The New Notion Club Archives
The New Notion Club Archives

The Rhovanian Tongues were a group of languages among the Northrons of Middle-earth. The oldest attested forms of Rhovanian had been spoken during the times of Vidugavia, although it presumably had far older roots in the languages of the Edain, especially the Old Mago dialect. By the late Third Age it had split into at least three different languages, a southern or western form, spoken by the Rohirrim and Beornings, a western and southern form spoken by the Woodmen, and a northern strain spoken by the Men of Esgaroth and Dale. In daily life however Rhovanian had, by the end of the third Age, often been replaced by common Westron.

Tolkien´s use of germanic Languages

Language Peoples
Anglo-Saxon Rohirrim, Éothéod, Hobbits (some personal names), Beornings
English, archaic English Hobbits, Bree-men
Old Frankish, Burgundian, Lobard Hobbits (some personal names), Radagast (personal name), Woodmen (possibly)
Gothic (latinized) Northmen of Rhovanion
Old Norse (modernized/latinized) Dwarves of Durin´s Tribe, Lake-men, Bardings, Dale-men

Rhovanian Tongues in MERP

People Language real-world language
Bardings Northern Rhovanian or "Delsk" Old Norse
Men of the Misty Mountains (Beijabar) Old Rhovanian (Atliduk or Berniska) modified Gothic
Beornings Southern Rhovanian (Beorning and Éothéodan) Anglo-Saxon
Éothéod Southern Rhovanian (Éothéodan (early Rohan)) Anglo-Saxon
Eriadain Eriadaic debased Visigothic
Eothraim (Ehwathrumi) Old Rhovanian (Eothrik or Aihvathiudiska) modified Gothic
Estaravi (Isumhari) Old Rhovanian (Estaravik) modified Gothic, later Anglo-Saxon
Gramuz Old Rhovanian (Gramuik, Gramiska) modified Gothic
Holbytlas (Kuduk) Kuduk (Éothéodan) Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, Frankish, Lombard or Burgundian
Lakemen Neneduk (northern Rhovanian) Old Norse
Men of Dale Delsk (northern Rhovanian) Old Norse
Men of Pinnath Ceren Eriadic debased Gothic
Rohirrim (Eorlingas) Rohan (Éothéodan) Anglo-Saxon
Vulseggi Eriadic,Old Rhovanian debased Gothic and Anglo-Saxon
Woodmen Nahaiduk (western Rhovanian) modified Gothic or modified Frankish

Additional tribes from the Fan-modules:

People Language real-world language
Ibnothiuda modified Gothic
Bergothiuda modified Gothic

Rhovanian languages: common words in comparison

(Anglo-Saxon) (Old Norse) (latinized Gothic) (latinized Old Frankish/Burgundian/Lombard) (English)
theod (þéod) thiód (þjódh) thiuda (þiuda) theud people
éo (Eoh) Iór (Jór) aiva (Aihwa) eu horse
ric rik (rikr) reik (reiks) rich(o) ruler
beorn biorn (bjorn) *baira, *bera, *bere bern, bere bear
wine win (vinr) wini win, uin friend
me(a)r (Mere) mar(r) (Maerr) mari mar proud
mear (Mearh) mar(r) marh mahr, mehr horse
wyn wunia una fin(e) joy
here her(r) hari, harya her(i) host
wudu wid vidu (widu) wid wood
burg, burh borg baurg (baurgs) Burg, Burch castle
faeder fodur (fǫður) fadar, atta fader, feder father
tunga tunga tuggo zunga tongue


The Rhovanian Tongues are commonly represented by real-world germanic idioms. In his books Tolkien uses Old Norse (modernised Eddic Forms), Gothic (latinized forms), Anglo-Saxon (Wessex dialect), and rarely Old Frankish, Burgundian, or Lombard (romanized forms). Common English (sometimes archaic English) is used to represent the common tongue Westron.