Tolkien Letters About Middle Earth
Post on 28-Nov-2014
The Letters of Middle-earthI Thw Ennorath
Ostadan January 4, 2001
Contents1 Introduction 2 The Runes The Futhark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Cirth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Tengwar Full Modes . . . . . . . . . . Tehta Modes . . . . . . . . . Numerals and Punctuation Lettering Styles . . . . . . . 4 A Final Example 5 Computer Resources Fonts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References Answers to the Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 3 5 6 7 9 10 10 11 11 12 13
function. The stories were comparatively late in coming. As we learned in the companion article, Cent o Hedhellem, the history of Tolkiens languages is long and complex, and the study of Tolkiens linguistic inventions in their entirety or even of the Elvish languages as they existed when The Lord of the Rings set them into a more or less nal form can literally ll a book. This article will focus on a single aspect of Tolkiens invention, from a practical rather than theoretical standpoint: the writing systems that appear in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As we will see, even this relatively narrow area is complex, and a short list of references for further research by the interested reader appears at the end of this article. The vast majority of the information here can be deduced from The Lord of the Rings, especially Appendix E, but like the Hobbits, sometimes we like to read articles lled with things they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions. The writing systems in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fall into two broad classes: the angular runes ( ), which appear prominently on Thrors map in The Hobbit and atop the title pages of The Lord of the Rings ; and the Tengwar ( ), the owing letters that appear on the bottom of the Lord of the Rings title pages and the illustrations of the Ring inscription and the West-gate of Moria. Although Tolkien is careful 1
1 IntroductionIn a 1955 letter to W. H. Auden, Tolkien wrote, . . . languages and names are for me inextricable from the stories. They are and were so to speak an attempt to give a background or a world in which my expressions of linguistic taste could have a
to distinguish these two forms of writing, careless people sometimes will use oxymoronic phrases like Tengwar Rune to describe some mysterious glyph. As often as not, the characters being described are simply runes; and it is to the runes that we will rst turn our attention.
dwarf-rune may be used if required). It will be found, however, that some single runes stand for two modern letters: th, ng, ee; other runes of the same kind . . . were also sometimes used. Table 1 shows the runic alphabet as adapted by Tolkien. Everyone will remember the appearance of these runes in the inscription on Thrors map:
2 The RunesThe FutharkIn the historical world, the 24-character runic alphabet (known as the futhark 1 , an acrostic name based on the sounds of its rst six letters) appeared in Northern Europe in the 2nd or 3rd century. Its origins are debatable; it may be derived from the Roman, or Greek, or even Etruscan alphabets. Runes were used to make magical inscriptions, to inscribe the owners name upon a weapon or other article, or as an artisans signature. For example, a horn dating from ca. 400 bears the inscription I, Hlegest of Holt, made the horn, quite reminiscent of the inscription on the West-gate of Moria. Most common are memorial or funereal inscriptions, such as might be seen on a tomb. The futhark spread rapidly throughout the Germanic world, and Anglo-Saxon migration brought it to England, where it was adapted to the sounds of Old English. This form of the runic alphabet remained in use throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. In the introduction to The Hobbit, Tolkien writes: Runes were old letters originally used for cutting or scratching on wood, stone, or metal, and so were thin and angular. . . . [ the Dwarves ] runes are in this book represented by English runes, which are known now to few people. . . . I and U are used for J and V. There was no rune for Q (use CW); nor for Z (the1 or
Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast. Tolkiens use of the runic alphabet is pretty straightforward, but there is some variation between a strictly letter-for-letter transliteration (as in (ve) in which the silent e is preserved) and a more phonetic approach (for example, for door rather than ). Also notable in the moon-letters is the use of (hwen) for when, which follows Old English usage. Exercise 1 (from a letter to Katherine Farrer, 1947):
Exercise 2 How would you inscribe DEATH TO ORCS on your painting of the (far more forbidding) East-gate of Moria, using the runes from The Hobbit? Just as the ordinary Roman-alphabet lettering on Thrors map, in English, can be considered to be a representation of the real Middle-earth lettering (presumably Tengwar) in the Common Speech, the Anglo-Saxon runes stand in for authentic Dwarvish lettering, also in the Common Speech. However, it was not until the publication of The Lord of the Rings that readers received their rst glimpse of these Dwarvish runes, Tolkiens own creation. 2
