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Encyclopedia > Tengwar
Tengwar
Type Alternative abugida or alphabet according to mode
Spoken languages a number of the languages of Middle-earth, including Quenya and Sindarin
Created by J. R. R. Tolkien (in-universe, Fëanor)
Time period 1930s–present (in-universe, Years of the Sun)
Parent systems Sarati
Tengwar
ISO 15924 Teng and/or 290

Tengwar is an artificial script which was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien. In his works, the Tengwar script, supposedly invented by Fëanor, was used to write a number of the languages of Middle-earth, including Quenya and Sindarin. However, it can also be used to write other languages, such as English (most of Tolkien's Tengwar samples are actually in English). The word tengwar is Quenya for "letters". The corresponding singular is tengwa, "letter". The languages of Middle-earth are artificial languages invented by J. R. R. Tolkien and used in his books about Middle-earth, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. ... Quenya is one of the fictional languages spoken by the Elves (the Quendi) the ones who speak. The first-found children of Ilúvatar, in the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Sindarin is an artificial language (or conlang) developed by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, Fëanor is a fictional character who is central to Tolkiens mythology as told in The Silmarillion. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Years of the Sun are the last of the three great time-periods of Arda, together with the Years of the Lamps and the Years of the Trees. ... Sarati is an artificial script which was created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... ISO 15924, Codes for the representation of names of scripts, defines two sets of codes for a number of writing systems (scripts). ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Image File history File links Tengwar_sample. ... Image File history File links Tengwar_sample. ... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated UDHR) is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... An artificial or constructed script (also conscript or neography) is a new writing system specifically created by an individual or group, rather than having evolved as part of a language or culture like a natural script. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, Fëanor is a fictional character who is central to Tolkiens mythology as told in The Silmarillion. ... The languages of Middle-earth are artificial languages invented by J. R. R. Tolkien and used in his books about Middle-earth, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. ... Quenya is one of the fictional languages spoken by the Elves (the Quendi) the ones who speak. The first-found children of Ilúvatar, in the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Sindarin is an artificial language (or conlang) developed by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other uses of number, see number (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Internal history and terminology

According to The War of the Jewels (Appendix D to Quendi and Eldar), Fëanor when he created his script introduced a change in terminology. He called a letter, i.e. a written representation of a spoken phoneme (tengwë) a tengwa. Previously, any letter or symbol had been called a sarat (from *sar "incise"), especially the alphabet of Rúmil of Valinor on which Fëanor supposedly based his was known as Sarati, but became later also known as "Tengwar of Rúmil". The plural of tengwa was tengwar, and this is the name by which Fëanor's system became known. Since, however, in commonly used modes, an individual tengwa was equivalent to a consonant, the term tengwar in popular use became equivalent to "consonant sign", and the vowel signs were known as ómatehtar. By loan-translation, the tengwar became known as tîw (singular têw) in Sindarin, when they were introduced to Beleriand. The letters of the earlier alphabet native to Sindarin were called cirth (singular certh, probably from *kirte "cutting", and thus semantically analogous to, and cognate with, Quenya sarat). This term was loaned into exilic Quenya as certa, plural certar. The War of the Jewels is the 11th volume of Christopher Tolkiens series The History of Middle-earth, analysing the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, Rúmil was a Loremaster of the Ñoldor living in the city of Tirion. ... Valinor (meaning Land of the Valar) is a fictional location from J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, the realm of the Valar in Aman. ... Sarati is an artificial script which was created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ...   This chart showing the runes shared by the Angerthas Daeron and Angerthas Moria is presented in Appendix E of The Return of the King. ... Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


External history

Precursors

The sarati, described in Parma Eldalamberon 13, a script developed by J. R. R. Tolkien in the late 1910s, anticipates many features of the tengwar, especially the vowel representation by diacritics (which is found in many tengwar varieties), different tengwar shapes and a few correspondences between sound features and letter shape features (though inconsistent). Sarati is an artificial script which was created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Parma Eldalamberon (Quenya The Book of Elven-tongues) is a journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship dedicated to the linguistics of J. R. R. Tolkiens Languages of Middle-Earth. ... // The 1910s represent the culmination of European militarism which had its beginnings during the second half of the 19th Century. ... Example of a letter with a diacritic A diacritic or diacritical mark, also called an accent, is a small sign added to a letter to alter pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ...


