Names translated and transcribed into Tengwar.

Contents:

It happens not infrequently that people post to the Elfscript or Elfling asking to have their names translated into Elvish and/or transcribed into Tengwar. Since I am in principle in favor of translating or adapting ones real-life name to Elvish — or coining a new name — rather than appropriate the names of characters from Tolkien's books for living people I often answer those requests, though not as often as I should like for lack of time. I have decided to collect the names I've translated/transcribed on this page.

Note: Since Elfscript lost its list owner and is ridden by spam discussion and requests for help on Elvish scripts should now be adressed to Elfscript2. The linguistic side of translating or adapting into Elvish is however best handled on Elfling. In both places the regulars appreciate if you do your homework by finding out as much as you can on your own on the sites mentioned below.

How does one translate a name?

Do names have meanings?

Given names as well as place names are usually derived from common nouns and adjectives, although it is often the case that their original meanings have been forgotten, at least by the general public if not by philologists. This is especially the case in Western culture, where Christians have for centuries used the names of Biblical figures or saints, which were for the most part derived from hebrew, Greek and Latin, which were foreign languages to most name bearers.

How do I find the meanings of names?

Thus the first thing one has to do in order to translate a name into Elvish is to determine its original meaning. Baby name books and the like often contain more or less accurate descriptions of names meanings, and there are many online resources aiming at fulfilling a similar function, the most extensive (and for the most part most accurate) being Behind the Name.

Elvish names

Tolkien's Elvish names — that is words in the Elvish languages, whether borne by Elves, Men, Hobbits or Valar & mdash; generally have meanings, i.e. they are made up of elements which also occur as common nouns or adjectives in the language. Indeed a large part of our knowledge of common nouns and adjectives in the Elvish languages come from their occurrence in personal names. Elvish personal names are usually made up of two parts, i.e. they are either a descriptive bahuvrihi compound intended to characterize the bearer. Some elements occur so often as second elements of names that they essentially are just naming suffixes, used to differentiate names from the common nouns or adjectives they are derived from. The most common of these are -ion, meaning 'son (of)', -iel or -ien meaning 'daughter (of)', and -on meaning 'man', although various agent noun suffixes are also common — in Quenya especially the simple -e for feminines and -o for masculines, used to derive personal designations from common nouns and adjectives ending in -a. When a real-life name corresponds to a single common noun or adjective it is therefore often a good idea to add one of these suffixes to get an authentic Elvish style to the name. Helge Fauskanger has made a list of Quenya affixes which is very instructive, and his Quenya word lists (and the resources linked on that page) are of course indispensable. If you want a Sindarin name form you should consult Hiswelókë's Sindarin dictionary

How do I write Elvish names with Tengwar?

Tengwar writing in different languages uses different modes of spelling. The best source if information about these is Amanye Tenceli, especially of course the Tengwar Modes section. The online Tengwar Transcriber is a useful tool for transcribing text written in Roman letters into Tengwar, but it is neither a translator nor a replacement for actual knowledge of Tengwar and Tengwar modes!

The names

Ben

Benedict

Benjamin

Lee

Lee and Leigh are alternative spellings derived from Old English léah 'untilled field, meadow'. As a common noun this word is spelled lea, but also lay, ley, so it may be the English word with the most variant spellings. It was first a place-name which then became a surname and then a first name. As such it is both a female and a male name.

There is a word laire 'meadow' in the Qenya Lexicon. In later sources laire means 'summer' or 'song', although personally I see no problem with a triplet homonym. After all such things happen in real languages, and in this case it may be appropriate, since 'summer' and 'song' are IMHO more likely sources of Elvish names.

Rishi Aneja

Rishi Aneja was an Indian guy who appeared and then disappeared one one or other of the tengwar-related mailing lists, asking if there was any Tengwar mode for Hindi, which prompted me to publish my Devanagari mode.

Taurion (Keith)

Taurion* ('forest-son', i.e. Keith), which happens to sound the same but is not written the same in Sindarin and Quenya, written in three different Sindarin modes with progressively fewer tehtar (diacritics) and in the usual Qyenya mode. There is an attested name Tauron 'Great One of the Woods' or 'man of the woods', but that is a by-name of the Vala Orome, and there seems to be a consensus not to use the names of the Valar for real people.


©Benct Philip Jonsson, Melroch Aestan.