A Dunlending Lexicon OR All the Welsh Turbine will make you wish you knew

“Yet there are many that cry in the Dunland tongue,” said Gamling. “I know that tongue. It is an ancient speech of men, and once was spoken in many western valleys of the Mark.”

The Dunlendings are supposed to evoke a flavour of pre-Roman Britain and their culture and manner of dress is obviously inspired by the Celts. In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien only gives us one word from the Dunlending language (forgoil is a term used to refer to the Rohirrim, it seems to mean Strawheads), which leaves Turbine with as much room to play around as they could wish. In Tolkien’s books the Rohirrim are very like the Anglo-Saxons, and Gondor has a good deal in common with Rome; after the Dunlendings had been in Dunland and what is now Rohan for quite some time, the Gondorians and then the Rohirrim settled the area and the Dunlendings were pushed out. The parallel is obvious, and it was a bright move on Turbine’s part to give the Dunlendings the Welsh language (Welsh is a Celtic language, related to Gaelic and to the ancient Celtic dialects spoken in Boudica’s time). Welsh is not a language with which I’m very familiar, but I have seen just enough written Welsh to recognise that the names in Enedwaith and Dunland are modelled on it. A little work with a Welsh/English dictionary and I was certain that the Dunlending language was Welsh with the spelling slightly modified to make it easier on the English reader, much the way the Lossoth of Forochel speak Finnish without the double vowels. Considering that Welsh and Finnish are the two languages after which Tolkien modelled Quenya and Sindarin respectively, including these two languages in the game is an interesting nod to Tolkien’s work. I here attempt to present, alphabetically, every* Welsh-based word in Enedwaith and Dunland. I’ve probably missed something, but I’m hoping my omissions are slight compared to what I’ve included.
*I didn’t bother including the names of NPCs since so few of them have actual meanings, the vast majority of them are merely Welsh given names snagged from the Mabinogion or a baby name book.

The Changes:
The changes are not uniform across all the words, but the shifts listed here are the general trend
(note: the words shouted by the Bugan have had their spellings changed more extensively in order to reflect Black Speech)

  • Where a Welsh word has an f, the Dunlending equivalent has a v
  • Where Welsh has ff, Dunlending has f
  • Where Welsh has wy, Dunlending has u or û
  • Where Welsh has w as a vowel, Dunlending has u or û
  • Where Welsh has y, Dunlending has u
  • Where Welsh has ll, Dunlending has a lh or, in a few cases, a single l
  • Where Welsh had dd, Dunlending has dh or a single d

The Words:

Next to each of Turbine’s Dunlending words, I have the Welsh original and English translation in parentheses.

