I'm currently doing an essay on the elven languages of Tolkien, and
one thing I'm discussing is the "real world" sources of Quenya; how
Quenya relates to other languages in use throughout the world today,
in particular (but not limited to) Finnish as there is a reasonable
amount of information drawing comparisons between the two.
In my essay I plan to discuss the basics of phonology, morphology,
syntax, lexicon and semantics, and each in case compare Quenya to
a "real" language - if anybody with knowledge of other languages can
give me hints of where to start, or examples of specific things to
look at, that would be fantastic and I would be eternally indebted to
Any help would be greatly appreciated (and I hope this hasn't been
too off-topic for the group, perhaps it could create some discussion?)
- - - - - - - - - -
[In exploring the "real world" sources of Quenya, the Big Three you
should focus on are Finnish, Latin, and Greek. In a letter dated
25 April 1954 to Naomi Mitchison, Tolkien wrote:
"[Quenya] is meant to be a kind of 'Elven-latin', and by transcribing
it into a spelling closely resembling that of Latin ... the similarity
to Latin has been increased ocularly. Actually it might be said to
be composed on a Latin basis with two other (main) ingredients
that happen to give me 'phonaesthetic' pleasure: Finnish and Greek.
It is however less consonantal than any of the three."
-- _Letters_, p. 176
And for a cautionary tale on how _not_ to go about comparing
Quenya with real-world languages, I suggest you read Tolkien's
letter to Mr. Rang (beginning on p. 379 of _Letters_)!
-- Patrick H. Wynne]