fu ark, with representing the th sound in thin
Table 1: Anglo-Saxon Runes from The Hobbit
The CirthIn The Treason of Isengard, Christopher Tolkien quotes a letter dated 1937 that referred indirectly to the runes of Middle-earth, and adds, . . . he was thinking of his own runic alphabets, already at that time highly developed, and not in any way particularly associated with the Dwarves, if associated with them at all. It is conceivable, I think, that it was nonetheless Thrors Map . . . that brought that close association into being . . . In Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings, we are told that runes were rst used for inscribing letters in stone and wood by the Grey Elves of Beleriand during the First Age to represent their Sindarin language. A single carved rune was called a certh, from a root word meaning to cut 2 ; the plural form is Cirth (Quenya certa, plural certar). Daeron, loremaster and minstrel of Doriath, reorganized the primitive Cirth into a more systematic arrangement (under the inuence of the F anorean letters that we will see later). His ale phabet, or Certhas Daeron was later extended and somewhat reorganized by the Elves of Eregion, to become the long rune-rows, or Angerthas. The Dwarves adapted the Angerthas to their own use during the Second Age (mainly due to the friendship of the Dwarves and Elves of Eregion), producing the form of the alphabet known as the2 compare
Angerthas Moria. Note the distinction in terminology: the Cirth (plural) are the several runes; the Angerthas is the runic alphabet. The development of these runic alphabets, and the phonetic values of each of the Cirth in both the Sindarin and Dwarvish versions, is well summarized in Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings. It is interesting to note that in both the real world and the world of Middle-earth, the Dwarves inherited the runes from the Elves for whom they originally were devised. In a late essay, Tolkien wrote that by the Third Age, the runes . . . were forgotten except by the loremasters of Elves and Men. Indeed it was generally supposed by the unlearned that they had been invented by the Dwarves, and they were widely known as dwarfletters. In fact, Tolkien himself seems to have used the runes very rarely, if at all, to write Sindarin (nor its predecessor, Noldorin). In one manuscript (apparently dating from just before the writing of Lord of the Rings ), he wrote that Owing to the ruin of Beleriand, before the departure of the Noldor to Eress ea, no actual Elvish inscription or book in this script was preserved, perhaps to reect this fact. However, there are many published examples of Tolkiens use of the Angerthas to write English (representing, in some cases, the Common Speech). In Lord of the Rings, the prominent examples are the title-page inscription and Balins tomb in Mo3
Calacirya, the light-cleft of Valinor
A J S
B K T
Table 2: The Angerthas for English ria: Balin Son of Fundin Lord of Moria. Tolkien also made illustrations of the pages of the Book of Mazarbul that Gandalf reads, but these were unpublished until they appeared in Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien  (now out of print) and J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator . To this we can add other examples, such as a 1948 letter to Hugh Brogan. From these examples and the information in the Appendix, we derive Table 2. Comparing these runes to the Anglo-Saxon runes, we see that many of the shapes are the same, but we see that there are more Cirth a total of 60 are given in the Appendix, compared to 30 in the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet. The similarity of shapes is explained as being a result of both alphabets being used primarily for carving into stone or wood. The Cirth are a bit more systematic in their shapes. In a 1963 letter , Tolkien wrote that The signs used in the cirth are nearly all to be extracted from the basic pattern, . . . There can be seen a certain amount of phonetic relationship between similar letters, such as (p) and (b), or (t) and (d). This is, as we will see, a result of the inuence of the F anorean Tengwar on Daerons organization e of the Cirth. The values, or assignments to English letters and sounds, are basically those of the Angerthas Moria, with some adaptations to English. Note that Gandalfs familiar G-rune ( ) belongs to the earlier Elvish angerthas, and was not so used by the Dwarves of Moria. As with the futhark, Tolkiens use is not always consistent, being ba4 sically phonetic, with frequent excursions to follow English spelling. For example, in the Book of the Mazarbul, the word bridge is spelled , brij, with being used for a silent e, but j being