Have you ever wanted to speak like the elf Legolas or the dwarf Gimli? With the latest keycaps from keyboard enthusiast shop and vendor Drop, communicating through The Lord of the Rings‘ Elvish or Dwarvish languages is just a mechanical key press away.
The Drop + The Lord of the Rings MT3 Elvish Keycap Set and Drop + The Lord of the Rings MT3 Dwarvish Keycap Set announced Wednesday are PBT plastic keycaps that fit on any mechanical keyboard switch with Cherry MX-style stems. The kits come in Elvish or Dwarvish for those already familiar with the languages (or those who can touch-type). Anyone who isn’t so multi-lingual may want to opt for the kits that include English letters in smaller print next to the J.R.R. Tolkien-language characters.
Drop used dye-sublimation for the legends, which means the inscriptions are permanently stained on and won’t fade. The characters on the keycaps are also accurate, meaning you could use them to teach yourself the fictional languages. And as noted by Matteo “Matt3o” Spinelli, who created the keycaps, you could further your studies by downloading Elvish and Dwarvish fonts.
Of course, there are several Elvish and Dwarvish languages in The Lord of the Rings. According to Drop, the flowy, flowery characters on the main keys of the Elvish set are “faithful translations of corresponding Sindarin terms.” Matt3o explained in an October blog post that Sindarin was chosen because there’s a larger dictionary available and “a lot of examples written by Tolkien himself.”
The modifiers, however, like Backspace, Enter, and Home, are in Tengwar, the ancient Elvish language found in the ring. Yeah, that ring. Drop’s website provides a pronunciation guide and translations for the modifier keys (for example, Caps Lock is translated as “pedi caun,” or “speak loud”).
The Dwarvish keycaps, meanwhile, use rune-like legends depicting the Cirth written language, with modifiers (and translations) to match. The modifiers may technically be considered Erebor, according to Matt3o, who said that, “while you can consider the alpha/numerics Cirth-truthful, don’t mind the modifiers too much.”
Matt3o considered including Khuzdul but said there wasn’t enough literature available. “A clear example is with numbers; we don’t know how to count past 6 in Dwarvish,” Matt3o explained.
The keycaps are available in different configurations, including spacebars only, modifiers only, numpad keycaps, and sets for full-size keyboards. They use the Matt3o-created MT3 profile, a taller, chunkier, more retro-looking style of keycap with deep dishes. I recently tried MT3s in the Drop Islay Night keyboard and loved how the dishes cradled my fingertips.
A full set of Lord of the Rings keycaps goes for $100 during the current two-month preorder period but is expected to cost $125 eventually.
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