When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

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Elleth
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When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Elleth » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:11 pm

Recently I was remembering a discussion of the HBO "Rome" miniseries, and how an important aspect of the culture was left out merely by virtue of it being filmed in English. That is: the upper classes were educated in Greek, and so if they wished to discuss matters amongst themselves without servants overhearing them, they might switch to that tongue. I've no recollection of hearing of Latin being used the same way in the medieval through Victorian eras, but I'd be rather surprised if it didn't happen at least occasionally.

Which leads me to wonder...

... I assume in Third Age Eriador Sindarin shares that status of being spoken (at least amongst non-elves) by only a few. I'd imagine most all the Rangers - being descendants of the Faithful and allies of Elrond - would be reasonably fluent. Frodo and Bilbo are, as I recall - but they're fairly high-status and well educated as hobbits go.

I could imagine Rangers discussing matters of import in Sindarin while in the common room of the Prancing Pony, purely to keep such matters private from curious ears.
What do you all think?
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Elwindil » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:06 pm

I think that such a discussion would mark them as who they are to servants of the Enemy, something that they went to great lengths to avoid if memory serves. I don't think they'd be discussing things of importance in the common room where they could be overheard by others who might speak the language as well, if anything I believe they would've had a code of some sorts that they would have used.
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Manveruon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:16 am

I dunno.... It would make sense to me - or even Quenya. I assume the Dunedain were probably fairly multi-lingual, so I wouldn't be surprised if they switched back and forth in various contexts to avoid being overheard. But I agree with Elwindil that they would probably not be so incautious as to discuss sensitive matters openly in any language if they thought it likely the servents of the Enemy might be listening.
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Elleth » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:53 am

Hrm - yes, you gentlemen are probably right about drawing unwanted attention in common places, that's a good point. I had wondered if there was any Sindarin spoken between Aragorn and Halbarad while amongst the Rohirrim, but didn't see any doing a quick skim.

I don't think Quenya would be used - IIRC it's died out as a living spoken language even amongst the elves. I suspect amongst the Dunedain few read it, and fewer still speak it. I'd be delighted to learn definitively one way or the other though!
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Mirimaran » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:58 pm

I imagine that young men of the Dunedain would use the words of elf-kind to charm the maids of the village of Bree. No wonder those Breelanders hate the Rangers! :D

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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Melthrist » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:46 am

Thought that I might as well just interject my voice here. Mightn't they have used Adunaic when discussing sensitive matters? (reference here:
http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ad%C3%BBnaic) Very few would have spoken it, and your average man would most definitely not be able to make sense of it. I would think few of Sauron's servants would know it either, save possibly the Black Numenoreans. Of course it does seem unlikely, given the fact that Numenor fell over 3000 years before the War of the Ring, but I thought I would just throw this out there to expand the discussion.
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Elleth » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:37 pm

Mirimaran wrote:I imagine that young men of the Dunedain would use the words of elf-kind to charm the maids of the village of Bree. No wonder those Breelanders hate the Rangers! :D

Ken


Ha! I'd not be surprised. :)

Mightn't they have used Adunaic when discussing sensitive matters?


I don't think so - Westron itself is an evolved pidgin of Adunaic, and the long-distant Faithful Numenorean ancestors of the Dunedain - as I understand it - intentionally distanced themselves from much of the corrupted Numenorean culture of Al Pharazon's time.

Rangers conversing in old Adunaic rather strikes me as - say - Victorian officers choosing to converse in an ancient French dialect, but with an added layer of shame and distate. I'd not call it impossible for the more educated amongst them, but I strongly suspect Adunaic is a somewhat rare and esoteric province of scholars by the Third Age. Someone's reading old scrolls in Minas Tirith though, so I don't think knowledge of it is gone entirely even amongst men.
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Straelbora » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:57 pm

Elleth wrote:Recently I was remembering a discussion of the HBO "Rome" miniseries, and how an important aspect of the culture was left out merely by virtue of it being filmed in English. That is: the upper classes were educated in Greek, and so if they wished to discuss matters amongst themselves without servants overhearing them, they might switch to that tongue. I've no recollection of hearing of Latin being used the same way in the medieval through Victorian eras, but I'd be rather surprised if it didn't happen at least occasionally.

Which leads me to wonder...

... I assume in Third Age Eriador Sindarin shares that status of being spoken (at least amongst non-elves) by only a few. I'd imagine most all the Rangers - being descendants of the Faithful and allies of Elrond - would be reasonably fluent. Frodo and Bilbo are, as I recall - but they're fairly high-status and well educated as hobbits go.

I could imagine Rangers discussing matters of import in Sindarin while in the common room of the Prancing Pony, purely to keep such matters private from curious ears.
What do you all think?


My mom's parents were immigrants from Poland; she said that whenever they wanted to discuss things they didn't want the kids to understand, they used Polish- which only made the kids bend an ear even harder.

My wife is from China and will only communicate with our sons in Mandarin. I studied some Chinese at the college level, but I've also noticed that I understand quite a bit more just from exposure (then again, I have a natural talent for languages, and speak eight with varying degrees of fluency).
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Re: When does a Dunedain use Sindarin vs. Westron?

Postby Melthrist » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:29 am

Elleth wrote:
I don't think so - Westron itself is an evolved pidgin of Adunaic, and the long-distant Faithful Numenorean ancestors of the Dunedain - as I understand it - intentionally distanced themselves from much of the corrupted Numenorean culture of Al Pharazon's time.

Rangers conversing in old Adunaic rather strikes me as - say - Victorian officers choosing to converse in an ancient French dialect, but with an added layer of shame and distate. I'd not call it impossible for the more educated amongst them, but I strongly suspect Adunaic is a somewhat rare and esoteric province of scholars by the Third Age. Someone's reading old scrolls in Minas Tirith though, so I don't think knowledge of it is gone entirely even amongst men.


Your argument about the Dunedain wanting to distance themselves from corrupt Numenorean culture (which is what they were trying to escape) makes sense, and it probably is true that very few of them spoke Adunaic, thus making it useless for communication.
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

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