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Silvan Elvish

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Silvan Elvish was a name for the tongue spoken by the Silvan Elves.


[edit] History

Silvan Elvish descended from Nandorin, the language of the Nandor.

In later centuries, their language became known as Silvan Elvish, heard both in Lothlórien and the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood.

After the First Age, the surviving Elves of Beleriand carried their speech back into the east. Sindarin-speakers settled in both the main Silvan realms, and in Lórien, at least, Sindarin quickly overtook Silvan Elvish in common use. The history of the tongue in Mirkwood is more difficult to determine - some sources suggest that it, too, was quickly overtaken by Sindarin, but other sources dispute this.

By the end of the Third Age, the only remnants of Silvan were a few names, like Caras Galadhon,[1] Amroth[2] or Legolas[3][4] which sound like Sindarin, but actually betray the influences of Silvan words.

[edit] Other names

Legolas calls the dialect the "woodland tongue".[5]

In one note Tolkien calls the language just Silvan.[6]

It is also called East-Danian, distinguishing it from West-Danian of the Laiquendi in Ossiriand.[7]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In The Lhammas (ca. 1937-38), Tolkien used the name Leikvian for East Danian.[8]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 84, 153
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Lothlórien"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (I) The First Phase: 5. Of Eldanor and the Princes of the Eldalië", p. 182 (commentary to §42)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Tengwesta Qenderinwa and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets Part 2", in Parma Eldalamberon XVIII (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne) (manuscript TQ 2, ca. 1951-52)
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, V. The Lhammas"
Languages in Tolkien's works
Elvish languages Avarin · Common Eldarin · Nandorin · Primitive Quendian · Quenya (Exilic · Valinorean · Vanyarin) · Silvan · Sindarin (Doriathrin · Falathrin · Númenórean · Mithrim · Old) · Telerin
Mannish languages Adûnaic · Dalish · Drúedainic · Dunlendish · Pre-Númenórean · Rohirric · Taliska · Westron (Hobbitish)
Dwarvish languages Iglishmêk · Khuzdul
Other languages Black Speech · Entish · Orkish · Valarin · Warg-language
Earlier legendarium Gnomish · Ilkorin · Noldorin (Kornoldorin) · Qenya
Outside the legendarium Animalic · Arktik · Mágol · Naffarin · Nevbosh
Scripts Angerthas/Cirth (Daeron · Erebor · Moria) · Gnomic Letters · Goblin Alphabet · Gondolinic Runes · Moon-letters · Tengwar · Sarati · Valmaric script
"A Secret Vice" (book) · "The Lhammas" · "The Tree of Tongues" · Sub-creation