Sindarin Pronunciation

The voice actors were Fiona Jallings (female voice that struggles with R-rolling) and Adam Elliott (male voice brought in to roll R’s).

Vowels

(A/Á/Â) Pronounce them /ɑ/, like the A is in the word “father”.

Recording features the words: Anc, Balch, Cân, Dâth, Fast, Glass, Hâdh, Iâ


(E/É/Ê) Pronounce them /ɛ/, like the E of “better”.

Recording features the words: Êg, Le, Melch, Nêl, Pend, Rest, Sen, Têw


(I/Í/Î) Pronounce them /i/, as in the word “machine”. The Sindarin I also acts like the consonant Y before vowels.

Recording features the words: Inc, Brith, Cîl, Dîr, Find, Glî, Hîth, Lhîw


(O/Ó/Ô) Pronounce them /ɔ/ as in the word “thought.”

Recording features the words: Ôl, Lô, Môr, Norn, Post, Ross, Sôg, Thôn


(U/Ú/Û) Pronounce them /u/ as in “brute”, in the front of your mouth. Make your lips in the shape of a kiss.

Recording features the words: Û, Tûr, Brûn, Cund, Drû, Gurth, Hûb, Iûl


(Y/Ý/Ŷ) Pronounce them /y/ like the French U, as in “lune”. To make this sound, make your mouth in the shape of the Sindarin (I). Then, shape your lips the same way you shape “U” in Sindarin. Or, take the easy road out and use the Gondorian pronunciation, and say it “i” like the Sindarin “I” above.

Recording features the words: Ylf, Cyll, Ym, Gyrth, Lŷg, Mŷl, Ŷr, Rŷn

*Accents on vowels denote extra length on the vowels. Hold the vowels longer. In music this is shown with a tenuto (-) over the note. The circumflex accent (^) is held longer than an acute accent (‘). In IPA, the Sindarin circumflex accent would be shown with (:) and the Sindarin acute accent would be shown with (ˑ). The second one there is not an apostrophe (‘).

Diphthongs

(AI) Pronounce this /ɑj/, as in the word “twine”.

Recording features the words: Aith, Bain, Cai, Fair, Gail, Haim, Iaich, Lain


(AE) Pronounce this /ɑɛ/, almost exactly the same at (AI) above, just glide into an (E), not an (I).

Recording features the words: Aes, Caew, Laeg, Mael, Naeth, Paen, Raew, Saer, Taeg


(AU) Pronounce this /ɑu/, as in the word “ouch”.

Recording features the words: Caul, Daug, Faun, Gaur, Haust, Iaun, Naug, Paur, Raun


(AW) Pronounce this /ɑw/, as in the word “owl”.

Recording features the words: Raw, Rhaw, Saw, Taw, Baw, Daw, Gaw, Iaw, Maw


(EI) Pronounce this /ej/, as in “ray“.

Recording features the words: Eilph, Ceir, Fein, Feir, Gweith, Heir, Meil, Neil


(OE) Pronounce this /ɔɛ/, as in the word “boy“.

Recording features the words: Oeth, Boe, Coen, Doeg, Foen, Hoest, Loeg


(UI) Pronounce this /uj/, as in the word “gooey“.

Recording features the words: Uil, Muin, Nuin, Puig, Ruin, Sui, Tuiw, Brui

Consonants

(C), (G), (S) These each are pronounced only one way, but since they are all sounds that we have in English, there won’t be recording for these. Pronounce them always /k/, /g/, and /s/, as in the words “cat”, “give”, “sell”.

(I) Before a vowel at the beginning of a word, (I) is pronounced /j/ and used as a consonant, as the Y in the word “yellow”. If there is an accent on the (I) you always pronounce it /i/, as you do for the vowel. If there is a consonant before it, (I) before another vowel doesn’t make it a Y consonant, it behaves like the vowel (I).

Recording features the words: Iaew, Iâl, Iaun, Iest, Io, Iôl, Iuith, Iûl


(F) Pronounce it like the F in “fun” unless it’s at the end of a word. At the end of word, say it as a /v/ as in the word “slave”.

Recording features the words: Falf, Parf, Lâf, Gorf, Nef


(-H, At the end of a word) It will be put at the beginning of the following word, but only if that words starts with a vowel. H’s at the ends of words are otherwise silent.

(L) pronounce it as a /l/, as in the word “late”. When it comes between E or I and a consonant, or at the end of a word after E or I, it is pronounced /l̡ /, with the middle or tip of the tongue touching the palate behind the ridge behind the teeth.

