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Madeline in Elvish

Madeline, your name is really cool! It’s from the Ancient Greek word meaning “of/from Magdala.” It was used as an epithet for one of the many Biblical characters named Mary, and started to become used as a name on its own after the translation into Latin. Magdala itself is the Ancient Greek version of the name of a village called Migdal on the shore of Lake Galilee. Migdal means “tower.”

As it is with placenames, we have two ways to translate this. First, we leave the placename untranslated, and give the Sindarin or Quenya pronunciation of it. Second, we translate the placename.

Sindarin

“Migdal” is super pronounceable for a Sindarin-speaking Elf. No change needed there. We’ll add a patronymic name suffix meaning “daughter of…” to indicate origin in Migdal, and use nouns like “child – Hên” and “daughter – Sell” as well.

Migdal-Child: Migdalchen

Migdal-Daughter: Migdalhel

Daughter of Migdal: Migdaliel

Sindarin has two words for “tower” – Barad and Minas. We’ll add Hên, Sell, and –iel to them too.

Tower-child: Minassen and Barachen.

Tower-daughter: Minassel and Barassel.

Daughter of the Tower: Minassiel and Baradiel.

For your Middle-earth characters, while Migdal sounds like it could be a word in Sindarin, it isn’t one. I’d go with the names based on “tower” for your characters instead. This name sounds like a Father-name, an early one given to a baby. This sort of name is a public name, used by strangers and acquaintances. It’s polite to refer to someone by their Father-name if you don’t know them very well.

Quenya

“Migdal” is extremely un-pronounceable to a Quenya-speaking Elf. I think it’d become *Mihtal. We can add “child – Hína” or “daughter of –iel” to the end of it to make a patronymic styled name.

Migdal-child: Mihtalahína

Daughter of Migdal: Mihtaliel

There are three words for “tower” in Quenya: Marto, Minasse, and Taras. We’ll add the patronymic suffixes to it as well.

Tower-child: Martohína, Minassehína, and Tarassehína.

Daughter of the Tower: Martiel, Minassiel, and Tarassiel.

For your Elven characters, *Mihtal is a nonsense word. Stick with the “tower” translations instead. A good backstory for a character with the name “daughter of the tower” would be that she was found lost or abandoned in a tower, like how Elrond and Elros were named for where they were found.

Madeline, I hope that you found this article interesting and useful!

If you’d like your name translated in this series, comment below and I’ll consider it for a future article!

Source:

Hanks, Patrick & Hodges, Flavia. A Dictionary of First Names Oxford University Press. 1990. pgs 217-218.

Wiktionairy, “Magdalene” Last Edited: August 13th, 2021.

1 Comment

  1. Philip | | Reply

    as the father of a Madeline, we thought very seriously about names– thank you for adding this color to our choice

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