A very short primer and introduction to writing english words in elvish

Elvish languages are constructed (made up) languages used by Elves in a fantasy setting.  Many unrelated versions of Elvish have been created for books, board games and video games.  

Tolkien also created a non-complete grammar and framework for a number of Elvish type languages in his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books.  In addition to Tolkien's original lexicon, many fans have contributed words and phrases, attempting to create a language that was fully usable in reality.

One of the easiest ways to make good looking elvish calligraphy from english words is to write it in the Sindarin language with the so called tehtar-mode.

This method of writing basically involves replacing each english letter with a corresponding elvish letter.  

e.g. John and Jan becomes s 9 N 5 and s `C 5

and then rearranging the vowels to sit above the consonants that the vowels precede.  i.e. the vowels move up and to the right on the page  

e.g. s 9 N 5 and s `C 5 becomes s9N5 and s5#

That's it in a nutshell.  Of course, there are a number of special rules and fine details which you can read about in the resources below if you would like more information.  

In particular be aware that this method does not 'translate' the whole meaning of a word, rather it transcribes or transliterates the sounds of the individual letters or characters of the word.


Write Your Name in Elvish

If you want to see what your name would look like in elvish see here for our real-time english to elvish script translator.  This is our free version of an open-source elvish translation (actually transliteration) engine that will transcribe your english text to elvish.  

Please note that there are many ways of representing english words and phrases in elvish.  We do not hold ourselves out to be experts in these matters nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any results.  Use caution before committing to any tattoos, inscriptions and engravings.  


More Elvish Resources 

There are very many good free resources explaining the many subtle nuances of elvish here are some we recommend:

Parf Edhellen—an Elvish Book—is a free online dictionary for Tolkien's languages.

Wikipedia's Guide to Sindarin - A language of Tolkien's elvish people.

The Tengwar Textbook by Chris McKay Fourth Edition April 2004 Version 2.00 (pdf) 

Origins of the Tehtar-Mode for Sindarin - A comprehensive essay.


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