Linguistic Discoveries of LotR? (Collegium 2)

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Kirinki54 19/Feb/2006 at 02:54 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

I think we all agree that the story and history of the works of Tolkien have a mainly linguistic origin. Roughly, first he discovered the languages and through the languages he discovered history. This is the gist of his creative process as he himself and many learned scholars have commented upon it.

 

I would like to know how much this is true of the making of The Lord of the Rings? I do not have a fixed opinion myself, but my general ‘feeling’ is that explorative linguistics played a somewhat less part in LotR than in some other works, especially as compared to the ‘Silmarillion’ corpus, and that when linguistic consideration is part of the making of LotR, it draws often on ‘old discoveries’. But I could be wrong, as LotR meant exploring new ‘territories’ (Rohan is one example, but there are some others). What do you think?

 

Is the creative process of linguistic exploration in LotR well depicted in works like HoME 6-9 and other sources? Is it similar to that of ‘the Silmarillion’?

Kirinki54 19/Feb/2006 at 02:54 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

I think we all agree that the story and history of the works of Tolkien have a mainly linguistic origin. Roughly, first he discovered the languages and through the languages he discovered history. This is the gist of his creative process as he himself and many learned scholars have commented upon it.

 

I would like to know how much this is true of the making of The Lord of the Rings? I do not have a fixed opinion myself, but my general ‘feeling’ is that explorative linguistics played a somewhat less part in LotR than in some other works, especially as compared to the ‘Silmarillion’ corpus, and that when linguistic consideration is part of the making of LotR, it draws often on ‘old discoveries’. But I could be wrong, as LotR meant exploring new ‘territories’ (Rohan is one example, but there are some others). What do you think?

 

Is the creative process of linguistic exploration in LotR well depicted in works like HoME 6-9 and other sources? Is it similar to that of ‘the Silmarillion’?

geordie 19/Feb/2006 at 07:12 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
The most obvious example I can think of is names. As you say, the linguistics side had largely to do with his stories in The Silmarillion. In LotR he could take the invented languages as a given, and concentrate on the story itself; which is much more detailed than most of the stories he told in Silm.

’I begin with a name’ he once said. ’Give me a name, and the stories come after’

Of course, this is just in respect of LotR, I think. In The Hobbit, we aren’t overburdened with names. Bilbo’s homeland is not named - The Shire comes in with the first appearance of LotR in 1954. The hill on which Bilbo lives is called, simply The Hill, and the village by the pool Bywater. Hobbiton is another invention for LotR.

Of course, Tolkien would have had to do an immense amount of linguistic work in order to provide all the names for LotR, must’nt he? Well, ok, not Gandalf. Nor Bilbo. Nor Boromir, Denethor, Ecthelion [they were all in the Silmarillion, were’nt they? Okay, how about Elrond. No. Shelob: Aha. There’s a name that doesn’t appear in earlier writings! Oh. almost forgot; Tolkien says Shelob = She+lob [spider].O heck.

Well never mind. I still say that tolkien’s use of language as a basis for story is best represented in his invention of names. And one day, I’ll prove it!

geordie 19/Feb/2006 at 07:12 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
The most obvious example I can think of is names. As you say, the linguistics side had largely to do with his stories in The Silmarillion. In LotR he could take the invented languages as a given, and concentrate on the story itself; which is much more detailed than most of the stories he told in Silm.

’I begin with a name’ he once said. ’Give me a name, and the stories come after’

Of course, this is just in respect of LotR, I think. In The Hobbit, we aren’t overburdened with names. Bilbo’s homeland is not named - The Shire comes in with the first appearance of LotR in 1954. The hill on which Bilbo lives is called, simply The Hill, and the village by the pool Bywater. Hobbiton is another invention for LotR.

Of course, Tolkien would have had to do an immense amount of linguistic work in order to provide all the names for LotR, must’nt he? Well, ok, not Gandalf. Nor Bilbo. Nor Boromir, Denethor, Ecthelion [they were all in the Silmarillion, were’nt they? Okay, how about Elrond. No. Shelob: Aha. There’s a name that doesn’t appear in earlier writings! Oh. almost forgot; Tolkien says Shelob = She+lob [spider].O heck.

Well never mind. I still say that tolkien’s use of language as a basis for story is best represented in his invention of names. And one day, I’ll prove it!

Mugwort 19/Feb/2006 at 10:12 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 272 Posts: 50 Joined: 06/Nov/2005
Hobbiton is another invention for LotR.

‘Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes would sell by auction the effects of the late Bilbo Baggins Esquire, of Bag-End, Underhill, Hobbiton.’ [The Hobbit, The Last Stage]
Mugwort 19/Feb/2006 at 10:12 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 272 Posts: 50 Joined: 06/Nov/2005
Hobbiton is another invention for LotR.

‘Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes would sell by auction the effects of the late Bilbo Baggins Esquire, of Bag-End, Underhill, Hobbiton.’ [The Hobbit, The Last Stage]
Kirinki54 20/Feb/2006 at 01:32 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Geordie, I think that you managed to pinpoint the crux of the matter. While being a mere amateur on the topic, I do think that naming in general held the utmost significance for Tolkien. Did not he (and Owen Barfield for that matter) hold that naming the world is bringing it into existence? (And welcome ye Lore Masters to correct/complete this thesis!)

But it seems that the names of persons and places were what interested him the most. You are right that LotR did provide Tolkien with a multitude of linguistic challenges in that regard. And perhaps as you quote, he started with a name and let the tale spin around it - but he did not stop there. One thing the HoME series clearly demonstrates is how there developed a dialectic process around naming. Once a name had generated a context, that context often gave reason to alter the name - in some instances change it altogether - and that had an impact on the context, and so on. And this process often took place not only in one language, but was affected by and affected other languages, like for example the Elven languages. Truly fascinating!

Mugwort, that

Kirinki54 20/Feb/2006 at 01:32 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Geordie, I think that you managed to pinpoint the crux of the matter. While being a mere amateur on the topic, I do think that naming in general held the utmost significance for Tolkien. Did not he (and Owen Barfield for that matter) hold that naming the world is bringing it into existence? (And welcome ye Lore Masters to correct/complete this thesis!)

But it seems that the names of persons and places were what interested him the most. You are right that LotR did provide Tolkien with a multitude of linguistic challenges in that regard. And perhaps as you quote, he started with a name and let the tale spin around it - but he did not stop there. One thing the HoME series clearly demonstrates is how there developed a dialectic process around naming. Once a name had generated a context, that context often gave reason to alter the name - in some instances change it altogether - and that had an impact on the context, and so on. And this process often took place not only in one language, but was affected by and affected other languages, like for example the Elven languages. Truly fascinating!

Mugwort, that

Kirinki54 20/Feb/2006 at 01:33 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Sorry, pushed the wrong button!

Mugwort, I always held that company name to be one of his most hilarious notions in The Hobbit! A splendid name for a lawyer firm!

Kirinki54 20/Feb/2006 at 01:33 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Sorry, pushed the wrong button!

Mugwort, I always held that company name to be one of his most hilarious notions in The Hobbit! A splendid name for a lawyer firm!

Lady d`Ecthelion 20/Feb/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I have waited for a thread like this one to appear!

Especially:
"he started with a name and let the tale spin around it - but he did not stop there. One thing the HoME series clearly demonstrates is how there developed a dialectic process around naming. Once a name had generated a context, that context often gave reason to alter the name - in some instances change it altogether - and that had an impact on the context, and so on. And this process often took place not only in one language, but was affected by and affected other languages, like for example the Elven languages.

Truly fascinating!
"


Yet, apart from, not ignoring !!!, the power of ’naming as an "engine" for the building up and the development of plot etc., I would like to look for the opinion of the Loremasters on a topic that has long interested me, yet haven’t been much successful in creating a reasonable and well-grounded and ordered understanding for myself.

This is the issue of Tolkien - "translating" !

Doesn’t he claim that what one finds in his Legendarium are tales he has translated from Westron, which - in its turn, was a translation from Elvish?
It is admitted, if I’m not mistaken, that these tales have been passed on, following the path:

Rumil of Tuna >> the Exiles (the Noldor who returned to ME) >> Pengolodh >> Tol Eressea >> (Eriol (in the earlier versions, this ’element’ comes in direct contact with Rumil, however)) Numenor >> Middle-earth >> Men’s kingdoms (Gondor especially) + The Shire >> The Red Book (?) >> J.R.R.Tolkien.

So, if I’m not mistaken, Master T,. has often mentioned that what the English speaking reader reads on the pages of his books, is a translation!

Now ... based on this obviously undisputable fact, I find the whole thing extremely intriguing!

First, because, this fact alone, already gives much for the ’myth’ and ’saga’-like style of his narratives.

Second, one is "enticed" to search for the Elvish origin and roots behind the English language "cover", and for the inter-relation and interaction between these. Here, I think, comes into "play" what Kirinki described above.
But what is even further intriguing, is that Elvish does not exist! It was invented by a person whose mother tongue is English!
So, there must also be a "back" interaction - that is, in the very process of creating the Elvish languages, even though strongly influenced by Finnish, Master T. must have interwoven the English language into his "created" languages. If so - where can it be seen?
... Or not ???? ...



Third, because one starts looking into the structure of names (mainly!), and even into the phonetical characteristics of the language used, and starts asking (at least I do! ) questions like:

"Why do the names of most ’evil’ characters/places etc. start with the letter "M", or even with the letter combinations (a prefix?) "Me" "Mo" ?"
or
"Why are the letters producing guttural and warbling sounds, used in the speech of the Elves, and in the names of much and a lot Elves-related - especially sounds reproduced through the letters "g" and "l"?;
and
Why, for example, everything related to the Rohirrim, had to sound so sharp and somewhat hoarse?

If these are the "methods" of translating the Westron, and back - the Elvish, which Master Tolkien had chosen, where does the reason for this particular choice of linguistic structure/means lie?

Questions...questions...


**
Lady d`Ecthelion 20/Feb/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I have waited for a thread like this one to appear!

Especially:
"he started with a name and let the tale spin around it - but he did not stop there. One thing the HoME series clearly demonstrates is how there developed a dialectic process around naming. Once a name had generated a context, that context often gave reason to alter the name - in some instances change it altogether - and that had an impact on the context, and so on. And this process often took place not only in one language, but was affected by and affected other languages, like for example the Elven languages.

Truly fascinating!
"


Yet, apart from, not ignoring !!!, the power of ’naming as an "engine" for the building up and the development of plot etc., I would like to look for the opinion of the Loremasters on a topic that has long interested me, yet haven’t been much successful in creating a reasonable and well-grounded and ordered understanding for myself.

This is the issue of Tolkien - "translating" !

Doesn’t he claim that what one finds in his Legendarium are tales he has translated from Westron, which - in its turn, was a translation from Elvish?
It is admitted, if I’m not mistaken, that these tales have been passed on, following the path:

Rumil of Tuna >> the Exiles (the Noldor who returned to ME) >> Pengolodh >> Tol Eressea >> (Eriol (in the earlier versions, this ’element’ comes in direct contact with Rumil, however)) Numenor >> Middle-earth >> Men’s kingdoms (Gondor especially) + The Shire >> The Red Book (?) >> J.R.R.Tolkien.

So, if I’m not mistaken, Master T,. has often mentioned that what the English speaking reader reads on the pages of his books, is a translation!

Now ... based on this obviously undisputable fact, I find the whole thing extremely intriguing!

First, because, this fact alone, already gives much for the ’myth’ and ’saga’-like style of his narratives.