  • Algraig (allgraig = outlier)
  • Asgurn-capten (asgwrn = bone; capten = captain)
  • Avanc-lûth (the afanc of Welsh legend is a lake monster which is described as looking pretty much like the avanc Turbine let loose in Dunland, the word afanc is also used to mean beaver ; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Avardin (I’m not certain about this one, the closest I can find is: afal = apple; dinas = city)
  • Barnavon (barn = view or opinion; afon = river)
  • Bedh-stones (bedd = grave)
  • Brathach (brath = a wound, stab or bite; ach = ancestry, lineage)
  • Brehur/Brehures (This is the only Dunlending word with both a masculine and a feminine form. However, I cannot seem to find any Welsh original for it. The closest word I’ve found phonetically is Brithwr = Pict)
  • Brenin (brenin = king, sovereign
  • Bröntrig (bron = bank, slope; trig = stay, dwelling)
  • Bugan (bwgan = ghost, bogey)
  • Bûta khi! (bwyta chi = to eat you)
  • Carreglyn (carreg= stone; glyn = glen, valley)
  • Cartrev (cartref = home, household, domicile) the cartrevs of Dunland are associated with personal names.  eg. Cartrev Duved = Duved’s cartrev or home. In the Mabinogion, kingdoms are often described by listing the cartrefs within their bounds.
  • Cartrev Maru (cartref = home, household; marw = dead)
  • Caru-lûth (carw = stag, deer; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Cloben (cloben = monster)
  • Coblun (coblyn = goblin, imp)
  • Colven-unus (colfen = branch, tree; ynys = island)
  • Corrach (corrach = dwarf)
  • Cors Avanc (cors = bog, marsh; afanc = beaver or lake monster, [see avanc-lûth above])
  • Crug (crug = hillock, barrow, heap) Crug shows up in two compounds, Crug Fernvael and Crug Cadelhin, both second words are personal names.
  • Cun Annun (cwn = dog; Annwn = the otherworld or faerie world of Welsh Mythology)  The King of Annwn is often described as having a pack of rather interesting hunting hounds, which would seem to imply that Turbine didn’t invent the Cun Annun. — thanks to Erinreth for pointing this out.
  • Cuthraul (Cythraul = Devil)
  • Cuvnerth (cwff = a cuff or blow; nerth = power, strength, force)
  • Cymunu (Cymynu = to hew, to fell)
  • Derudh (derwydd = druid)
  • Dievlig (dieflig = vicious, diabolic, accursed, unholy)
  • Draig-lûth (ddraig = dragon; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Draig-math (ddraig = dragon; math = type, kind)
  • Draigoch (ddraig = dragon; goch = red)
    Y Ddraig goch is the Welsh name for the critter on the flag.
  • Dremidudh (trem = eye; dydd = day; trem y dydd = eye of the day)
  • Drug Haniad (drwg = evil, bad, hurtful; haniad = derivation, descent)
  • Druggavar (drwg = evil, bad, hurtful; gafr = goat)
  • Duhirun (dihiryn = rascal, scoundrel, blackguard)
  • Durdrú (Dyr = break; Dwr = water; Drwy = through)  the idea in this name seems to be either “[one who goes] through water”, or “to break through [something, probably the player]”.
  • Durgors (dur = steel; gors = marsh, bog, fen)
  • Dutegelh (du = black; tegell = kettle)
  • Dûv corvan (dwf= water; corfan = foot)
  • Duvodiad (dyfodiad = advent, arrival, one who comes, newcomer, stranger)
  • Elhudan (ellyll = fiend, ghost, goblin, fairy, will-o-the-wisp) as for the final syllable,  an is a prefix meaning not or non and dan is a preposition meaning under, but I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be, of even if the last syllable was just thrown on for kicks.
  • Enaid-helgi (enaid = soul, life, ghost; helgi = hound)
  • Flam-Cadlus (fflam = flame, blaze; cadlys = camp, enclosure)
  • Fordh Maru (ffordd = road, way; marw = dead)
  • Galar Culch (galar = mourning, grief, sorrow; cylch = circle, ring)
  • Galar-gwig (galar = mourning, grief, sorrow; gwig = wood)
  • Galtrev (gallt = hill, cliff; tref = town)
  • Gavar Cadlus (gafr = goat; cadlys = camp, enclosure)
  • Gavar-diavol (gafr = goat; diafol = devil)
  • Glewlûd (glew= brave, valiant; llwyd = grey)
  • Glûs (glwys = fair, holy)
  • Gurach (Gwrach = witch or hag)
  • Gwaed Brun (gwaed = blood; bryn = hill)
  • Gwâl Draig (Gwâl = couch, lair, den; Ddraig = dragon)
  • Gwiber (gwiber= viper, adder)
  • Gwirod (gwirod = spirits, liquor) It would seem that someone typed “spirit” into a Welsh/English dictionary but didn’t doublecheck to make sure it was the right kind of spirit.
  • Gwunfardh (gwyn = white; fardd = poet) Kind of an odd name for a giant, isn’t it?
  • Gwyllion (the gwyllion of Welsh legend are spirits or fairies of some sort, which usually take the form of pan-wielding old women (though it seems they can take other forms, including those of goats). The gwylion can be unpleasant, and they enjoy making travellers lose their way,  but they aren’t the nastiest of bogies as long as you’re polite to them.)
  • Harcennun (ennyn = to burn, kindle, ignite.) the first element of this name poses some difficulty, it could be any of the following: archoll = a wound or cut; arch = coffin; ar = on
  • Hebog-lûth (hebog = falcon, hawk; lwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Hen Turrau (hen = old; Tyrrau = towers, heaps)
  • Khinio (cinio = dinner or lunch)
  • Khoblún Utot (coblyn = goblin, imp; I’m finding nothing even resembling “Utot”)
  • Lhaid Ogo (llaid = mud, mire, sludge; ogof = cave)
  • Lhan Bach (llan = parish, village; bach = small, little; can also mean a corner or nook or bend)
  • Lhan Colvarn (llan = parish, village; collfarn = doom, condemnation)
  • Lhan Gogledh (llan = parish, village; gogledd = north)
  • Lhan Rhos (llan = parish, village; rhos = moor, heath)
  • Lhan Tarren (llan = parish, village; tarren = knoll, escarpment)
  • Lhanuch (llan = parish, village; ych = ox)
  • Lhe colvarn (lle= place, room; collfarn = doom, condemnation) this name is literally Doomplace!
  • Lhu Lhechu (llu = a force or host; llechu = to hide or lurk)
  • Lhun Avanc (llyn = lake; avanc = lake monster or beaver)
  • Maer = mayor
  • Malh-gavar (mall = corrupted, rotten, evil; gafar = goat)
  • Maur Tulhau (mawr = big, large, great; tyllau = holes, burrows) this name could be a rendering of Michel Delving (michel is an archaic English word — related to modern much — meaning great or large)
  • Mîn Haerchen (min = edge, brim, verge of a river) as for Haerchen, I can find nothing.
  • Munuv Dûv (mynydd = mountain; dwfr = water)
  • Oirnad culch (dirnad= to discern, comprehend, perceive; cylch = circle, ring) I can’t find anything corresponding to oirnad, but dirnad is only one letter off and the meaning makes sense.
  • Plas Maru (plas = hall, mansion, palace; marw = dead)
  • Pluvun Gwern (plufyn = feather; gwern = meadow, grove)
  • Pren Gwydh (Pren = wood, tree, timber; gwydd = loom OR plough OR goose OR wild, woods) gwydd has way too many meanings and I’ve no way of telling which is intended
  • Pruv Cadlus (pryf = worm, insect, bug; cadlys = camp)
  • Rheg (rheg = curse, swear)
  • Rhi Helvarch (Rhi = king, lord; helfarch = hunter)
    The Rhi Helvarch (or Wild Huntsman, as the Rangers like to call him) is a Maia in service of Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. Turbine rather cunningly made the Rhi Helvarch look like Cernunnos, a horned or antlered Celtic god who is suspiciously similar to Oromë.
    The picture below is Cernunnos as depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron.
  • Rhost khig! (rhost = roasted; cig = meat)
  • Rhuvel-cadlus (rhyfel = war, warfare; cadlys = camp)
  • Sarf Cadlus (sarff = serpent, snake; cadlys = camp)
  • Skud Carchar (cudd = hidden, disguised; carchar = prison, jail) “skud” gives me some difficulties, but “cudd” is similar enough phonetically and the meaning is perfectly suited.
  • Tantafod (tant = string on a musical instrument; tafod = tongue)
  • Trac-plas (trac = track; plas = hall, mansion, palace)
  • Trenghi! (trengi = die)
  • Trum Dreng (trum = ridge; dreng = morose, sullen, harsh)
  • Tuisog (tywysog = prince)
  • Tulwulh-gwirod (twll = hole; wyll = owl, ghost, fiend; gwirod = liquor, spirits)
  • Tûr Morva (twr = tower; morva = moor, fen, marsh)
  • Turch-lûth (twrch = boar; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Uch Cadlus (ych = ox; cadlys = camp)
  • Uch-lûth (ych = ox; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Ufern-helgi (uffern = hell; helgi = hound)
  • Ûmborth! (ymborth = food)
  • Unig-pulh (unig = lonely, abandoned; pwll = pond, pool)
  • Urdhas Culch (urddas = honour, dignity; cylch = circle, ring)
  • Uvel-cadlus (ufel = fire; cadlys = camp)