Even closer to the tengwar is the Valmaric script, described in Parma Eldalamberon 14, which J. R. R. Tolkien used from about 1922 to 1925. It features many tengwar shapes, the inherent vowel [a] found in some tengwar varieties, and the tables in the samples V12 and V13 show an arrangement that is very similar to the one of the primary tengwar in the classical Quenya "mode". Parma Eldalamberon (Quenya The Book of Elven-tongues) is a journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship dedicated to the linguistics of J. R. R. Tolkiens Languages of Middle-Earth. ... Year 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Jim Allan (An introduction to Elvish, ISBN 0-905220-10-2) compared the tengwar with the Universal Alphabet of Francis Lodwick of 1686, both on grounds of the correspondence between shape features and sound features, and of the actual letter shapes. Francis Lodwick (or Lodowick) (1619–1694) was a pioneer of a priori languages. ... 1686 (MDCLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Coincidential resemblances to Brahmic scripts, hangul, the Armenian alphabet, and (for the tehtar) the Hebrew alphabet have been noted. The Brahmic family is a family of abugidas used in South Asia and Southeast Asia. ... Jamo redirects here. ... The Armenian alphabet is an alphabet that has been used to write the Armenian language since the 5th century. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


Tengwar

The tengwar were probably developed in the late 1920s or in the early 1930s. The Lonely Mountain Jar Inscription, the first published tengwar sample, dates to 1937 (The Hobbit, most editions). The full explanation of the tengwar was published in Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings in 1955. The 1920s they were sexy referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the [[. In East Asia, the rise of militarism occurred. ... For other uses, see Hobbit (disambiguation) and There and Back Again (disambiguation). ... This article is about the novel. ...


The Mellonath Daeron Index of Tengwar Specimina (DTS) lists 74 known samples of tengwar by Tolkien.


There are only few known samples predating publication of The Lord of the Rings (many of them published posthumously):

  • DTS 1 – The Lonely Mountain Jar Inscription, published 1937
  • DTS 13 – Middle Page from the Book of Mazarbul
  • DTS 14 – Last Page from the Book of Mazarbul, Last Line, this and the above one originally prepared for inclusion in The Lord of the Rings
  • DTS 15 – Steinborg Drawing Title
  • DTS 22 – Ilbereth's Greeting from The Father Christmas Letters, dating to 1937
  • DTS 24 – The Treebeard Page
  • DTS 50/51 – Edwin Lowdham's Manuscript from The Notion Club Papers has Old English language text written in tengwar (with a few Adûnaic and Quenya words), dating to 1945/6.
  • DTS 10 – The Brogan Tengwa-greetings, appearing in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, No. 118, tentatively dated to 1948.
  • The following samples presumably predate the Lord of the Rings, but they were not explicitly dated: DTS 16, DTS 17, DTS 18 – Elvish Script Sample I, II, III, with parts of the English poems Errantry and Bombadil, first published in the Silmarillion Calendar 1978, later in Pictures by J. R. R. Tolkien, as well as DTS 23 – So Lúthien, a page of the English Lay of Leithan text facsimiled in The Lays of Beleriand:299.

A few other samples, e.g. a tengwar mode for Gothic are known to exist, but remain unpublished to date [1]. The Father Christmas Letters is a collection of letters written by Father Christmas to J.R.R Tolkiens children. ... The Notion Club Papers is the title of an abandoned novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, written during 1945 and published posthumously in Sauron Defeated, the 9th volume of The History of Middle-earth. ... Old English redirects here. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Adûnaic (language of the west) was the language of the Men of Númenor during the Second Age. ... The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (ISBN 0-618-05699-8) is a selection of J. R. R. Tolkiens letters published in 1981, edited by Tolkiens biographer Humphrey Carpenter assisted by Christopher Tolkien. ... The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985, is the third volume of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. ...


Spelling and pronunciation

Modes

Just as with any alphabetic writing system, every specific language written in tengwar requires a specific orthography, depending on the phonology of that language. These tengwar orthographies are usually called modes. Writing systems of the world today. ... The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system to write the language. ... Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ...