used for the dg sound. In a letter to Hugh Brogan , the name Hugh is spelled even though the rune represents an aspirated g sound (which Tolkien normally writes as gh as in ghash, the Orkish word for re). The symbol for z is sometimes used for the plural when it is so pronounced, but we also see the symbol for s in the word rings ( ) on the title-page inscription. The lesson here is: if you use these runes to write English, dont worry too much about the details; spell the way you think it ought to be spelled, without losing readability. Some explanation of certain characters may be helpful. Extensive use is made of the runes and for the th sounds in the and thin, respectively (Tolkien indicates the former sound as dh throughout his writings). The schwa () is the unstressed vowel sound that is so common in spoken English, such as the sound of the letter e in spoken. Tolkien uses the symbol for this sound in words like the ( ) on the title-page, but as we have seen, he also uses it for silent e. In one place on the title page, this is reduced to a simple stroke in the word translated. The doubled o rune ( ) is used for the double-o in words like book; in other contexts it represents a long o as in names like L ni. One interesting use is the addition of o the half-rune to the rune to produce for the aspirated-K sound in Khazad but also for initial
Figure 1: Detail of Conversation with Smaug, an illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien for The Hobbit. The inscription reads, Gold Th . . . Thrain. Accursed die the thief.
Ch in the Christmas letter to Hugh Brogan. Exercise 3 In an early dust-jacket design for The Fellowship of the Ring , Tolkien included the inscription, Aside from a couple of unusual uses for some of the runic symbols, what is the major error here? Exercise 4 The Dwarves are Upon You! is a translation of the Khuzdul (i.e., Dwarvish) battle cry, Khazad Aim enu!. Using for a and for , how would you inscribe this name on the box e in which you keep your carefully painted 25mm miniature Dwarf army? Exercise 5 What does the top half of the Lord of the Rings title-page say?
3 The TengwarWhile the runes can be used to convey some of the (especially Dwarvish) avor of Tolkiens work, it is the owing letters of the other Middle-earth writing system, the Tengwar, that most people particularly associate with Tolkiens world. The text at the bottom of the Lord of the Rings title page, the illustration of the Ring inscription, 5
and the West-gate of Moria all in different languages and lettering styles are for many readers the strongest and most immediate signs of the richness and depth of Tolkiens world of Middleearth. Yet the rst published appearance of the Tengwar was not in The Lord of the Rings, but in an easily missed part of an illustration in The Hobbit, as seen in Figure 1. As we will see, even in this fairly early example, the usage of the Tengwar was very similar to the forms later used in The Lord of the Rings and all the Tengwar writings of Tolkiens later career. The earliest letters used by the Elves of Vali nor were the sarati of R umil, the Sage of Tirion . Little is known about this alphabet, although some fragments written by Tolkien in 1919 are known . F anor devised a completely new, and e far more systematic arrangement of letters which he named the Tengwar 3. The Tengwar were designed to be useful for writing the sounds of different languages; for this reason, the table displaying the Tengwar in Appendix E of Lord of the Rings does not specify particular equivalents for the symbols; their use also called their phonetic values when writing Quenya, the language of the Noldor of Valinor, is very different from their3 singular
tengwa, Sindarin t w (singular), tw e
Ennyn Durin Aran Moria
Pedo mellon a minno
Im Narvi hain echant
Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i thiw hin Figure 2: The West-Gate of Moria use in writing Sindarin, the language of the Grey Elves of Beleriand. Still other values apply when the Tengwar are used to write Westron, the Black Speech of Mordor, or English. Complicated as it sounds, it is really not very different from the Roman alphabet, in which the letters ll are pronounced very differently in English, Spanish, and Welsh. The Tengwar Summary Sheet gives the Quenya, Sindarin, and Westron (English) values, including many vowel symbols and diacriticals. Looking over the rst six rows, the astute reader will observe how F eanor arranged the Tengwar into phonetic columns. By doubling the bow portion of a basic letter, voicing is added, changing, for example a t to a d. By raising the stem, aspiration is added, changing a p to an f. Nasal consonants are in the rows with no stem. Thus, a whole series of consonant sounds can be generated from a small number of basic sounds. Besides the varying values for each Tengwa, there are also different modes or methods of positioning the vowels. Depending on the mode, vowels can appear as either separate letters or as accent-like diacritical marks (known by the Quenya term tehtar) that appear over the preceding or following consonant. Tolkien made a great many examples of Tengwar in English, Sindarin, Quenya, and even Old English and used all the different vowel modes. In over to avoid overwhelming the reader, we will touch only briey on Sindarin, Quenya, and the Black Speech inscription on the Ring, and focus on the use of the Tengwar to write English, in various modes. 6
