YOU NIQQAS WANNA LEARN ELVISH?! HERE YA GO!
this makes me think about the post about the two girls who didn’t want to get caught sendes notes in class so they learned elvish
… *adds to list of alternative alphabets*
I write all my notes for college classes in this alphabet.
well that’s one way to keep people from copying
My philosophy professor walked past me the first day of class and was just like, “I can read what you’re writing, I hope you know that.”
I got to take tests in the elvish alphbet.
I’m not actually trying to be obnoxious, but comments, I has them, for people wanting to learn to write this stuff (it’s actually not too hard with a bit of practice).
1) The alphabet itself is called tengwar. Elvish would be the language, well actually, the family of languages most often written in tengwar (seeing as Tolkien had more than one Elvish language). Kind of like how English is written in the Roman alphabet.
2) Arguably, the more correct way to write English in tengwar would be to put the vowel on the following letter, given this is what both J.R.R. Tolkien, and his son Christopher Tolkien use when writing English, and they are basically tengwar canon, I’d think. (Quenya, on the other hand, was written the way taught here, with the vowel over the preceding consonant.)
There’s actually a reason for this. A vowel has to go over a letter, and the choose of whether to put vowels over preceding or following letters depends on whether syllables are more likely to start or end with a consonant. Of course English has lots of syllables that start and end with a consonant, but on the whole, syllables are more likely no not start with a consonant than they are to not end with a consonant.
3) Tengwar is meant to be written phonetically, i.e. based on how a word sounds, rather than by the rules of English spelling. This means there are actually different letters for TH as in ‘the’ and TH as in ‘thief’, which aren’t given in this chart, unfortunately. There’s also a separate letter for that sound made by the Z in ‘azure’, also the S in ‘pleasure’, which English spelling tends not to differentiate as a separate sound, even though it is. Also X is actually the sounds /ks/, and QU is the sounds /kw/, which means in a purely phonetic script they wouldn’t get their own letters. However, there’s more tengwar letters than English letters, so they get a couple of the extras.
Tolkien was a linguist, so he knew something about phonetics. What’s cool is, if you look at the original tengwar chart (like appears in the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings), the letters are organised phonetically, and sounds share phonetic similarities also share similarities in letter forms. For example, voiceless sounds all have stems pointing downwards, and voiced sounds have stems pointing upwards. Plosives (stops) and affricates have one loop, and fricatives have two. Nasals don’t have stems at all, and have two loops. Basically, tengwar becomes alot easier to memorise if you can learn a little bit about how sounds are classified.
4) The W in that chart is wrong. It shouldn’t have a stem. Because right now it looks like W and K are the same letter; there’s plenty of letters for W to have one of its own. Actually, W and Y have two letters each, one for when they have their own consonant sounds (not shown in the chart), as in words like ‘yet’ and ‘wood’. And the ones shown in the chart are used for glides, when W and Y kind of end up half-consonant-like, as in the Y in ‘day’, and the W in ‘bowl’.
5) Remember how I said tengwar was meant to be written phonetically? This means that each dialect could actually have its own mode.
6) I have a feeling these numbered points are just sounding obnoxious now. ;.; But seriously, I just really love tengwar, and don’t often get a chance to geek out about it. Tengwar is kind of how I ended up as a PhD in linguistics, because I went from googling ‘tengwar’ to googling ‘Elvish’ to googling ‘constructed language’ to googling ‘linguistics’ over a period of a few years, and realised that linguistics was actually really awesome, and I should go do that. But I may never have done that if I hadn’t decided one day that I wanted to figure out how to write in the funny Elvish script on the title page of my copy of The Lord of the Rings. I’m kind of out of practice now, but I kept personal notes in the script for a couple years (and also signed all my pottery with my name in tengwar when I took a pottery class in college because, well, the prof told us to pick something unique and distinctive, so…).
7) I know I just said these were probably obnoxious by now, but one more thing. If you’re interested in calligraphy, try writing tengwar in it. Tolkien actually designed the script to be easy to write calligraphy in, and it’s true. Easier to write than English, even with relatively little practice (because I’m so bad at practicing my calligraphy, I’ve probably forgotten everything by now, but tengwar is pretty doable just knowing basics (without having to relearn how to write most letters like you have to do for Roman script).
Okay, okay, I’m done.
(Maybe I should just make a new post explaining my own tengwar mode, which is possibly quite a bit different from this one. Also because I kind of just like tengwar that much.)