Second, one is "enticed" to search for the Elvish origin and roots behind the English language "cover", and for the inter-relation and interaction between these. Here, I think, comes into "play" what Kirinki described above.
But what is even further intriguing, is that Elvish does not exist! It was invented by a person whose mother tongue is English!
So, there must also be a "back" interaction - that is, in the very process of creating the Elvish languages, even though strongly influenced by Finnish, Master T. must have interwoven the English language into his "created" languages. If so - where can it be seen?
... Or not ???? ...



Third, because one starts looking into the structure of names (mainly!), and even into the phonetical characteristics of the language used, and starts asking (at least I do! ) questions like:

"Why do the names of most ’evil’ characters/places etc. start with the letter "M", or even with the letter combinations (a prefix?) "Me" "Mo" ?"
or
"Why are the letters producing guttural and warbling sounds, used in the speech of the Elves, and in the names of much and a lot Elves-related - especially sounds reproduced through the letters "g" and "l"?;
and
Why, for example, everything related to the Rohirrim, had to sound so sharp and somewhat hoarse?

If these are the "methods" of translating the Westron, and back - the Elvish, which Master Tolkien had chosen, where does the reason for this particular choice of linguistic structure/means lie?

Questions...questions...


**
Kirinki54 22/Feb/2006 at 01:15 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana,  !

Your point on translation is very interesting. Is this one of the keys to what Tolkien meant by sub-creation? Every time a translation takes place it seems to me a new dimension is added to the exploration of the mythos.

As to your second issue, I think there is likely many examples. What do you think of Ilúvatar? It seems very much alike ’All-father’.

Third issue, could this be examples on the relation between names/words and the character of the reality they depict, even to encompass whole cultures?

Kirinki54 22/Feb/2006 at 01:15 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana,  !

Your point on translation is very interesting. Is this one of the keys to what Tolkien meant by sub-creation? Every time a translation takes place it seems to me a new dimension is added to the exploration of the mythos.

As to your second issue, I think there is likely many examples. What do you think of Ilúvatar? It seems very much alike ’All-father’.

Third issue, could this be examples on the relation between names/words and the character of the reality they depict, even to encompass whole cultures?

Nieliqui Vaneyar 22/Feb/2006 at 03:32 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

Aldoriana - I have waited for a thread like this - so have I. Hoping not to change the subject drastically, but I found the following on my browsings - http://www.stanmcdaniel.com/hobbit/tolkien.htm

I have read through 3 of the 4 articles listed, but I will probably have to read through each of them at least 3 or 4 times more to begin to understand them.  But before I do, has anyone looked at them? Like his Etymology of The Hobbit - is that a reasonable path that Tolkien might have taken to come up with the understandings and meanings of his (invented) words?

Nieliqui Vaneyar 22/Feb/2006 at 03:32 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

Aldoriana - I have waited for a thread like this - so have I. Hoping not to change the subject drastically, but I found the following on my browsings - http://www.stanmcdaniel.com/hobbit/tolkien.htm

I have read through 3 of the 4 articles listed, but I will probably have to read through each of them at least 3 or 4 times more to begin to understand them.  But before I do, has anyone looked at them? Like his Etymology of The Hobbit - is that a reasonable path that Tolkien might have taken to come up with the understandings and meanings of his (invented) words?

Kirinki54 26/Feb/2006 at 02:52 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005
I wish some true philologist scholar would comment on this. It seems to me that some of the derivative chains (like going from caput to head) might adhere to accepted theories, but it also seems to me that McDaniel might take his line of reasoning a tad too far. The story on Golfimbul is rather far-fetched. But who knows? Because in the same time, it does seem to have a certain ambiance on how the mind of Tolkien might have worked.
Kirinki54 26/Feb/2006 at 02:53 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005
I wish some true philologist scholar would comment on this. It seems to me that some of the derivative chains (like going from caput to head) might adhere to accepted theories, but it also seems to me that McDaniel might take his line of reasoning a tad too far. The story on Golfimbul is rather far-fetched. But who knows? Because in the same time, it does seem to have a certain ambiance on how the mind of Tolkien might have worked.
Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Feb/2006 at 09:49 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, Nielíqui Erurén,

I am rereading (whenever I have some spare time) sources closer regarding Tolkien - the philologist, trying to find some explanation on the whole "Translation-from-Elvish" concept. I tend to study Tolkien’s own opinions, expressed in such works as "The Secret Vice", the Appendix "On Translation", Chr.Tolkien’s comments, too, even looking for something in Carpenter’s Biographical book. ... Also, I’m looking for information in some of the greatest and most reliable books on Tolkien. I am trying to build my opinion and when I do, I shall come back here with it.

This is the second time I dare ask this particular question, but perhaps the subject lacks enough information as to be discussed widely. I still, however, find it extremely intriguing!
Just think about it!
A person, fluently English-speaking (this including Old English - Anglo-Saxon), and very much fond of Finnish (and all Norse), invents an ’Elvish’ language - a language spoken by a people that never existed, and in several dialects, at that!
Then he invents a ’local’ language - that of Numenor, which later he "develops" into a ’common language’ spoken on a whole continent.... Impressive!
And even more than that, he makes all these never existing peoples speak and write in their respective languages, so he becomes then able to "translate" from their written records inot our-days’ existing known language - English.
And the "circle" is thus closed!

This whole matter of language invention, might have been an interesting "game" for a linguist, I admit. But one wouldn’t waste so much time and efforts just for "playing".

What is behind it?


Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Feb/2006 at 09:49 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, Nielíqui Erurén,

I am rereading (whenever I have some spare time) sources closer regarding Tolkien - the philologist, trying to find some explanation on the whole "Translation-from-Elvish" concept. I tend to study Tolkien’s own opinions, expressed in such works as "The Secret Vice", the Appendix "On Translation", Chr.Tolkien’s comments, too, even looking for something in Carpenter’s Biographical book. ... Also, I’m looking for information in some of the greatest and most reliable books on Tolkien. I am trying to build my opinion and when I do, I shall come back here with it.

This is the second time I dare ask this particular question, but perhaps the subject lacks enough information as to be discussed widely. I still, however, find it extremely intriguing!
Just think about it!
A person, fluently English-speaking (this including Old English - Anglo-Saxon), and very much fond of Finnish (and all Norse), invents an ’Elvish’ language - a language spoken by a people that never existed, and in several dialects, at that!
Then he invents a ’local’ language - that of Numenor, which later he "develops" into a ’common language’ spoken on a whole continent.... Impressive!
And even more than that, he makes all these never existing peoples speak and write in their respective languages, so he becomes then able to "translate" from their written records inot our-days’ existing known language - English.
And the "circle" is thus closed!

This whole matter of language invention, might have been an interesting "game" for a linguist, I admit. But one wouldn’t waste so much time and efforts just for "playing".

What is behind it?


Hazel 27/Feb/2006 at 10:24 AM
Farmer of the Shire Points: 620 Posts: 213 Joined: 20/Nov/2002
I love this topic. I just wish I knew more about linguistics.

Aldoriana, you brought up some interesting points, some of which I’ll have to think about. I’m afraid my actual scholarly knowledge of a lot of this is very limited, but I’ll try to come up with some possible answers to your last question.

As you mentioned before, the use of these invented languages make the books seem much more like mythological stories. The fact that they were "translated" gives them a sense of authenticity, as if they really were stories from another culture, preserved in an ancient manuscript. It’s the linguistic equivalent to the story-within-a-story idea. When that device is used in literature, it provides a reason for why this story is being told. Doing something similar with languages has a similar effect. It gives a sense of history to the stories, makes the people and cultures that told them real.

The supposed translation of the stories both makes them more remote, and more believable. It’s obvious how the linguistic separation makes them remote, but it also has the effect of making different cultures of Middle-earth more realistic as their own cultures. Language is an intrinsic part of human life, and the fact that each Middle-earth culture has its own makes them seem like actual historical people and countries, rather than just ourselves in a fantasy setting. As such, it’s easier to accept Tolkien’s claim that these stories actually come from our history, and therefore have some amount of personal relevance to us.
Hazel 27/Feb/2006 at 10:24 AM
Farmer of the Shire Points: 620 Posts: 213 Joined: 20/Nov/2002
I love this topic. I just wish I knew more about linguistics.

Aldoriana, you brought up some interesting points, some of which I’ll have to think about. I’m afraid my actual scholarly knowledge of a lot of this is very limited, but I’ll try to come up with some possible answers to your last question.

As you mentioned before, the use of these invented languages make the books seem much more like mythological stories. The fact that they were "translated" gives them a sense of authenticity, as if they really were stories from another culture, preserved in an ancient manuscript. It’s the linguistic equivalent to the story-within-a-story idea. When that device is used in literature, it provides a reason for why this story is being told. Doing something similar with languages has a similar effect. It gives a sense of history to the stories, makes the people and cultures that told them real.

The supposed translation of the stories both makes them more remote, and more believable. It’s obvious how the linguistic separation makes them remote, but it also has the effect of making different cultures of Middle-earth more realistic as their own cultures. Language is an intrinsic part of human life, and the fact that each Middle-earth culture has its own makes them seem like actual historical people and countries, rather than just ourselves in a fantasy setting. As such, it’s easier to accept Tolkien’s claim that these stories actually come from our history, and therefore have some amount of personal relevance to us.
Kirinki54 27/Feb/2006 at 01:44 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana, that ’circle’ is indeed impressive, not to say mind-boggling! I think given what we know of Tolkien´s early interest in inventing languages, that it might have started out as ’playing’. But we also know it did not stop there. At some point it seems that these inventions of both languages and history (and their interrelated dialectic process) turned into a reality of their own. The inventor turned into an explorer, charting the territories of those realities. And perhaps (as suggested in an earlier post) this is where author becomes Sub-creator. Though I gather that the works still held a great joy and playfulness for Tolkien, even though conducted along a stringent set of rules within his philologic philosophy.

I agree Hazel, that the process of translation function to legitimize the stories both as ’fictional’ literature and as an alleged pre-historical context for us today, and thus of relevance far beyond mere ’fantasy’. I think Tolkien saw this as a hallmark of good literature, and that his critizism of the works of other writers (including CS Lewis) often focused on the lack of contextual coherence, as manifested in the lack of a coherent language development. If that flaw was obvious, the works were also not good literature. Though I suspect that the presence of translations per se was not a necessary prerequisite for the latter. But a cogent and coherent system of language was.

Kirinki54 27/Feb/2006 at 01:44 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana, that ’circle’ is indeed impressive, not to say mind-boggling! I think given what we know of Tolkien´s early interest in inventing languages, that it might have started out as ’playing’. But we also know it did not stop there. At some point it seems that these inventions of both languages and history (and their interrelated dialectic process) turned into a reality of their own. The inventor turned into an explorer, charting the territories of those realities. And perhaps (as suggested in an earlier post) this is where author becomes Sub-creator. Though I gather that the works still held a great joy and playfulness for Tolkien, even though conducted along a stringent set of rules within his philologic philosophy.

I agree Hazel, that the process of translation function to legitimize the stories both as ’fictional’ literature and as an alleged pre-historical context for us today, and thus of relevance far beyond mere ’fantasy’. I think Tolkien saw this as a hallmark of good literature, and that his critizism of the works of other writers (including CS Lewis) often focused on the lack of contextual coherence, as manifested in the lack of a coherent language development. If that flaw was obvious, the works were also not good literature. Though I suspect that the presence of translations per se was not a necessary prerequisite for the latter. But a cogent and coherent system of language was.

