My friends and I have been poking around the internet for a Sindarin translation of the 'Fellowship' (for tattoo purposes) and keep getting conflicting answers.
Our original idea was 'govannas' because that's movie canon (and looks pretty in Tengwar) -
But we were told that the actual proper conjugation of that word should be 'covas' instead -
But that 'erthas' is a better choice than either of the above (but not as pretty in Tengwar) -
And that 'erthad' is either even better (according to one source) or not valid at all (according to another).
We'd very much appreciate any feedback or guidance you could give.
Hi. For clarity, I must state that you've already had an answer from myself twice (my username at Council of Elrond is Galadivren) in different places. I understand having a tattoo is something that you want to be very sure of that you've got right, so I will happily explain everything again (and hopefully in greater clarity).
'Movie canon' as you call it doesn't exist. The linguist asked to write the dialogue for the films, David Salo, used the linguistic notes available at the time
, and created his own words and forms based on what we knew then. This is a good 16 years ago. Since then we have had multiple journals published containing Tolkien's notes, the most important being in 2007 and 2013. These gave us new vocabulary, new ways of expressing the future tense and confirmation of personal pronouns among other things.
There are two verbs for 'to meet'. Cova-
. The first is transitive (needs an object, e.g. "I meet you"), the second is intransitive (doesn't need an object, e.g. "We will meet"). These were confirmed in the 2007 journal, at least 7 years after the film dialogues were written.
There are then two ways of creating nouns from a verb. The first is to take the gerund form, the ending for which is either -ED or -AD depending on the verb type. Cova- is an A-stem verb and so it takes the -AD ending, making it Covad
= A meeting. Covad- is an I-stem verb and so it takes the -ED ending, making it Covaded
= A meeting. Here
is the evidence showing that we know these are the gerundial endings.
The second way of creating a noun from a verb is to use what is called the 'abstract suffix', which is the ending -AS. This creates something bigger than itself, e.g. 'autumn' from 'fruit', or 'will' from 'inner mind' (see here
). This creates Covas
= A meeting, or Covadas
= A meeting.
However, as the word you want is 'fellowship', a far
better option is to use the verb Ertha- = to unite rather than Cova-/Covad- = to meet. Using what I've said above, this then gives you Erthad = A uniting, or Erthas
= A union, a fellowship.
It concerns me slightly that you mention twice 'looks pretty in Tengwar', and 'but not as pretty in Tengwar'. The answers I have given you are the choice to make for the best Sindarin
. Ultimately, would you rather have something more aesthetically pleasing to you (as you have to look at it), or would you rather know that what it says is correct? There's no 'correct answer' to that question, I have had people come to me who have chosen from both options because that fitted them better.