Fri
Dec 14 2012 3:00pm

Have You Seen the Elvish Meme?

Play along with the elvish meme! Transliterate your name into elvish and then show the world.

The Elvish Meme is pretty simple, at its core: transliterate your name into Tolkien’s elvish script. What better way to express your Hobbit excitement? I recommend Ned Gulley’s guide to the Tengwar; I find it to be concise and simple. There are plenty of sources out there, of course; Tolkien is sort of the gold standard for constructed languages, after all.

For extra credit, you can translate your name’s meaning; I like Hiswelókë’s Sindarin dictionary, personally. I translated my name by phoneme…I figured, with a prefix like “Mor-” in front of it, I sort of had to, right? “Mor” means dark, “di” means beneath, and “cai” means hedge…so basically, my name means the place where Frodo and company hid from the Nazgûl on the road out of the Shire. If you want to, you could translate the meaning of your name into Sindarin (or Quenya, if you really want to) and then transliterate that, too! You can do all kinds of neat things; Sindarin & the Tengwar are both very flexible, so there is plenty of room to individualize your own name.

Emily and Ryan showing off their names.

Miz Bridget.

Irene’s finger got into the meme.

Natalie elfing it up.

Theresa DeLucci and some of the Tor folks: Leah, Liz, Angie & Audrey!

Sherene!

Another Theresa, but a different elvish name than the above Theresa.

Owen!

Peter went all out; he even translated his name into proper Elvish.

Cole; short & sweet!

Antonio.

General Jinjur figured “gwiniggur” was the best fit for her name.

Last but never least, Terra!


Mordicai Knode’s favorite character in Tolkien’s legendarium—heck, in all of fiction—is Galadriel, but Fëanor, who invented the Tengwar, is a close second. You can post your Elvish Meme entries in the comments, or share them with Mordicai on Twitter or Tumblr. Even better, you can add it to the Elvish Meme Flickr group!

28 comments
Jim D
1. Jim D
This reminds me of the hours I spent poring over Ruth Noel's "The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth". It's a fun little book with grammar guides, a small English-Elvish dictionary, and a bit on dwarven runes to boot.
Mordicai Knode
2. mordicai
1. Jim D

I had a Middle-Earth Role Playing supplement that was my usual dictionary, before there was an internet for this sort of thing.
Jim D
3. Rancho Unicorno
How disappointing. There was nothing to really translate for my name. Neil=nail or three (assuming I am reading the phonetics correctly, which I may not be). Still, I transliterated my family, and I really like how the girl's name came out. The boy and the missus don't have as much artistry.
Douglas Freer
4. Futurewriter1120
My name is hard to translate because none of the words sounded similar to the first four in my name. On the other hand, the last three had two different ones, Leaf and Snow, depending on how you pronounce it for the equivelant.
Mordicai Knode
5. mordicai
3. Rancho Unicorno

I bet "Rancho Unicorno" looks pretty fancy all written out?
Mordicai Knode
6. mordicai
4. Futurewriter1120

I like to imagine that if elves wrote poems about you, there would totally be a leaf/snow play on (Elvish) words!
Jim D
7. Bwamp
Elvish is overrated, Cirth all the way!
Erik Amundsen
8. Bigerich
Erik. Couldn't find the ik/ic/ich ending anywhere, so I translated the meaning instead:
uireb caun = Eternal Ruler
ui taur = Ever Mighty
ercaun/erui caun = Lone Ruler, Ruler Alone, Single Ruler.
Mordicai Knode
9. mordicai

Here is Jennifer, she's literally my favorite!
Thomas Keith
10. insectoid
Heh, I've done that. Back in 2004 I made a bunch of the things, mostly of my screen name, using a variety of Tengwar-based fonts I found online. I never did attempt to translate meaning, though—studying the language and letters was work enough.


I had this one hanging on my bedroom door for quite a while.


I like how this one turned out better, though I had to manually squish the first two characters in with the rest (the drop-curl didn't want to kern nicely).

Jim D @1:
So did I; poor thing looks pretty beat up from frequent reading. (At around the same time I bought Noel's book, I bought a similar book by Jim Allan, An Introduction to Elvish, which is a great deal more detailed as far as the usage of Elvish goes.

Bzzz™.
Douglas Freer
11. Futurewriter1120
6. Mordicai
I kinda like the leaf/snow thing since I love winter and spring, which both of those represent. Funny thing is the actual pronunciation of the last three letters of my name is pronounced less, but the closest thing was lass and loss, which depending on your accent can be the actual pronunciation. I am sad that I don't know the fullness of my elvish name.
Mordicai Knode
12. mordicai
11. Futurewriter1120

Yes, but think of how much we're learning about it-- you could actually make a multi-lingual pun with less, loss, leaf & snow! This is some deep dark haiku magic stuff here!
Mordicai Knode
13. mordicai
10. insectoid

"Insectoid" looks really awesome, & I like how different the fonts look-- it gives me a new-found-- well, also old-found-- respect for calligraphy & font design.
Jim D
14. MelM
I'll give this a try.