Bearamir 28/Feb/2006 at 04:28 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has great potential, and for that reason I would like to move it to Ad Lore for further development.  If you object to this move, please let me know...and I’ll move the thread back to Books...
Bearamir 28/Feb/2006 at 04:28 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has great potential, and for that reason I would like to move it to Ad Lore for further development.  If you object to this move, please let me know...and I’ll move the thread back to Books...
Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Feb/2006 at 10:35 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Do we object???
How could we?!

Thank you, dear Bael!!!

( I only hope this thread won’t be "marred" by the evil spell I obviously quite unwillingly cast upon threads I participate in ... )

kirinki, Hazel I shall come back with more thoughts, ... just have to find some more time. Thank you so much for being here with your valuable observations!
Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Feb/2006 at 10:35 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Do we object???
How could we?!

Thank you, dear Bael!!!

( I only hope this thread won’t be "marred" by the evil spell I obviously quite unwillingly cast upon threads I participate in ... )

kirinki, Hazel I shall come back with more thoughts, ... just have to find some more time. Thank you so much for being here with your valuable observations!
Kirinki54 01/Mar/2006 at 01:21 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

A person, fluently English-speaking (this including Old English - Anglo-Saxon), and very much fond of Finnish (and all Norse), invents an ’Elvish’ language - a language spoken by a people that never existed, and in several dialects, at that!
Then he invents a ’local’ language - that of Numenor, which later he "develops" into a ’common language’ spoken on a whole continent.... Impressive!
And even more than that, he makes all these never existing peoples speak and write in their respective languages, so he becomes then able to "translate" from their written records inot our-days’ existing known language - English.
And the "circle" is thus closed!

Aldoriana, it just occurred to me that actually the metaphor would likely be a spiral, not a circle. The process also continued over time, and never really ’closed’.

And there is also another twist. We can see from Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings that Tolkien was not content in letting the process stop within his own written words: it was supposed to expand into other languages in the real world!

PS Thanks for the promotion, Baelmyrrdn!

Kirinki54 01/Mar/2006 at 01:21 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

A person, fluently English-speaking (this including Old English - Anglo-Saxon), and very much fond of Finnish (and all Norse), invents an ’Elvish’ language - a language spoken by a people that never existed, and in several dialects, at that!
Then he invents a ’local’ language - that of Numenor, which later he "develops" into a ’common language’ spoken on a whole continent.... Impressive!
And even more than that, he makes all these never existing peoples speak and write in their respective languages, so he becomes then able to "translate" from their written records inot our-days’ existing known language - English.
And the "circle" is thus closed!

Aldoriana, it just occurred to me that actually the metaphor would likely be a spiral, not a circle. The process also continued over time, and never really ’closed’.

And there is also another twist. We can see from Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings that Tolkien was not content in letting the process stop within his own written words: it was supposed to expand into other languages in the real world!

PS Thanks for the promotion, Baelmyrrdn!

Lady d`Ecthelion 02/Mar/2006 at 11:14 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki.. or should I say ... Your majesty (Congratulations! ), as for the issue of his own works being translated into other languages, the very issue of "translation" would refer to rendering ’Tolkien’s English’ into the most appropriate language style in a certain non-English speaking country. This in itself is quite a challenge, and I am extremly sceptical about the results... But this is another topic.

As for the main question - Tolkien translating records written in languages invented by himself - in another thread I read an opinion expressed by Maiarian Man, based on some of the early ideas of Master T., involving the active role of Eriol - the fictional character considered however to be an Anglo-Saxon. So MM saus that in fact Tolkien translated from Eriol’s written records, which were written in Anglo-Saxon, and this, of course, must’ve not been a bit dificult for Tolkien!
This theory makes the whole "translation" issue more easily "digestible", because in it, Tolkien himself does not actually deal directly with the invented languages, but with a really existing language - the Old English = Anglo Saxon, which he was very fond of and knew absolutely fluently.
In this case, the "mystery" is cleared and vanished.

Yet, if I’m not mistaken, in the later version of his Legendarium, Tolkien as if kept the idea of him being only a ’story teller’ telling in written the tales and records that he had read in the Red Book, and that book was written in Westron, and it in its turn was developed from the Numenorean language, and >>> so on back to the Elvish languages again... but what is really important - back to the invented languages!

Then, as he was explaining (where was that? ), in order to tell the tales of old, and to make them most credible and vivid, he used several linguistic styles of the English language trying thus to render the different "dialects" of the Westron and of the other languages spoken in his fictional world. As is the case with rendering into English the Rohirric language - this explained by Master T. to have been achieved strongly involving the Anglo-Saxon as a form of the English language.
BTW, it is precisely this "language game" that imposed the widely accepted opinion of the Rohirrim being to some extent (to a large extent actually! ) a fictuous picture of the Anglo-Saxons, which is false, and in a thread of mine a while back - "Stereotypes - Rohirrim" , I think I proved it clearly.

However, I have invited several people, who seem to be interested in this subject, to join us here.
Let’s see whether they’ll come.
Lady d`Ecthelion 02/Mar/2006 at 11:14 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki.. or should I say ... Your majesty (Congratulations! ), as for the issue of his own works being translated into other languages, the very issue of "translation" would refer to rendering ’Tolkien’s English’ into the most appropriate language style in a certain non-English speaking country. This in itself is quite a challenge, and I am extremly sceptical about the results... But this is another topic.

As for the main question - Tolkien translating records written in languages invented by himself - in another thread I read an opinion expressed by Maiarian Man, based on some of the early ideas of Master T., involving the active role of Eriol - the fictional character considered however to be an Anglo-Saxon. So MM saus that in fact Tolkien translated from Eriol’s written records, which were written in Anglo-Saxon, and this, of course, must’ve not been a bit dificult for Tolkien!
This theory makes the whole "translation" issue more easily "digestible", because in it, Tolkien himself does not actually deal directly with the invented languages, but with a really existing language - the Old English = Anglo Saxon, which he was very fond of and knew absolutely fluently.
In this case, the "mystery" is cleared and vanished.

Yet, if I’m not mistaken, in the later version of his Legendarium, Tolkien as if kept the idea of him being only a ’story teller’ telling in written the tales and records that he had read in the Red Book, and that book was written in Westron, and it in its turn was developed from the Numenorean language, and >>> so on back to the Elvish languages again... but what is really important - back to the invented languages!

Then, as he was explaining (where was that? ), in order to tell the tales of old, and to make them most credible and vivid, he used several linguistic styles of the English language trying thus to render the different "dialects" of the Westron and of the other languages spoken in his fictional world. As is the case with rendering into English the Rohirric language - this explained by Master T. to have been achieved strongly involving the Anglo-Saxon as a form of the English language.
BTW, it is precisely this "language game" that imposed the widely accepted opinion of the Rohirrim being to some extent (to a large extent actually! ) a fictuous picture of the Anglo-Saxons, which is false, and in a thread of mine a while back - "Stereotypes - Rohirrim" , I think I proved it clearly.

However, I have invited several people, who seem to be interested in this subject, to join us here.
Let’s see whether they’ll come.
Kirinki54 03/Mar/2006 at 12:07 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Thanks to congrats, Aldoriana! Talk about ’out of the blue’!

 

You make me very curious about inviting people. I hope they turn up. The more the merrier!

 

Thanks for returning to LotR and the invention of the Red Book of Westmarch. This turn of the tide you mention, I mean in the sense of direction in ‘language migration’ and translation within the Legendarium; it seems it is connected to the creation of the LotR? In other words, if that is true, the LotR had a much deeper impact on Tolkien´s linguistic development than I ever imagined. Perhaps one tends to get ‘blinded’ by The Silmarillion in this regard (especially with all those names of places and characters)?

 

But to me The Red Book of Westmarch is a much more elegant solution to the process of transfer, and I think he used this invention for more than one purpose. Like explaining some seeming contradictions and misconceptions of the Elder mythology, by postulating this was because the Elvish lore had been ‘filtered’ though Mannish legends. (Or am I wrong in thinking that also the tales of The Sil was handed down through the Red Book?)

 

BTW that title “the Red Book of Westmarch” suddenly strikes me as a very shrewd construction. Certainly Tolkien as the translator was existing at the boundaries, in the borderlands, precisely between the West (as represented by English/Westron) and all the other languages involved.  I even got to speculate that ‘Red’ could also be construed as short for ‘Redacted’ – would you not love to find out that pun was true! Even the word ‘Book’ gets quite ambiguous when one ponders different definitions…

 

Then, as he was explaining (where was that? ), in order to tell the tales of old, and to make them most credible and vivid, he used several linguistic styles of the English language trying thus to render the different "dialects" of the Westron and of the other languages spoken in his fictional world.

 

I think you must be referring Appendix F, especially part II. Likely there should also be something in Letters?

**

Kirinki54 03/Mar/2006 at 12:07 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Thanks to congrats, Aldoriana! Talk about ’out of the blue’!

 

You make me very curious about inviting people. I hope they turn up. The more the merrier!

 

Thanks for returning to LotR and the invention of the Red Book of Westmarch. This turn of the tide you mention, I mean in the sense of direction in ‘language migration’ and translation within the Legendarium; it seems it is connected to the creation of the LotR? In other words, if that is true, the LotR had a much deeper impact on Tolkien´s linguistic development than I ever imagined. Perhaps one tends to get ‘blinded’ by The Silmarillion in this regard (especially with all those names of places and characters)?

 

But to me The Red Book of Westmarch is a much more elegant solution to the process of transfer, and I think he used this invention for more than one purpose. Like explaining some seeming contradictions and misconceptions of the Elder mythology, by postulating this was because the Elvish lore had been ‘filtered’ though Mannish legends. (Or am I wrong in thinking that also the tales of The Sil was handed down through the Red Book?)

 

BTW that title “the Red Book of Westmarch” suddenly strikes me as a very shrewd construction. Certainly Tolkien as the translator was existing at the boundaries, in the borderlands, precisely between the West (as represented by English/Westron) and all the other languages involved.  I even got to speculate that ‘Red’ could also be construed as short for ‘Redacted’ – would you not love to find out that pun was true! Even the word ‘Book’ gets quite ambiguous when one ponders different definitions…

 

Then, as he was explaining (where was that? ), in order to tell the tales of old, and to make them most credible and vivid, he used several linguistic styles of the English language trying thus to render the different "dialects" of the Westron and of the other languages spoken in his fictional world.

 

I think you must be referring Appendix F, especially part II. Likely there should also be something in Letters?

**

Lady d`Ecthelion 03/Mar/2006 at 11:08 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

Re: The Red Book of Westmarch

The book "The Fellowship of the Ring" starts with a Prologue and it says:

"This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history. Further information will also be found in the selection from the Red Book of Westmarch that has already been published, under the title of The Hobbit.
That story was derived from the earlier chapters of the Red Book, composed by Bilbo himself, the first Hobbit to become famous in the world at large, and called by him There and Back Again, since they told of his journey into the East and his return: an adventure which later involved all the Hobbits in the great events of that Age that are here related.
"

Now .... The LoTR as a book we know to have appeared as a sequel to The Hobbit, therefore The LoTR - story had to be of course based on and derived from and further develop the previous story.
But, from the p.o.v. of translation - Re: The Red Book = The Hobbit. On one hand we have The Red Book , supposed to have been written in Westron, by Bilbo Baggins - a Hobbit who spoke the common tongue of ME, yet with a Hobbitish dialect.
And on the other hand, this ME inhabitant spoke the ME common tongue, and wrote his book "There and Back Again" mainly while in Rivendell.

