(redirection from Common Speech)

Brief Description   
What the Experts say   
Comments and Discussion   

Brief Description    

The commonly used language in Beleriand and later in Middle-earth. Westron was a successor of Adûnaic, the language of the Edain, mixed with words of other mannish tongues and enriched with Quenya and Sindarin words.

also called the CommonSpeech.


The original language of Men was greatly influenced by the tongue of the Avari (which was itself influenced by a Valarin dialect). Also, the dwarvish (!) language played some important role in the creation of the early speech of Men. When the Three Houses of the Fathers of Men passed Beleriand, their speech was greatly influenced by the language of the GreenElves (affected by the Sindarin dialect of Thingol).

Furthermore, with their concourse with the Noldorin princes, their language was enriched with the pure Sindarin. This was the speech that the Atani brought to Númenor, which was named Adűnaic.

From there, the Adűnaic was enriched with the Quenya language taught to them by the Elves of Tol Eressëa. So far we have the scheme:

Avarin ………….Dwarvish



…….Original Speech……Of GreenElves……Sindarin



…………….(early) Adűnaic…………..Quenya




Now, this language was brought to ME during the days where Númenor was travelling and establishing ports (Umbar, Pelargir). Also, when the realms of exile were founded (Arnor, Gondor), Elendil and his followers brought the language to ME. From then, it mingled with several Mannish dialects, and created the Common Tongue, a language adopted by almost every people of ME (except the Elves and the PúkelMen)

Note: The above digest has been prepared by Gate7Ole based on Appendices of Lotr and the Lhammas (HOME V)

So, one could sum up:

original Elvish >> Quenya >> variations (Avari-dialects) >> Sindarin + Noldorin Quenya + original Men's language (they did have their own words!) + Dwarvish + the commonly used "mixed" (but more Sindarin) Elvish of Beleriand >> Numenorean = Westron = CommonSpeech

Here is an example of how CommonSpeech was normally accepted by the peoples of Middle-earth:

It was in these early days, doubtless, that the Hobbits learned their letters and began to write after the manner of the Dúnedain, who had in their turn long before learned the art from the Elves. And in those days also they forgot whatever languages they had used before, and spoke ever after the Common Speech, the Westron as it was named, that was current through all the lands of the kings from Arnor to Gondor, and about all the coasts of the Sea from Belfalas to Lune.

The StudyTeam

What the Experts say    

Jim Allan in An Introduction to Elvish says about Westron:

In his writings on the ThirdAge of Middle-earth Tolkien has generally represented Westron, the predominant tongue for the whole region west of the Sea of Rhûn and north of Harad., by English. Other tongues related to Westron, and names in these tongues, he has represened by other languages from the Germanic family related to English. Thus, the Northmen of east Rhovanion are given Gothic names, the Rohirrim speak Old English and have names in the same tongue, the outer Mannish names of the Dwarves are of Old Norse formation (well of course, since he had borrowed them mostly from the Edda -- Walter) and the long personal names of certain upper class Hobbit families are early medieval names of Germanic origin.

This process of translation of languages of the ThirdAge to those of our own age or the comparatively recent past means that the published corpus contains little data on these original tongues.

And Helge Fauskanger on his website Ardalambion says:

We know very little about Westron, for the simple reason that Tolkien has rendered it into English almost everywhere! A few words of genuine Westron are given in Appendix F to LotR and (relatively) many more in The Peoples of Middle-earth. Tolkien even translated the names of the Hobbits. There were never any hobbits called Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry; their real names were Maura, Ban, Razar and Kali. The word hobbit itself is just a rendering of the actual Third Age word kuduk (derived from Old English holbytla "hole-dweller" the way kuduk is believed to descend from archaic kûd-dûkan of this meaning, the form kûd-dûkan still being preserved in Rohirric). Maura ("Frodo") and his friends would not have known the word "hobbit" as such; they said kuduk.

The - relatively small - existing corpus of the language is given in detail on his website Ardalambion:westron.htm.

Comments and Discussion    

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