J.R.R. Tolkien’s guide to inventing a fantasy language

The success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies brought the languages that J.R.R. Tolkien invented for the Elves to the attention of a much wider public. There are now numerous books and websites that allow devotees to learn Quenya and Sindarin. The origins of Quenya in Finnish and the Welsh inspirations of Sindarin have fascinated Tolkien fans, with many learning and expanding on the tongues that were created by the author the best part of 100 years ago.

Though enchanting, language invention has also baffled readers and critics alike. Bewildered critic Robert Reilly exclaimed in 1963: “No one ever exposed the nerves and fibers of his being in order to make up a language; it is not only insane but unnecessary.” But that’s where he was completely wrong.

Read more: Quartz

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