In the same a.m. source we also read:

"This account of the end of the Third Age is drawn mainly from the Red Book of Westmarch. That most important source for the history of the War of the Ring was so called because it was long preserved at Undertowers, the home of the Fairbairns, Wardens of the Westmarch. It was in origin Bilbo’s private diary, which he took with him to Rivendell. Frodo brought it back to the Shire, together with many loose leaves of notes, and during S.R. 1420-1 he nearly filled its pages with his account of the War.
... etc.

So, if The Hobbit is a "projection" of the Red Book, then obviously, the Westron - the common tongue of ME is the ’common’ English language of contemporary times, and all "dialects" of the Westron in The Red Book found their projection, too, in the styles and dialects of the English language used for the Hobbit and LOTR.

So, it is here and in this where one actually understands the "translation" issue and sees it done.

Another interesting fact is that if Tolkien "translated" from the Red Book, he must have used not the original, but one of its later copies made by the hobbits of the Fellowship and their heirs, and these copies were written, as we are told, in Gondor, in Rivendell, in the Shire... Many various sources were used to compile the volumes of The Red Book, and what we learn is that the "writers" used older sources, and many of those - especially the ones kept at Rivendell and Minas Tirith, must have been in languages different from the common tongue of Middle-earth. Hence - translation of those older sources must have been performed! And it was done by none other but the writers of The RB themselves. Besides, we also learn that they were even not just ’passive’ translators!

"Some of these were composed or begun by Meriadoc himself, though in the Shire he was chiefly remembered for his ’Herblore of the Shire’, and for his Reckoning of Years in which he discussed the relation of the calendars of the Shire and Bree to those of Rivendell, Gondor, and Rohan.
He also wrote a short treatise on Old Words and Names in the Shire, having special interest in discovering the kinship with the language of the Rohirrim of such ’shire-words’ as mathom and old elements in place names.
"

So, the RB contained information coming from sources written in older languages, and that information was translated into the contemporary for the ME language.
Let;’s remember :

"At Great Smials the books were of less interest to Shire-folk, though more important for larger history. None of them was written by Peregrin, but he and his successors collected many manuscripts written by scribes of Gondor: mainly copies or summaries of histories or legends relating to Elendil and his heirs. Only here in the Shire were to be found extensive materials for the history of Númenor and the arising of Sauron. "

Following the analogy, from a linguistic p.o.v., having in mind that contemporary English was used for The Hobbit and the LOTR, we may then assume that older forms of the English language were those which Tolkien - ’the translator’ used to render the tales from the RB. And these ’old’ forms of the English lead us back to the Anglo-Saxon, and even further back - to the very roots of the Germanic languages.

This, I think, is another ’evidence’ of the "translation’ issue.

What bugs me, is to find the track of the really existing languages - though ancient and extinct in our times (and in Tolkien’s time), in the invented languages.


Oh, and Kirinki
"You make me very curious about inviting people. I hope they turn up. The more the merrier!"

Good, but I seem to be a lousy diplomat. No one has appeared!

But then ... on the other hand, I can’t blame them!
After all, a lot on this "translation" issue and rendering between fictional and real languages etc., I have found said by Master T. himself in one of his letters - # 144. One has to perhaps only read that, and some other additional materials, and wonder no more ....

Am I trying to "re-discover the Americas" ?

**

Lady d`Ecthelion 03/Mar/2006 at 11:08 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

Re: The Red Book of Westmarch

The book "The Fellowship of the Ring" starts with a Prologue and it says:

"This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history. Further information will also be found in the selection from the Red Book of Westmarch that has already been published, under the title of The Hobbit.
That story was derived from the earlier chapters of the Red Book, composed by Bilbo himself, the first Hobbit to become famous in the world at large, and called by him There and Back Again, since they told of his journey into the East and his return: an adventure which later involved all the Hobbits in the great events of that Age that are here related.
"

Now .... The LoTR as a book we know to have appeared as a sequel to The Hobbit, therefore The LoTR - story had to be of course based on and derived from and further develop the previous story.
But, from the p.o.v. of translation - Re: The Red Book = The Hobbit. On one hand we have The Red Book , supposed to have been written in Westron, by Bilbo Baggins - a Hobbit who spoke the common tongue of ME, yet with a Hobbitish dialect.
And on the other hand, this ME inhabitant spoke the ME common tongue, and wrote his book "There and Back Again" mainly while in Rivendell.

In the same a.m. source we also read:

"This account of the end of the Third Age is drawn mainly from the Red Book of Westmarch. That most important source for the history of the War of the Ring was so called because it was long preserved at Undertowers, the home of the Fairbairns, Wardens of the Westmarch. It was in origin Bilbo’s private diary, which he took with him to Rivendell. Frodo brought it back to the Shire, together with many loose leaves of notes, and during S.R. 1420-1 he nearly filled its pages with his account of the War.
... etc.

So, if The Hobbit is a "projection" of the Red Book, then obviously, the Westron - the common tongue of ME is the ’common’ English language of contemporary times, and all "dialects" of the Westron in The Red Book found their projection, too, in the styles and dialects of the English language used for the Hobbit and LOTR.

So, it is here and in this where one actually understands the "translation" issue and sees it done.

Another interesting fact is that if Tolkien "translated" from the Red Book, he must have used not the original, but one of its later copies made by the hobbits of the Fellowship and their heirs, and these copies were written, as we are told, in Gondor, in Rivendell, in the Shire... Many various sources were used to compile the volumes of The Red Book, and what we learn is that the "writers" used older sources, and many of those - especially the ones kept at Rivendell and Minas Tirith, must have been in languages different from the common tongue of Middle-earth. Hence - translation of those older sources must have been performed! And it was done by none other but the writers of The RB themselves. Besides, we also learn that they were even not just ’passive’ translators!

"Some of these were composed or begun by Meriadoc himself, though in the Shire he was chiefly remembered for his ’Herblore of the Shire’, and for his Reckoning of Years in which he discussed the relation of the calendars of the Shire and Bree to those of Rivendell, Gondor, and Rohan.
He also wrote a short treatise on Old Words and Names in the Shire, having special interest in discovering the kinship with the language of the Rohirrim of such ’shire-words’ as mathom and old elements in place names.
"

So, the RB contained information coming from sources written in older languages, and that information was translated into the contemporary for the ME language.
Let;’s remember :

"At Great Smials the books were of less interest to Shire-folk, though more important for larger history. None of them was written by Peregrin, but he and his successors collected many manuscripts written by scribes of Gondor: mainly copies or summaries of histories or legends relating to Elendil and his heirs. Only here in the Shire were to be found extensive materials for the history of Númenor and the arising of Sauron. "

Following the analogy, from a linguistic p.o.v., having in mind that contemporary English was used for The Hobbit and the LOTR, we may then assume that older forms of the English language were those which Tolkien - ’the translator’ used to render the tales from the RB. And these ’old’ forms of the English lead us back to the Anglo-Saxon, and even further back - to the very roots of the Germanic languages.

This, I think, is another ’evidence’ of the "translation’ issue.

What bugs me, is to find the track of the really existing languages - though ancient and extinct in our times (and in Tolkien’s time), in the invented languages.


Oh, and Kirinki
"You make me very curious about inviting people. I hope they turn up. The more the merrier!"

Good, but I seem to be a lousy diplomat. No one has appeared!

But then ... on the other hand, I can’t blame them!
After all, a lot on this "translation" issue and rendering between fictional and real languages etc., I have found said by Master T. himself in one of his letters - # 144. One has to perhaps only read that, and some other additional materials, and wonder no more ....

Am I trying to "re-discover the Americas" ?

**

Kirinki54 04/Mar/2006 at 06:08 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

 

After all, a lot on this "translation" issue and rendering between fictional and real languages etc., I have found said by Master T. himself in one of his letters - # 144. One has to perhaps only read that, and some other additional materials, and wonder no more ....

Am I trying to "re-discover the Americas" ?

 

More like re-interpreting the Rosetta stone…

 

And no, I do not think our efforts are wasted. It is one thing to read something (and I have read Letter 144 once or twice and Appendix F at least the double) but nothing beats a discussion like this in order to really understanding connections, to take in the consequences.

 

What bugs me, is to find the track of the really existing languages - though ancient and extinct in our times (and in Tolkien’s time), in the invented languages.

Well, Tolkien did write in Letter 144:

 

I have therefore pleased myself. The archaic language of lore is meant to be a kind of ’Elven-latin’, and by transcribing it into a spelling closely resembling that of Latin (except that y is only used as a consonant, as y in E. Yes) the similarity to Latin has been increased ocularly. Actually it might be said to be composed on a Latin basis with two other (main) ingredients that happen to give me ’phonaesthetic’ pleasure: Finnish and Greek. It is however less consonantal than any of the three. This language is High-elven or in its own terms Quenya (Elvish).

 

So it this ought to make it plain for you, Aldoriana!  (And I am quite certain the man did amuse himself!)

 

At least it sounds easy – in theory. But my problem is lack of knowledge of that theory in which discipline Tolkien was a master likely beyond comprehension by any average reader. When Tolkien gets going in his own field of science, he looses me pretty quickly. Make that: almost instantly.

 

This quote from Quendi and Eldar Appendix D (not published in HoME 11: WJ)

 

Note 3

He [Fëanor] is reported (by Pengolodh) to have said that "words may be analysed into their tengwi, but I would say rather that they have one or more chambers, and the vowel is the room in each, and the consonants are the walls. One may live in a space without walls, but not in walls with no space: kt is only a noise, hardly audible in normal speech, but ket may have significance. Our fathers therefore in building words took the vowels and parted them with the consonants as walls; but for them the word-beginning and word-ending were sufficient divisions, though the least that could be allowed. The word-beginning was the stronger, as we see in that vowels at the beginning seldom disappear, whereas those at the end often vanish, having no end-wall to contain them".

 

might give me a clue as to a line of reasoning why he choose to make Quenya less consonantial. (BTW I never knew Fëanor could be so pedagogic.) But when you look at another randomly chosen paragraph of that appendix like

 

With regard to vowelless consonants, they held these in every case to have "lost" a following vowel, and they called them rakine tengwi "stripped" or "deprived signs". For this purpose it was not necessary to distinguish between true "loss" and "omission", that is, between the "unintended" phonetic disappearance of sounds in the course of speaking and of linguistic transmission in time, and the suppression or rejection of sounds in the course of conscious invention and the construction of more complex words. (Eventually the loremasters regarded this distinction as of great importance.)

 

then, well, it becomes a bit esoteric. So perhaps one should wander into some of the linguistically devoted forum and try to pick up the basics first. Though I noted that suddenly even that paragraph became understandable, but I am not sure what to do with that byte of info. Counting consonants in Namárië?

 

Ai! láurië lántar lássi sū΄rinèn,

yē΄ni ū`nō΄timè ve rā΄mar áldaròn!

Yē΄ni ve línte yúldar avā΄nië`r

mī óromárdi lísse-mìruvō΄revà

Àndū΄ne pélla Várdo téllumàr

nu luíni, yássen tíntilàr i élenì

ō΄máryo aíre-tā΄ri-lī΄rinèn.

Sī` mán i yúlma nín ènquántuvà?

An sī΄ Tìntálle Várda Óiolóssëò

ve fányar mā΄ryat Élentā΄ri órtanè,

ar ílye tíër ùndu-lā΄ve lúmbulè;

ar sínda-nō΄rië΄-llo caíta mórnië`

i fálmalínnar ímbe mèt, ar hī΄sië`

ùn-tū΄pa Càlacíryo mī΄ri óialè.