Some modes, called ómatehtar (or vowel tehtar) modes, are abugidas representing vowels with diacritics called tehtar ("signs"; corresponding singular: tehta, "sign"), while other modes, called full writing modes, represent vowels by full letters. These ómatehtar modes can be loosely considered consonant scripts rather than complete alphabets. Some modes map the basic consonants to /t/, /p/, /k/ and /kʷ/, while others use them to represent /t/, /p/, /tʃ/ and /k/. Some modes follow pronunciation, while others follow traditional orthography. The "full writing" modes are sometimes called Beleriandic modes because a well-known "full writing" mode is called the "mode of Beleriand". An inscription of Swampy Cree using Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, an abugida developed by Christian missionaries for Aboriginal Canadian languages An abugida (from Ge‘ez አቡጊዳ ’äbugida) is a segmental writing system in which each letter (basic character) represents a consonant accompanied by a specific vowel; other vowels are indicated by modification... Example of a letter with a diacritic A diacritic or diacritical mark, also called an accent, is a small sign added to a letter to alter pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ... For other uses of number, see number (disambiguation). ... The first five letters of the Phoenician abjad, from right to left An abjad, sometimes also called a consonantary or consonantal alphabet, is a type of writing system in which there is one symbol per consonantal phoneme. ... An alphabet is a complete standardized set of letters—basic written symbols—each of which roughly represents a phoneme of a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it may have been in the past. ... The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system to write the language. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Beleriand was the region of northwestern Middle-earth during the First Age. ...


Since the publication of the first official description of the Tengwar at the end of The Lord of the Rings, others have created modes for other languages such as English, Spanish, German, French, Finnish, Italian, Esperanto and Lojban. This article is about the novel. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... This article is about the language. ... Lojban (IPA ) is a constructed human language based on predicate logic. ...


Tolkien has used multiple modes for English, including full writing and ómatehtar alphabetic modes, phonetic full modes and phonetic ómatehtar modes known from documents published after his death.


Tengwar letters

The most notable characteristic of the tengwar script is that the shapes of the letters correspond to the distinctive features of the sounds they represent. In linguistics, distinctive features are the elements which distinguish one phoneme or allophone from one another. ...


Most letters are constructed by a combination of two basic shapes: a vertical stem (either long or short) and either one or two rounded bows (which may or may not be underlined, and may be on the left or right of the stem).


These principal letters are divided into four series ("témar") that correspond to the main places of articulation and into six rows ("tyeller") that correspond to the main manners of articulation. Both vary among modes. Places of articulation (passive & active): 1. ... In linguistics, manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, and other speech organs involved in making a sound make contact. ...


Each series is headed by the basic signs composed of a vertical stem descending below the line, and a single bow. These basic signs represent the voiceless stop consonants for that series. For the classical Quenya mode, they are /t/, /p/, /k/ and /kʷ/, and the series are named tincotéma, parmatéma, calmatéma, and quessetéma, respectively; téma means "series" in Quenya. In phonetics, phonation is the use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ...


In rows of the general use, there are the following correspondences between letter shapes and manners of articulation:

  • Doubling the bow turns the voiceless consonant into a voiced one.
  • Raising the stem above the line turns it into the corresponding fricative.
  • Shortening it (so it is only the height of the bow) creates the corresponding nasal. It must be noted though that in most modes, the signs with shortened stem and single bow don't correspond to the voiceless nasals, but to the approximants.

Here is an example from the parmatéma (the signs with a closed bow on the right side) in the general use: In phonetics, phonation is the use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... Fricatives (or spirants) are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... In phonetics, phonation is the use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ...

  • The basic sign (with descending stem) represents /p/ (it happens to look much like the Latin letter P).
  • With the bow doubled, it represents /b/.
  • With a raised stem, it represents /f/.
  • With a raised stem and a doubled bow, it represents /v/.
  • With a short stem and double bow, it represents /m/.
  • With short stem and single bow, it represents /w/.

There are additional letters that don't have regular shapes. They may represent e.g. /r/, /l/, /s/ and /h/. Their use varies considerably from mode to mode. Some aficionados have added more letters not found in Tolkien's writings for use in their modes. Image File history File links This is the parmatéma of J. R. R. Tolkiens tengwar script (in general use). This image makes use of the tengwar font tengwar annatar 1. ...


