I’m not quite sure, but I think this is the very first post with a title in Sindarin, they grey cousin of Quenya. You may ask: Why? What does it mean? It means the same thing as the previous post on this series (Quendi & Eldar).
I’m not familiar also with this grey language of my distant mother land, but after reading a little bit about some linguistic and cultural comparisons in The History Of Middle-Earth Volume XI: The War Of The Jewels, p.372 ff. I got interested in understanding better what moved the different concepts about their own identity among elves from different places and “tribes”.
Below, you’ll find an analysis of all the Sindarin words related to Elves in general. Compare them with the previous post. It’s an interesting insight about the subject.
Pin = The singular form “pen” (pl. pin) simply means “one, somebody, anybody”. It sprung up from the Primitive Quendian term kwende which later developed quendi in Quenya. Differently from its Quenya counterpart, pen did not survive into the linguistic evolution of Sindarin, except in compounds where it was mutated to ben (e.g.: rochben = rider, lit. one who rides). The Sindar had not need to distinguish themselves before the return of the Noldor, so there was no use for the term pen as a cultural equivalent of quendi and the distinction it brought. The Sindar were one clan under one language and that’s all that they knew and were interested to know.
Moerbin = The singular form “morben” (pl. moerbin or merbin) is the equivalent of moriquendi in Quenya (dark-elves). It was used by the Sindar as a synonym of Avari, just like one of the meanings of Moriquendi. However, here’s the intriguing deal: the Sindar also used the same name, moerbin, to call everyone who came from outside Beleriand. Any Incarnate! Men, dwarves, orcs…it doesn’t matter. Let’s call “moerbin” (lit. dark-ones). The first ones to be called moerbin were the Nandor, after came the Three Houses of Men. Of course, later on those new people got their own place in history and they started being called by their own names. To conclude, moerbin was too wide as a term and that’s the reason when a Sinda wanted to distinguish an Avar from any other Morben, he used Mornedhel (lit. dark-elf).
Edhil = The singular form “edhel” means simply Elf. It encompasses any elf from anywhere. It’s close to what quendë means in Quenya. The language of the elves (Sindarin) was called Edhellen (lit. Elvish) because as mentioned above, the Sindar were the only ones. They were not worried to distinguish themselves among other people, as there were not other people to be distinguished in first place.
To be continued with the Teleri view of this whole elvish mess…