The Peoples of Middle-earth

Free The Peoples of Middle-earth by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien
the governing of the realms of which they had become the rulers; and this Common Speech became now enlarged, and much enriched with words drawn from the language of the Dunedain, which was, as has been said, a form of the Elvish Noldorin [> and much enriched with words drawn from the Adunaic language of the Dunedain, and from the Noldorin]. But among themselves the kings and high lords, and indeed all those of Numenorean blood in any degree, for long used the Noldorin speech; and in that tongue they gave names to men and to places throughout the realms of the heirs of Elendil.
    $14. In this way it had come about that at the time when the events recorded in this book began it might be said that nearly all speaking-folk of any race west of the east-eaves of Mirkwood spoke after some fashion this Common Speech; while Men who dwelt in Eriador, the wide land between the Misty Mountains and Ered Lindon, or in the coast-lands south of the White Mountains, used the Westron only and had long forgotten their own tongues. So it was with the folk of Gondor (other than the lords) and of the Anfalas and beyond; and with the Bree-folk I and the Dunlendings [> in the North]. East of the Misty Mountains, even far to the north, the Common Speech was known; though there, as in Esgaroth [> as beside the Long Lake] or in Dale, or among the Beornings and the Woodmen of the west-eaves of Mirkwood, Men also retained their own tongues in daily use. The Eorlings, or the Rohirrim as they were called in Gondor, still used their own northern tongue, yet all but their humbler folk spoke also the Common Speech after the manner of Gondor; for the Riders of Rohan had come out of Eotheod near the sources of Anduin only some five hundred years before the days here spoken of.
    [The conclusion of this paragraph was rewritten thus: The Eorlings, or the Rohirrim as they were called in Gondor, still used their own northern tongue; for the Riders of Rohan had come out of Eotheod near the sources of Anduin only some five hundred years before the days here spoken of. Yet all but their humbler folk spoke also the Common Speech after the manner of Gondor. In the Dunland also the Dunlendings, a dwindling people, remnant of those who had dwelt in western Rohan before the coming of the Rohirrim, still clung to their own speech. This was wholly unlike the Westron, and was descended, as it seems, from some other Mannish tongue, not akin to that of the Atani, Fathers of Men. A similar and kindred language was probably once spoken in Bree: see (the footnote to $25).]

    $15. More remarkable it may be thought that the Common Speech had also been learned by other races, Dwarves, Orcs, and even Trolls. The case of the Dwarves can, however, be easily understood. At this time they had no longer in the west-lands any great cities or delvings where many lived together. For the most part they were scattered, living in small groups among other folk, often wandering, seldom staying long in any place, until, as is told in the beginning of the Red Book, their old halls under the Lonely Mountain were regained and the Dragon was slain. They had therefore of necessity long used the Common Speech in their dealings with other folk, even with Elves.' Not that Dwarves were ever eager to teach their own tongue to others. They were a secretive people, and they kept their own speech to themselves, using it only when no strangers were near.
    Indeed they even gave themselves 'outer' names, either in the Westron or in the languages of Men among whom they dwelt, but had also 'inner' and secret names in their own tongue which they did not reveal. So it was that the northern Dwarves, the people of Thorin and Dain, had names drawn from the northern language of the Men of Dale, and their secret names are not known to us. For that reason little is known of Dwarf-speech at this period, save for a few names of mines and meres and mountains.
    $16 The Orcs had a language of their own, devised for them by the Dark

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