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This article is about the languages. For the people, see Pre-Númenóreans.

Pre-Númenórean is a term used to refer to several Mannish tongues and dialects in Gondor that predate Númenórean settlement. Its speakers were the Pre-Númenóreans, including the folk of Agar,[1] the Drúedain, the Men of Dunharrow, the Dunlendings[2] and several other inhabitants of Lamedon and Anórien.[3]

[edit] Roots

Pre-Númenórean languages derived from the settlers who were separated relatives of the House of Haleth. Their members stayed back in Eriador while the Edain migrated to the west during the First Age.[4]

Their language was foreign to Taliska, the language of the other two tribes, and as a result, the evolved languages became distinctly alien from Adûnaic,[2] being closer to the tongue of the Haladin.[4]

[edit] Survival

The only pre-Númenórean tongues that survived into the Third Age as active languages were Dunlendish[2] and the Drúedain tongue.[5] For the former, it was the result of a long enmity and a reluctance to speak Westron,[2][6] while in the latter case it was isolation.[4]

The pre-Númenórean tongue of the Ethir and Pelargir merged with Adûnaic into Westron.[2] Under the Númenórean dominion, the language only survived in placenames and personal names, such as Eilenach[3], Rimmon and Forlong.[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XVII. Tal-Elmar"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", note 51
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Helm's Deep"
Languages in Tolkien's works
Elvish languages Avarin · Common Eldarin · Nandorin · Primitive Quendian · Quenya (Exilic · Valinorean · Vanyarin) · Silvan · Sindarin (Doriathrin · Falathrin · Númenórean · Mithrim · Old) · Telerin
Mannish languages Adûnaic · Dalish · Drúedainic · Dunlendish · Pre-Númenórean · Rohirric · Taliska · Westron (Hobbitish)
Dwarvish languages Iglishmêk · Khuzdul
Other languages Black Speech · Entish · Orkish · Valarin · Warg-language
Earlier legendarium Gnomish · Ilkorin · Noldorin (Kornoldorin) · Qenya
Outside the legendarium Animalic · Arktik · Mágol · Naffarin · Nevbosh
Scripts Angerthas/Cirth (Daeron · Erebor · Moria) · Gnomic Letters · Goblin Alphabet · Gondolinic Runes · Moon-letters · Tengwar · Sarati · Valmaric script
"A Secret Vice" (book) · "The Lhammas" · "The Tree of Tongues" · Sub-creation