Sī vánwa nā`, Rō`méllo vánwa, Válimàr!

Namā΄rië΄! Nai híruválye Válimàr.

Nai élye híruvà. Namā΄rië΄!

 

I do see this text a little bit in a different light now…

 

"Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees! The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the song of her voice, holy and queenly. Who now shall refill the cup for me? For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow; and out of a grey country darkness lies on the foaming waves between us, and mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever. Now lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar! Fare-well’ Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!"

 

Aldoriana wrote:

 

Another interesting fact is that if Tolkien "translated" from the Red Book, he must have used not the original, but one of its later copies made by the hobbits of the Fellowship and their heirs, and these copies were written, as we are told, in Gondor, in Rivendell, in the Shire... Many various sources were used to compile the volumes of The Red Book, and what we learn is that the "writers" used older sources, and many of those - especially the ones kept at Rivendell and Minas Tirith, must have been in languages different from the common tongue of Middle-earth. Hence - translation of those older sources must have been performed! And it was done by none other but the writers of The RB themselves. Besides, we also learn that they were even not just ’passive’ translators!

 

Translation must have been performed, yes. But we need to postulate that the original texts were somehow preserved, either as original documents or as incorporated texts. Otherwise how could these languages be reconstructed?

 

And the translators were not only passive, as you say. Apparently some of the Hobbits were a bit careless and sloppy as compared to a trained official like Findegil.

 

Many sources were indeed used in what came to be compiled in the Red Book. That would be an interesting avenue to pursue.

 

Kirinki54 04/Mar/2006 at 06:08 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

 

After all, a lot on this "translation" issue and rendering between fictional and real languages etc., I have found said by Master T. himself in one of his letters - # 144. One has to perhaps only read that, and some other additional materials, and wonder no more ....

Am I trying to "re-discover the Americas" ?

 

More like re-interpreting the Rosetta stone…

 

And no, I do not think our efforts are wasted. It is one thing to read something (and I have read Letter 144 once or twice and Appendix F at least the double) but nothing beats a discussion like this in order to really understanding connections, to take in the consequences.

 

What bugs me, is to find the track of the really existing languages - though ancient and extinct in our times (and in Tolkien’s time), in the invented languages.

Well, Tolkien did write in Letter 144:

 

I have therefore pleased myself. The archaic language of lore is meant to be a kind of ’Elven-latin’, and by transcribing it into a spelling closely resembling that of Latin (except that y is only used as a consonant, as y in E. Yes) the similarity to Latin has been increased ocularly. Actually it might be said to be composed on a Latin basis with two other (main) ingredients that happen to give me ’phonaesthetic’ pleasure: Finnish and Greek. It is however less consonantal than any of the three. This language is High-elven or in its own terms Quenya (Elvish).

 

So it this ought to make it plain for you, Aldoriana!  (And I am quite certain the man did amuse himself!)

 

At least it sounds easy – in theory. But my problem is lack of knowledge of that theory in which discipline Tolkien was a master likely beyond comprehension by any average reader. When Tolkien gets going in his own field of science, he looses me pretty quickly. Make that: almost instantly.

 

This quote from Quendi and Eldar Appendix D (not published in HoME 11: WJ)

 

Note 3

He [Fëanor] is reported (by Pengolodh) to have said that "words may be analysed into their tengwi, but I would say rather that they have one or more chambers, and the vowel is the room in each, and the consonants are the walls. One may live in a space without walls, but not in walls with no space: kt is only a noise, hardly audible in normal speech, but ket may have significance. Our fathers therefore in building words took the vowels and parted them with the consonants as walls; but for them the word-beginning and word-ending were sufficient divisions, though the least that could be allowed. The word-beginning was the stronger, as we see in that vowels at the beginning seldom disappear, whereas those at the end often vanish, having no end-wall to contain them".

 

might give me a clue as to a line of reasoning why he choose to make Quenya less consonantial. (BTW I never knew Fëanor could be so pedagogic.) But when you look at another randomly chosen paragraph of that appendix like

 

With regard to vowelless consonants, they held these in every case to have "lost" a following vowel, and they called them rakine tengwi "stripped" or "deprived signs". For this purpose it was not necessary to distinguish between true "loss" and "omission", that is, between the "unintended" phonetic disappearance of sounds in the course of speaking and of linguistic transmission in time, and the suppression or rejection of sounds in the course of conscious invention and the construction of more complex words. (Eventually the loremasters regarded this distinction as of great importance.)

 

then, well, it becomes a bit esoteric. So perhaps one should wander into some of the linguistically devoted forum and try to pick up the basics first. Though I noted that suddenly even that paragraph became understandable, but I am not sure what to do with that byte of info. Counting consonants in Namárië?

 

Ai! láurië lántar lássi sū΄rinèn,

yē΄ni ū`nō΄timè ve rā΄mar áldaròn!

Yē΄ni ve línte yúldar avā΄nië`r

mī óromárdi lísse-mìruvō΄revà

Àndū΄ne pélla Várdo téllumàr

nu luíni, yássen tíntilàr i élenì

ō΄máryo aíre-tā΄ri-lī΄rinèn.

Sī` mán i yúlma nín ènquántuvà?

An sī΄ Tìntálle Várda Óiolóssëò

ve fányar mā΄ryat Élentā΄ri órtanè,

ar ílye tíër ùndu-lā΄ve lúmbulè;

ar sínda-nō΄rië΄-llo caíta mórnië`

i fálmalínnar ímbe mèt, ar hī΄sië`

ùn-tū΄pa Càlacíryo mī΄ri óialè.

Sī vánwa nā`, Rō`méllo vánwa, Válimàr!

Namā΄rië΄! Nai híruválye Válimàr.

Nai élye híruvà. Namā΄rië΄!

 

I do see this text a little bit in a different light now…

 

"Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees! The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the song of her voice, holy and queenly. Who now shall refill the cup for me? For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow; and out of a grey country darkness lies on the foaming waves between us, and mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever. Now lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar! Fare-well’ Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!"

 

Aldoriana wrote:

 

Another interesting fact is that if Tolkien "translated" from the Red Book, he must have used not the original, but one of its later copies made by the hobbits of the Fellowship and their heirs, and these copies were written, as we are told, in Gondor, in Rivendell, in the Shire... Many various sources were used to compile the volumes of The Red Book, and what we learn is that the "writers" used older sources, and many of those - especially the ones kept at Rivendell and Minas Tirith, must have been in languages different from the common tongue of Middle-earth. Hence - translation of those older sources must have been performed! And it was done by none other but the writers of The RB themselves. Besides, we also learn that they were even not just ’passive’ translators!

 

Translation must have been performed, yes. But we need to postulate that the original texts were somehow preserved, either as original documents or as incorporated texts. Otherwise how could these languages be reconstructed?

 

And the translators were not only passive, as you say. Apparently some of the Hobbits were a bit careless and sloppy as compared to a trained official like Findegil.

 

Many sources were indeed used in what came to be compiled in the Red Book. That would be an interesting avenue to pursue.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 04/Mar/2006 at 10:45 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
The Rosetta Stone let it be, then!

However, Your Majesty, I am afraid you lost me on the way of counting vowels and consonants.

Well, unlike many, I have always considered Feanor first and foremost to be a genius mind, so what he says about the structure of a word makes a complete sense - that’s what the "sections" = the ’tengwi = the syllables are.

In his essay "The Secret Vice", where Master T. writes about the "vice" of inventing languages and gives reasons and explanations about this process, there’s something very similar to "Feanor’s words (Who was out there asking in what ME characters we can find Tolkien? ):

"....a ’word* is a group of sounds temporarily more or less fixed + an associated notion more or less defined and fixed in itself and in its relation to the sound-symbol. Made not created. There is a historic language, traditional or artificial, no pure creation in the void."

Fantastically well and simply put! Don’t you think so?

But... I lost the track of the connection between word-structure and the ’translation’ issue. Le’me catch up with you again, please!

Anyway, The ’Quenya-Latin ’ principle of creating one of the invented languages is known.
So ... KISS-ing (Keeping It Simple and Sily ), Master T. seems to have made this connection:
’If Latin was spoken in times and territories of importance in the past times of the real history of mankind, let’s then create a corresponding language to fit past times and territories of an invented world. And since this language has never existed, and since I am creating it, I shall have to also create the past ’times and territories’ where it was spoken, just as Latin used to be.’

Now... what am I driving at?
To actually say, that Master T. may have had great fun and pleasure while "twisting" and "squeezing" and "mixing" and ... doing other ’kitchen-related’ operations while creating one of his invented languages, and at that, he:
1/ produced "devices for expression of word-relations, ... syntactical devices"
2/ produced a language fit for being used for communication
3/ produced people, time and space who and when and where resp., this language was used by and in, for communication purposes.

But, as he also pointed out, Arda - the ’invented’ is in fact our really existing world!
So , the times, the people and the territories, as well as the devices of communication must also match!

...

Maybe, indeed, such issues must be far more appropriate for the Lingusitic specialized forums, where the language "twisting" can be possibly tracked down to find the original "untwisted" source for the invented words. There also, there may be linguists, knowing well the syntax of languages as Greek, Latin and Finnish on one hand, and of the English language - on the other hand, so as to compare them and say whether syntactic patterns have been also twisted or - on the contrary - kept and followed ...
For a language, IMHO, is just a structure built of words arranged in and following a certain "pattern". I see it as a ’linguistic mathematics’. One changes the "pattern" and there you have a new notion - of the entire structure (phrase or/and sentence), but as well as of the structural element - the word itself.

This all, if trying to bind it to the ’translation’ - issue, may lead us to a conclusion, that while "translating" from the invented languages, Master T. actually walked back the "road" he had passed before - while creating those languages - back to the sources, so to say.

Am I making sense?
Lady d`Ecthelion 04/Mar/2006 at 10:45 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
The Rosetta Stone let it be, then!

However, Your Majesty, I am afraid you lost me on the way of counting vowels and consonants.

Well, unlike many, I have always considered Feanor first and foremost to be a genius mind, so what he says about the structure of a word makes a complete sense - that’s what the "sections" = the ’tengwi = the syllables are.

In his essay "The Secret Vice", where Master T. writes about the "vice" of inventing languages and gives reasons and explanations about this process, there’s something very similar to "Feanor’s words (Who was out there asking in what ME characters we can find Tolkien? ):

"....a ’word* is a group of sounds temporarily more or less fixed + an associated notion more or less defined and fixed in itself and in its relation to the sound-symbol. Made not created. There is a historic language, traditional or artificial, no pure creation in the void."

Fantastically well and simply put! Don’t you think so?

But... I lost the track of the connection between word-structure and the ’translation’ issue. Le’me catch up with you again, please!

Anyway, The ’Quenya-Latin ’ principle of creating one of the invented languages is known.
So ... KISS-ing (Keeping It Simple and Sily ), Master T. seems to have made this connection:
’If Latin was spoken in times and territories of importance in the past times of the real history of mankind, let’s then create a corresponding language to fit past times and territories of an invented world. And since this language has never existed, and since I am creating it, I shall have to also create the past ’times and territories’ where it was spoken, just as Latin used to be.’

Now... what am I driving at?
To actually say, that Master T. may have had great fun and pleasure while "twisting" and "squeezing" and "mixing" and ... doing other ’kitchen-related’ operations while creating one of his invented languages, and at that, he:
1/ produced "devices for expression of word-relations, ... syntactical devices"
2/ produced a language fit for being used for communication
3/ produced people, time and space who and when and where resp., this language was used by and in, for communication purposes.

