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 Primitive Elvish


root. drive, push, thrust, send forth

A root in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s glossed “drive, push, thrust, send forth”, with derivatives like “spear” and “thrust” (QL/35). It was also the basis for the rootᴱ√LEHE “come, be sent, approach” (QL/52). There are indications in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon that Tolkien gradually gave up this root: he first gave the forms G. elta- “to thrust, dig, poke (inward)” and G. elt “a dig, a poke (probe)”, then apparently revised them to G. elta-/eltha- “draw, tug, lug” and G. elt “a tug, lug”, representing a semantic shift from “push” to “pull” (GL/32).

These Gnomish forms were all eventually deleted and replaced by G. eltha- “to alter, change” and G. elt “a change”. These replacements are sufficiently distinct in meaning that I think they represent the introduction of a new root ✱ᴱ√ELE connected to “wonder” and “otherness”; see that entry for details. Meanwhile, it seems the Gnomish “thrust” words were transferred to the root ᴱ√ḶTḶ, as in G. ilta- “to stick in, prod, prick” (GL/51).


  • ᴱ√LEHE “come, be sent, approach” ✧ QL/052
    • Eq. lehta- “to ride, move (tr.)”
    • Eq. lé- “to come, be sent, approach”
    • G. lentha- “to come towards speaker, approach, draw near”
    • G. lent “near, close to, up by, along side of; (c. dat.) at, towards, up to side of; therewith, with it, withal”
    • G. len “come, arrived”
  • Eq. elk “spear” ✧ QL/035
  • Eq. ele- “to drive; to come” ✧ QL/035
  • Eq. elte- “to thrust in” ✧ QL/035
  • Eq. elta “a thrust” ✧ QL/035
  • G. elt “dig, poke (probe), tug, lug”
  • G. elta- “to draw, tug, lug; to thrust, dig, poke (inward)”


  • ELE ✧ QL/035; QL/052
Early Primitive Elvish [QL/035; QL/052] Group: Eldamo. Published by

ele Speculative

root. ?wonder

A hypothetical early root serving as the basis for Gnomish words having to do with “otherness”, such as G. eleg “other”, G. elfel “different, like something else” and possibly also eltha- “to alter, change”, though the last word seems to have been part of a separate etymological paradigm (GL/32). This collection of words also included G. elm “wonder” and elma- “marvel at, admire”. Similar forms appeared in the 1920s: ᴱN. elvennai “wonderful, marvelous” and ᴱN. elven “wonder, wonderment”, the latter with a Qenya cognate ᴱQ. elmenda (PE13/143, 161).

Some of this sense of wonderment may have resurfaced in the root √EL in the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, where Tolkien said of ELE that “according to Elvish legend this was a primitive exclamation, ‘lo! behold!’ made by the Elves when they first saw the stars” (WJ/360). On this basis, I think it worth concocting an extended Neo-Eldarin root ᴺ√ELEM “wonder, marvel” to salvage the “wonder” words from the 1920s. It might also be worthwhile to concoct an extended root ᴺ√ELEK “different, strange; other” to salvage Gnomish “other” words from the 1910s, but that one is more of a stretch and I no longer recommend its use. Neologisms based on later roots serve better for that purpose.


  • ᴱ✶elmendā
    • Eq. elmenda “wonder, wonderment” ✧ PE13/143
    • En. elven “wonder, wonderment” ✧ PE13/143
    • G. elm(en) “wonder; singular, marvelous or unique thing; something strange” ✧ PE13/116
  • ᴱ✶elmendiya
    • En. elvennai “wonderful, marvelous” ✧ PE13/143; PE13/161
  • ᴱ✶elménd(i)ya
    • En. elvain(n) “wondrous, marvelous, wonderful; wonder(ful thing), marvel” ✧ PE13/143
  • G. eleg “other, else”
  • G. elc “else, something else”
  • G. el “or”
  • G. elfel “different, like something else”
  • G. elt “change”
  • G. el(u)m “think of that!”
  • G. elma- “to marvel at, admire”

Element in

  • G. eltha “or, otherwise”
  • G. eltha- “to alter, change”
Early Primitive Elvish Group: Eldamo. Published by