Fun with Tengwar
Sun Apr 20th 2003, 10:44am
Here's my name, Steven Kehlet, using the English mode of Tolkien's Tengwar alphabet. In the Silmarillion (and probably numerous other places), Tolkien describes how Feanor created this alphabet intended to be written with a pen or a brush, thus its flowing, rounded appearance (contrast this with the Dwarven runic alphabet, with its sharp edges, intended to be chiseled into stone). It is a phonetic alphabet suitable for use with any language; one merely has to define a "mode" for use with a particular language that defines what letters represent what sounds. While several of the known modes (Quenya, Sindarin, and English) have similar sounds for similar letters, other modes such as the Black Speech of Mordor (inscribed on the One Ring) are very different. Reading and writing using this alphabet thus becomes an effort of sounding out the words. One might correctly conclude then that local accents could very much change the way otherwise identical text is written. In the most common modes the letters represent consonants, and vowel sounds are represented by the accents, or "tehtar", placed above, below, or inside the consonants. And depending on the mode, the tehtar either indicate that the vowel sound should be read before or after the indicated consonant (the English mode states before, so you read in a "downward" fashion, letter to letter) :-). Later modes, such as the Mode of Beleriand (the famous example being the riddle inscription surrounding the gates of Moria), eliminated the tehtar and simply used more letters to represent vowel sounds.

Naturally, there is a veritable wealth of information out there on the Tengwar, some sites are more fanatical than others. One very beautiful site is Amanye Tenceli, which has an excellent section: "The Tengwar of Feanor". An excellent site describing the Tengwar, with tables on its various modes, is at Dan Smith's Tengwar Page. You can get several variants of Tengwar TrueType fonts at Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts. The particular font I used above is called "Tengwar Parmaite" by its author, which I like the best, and is available at: Tengwar Parmaite. You need to read the accompanying documentation to see what keystrokes to hit to generate what letters; for example, Steven Kehlet is typed as: 81rR$5R zjR1R.

Armed with the Tengwar Charts for English, it then becomes possible to read the inscriptions at the beginning of every Tolkien book. Here is my interpretation of the text at the bottom of the title pages of FOTR, TTT, and ROTK: The 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. Here also is my interpretation of the text found in the Silmarillion: The tale of the first age when Morgoth dwelt in Middle Earth and the elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils. To which are appended the downfall of Numenor and the history of the Ring of Power and the Third Age on which these tales come to their ends.



Visitor comments
On Thu Apr 24th 2003, 4:59pm, fzachman posted:
I dunno when you had enough time to find all that out, but that's pretty cool. I knew Tolkein originally created his worlds as an aside to creating a new language, as he was a big fan of languages. But I never knew the details of the language(s) he created. Pretty interesting stuff.


On Thu Apr 24th 2003, 5:02pm, will posted:
I know that I've been looking at this stuff, and some other stuff to help me out on the character I'm creating for Forest DnD campaign. I'm thinking about actually learning some of Tolkein's Elvish so that I can use some in game. I know that its not the same as Forgotton Realms Elvish, but there really isn't a real full forgotton realms elvish to play with.


On Thu Apr 24th 2003, 9:42pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
It's been a bit of a hobby for a number of years. The beautiful script has intrigued me ever since I first read Lotr. But this sort of thing actually goes back even further--I was the guy that knew the simple, letter for letter runic alphabet in Ultima by heart (which I didn't know at the time was actually ripped directly from the Hobbit), and figured out how to replace the standard ascii font in my dot matrix printer to print out any text document using Ultima runes! :-)

As far as Tolkien's universe, there's something compelling about it: full of deeds both wondrous and terrible, always with an undertone of loss and longing for what could have been. And no matter how much you dig into Middle Earth's history, there's always one more tale just beyond what you were looking for, providing a sense of infinite depth.


On Thu Apr 24th 2003, 9:53pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
The best way to learn about Tolkien's elves is to read the Silmarillion, if you haven't already. It is not another Lotr--it is really two books in one: one about the elves, and in particular one of the exiled lines of the high elves (those who dwelt in Valinor with the Valar, the caretakers/demigods of Middle Earth); and the other book about the fall of the Numenor, and its race of supermen (from which Aragorn descended). It's kind of an anthology of short stories, which all tie together to some degree. The elves' struggle against Morgoth, the rogue Vala, to reclaim the Silmarils is possibly even more powerful than the Lotr's story of the destruction of the One Ring.


