Beware, older languages below! The languages below were invented during Tolkien's earlier period and should be used with caution. Remember to never, ever mix words from different languages!

Early Noldorin


noun. back (from shoulder [to shoulder]), back (from shoulder to shoulder), [G.] shoulders

The noun G. alm appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s with the glosses “the broad of back from shoulder to shoulder, the back, shoulders” along with a deleted variant {aldum} (GL/19). In this document it was derived from primitive ᴱ✶alđam-, and was clearly related to ᴱQ. al(da)mo “broad of the back” from the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon under the early root ᴱ√ALA “spread‽” (QL/29).

The forms alf, alaf appeared in Gnomish Lexicon Slips glossed “the broad of the back from shoulder to shoulder” and with the primitive form ᴱ✶aldǝmā (PE13/109). ᴱN. alm appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists from the 1920s with the incomplete gloss “back (from shoulder ...” (PE13/136). This 1920s document elsewhere had deleted forms {alf, alw} with the full gloss “the back from shoulder to shoulder” (PE13/136).

The deleted forms alf, alw are likely to be later than alm reflecting the Early Noldorin sound change of non-initial m to v (spelt f finally), a sound change that was not a feature of Gnomish as it appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon. These two deleted forms were revised to ᴱN. bost “back from shoulder to shoulder” (suffixal form -mmost), which in turn was related to ᴱN. amoth “shoulder” from primitive ᴱ✶a-mbod-t’ (PE13/137, 139); bost seems to be the last of the “back” words in these Early Noldorin Word-lists.

Neo-Quenya: The early root ᴱ√ALA “spread‽” was the basis for ᴱQ. alda “tree”, which in later writings was derived from ✶galadā. Since it seems the early root ᴱ√ALA² >> √GAL, Gnomish alm and Early Noldorin alf might adapted as ᴺS. galf “back, shoulders” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin, with an original sense of “spread (of the body)” referring to just the shoulders but later the entire back. The sense of the later root √GAL was “grow (like plants), flourish” rather than “spread”, so this is a bit of a reach semantically, though not impossible since ✶galadā referred to broad, spreading trees as opposed to ✶ornē for tall trees (NM/349). I would use ᴺS. galf for the “back” of a body and the back of the shoulders collectively. I would use ᴺS. amoth for an individual shoulder.

Strictly speaking, ᴱN. bost is a later word for “back” than alm >> alf, but I can’t figure out a way to incorporate it into the etymological framework of later versions of Tolkien’s languages, which is why I recommend ᴺS. galf “back” instead.



  • alf ✧ PE13/136 (alf)
  • alw ✧ PE13/136 (alw)
Early Noldorin [PE13/136] Group: Eldamo. Published by


noun. forest

Early Noldorin [PE13/137] Group: Eldamo. Published by


noun. forest


Element in


  • Taur ✧ SM/026
Early Noldorin [PE13/153; SM/026] Group: Eldamo. Published by