Once upon a time there was a fanatical fan of The Lord of the Rings. In fact, this is hardly an unusual occurrence, except this fan had read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before she saw the movies. Shortly after the movies came out, she discovered fan fiction.
Oh, this is fun! she thought,
but I don’t think Elves have purple hair or red eyes. Oddly enough for a newbie, she was right.
Some old purists made war on the unsuspecting, ignorant fans as they watched many young girls plummet into Middle-earth and marry Legolas. This young fan began to research, determined not to be caught in the crossfire. While she researched, she discovered the twelve volumes of the History of Middle-earth. Within them was a surprising emphasis on languages, which intrigued her, yet she didn’t pursue them.
Then the straw to break the camel’s back arrived. Her friends had been studying French and were starting to become a little fluent in it. They babbled to each other whilst the young fan couldn’t understand a word. Jealous, she found a language she could babble in that they couldn’t understand. What was it? Elvish! Or, the fan started to study it from the books and didn’t quite get it, so it wasn’t quite Elvish yet.
As she got better at it, she started to do translations for people. These were wildly incorrect but earnest nonetheless. Quenya and Sindarin were mixed shamelessly, Sindarin grammar was barely understood and had a bit of Quenya flavoring added to it. The most hilarious example of these early bumbles was the word/name Úvanimor that she gave herself. But no one corrected her, so growing confident, she made a website on Freewebs for her translations in March of 2003. (Don’t bother looking for it it; it died a tragic death due to bandwidth problems in September of 2004.) It started to get popular.
Suddenly, another irate fan, who had been studying from the great Elvish scholars, sent an e-mail to the fan, pointing out various errors in the translations. Some may think that this fan would send angry letters back, but no! This fan learned from the experience instead and started to learn from the greats as well. She was actually glad to receive the letter; for she wasn’t certain that anyone cared about learning the languages as much as she did. Three years, many corrections, and three new websites later, the prequel to this website appeared. The translations were 200% improved and more numerous than when they began. She started writing “Your Sindarin Textbook.” Úvanimor became Bainwen.
Then Bainwen started college. She had realized before that she wouldn’t have the free time that she had in high school: indeed, Tolkien’s languages kept her from going bored out of her mind then. She started looking for help. First she found a South-American linguist who called himself Ervellon. Their relationship was slightly melodramatic and ended like a Shakespearean play. Ervellon moved on to other linguistic pursuits. Next was young Tyrhael Idhraen, another bored American highschooler. He attacked translating with joy, but then became ill and was unable to help for a few months. Bainwen became impatient and enlisted the help of studious Lambendil, from Greece. He completed the Quenya namelists and phrasebooks.
Bainwen knew very little about HTML. A friend of hers named Phil who knew his way around PHP helped her redesign it; giving it the sleek appearance you know it by today. Suddenly, Bainwen’s website was getting a thousand of hits a day, too much bandwidth to ask of the kind person hosting her website for free. So, with the help of donations, Bainwen bought this domain name. At the same time, another translator joined the team: the ambitious and language-eclectic Ederchil. One of Ederchil’s interests was Adûnaic, and it’s thanks to them that we have Adûnaic names and phrases. Once Ederchil’s work was done, they wandered off. Xandarian also joined up to provide the Old English names.
As you have figured by now, that founding fan is I, dreamingfifi. I made this website to spread the correct use of Tolkien’s languages around the fanliterature community. Though it began for the needs of fanfiction writers, I’ve made it suitable for Role Players and their purple-haired Elves. This website started out as a list of names on my profile at FanFiction.Net and has become a domain name. In 2002, when I wrote that first name list, I never thought it could reach these heights. I’ve grown up to this place. I got a degree in Linguistics because of this place! I have tried to step away in the past, but every time, I’m drawn back in. It looks like I’ll be here a while yet!
Included in these pages you will find name lists, phrase books, other good websites worth visiting, some story ideas, and a few useful essays. No vaer!
The subtitle translates as
I desire names and phrases! in Quenya.