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Mannish is a term used to refer to the languages of Men, as opposed to the Elvish tongues, or those of the other races of Middle-earth. By far the most prominent Mannish language was Westron.

History[edit | edit source]

Languages of Men started in Hildórien when the Edain divided to migrate to the west. The groups that would eventually be known as House of Bëor and House of Marach, used one language. The third tribe, that would be later known as the House of Haleth, used an unrelated tongue.

During the march, the tribes left behind various descendants in Eriador who continued their languages. In Beleriand, the House of Bëor quickly adopted Sindarin. However the language of Hador retained and was influenced by Khuzdul.[1]

The language of the House of Hador during the Second Age evolved into Adûnaic.[2] Meanwhile the descendants of Men of the First Age in the Westlands became the Éothéod from whom ultimately derives the Rohanese language. The House of Haleth also left descendants that spoke the various Pre-Númenórean languages.[3][4]

Early Adûnaic mingled with many words of the languages of lesser men and became a Common Speech that spread thence along the coasts among all that had dealings with Westernesse[4].

After the Downfall, the Faithful considered Sindarin their mother tongue and used the Common Speech in their dealings with other folk and in the government of their wide realms; but they enlarged the language and enriched it with many words drawn from the Elven-tongues.[4]

Schematic[edit | edit source]

Translation[edit | edit source]

Tolkien used real-life languages and names to present Mannish. The most known example is Westron, which is always replaced with modern English.

This logic went one step further by also presenting all languages akin to Westron in languages related to English, so that their "understandability" by the protagonists is simulated to the English reader. Since English belongs to the Germanic family, most names Tolkien used are Germanic (Norse, Gothic, et cetera) with some Celtic exceptions.

Mannish languages unrelated to Westron that sounded alien to the protagonists (such as Dunlendish), were left in their "genuine" form.

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In The Book of Lost Tales, Men awoke as dumb creatures, and they were taught speech by Nuin the "Father of Speech", an Elf of the Hisildi who awoke them.[5]

In the 1930s The Tree of Tongues, a schematic belonging to a later phase of the mythology, the "Tongues of Man" is derived from Lemberin and Khuzdul, as in the later legendarium, but also from "Orcish languages".[6]

External links[edit | edit source]


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