The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
In use before the end of the First Age
Race
Pronunciation
mi'nlamed the'nt e'stent
Meaning
See the text of this entry for a discussion of possible meanings

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  • Updated 3 June 2014
  • This entry is complete

Minlamed thent / estent

A mode of Elvish verse

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Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

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 a 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.


Notes

1

As minlamed thent / estent is an Elvish term for a metre used in Elvish verse, it was presumably developed and most commonly used by Elves. However, the sole definite example we have of its use was from a Mannish poet, Dírhavel.

See also...

Narns

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