Legolas pretty quickly gets in the habit of venting about his travelling companions in Elvish, so long as Gandalf & Aragorn aren’t in earshot they’ll never know right?
Then about a week into their journey like
Legolas: *in Elvish, for approximately the 20th time* ugh fucking hobbits, so annoying
Frodo: *also in Elvish, deadpan* yeah we’re the worst
Legolas: ugh fucking hobbits
Merry: Frodo what’d he say
Frodo: I’m not sure he speaks a weird dialect but I think he’s insulting us. I should tell him I can understand Elvish
Merry: I mean you could do that but consider
Merry: you can only tell him ONCE
Frodo: Merry. You’re absolutely right. I’ll wait.
#legolas’ hick accent vs #frodo’s ‘i learned it out of a book’ accent #FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
Legolas: umm well your accent is horrible
Aragorn: *hollering from a distance* HIS ACCENT IS BETTER THAN YOURS LEGOLAS YOU SILVAN HICK
Frodo: Hello. My name is Frodo. I am a Hobbit. How are you?
Frodo, crying: please I can’t understand what you’r saying
Ok, but Frodo didn’t just learn out of a book. He learned like… Chaucerian Elvish. So actually:
Frodo: Good morrow to thee, frend. I hope we twain shalle bee moste excellente companions.
Legolas: Wots that mate? ‘Ere, you avin’ a giggle? Fookin’ ‘obbits, I sware.
Aragorn: *laughing too hard to walk*
i mean, honestly it’s amazing the Elves had as many languages and dialects as they did, considering Galadriel (for example) is over seven thousand years old.
english would probably have changed less since Chaucer’s time, if a lot of our cultural leaders from the thirteenth century were still alive and running things.
they’ve had like. seven generations since the sun happened, max. frodo’s books are old to him, but outside any very old poetry copied down exactly, the dialect represented in them isn’t likely to be older than the Second Age, wherein Aragorn’s foster-father Elrond started out as a very young adult and grew into himself, and Legolas’ father was born.
so like, three to six thousand years old, maybe, which is probably a drop in the bucket of Elvish history judging by all the ethnic differentiation that had time to develop before Ungoliant came along, even if we can’t really tell because there weren’t years to count, before the Trees were destroyed.
plus a lot of Bilbo’s materials were probably directly from Elrond, whose library dates largely from the Third Age, probably, because he didn’t establish Imladris until after the Last Alliance. and Elrond isn’t the type to intentionally help Bilbo learn the wrong dialect and sound sillier than can be helped, even if everyone was humoring him more than a little.
so Frodo might sound hilariously formal for conversational use (though considering how most Elves use Westron he’s probably safe there) and kind of old-fashioned, but he’s not in any danger of being incomprehensible, because elves live on such a ridiculous timescale.
to over-analyse this awesome and hilarious post even more, legolas’ grandfather was from linguistically stubborn Doriath and their family is actually from a somewhat different, higher-status ethnic background than their subjects.
so depending on how much of a role Thranduil took in his upbringing (and Oropher in his), Legolas may have some weird stilted old-fashioned speaking tics in his Sindarin that reflect a more purely Doriathrin dialect rather than the Doriathrin-influenced Western Sindarin that became the most widely spoken Sindarin long before he was born, or he might have a School Voice from having been taught how to Speak Proper and then lapse into really obscure colloquial Avari dialect when he’s being casual. or both!
considering legolas’ moderately complicated political position, i expect he can code-switch.
…it’s also fairly likely considering the linguistic politics involved that Legolas is reasonably articulate in Sindarin, though with some level of accent, but knows approximately zero Quenya outside of loanwords into Sindarin, and even those he mostly didn’t learn as a kid.
which would be extra hilarious when he and gimli fetch up in Valinor in his little homemade skiff, if the first elves he meets have never been to Middle Earth and they’re just standing there on the beach reduced to miming about what is the short beard person, and who are you, and why.
this is elvish dialects and tolkien, okay. there’s a lot of canon material! he actually initially developed the history of middle-earth specifically to ground the linguistic development of the various Elvish languages!
Legolas: Alas, verily would I have dispatched thine enemy posthaste, but y’all’d’ve pitched a feckin’ fit.
Aragorn: *eyelid twitching*
Frodo: *frantically scribbling* Hang on which language are you even speaking right now
Pippin, confused: Is he not speaking Elvish?
Frodo, sarcastically: I dunno, are you speaking Hobbit?
Boromir, who has been lowkey pissed-off at the Hobbits’ weird dialect this whole time: That’s what it sounds like to me.
Merry, who actually knows some shit about Hobbit background: We are actually speaking multiple variants of the Shire dialect of Westron, you ignorant fuck.
Sam, a mere working-class country boy: Honestly y’all could be talkin Dwarvish half the time for all I know.
#Middle Earth #language #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #my past self has good taste #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what