Westron is a descendant of Adunaic
, the tongue of Númenor. Understandably, the elf-friends (elvellyn) associated the Númenorians who rebelled against the Valar with it, and allowed it to become Westron, or Adûni or Sôval Phârë (Common Speech) as the characters in Lord of the Rings
would have called it and which Tolkien translated as Westron. By the Third Age, the Lord of the Rings Appendices
tell us, Westron had become the mother tongue of all Middle-Earth
ers except the elves
. One of the reasons Lord of the Rings is so difficult to translate is that Tolkien spent a lot of time 'translating' Westron (the supposed original language of Lord of the Rings) into English. The Hobbit
s spoke a 'rustic dialect' of Westron, which must have seemed strange in Gondor
is from the same origin as Westron, but is considerably more archaic, which is why Tolkien translated it as Old English
In reality, the Hobbits were never called Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry, they were called Maura (wise), Ban (Half, short for 'Halfwise' Banazir), Razar and Kali. Tolkien came up with the word hobbit early in the century, and wanted to find an Old English root -- a word that possibly could have evolved into 'hobbit'. The root he found was hobytla, hole-builder, a term found in Old English but not in Modern English. In the same way, he decided to make the Hobbits' own word for Hobbit 'kuduk', which evolved from the 'Ancient Mannish' word kûd-dûkan which, like holbytla is not a modern word, but also means 'hole-builder'. In the same way, Kali means 'merry', and is translated as such, but Kali comes from a longer name 'Kalimac', which no longer had any meaning in Modern Westron just as the 'full' form of Merry, Meriadoc, has no meaning in Modern English. Kuduk is a word used only in the Hobbitish dialect of Westron -- the standard word was banakil (halfling).
The Ardalambion Westron article states that in a private communication to the author, Helge Fauskanger, David Salo wrote: "The consonant sounds of late Adunaic and Westron are almost the same. They have in common p, b, t, d, k, g, m, n, ng, r, ph, th, s, z, h, y, l." Erstron also has the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the long vowels â, ê, î, ô, û.
A complete listing of all the attested endings:
- Plural: -in
- Masculine: -a (Hence: Maura, Bilba (Bilbo, English tanslation)
- Agental: -a
- Adjectival: -n
- Past participle: -nin (??)
- Definite article: -t
Like English, Westron used to be a case language but lost its case endings. It seems Adunaic became a case language and then 'regressed'.
Nearly all information here comes from Peoples of Middle-Earth, the Lord of the Rings Appendices or Helge Fauskanger's excellent Westron article found at http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/westron.htm.