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Topic: Beginning Sindarin Course

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Tom Bombadil
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Posts: 1886
Date: May 14, 2007
Beginning Sindarin Course

I like to thank our Eru for opening this Languages of Arda Forum for me. I also like to thank all of you who have shown an Interest in Learning Sindarin. I told The One, that learning a new language requires a Stick to it attitude. I believe you all possess this. So without further ado, here is the first lesson. Please download Dragonflame right now. It will be a great help to you. As I mentioned, there is homework. And if things get to confuzzled, PM me. Also please PM me all completed homework assignments.

Sindarin Grammar Lesson #1


Pronunciation is not, perhaps, the most exciting way to begin to learn Sindarin, but it is the most logical. Unlearning incorrect pronunciation later will be more troublesome than learning the correct pronunciation now.
If you are like me, you do not enjoy reading a written description of a sound. It can be very confusing unless you are familiar with the technical phonological terms. Fortunately, Lothenon made an excellent Sindarin Phonology guide online with sound files of all the vowels and consonants, in different places within words. I cannot improve upon what his site offers, and he has kindly agreed to have me link directly to the sound files.
You can download a free version of the program RealOne Player (look on the lower right for the download link for the free version) to listen to these files.
Here I give a general guide to the sounds, which will suffice for a new student. The examples are given, when possible, in English; if this is not your native tongue, then I recommend that you rely more on the sound files than on these descriptions. Even within the English language, pronunciations can vary widely, so please, listen to the sound files. (Y was a real eye-opener for me, and no mistake about it!)
Third-Age Sindarin has six vowels, and six diphthongs (a combination of two vowels together that combine to make a new sound), and 22 consonants.
A: sounds like English father, never like hat: sad, adan, br, pn
E: sounds like English pet, never silent like fire; when found in er it never sounds like fern: le, Elbereth, pd, brg
I: sounds like English sit, never like line; when at the beginning of a word and followed by a vowel, it sounds like year, and when accented ( or ) sounds like bee; when found in ir it never sounds like fir: lim, ithil, mr, anra
O: sounds like English for, never like cold: ionn, noro, tl, dhil
U: sounds like English brute, never like cute; when accented ( or ) sounds like too; when found at the end of a word it is written -w; when found in ur it never sounds like fur: guruthos, gl, dnadan, tw
Y: a "fronted u"; sounds like French lune or German Kche, never like English year: ylf, yngyl, pd

AE: sounds like English aisle or "my": aer, gilraen, aearon
AI: sounds like English aisle or "my": bair, edain
AU: sounds like English now: caun, raw
EI: sounds like English rain: meigol, eilph
OE: sounds like English boy, best explained as the individual vowels run together: foeg, oear
UI: sounds similar to English ruin said in one syllable: muil, suilad

B: sounds like English bard: br, leben, ab
C: sounds like English corn, never like cent: calar, ceven, tarlanc
CH: sounds like German Bach or Scottish Loch Ness, never like English church: cherdir, achas, rych, cenich
D: sounds like English down: dagor, adan, nad
DH: sounds like th in English this: dhl, edhil, ardh
F: sounds like English fist except at the end of a word or before a consonant, when it sounds like of: forn, anfang, falas and godref, talaf, tafnen
G: sounds like English good, never like gentle: garn, agor, nawag
H: sounds like English hat: herdir, Perhael, Panthael
L: sounds like English line: lagor, alae, gl
LH: sounds like a breathy version of line, has no precise equivalent sound in English but is like Welsh ll: lhn, lhain
M: sounds like English mat: magol, amon, lam
N: sounds like English not: naur, anor, mn
NG: sounds like English finger when found inside a word angol, angband but like sing at the end of a word; and can sound like either at the beginning, depending on the mutation: ang, ngl
P: sounds like English pat: peth, nimp
PH: normally sounds like English photo alph, arphen, but when found between vowels sounds doubled: aphadon, ephel
R: sounds like English run but always trilled, as in Spanish or Russian: rond, aran, Crdan, naur
RH: sounds like a breathy run: rhn, rhavan
S: sounds like English sip, never like is: sad, asgar, tharas
T: sounds like English tap: tw, ant
TH: sounds like English think, never like this: thoron, ithil, gwath
V: sounds like English van: vellon, avad
W: sounds like English wild, but when it is at the end of a word and after a vowel it sounds like u: 'wath, edwen, tawar
When a consonant is doubled it is to be pronounced longer: ammen, annon, edhellen, a aladh, Rohirrim, glassen, ephel
A word of only one syllable has the stress on that syllable.
A word of two syllables has the stress on the first syllable, as in Elrond or Gildor. (Tolkien mentions that this is not always the case, but does provide examples where it is not the case): achas, adan, aerlinn
A word of three syllables or more has the stress on the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable if that syllable is long:
* If it has an accented (elongated) vowel (as in anrad): anrad
* If that vowel is followed by two or more consonants before the next vowel (as in Isildur or govannen): estannen
* If it has a diphthong (such as ilaurui or nelchaenen): ethuia
If the penultimate syllable is not long, stress is on the third-to-last syllable (as in Legolas, Echoriath, Nogotheg):
lathrada; elenath; adanadar; Galadriel.
Important: Remember that the letters ch, dh, hw, lh, ph, rh, and th in Sindarin are considered single letters.
This can be complicated, but with practice and experience, hopefully the feel of the language will make it easier. Ultimately it is not vitally important to master, since Sindarin will probably remain a language for written communication between far-flung students via the internet, but it is easier to learn it at the start.
Tolkien did not specify how to break Sindarin words into syllables, but the important thing is to isolate which vowel is in the penultimate (second-to-last) syllable. This requires recognizing diphthongs, which will come more and more easily to you with familiarity.

