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Goldogrin is a constructed language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien and used in his secondary world, often called Middle-earth. Goldogrin was spoken by the Second Clan of Elves, called Goldorim in that language, Gnomes in English (whence Gnomish for their language). In The Book of Lost Tales the second clan of Elves was also known in Elfin as the Noldoli and their language was called Noldorin.[1]

Created byJ. R. R. Tolkien
Datec. 1910 – c. 1920
Setting and usageThe fictional world of Middle-earth
Latin; Elvish writing systems: (mainly) sarati.
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

External historyEdit

J. R. R. Tolkien in 1916.

Tolkien was interested in languages from an early age, and developed several constructed languages while still a teen. Eventually, as a young adult, he created an entire family of constructed languages spoken by Elves and a secondary world where these could evolve.

Goldogrin was created c. 1915. It was Tolkien's first constructed language inspired by the Celtic languages. He wrote a substantial dictionary of Gnomish and a grammar.[2] At the same time Tolkien conceived a History of the Elves and wrote it in the Book of Lost Tales.

Gnomish was spoken by the Gnomes, the Second Clan of Elves. At the same time, Elfin was the other tongue spoken by the great majority of the Elves of the Lonely Isle.

The beginning of the "Name-list of the Fall of Gondolin", one of the Lost Tales, gives a good example of both languages (Gnomish and Elfin):

A few years later, c. 1925, Tolkien began anew the grammar and lexicon of the tongue of the Gnomes. He dropped the words Goldogrin and lam Goldrin in favor of Noldorin (a Quenya word already sparingly used for his Gnomish tongue), and Noldor. This was the second conceptual stage of the language which much later Tolkien called Sindarin.

Internal historyEdit


The Gnomish grammar (Lam na Ngoldathon) describes the dialect spoken by the Gnomes of Tol Erethrin (the Gnomish name of Tol Eressëa). It was written by a man (not an Elf) contemporary with the fifth century mariner Eriol who came to Tol Eressëa.


Goldogrin has a complex series of mutations. The most important is called "Grammatical Mutation" (or GM) for it was generalized to a rule and is used in many case not justified purely on phonological grounds.

Basic GM
b v (bh)
d dh
gw ’w
p b
t d
c g
cw gw
h ch

The apostrophe indicates elision.

The articleEdit

Preconsonantal Prevocalic
Nominative i in and n
Genitive na nan and archaically ina(n)
Dative i or ir ir

Thus: Egla "Elf", in·Egla "the Elf"; bess "wife", i·vess "the wife".

  • I·waneth na·dalwint gloss an Idril, "The beauty of the white feet of Idril".


Meaning Goldogrin Pronunciation
earth, soil mar [ˈmɑr]
sky telm [ˈtɛlm]
water nenn [ˈnɛn]
flame bleg [ˈblɛɡ]
husband benn [ˈbɛn]
wife bess [ˈbɛs]
eat mad- [ˈmɑd]
a drink suith [ˈsuiθ]
great beleg [ˈbɛlɛɡ]
family nothri [ˈnɔθri]
bee nios [ˈnios]
hat tôd [ˈtoːd]
Gold n'auro [ˈnaʊro]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien. Quenya Lexicon, p. 2.
  2. ^ I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue. Parma Eldalamberon 11.
  3. ^ JRR Tolkien. "Name-list of the Fall of Gondolin.", Parma Eldalamberon 15, p. 20.

External linksEdit