonly used by fans is Dalish.[5][6]


  1. The relationship of the languages can be seen in the D. name Brand along with the H. name Ferdibrand and the R. name Erkenbrand.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing"
  4. Andreas Moehn, "Etymologies of the Atani Languages" (accessed 26 March 2011)
  5. "Breelendish, a Welsh-style Conlang" (message 33106; 12 March, 2006) at Elfling mailing list (accessed 27 March 2011)
  6. "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