Quenya: 'Quendian, Elvish'

The ancient language of the HighElves. Its most ancient form was spoken in Cuiviénen (more accurately named PrimitiveElvish??) and took form as the Eldar made their way to Valinor.

The language took its form in the bliss of Valinor which made it more beautiful, lyrical and soft, quite distinguishable from the 'hard' Sindarin. It was divided in 3 dialects: of Vanyar, of Noldor, and of Teleri, which was considerably different from the other two, descending from the Telerin branch of the Elvish languages. Quenya was enriched by some Valarin words (like Mahanaxar and Ezellohar), a custom mainly of the Vanyar.

Noldorin was spoken finally in Middle-earth, with the coming of the Noldor at the dawn of the FirstAge. However, Sindarin was overwhelmingly more commonly used, especially after Thingol banned it in his realm: Quenya was the language of the Kinslayers. But it didn't become extinct, and continued to be used as a language of lore and ceremony, at official occasions or in exclamations and greetings.

This was also the case with Men, who revered it in Numenor. The King's names were Quenya, and was also used daily by the nobles of the island. It indeed influenced and enriched the Adunaic vocabulary. All this, of course, until the Shadow fell, and everything Elvish was banned. This situation continued in the ThirdAge in Middle-earth, in the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, whose Kings took names in Quenya and it must have been used rarely among the nobles and learned.

As for the Elves, it seems they used mostly Sindarin and other minor dialects, and Quenya was only used where the Noldor lived: Eregion, Rivendell and maybe Lorien. Quenya was maybe obsoleted during the FourthAge when all the Elves disappeared and the ReunitedKingdom fell. But presumably it is still the living language of Aman.

The most famous Quenya text is Altariello nainië Lóriendessë, or Galadriel's Lament in Lórien in The Lord of the Rings. Frodo greets Gildor in the chapter 'Three is Company' using the famous Quenya greeting Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo.

High-elvish (high-elven) also called the ancient speech or high speech of the Noldor, Valinorean, the speech of the Elves of Valinor (sometimes also elven-latin).

See also: TolkiensLanguages


Quenya was intended to be a beautiful language. Tolkien made it so that it was full of open sounds, vowels and liquid consonants.

Annotations and Comments

You will find more information on this marvellous language in . Quenya courses are available at and (unfinished).

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