But, as he also pointed out, Arda - the ’invented’ is in fact our really existing world!
So , the times, the people and the territories, as well as the devices of communication must also match!

...

Maybe, indeed, such issues must be far more appropriate for the Lingusitic specialized forums, where the language "twisting" can be possibly tracked down to find the original "untwisted" source for the invented words. There also, there may be linguists, knowing well the syntax of languages as Greek, Latin and Finnish on one hand, and of the English language - on the other hand, so as to compare them and say whether syntactic patterns have been also twisted or - on the contrary - kept and followed ...
For a language, IMHO, is just a structure built of words arranged in and following a certain "pattern". I see it as a ’linguistic mathematics’. One changes the "pattern" and there you have a new notion - of the entire structure (phrase or/and sentence), but as well as of the structural element - the word itself.

This all, if trying to bind it to the ’translation’ - issue, may lead us to a conclusion, that while "translating" from the invented languages, Master T. actually walked back the "road" he had passed before - while creating those languages - back to the sources, so to say.

Am I making sense?
Lady d`Ecthelion 07/Mar/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Since we are here talking about ’linguistic discoveries’ ( and I am not considering the LoTR only ), I have always been impressed by a little ’linguistic’ detail - the names of Varda.

Varda - ’The Exalted’, ’The Lofty’; "she whose name out of the deeps of time and the labours of Eä was Tintallë, the ’Kindler’, was called after by the Elves Elentári, Queen of the Stars."; and the Elves hold Varda most in reverence and love. Elbereth they name her, and they call upon her name out of the shadows of Middle-earth, and uplift it in song at the rising of the stars.".

How many language-variations do we discover revealed in one name only.

BTW, what language would the name ’Varda’ be in?
’Elbereth’ - is in Sindarin.
As for ’Tintallë’, and ’Elentari’ - these are names of the goddess as they appear in Galadriel’s lament in Lórien (The Fellowship of the Ring ), and I think they would therefore be in Quenya?
As mush as I know, there’s no name of this Vala-Queen in any of the Mannish languages.
Lady d`Ecthelion 07/Mar/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Since we are here talking about ’linguistic discoveries’ ( and I am not considering the LoTR only ), I have always been impressed by a little ’linguistic’ detail - the names of Varda.

Varda - ’The Exalted’, ’The Lofty’; "she whose name out of the deeps of time and the labours of Eä was Tintallë, the ’Kindler’, was called after by the Elves Elentári, Queen of the Stars."; and the Elves hold Varda most in reverence and love. Elbereth they name her, and they call upon her name out of the shadows of Middle-earth, and uplift it in song at the rising of the stars.".

How many language-variations do we discover revealed in one name only.

BTW, what language would the name ’Varda’ be in?
’Elbereth’ - is in Sindarin.
As for ’Tintallë’, and ’Elentari’ - these are names of the goddess as they appear in Galadriel’s lament in Lórien (The Fellowship of the Ring ), and I think they would therefore be in Quenya?
As mush as I know, there’s no name of this Vala-Queen in any of the Mannish languages.
Kirinki54 08/Mar/2006 at 11:04 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

’If Latin was spoken in times and territories of importance in the past times of the real history of mankind, let’s then create a corresponding language to fit past times and territories of an invented world. And since this language has never existed, and since I am creating it, I shall have to also create the past ’times and territories’ where it was spoken, just as Latin used to be.’

 

That seems to be it, in nuce!

 

I really laughed of your image of Tolkien the language cook rummaging around it the kitchen in an apron, cooking up his languages, taking a euphonic taste now and then!

 

I am not sure how far I can go on the journey of syntax and structures, perhaps it is easier for a trained translator?

Perhaps it would be easier to look for similarities of words, common roots, and so on. But the I understand that etymology is also a minefield for the amateur; it might look safe but the path is quite treacherous.

 

Now, let me get into something else. What is even more interesting with the aspect of translation as a creative process in relation to the LotR, is that Tolkien made translation a rather significant part on the narrative itself.

 

I have spent some time looking through LotR, and it seems that Tolkien used several techniques for displaying an underlying fabric of languages, separate and interwoven. It seems to me there are four basic ways for Tolkien to demonstrate the importance of languages for the history and culture of Middle-earth. The border between first three techniques is sometimes a bit vague.

 

1) One very important technique (and one that also works a literary vehicle in many ways) is how he lets his characters act as translators in casual or more elaborate remarks. I actually started to list those I found, but I gave it up because I did not want to burden your reading; there were several dozens! (Even without counting the instances were characters mix in foreign words without explicitly explaining them.)

 

It seems that many of the characters of LotR really loves to educate there fellow beings in the different names (the phenomenon usually but far from always regards names). Let me show a typical reply, in this case by Gimli:

 

`Only once before have I seen them from afar in waking life, but I know them and their names, for under them lies Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue. Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras; and beyond him are Silvertine and Cloudyhead: Celebdil the White, and Fanuidhol the Grey, that we call Zirak-zigil and Bundushathûr.’

 

It is rather easy hear to our dear philologist author speak through their mouths!

 

2) Secondly, the texts abound with examples of remarks, poems, songs etc being translated by the author himself, without any of the characters voicing the translation. Though it is sometimes unclear whether a character or the author is actually speaking, but this is a typical example:

 

Then Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said:

Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta!

And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the Sea on the wings of the wind: ‘Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.’

 

 

3) The third technique seems to separate the role of commentator from that of narrator; the text becomes almost lecturing:

 

This was Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, the name of which had (by design or chance) a twofold meaning; for in the Elvish speech orthanc signifies Mount Fang, but in the language of the Mark of old the Cunning Mind.

 

4) The third methods employs songs and poems to describe other languages; sometimes they are translated but sometimes the meaning is only contextual – and sometimes there is no translation per se, only the elegant words themselves:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

All four methods of course have their merits depending to what purpose they are chosen. I think I will stop here to give a chance for comments and replies.

 

PS On Varda and many names: not sure of Mannish names exists? Would not those in the know use sindarin Elbereth? But I do love the many names; it is like a bouquet of flowers!

 

And speaking of flowers, congratulations to you and all lady members on this 8 of March International Women´s Day!
**

Kirinki54 08/Mar/2006 at 11:04 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

’If Latin was spoken in times and territories of importance in the past times of the real history of mankind, let’s then create a corresponding language to fit past times and territories of an invented world. And since this language has never existed, and since I am creating it, I shall have to also create the past ’times and territories’ where it was spoken, just as Latin used to be.’

 

That seems to be it, in nuce!

 

I really laughed of your image of Tolkien the language cook rummaging around it the kitchen in an apron, cooking up his languages, taking a euphonic taste now and then!

 

I am not sure how far I can go on the journey of syntax and structures, perhaps it is easier for a trained translator?

Perhaps it would be easier to look for similarities of words, common roots, and so on. But the I understand that etymology is also a minefield for the amateur; it might look safe but the path is quite treacherous.

 

Now, let me get into something else. What is even more interesting with the aspect of translation as a creative process in relation to the LotR, is that Tolkien made translation a rather significant part on the narrative itself.

 

I have spent some time looking through LotR, and it seems that Tolkien used several techniques for displaying an underlying fabric of languages, separate and interwoven. It seems to me there are four basic ways for Tolkien to demonstrate the importance of languages for the history and culture of Middle-earth. The border between first three techniques is sometimes a bit vague.

 

1) One very important technique (and one that also works a literary vehicle in many ways) is how he lets his characters act as translators in casual or more elaborate remarks. I actually started to list those I found, but I gave it up because I did not want to burden your reading; there were several dozens! (Even without counting the instances were characters mix in foreign words without explicitly explaining them.)

 

It seems that many of the characters of LotR really loves to educate there fellow beings in the different names (the phenomenon usually but far from always regards names). Let me show a typical reply, in this case by Gimli:

 

`Only once before have I seen them from afar in waking life, but I know them and their names, for under them lies Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue. Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras; and beyond him are Silvertine and Cloudyhead: Celebdil the White, and Fanuidhol the Grey, that we call Zirak-zigil and Bundushathûr.’

 

It is rather easy hear to our dear philologist author speak through their mouths!

 

2) Secondly, the texts abound with examples of remarks, poems, songs etc being translated by the author himself, without any of the characters voicing the translation. Though it is sometimes unclear whether a character or the author is actually speaking, but this is a typical example:

 

Then Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said:

Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta!

And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the Sea on the wings of the wind: ‘Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.’

 

 

3) The third technique seems to separate the role of commentator from that of narrator; the text becomes almost lecturing:

 

This was Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, the name of which had (by design or chance) a twofold meaning; for in the Elvish speech orthanc signifies Mount Fang, but in the language of the Mark of old the Cunning Mind.

 

4) The third methods employs songs and poems to describe other languages; sometimes they are translated but sometimes the meaning is only contextual – and sometimes there is no translation per se, only the elegant words themselves:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

All four methods of course have their merits depending to what purpose they are chosen. I think I will stop here to give a chance for comments and replies.

 

PS On Varda and many names: not sure of Mannish names exists? Would not those in the know use sindarin Elbereth? But I do love the many names; it is like a bouquet of flowers!

 

And speaking of flowers, congratulations to you and all lady members on this 8 of March International Women´s Day!
**

Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Mar/2006 at 10:33 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Your Majesty, what a wonderful observation!
I have never actually systematized the "translation techniques" found in the books in such a way ....
But now that you have siad it ... it all seems so clear, so ’right before my eyes’ ... I wonder why I haven’t thought about it before!

Thank you!!!
To some extent, I guess, I had some "feeling" about it, while I was paying attention to the names of Varda. Your "Dwarvish" example is the same! It reveals the same!
It’s one of those ’eucatastrophic’ moments, as I have recently started calling them, when one suddenly realizes the truth about something, and also realizes that this truth has been right there all the time, but he/she has not seen it so far ... (as s usually the way with truths... )
Amazing feeling!

Oh! And thank you for the Women’s Day congratulations!
I thought it was not known too much west of the previously existing berlin Wall... except for Italy, if I’m not mistaken.
Anyway ... it’s a beautiful day in the callendar!
...
Ask men about their opinion ...

Galin, !
Thank you so much for sharing these observations! And it would be even better to have more, because I personally do not have available the sources you have quoted from. And they seem highly interesting.


Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Mar/2006 at 10:33 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Your Majesty, what a wonderful observation!
I have never actually systematized the "translation techniques" found in the books in such a way ....
But now that you have siad it ... it all seems so clear, so ’right before my eyes’ ... I wonder why I haven’t thought about it before!

Thank you!!!
To some extent, I guess, I had some "feeling" about it, while I was paying attention to the names of Varda. Your "Dwarvish" example is the same! It reveals the same!
It’s one of those ’eucatastrophic’ moments, as I have recently started calling them, when one suddenly realizes the truth about something, and also realizes that this truth has been right there all the time, but he/she has not seen it so far ... (as s usually the way with truths... )
Amazing feeling!

Oh! And thank you for the Women’s Day congratulations!
I thought it was not known too much west of the previously existing berlin Wall... except for Italy, if I’m not mistaken.
Anyway ... it’s a beautiful day in the callendar!
...
Ask men about their opinion ...

Galin, !
Thank you so much for sharing these observations! And it would be even better to have more, because I personally do not have available the sources you have quoted from. And they seem highly interesting.


Kirinki54 10/Mar/2006 at 02:06 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Why, Aldoriana, you give such praise I am beginning to feel I was merely stating the obvious!  

