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  • Updated 8 July 2012
  • Updates planned: 2

Minlamed thent / estent

A mode of Elvish verse

A structure used in the composition of Elvish verse, associated particularly with the form known as the narn, a composition written in verse, but intended to be spoken rather than sung. The most famous narn was the Narn i Chîn Húrin, the Tale of the Children of Húrin, composed by Dírhavel using the minlamed thent / estent mode that was usual for a work of this kind.

It is difficult to interpret the meaning of the phrase minlamed thent / estent, or the metre it is intended to represent. Minlamed apparently means 'one-sound' or perhaps 'one-sound-stop' (using the root for 'sound' that implies that it should be emphatic). Thent means 'short', while estent is apparently derived from thent, but in an uncertain way (it is probably, but not certainly, an intensified form meaning 'very short'). Finally, in poetic notation a '/' indicates a stressed syllable (the fact that this symbol appears uniquely in the name of a poetic mode strongly suggests that this is its purpose here).

Taking this rather speculative and elaborate interpretation as basis, we seem to have a verse mode that alternates stress from syllable to syllable, with the strongest stress on the first syllable, and the least stress on the final syllable. Since we lack a sample of the Elvish narn for comparison, however, it is difficult to judge how valid this conjecture might be.

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