Like many fictional languages, Tolkien created
How many fictional languages did Tolkien create?
Ardalambion, a fansite devoted to analyzing Tolkien's invented languages, asked exactly that question. According to him, the answer is anywhere between 2 and 20 depending on how liberal you are in defining a language (highlighting his):
If we look at the "historical" versions of the languages relevant to the classical form of the Arda myth, Tolkien developed two languages that are vaguely " usable "are (in the sense that you can write long texts by consciously avoiding the gaps in our language), named about 8-10 other languages that have a minimum of actual substance but are not usable in any way, only fragments of at least 4 other languages delivered and on numerous other languages alluded to that are either entirely fictional or have a known vocabulary of only one or very few actual words.
The entire list is:
Languages with real meat:
Some substance but unusable languages:
- Ikorin, which may or may not be just an extension of Doriathrin
- Khuzdul. Although Tolkien wrote only a small number of words, he revealed in notes that he had planned it in a little more detail
- Taliska reportedly has a grammar, but it has not yet been published
- Black language
Here Ardalambion may or may not count Oromëan, Aulëan, and Melkian, the three well-known dialects of Valarin; provided he certainly makes the numbers more meaningful.
- Different dialects of the orc
- the language of Harad
This list is obviously different from the one discussed in the question; The discrepancy can be made up by including "intermediate forms" of the Elvish languages, which Tolkien extensively revised on the way to his "finished" Quenya and Sindarin, as well as some mannish languages that never had a decent vocabulary or grammar, but rather just some rendered names. These include:
- Primitive Quendian
- Common eldarin
- Goldogrin (that would be Noldorin)
- The language of Dale, in which some names have been rendered
- The language of Rhovanion, which also had some rendered names
And there are a few others that are mentioned but only exist in the name:
- Mithrim, who largely survived in Ilkorin
- The language of Haleth (which had a single word: drûg , their name for the Drúedain)
The list in the book may also include some languages that Tolkien invented as a boy or that were not related to the Legendarium:
Which language, according to the author of this excerpt, is the "fourteenth" depends on the exact definition used, which is not remotely clear. I have contacted the Tolkien Literary Estate directly and will update it when I get a response.
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