Modes of the Tengwar

For a Tengar Transcriber


Mode for general use

As in the third version of The King’s Letter

Rendering… (Requires JavaScript and Web Fonts)
Elessar Telcontar: Aragorn Arathornion Edhelharn, aran Gondor ar Hîr i Mbair Annui, anglennatha i Varanduiniant erin dolothen Ethuil, egor ben genediad Drannail erin Gwirith edwen.
Aragorn Strider The Elfstone, King of Gondor and Lord of the Westlands, will approach the Bridge of Baranduin on the eighth day of Spring, or in the Shire-reckoning the second day of April.

The mode for general use employs diacritics to represent vowels, usually above the tengwa the vowel precedes. The mode is suitable for representing most languages. The King’s Letter is the longest example of Sindarin Tengwar.


General Use Mode

As in The One Ring Inscription

Rendering… (Requires JavaScript and Web Fonts)
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them

The mode for general use employs diacritics to represent vowels, usually above the tengwa the vowel precedes. The inscription on the One Ring is a variant of mode for general use that reverses the direction of curls for O and U, and uses extended tengwa for the SH and GH sounds. The italic of the Tengwar Annatar font by Johan Winge captures the flowing hand presumed of Sauron.


English

Rendering… (Requires JavaScript and Web Fonts)
The Lord of the Rings

This is a slight adaptation of the mode for general use. The mode introduces an underposed dot that stands for a silent, orthographic “e” at the end of a word. Medial “e” can be transformed to a silent in in this mode with a following tick, “'”. Also, the common patterns, “of”, “the”, “of the”, and “and” have single-tengwa shorthands, some with variations that can be introduced with a following tick, or a tick between “of'the” to separate these words.

The mode is haltingly suitable for both orthographic and phonetic transliteration for the clever writer if they are willing to tease the machine.


Classical Mode

As in The Namárië Poem

Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!

Classical Mode uses diacritics for vowels, usually above the tengwa they follow. The mode is optimal for expressing Quenya, the elder language of the Elves, but does not provide the full palette of sounds necessary for many other languages including English and Sindarin.


Mode of Beleriand

As on the Doors of Durin, Moria

Rendering… (Requires JavaScript and Web Fonts)
Ennyn Durin Aran Moria — Pedo Mellon a Minno.
Im Narvi hain echant. Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i thiw hin.
The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria — Speak, friend, and enter.
I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs.

The Mode of Beleriand uses a tengwa for nearly every vowel and consonant. Diacritics (marks) are applied to lengthen vowels, merge vowels into diphthongs (glides), or precede a consonant with the corresponding nasal, like NT and MB.

This particular example, from The Fellowship of the Ring uses inconsistent variations of the letter I. An I can be represented by a short or long carrier, with or without a dot above, and three variants are used in the attested inscription. 0–3 tick marks after an I tell the transcriber which variant to use.


Mode of Beleriand

As in the first version of The King’s Letter

Rendering… (Requires JavaScript and Web Fonts)
Elessar Telcontar: Aragorn Arathornion Edhelharn, aran Gondor ar Hîr i Mbair Annui, anglennatha i Varanduiniant erin dolothen Ethuil, egor ben genediad Drannail erin Gwirith edwen.
Aragorn Strider The Elfstone, King of Gondor and Lord of the Westlands, will approach the Bridge of Baranduin on the eighth day of Spring, or in the Shire-reckoning the second day of April.

The Mode of Beleriand uses a tengwa for nearly every vowel and consonant. Diacritics (marks) are applied to lengthen vowels, merge vowels into diphthongs (glides), or precede a consonant with the corresponding nasal, like NT and MB.


General Use Mode

General Use Mode uses diacritics to represent vowels, usually above the tengwa the vowel precedes. General Use mode is suitable for representing most languages and was used mostl colloquial languages in Middle-earth in the Third Age.