On Fri Apr 25th 2003, 9:06am, fzachman posted:
Actually Will, there is an elvish alphabet for Forgotten Realms. I can give you a copy if you want. And Steve, I also knew the Tolkein runic alphabet. Me and my friends used to write notes to each other using it. I've all but forgotten it now though. Hehe. We're such geeks!


On Fri Apr 25th 2003, 10:52am, will posted:
Alphabet is not the problem, Language is :( there is no real true Elvish for forgotton realms, the words are all made up on the spot by the authors, with the only real requirement being that it sound somewhat elvish. If I'm going to actually use something, i'd like for it to have some rules, and grammar behind it.


On Fri Apr 25th 2003, 6:50pm, mkindig posted:
I, too, knew the Runic alphabet. I used to play D&D with friends, in high school. One friend, named Grant, and I used to supplement the games with scrolls with Runic writing on it -- replete with wax seals and logos. And, much like Forest, I have seem to forgotten most of it. I'm sure it would come back to me if I used it. Seems like there are a lot of "closet" D&D players here. Would be fun to have a weekend game. (Better hurry BEFORE Steve's genetic progeny arrives!) Thanks for the memories... Michael


On Fri Apr 25th 2003, 7:55pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Forest and Michael, you're right! We are total geeks. I too used to write notes in class using the "secret code", thinking we were so clever. How's this for geeky?? :-)

      !

I made those tiny gif images a few years ago. I just took a look around now and there are a ton of places with ultima rune truetype fonts out there. Cool, added them to my collection. *Cackle* Check this out for some humor value...



On Fri Apr 25th 2003, 8:51pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Hey Will, check out this cheesy name generator I picked up a little while back. I found it at the Isengard Mud site, an offspring of Mordor, a Mud I played quite a bit in college. I'm actually pretty surprised Isengard is still around, given it's, well, text-based and graphical mmorpgs are so popular these days. Anyways, look at the javascript source, it's quite primitive but actually quite effective in generating a decent name after a few attempts. My point is elvish names are just mashings of words (Elbereth: El-bereth, "star-queen") so maybe this technique might be of some inspiration.

If names aren't what you were thinking of, there's a wealth of information out there on Quenya and Sindarin, the two elvish languages. One site I stumbled across recently that you might be interested in is Tolkien's Languages in the Fotr Movie. They've analyzed the dialog used in the movie and have interpretations and translations. Really neat stuff.


On Thu Jun 19th 2003, 7:10am, Timotu posted:
Just to add my two cents worth to the mention of the inscription on the title page of the Lord of the Rings books, the first half of the inscription is written at the top of the title page using Cirth runes. The part written in Tengwar is only the end of the inscription.


On Thu Jun 19th 2003, 9:52am, Steve Kehlet posted:
Hmm, interesting. I think I managed to translate it a long time ago. Surprisingly, given my liking of the simpler Hobbit/Ultima alphabet, the cirth runes never fascinated me quite as much as the Tengwar. Do you happen to have a translation?


On Fri Jan 27th 2006, 8:45pm, Towyn posted:
The "Ultima" and "Hobbit" runes described above are actually mostly real Norse runes. One of J.R.R. Tolkien's great strengths was that he had a vast understanding of the lore and history of humanity, which he used very effectively to add depth to his great works.


On Sun Apr 23rd 2006, 5:55pm, charlie aponte F.L. posted:
Hello
I want the name of my two children writen in tenwar for a tatoo how can i find it. VLADIMIR and ASHLEY MARIE.


On Mon Apr 24th 2006, 10:25am, Steve Kehlet posted:
There's a great online Tengwar generator at http://www.tengwar.art.pl/tengwar/ott/start.php?l=en . Enter your phrase phonetically, then choose output format PNG. That'll give you a .png image which you can print out, put on a web page, or.. whatever.


On Fri Jun 2nd 2006, 11:32am, Visitor posted:
you suck


On Fri Jun 2nd 2006, 11:33am, Visitor posted:
you suck


On Fri Jun 2nd 2006, 11:33am, Visitor posted:


On Fri Jun 2nd 2006, 11:33am, Visitor posted:


On Fri Jun 2nd 2006, 12:00pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Cute. Thank you for stopping by.


