The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Other names
Probably simply '(Language) of the West' ('the West' here refers to Númenor)


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  • Updated 5 August 2008
  • Updates planned: 1


The Common Speech of Middle-earth

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Language of
the Rohirrim

The many roots of the Westron language.Taliska was the native language of the Edain, derived ultimately from Elvish, but distinct from the Elvish languages in use in Beleriand during the First Age. The later Adûnaic and Westron tongues were also influenced by various Elvish sources.

Derived mainly from Adûnaic, the ancestral tongue of the Edain and their kin, the Westron was widely spoken by the Men of Middle-earth. When the Númenóreans began to return to Middle-earth during the Second Age, Westron developed into a lingua franca allowing conversation between them and their distant kin. As the Second Age passed, and especially after the establishment of the Númenórean kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor at the end of the Age, Westron became widely spoken by all races in Middle-earth, not just Men. Hence it is often referred to as the Common Speech.

As the chief language of the northwest of Middle-earth, Westron is naturally represented in Tolkien's work by modern English, even to the extent that names of the ancient Westron form are also translated into equivalent forms based on Old English (prominent examples being Hobbit, Rivendell and Shelob, although many others occur). Hence, we have very few examples of 'real' Westron words and names. There are in fact only two significant sources. The first appears in the isolated notes at the end of Appendix F II of The Lord of the Rings, where 'banakil', and 'kuduk' (both referring to hobbits) are given with some other examples. The second source is the names of the Númenórean kings from Ar-Adûnakhôr ('King, Lord of the West') to Ar-Pharazôn ('Golden King'); these are in Adûnaic, and hence closely related to Westron.

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