Full ModesThe simplest mode for using the Tengwar is the full mode, in which each vowel is represented by a separate tengwa, rather than by the tehtar that we will see later. This is exemplied by the Sindarin inscription on the West-Gate of Moria, reproduced in Figure 2 and identied in the text as the Mode of Beleriand. Another example of this mode is seen in the Road Goes Ever On songbook in a transcription of A Elbereth Gilthoniel, and in Elessars letter to Sam in the omitted Epilogue to Lord of the Rings . Because the language is Sindarin, the values in the lower-right corners on the Tengwar Summary Sheet apply. Note that in Sindarin, ch represents the sound in Bach, ng represents the sound in sing (not nger), and y represents the sound of French u. Long vowels are marked with an acute accent mark (e.g., (mriel), and a bar over a consanant indicates that the consonant is preceded by the appropriate nasal consonants n or m, as in (Celebrimbor). Finally, diphthongs are indicated by placing an accent over the vowel: (hain)) or a a double-dot for a -y glide (e.g., tilde for a -w glide in -au (e.g., (lhaw)). Tolkien often used a related full mode to write English. It can be seen in Figure 1, and in Tolkiens letter to Hugh Brogan . An extensive example appears in the two drafts of Elessars letter to Sam, and a variant Northern mode is found in Oris page of the Book of Mazarbul in Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien. While the basic consonant uses are pretty much the same throughout these ex-
It seems likely that, to most people, the most familiar Tengwar modes are the ones that use diacritical or accent-like marks, known as tehtar5 . It is an accented mode that we see in the Ring inscription (which appears on the cover of some ediTolkien used several abbreviated forms for En- tions of Lord of the Rings ), and another such mode glish words, notably , , and for the, of, on the bottom half of the title page of Lord of the and of the respectively; and also for and, Rings and (by Christopher Tolkiens hand) on the which uses the over-bar (or tilde) diacritical nasal- title pages of The Silmarillion, Unnished Tales, and all twelve volumes of The History of Middleization we saw in the Sindarin modes. earth. All Quenya inscriptions using the Tengwar Other diacriticals are: a bar below to double use tehtar for the vowels, and a considerable por a consonant (as in , Pippin); a dot below tion of Tolkiens English-language calligraphy and for a silent or unstressed e (as in , doodling in the Tengwar uses tehta modes. Elfstone); the double-dot for diphthongal y (as in The basic vowel accents are shown on the Teng eighth); a tilde-like mark for a diphthongal war Summary Sheet, placed over a long vertical , daughter); and a nal hook stroke known as a carrier. Depending on the lanw (as in or ourish for a nal s (as in , west- guage being represented (which, as we have seen, lands). also affects the symbols used for consonants), the As with the runes, Tolkien sometimes uses pho4 but is ar in Elessars letter, reecting either an uncorrected netic spelling (as in for is in the Hugh Brogan draft or perhaps an inuence from Quenya. 5 Singular tehta, Sindarin taith, possible plural *tth letter) but at other times conforms more closely 7
amples (using the Westron values in the Tengwar Summary Sheet ), there were several variations. For example, on Thrors jar, the symbol is used for o, but in the Kings letter it represents the consonant w. In the letter to Hugh Brogan, is used for this w sound, but in the pages of Elvish script that appeared in Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien (and the 1978 Silmarillion Calendar), the symbol is used in one sample and an inverted version of is used in another. The Tengwar Summary Sheet reects the usages in Elessars letter. Some notes are in order: The sound ch represents the English sound in church; in Hugh Brogans letter, the ch of Christwith a vertical mark mas is represented by a below. Tolkiens dialect of English distinguishes two r sounds: the strong (normal American) r after a consonant or before a vowel is represented by , while the weak sound that sort of disappears when an Englishman speaks a word like car is represented by . Again, the sound of th in these is represented by , a separate sound from the th in thin (). The vowels used in this mode are , , , , and for a, e, i, o, and u respectively; a consonant w is represented by . There is no example in the Letter of consonantal y; in Hugh Brogans letter, is used for this.
