Welcome Guest 


Author Topic:
Frodo Fanatic and Head Oligarch
Posts: 3757
Send Message
Post Language Forum Guidelines
on: August 17, 2004 10:24
There seems to be a lot of confusion about acceptable behavior within the language forums recently, and this post is an attempt to address some of the issues that have been cropping up lately.

The main mission of this forum is to help beginning Elvish scholars learn and discuss some of the basic ideas and theories involving Tolkien's languages. While there is room for deeper debate within these forums, those involved in such debate need to remember the main mission of this forum, and keep in mind the limited knowledge of many of the forum participants, the average age of most site members (teens), and the general lack of experience with scholarly debate and discussion. The Languages Area at CoE in general is intended for students to learn the practical use of Elvish as far as it possible with the limited information that Tolkien has left us, and the main goal of this forum is to help with that mission.


...feel free to help and answer questions that crop up within the forums. The Languages Staff appreciate any help that can be given, but please keep in mind the below guidelines.
...cite your sources when responding to a question or debate (it's assumed you are using the language lesson curriculum on this site, unless you state otherwise). This is imperative for a few reasons: 1) there are many different theories when it comes to Tolkien's languages -- it can be confusing if you don't clarify where your idea is coming from. 2) The ideas you are suggesting may be very new to some of our "students" -- don't assume that everyone knows what you're talking about, or where it came from. 3) Citing your sources can be helpful to our students who want to engage in further study.
...use qualifiers like "I believe," "I think that," or "It may be that," rather than stating things as hard facts. This is a discussion forum, not a lecture by you.
...remember that there is no one that knows for sure the "right" answer to a lot of the questions that are posed in this forum. Tolkien is no longer alive, and the resources written by him for use in the languages have large gaps. Theoretical discussion is fine, but remember that it's just that -- theory. Since this forum is largely devoted to the "practical" use of the languages, a little theoretical debate can go a long way...and is often very confusing to our students, so be careful about what you say, where you say it, and always cite your sources.
...keep in mind the learning level of the person you are responding to, and formulate your response to be as helpful to them as possible. Don't lecture a beginner, or give conflicting theories to a simple question by a newbie.
...remember to re-read all of your posts and make sure that you are being careful in your language. CoE rules about forum decorum are relevant to all forums, including this one.


...be rude to other people. This is against CoE site rules. Try to write all of your posts in a friendly and diplomatic manner, and remember that most of the people here are beginning students, and need all the help and encouragement they can get. Any rude posts will be deleted.
...get snippy if someone asks you to cite where you got your theory or idea from. This is a valid question when it comes to discussion and learning of any kind.
...get negative with the administrators or Languages Staff if they remind you to follow any of the rules. They're here to help keep this a civil learning environment.
...respond right away if you are upset or if you strongly disagree. Get up and walk away for a few minutes so that you can formulate a proper post that does not break forum rules.
...view this forum as your personal playground to throw around your own theories. We have a Languages Admin staff, whose job it is to ensure that the information being passed along here fits within the Language Area's mission. Please do not interfere with that mission, even if you don't alway agree with how things are taught here. Treat them with respect, and recognize that this is not your site. If you don't like how things are run here, you are welcome to visit another site that more closely fits with your own opinions.

Tolkien is, and always should be, the main basis for any point you are making. This site also uses the work of Helge Fauskanger when appropriate to help round out the language lessons. Please recognize that the language lessons on site are the main curriculum on which our language program is based. If you have a problem with how the language lessons may answer a question, please present your issue with it as a separate thread if this problem is brought up in relation to a beginner's question. The goal here is to help the beginning learners start to grasp the basics of this language -- inserting several confusing and contradicting theories into a thread in response to what is often a simple question is not assisting that goal.
"We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
Council Member
Posts: 4
Send Message
Post Re: Language Forum Guidelines
on: July 08, 2012 08:49
Hey, I wonder if someone can help me with my question. (By the way, I'm sorry if my English is bad, I'm not a native). Here it goes:
I've been to a few websites from whom I've (hand)written down many Elvish sentences and words.
I wonder now: Is it real??
The site I used was:
And, the Elvish on this website, where does it come from? Does Tolkien have a special book with the Elvish Language?
If so, I'd like to buy it!
Council Member
Posts: 424
Send Message
Post Re: Language Forum Guidelines
on: July 30, 2012 01:07
Tolkien never finished any of his languages. They constantly evolved as his tastes changed, and he tended to only add a new word when he needed it. What we currently know about the two main languages, Sindarin and Quenya, is based on very few sources. There are published word lists, but the grammar rules are often inferred (guessed) and not necessarily what Tolkien himself created—it is just the best we have at the time.

Furthermore, there is possibly a lot more unpublished material that could completely change what we know about the languages. The Tolkien Estate hasn't released all of his notes yet for publishing, so someday if/when they do, it could revolutionize everything we thought we knew.

That being said, we know enough to build a foundation of grammar for the languages. Council of Elrond has excellent languages courses for both Sindarin and Quenya, and there are other good resources out there. For a top-notch dictionary, I recommend www.elfdict.com. (I also use www.jrrvf.com/hisweloke/sindar/online/sindar/dict-sd-en.html#; ElfDict.com uses that site as a resource, but sometimes it is easier to find a word if they are all there in front of you.)

As for Arwen-Undomiel.com, I have used it before, but the longer I've study Sindarin, the less comfortable I've become with it. From a brief skim through the page, I can't see anything wrong with the phrases, but I have found errors on it before. (For instance, it said to pronounce /y/ as "ee", when in fact it is pronounced as "eu" like in French.)

I definitely recommend actually studying Sindarin if you want to learn the language, rather than trying to memorize phrases. Knowing phrases is useful for simple things, but it is much more fulfilling to actually know how those phrases are formed and what each word means.

Besides the Sindarin lessons here, I also recommend http://your-sindarin-textbook.realelvish.net/. I haven't gone through all of the lessons there yet, but it is a good resource and appears to be very up-to-date.

I hope this helps!
Council Member
Posts: 22
Send Message
Post Re: Language Forum Guidelines
on: September 20, 2012 03:29
Hi I have a important question. I found this book in my library called A Gateway to Sindarin by David Salo. I'm wondering if it is legit and if it goes along with the Sindarin on this site?

Council Member
Posts: 424
Send Message
Post Re: Language Forum Guidelines
on: September 20, 2012 08:57
I've never used the book myself, but from what I've seen other places, his book is controversial. If you don't know, David Salo was the person responsible for all of the Elvish dialog in the LOTR movies. He also wrote the other foreign dialog. So he does know a lot about what he's talking about. However, his work is controversial because he tries to streamline the language by removing anomalies, which unfortunately does damage to Tolkien's work. Real languages have anomalies because they aren't factory-made; they evolve over time, so all sorts of nuances and special cases develop. I believe this is why Salo's work isn't well-received by all, but since I haven't read it personally, I can't give you my own opinion. I hope this helps.
Council Member
Posts: 557
Send Message
Post Re: Language Forum Guidelines
on: September 20, 2012 11:00
Yes, I'd agree with that. It's still a valuable resource though, even though some ideas haveing changed in the 8 years since it was released makes some of it obsolete (a lot of which I recently found out was not Mr Salo's fault at all, but that's another story, lol).

His phonological work at the front of the book is quite useful to me at the moment, for instance, so it works as both an introduction, and a help to those of us who have studied it for some time!
Members Online
Print Friendly, PDF & Email