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Thread: Elvish text on title pages

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Did you guys notice those lovely Tengwar (and in some cases Cirth) writings on the title pages of many of Tolkien's books? Every Harper-Collins edition of HoME has Tengwar on the title page (the US edition doesn't though). The three LOTR books each have a bunch of Cirth runes at the top of the title page and some Tengwar at the bottom. There's also a bunch of Tengwar on the title page of the Silmarillion and the Unfinished Tales.

Anyways, it's been suggested on the TOlkien Society website that the Tengwar in the HoME series can be translated into English words, though with slight variances in spelling. So I tried doing that for the Treason of Isengard (Vol. 7), and here's the mumbo-jumbo I came up wiith:

Thess (This?) ae ** frest prat booch (book) laot talis ** lifenais hwerielo marner lirnd frame (from?) limb talo riaii lanole.

The "**" are for this one symbol I can't make any sense out of (it looks like the letters ando and anto superimposed upon each other...

And I tried translating the Tengwar at the top of the Silmarillion's title page. What I got:

** taldi ** frestang quin morogoth (Morgoth) dvlit ne medil irth ** ** limp mand vor pune hem for ** rikweporiets slemareld.


I searched online but I just can't find any translations of the text. URRRGHHH!!

All I found was the Tolkien Society's smug messgae that "it's a fun exercise for those intereste din the language....." GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR~
And the text I translated from Treason of Isengard is the stuff on the top of the title page, by the way...
This should help lead you down a different path I think...

Silmarillion transcription

'Slemareld' for 'Silmarils', for example, appears to show that you are reading some vowel diacritics in a different order, and your -ld here perhaps confuses lambe plus s-hook with alda as used in representing Quenya (a following s can be indicated by a hook extending downward). The variation of i and e aside, lambe plus 's-hook' helps your 'taldi' as well.

There are shorthand forms used for English 'the, of the,' for example, which I think are also throwing you a bit here.
I have used the two pagesof the Angerthas found in Appendix E of LotR to translate the Cirith letters at the top of the Ballantine paperback edition title pages into English and they just give the title of the book. I haven't tried translating the Tengwar at the bottom of these, but I surmise they probably do the same.
You know, I just realized that I had been reading the Tengwar in the Quenya mode. I should have been reading it in English mode, of course, but I had no idea that such a mode even existed. It's just reading the vowels (tehta) BEFORE the consonants below them.. No wonder I was thrown off.

I'll get to translating it again and see what I get.
The link doesn't work on my browser, Galin... But thanks for telling me about the shorthand symbols for "the" etc. I googled them and found a key (phew)

Anyways, here's what the top part of the Silmarillion title page says:

The tale of the ferst age wen morgoth dwilt en meddle irth and the ilwed made wor upen hem for the riquoviry of the selmarills
which is, in modern English:
The tale of the first age when Morgoth dwelt in Middle-Earth and the Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils.

The bottom of the same page reads (by my translation):
to wech are appindid the downfall of numinor and the hestory of the rengs of powr and the therd age en wech thise talse kome to thier ind
which becomes:
To which are appended the downfall of Numenor and the history of the Rings of Power and the Third Age in which these tales come to their end.

And I also redid the top page of teh Treason of Isengard. It still looks like mumbo-jumbo, but it's better than what I had before:

thes es the ferst part of the book of the lost tales of ilfenisse whech ireol the merenr lirned from the ilves of tol irissi the lonele

It's obviously cut off at the end, but here's what I see it to be:

This is the first part of the Book of the Lost Tales of Elvenesse which Eriol the mariner learned from the Elves of Tol Eressea the Lonely {Isle}

However, the text continues at the bottom of the page:
esle en the wistrn osin and afterwards wrote en the goldin book of tavrobil. ahiren are told the tales of valenor from the musek of the aenur to the ksele of the noldore and the hedeng of valenor.
which becomes:
Isle on the Western ocean and afterwards wrote in the Golden Book of Tavrobel. Herein are told the tales of Valinor from the Music of the Ainur to the Exile of the Noldor and the Hiding of Valinor.

Now looking back on everything, I do remember that Tolkien said in the Appendix in ROTK that the symbols for "e" and "i" could be interchangeable. I think I got these two dreadfully mixed up during the first translations. But the whole thing still makes sense!
Wait, actually it doesn't make sense. The Treason of Isengard doens't even talk about Eriol! It's comprised of Tolkien's notes for the Lord of the Rings...

