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Qenya was the early name of the High-Elven tongue which gradually would change into Quenya of the Lord of the Rings. In the earliest versions of the legendarium Qenya was the language of the First Tribe of the Elves, the Lindar (Vanyar in the later legendarium).

Qenya goes back to at least 1915 when Tolkien compiled the "Qenya Lexicon".

Since the High-Elven language changed throughout Tolkien's lifetime from its conception until late in his life, the spelling "Qenya" (without "u") is used to differentiate the early version of this language.