On Sat Nov 11th 2006, 5:49pm, Visitor posted:
would it be possible for you to write something out for me in tengwar? my email is downhilleuphoria@yahoo.com


On Sat Nov 11th 2006, 5:49pm, Visitor posted:
would it be possible for you to write something out for me in tengwar? my email is downhilleuphoria@yahoo.com


On Sat Nov 11th 2006, 5:49pm, Visitor posted:
would it be possible for you to write something out for me in tengwar? my email is downhilleuphoria@yahoo.com


On Mon Nov 13th 2006, 12:39pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Visitor: it's easy to do it yourself. Go to http://www.tengwar.art.pl/tengwar/ott/start.php?l=en , type something in the top box, click the PNG button, then Transcribe.


On Fri Feb 9th 2007, 12:42pm, niels bernving posted:


On Fri Sep 7th 2007, 1:49am, Visitor posted:
Hi I'm not allowed to give my name out to any one on the internet but I was wondering how can I get each elvish letter from Tolkien translated to English?

Yours Sincerely,
Unknown.


On Thu Sep 27th 2007, 11:10am, Steve Kehlet posted:
Visitor: the tengwar letters are simply a phonetic representation of spoken language. It's not a one-for-one letter swap. As you write, you decide which letters most closely represent the sounds you're making. then you write them down. There are defined rules for several languages, including Quenya, Sindarin, English, and the Black Speech of Mordor specifying what tengwar represent what sounds. So if you're trying to read some tengwar you've found, just find a tengwar alphabet guide (like this one, for English: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tengwar_eng.htm), figure out what sounds each tengwar represent, then start speaking them aloud. That's how I figured out what the stuff on the title page of all the LoTR books said.


On Fri Feb 22nd 2008, 11:49am, Visitor posted:
Hi im looking at gettin a tattoo of my fiance's name ive looked at many sites on how to do Tengwar yourself but i cant seem to get the hang of it and was just wondering if you was able to write his name for me? its Kirk my email is cookie_hampster@hotmail.com
manys thanks


On Mon Feb 25th 2008, 11:02am, Steve Kehlet posted:
A tengwar tattoo of "Kirk"? I'd really hate to give you the wrong transcription for something so permanent :-). If you're serious I'd suggest just going to http://www.tengwar.art.pl/tengwar/ott/start.php?l=en, typing in Kirk in the top box, selecting output format PNG, then hitting Transcribe. What it comes up with makes sense to me: "K-ir-K". Or you might just get the "K"-sounding tengwa, which looks like a "q" with a bar on top. You might get fewer Tolkien scholars stopping you in the street with criticisms or corrections.


On Tue Feb 26th 2008, 1:18pm, Visitor posted:
ok thank you very much i put in his name and sure name and even if its wrong i no wot its says and i liek the look of it but thank you very much
Edele


On Sat Apr 5th 2008, 2:39am, fééanoor posted:
st michal- hmmmm talk-ien


On Fri Apr 11th 2008, 6:44pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Yes right, of course.


On Sun May 18th 2008, 6:51pm, Courtney posted:
all i want is my name courtney sent to my e-mail adress so i can get it tatted on me!
if you could do this it would be greatly appericated!!!
courtneymontiel@yahoo.com
one again thank you and i appericate it very very much!!!


On Sun May 18th 2008, 6:51pm, Courtney posted:
all i want is my name courtney sent to my e-mail adress so i can get it tatted on me!
if you could do this it would be greatly appericated!!!
courtneymontiel@yahoo.com
one again thank you and i appericate it very very much!!!


On Sun Jul 27th 2008, 3:43pm, Visitor posted:
hi could somebody show me what my name would look like in Tengwar? My name is daniel


On Wed Aug 20th 2008, 7:16pm, Visitor posted:
Hi there,

I was wandering if you could tell me what my name would look like in tengwar? Its Michael.

Many thanks


On Fri Oct 3rd 2008, 5:42pm, Visitor posted:
hi i was wondering if you could tell me what my name would look like in tengwar ? my name is Daniel . i have used the transcriber in the link that you said , but how do i know if its real ?

many thanks Dan


On Fri Jul 24th 2009, 11:10pm, Visitor posted:
baranduin in tengwar??



On Fri Jul 24th 2009, 11:10pm, Visitor posted:
baranduin in tengwar??



On Sun Sep 6th 2009, 12:32pm, Visitor posted:
Niklas Natalie


On Sun Oct 25th 2009, 6:46pm, Visitor posted:
I used the transcriber you suggest, but I was looking for tengwar in italics. It's much more sweeping and Elf-like! Any links for that?


On Mon Feb 7th 2011, 6:18pm, Alexis posted:
Try this site guys. It proved to be quite helpfull for me..
http://derhobbit-film.de/rune_generator.shtml