I guess the printers messed it up?
Here are some other texts I did just for fun:

From Unfinished Tales:
In this book of unfinished tales by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien which was brought together by Christopher Reuel Tolkien his son are told many things of men and elves in Numenor and in Middle-Earth, from the Elder Days in Beleriand to the War of the Ring and an account is given of the Druedain, the Istari, and the Palantiri.

The Book of Lost Tales Part I has the same thing as the Treason of Isengard (obviously the printer messed up and printed the inscription from BoLT I in ToI).

From the Lays of Beleriand:
In the first part of this book is Lay of the Children of Hurin by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, in which is set forth in part the Tale of Turin. In the second part is the Lay of Leithian, which is the gest of Beren and Luthien as far as the encounter of Beren with Charcaroth at the gate of Angband.

From the Shaping of Middle-Earth:
Herein are the Quenta Noldorinwa, the history of the Gnomes, the Ambarkanta, or Shape of the World, by Rumil, the Annals of Valinor and the Annals of Beleriand by Tengolod the Wise of Gondolin, with maps of the world in the Elder Days and translations made by Elfwine the mariner of England into the tongue of his own land.

From Morgoth's Ring:
In this book are given many of the later writings of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien concerning the history of the Elder Days from the Music of the Ainur to the Hiding of Valinor. Here much is told of the sun and moon, of the immortal Eldar and the death of the Atani, of the beginning of the Orcs and of the evil power of Melkor, the Morgoth, the Black Foe of the world.
It's been aeons since I have come upon a quadruple post.

Thankee, Cloveress.
Really well translated Clover... You have been practicing Orc Smiling Smilie

Without following the link, I tried to do a bit of my own translating, (Thanks for making a thread about it, I'd have never thought to try and read what it says Wiggle Smilie ) I did refer back to the Appendix, but only about 3 times Orc Smiling SmilieTeacher SmilieRead Smilie

But, I did have some trouble, I had the same translation as you... Then I remembered that CT had his own mode and did in fact swap the two tehta around, i and e... Which is why I always wondered why his translations always looked so different from the actual spelling, (he obviously thought that he deserved his own mode... He did after all do all that work to write out lengthy books from piles and piles of notes for us all...Orc Smiling Smilie ) So then I did the translation again using his mode;

the talse of the first aje when morgoth dwelt in middle earth nd the elvse made wor upin him for the rekoveri of the silmarils

and the bottom part:

to which are appended the downfall of numenor nd the historŪ of the rings of powr nd the third age in which dhese talse kome to dheir end

So I would guess that for Unfinished Tales and his HOME series the same rule applies...
Quote:
So I would guess that for Unfinished Tales and his HOME series the same rule applies...


They do apply to all the Tengwar on all the title pages. In fact, they apply to any English phrases that have been written in Tengwar. I did not know that hwesta is read as a "w" in the English mode, just like I didn't know that the funny symbol that looks like a c is read as an "s" and not an "a". It confused me dreadfully, but I managed to get by just by going along with normal English grammar.

But I'm impressed, Loss. You managed to get some of the LOTR title page with the help of the appendix alone? See, that was THE ONE I couldn't get! Haha. The letters are all so close together and muddled up I really can't make them out clearly...

And you're welcome, Vir.
Quote:
the talse of the first aje when (...) nd the elvse made wor upin him for the rekoveri of the silmarils

If I am not mistaken, the sign for s in elves and tales is a 'following s' (I don't know where I picked that name up, but it fits), meaning the S (when written than way) is always at the end of the word. So it does spell 'elves' and not 'elvse'.

It does look a bit strange how he mixes words that sound right (like wor and rekoveri) with correctly spelled words like "first" and "tale". The elves would be mighty confused! And so am I!

And where are the signs for ∆ (apple/śppl) , ō (first/fÝrst) and Ň (Over/Śwer)? Hard to write in Norwegian without them.... Orc Sad Smilie
Quote:
If I am not mistaken, the sign for s in elves and tales is a 'following s' (I don't know where I picked that name up, but it fits), meaning the S (when written than way) is always at the end of the word. So it does spell 'elves' and not 'elvse'.


Appendix E indicates following s could be indicated by attaching a downward hook to the bow of the tengwa, 'especially in the combinations ts, ps, ks (x), that were favoured in Quenya'

In Tolkien's poem (that begins) 'Men cenuva fŠne cirya' we find the word axor for example, and in a transcription this would likely include the following s though not representing a final sound.

