SSi Forum

Influence of Welsh on Tolkien's Elvish languages


This is a fascinating talk given at Oxford University where an expert in Celtic languages looks at how the development of modern Welsh from its ancestor language influenced the way Tolkien developed his Elvish languages, primarily Sindaran. Not a topic for everyone, but if you’re interested in the way languages develop you may enjoy it.

Welsh Influence on Tolkien's Elvish languages

Diolch Deborah! I’m currently reading Fellowship of the Ring for the first time. I love the way Tolkien drips the history into the story. Teases the reader! Really peaked my imagination. His naming system just adds to this, so this looks fascinating!


Super - thanks Deborah. The other four lectures in the series on Tolkien and Old Norse etc also look fascinating. Great stuff.


Diolch yn fawr Deborah, this sounds fascinating.


I was JUST chatting about this with a friend yesterday. Both of us had heard that Tolkien took inspiration from Welsh, but knew little about the details of that. Thanks for sharing this informative link. :slightly_smiling_face:


Absolutely fascinating! Thank you Deborah


Thanks Deborah, as I live not far from Brithdir I see Middle Earth names quite often :wink:. I’ve watched the first bit and will continue to watch…
My son and daughter in law are very keen amateur linguists so I have passed this to them.


I was speaking Welsh to my daughter the other day and she said it sounded like Elvish. Though said as tongue in cheek, she was indeed right !!


Really interesting talk. Thanks so much.


Thanks Deborah, as a language geek I really enjoyed this! Although I had no idea Tolkien was so sniffy about the Irish!
I think for many English people, Welsh is the very first foreign language we come across as a child (Tolkien looking at the exotic names on the sides of trucks coming to Birmingham, 8-year-old me watching S4C on the other side of the Bristol channel, not having a clue what was going on but fascinated all the same), and for that reason perhaps it holds a significance in our subconscious that we only become aware of in later life.