Before contacting the Guild, read through this section and see if your questions are answered. Many answers to common questions about Tolkien's languages are also found in the Elfling FAQ. Many other questions are answered in The Elvish Linguistics Unofficial FAQ.
Translating into the languages of Tolkien is for many reasons a challenging and time-consuming task, and often it is impossible to arrive at one indesputable solution. Therefore, the members of Mellonath Daeron are usually not willing to act as translators for third parties. However, we welcome scholarly debate on translating issues. If you want the aid of Mellonath Daeron, first attempt your own translation using the numerous available sources (see the Links page for some good starting points on the Web), then present your attempt to the Guild and politely ask for comments. If you want to reach a larger, international group of scholars on Tolkien's languages, visit the mailing lists Elfling and TolkLang.
The things said above about translation also apply to transcription into tengwar. The Guild has published a few practical Tengwar Guides. Other tengwar resources can be found on our Links page.
(And don't blame us if your tattoo turns out to be wrong :-)
No, but there are books and publications available which contain glossaries. See below. There are also fonts available for downloading. A good starting point is our Links page.
To begin with, here are the obvious books:
There are also some lesser known books which are quite valuable:
A word of warning about The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth by Ruth S. Noel, and Tolkien: His Language - A Guide to Quenya by George Horton. We cannot recommend these books at all. They should be avoided.
Finally, there are also many useful Publications on the Net. See our Links page for a collection of these.
Begin with Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings. Then, analyze a couple of Tolkien's tengwar samples. See the DTS (the Mellonath Daeron Tengwar Specimina) for a list.
You will soon notice that tengwar is used quite differently in each language (Quenya, Sindarin, English). To further complicate matters, most of the languages can each be written in several different ways. And to make things completely confusing, each script sample has its own idiosyncrasies. But don't give up hope! It is possible to find distinct modes among the different script samples.
There are few comprehensive works available on the tengwar. We have a few concise writing guides for the beginner. See also our Links page.
If you want to write with tengwar in some other language (e.g. Swedish), you're on your own, since no authorial script samples exist. You have to design your own mode. That is somewhat easier if you know some of the existing tengwar modes.
The language is Sindarin, also known as Grey-elvish. Mellon means 'friend', and -ath is a collective plural, meaning 'all of the', 'the host of'. Mellonath is used in Forodrim parlance to denote the guilds, which are special interest groups within the society. Daeron was the loremaster and minstrel of king Thingol of Doriath and the inventor of the cirth. The Guild's name may thus be translated as 'friends of Daeron', or 'the Daeron Guild'.
Further questions? Read our Frequently Given Answers!