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Elvish Fonts

This page addresses the use of Tengwar fonts in this lexicon. A more general discussion of Tengwar usage can be in the section on the Tengwar script, and an even more detailed discussion at Måns Björkman’s Amanye Tenceli Website. As a rule, Quenya in this lexicon is transcribed in the classical mode, while Sindarin is transcribed in the mode of Beleriand.

Currently the only Elvish script appearing in this lexicon is tengwar, using a variant of Måns Björkman’s Tengwar Eldamar font, modified and converted to a web font by Bertrand Bellet and Benjamin Babut for their Glǽmscrafu web site (used with permission). This specific web font file is tengwar-eldamar-glaemscrafu.woff. As a web font, it is suitable for use on web sites and requires no special installation on a user’s browser.

Most of the tengwar content in this lexicon is produced by automated transcription using Benjamin Babut’s Glaemscribe library. This Ruby and Javascript library can (among other things) convert Quenya and Sindarin written in English characters into tengwar.

Tengwar Keyboard Mapping

Most tengwar fonts, including Tengwar Eldamar, encode the standard tengwar glyphs based on the keyboard mapping established by Daniel Smith. Since the function of tengwar characters varies depending on the language and tengwar mode used, the keyboard mapping is based on the physical characteristics of tengwar as described in Tolkien’s tengwar chart from Appendix E in The Lord of the Rings (LotR/1119). For lowercase letters the layout is basically the tengwar grid from Appendix E arranged horizontally on a standard qwerty keyboard:

Lowercase Characters
`
`
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
0
-
-
=
=
\
\
  q
q
w
w
e
e
r
r
t
t
y
y
u
u
i
i
o
o
1p
p
1[
[
]
]
 
  a
a
s
s
d
d
f
f
g
g
h
h
j
j
k
k
l
l
1;
;
1'
'
 
  z
z
x
x
c
c
v
v
b
b
n
n
m
m
,
,
.
.
1/
/
 

In the diagram above, the black characters are the tengwar glyphs, the grey characters are the normal keyboard values and the red characters are placeholders illustrating the placement of tehta glyphs (see below). The top row is the t-series (tincotéma), the second row the p-series (parmatéma), the third row the k-series (calmatéma) and the bottom row the q-series (quessetéma). The “columns” underneath each number correspond to the number “grades” (tyeller) from Tolkien’s tengwar chart (1-9).

Tehta: The tehta are marks appearing above and below tengwar characters, usually indicating vowels. In general linguistic termininology, such marks are called diacritics. The characters and keyboard layouts for tengwar was established many years ago before font technology could effectively handle combining diacritic marks. As such, most tehta have 4 different keyboard mappings that manually control the placement of the tehta over the tengwa it modifies. The four mappings are for (1) wide tengwar, (2) tengwar with long upward stems, (3) medium tengwar and (4) narrow tengwar. The diagram below illustrates the uppercase character mappings for tehta, with placeholders that indicate which tehta-mapping should be used for a given tengwa:

Uppercase Characters
~
~
!
!
@
@
2#
#
2$
$
2%
%
2^
^
2&
&
*
*
2(
(
2)
)
j_
_
1+
+
a|
|
  Q
Q
W
W
1E
E
1R
R
1T
T
1Y
Y
1U
U
I
I
1O
O
2P
P
2{
{
`}
}
 
  A
A
S
S
3D
D
3F
F
3G
G
3H
H
3J
J
K
K
jL
L
2:
:
2"
"
 
  Z
Z
X
X
`C
C
`V
V
`B
B
`N
N
`M
M
<
<
`>
>
2?
?
 

The tehta character always is placed after the tengwa character it modifies. As noted above, you should chose the tehta character appropriate to the width of your tengwa character: 2# = 2# (2 +  C); 1E = 1E (1 +  C); 3D = 3D; (3 +  C); `C = `C; (` +  C). Choosing the wrong tehta key-mapping results in an out-of-place tehta: 2C = 2C, 2D = 2D, 2E = 2E.

Copying Tengwar: The mappings above are common to most tengwar fonts and if copied to a different font, should display correctly. When you copy tengwar from this lexicon into a document, you will probably see what appears to be gibberish, for example `Cf#jTt$ (Ancalimë) becoming `Cf#jTt$. However, if you change the font to one of the Tengwar fonts based on Dan Smith’s keyboard layout, it should display correctly.

Rather than copying tengwar directly from this lexicon, though, I strongly recommend writing out your text using normal English (Latin) characters, and then using a transcription tool to convert it to tengwar, such as Benjamin Babut’s excellent Glaemscribe tool.