Love in the Elven culture

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Love in the Elven culture

Post by ZornMuffin »


I was wondering what "I love you" in the Elvish language means, furthermore, I wanted to know more about love in the elven culture. How do they love, etc? Also, are there books about that topic? Lastly, I wanted to ask if anyone knows if there is a phrase, word, or name you call someone in the Elven language that is more than simply "I love you" something that signifies eternal love.

Thank you, everyone, in advance!!!
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Re: Love in the Elven culture

Post by Udwin »

Welcome. If you're interested in these topics, I would recommend tracking down a copy of The Nature of Middle-earth, several sections of which include details on the Eldar perspective on procreation and childbearing and the phases of life associated with them. 'The Laws and Customs Among the Eldar' might be worth a read, which is found in Morgoth's Ring (History of Middle-earth Volume 10).
As for the linguistic questions, the closest thing from my Sindarin lessons (20 years back) I remember was something like 'Gerich veleth nin' - 'you have my heart' but that's just a vague memory. Hopefully someone with a better understanding of the Elvish tongues can chime in.
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA
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Re: Love in the Elven culture

Post by Cimrandir »

According to this Reddit post from Elaran (who I trust implicitly with both Quenya and Sindarin) answering a question about how to translate "I love you" into Sindarin -
The verb is mel-, whose 1st person inflection is melin. The word meleth is a noun that means "(the act of) love" (so using it would be like saying "I sight you" rather than "I see you"). The 2nd person pronoun le "you" is nominative (i.e. like "he/she" for 3rd person), although Tolkien sometimes used it as "absolute" which more or less acts as dative "to you (which should normally be *allen), and what you need here is the accusative form *len (i.e. like "him/her" for 3rd person). But this is the formal/polite 2nd person pronoun, the informal/familiar is ci, whose accusative form is cin, which then gets lenited to gin due to being the object of the sentence. And it is theorised that this final "-n" of gin would cause "nasal mutation" on the following verb, which in this case means that the "m-" of mel- will remain as it is, but gin will become gi. Thus:

gi melin ... _love_you/

Although a little further digging (in the Vinyë Lambengolmor discord server to be precise) reveals that the above information may be slightly out of date with recent publications. I'm no linguist but as I understand it, there might be some issues with the nasal mutations. The current thought for "I love you" appears to be melin gin. So I would go with that instead.

As far as the love life of an Elf goes, I second Udwin's recommendation of "The Nature of Middle-earth". There's a wealth of information about that very topic in the book.
Persona : Cimrandir - late 3rd Age Dunedain
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