Recording features the words: Lest, Pêl, Edhellen, Elbereth, Talan, Mallen, Alphirin


(LH) Pronounce it /ɬ/, a voiceless L. That means, you shape your mouth the same way that you would when making the L sound, but only air will come out, and it will sound a little like an H. This sound never appears within a word. If you see LH inside a word rather than as the first two letters in a word, then it is two separate sounds, L and H.

Recording features the words: Lhaew, Lhain, Lhê, Lhind, Lhing, Lhîw, Lhoss


(R) Pronounce it as an /r/; roll it as we sometimes do in the word “growl” If you can’t roll an R, like me, make an H sound with your throat closed a little. It should make a rolled A sound. It’ll be a little like gargling water.

Recording features the words: Rem, Grond, Parf, Môr


(RH) Pronounce it /r̥/, a voiceless R. That means, you shape your mouth the same way that you would when making the rolled R sound, but only air will come out, like a trilled H. This sound never appears within a word. If you see RH inside a word rather than as the first two letters in a word, then it is two separate sounds, R and H.

Recording features the words: Rhîw, Rhass, Rhosc, Rhûn


(PH) Pronounce it always /f/, as in the word “phone”.

(CH) Pronounce it /x/, as in the name “Bach“. Say it in the back of your mouth, it should feel a little as though you are hocking a loogy, or gargling without anything in your mouth.

Recording features the words: Châdh, Bach, Roch, Chaew, Chwest, Melch, Orch


The Gondorians had difficulty making this sound, as apparently, it isn’t found in Westron. Therefore, they simply turned (CH) into an (H) when coming before a vowel, thus the word “Rohan” instead of “Rochan”, and (CH) becomes (C) everywhere else, thus “Orcrist” instead of “Orchrist”.

Recording features the words: Hâdh, Bac, Roc, Haew, Cwest, Melc, Orc


(TH) Pronounce it /θ/, like the TH in the word “nothing”.

Recording features the words: Thîr, Hîth, Thêl, Carth


(DH) Pronounce it /ð/, like the TH in the words “the” and “blithe“.

Recording features the words: Adh, Dhaw, Dhant, Edhel, Ídhra, Galadhon


(HW) Pronounce it /ʍ/, as in the word “white”. It’s a really airy W. This sound never appears within a word. If you see HW inside a word rather than as the first two letters in a word, then it is two separate sounds, H and W.

Recording features the words: Hwand, Hwest, Hwind, Hwá


(NG/Ñ) Pronounce these /ŋ/, as in the word “sing“. N’s before C’s are pronounced the same way.

Recording features the words: Anc, Ñail, Ñaur, Lanc, Ang, Lang, Inc, Ñôl


(NG/ÑG) Pronounce them /ŋg/. When (NG) is between two vowels, pronounce it with both the N and the G, like in the word “finger”.

Recording features the words: i ñgelydh, Fangorn, añ gail, i ñgoer, añ gas, Tangada


The rest of the letters are pronounced as we pronounce them in English.

Where the stress falls

Stress is when a syllable is said louder and higher pitched than other syllables in a word. Primary stress (the loudest, highest syllable) is notated by having a (ˈ) before the syllable, and secondary stress (not as high and loud as the primary stress, but higher and louder than the rest of the syllables) is marked with a (ˌ) before the syllable.

Syllables are determined by vowel-sounds. There is one vowel or diphthong per a syllable. When looking for where to place stress, look only at the last three syllables.

  • If the word is 1, 2, or 3 syllables long then the first syllable gets the stress.
  • If it is longer than 3 syllables, the 3rd syllable from the end gets the stress.
  • If the 2nd to last syllable in a word has one of these special markers, it gets the stress instead of the 3rd syllable from the end.
    1. Accents (Acute and Circumflex)
    2. Diphthongs (AE, AI, AU, AW, EI, OE, and UI)
    3. Multiple Consonants (This only counts if they come at the end of the syllable. They can be two of the same letter side by side. They could also be several different consonants next to each other. Remember that CH, DH, and TH only count as one consonant.)

Note: I am using Northwestern American English, which anyone can tell you, is a little different from the rest of the world’s English. I tried to compromise by using IPA, but if some of the English examples still don’t make sense, let me know, and I’ll try to find a better word.

Sources:

The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)Appendix E

The Unfinished TalesCirion and EorlNote 49

The SilmarillionNote on Pronunciation

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