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súlë (older thúlë or þúlë) is a noun meaning "spirit" in Quenya.[1]

Súlë is also the name in Quenya of the ninth letter of the Tengwar alphabet.[1] It is the first letter of the third grade or Tyellë, which contains "voiceless spirants" and it is the third letter in the dental or t-series of consonants, the Tincotéma. In all modes except for later Quenya, Súlë represents TH.[2] The Westron name for this letter is Thó.[3]

[edit] History

The original name of Súlë was þúlë and in Quenya it had the value TH or þ. The alteration of its value occurred among the Noldor while in Valinor. The change angered Fëanor for he felt it was an insult to change the pronunciation of the mother-name of his mother Míriel, which was þerindë.[note 1] However, the mutation of þ to S continued and eventually this letter was renamed Súlë and in Quenya only has the value S (and is only used instead of letters 29 or 30 when the original sound in a word was "þ").[4]

[edit] Etymology

The word derives from the Primitive Quendian root THŪ.[5]

[edit] See also


  1. For more about this politicized linguistic debate, see The Shibboleth of Fëanor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing", "The Fëanorian Letters", Note, The names of the letters
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Writing", "The Fëanorian Letters"
  3. See Westron Tengwar
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", THŪ-