The Middle Earth Languages of J.R.R. Tolkien

The Middle Earth Languages of J.R.R. Tolkien

Tatiana Osoblivaia


Translation and Literature


If you have read any of JRR Tolkien’s works, you are familiar with the vast and intricate world of Middle Earth. What you may not know, is that Tolkien created a variety of languages for each race in this fictional universe. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most well-known languages from Middle Earth by JRR Tolkien. 


Exploring the Middle Earth languages created by JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth is a vast universe full of many fascinating creatures, cultures, and languages. In his writings, Tolkien created a variety of languages spoken by the different races on Middle Earth. From the Elvish languages and Black Speech to the Quenya and Khuzdul, these languages are all unique and add an extra layer of depth to the world of Middle Earth. Let us explore some of these fascinating languages!


Elvish Languages

The Elves are one of the oldest races in Middle Earth and as such, they have developed several distinct Elvish languages. The most prominent Elvish language is Quenya - created by Tolkien for his High Elves. Quenya is a complex language with many intricate rules and regulations; it also has its grammar and syntax structure. Another Elvish language is Sindarin. It has originally derived from Quenya and is spoken by the Grey Elves. Additionally, other less common Elvish languages, such as Telerin and Nandorin, are spoken by various sects of elves in Middle Earth. 


Black Speech 

The Black Speech is an extremely old language that predates even Elvish and was created by Sauron to control his minions and subjugate others. The Black Speech has been described as a harsh tongue with no real grammar or syntax structure; it consists solely of commands without any subtle or nuance to it. The Black Speech was primarily used by Orcs but was also spoken by Men who had been corrupted by Sauron’s influence. It remains one of the most feared tongues in all of Middle Earth due to its dark nature and origins.


Goblin Tongue

The Goblin Tongue is another ancient language that predates even Elvish; it is considered to be one of the first languages ever created on Middle Earth. As its name implies, this language was primarily spoken by Goblins but could also be understood (to varying degrees) by Orcs, Trolls, Wargs, Spiders, and other similar creatures. While not nearly as powerful or feared as Sauron’s Black Speech, the Goblin Tongue still carries a certain level of dread for those living in Middle Earth since it can only be spoken (or understood) properly if one has been touched by darkness at least once before in their life – suggesting that anyone speaking this tongue had likely done something terrible at some point in their past!


Sindarin and Quenya

Sindarin and Quenya are two of the most widely known Elvish languages created by Tolkien. The Elves in his stories spoke these languages as they travelled through Middle Earth. While both languages were derived from a common ancestor language called Primitive Quendian, they evolved into distinct dialects over time. Sindarin was spoken mainly in Beleriand and Lindon while Quenya was spoken in Valinor and Numenor. They had different grammatical structures and vocabularies but both were beautiful musical languages filled with poetic words and phrases. 



The Dwarves of Middle Earth spoke Khuzdul, a language that was kept secret from outsiders since it contained ancient knowledge about their history and culture. This language evolved slowly over time and was rarely written down due to its complexity. Only a handful of Dwarves were trained to understand or speak Khuzdul; even among them, only a select few could write it down or teach it to others. The language was characterized by deep guttural sounds that made it difficult for non-Dwarves to understand or pronounce correctly.


Adûnaic and Westron

Adûnaic and Westron were two closely related human tongues spoken throughout Middle Earth during the Third Age of Arda (the world created by JRR Tolkien). Adûnaic originated in Númenor before its destruction, while Westron developed from Adûnaic after its fall. These two languages were often referred to as “Common Speech”, since humans, throughout Middle Earth, spoke them at the time when the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes place (around the War of the Ring). 

Westron became so popular that it came to dominate many other tongues in Middle Earth such as Entish, Rohirric, Dunlendish, etc., eventually evolving into modern English as we know it today!


JRR Tolkien's world-building skills were truly remarkable - especially when it came to creating unique languages for each race living within Middle-Earth! From Quenya - the High Elf dialect- to Sindarin - the Grey Elf tongue - these wonderful creations help bring an added layer of depth to this fantasy universe we all love so much! Additionally, more sinister languages like Sauron's Black Speech or Goblin Tongue serve as reminders that danger lurks around every corner! No matter how you look at it - Tolkien's linguistic achievements remain unmatched to this day!


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