to standard English spelling (writing his as in the Kings letter). Most people follow suit, using standard English spellings where this is most clear or convenient, but using the available Tengand Tolkiens English-word abbreviawar like tions where appropriate. Exercise 6 In the letter to Hugh Brogan, he wrote, . Remembering that in this letter, he uses for w, what did he say? Exercise 7 At the end of the Book of Mazarbul is written, in the Common Speech, the nal entry, They are coming, using much the same mode. What does it look like? Exercise 8 The Sindarin word for and in the West-Gate inscription is a 4 . As a nishing touch for your portrait of Elronds sons, write Elladan a Elrohir in the Mode of Beleriand.
Figure 3: The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode . . .
tehta can be placed over the preceding vowel (as in languages like Quenya, in which many words end in vowels) or over the following vowel (as in Sindarin, the Black Speech, and Westron/English). When no consonant is available, a carrier can be used. Thus, the Quenya word malta, meaning gold (the metal), is written as , with the three-dot mark for a written over the preceding consonants; a word beginning with a vowel, like anga ( ) starts with a short carrier to bear the vowel mark. The letters (s) and (z or r or ss, depending on the language) could be inverted to facilitate vowel placement. In languages like Sindarin and Quenya that distinguish long and short vowels, carriers are of two lengths (basically, an undotted i or undotted j), to denote vowel length. Hence, we see a long caro rier in ( re); the o and u curls, and sometimes the e accent, could also be doubled to signify a long vowel. The Road Goes Ever On songbook contains a ne example of Tolkiens Tengwar calligraphy, a transcription of Galadriels lament of farewell, Namari , from the chapter Farewell to e L rien. The phrase, o (y ni un time ve ramar aldaron) gives examples e o of all the vowels, both styles of carriers, and introduces the use of a double-dotted to represent y. The Ring inscription, reproduced in Figure 3, shows a very different tehta mode, this time representing Black Speech phrase: Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatuluk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul Aside from a very different calligraphic style, we see here that the right-hand curl is used for u and not o (because the sound o was rare in the Black 8
Speech), and is doubled for the long u. We also see here that in the Black Speech, the vowels are placed over the following consonant, rather than the preceding one as in Quenya. We also see here the use of the inverted to make the vowel place(nazg). ment easier in Vowels are also placed over the following letter when writing Sindarin. The third version of Elessars letter to Sam in Sauron Defeated is the only published example of Sindarin written in a tehta mode. This mode differs from the Mode of Beleriand in several respects; generally the use of consonants is the same as the Westron version of and not for k, representthe letter, with ing r instead of n, and so on. We may conjecture that Aragorn or his scribe, as men of Gondor, used the letters in the way most familiar to them, rather than as the Elves of Beleriand or Eregion had. The vowel symbols used here are the same as in Quenya. As an example, the phrase i-cherdir Perhael (Master Samwise) is written as . Tolkien often used tehtar for writing English. The most prominent example is on the title-page of The Lord of the Rings, reproduced in Figure 4. In Appendix E, Tolkien describes this as . . . what a man of Gondor might have produced, hesitating between the values of the letters familiar in his mode and the traditional spelling of English. The vowels in this example are the same as those in the Sindarin and Quenya examples seen earlier; the symbol is used for w. Aside from the use of the tehtar for vowels, the semi-phonetic nature of the writing resembles the full-mode English examples seen earlier: the use of abbreviations, the distinction of the weak and strong r sounds, and so
Figure 4: Title page inscription from The Lord of the Rings