Encoding schemes

Non-Unicode

The contemporary de facto standard in the tengwar user community maps the tengwar characters onto the ISO 8859-1 character encoding following the example of the tengwar typefaces by Dan Smith. This implies a major flaw: If no corresponding tengwar font is installed, an awful string of nonsense characters appears. De facto is a Latin expression that means in fact or in practice. It is commonly used as opposed to de jure (meaning by law) when referring to matters of law or governance or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without... ISO 8859-1, more formally cited as ISO/IEC 8859-1 or less formally as Latin-1, is part 1 of ISO/IEC 8859, a standard character encoding originally developed by ISO, but later jointly maintained by ISO and IEC. The standard, when supplemented with additional character assignments, is the... The UTF-8-encoded Japanese Wikipedia article for mojibake, as displayed in ISO-8859-1 encoding. ...


Since there are not enough places in ISO 8859-1's 191 codepoints for all the signs used in tengwar orthography, certain signs are included in a "tengwar A" font which also maps its characters on ISO 8859-1, overlapping with the first font.


For each tengwar diacritic, there are four different codepoints that are used depending on the width of the character which bears it.


Other tengwar typefaces with this encoding include Johan Winge's Tengwar Annatar, Måns Björkman's Tengwar Parmaite, Enrique Mombello's Tengwar Élfica or Michal Nowakowski's Tengwar Formal (note that most of these differ in details).


The following sample shows the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written in English, according to the traditional English orthography. It should look similar to the picture at the top of the page, but if no tengwar font is installed, it will look a random jumble of characters because the corresponding ISO 8859-1 characters will appear instead. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated UDHR) is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). ... English orthography (or spelling), has relatively complicated rules when compared to other orthographic systems written with alphabetic scripts and contains many inconsistencies between spelling and pronunciation, necessitating rote learning for most people learning to read or write English. ...

j#¸ 9t&5# w`Vb%_ 6EO w6Y5 e7`V`V 2{( zèVj# 5% 2x%51T`Û 2{( 7v%1+- 4hR 7EO 2{$yYO2 y4% 7]F85^ 2{( z5^8I`B5$I( 2{( dyYj2 zE1 1yY6E2_ 5^( 5#4^(6 5% `C 8q7T1T W w74^(692^H --

Note: Internet Explorer may not display these characters properly. Windows Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer abbreviated MSIE), commonly abbreviated to IE, is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included as part of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems starting in 1995. ...


Unicode

A proposal has been made to include the Tengwar in the Unicode standard. The codepoints are subject to change; the range U+016000 to U+01607F in the SMP is tentatively allocated for Tengwar according to the current Unicode roadmap. The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Unicode reserves 1,114,112 (= 220 + 216) code points, and currently assigns characters to more than 96,000 of those code points. ...


Tengwar are also proposed for inclusion in the unofficial ConScript Unicode Registry, which assigns codepoints in the Private Use Area. Tengwar are mapped to the range U+E000 to U+E07F; see External links. The ConScript Unicode Registry is a volunteer project to coordinate the assignment of code points in the Unicode Private Use Area for the encoding of artificial scripts. ... Unicode reserves 1,114,112 (= 220 + 216) code points, and currently assigns characters to more than 96,000 of those code points. ...


The following Unicode sample (which repeats the one above) is meaningful when viewed under a typeface supporting Tengwar glyphs in the area defined in the ConScript Tengwar proposal. Some typefaces that support this proposal are James Kass's Code2000 and Code2001. (The Tengwar Telcontar Unicode font uses an incompatible version of the proposal.) “Font” redirects here. ... Code2000 is a digital font which includes characters and symbols from a very large range of writing systems. ... In digital typography, James Kasss Code2000 OpenType font is designed to support as much of the Unicode standard, version 4. ...