The International Women´s Day is one of the celebration days recognized by the United Nations, and apparently have old roots:

http://www0.un.org/cyberschoolbus/womensday/pages/how_content_1.asp

On Mannish names of Varda: I saw on the excellent site Ardalambion that there is an Adûnaic term but it is clearly imported from Quenya: Avradî.

Galin, I agree; interesting observations, and please share more!

And now, since I am actually supposed to work and nobody does my tasks if I don´t, I better get started!

 

 

Kirinki54 10/Mar/2006 at 02:06 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Why, Aldoriana, you give such praise I am beginning to feel I was merely stating the obvious!  

The International Women´s Day is one of the celebration days recognized by the United Nations, and apparently have old roots:

http://www0.un.org/cyberschoolbus/womensday/pages/how_content_1.asp

On Mannish names of Varda: I saw on the excellent site Ardalambion that there is an Adûnaic term but it is clearly imported from Quenya: Avradî.

Galin, I agree; interesting observations, and please share more!

And now, since I am actually supposed to work and nobody does my tasks if I don´t, I better get started!

 

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Mar/2006 at 04:58 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
That’s all very interesting!

And it makes perfect sense with what I’m reading in Tom Shipey’s "Road to Middle earth". There he describes Tolkien’s approach to the ’word’ as a language unit, researching the historical roots, believing that the etymology of a word is inneviatvbly history related. And I can’t agree more!
The same approach is obviously to be found in the creation and use of the invented languages, as the above, which Galin posted, confirms, IMO.

Shame on me, having the HoME-volumes containing the Lhammas , and not having paid enough attention!
But ... all in its time... All, in its time!

Galin, I can’t help but saying how impressed I am to meet such a young person, dealing with such a complicated issue, in such a profound manner! Really impressive!!!

Kirinki, Your Majesty, but you have done an astonishing discovery of a truth, which has been right there before my eyes, and I have been so blind as to see it not!
But ... this is the way with ’discovering truths’, right? They are there all the time; one just need to see them!
Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Mar/2006 at 04:58 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
That’s all very interesting!

And it makes perfect sense with what I’m reading in Tom Shipey’s "Road to Middle earth". There he describes Tolkien’s approach to the ’word’ as a language unit, researching the historical roots, believing that the etymology of a word is inneviatvbly history related. And I can’t agree more!
The same approach is obviously to be found in the creation and use of the invented languages, as the above, which Galin posted, confirms, IMO.

Shame on me, having the HoME-volumes containing the Lhammas , and not having paid enough attention!
But ... all in its time... All, in its time!

Galin, I can’t help but saying how impressed I am to meet such a young person, dealing with such a complicated issue, in such a profound manner! Really impressive!!!

Kirinki, Your Majesty, but you have done an astonishing discovery of a truth, which has been right there before my eyes, and I have been so blind as to see it not!
But ... this is the way with ’discovering truths’, right? They are there all the time; one just need to see them!
Kirinki54 15/Mar/2006 at 01:41 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Interesting info on the Taliska; I also have never paid attention to that idea of an alleged Indo-European Mannish language being spoken in Beleriand. However, the reasons given by Hostetter seem logical enough why Taliska was supplanted by Adunaic.

 

It seems the Adunaic was conceived by Tolkien after WW2, and it is interesting that it enters the mythos of Tolkien from a rather different source, namely The Notion Club Papers. While the different versions of this work certainly draws on sources from the Silmarillion mythos and Akallabêth, there are also other important influences in this contemporary set time-travel story.

 

The Notion Club Papers is another work by Tolkien I have paid far too little attention. It seems that here might be found many important insights into to his philogic thoughts and ruminations.
Kirinki54 15/Mar/2006 at 01:41 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Interesting info on the Taliska; I also have never paid attention to that idea of an alleged Indo-European Mannish language being spoken in Beleriand. However, the reasons given by Hostetter seem logical enough why Taliska was supplanted by Adunaic.

 

It seems the Adunaic was conceived by Tolkien after WW2, and it is interesting that it enters the mythos of Tolkien from a rather different source, namely The Notion Club Papers. While the different versions of this work certainly draws on sources from the Silmarillion mythos and Akallabêth, there are also other important influences in this contemporary set time-travel story.

 

The Notion Club Papers is another work by Tolkien I have paid far too little attention. It seems that here might be found many important insights into to his philogic thoughts and ruminations.
Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Mar/2006 at 10:30 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I have not read the NCP, and unfortunately can’t comment.

But as to that line in the other ADL-thread ("The comitatus"), namely:
"With reference to the ‘Lingustic discoveries’ thread, I also note that Aldarion preferred to speak Adûnaic before Sindarin. Quite funny really, for a Man that Gil-galad called the greatest Elf-friend of his time."

Well, Tar-Aldarion was an exception in many ways!
In the UT, we read a comment on that, namely:

"In other regions of Númenor Adûnaic was the native language of the people, though Sindarin was known in some degree to nearly all; and in the royal house, and in most of the houses of the noble or learned, Sindarin was usually the native tongue, until after the days of Tar-Atanamir. (It is said later in the present narrative (p. 203) that Aldarion actually preferred the Númenórean speech; it may be that in this he was exceptional.) "

Aldarion was not the typical royalty - "typical" for the commonly accepted mode of behaviour in Numenor - a society "copying" the Medieval European society. He would prefer to be closer to the people he had common interests with - and those were mainly the mariners. He did not even show any interest towards the crown, and as we know from the tales, he was ready to renounce his royal rights.
However, he was raised as a royalty, so "... Aldarion spoke the Númenórean speech, although as all high men of Númenor he knew also the tongue of Beleriand..." (that would be the Sindarin).

BTW, here, in this case, one can also see Master T. - the philologist/historian, in action. Because, on the issue of the languages spoken on Numenor, he had not forgotten to provide the historical track:

" Note 19:

in a note on the languages of Númenor, it is said that the general use of Sindarin in the north-west of the Isle was due to the fact that those parts were largely settled by people of "Bëorian" descent; and the People of Bëor had in Beleriand early abandoned their own speech and adopted Sindarin. (Of this there is no men¬tion in The Silmarillion, though it is said there (p. 148) that in Dor-lómin in the days of Fingolfin the people of Hador did not forget their own speech, "and from it came the common tongue of Númenor.")
"

Which is another "lingustic discovery" in Tolkien style. Right?
Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Mar/2006 at 10:30 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I have not read the NCP, and unfortunately can’t comment.

But as to that line in the other ADL-thread ("The comitatus"), namely:
"With reference to the ‘Lingustic discoveries’ thread, I also note that Aldarion preferred to speak Adûnaic before Sindarin. Quite funny really, for a Man that Gil-galad called the greatest Elf-friend of his time."

Well, Tar-Aldarion was an exception in many ways!
In the UT, we read a comment on that, namely:

"In other regions of Númenor Adûnaic was the native language of the people, though Sindarin was known in some degree to nearly all; and in the royal house, and in most of the houses of the noble or learned, Sindarin was usually the native tongue, until after the days of Tar-Atanamir. (It is said later in the present narrative (p. 203) that Aldarion actually preferred the Númenórean speech; it may be that in this he was exceptional.) "

Aldarion was not the typical royalty - "typical" for the commonly accepted mode of behaviour in Numenor - a society "copying" the Medieval European society. He would prefer to be closer to the people he had common interests with - and those were mainly the mariners. He did not even show any interest towards the crown, and as we know from the tales, he was ready to renounce his royal rights.
However, he was raised as a royalty, so "... Aldarion spoke the Númenórean speech, although as all high men of Númenor he knew also the tongue of Beleriand..." (that would be the Sindarin).

BTW, here, in this case, one can also see Master T. - the philologist/historian, in action. Because, on the issue of the languages spoken on Numenor, he had not forgotten to provide the historical track:

" Note 19:

in a note on the languages of Númenor, it is said that the general use of Sindarin in the north-west of the Isle was due to the fact that those parts were largely settled by people of "Bëorian" descent; and the People of Bëor had in Beleriand early abandoned their own speech and adopted Sindarin. (Of this there is no men¬tion in The Silmarillion, though it is said there (p. 148) that in Dor-lómin in the days of Fingolfin the people of Hador did not forget their own speech, "and from it came the common tongue of Númenor.")
"

Which is another "lingustic discovery" in Tolkien style. Right?
Galin 17/Mar/2006 at 04:18 AM
New Soul Points: 3638 Posts: 1945 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

Indeed Tolkien’s character Lowdham appears to speak for Tolkien himself here...

’In making up a language you are free: too free. It is difficult to fit meaning to any given sound-pattern, and even more difficult to fit a sound-pattern to any given meaning. I say fit. I don’t mean that you can’t assign forms or meanings arbitrarily, as you will. Say, you want a word for sky. Well, call it jibberjabber, or anything else that comes into your head without the exercise of any linguistic taste or art. But that’s code-making, not language-building. It is quite another matter to find a relationship, sound plus sense, that satisfies, that is when made durable. When you’re just inventing, the pleasure or fun is in the moment of invention; but as you are the master your whim is law, and you may want to have the fun all over again, fresh. You’re liable to be for ever niggling, altering, refining, wavering, according to your linguistic mood and to your changes of taste.’  Sauron Defeated

Galin 17/Mar/2006 at 04:18 AM
New Soul Points: 3638 Posts: 1945 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

Indeed Tolkien’s character Lowdham appears to speak for Tolkien himself here...

’In making up a language you are free: too free. It is difficult to fit meaning to any given sound-pattern, and even more difficult to fit a sound-pattern to any given meaning. I say fit. I don’t mean that you can’t assign forms or meanings arbitrarily, as you will. Say, you want a word for sky. Well, call it jibberjabber, or anything else that comes into your head without the exercise of any linguistic taste or art. But that’s code-making, not language-building. It is quite another matter to find a relationship, sound plus sense, that satisfies, that is when made durable. When you’re just inventing, the pleasure or fun is in the moment of invention; but as you are the master your whim is law, and you may want to have the fun all over again, fresh. You’re liable to be for ever niggling, altering, refining, wavering, according to your linguistic mood and to your changes of taste.’  Sauron Defeated

Magradhaid 17/Mar/2006 at 04:30 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
Aldoriana: From further up, I think the only Men familiar with Varda would be the Dúnedain, and they would use the Sindarin term Elbereth. The Rohirrim were only familiar with Oromë, who they called Béma ’trumpeter’.
Magradhaid 17/Mar/2006 at 04:30 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
Aldoriana: From further up, I think the only Men familiar with Varda would be the Dúnedain, and they would use the Sindarin term Elbereth. The Rohirrim were only familiar with Oromë, who they called Béma ’trumpeter’.
Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Mar/2006 at 11:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Hmm ... I’m not quite sure, Mynegeorn.
I mean, after all, in Gondor, too, lived heirs of the Numenoreans, and of the Faithful at that - what is more important! Which means that the Elvish lore must’ve been preserved there, too, to some extent at least, and Men of the only survived kingdom of the Numenorans who escaped from the downfall, knew well who the Valar were. Of course, at those times (Third of the Sun), what used to be Elvish ’lore’ must’ve already become Elven ’mythology’. Yet, even so, I guess Men had some knowledge of those "myths", hence - of the "Powers of the World" cherished by all the Elves.
Besides, let’s not forget that (if I’m not mistaken) it is a fact that whatever tales are being told about the creation and of the first ages of the newly created ( = "sung in" ) world, they all come from the lore of Men - Men, who had heard/read those legends from Elvish sources, and had recorded them ... however through their p.o.v. - that’s Tolkien main idea.

What I’m saying is, that Men of ME in the Third Age of the Sun must’ve still been acquainted with this Elvish lore, hence - knew about Varda etc. Valar.