on. Note the use of the letter z in the word as. Also note that an inverted circumex () seems to be used to represent the y in by. The bottom half of the title page reads, phonetically, V westmar[ch] by jhon Ronald Reuel tolkien . heR(e)in iz set for[th] [DH] histoRi [V+] wor [V+] Ri[ng] (a)[nd] [DH] Return [V+] ki[ng] az seen by [DH] ho[bb]i[ts] (using R to represent the strong r) In plain English, of Westmarch by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Herein is set forth the history of the War of the Ring and the return of the King as seen by the Hobbits. Another example of a tehta mode for English appears in the Hugh Brogan letter, in which the acute accent ( ) is used for i and the dot ( ) is used for e. In the title pages for The Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth volumes, Christopher Tolkien also uses the accent for e and the dot for i; he also adopts a much more fully orthographic mode, in conformance to English spelling, rather than the semi-phonetic usage we see in J.R.R. Tolkiens work. For example, the word (using for a dwarves is rendered as vowel-bearing s) with no silent-e dot below, and using an s rather than a z or following-s hook. Once again, the application of Tengwar to English is as much art as science; it is not simply an alphabetic cipher. Pick a convention based on the several examples available either a full mode or a tehta mode then adhere to that convention consistently. 9
Exercise 9 In the transcription of Namari , there e appears the sub-title . What does this Quenya description say? Exercise 10 You discover (in the chapter, The Field of Cormallen) that the Quenya word for ring-bearers is cormacolindor. The perfect name for your new gaming club! How do you embroider this name on your club T-shirts? Exercise 11 In 1960, Tolkien doodled a Tengwar transcription of a newspaper headline on the news paper. He wrote: . What did the original headline say? Exercise 12 You decide to put up a banner at a gaming convention, announcing Lord of the Rings Tournament Today in ordinary letters and Tengwar (using tehtar). How does the Tengwar portion look?
Numerals and PunctuationNo numerals for Cirth nor Tengwar were published in J.R.R. Tolkiens lifetime. Three possible Cirth numerals are in the Book of Mazarbul drawing that appeared in Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, but while there are very reliable rumors that a complete list of Dwarvish numerals exists in unpublished form, none have yet been seen. In 1981, Christopher Tolkien presented J.R.R. Tolkiens numerals for use with the Tengwar to the British Tolkien Society; they have been widely circulated and used among enthusiasts since then. These numerals are shown in the Tengwar Summary Sheet. There are some important notes on usage:
a. Unlike Arabic numerals, numbers are written with the units digit on the left. So the number 123 would be written . b. To help distinguish the numerals from the letters, a dot could be written above each digit, or a line drawn above the entire number. For . example, 32767 could be written as c. For lists, series, and the like, the letter Tengwar, numbers 124 (see the Tengwar Summary Sheet ), could be used, just as we use (a), (b), and so on. In this case, a dot or bar above could be used to mark this usage. d. There are also symbols for 11 and 12 ( and ) for use in a duodecimal system, which was sometimes used by the Elves. The various long Tengwar samples that have appeared in print show a variety of punctuation. The transcription of Namari uses: a single dot e for a comma; a pair of dots (like a colon) for a semicolon; two pairs of dots in a square () for a period/full stop; a modied vertical stroke for an exclamation point, and the symbol for a question mark. On the other hand, the title page ends with a colon-like pair of dots and a tilde-like horizontal stroke, and the West-Gate of Moria uses the colon for a period. The various version of the Kings letter to Sam show still other variations, such as two dots for a pause or comma or three dots in a column for a colon; for a period, we see both three dots in a triangle and four dots in a diamond pattern (). The different drafts of the Kings letter show some variations on and to represent parentheses. Finally, the beautifully calligraphed Tengwar transcription of Tom Bombadil from Pictures uses ordinary European punctuation marks.