                              

Non Middle-earth usage

  • Tengwar script appears in a bound volume in the Within Temptation music video for "Stand My Ground", though it appears to be a random selection of letters, with a tehta vowel appearing about every five words or so. Many tengwar are also repeated for no apparent reason.
  • Another instance of this stylistic use of tengwar is the computer game Atlantis: The Lost Tales; again the tengwar are used meaninglessly.
  • Spanish footballer Fernando Torres has a tattoo on the inside of his left arm that reads "Fernando" in Tengwar.
  • Actors Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean have tattoos of the English word nine written in Quenya-mode Tengwar. Contrary to popular belief, these tattoos do not spell out the "Elvish" (Quenya or Sindarin) word for nine (Quenya nertë or Sindarin neder) but instead simply the letters for the English word nine in Tengwar. (John Rhys-Davies sent his stunt double to get the tattoo). They had them done after the filming of the film trilogy "The Lord of the Rings", since the characters they played were the members of the Fellowship of the Ring (which had nine members).

Within Temptation is a Symphonic Metal band from the Netherlands. ... A footballer is a person who plays one of the various games known as football – especially association football, although the term is also used to refer to participants in Australian rules football and Gaelic football. ... Fernando José Torres Sanz (born 20 March 1984) is a Spanish football player currently playing for Liverpool. ... The examples and perspective in this article do not represent a worldwide view. ... Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28, 1981) is an American actor. ... Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CBE (born May 25, 1939) is an English stage and screen actor, the recipient of a Tony Award and two Oscar nominations. ... Orlando Jonathan Blanchard Bloom[1] (born 13 January 1977) is an English actor. ... Sean Astin (born Sean Patrick Duke[1] on February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California) is a film actor, director, and Oscar-nominated producer best known for his film roles as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... Billy Boyd (born 28 August 1968 in Glasgow) is a Scottish actor most widely known for playing Peregrin Took (Pippin), in the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and Barrett Bonden in Peter Weirs film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). ... Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. ... Shaun Mark Bean (born 17 April 1959) is an English film and stage actor. ... For other uses, see Tattoo (disambiguation). ... Quenya is one of the fictional languages spoken by the Elves (the Quendi) the ones who speak. The first-found children of Ilúvatar, in the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Sindarin is an artificial language (or conlang) developed by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... John Rhys-Davies (born May 5, 1944) is an English actor best known for his supporting roles as the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films, and the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (in which he also voiced the towering Ent, Treebeard). ... Spoiler warning: The Fellowship of the Ring, as described in the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, which bears the same name, is a union of 9 representatives from each of the free peoples in Middle-earth, the number chosen to match the 9 Ringwraiths. ...

See also

Sarati is an artificial script which was created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ...   This chart showing the runes shared by the Angerthas Daeron and Angerthas Moria is presented in Appendix E of The Return of the King. ...

References

  • Derzhanski, Ivan A. "The Fëanorian Tengwar and the Typology of Phonetic Writing Systems." Vinyar Tengwar 41 (2000): 20-23.
  • Hostetter, Carl F. ""Si man i-yulmar n(g)win enquatuva": A Newly-Discovered Tengwar Inscription." Vinyar Tengwar 21 (1992): 6-10.
  • Smith, Arden R., Irmengard Rauch and Gerald F. Carr. "The Semiotics of the Writing Systems of Tolkien's Middle-Earth." In Semiotics around the World: Synthesis in Diversity, I-II, ed. Irmengard Rauch, 1239-42. Berlin, Germany: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997.

External links

Modes

For the literary term, see Postscript. ...

Technical

  • WikiTeX supports editing Tengwar directly in Wiki articles.
  • Official proposal to encode Tengwar in Unicode
  • Tengwar proposal for ConScript Unicode Registry
  • Proposed corrections to the proposal to encode Tengwar in Unicode
  • Downloadable fonts Some Tengwar and other Tolkien-based fonts available for download
  • A comprehensive list of tengwar fonts (in Polish, but still useful even if you can't read the language)

Notes


  Results from FactBites:
 
ConScript Unicode Registry (705 words)
The Tengwar script is a system of consonantal signs without strictly fixed values; their glyphic structure comprises a matrix of potential phonetic relationships, rather than a set of fixed relationships between sound and character.
Tengwar numerals are written from right-to-left (the least significant digit is on the left).
Tengwar punctuation characters are considered to be unique to the script and are coded in the Tengwar block.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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