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Tengwar on signs in Middle-Earth Housing at UC Berkeley

Registered User

Aug 5 2015, 4:03am

Post #1 of 4 (874 views)
Tengwar on signs in Middle-Earth Housing at UC Berkeley Can't Post

The attached photo shows a sign on a building in the Middle-earth Housing area of UC Berkeley. I tried to translate it, but the best I could do produced nothing but gibberish:

"An e echravlye avelan rav erash e h l e e an".

Do the Tengwar characters mean anything, or is it truly just gibberish?
Attachments: image.jpg (16.8 KB)

The Shire

Aug 7 2015, 12:49am

Post #2 of 4 (797 views)
Galadriel's lament [In reply to] Can't Post

It's an unusual mode of writing but is definitely an attempt at saying Nai hiruvalye Valimar around the top, and Nai elye hiruva around the bottom. In this case, vowel tehtar are placed above the preceding tengwa. The vowel markings for E and I are switched, as are O and U: these have happened (e.g. in CT's English transliterations, and the Black Speech ring-verse), but not so often for Quenya (one example of O/U is DTS56). The separation of the diphthong AI like that (and not written over yanta) into A over the preceding and I on a short carrier is attested in some of Tolkien's examples. The U is missing in hiruvalye, and they decided to use kh- for the hir- parts. Indeed, harma would have originally been used, but later on it was renamed aha because kh- had become h- initially, and hy- (hyarmen) started to be used for initial h-.

So there's a rationale for each of the unexpected parts, save the missing U, and -lye. Tolkien sometimes represented consonants like ly, ny, etc. in Quenya without using the two dots to represent following y, and instead used L and a Y-tengwa afterward. However, the L had a dot underneath to indicate no following vowel, and the vowel after -y was then placed above it (DTS72, which has separation of nai as I mentioned). However, that uses anna, not yanta, and there's no underdot. Another way is found in DTS73, but while that does show -y represented with yanta and no underdot, the vowel after it is still placed above yanta: and nai is then written with A over N and a following yanta, not like here (or DTS72). There's also the matter of whether rómen would be used for final R in Quenya.

So we can tell what it's intended to say, though I'm somewhat surprised at how it's written, given our attested examples.

Edit: You're right, they do have N in Valimar, which is a mistake that can't be explained away.

(This post was edited by Magradhaid on Aug 7 2015, 12:51am)

Registered User

Aug 7 2015, 2:22am

Post #3 of 4 (787 views)
A million thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't thank you enough for this. If you want to see the post I was talking about, here's a link:


I'm sure the OP would want me to thank you on her behalf as well.

The Shire

Aug 7 2015, 4:17am

Post #4 of 4 (777 views)
E vs I [In reply to] Can't Post

You're welcome. I'm embarrassed to say that I missed another error:

Instead of switching E and I as I had claimed, instead E and I are represented by the same sign. I had seen all the I's unexpectedly having the slash tehta, but failed to notice that the E's used it as well. I'm so used to seeing it for E that I slipped up and didn't notice anything abnormal when it is actually used for E in that sign, though I had established that it was being used for I.

This is what the characters look like in that sign: http://cubeupload.com/im/ufAMIP.gif


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