Font
Tengwar Parmaitë, for parchment
Tengwar Annatar Italic, as the inscription on The One Ring
Long M and N, Nasal Consonants
Double nasals with tilde above, meaning precede with corresponding nasal
Double nasals with tilde below, meaning lengthen the consonant
Curl direction of O and U
O-curl forward, U-curl backward (common)
O-curl backward, U-curl forward
Dots and Slashes of E and I
I is dot, E is slash (common)
I is slash, E is dot
Regarding Medial (mid-word, non-final) R
R is the tengwa Ore only when it is at the end of a word (final). Otherwise it is the tengwa Romen.
R is the tengwa Ore when it is in final position and when it appears before a consonant. Otherwise it is the tengwa Romen.
Regarding CH
CH is ach-laut, as in Bach, CC as in Capuccino, Chew, well-suited for Sindarin Elvish.
CH as in Chew, CH' is ach-laut as in Bach, better-suited for trasncribing English.
Regarding S and Vowels
Use the Tengwa Silme-nuquerna for S after a vowel in all cases.
Use S-hook on short-carrier instead of the tengwa Silme at every opportunity.
Regarding TS and DZ
TS and DZ are rendered as separate sounds.
TS is [c] ( IPA), the voiceless palatal fricative (as in English cats), and DZ is the voiced palatal fricative, [dʒ].
Numbers
Base 10 (decimal) by default, but alternately base 12 (duodecimal)
10 12 12'
Base 12 (duodecimal) by default, but alternately base 10 (decimal)
10 12 12'
Final TS Alternatives
rats
cats'
bats''
rats'''
cats''''
bats'''''
Final LS Alternatives
owls
owls'
owls''
Medial S Alternatives
s, s'
z, z'
x, x'
Long Vowels
Long vowels can be expressed by doubling the vowel. Although Tolkien would never have expressed a transliteration to the Latin alphabet in that way, the transcriber tollerates it as a convenience for typists who are not familiar with how to use accents with their keyboard.
Orthographic E
love', silent E for orthographic English (transliterated by letter instead of sound).


Classical Mode

Classical Mode uses diacritics for vowels, usually above the tengwa they follow. The mode is optimal for expressing Quenya, the elder language of the Elves, but does not provide the full palette of sounds necessary for many other languages including English and Sindarin.

Font
Tengwar Parmaitë, for parchment
Tengwar Annatar Italic, as the inscription on The One Ring
Curl direction of O and U
O-curl forward, U-curl backward (common)
O-curl backward, U-curl forward
Dots and Slashes of E and I
I is dot, E is slash (common)
I is slash, E is dot
Harma
In the earliest form of Quenya, breath-H was represented only by the tengwa Halla. Hyarmen was also breath-H but implied a following Y.
Later, the Tengwa Harma became Aha and took over for initial breath-H. Halla continued to be used for medial (mid-word) breath-H and also as a prefix to modify L and R to aspirated (breathy) HL and HR. Aspirated HW throughout all the ages was represented by the tengwa Hwesta.
By the Third Age, as reflected in the Namárië poem, Hyarmen stood for H in inital position.
Vala or Vilya (Wilya)
Before the introduction of the tengwa Vala, Vilya stood for V and there was no way to represent consonantal W. Likely, the U tehta was used in any case that called for the W sound.
After the introduction of the tengwa Vala, Viyla became Wilya and stood for W while the new Vala stood for V. Note that the spelling of Wilya, née Vilya, remained the sameonly the pronunciation changed.
Regarding Medial R
In the Classical period, the tengwa Ore represented R only between vowels, indicating that the R should not be trilled in this case.
In the Third Age, as attested by the Namárië poem, Ore represents R only before consontants and at the end of words.
Rising IU
Before the Third Age, all dipthongs, including IU, were falling diphthongs. Diphthongs may have been rendered in the same way in the Third Age regardless of whether the diphthong was rising or falling.
In the Third Age, IU became a rising diphthong, meaning the stress was on the second vowel. There is no attested example of how this would have affected the spelling, but Måns Björkman speculates that it might have been represented as Anna, with Y and U tehtar instead of Ure with an I tehta.
Numbers
Base 10 (decimal) by default, but alternately base 12 (duodecimal)
10 12 12'
Base 12 (duodecimal) by default, but alternately base 10 (decimal)
10 12 12'
Long Vowels
Long vowels can be expressed by doubling the vowel. Although Tolkien would never have expressed a transliteration to the Latin alphabet in that way, the transcriber tollerates it as a convenience for typists who are not familiar with how to use accents with their keyboard.


Mode of Beleriand

The Mode of Beleriand uses a tengwa for nearly every vowel and consonant. Diacritics (marks) are applied to lengthen vowels, merge vowels into diphthongs (glides), or precede a consonant with the corresponding nasal, like NT and MB, but full tengwa are used for most vowels and consonants.

Font
Tengwar Parmaitë, for parchment
Tengwar Annatar Italic, as the inscription on The One Ring
Numbers
Base 10 (decimal) by default, but alternately base 12 (duodecimal)
10 12 12'
Base 12 (duodecimal) by default, but alternately base 10 (decimal)
10 12 12'
Long Vowels
Long vowels can be expressed by doubling the vowel. Although Tolkien would never have expressed a transliteration to the Latin alphabet in that way, the transcriber tollerates it as a convenience for typists who are not familiar with how to use accents with their keyboard.
Variations of I
i i' i'' i'''
í í' or ii ii'