THE TWO DIALECTS
There are to main Elvish dialects: Quenya and Sindarin. Quenya (High Elven) is the language of the Elves who lived in Valinor. However, Sindarin (Grey Elven) is the language of the Elves who never came to Valinor. Sindarin eventually became the main language of the Elves who left Valinor to go to Middle-earth (if you want, read these stories in The Silmarillion).
Quenya is based on Finnish and Latin while Sindarin is based on Welsh. Both languages can be very similar at time, for instance, the Quenya word for “moon” is isil, while, on the other hand, in Sindarin, the word for “moon” is ithil. The Quenya word for “sun” is anar, while the Sindarin form is anor.
Here are the hardest pronunciations first:
U – The letter ‘U’ is pronounced “oo.” It’s a different pronunciation than if I wrote “door,” you would think it would be pronounced “dore”, right? Well, try to say dûr, but thing of it as saying “do” with an “r” on the end. Great!
CH – This is very hard to master. If the ‘CH’ is at the end of a word, as in “lach” which means “flame”, then it is pronounced like the Scottish “loch”. However, if the ‘CH’ is at the beginning of the word, as in “chae” which means “earth”, the nearest pronunciation is an “H”. Here is a sound clip from the Fellowship of the Ring to listen to that may help you: http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/sounds/opening_words.wav
“I amar prestart aen. Han mathon ne nen. Han mathon ne chae. A han noston ned ‘wilith.” – Galadriel from the Fellowship of the Ring
DH – This sounds like ‘TH’, however, there are two ways of saying ‘TH’ in English: There is ‘TH’ as in “hath” and ‘TH’ as in “these”. Words in Elvish with ‘DH’ in them (i.e. ‘Hadhafang which means “Throng-cleaver”) should be pronounced like “these” rather than “hath”.
It’s confusing, yes, but keep at it, and you’ll get it!