Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Quenya Prononciation Guide

Introduction

This is a guide to the pronunciation of the Elven Language - Quenya. I wrote this with as many examples as I could, so I ensured that I had one english and one quenya example for each 'element' of the phonetics. I will also try to explain any complicated terminology used within this text.

I wrote for myself, to help me to remember the phonology of the language, and, as a guide for the internet. Please, if there are any problems in the text (and there are likely to be a few :), email me at : darkman@callnetuk.com And I will have a look. My main source for this work was Lord of the Rings : Appendix E.

To listen to the sound files, simply click on the coloured speakers and the sound should play. If you are prompted, select "Open from Current Location", and it should play. The sounds are in WAV file format which should be sufficient for most operating systems. Finally, the green speakers link to 11kbs sound files (low quality, but quicker to download), and the yellow speakers link to 22kbs (slightly better, but slower). Also, crossed out speakers means I have not recorded the sound yet. (ps. I'm not very good at trilling my r's...)

Vowels

There are 5 vowels in quenya : a, e, i, o, u (Sindarin uses y, but Quenya DOESN'T!).
The vowels are spoken in a similar fashion to Spanish. Each vowel can be either short, or long. Long vowels, are exactly the same as the short vowels, but twice as long (about).

Short vowels are written normally : a, e, i, o, u
But, long vowels are marked with an accent : , , , ,

Here each an example of each vowel :

a : father, bath, Alda [AL-DA] : "Tree".
e : werewolf, bet, enga [EN-GA] : "Save".
i : machine, eat, inga [IN-GA] : "Top, Highest-point".
o : for, hot, otso [OT-SO] : "Seven, 7".
u : brute, hoot, umbar [UM-BA-R(trilled)] : "Fate".


: tri [TA-RI] / [TAR-RI] : "Queen".
: may, nca [NAY-KA] : "Pale, Vague, Faint".
: clean, sheen, ns [NEE-SSS] : "Woman".
: nr [N-OO-R] : "Land".
: cool, fool, va [OO-VA] : "Will Not".

A final e is never made silent in Elvish, and so is often (but not always), changed to a to represent this.

Consonants

The majority of consonants are equal to their English counterpart. Although, there are many exceptions:

C Always pronounced as k.
celeb [KEL-EB] : "Silver"
carca [KAR-KA] : "Fang"
CH* Represents hard sound like German bach or buch.
Except : At the end of words, where it weakens to h
DH* Soft 'th' (these) Doesn't occour in Quenya.
F Like normal english f
Never occours at the end of a word
Formen [FOR-MEN] : "North"
Fin [FIN-E] : "A Hair"
H With no adjacent consonant - as in house.
Harma [HAR-MA] : "Treasure"
HT This pair varies as in 'cht' in german.
After front vowels (i & e) : [ct]
After others : [xt]
Telumehtar [TEL-OO-MECH-TAR] : "Orion, Warrior of the Sky"
L Most often sounds like english 'l' at the beginning of a word like in 'let'
A voiceless 'l' is usually lh, or hl in Arhaic Quenya.
Elda [EL-DAH] : "High-Elf"
NG 'ng', as in finger.
Tengwa [TENG-WA] : "Letter (as in a, b)"
Ungw [UN-G-WEA] : "Spiders Web"
PH* Like in English - 'f'
Doesn't Really Occour in Quenya
QU Represents 'cw'
Unqu [UNK-WAY] : "A Hollow"
Roquen [ROCK-WEN] : "Horseman"
R Always Trilled
HR A voiceless R
Hrta ['H'ROO-TA] : "Underground Dwelling"
S Always Voiceless, as in so and geese.
Sorno [SOR-NO] : "Eagle"
Estel [ESS-TEL] : "Hope, Trust"
TH 'th' as in english thin (tyoon), think
Rithil [RI-THIL] : "Ring"
TY Like 'tu' in 'tune'.
Tye [TY-EH] : "Thee"
V Like english, never ends a word
HW A voiceless W sound [W]
Hwesta [HWES-TA] : "Breeze"
Y Consanant in Quenya, never a vowel.
HY As in english Hew.
Hyarmen [HYAR-MEN] (like 'sharman') : "South"
* : These only occour in Sindarin, but are included for completeness.

There are occasions when consonants are written twice, usually : ll, nn, ss, tt
These are long, double consonants that last about twice as long as the usual consonant.

Dipthongs

Quenya has 6 dipthongs (pairs of vowels, pronounced as 1 syllable) : ui, oi, ai, iu, eu, au
The 2 Vowels merge, and become one spoken syllable, usually, hard->soft.

ui : luin [LEU~IN(fast)] ? : "Blue".
oi : toi [TOY] : "They".
ai : Aye-Aye!, maica [MAI-KA] : "Sharp, Piercing".
iu : tiuca [T-EW-KA] : "Thick, Fat".
eu : leuca [LEW-KA] : "Snake".
au : nauco [NOW-KO] : "Dwarf".

Stress

The position of the stress (accent) is not marked since it can usually be determined from the word spoken. The stress often falls on the last but one syllable. In 2 syllable words, it usually falls on the first syllable. In 3 syllable words, it often falls on the middle syllable.

However, if the last but one syllable is a short vowel followed by only one, or no, consonant, the stress then falls on the syllable before it (3rd from the end of the word). This occours fairly often in Quenya, more than in the other Eldarin languages, and should be remembered by Quenya speakers.

Here are some examples given in the Appendix of Lord of the Rings, the stress is marked in bold:


Isildur : [ISS-IL-DUER] : "Moon-Servant" (name)
fanor : [F-EH-AH-NOR] : "?Spirit?"

Final Notes

Thank you Helge Frauskanger for your aid with parts of my first Quenya Essay.