Not all those who wander are lost

He did it!

Looi Seng Chuen

I, Erunno Alcarinollo alongside my Quenya student Ondo Carniliono, come hereby to announce, we truly and faithfully bow down before him, Looi Seng Chuen, the One who accomplished something beyond our wild expectations! BEHOLD:

Queni ya ranya ullumë vanwë umir

The One (as henceforth he will be formally addressed here) took the poetic Quenya version of the Tolkien’s poem translated by Ondo and revised by me (which you can read here) and had it tattooed!!!! Beautifully tattooed, by the way!

Differently of most people, who take the sentence written in the Tengwar English Mode (with that awful misconception of silent e’s),

Vowels are made to come ABOVE tengwar! Not below, not on the side, not diagonally...

The One did it in great style!

If you are a Tolkien fan, if you love the Quenya language, if you admire the aesthetically wondrous Tengwar alphabet, you must laud and salute Looi Seng Chuen (a.k.a. The One) at his tumblr, at his twitter…everywhere! Commend The One as a true example of what a perfect Tengwar tattoo should be like! You heard me:


White Tree Award



Filed under News, Quenya, Tattoo, Tengwar, The Lord Of The Rings

25 responses to “Not all those who wander are lost

  1. Elsa

    So is the ‘perfect’ one Quenya but written in Tengwar?

  2. Isha

    For the English mode, vowels go below the tengwar when silent.

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  8. shadow-passion

    those two tattoos about which you are discussing are different like chalk and cheese. I just want to know are they both good transcriptions (into Tengwar ofc) of “Not all those who wander are lost” ? thank you

  9. Telumel

    Um…the person whose tattoo you mock has it perfect (I disagree with two of his spelling choices but they’re within acceptable variance and consistent with each other). The use of an underdot for following silent e in English goes back to the first published tengwar sample, the title page of The Fellowship of the Ring. If vowel quality is not marked otherwise (as it is not in the spelling system the tattooed uses), following silent e must be marked to indicate vowel quality; otherwise “hat” and “hate” would be impossible to distinguish!

    Quenya, lacking silent e’s and vowel quality determined by whether the syllable was open or closed 700 years ago, uses the underdot (unutixe) as a “killer” to suppress inherent a in an obscure mode. In that mode, “calma” would be spelled calma-lambe-unutixe-malta, not calma-a-lambe-malta-a.

    • Perfect is just a strong word to that case. Tengwar alphabet is perfect indeed for its original languages (Quenya and Sindarin). For other languages, it’s just an adaptation, full of miscues sometimes. Any mechanism that goes back to the first published tengwar sample does not constitute an updated and unchangeable fact, as we are aware that Tolkien changed his mind back and forth all the time AND there are still unpublished material waiting the see the light of day.

      What did you say about Quenya? Please, enlighten me with this “unutixë” you say “to suppress inherent a in an obscure mode”.

      • Telumel

        One difference between the English modes (of which there are many!) and modes for other modern languages is that the English modes were devised by Tolkien himself. English spelling is so complex that there is a huge gap between “orthographic” and “phonetic” modes, and even “orthographic” modes make some concession to the actual sounds of English, so tengwar spelling isn’t fixed. It’s not hard to make mistakes, but there are many spellings that you might not use yourself but are within the acceptable range of variation in the mode (for this tattoo, English tehta orthographic as on the title pages of the Lord of the Rings). In a strict sense, you can’t call those spellings “perfect” because there is no one standard to reach, but what I meant is that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in that tattoo. You’re just confused by an unfamiliar mode, which puts you in good company.

        There is a description of the Quenya mode with unutixe here: I’m batting around the idea of using it for a Quenya UI to cut down on the clutter of tehtar, but readability is an issue since it’s so far outside the norm. I sometimes use it when writing quickly, but wouldn’t use it in a classroom of new students.

      • Steve T

        the fact that you say its an “adaptation” is just semantics. Sure, it’s an adaptation, if it was adapted by the CREATOR of the original languages, and used by him as well.


        • And that’s the power we have to use what the creator left for us, adapt it to our modern world and keep his work always alive!

          Yes, pretty seriously!

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