Mans Bjorkman has written this verse in Tengwar, illustrated at Amanye Tenceli IIRC.
Ama, you are correct, as in the translation, the sign for the s at the end of elves and tales is a hook...

Quote:
So it does spell 'elves' and not 'elvse'

The reason why it can be a mix up when translating words like tales is that the e is silent and put under the preceeding tengwa, whereas usually in English Mode the tehta goes with the proceeding tengwa, so with the silent e staying in the right place under it's assigned tengwa, (using the silent e rule) and the s being hooked back a space with the preceeding tengwa as well, you get;

t (normal tengwa)
a (above tengwa l)
ls (s is hooked back a space with l)
e (silent but because of the s being hooked back a space, it looks like the e is at the end)

On what Galin said, the appendices speak truth, if using letter x, you use ks, (which is what x sounds like) where you use the hook with the k tengwa... When it does come to an s at the end of a word like cars etc, you will more than likely see a hook at the end... the same as stops, which includes the ps part he said in the last post... Only if the s is at the at the end of the word like combinations of ps, ks, ts, rs etc... I recommend using the hook, as that's what you'll more than likely see in other translations... Though if the s is in the middle of the word, like history, use one of the alternating tengwar for s instead of a hook...

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So I would guess that for Unfinished Tales and his HOME series the same rule applies...


They do apply to all the Tengwar on all the title pages. In fact, they apply to any English phrases that have been written in Tengwar.

I've done some more translating of some other Tengwar writings and there are two modes of English actually used for the title pages... The rule does not apply to all title pages, for instance I translated the LOTR title page as:

the westmarch by jhon ronald ruuel tolkŪen herein iz set forth historť of the wor of the ring and the return of the king az seen by the hobbits

and that was with the e being the straight line going up and across, and the i being a simple dot... Remember that CT used his own mode for the writing that he did, and that Tolkien used the Original mode he used for his writings... So what you said about it applying to all phrases written from English is wrong, I go by the 'Original Mode for English' rather than 'CT's version for English', which is what the appendices say and what I'll carry on using when translating and writing english... Read Smilie

Also Ama, you must know what the word is and what the word sounds like when you say them out-loud and when translating, you would probably be able to translate some of your Norwegian words if you merely spelt them out phonetically, (like the professor did with my above translation, he pronouced Reuel as Ruuel... phonetically = r - oo - el...) and merely adding the tehta and tengwar where necessary... It can all be possible with using phonetics... Like Pinyin and Mandarin Orc Smiling Smilie
This has been a great thread. Thanks people. Happy Elf Smilie
Here's what some website has for The Treason of Isengard -- this is not my transcription, but apparently some editions (possibly) will have:

Quote:
In the Treason of Isengard the story of the fellowship of the ring is traced from Rivendell through Moria and the land of Lothlorien to the day of its ending at Calembel beside Anduin the great river. Then told of the return of the Gandalf Mithrandir, of the meeting of the hobbits with
Fangorn, and of the war upon the roders of Rohan by the traitor Saruman.
Ah! So I have, it seems, bought the wrong version of Treason of Isengard... Well, I'm glad you shared the "real" summary of it with us. And yes, it does seem accurate...
Today I saw Helge Fauskanger (the man behind Ardalambion )on tv, talking about Tengwars and Tolkiens languages! It didn't last long, but it was fun to see. He mentioned that they still haven't found all there was to find in Tolkiens notes, we he spoke a little bit Sindarin and said the inscription on the Ring, they showed how to spell "alveskrift" = elf script (in Quenya mode)... And I enjoyed every second. Me? A geek? Nooo...

I hope I will have time to study Tengwars more. I knew so little and have forgotten so much. I even spoke a wee bit Quenya once. *sigh*

As for writing phonetically or as close to correct spelling as I can get: Yes, I can get pretty close. It's just not close enough. Wink Smilie
It's all about the practise, my dear Ama.
Speak Quenya to yourself in the mirror every night.
I'm sure that'll help some.
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It's been aeons since I have come upon a quadruple post.

Thankee, Cloveress
*pat pats vir on the back

cn u imagine tolkien writing in sms?... he wrote LNDL elendil for a shield something of which book i can't remember... blah blah blah
Yo Tuesday, welcome back. Happy Elf Smilie Where you been hiding?
greetings grondy hi hi hello hello

i've been slumming with THE taz Wink Smilie Wink Smilie and bonding with pt's cast-outs in murky plasticsquirrelworld

also was trying my hand at being a real grown-up