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History[edit | edit source]
This dialect was spoken primarily by those Noldor that remained in the Undying Lands following the Exile of the Noldor in the First Age. These Elves were the kin and followers of Finarfin, who had broken away from the followers of Fëanor and chose to return to Valinor rather than undertake the journey to Middle-earth. Finarfin and his folk were dismayed by the Kinslaying that had taken place at Alqualondë and by the subsequent Doom of Mandos that had been pronounced upon the Noldor. They repented and begged forgiveness of the Valar, who allowed them to remain in the Blessed Realm.
Sundered from their kinsfolk, the Noldor of Valinor came to speak a language that differed in subtle ways from the Exilic Quenya spoken by the Noldor in Middle-earth. Finarfin's people continued to speak a form of Quenya that was closer to the original state of the language. Conversely, the language of the Noldorin Exiles began to evolve and change. It also underwent standardization when it became a language of lore due to its ban from everyday use by the Sindarin king Thingol.
The Quenya that appears in the Red Book of Westmarch is Exilic Quenya. As such, there are few official sources for Valinorean Quenya or the ways in which it differed. It is likewise unknown if Valinorean Quenya underwent further changes when the Exiled Noldor returned to Aman after the First Age or when various Noldor were slain and became re-embodied in Valinor.
Although Valinorean is considered a dialect of the Quenya language, it also acquired separate dialects of its own. Vanyarin is perhaps the most prominent dialect of Valinorean Quenya. This form of the language was spoken by the Vanyar, another clan of Elves in the Undying Lands. It contained many loanwords from Valarin, due to the Vanyar living in proximity to the Valar.
Context and creation[edit | edit source]
The Quenya language developed by J.R.R. Tolkien and used in his writings, such as The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, was that of the Noldor in Middle-earth (later referred to as Exilic Quenya). Tolkien indicated that the Valinorean form of Quenya differed, but he did not develop a full syntax or wordlist for this dialect.