Tengwar are one of the scripts invented by J.R.R. Tolkien for his fantasy languages. One of the features of this script is its beautiful and natural look, another feature is the fact that a great quantity of languages can be written with it. For further information, see the Links section below.
The document “Modo de escritura «tengwar» para el castellano” (“‘Tengwar’ writing mode for Spanish”) shows how Tengwar can be used to write Spanish texts. The corresponding LaTeX source code is also available.
Tengwar in LaTeX
To help with writing Tengwar with (La)TeX there exists a package
called TengTeX (in
updates, adaptation to
Spanish). However, this method has the drawback that it is not easy to add
or modify writing modes (the correspondence between Latin alphabet and Tengwar)
or change the placement and other features of Tengwar signs. For this reason, I
have created a new LaTeX package called
permits a lower level control of Tengwar script.
The idea behind this new package is to provide a macro for each Tengwar sign,
which will place it appropriately with respect to the previous signs (either
above the precedent sign, or next to it, or below it…). So, by calling
\Ttinco the Tengwa “tinco” is written, and if
after that the macro
\TTthreedots is called, the the three dots
sign will be placed above the previous Tengwa. In this way, a Tengwar text can
be written in a natural way, just like it would be written by hand, although it
is rather cumbersome to type every Tengwa or sign name (there is a solution to
this, see Transcription
Besides the above macros, it is also needed to have suitable fonts for
Tengwar representation. There are several high quality Tengwar fonts, but not
all of them are available in PostScript Type 1 format, the more appropriate for
use with LaTeX; however, it is possible to convert True Type fonts
to Type 1 and, at least if pdfLaTeX is used, ttf format fonts can be used directly
as well. The
TengwarScript supports most popular Tengwar fonts,
including Dan Smith’s fonts, Måns Björkman’s “Tengwar Parmaite” and
Johan Winge’s “Tengwar Annatar”
This package is available, together with usage instructions and examples, right here: tengwarscript-1.3.zip and from CTAN: www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/tengwarscript/.
As mentioned above, the Tengwar script can be used to write a variety of
languages, natural or artificial, but that does not mean there is a direct
equivalence between the letters usually employed in other writing systems (e.g.,
Latin alphabet for English) and Tengwar. The rules for Tengwar writing differ
from language to language, since it is an approximately phonetic writing: just
as the letter
e has different pronunciations in English, Spanish or
French, the equivalence between Latin letters and Tengwar is also different in
these languages. To write Spanish with Tengwar it is recommended to use the
so-called “agreed mode” (lambenor.free.fr/tengwar/espanol.html).
There are other modes for other languages, some of them are described in Amanye
The conversion of a text written in a “normal” alphabet (usually
Latin) into Tengwar is what we call transcription. There are several computer
programs to perform this transcription automatically: Tengwar Scribe, YaTT, KTT. However, these programs are set
for Tengwar fonts with the encoding from Dan Smith’s fonts, and they are not
suitable for generating macros such as
\Ttinco, needed by the
TengwarScript package. Moreover, the configuration files describing
the different transcription modes for these programs are not easy to edit
“by hand” and one has to use specific editors, which are
Windows-only, as far as I know. Therefore, my other project was creating a new
program which was intended to be more versatile and portable, in lack of a
better name it is called
It is easy to guess that
ptt is written in Perl.
This means it can be run on any platform with a Perl
interpreter (Linux, Windows, Mac Os…) and can be very easily modified. In
addition, mode description files for
ptt are also much easier to
edit, since they are plain text files and they use the power of Perl’s
regular expressions. Its main drawback is that it is a text program, with no
buttons, mouse, help menu, etc. But we can survive without that.
ptt program, with user guide, can be obtained here: ptt-1.2.zip. Transcription modes for Quenya and Spanish
are also included (since version 1.2, the Spanish mode has options for, among
other things, using “tehtar” or “full vowels”), which
generate an output suitable for the
TengwarScript package. A
conversion mode for the Dan Smith encoding is provided too.
As a sample, here we have some texts transcribed with
TengwarScript “as is”, with no fix-ups
(for better or worse):
- pdf format: ejemplo-tengwar.pdf [176 KiB]
- png format (extract from the pdf): ejemplo-tengwar.png [125 KiB]
- Descriptionn of the “Tengwar” mode for Spanish (pdf): tengwar-castellano.pdf [314 KiB] (in Spanish)
- LaTeX source code for the descriptionn of the “Tengwar” mode for Spanish: tengwar-castellano.tex [70.1 KiB]
TengwarScriptLaTeX package: tengwarscript-1.3.zip [704 KiB]
ptttranscriber and modes
ptt: ptt-1.2.zip [28.0 KiB]
- Amanye Tenceli (at.mansbjorkman.net/). Måns Björkman’s web page devoted to the scripts designed by J.R.R. Tolkien. An essential visit.
- Instituto lingüístico Lambenor (lambenor.free.fr/). Web page of the comission for languages of the ste (Sociedad Tolkien Española, Spanish Tolkien Society). It has information about languages and scripts invented by J.R.R. Tolkien, in Spanish.
- Dan Smith’s Fantasy Fonts for Windows (www.acondia.com/fonts/). Further information and fonts for writing with Tengwar. Dan Smith’s fonts have become a standard in the field.
- Documentos sobre aspectos de la obra de J.R.R. Tolkien (www.uv.es/~conrad/tolkien.html). Conrado Badenas’s web page including, among other things, “TengTeX-Addendum” (another method for writing Tengwar with TeX and LaTeX) and “UnicodeTengwarParmaite” (the conversion of Måns Björkman’s “Parmaite” to Type 1 format and the proposed Unicode encoding).
- Tengwar Annatar (home.student.uu.se/j/jowi4905/fonts/annatar.html). A set of quite elegant Tengwar fonts in ttf format, designed by Johan Winge.
- Las Tengwar de Fëanor (http://enrombel.byteact.com/). Enrique Mombello’s web page about Tengwar, including the fonts “Tengwar Elfica” and “Tengwar Gothika”.