Thangorodrim ~ because of the consonant cluster -dr-
Forlindon ~ because of the consonant cluster -nd-
Forodwaith ~ because of the consonant cluster -dw-
Pelargir ~ because of the consonant cluster -rg-
Anfauglith ~ because of the consonant cluster -gl- and the diphthong -au-
Lebennin ~ because of the consonant cluster -nn-
Brithombar ~ because of the consonant cluster -mb-
Nargothrond ~ because of the consonant cluster -thr-
Nenuial ~ because of the diphthong -ui-
One cannot write in Sindarin without using accents. There is a difference in meaning between nin "me" and nn "mine" as well as a difference in pronunciation. For those whose native tongue is not English, this may not be anything new, but for others this may be a whole new venture. To learn how to write in accents go . As the owner of a PC, I use the alt-codes. I found it extremely helpful to print out the ones most frequently occuring in Sindarin and pin them near my monitor for easy reference.
In some languages accents are used to denote stress. Sindarin is not one of those languages. Sindarin uses two accents, the acute (, , , , , and ), and the circumflex (, , , , and ). The a

-- Edited by ArwenLegolas at 18:15, 2007-05-15


Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date: Jul 16, 2010
Hail ArwenLegolas,

I would like to take up the call to learn this language as discussed in private. You should see the first homework assignment in your inbox from both myself and Bruixa.

I look forward to this course!

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date: Jul 16, 2010
Hi, I am interested in taking this course.

I will send the first assignment to your inbox.

la bruixa

La Bruixa
Tom Bombadil
Status: Offline
Posts: 1886
Date: Jul 16, 2010
Dear Bruixa I have corrected your homework

Shemesh, something happened to your homework when I tried to reply, so I answer you here.

I want you to work separately. Do not try to figure out these lessons together.

Instead of underlining, please redo the exercise by using the BOLD feature. You both may have overshot the intended letter(s).

Shemesh, you do not have to give the rule of each word. To much work. Besides it really does not matter this early in the game. Please redo this lesson using BOLD and I will get back with you.

-- Edited by ArwenLegolas on Friday 16th of July 2010 04:21:47 PM


Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 25
Date: Dec 9, 2011

I would very much like to learn Sindarin if you could teach/send homework and lessons to me. However i see no sound files. (maybe they decided to take a holiday??) :D

Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
Status: Offline
Posts: 763
Date: Dec 9, 2011
This is a great idea ArwenLegolas!

I am taking your course as of right now! Lead on...
Your doing a great service here for those who would rather have a teacher rather than guess at the complex language.

Tom Bombadil
Status: Offline
Posts: 1886
Date: Dec 10, 2011
Hi Amrun and Jadoprism7
The first lesson is in the Opening Post.
Go for it and let me know when you think you got the concept.
I will then PM you a quiz to see if you have grasped it.


Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Tom Bombadil
Status: Offline
Posts: 1886
Date: Jan 21, 2012
Sindarin Grammar Lesson #2

Articles & Conjunctions

Terms to know:
Indefinite articles: a and an, used to indicate a non-specific thing
Definite articles: the, used to indicate a specific thing
Preposition: a word that establishes the relationship of a noun to the rest of the sentence: "to, from, under, for, like, on, during, without", etc.
Prepositions with definite article: to the, under the, from the, etc.
Conjunction: a word that connects two things together: and, or
Sindarin does not use the indefinite articles a or an with nouns. Unless the definite article the is used, you know to translate it as indefinite:
Edhel ~ "Elf, an Elf"
Adan ~ "Man, a Man"
adar ~ "father, a father"
naneth ~ "mother, a mother"
There are two definite articles in Sindarin, depending on whether the noun is singular or plural. For a singular noun you use i:
Edhel ~ "an Elf" ... i Edhel ~ "the Elf"
Adan ~ "a Man" ... i Adan ~ "the Man"
adar ~ "a father" ... i adar ~ "the father"
naneth ~ "a mother" ... i naneth ~ "the mother"
For a plural noun you use in:
Edhil ~ "Elves" ... in Edhil ~ "the Elves"
Edain ~ "Men" ... in Edain ~ "the Men"
edair ~ "fathers" ... in edair ~ "the fathers"
nenith ~ "mothers" ... in nenith ~ "the mothers"
(the change of vowels in plural nouns is addressed in Lesson #3)
In English we use prepositions (to, from, in, above, under, etc.) separately from the definite article the. In Sindarin these prepositions can appear alone (in which case you know to use the indefinite article a, an) or attached to the definite article in the. In their attached form they are applied to both singular and plural nouns.
na "to, towards" becomes nan "to the" (na "to" + in "the")
pedin na Edhel ~ "I speak to an Elf"
pedin nan Edhel ~ "I speak to the Elf"
bedin na aear ~ "I go to a sea"
bedin nan aear ~ "I go to the Sea"
o "from, of" becomes uin "from the, of the" (o "from/of" + in "the")
telin o aear ~ "I come from a sea"
telin uin aear ~ "I come from the sea"
Only a few prepositions with the article attached are attested in the Corpus, but it is possible that all of them can be similarly formed.
The conjunction "and" is a. When the following word begins with a vowel, it takes the form ah:
Pedo mellon a minno ~ "Speak friend and enter"
Finrod ah Andreth ~ "Finrod and Andreth"
Confusingly, this appears instead as ar in The King's Letter, in the title Narn e-Dant Gondolin ar Orthad en-l ("Tale of the Fall of Gondolin and the Rising of the Star"), and in Tolkien's translation of The Lord's Prayer. It might be that the Men of Gondor use ar; it could be that Tolkien changed his mind at some point, or was undecided between the two. However, since a is used in LOTR it is best to keep with that.
The conjunction "or" is far simpler: egor. It does not change its form:
erin dolothen Ethuil, egor ben genediad Drannail erin Gwirith edwen ~ "on the eighth of Spring, or according to the Shire-reckoning on April second"
Those are the only two conjunctions we have attested in Sindarin. David Salo uses dan "against, back" for the conjunction "but; on the other hand", because it matches the Quenya word. While this is not considered attested, it is a good choice to use when communicating with Sindarin. an "to, for" is usually used for the conjunction "because", but this is also not attested.
New vocabulary:
Edhel ~ Elf ... Edhil ~ Elves
Adan ~ Man ... Edain ~ Men
adar ~ "father" ... edair ~ "fathers"
naneth ~ "mother" ... nenith ~ "mothers"
i ~ the (singular) ... in ~ the (plural)
na ~ to, towards ... nan ~ to the
o ~ of, from ... uin ~ of the, from the aear ~ sea
mellon ~ friend
pedin ~ I speak
telin ~ I come
bedin ~ "I go"
a / ah ~ "and"
egor ~ "or"
1. There is no indefinite article "a, an" in Sindarin. The definite article "the" is i for singular nouns and in for plural nouns.
2. When a preposition is followed by the definite article "the", it is always in the form in, for both singular and plural, and is attached to the preposition (na+in=nan).
3. The conjunction "and" is written as a before a word that begins with a consonant, and as ah before a word that begins with a vowel.

Translate the following into Sindarin:
1. I speak to a Man
2. I speak to mother
3. An Elf and a Man
4. Men or Elves
5. Men from the Sea
6. I come from Imladris
7. A mother and a father
8. The father or the mother
9. I speak to the Elves
10. I go to the fathers
Translate the following into English:
11. In Edhil ah Adan
12. Pedin nan Edain
13. Telin o Lothlrien
14. I Edhel uin Aear
15. Mellon ah Edhel
16. Naneth egor adar
17. I Adan a mellon
18. Bedin nan nenith
19. Mellon uin Aear
20. Bedin na Imladris


Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

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