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  • Updated 24 October 2008
  • Updates planned: 1

Silvan Elvish

The lost tongue of the Silvan realms


On the Great Journey of the Elves into the West, a part of the Elf-kin known as the Teleri broke away, and settled in the wooded lands east of the Misty Mountains. The language they spoke was an early form of Elvish, from which developed dialects known as Silvan Elvish, used both in Lórien and the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood.

The cousins of these Silvan Elves were the Sindar, also of Telerin origin, who settled far to the west in Beleriand, and whose speech evolved into Sindarin, which would become the main Elf-tongue of Middle-earth. After the First Age, the surviving Elves of Beleriand carried their speech back into the east. Sindarin-speakers settled in both the main Silvan realms, and in Lórien, at least, Sindarin quickly overtook Silvan Elvish in common use. The history of the tongue in Mirkwood is more difficult to determine - some sources suggest that it, too, was quickly overtaken by Sindarin, but other sources dispute this.

Whatever the historical situation in Mirkwood, Silvan Elvish was eventually overcome by the Sindarin speech, so that by the end of the Third Age, its only remnants were a few names, like Caras Galadhon or Amroth, that betray the influences of Silvan words. Those names aside, Silvan Elvish seems to have fallen completely out of use.

See also...

Elvish, Silvan Elves

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