Parma Eldalamberon ‘The Book of Elven-tongues’ is a journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, a special interest group of the Mythopoeic Society. The current issue presents previously unpublished writings by J. R. R. Tolkien concerning his Elvish languages and early versions of his invented scripts. These have been edited and annotated by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith and Patrick H. Wynne, under the guidance of Christopher Tolkien and with the permission of the Tolkien Estate.
The Tengwesta Qenderinwa is a grammar of the Primitive Quendian language, which Tolkien imagined to be the common ancestor of the various Elven-tongues spoken in Middle-earth, such as Quenya, Noldorin, Lemberin and Pereldarin (the last two later called Sindarin and Nandorin). The earliest version of the Tengwesta Qenderinwa was composed in the late 1930s around the same time as the Etymologies, which is a collection of Primitive Quendian bases with examples of Elvish words derived from them. The Tengwesta Qenderinwa describes the grammatical rules for the structure of these bases and the derivation of primitive stems and words from them. The grammar gives an “Account of the Simple Component Sounds”; and has sections on “Base-structure”; “Combination of Sounds in Word-formation”; “Suffixion”; and “Accentuation.” There is also an introductory section on the “Descent of Tongues” that outlines the historical divisions of the various Elven-kindreds and the languages they spoke, all descended from Primitive Quendian.
Tolkien revised the Tengwesta Qenderinwa extensively in the early 1950s after completing the composition of The Lord of the Rings, incorporating new conceptions of the linguistic history which had emerged by then or those that arose during revisions to the Quenta Silmarillion and associated writings in Tolkien’s legendarium. The earliest and latest versions of the Tengwesta Qenderinwa are presented in this issue of Parma Eldalamberon, along with an editorial analysis of the stages of revision that the text underwent between the 1930s and 1950s, and notes on the relation of the linguistic data in the text to that found in the Etymologies.
The Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets is an edition of Tolkien’s charts and notes from about 1924 to 1929 dealing with the scripts that conceptually precede the Fëanorian Tengwar that would eventually be included in The Lord of the Rings. This issue of Parma Eldalamberon contains “Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets, Part II,” with the alphabets called Qenyatic, Andyoqenya and Angloquenya, in modes which were designed for writing English. Tolkien’s examples of the scripts are reproduced in fascimile. These include charts of the sounds represented by the letters, and various English words and texts written in the scripts. Transcriptions of the examples and editorial commentary on the dating and historical background are provided.