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The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth: A Complete Guide to All Fourteen of the Languages Tolkien Invented Paperback – May 28, 1980


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Frequently Bought Together

The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth: A Complete Guide to All Fourteen of the Languages Tolkien Invented + A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings + Sindarin-English & English-Sindarin Dictionary
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st edition (May 28, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395291305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395291306
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

This book was fun to read as well as informative.
mrjpd21
Considering the small size and limited scope of this book, so many errors make the main portions of this book worse than useless.
Vaevictis Asmadi
It is said in the book that JRRT developed fifteen languages for the books, of which the best known are the two Elven dialects.
Timothy S. Hill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 111 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is very outdated and not entirely accurate. It really contains only a fraction of the available Tolkien language material, and there are some languages that nobody even knew existed when this work was published.The chapters about Dwarven names and those of the Hobbits and Rohhirim are good, though. As for the rest of the book, if you want up to date, accurate info, I advise you to go to Helge Fauskanger's excellent web-page, Ardalmbion [online] the biggest and best resource on the net or in print.
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98 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Vaevictis Asmadi on June 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a terrible, massively inaccurate book. It is filled with misinformation and egregious errors. These are not simple typos, they are serious problems that will greatly misinform the reader at every turn. There are not just a few errors, there are more than one hundred! The more I look, the more errors I find -- multiple errors per page! I wish I could change my vote to ONE STAR.

If you buy this book for yourself or another person, you will only spread misinformation.

This book does not include anything from The History of Middle-Earth, but that is not a severe problem, since including all of that would require several volumes.
The chapters on Hobbit, Dwarven, and Rohirric names seem fine.

But the sections about Elvish languages and the dictionary contain an unacceptable number of serious errors, misspelled words, and wrong information. How can you learn to speak Elvish from a book where the words are spelled wrong? Here is a list of [some of] the errors that I found.

1. Consonant mutation, an essential part of Sindarin grammar, is totally ignored. You just can NOT learn or use Sindarin without the consonant mutation.

In the Glossary and Dictionary:

2. Several words and names are assigned to the wrong language (including aiya, Altariello, Andúnië, Aros, Baran, Bereg, Carn Dûm, Golfimbul, kal, khelek, le, Morgoth, oialë, omentielvo, Shagrat, Sindarin, tark*, tarkil, Turgon). Many of these were correctly identified in the Quotations Translated chapter, while others are identified in the Silmarillion or Lord of the Rings, so this is clearly a case of sloppy editing.

*an Orkish word, listed under Quenya!

3. In the Dictionary, Noel lists "Hobbit" as a language separate from Common Westron.
Read more ›
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By The Bookwyrm on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Do not buy this book. While the effort was commendable, it has serious mistakes and omissions and cannot be relied upon. Far better to visit websites such as Ardalambion, where information is updated as new bits and pieces of Tolkien's languages are unearthed.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T on March 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a good attempt to catalogue the languages of Middle Earth, most notably the Elven tongues Quenya and Sindarin. However, since it's publication a lot of material has been released by Christopher Tolkien, including additional information on Tolkien's languages. As a result, the vocabulary in this book is very limited compared to what Tolkien linguists have discoverd and reconstructed. The grammer is even worse - much of it is oversimplified even for what was available at the time, and now there are even more glaring errors. For example, Sindarin consonant mutations, a very important part of Sindarin grammer, are given no treatment whatsoever.
Do yourself a favor and stay away from this book. At best you'll be getting an incomplete picture; at worst, an incorrect one. If you want to learn Elvish in either form, I recommend Helge K. Fauskanger's "Ardalambion" site. It has some decent dictionaries (though there are better ones elsewhere on the net) and very exhaustive treatments of the grammer and syntax of Quenya and Sindarin. Best of all, it's free, and always up to date with what the latest research into Tolkien's languages has revealed.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's a pretty good dictionary if you want to find out what somthing is in the lord of the rings books or somthing similar, but if you want to find out about the language and how to write it or speak it, you might as well pick up the Return of The King Appendix E and look at that. If you want to know good info about the language, search the internet. A good middle earth dictionary is the Complete Guide to middle Earth by Robert Foster. All in All, this is not a very good book.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Appleseed VINE VOICE on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Yes this book is outdated due to the publication of Christopher Tolkien's mammoth History of Middle Earth. But when I purchased the book back in 1980, this was pretty much it, and it was fascinating. It spoke of Tolkien the linguist, introduced me to things I didn't know, and remember fondly sharing it with my parents, bubbling with excitement that I could share with them such a remarkable work. SO MANY LANGUAGES! They were mystified and amazed that this little work of fantasy I read actually had depth. For me, that was quite satisfying.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
Again, this book is very inacurate. For a primer, it is much too disordered, and much too small for a definative book. Jim Allen's Introduction to Elvish is a good place to start, if you can find it. Try Nancy Martsch's Basic Quenya. As for Noels book, the chapters on runes and vocab. are decent, but no more than you get in LoTR and the Simarillion.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emily Richter, member Gwaith-i-Phethdain on February 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book contained some inaccuracies when it was published 23 years ago, and they have been fruitful and multiplied. In the years following its publication, almost all of the current information regarding Elvish has been released after that date (always excepting LOTR and The Hobbit). The Silmarillion, the History of Middle Earth (All 12 Volumes), and most of Tolkien's letters were published in the years following the publication of LoTME. Thus whatever value this book possessed with regards to Elvish at publication is virtually voided now. There is a small degree of merit in the categories of Dwarvish and Hobbit-tongue, but it is almost solely in the area of names and not linguistics.
There are no comprehensive books on the Eldalambe (Tongues of the Elves) in publication...
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