The World of Invented Languages
The Languages of Tolkien
Among the most impressive accomplishments of JRR Tolkien are the languages he created for the various creatures of his novels and, in his notebooks, for his own intellectual
The best developed are the Quenya and Sindarin languages, for which actual grammars exist (see Linguistic Resources below). The elvish languages,
Telerin, Doriathrin/Ilkorin, and Nandorin are less well developed but there are many words in Tolkien's writings that give us an idea of what they are like. The Mannish
languages, such as Adûnaic (or Númenorean), Taliska, and Drúedainic and Khuzdul, the secret language of the Dwarves are probably not represented well enough in Tolkien's
writings for us to derive a clear ideas of them.
However complete these languages, though, it is clear that Tolkien understood that the core of any his creature's personalities is the language they speak. He certainly knew
that differences in language reflect real differences in the way intelligent beings view the world.
How many languages did Tolkien invent? According to Helge Kåre Fauskanger, author of the richest Tolkien language website, "If we consider the 'historical' versions of the tongues that are relevant for the classical form of the
Arda mythos, Tolkien developed 2 languages that are vaguely 'useable' (in the sense that you can compose long texts by deliberately avoiding the gaps in our knowledge),
named roughly 8-10 other languages that have a minimum of actual substance but are in no way useable, provided mere fragments of at least 4 other languages, and alluded to
numerous other languages that are either entirely fictitious or have a known vocabulary of only one or a very few actual words."
The Web contains a rich assortment of resources on Tolkien's languages. This page is the result of our research, reading, and judgements as to which are the very best. To
learn more about these fascinating, realistic fictional languages, click through the links below.