Is there a reason for the Esperanto name of the The Lord of the Rings having a ''' (single quote) in its name? I mean, it's "La mastro de l' ringoj", but why isn't it "la ringoj"? Is it some kind of Esperanto slang? I haven't noticed thing like it anywhere else.

I think it would be hard to pronounce as "lringoj", as it starts and ends with consonants, but I could imagine it as 'd'Italio'. But why is the 'la' cut off before the 'ringoj'?

2 Answers 2


The "la" can be shortened to "l'" for artistic purposes. And I've always imagined we would pronounce the title as "del ringoj" (add the l' to the de, rather than to the ringoj).

  • That is correct, and it does occur in some other places, not just in this one title. It might be of interest to you, kry, to go to tekstaro.com and search for the string "\bl'\b" (remove the double quotation marks), and you will find several more examples. Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 13:43

Dropping the a of la is not slang and it’s actually the 16th rule of the fundamento:

  1. The a of the article, and final o of substantives, may be sometimes dropped euphoniae gratia, e.g. de l’ mond'o for de la mond'o; Ŝiller’ for Ŝiller'o; in such cases an apostrophe should be substituted for the discarded vowel.

However it’s not very common in speech and it’s mostly used in poetry or lyrics. For example it can be found several times in La Espero which was written by Zamenhof:

Sub la sankta signo de l' espero
kolektiĝas pacaj batalantoj,
kaj rapide kreskas la afero
per laboro de la esperantoj.

It also appears in the title of the Esperanto translation of one of the books of Tintin: La Templo de l’ Suno.

According to PMEG, it is usually only used after a preposition that ends in a vowel and then the l is pronounced as if it was part of the previous word. So in these examples the de l’ is pronounced del. Note however that the l’ is always written as a separate word.

  • 4
    It's worth mentioning that "16th rule" about dropping the "a" of "la" and the "o" of nouns was added specifically to make it easier to write poetry and songs in Esperanto. Using it in prose is usually discouraged, but it can be used to give something a more poetic ring to it. I get the impession that it's used in "La Majstro de l' Ringoj" and "La Templo de l' Suno" to give the titles more gravity. The poetic form and the resulting rhythm of the syllables lend themselves better to a grandiose or solemn way of pronouncing it than when "la" is pronounced in full.
    – Raizin
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 23:18

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