a certain incentive to make the Tengwar, at least, look as beautiful as possible. Tolkien himself used a variety of styles at different times in different places: the title-page writing looks very different from the Ring inscription; and both look very different from the writing on the West-Gate of Moria even the runes look somewhat different on Balins tomb from their appearance on the titlepage. In Elessars letter to Sam, the name Perhael (Samwise) is emboldened by the use of a thicker pen with angular strokes (rather like Dan Smiths Tengwar Noldor font). It is reliably rumored that still other Tolkien experiments in lettering style remain in unpublished form, including a lettering style that one informant described as resembling an Elvish computer readout. Other experiments in style appear in The Treason of Isengard, in which a cursive style for the Angerthas is presented. The point of all this is to encourage the creative reader to experiment with the lettering rather than simply relying on one particular model or computer font for all runic or Tengwar writing. The choice of writing tool ball-point pen, felttip, or calligraphic stylus and of the exact formation of the letters can create a huge variety in the appearance of the runes or Tengwar.
4 A Final ExampleAs a nal example, we return to our example from Cent o Hedhellem : a refrigerator-door inscription reading Enter, Friends, and Eat Well. First, perhaps inspired by the fact that the door is in fact just ve feet high, we use the Futhark to write this name in English: consulting Table 1, we concoct:
Lettering StylesThe Cirth and Tengwar are used by Middle-earth enthusiasts, as they were by Tolkien himself, for the purposes of calligraphic decoration, or for communication between kindred spirits. There is thus
Remembering that there are special symbols for the unstressed e and nd, the same English text using the Angerthas Moria appears as:
We can also use the Tengwar, either in the adapted Mode of Beleriand or a semi-phonetic Westron tehta mode: or
But the truly ambitious Tolkien fan will not settle for mere English text. We will no doubt recall that the Sindarin translation of this phrase is Minno mellyn a mae mado. We can render this in the traditional Mode of Beleriand:
or in the tehta mode seen in the Kings Letter:
Once we have chosen the letters to use, we would then decide how best to write them. A felttip calligraphic pen is an easily obtained tool that requires only a little practice to produce satisfying results. For runes, some possible media include wood carving or burning, or ceramic or stone engraving. But if calligraphic tools and skill fail, there are quite a few resources for computer users that can produce ne lettering.
will vary widely from font to font and software platform to software platform. Thus, whenever obtaining a new Tengwar or runic font for your system, it is very important to read any accompanying documentation, print out a keyboard map, or do whatever else is needed so that the keys you type produce the letters on the page that you would put there if you were doing the calligraphy yourself. To simply assume that you can switch into your new font and start typing text is a formula for disaster (and one that has claimed more than one unwary victim)! Incidentally, those who are interested in techie matters may be interested to learn that there are proposals for the assignment of Unicode code points to the Tengwar, so some day there will be an international standard for the use of the Tengwar on computers. But not yet. Here are a few sources for Cirth and Tengwar typefaces that can be found on the World-Wide Web.
5 Computer ResourcesFontsBecause the Runes, and especially the Tengwar, do not have a straightforward one-to-one mapping into the Roman alphabet, any computer font will have a certain amount of eccentricity or unexpected behavior when using it with some particular piece of software. The Tengwar font for Donald Knuths TEX system seen throughout this article uses the ASCII letter d for , a bit arbitrarily (dh), and quite idiosyncratically used uses D for octal code 004 (sometimes known as Control-D) for . Different font authors will have different preferences for which glyph to use for r, and so on. And the treatment of the tehtar are they accents? 11
Dan Smiths Fantasy Fonts for Windows6 contains three Tengwar fonts and a Cirth font, all of very high quality, as well as a good futhark font. However, the keyboard assignments for the characters mimic their placements on their respective tables, and have no relationship to their Roman-letter equivalents, so be sure to read the accompanying Help le. Mr. Smith also provides Tengwar support macros for Microsoft Word and other software. This page also has good links to other Tolkien font resources and information. For the Macintosh, The Yamada Center Tolkien Fonts7 has an assortment of Tolkien fonts, some quite old. The Tengwar Gandalf font is the better Tengwar font, but has the backwards! At this stage of the game, Macintosh owners might do better to convert Windows TrueType fonts through a utility like FontMonger.6 http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/4948/index.html 7 http://babel.uoregon.edu/yamada/fonts/tolkien.html