while compiling this lexicon, the following websites and books were indispensable:

Welsh/English dictionary (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
“What are these darned Bugan saying” (thread on the official LOTRO forums)
Enedwaith dev diary

The Mabinogion. Trans. Jeffrey Gantz. New York: Dorsett Press, 1976. Ellis, Peter Berresford.
The Chronicles of the Celts. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Your Fav Hobbit
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 16:28:29

    Gwirod! Now that is RotFL! 🙂

    I wonder, how long have you been working on putting this all together?


    • Iranon
      Oct 29, 2011 @ 17:43:19

      I’ve been at this since a couple days after the Isengard release. I had to level a character all the way through Dunland and another all the way through Enedwaith, and I’m not the fastest leveler in the world, so it took a few weeks.


  2. Narnian of Vilya
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 00:38:56

    So awesome! I figured there was a Gaelic type linguistic connection, because in Forochel it’s almost complete Finnish as you said. You won’t find this kind of history and culture referenced in other MMOs..


  3. Trackback: weekly screenshot: herne? | StarShadow
  4. suzita
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 09:26:37

    wow – amazing! thanks very much for taking the time to put this together. I’d been running round Enedwaith thinking that everything just seemed… very familiar, I then read about the Welsh inspiration and it all fell into place 🙂


  5. Trackback: lord of the rings language links | StarShadow
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