Melodie = Melo (to love) + di (lady).

The closest in meaning seems to be Lin (a tune) or Linnathon (I will sing)
Mordicai Knode
15. mordicai
14. MelM

"Mordicai" is actually derived from "Like Marduk" which...I am tempted to say it would be something related to...well, Mandos, Manwe or even Ulmo? I can't figure out who is the best match for Marduk. Maybe actually pre-Fall Melkor?
Becca Hollingsworth
16. bibliobeque
Ha, fun. Translating my name (Rebecca) by phoneme doesn't work at all; by meaning it would probably be Naud (adj., bound) or Nyw (n., a noose).
Mordicai Knode
17. mordicai
16. bibliobeque

How about...


rĂ» *S. (rhĂ» N.) n. Arch., Poet. loud-sound, trumpet-sound
bach N. [b??x] n. article (for exchange), ware, thing
cĂ» S., N. n. 1. arch, crescent

Not perfect, but we're getting somewhere!
Katy Maziarz
18. ArtfulMagpie
Argh. Well, the closest I can get to my first name, Kathryn, is "cathrae" which means "tressure." Apparently that's an archaic word for a decorative hair net or headdress of some sort. Makes perfect sense, since I keep my hair half an inch long these days...ha!

But my middle name is interesting. It's Margaux, which is, as I like to say, the REALLY French way of spelling Margo. Since I couldn't find it exactly, I went with basic pronunciation and got: "Maur" meaning "gloom;" and "goe" meaning "terror, great fear." So my middle name is Maurgoe...fear of the dark! Or maybe even "terror in the dark?" I always knew I was suited to be a dark queen... (It also geekily thrills me that my name contains "Maur," the name of one of the two best dragons in fantasy lit...from "The Hero and the Crown" by McKinley. (Smaug is the other best dragon.))
Mordicai Knode
19. mordicai
18. ArtfulMagpie

To be fair, a LOT of Tolkien's names are...about people's haircuts, from Galadriel to Finwë, so you are in good company!
Becca Hollingsworth
20. bibliobeque
17. mordicai

Fanfare for the things in the archway? I can work with that.
Thomas Keith
21. insectoid
mordicai @13:
In case you or anyone else is curious about Tolkien-inspired fonts...

Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts (link) is where I picked up most of the fonts I've used. There are various Tengwar and Cirth rune fonts there; external links on the Tengwar page include the two fonts used above, "Tengwar Parmaite" and "Tengwar Annatar" (the latter is the one with the long tails). There are also a few programs designed for use with the fonts.

As for calligraphy... I actually did buy a calligraphy pen set back in '04 or '05, and practiced writing the Tengwar in sketchbooks. I eventually filled many pages with charts of various Elvish names written in Tengwar in both forms (Q and S). (I'd share them, but it would take me a while to scan them all.)

Bzzz™.
Mordicai Knode
22. mordicai
20. bibliobeque

Between me & you, we've gone from Tolkien to Lovecraft in tone...

21. insectoid

I never got the hang of good penmanship. I had some Japanese buddies in college who had taken loads of calligraphy classes & could make some prettttttty stuff, but I...mostly made sloppy ink stains.
Ian Johnson
23. IanPJohnson
If you take my name (Ian, Scots Gaelic variant of Hebrew Yohannesh, meaning Beloved of God), you get:

Nabalanmel
(of-Valar love)

This isn't perfect, but it'll do.

Of course, when you translate my name as a collection of phonemes, you get "towards the abyss". This pleases me much more.
Mordicai Knode
24. mordicai
Oh man, I just realized that "meme" slant-rhymes with "ring"...

"One meme to rule them all..."
Roy McCarty
25. kloud213
Umm I am kind of confused. How would I write my name? According to the website my name would end up verticle. It's Roy.
Jim D
26. Zizoz
Sorry to nitpick, but I want to point out that a phoneme is an individual sound, like /m/. I can't really make any sense out of the phrase "translating by phoneme"; I think you actually meant "translating by syllable".
Mordicai Knode
28. mordicai
25. kloud213

Heh, yeah, I think you've got like a "one letter, lots of vowel marks" name!

26. Zizoz

I confess to not, in any way, being a linguist. Maybe I should have said "morpheme"?

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