CTAN Font Archive8 The Combined TEX Archive Network; this is one of many mirrors. The subdirectory tengwar contains METAFONT source for the Tengwar font used here; the subdirectory elvish contains an alternative font by Julian Bradeld. There is a cirth font that was, with modcations, used in this article; Julian Bradelds elvish directory has a superior alternative. There is also a futhark font. TEX users may also be interested in Ivan Derzhanskis TgTEX macro package, which greatly facilitates the typesetting of text in either of the Tengwar fonts. A new version of T gTEX will soon be available; it includes a new Tengwar font similar to Computer Modern in style.Some of the general Tolkien linguistics sites have particular Tengwar resources that may be of interest:
The History of Middle-Earth, Houghton Mifin Company, 1996.  Tolkien, C., editor, The Treason of Isengard, The History of Middle-Earth, Houghton Mifin Company, 1989.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Tolkien, C., Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, Houghton Mifin Company, 1992, Now out of print.  Hammond, W. G. and Scull, C., John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, Houghton Mifin Company, 1995.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Carpenter (Ed.), H., The Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, letter 118, , 1981.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Carpenter (Ed.), H., The Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, letter 245, , 1981.  Hammond, W. G. and Scull, C., John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, plate 176, , 1995.  Tolkien, J. R. R., Quendi and Eldar, War of the Jewels, edited by C. Tolkien, The History of Middle-Earth, Houghton Mifin Company, 1994.  Smith, A., The Turin Prose Fragments: An Analysis of a Rumilian Document, Vinyar Tengwar, Vol. 1, No. 37, 1995.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Swann, D., The Road Goes Ever On: A Song Cycle, Houghton Mifin Company, 1967.  Tolkien, C., editor, Sauron Defeated, The History of Middle-Earth, Houghton Mifin Company, 1992.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Carpenter (Ed.), H., The Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1981.
Mellonath Daeron9 The page for the language interest group of the Stockholm Tolkien Society. Has a ne Q&A section, and a very complete index of all the Tengwar and Cirth writings by Tolkien that have so far appeared in print. Amanye Tencele10 is a page dedicated to Tolkiens writing systems.
References Tolkien, J. R. R. and Carpenter (Ed.), H., The Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, letter 163, , 1981.  Tolkien, J. R. R. and Carpenter (Ed.), H., The Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, letter 112, , 1981.  Tolkien, J. R. R., Of Dwarves and Men, The Peoples of Middle-Earth, edited by C. Tolkien,8 ftp://ftp.duke.edu/tex-archive/fonts/ 9 http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_home.html 10 http://user.tninet.se/
11 Nationalist Backing for New Deal. The rst a is written inverted, with two dots above one. 1 OF COVRSE I WILL SIGN YOUR COPY OF The placement of the dot over the following conE HOBIT. (Of course I will sign your copy of sonant in backing is inconsistent with the rest of The Hobbit). Note the use of English-spelling OF the doodle. The word new is written with the unusual ny character, reecting Tolkiens pronuncirather than phonetic OV here. ation of that word; he started to write the word with the expected , but did not complete it. 2 How about:
Answers to the Exercises
12 I would write , but there are many other possibilities.
3 It basically reads, In the land of shadows where the Mordor lie, which exchanges the words shadows and Mordor. Hey, it was a rough draft. 4 , using the same symbol for kh as on Balins tomb. 5 The Lord of the Rings translated from the Red Book. The sentence is completed in the Tengwar section on the bottom half. 6 I hope you wont nd them too complicated, referring to his enclosed explanations of the various writings.
; the actual illustration 7 shows an initial capitalization using with a doubled vertical bar. . Did you remember to 8 use the Sindarin values instead of the Westron? It is worth mentioning that the Sindarin version of the Kings letter uses for non-nal occurrences of r rather than the seen in the inscription on the West-Gate, perhaps reecting a late Third Age usage.9 Altariello naini e lament in L rien o L riendesse: o Galadriels
10 Remembering that there is no c character (use k instead): 13