SUMMARY OF AN INTRODUCTION TO ELVISH Language, 299 pp. This book focuses on the languages of Middle-Earth, specifically dealing with Quenya and Sindarin forms of Elvish. This book provides syntax, sentence structure, word- pronunciation and a dictionary, among other things. An Introduction to Elvish was compiled because there is little pure linguistic material in Tolkien’s published writings on the first three ages of Middle-earth; much less than many of Tolkien’s readers’ desire. The book begins with a comprehensive forward on the development of Tolkien’s Middle-earth and the languages spoken therein. There is a list of charts, abbreviations, and symbols for the ease of the readers and writers to refer back to throughout the book. Then the book is broken down into the “Eldarin Tongues” and “Other Tongues.” In “Eldarin Tongues,” the chapter begins with a Quenya Grammar and Dictionary, focusing on the structure of Quenya, its origin, sounds and spelling, nouns, adjectives, articles, pronouns, verbs, and syntax. There is also a Quenya-to-English Dictionary and an article written by Bjorn Fromen entitled Valinorenna. The next section deals with the Sindarin Grammar and Dictionary. This also includes Sindarin’s structure, origin, sounds and spelling, and consonant mutation. There ensues another article entitled Formation of Plurals by Bill Welden, and following that there are the articles, pronouns, verbs, syntax, and rounding out with a Sindarin-to-English Dictionary. Also included in the “Eldarin Tongues” sections are an English-to-Quenya/Sindarin Entry Index and some special sections entitled Photo-Eldarin Vowels: A Comparative Survey by Nina Carson, Alexandra Tarasovna Kiceniuk, and Jim Allan; Photo-Eldarin Consonants by Jim Allan, Chris Gilson, and Bill Weldon; Elvish Loanwords in Indo-European: Cultural Implication by Lisa Menn; A Calendar of Imladris by Jim Allan; and Tolkien’s pronunciation: Some Observation by Laurence J. Krieg. The next section deals with the “Other Tongues” developed by Tolkien. This section was written primarily by Jim Allan and includes sections titled “Khuzdul,” “The Black Speech,” “The Adunaic Languages,” and “More Obscure Languages.” In this section is also included the portion “Personal Names.” There follows an article entitled An Etymological Excursion Among The Shire Folk written by Paula Marmor. Jim Allan also writes a portion called “The Giving of Names,” including the Germanic system of Nomenclature, Elvish Names, Old Rhovanion Names, Hobbit Names, Names of the Rohirrim, Northern Names, The Names of the Early Edain, and Old English and Hobbit Month Names. There is another section in “Other Tongues” called Writing Systems. This deals with The Tengwar of Feanor by Laurence J. Krieg, “How to Learn the Tengwar Fact Sheet Notes,” and Shape-Sound Correspondence: A Supplement; The Evolution of the Tengwar; A Survey of Some English-Tengwar Orthographies by Laurence J. Krieg, Orthographic Theories; Tengwar Spelling Systems, Conclusions; Parallel to the Tengwar; The Runes; Old English Runes; The Certar or Cirth; and finally; the Wielders of the Three and Other Trees by Paula Marmor. EVALUATION OF AN INTRODUCTION TO ELVISH This book is very strong in providing a comprehensive background of the languages of Middle-earth. The history of each language is covered from the forward of the book onward. This is important because it helps the reader and learner to understand the significance of what they are undertaking in learning these languages. It provides the learner with the words to speak, but also the feeling and emotion with which to speak them. This book also provides very accurate translations. It was released before Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, yet the release did not change much of the foundations of the language given in this book. Allan and the other writers have given an accurate translation of the languages as best as or perhaps better than Tolkien himself. Because this book is written so well as far as language is concerned, it is almost impossible to grasp without some sort of linguistic background prior to reading. The book relies heavily on syntax, grammar, and pronunciation, as any good language book does. However, the downfall with this is that most likely, there is no native speaker of any of the tongues in this book who can provide you with some accurate pronunciations. The learner has to teach his or herself, and without any linguistic background, this has been proven a very difficult thing to do. According to world-renowned scholar David Bratman, “…it provides a neat clean body of data, and it limits itself to material Tolkien released and therefore couldn't be considered withdrawn drafts. However, some of the material is highly technical, and in general the more linguistic training the reader has had, the more that reader will understand.” Another scholar who actually contributed much to this book, Bill Welden, had this to say: “Introduction to Elvish was the first (and is still the only) book of its kind which was written by people with a solid understanding of Tolkien’s languages…It was a product of the community.” HIGHLIGHTS OF AN INTRODUCTION TO ELVISH Despite the fact that this book is difficult to read without any philological background, I was still able to pull out some great and meaningful points about the languages of Middle-earth. The first thing that caught my eye was the extensive detail of the history of the Elves. This was very helpful to me because I was able to see how their culture progressed along with their language; thus, I was helped to identify the significance of their story and the languages in which they tell it. I was able to understand the cultural implications of the words I was uttering despite the fact that I might not have been saying them with the correct pronunciation. I also picked up a lot out of the section on giving names and the significance of the names of characters in Middle-earth. I enjoyed this portion from the section on Quenya: “Faramir, the name of the second son of Denethor (last of the Ruling Stewards of Gondor), seems to be pure Quenya, however (pg 4).”<br/ I found this interesting due to the way Faramir’s character is portrayed in the books. He is often described as “noble,” “upstanding,” and “as One of a Lost Race.” I thought this was quite significant because these are also some of the words used to describe the race of Elves and those who speak Quenya. Having not a lick of background in linguistics myself, I found this book incredibly difficult to read. Not only could I not understand the technical terms in the book, but the type size was incredibly difficult to read, being in Courier 10 point font. I found my eyes and my mind being strained simultaneously. I would venture that this book is not for the average reader interested in learning more about how to speak Elvish. This book, however, can be useful for those who are in the business of language learning and philology. My advice to average readers would be to give it to a linguist for a present and then ask them to teach it to us in return.