Galin, greatly spotted!

This reminded me of Master T.’s poem "Mythopoeia".
I thought of quoting from it, but ... No! No piece of the text of this wonderful work could be taken out from the context of the whole work. So, those, who have read it, shall understand what I mean; those who have not - you’d better read it!

I, personally, love early Tolkien’s writings very much, and often re-read parts from them.

In the "spirit" of the present topic, I’ve remembered an episode I read in the "Book of Lost Tales" - I, "The cottage of lost play", when Eriol has a most pleasant discourse with Rúmil in the small garden.

"Know you that the Noldoli grow old astounding slow, and yet have I grey hairs in the study of all the tongues of the Valar and of Eldar. Long ere The Fall of Gondolin, good sir, I lightened my thraldom under Melko in learning the speech of all monsters and goblins -- have I not conned even the speeches of beasts, disdaining not the thin voices of the voles and mice? -- have I not cadged a stupid tune or two to hum of the speechless beetles? Nay, I have worried at whiles even over the tongues of Men, but Melko take them! they shift and change, change and shift, and when you have them are but a hard stuff whereof to labour songs or tales. Wherefore is it that this morn I felt as Omar the Vala who knows all tongues, as I hearkened to the blending of the voices of the birds comprehending each, recognising each well-loved tune, when tirípti lirilla here comes a bird, an imp of Melko -- but I weary you sir, with babbling of songs and words.’"

which passage is followed by even more interesting stuff language-related - all, actually providing, and just in a few lines!, an incredible depth of the tale of the world, for through only mentioning those languages, Rumil reveals a vast picture of the "sung in" world.

Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Mar/2006 at 11:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Hmm ... I’m not quite sure, Mynegeorn.
I mean, after all, in Gondor, too, lived heirs of the Numenoreans, and of the Faithful at that - what is more important! Which means that the Elvish lore must’ve been preserved there, too, to some extent at least, and Men of the only survived kingdom of the Numenorans who escaped from the downfall, knew well who the Valar were. Of course, at those times (Third of the Sun), what used to be Elvish ’lore’ must’ve already become Elven ’mythology’. Yet, even so, I guess Men had some knowledge of those "myths", hence - of the "Powers of the World" cherished by all the Elves.
Besides, let’s not forget that (if I’m not mistaken) it is a fact that whatever tales are being told about the creation and of the first ages of the newly created ( = "sung in" ) world, they all come from the lore of Men - Men, who had heard/read those legends from Elvish sources, and had recorded them ... however through their p.o.v. - that’s Tolkien main idea.

What I’m saying is, that Men of ME in the Third Age of the Sun must’ve still been acquainted with this Elvish lore, hence - knew about Varda etc. Valar.

Galin, greatly spotted!

This reminded me of Master T.’s poem "Mythopoeia".
I thought of quoting from it, but ... No! No piece of the text of this wonderful work could be taken out from the context of the whole work. So, those, who have read it, shall understand what I mean; those who have not - you’d better read it!

I, personally, love early Tolkien’s writings very much, and often re-read parts from them.

In the "spirit" of the present topic, I’ve remembered an episode I read in the "Book of Lost Tales" - I, "The cottage of lost play", when Eriol has a most pleasant discourse with Rúmil in the small garden.

"Know you that the Noldoli grow old astounding slow, and yet have I grey hairs in the study of all the tongues of the Valar and of Eldar. Long ere The Fall of Gondolin, good sir, I lightened my thraldom under Melko in learning the speech of all monsters and goblins -- have I not conned even the speeches of beasts, disdaining not the thin voices of the voles and mice? -- have I not cadged a stupid tune or two to hum of the speechless beetles? Nay, I have worried at whiles even over the tongues of Men, but Melko take them! they shift and change, change and shift, and when you have them are but a hard stuff whereof to labour songs or tales. Wherefore is it that this morn I felt as Omar the Vala who knows all tongues, as I hearkened to the blending of the voices of the birds comprehending each, recognising each well-loved tune, when tirípti lirilla here comes a bird, an imp of Melko -- but I weary you sir, with babbling of songs and words.’"

which passage is followed by even more interesting stuff language-related - all, actually providing, and just in a few lines!, an incredible depth of the tale of the world, for through only mentioning those languages, Rumil reveals a vast picture of the "sung in" world.

Kirinki54 23/Mar/2006 at 02:42 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Galin, I also found that paragraph to come ‘from Tolkien´s own mouth’, and yet it does not seem Lowdham was meant to resemble Tolkien at all; if anyone he might be construed as Hugo Dyson; this is evident in the notes edited by Christopher Tolkien. (But I should also add that CT warns us to conclude that any of the characters represent any real person.)

 

This is one observation by CT regarding Dyson as Lowdham:

 

The fact that Lowdham is ’loud’ and makes jokes often at inappropriate moments derives from Dyson(but he was wittier than Lowdham), yet Lowdham is the very antithesis of Dyson in his learning and interests; no doubt Frankley’s horror borealis is a reminiscence of Dyson also, though it is profoundly un-Dysonian to have read mediaeval works on Saint Brendan p. 265).

 

In the list of members, Lowdham is described thus:

 

ALWIN ARUNDEL LOWDHAM. B.N.C. Born 1938. Lecturer in English Language. Chiefly interested in Anglo-Saxon, Icelandic, and Comparative Philology. Occasionally writes comic or satirical verse. [Known as Arry.]   

 

Just as Tolkien made a note HVD (eg Hugo Dyson) beneath the name Lowdham (or in that first version Loudham), beneath the name of Ramer he wrote ‘Self’ but this was later stricken. Of Ramer the list of members says:

 

MICHAEL GEORGE RAMER. Jesus College. Born 1929(in Hungary). Professor of   Finno-Ugric Philology; but  better known as a writer of romances. His parents returned to England when he was four; but he spent a good deal of time in Finland and Hungary between 1956 and 68. [Among his interests are Celtic languages and antiquities.]

 

Namewise – he is as CT remarks ‘apparently speechless’ – there is also a

 

John Jethro Rashbold. Magdalen. Born 1965. Undergraduate. Classical scholar; apprentice poet. [Introduced by Frankley, to whom he is much attached.]    

 

‘Rashbold’ is the translation of german Toll-kühn, the basis for the name Tolkien.

 

Anyway, that section of NCP part II (Night 66) from which you quoted is really interesting altogether.

 

Aldoriana, the text of Mythopoeia is indeed grand, and though it can be found on the web, why not give it here:

 

Mythopoeia

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

To one who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless,

even though "breathed through silver"

PHILOMYTHUS TO MISOMYTHUS (J.R.R.T. to C.S.L.)

 

 

You look at trees and label them just so,

(for trees are `trees’, and growing is `to grow’);

you walk the earth and tread with solemn pace

one of the many minor globes of Space:

a star’s a star, some matter in a ball

compelled to courses mathematical

amid the regimented, cold, Inane,

where destined atoms are each moment slain.

 

At bidding of a Will, to which we bend

(and must), but only dimly apprehend,

great processes march on, as Time unrolls

from dark beginnings to uncertain goals;

and as on page o’erwitten without clue,

with script and limning packed of various hue,

and endless multitude of forms appear,

some grim, some frail, some beautiful, some queer,

each alien, except as kin from one

remote Origo, gnat, man, stone, and sun.

God made the petreous rocks, the arboreal trees,

tellurian earth, and stellar stars, and these

homuncular men, who walk upon the ground

with nerves that tingle touched by light and sound.

The movements of the sea, the wind in boughs,

green grass, the large slow oddity of cows,

thunder and lightning, birds that wheel and cry,

slime crawling up from mud to live and die,

these each are duly registered and print

the brain’s contortions with a separate dint.

 

Yet trees and not `trees’, until so named and seen -

and never were so named, till those had been

who speech’s involuted breath unfurled,

faint echo and dim picture of the world,

but neither record nor a photograph,

being divination, judgement, and a laugh,

response of those that felt astir within

by deep monition movements that were kin

to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars:

free captives undermining shadowy bars,

digging the foreknown from experience

and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.

Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,

and looking backward they beheld the Elves

that wrought on cunning forges in the mind,

and light and dark on secret looms entwined.

 

He sees no stars who does not see them first

of living silver made that sudden burst

to flame like flowers beneath the ancient song,

whose very echo after-music long

has since pursued. There is no firmament,

only a void, unless a jewelled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb whence all have birth.

 

The heart of man is not compound of lies,

but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,

and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,

man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.

Disgraced he may be, yet is not dethroned,

and keeps the rags of lordship one he owned,

his world-dominion by creative act:

not his to worship the great Artefact,

man, sub-creator, the refracted light

through whom is splintered from a single White

to many hues, and endlessly combined

in living shapes that move from mind to mind.

Though all the crannies of the world we filled

with elves and goblins, though we dared to build

gods and their houses out of dark and light,

and sow the seed of dragons, ’twas our right

(used or misused). The right has not decayed.

We make still by the law in which we’re made.

 

Yes! `wish-fulfilment dreams’ we spin to cheat

our timid hearts and ugly Fact defeat!

Whence came the wish, and whence the power to dream,

or some things fair and others ugly deem ?

All wishes are not idle, not in vain

fulfilment we devise - for pain is pain,

not for itself to be desired, but ill;

or else to strive or to subdue the will

alike were graceless; and of Evil this

alone is dreadly certain: Evil is.

 

Blessed are the timid hearts that evil hate,

that quail in its shadow, and yet shut the gate;

that seek no parley, and in guarded room,

through small and bare, upon a clumsy loom

weave rissues gilded by the far-off day

hoped and believed in under Shadow’s sway.

 

Blessed are the men of Noah’s race that build

their little arks, though frail and poorly filled,

and steer through winds contrary towards a wraith,

a rumour of a harbour guessed by faith.

 

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme

of things nor found within record time.

It is not they that have forgot the Night,

or bid us flee to organised delight,

in lotus-isles of economic bliss

forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss

(and counterfeit at that, machine-produced,

bogus seduction of the twice-seduced).

 

Such isles they saw afar, and ones more fair,

and those that hear them yet may yet beware.

They have seen Death and ultimate defeat,

and yet they would not in despair retreat,

but oft to victory have turned the lyre

and kindled hearts with legendary fire,

illuminating Now and dark Hath-been

with light of suns as yet by no man seen.

 

I would that I might with the minstrels sing

and stir the unseen with a throbbing string.

I would be with the mariners of the deep

that cut their slender planks on mountains steep

and voyage upon a vague and wandering quest,

for some have passed beyond the fabled West.

I would with the beleaguered fools be told,

that keep an inner fastness where their gold,

impure and scanty, yet they loyally bring

to mint in image blurred of distant king,

or in fantastic banners weave the sheen

heraldic emblems of a lord unseen.

 

I will not walk with your progressive apes,

erect and sapient. Before them gapes

the dark abyss to which their progress tends -

if by God’s mercy progress ever ends,

and does not ceaselessly revolve the same

unfruitful course with changing of a name.

I will not treat your dusty path and flat,

denoting this and that by this and that,

your world immutable wherein no part

the little maker has with maker’s art.

I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,

nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.

 

In Paradise perchance the eye may stray

from gazing upon everlasting Day

to see the day-illumined, and renew

from mirrored truth the likeness of the True.

Then looking on the Blessed Land ’twill see

that all is as it is, and yet may free:

Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,

garden not gardener, children not their toys.

Evil it will not see, for evil lies

not in God’s picture but in crooked eyes,

not in the source but in the tuneless voice.

In Paradise they look no more awry;

and though they make anew, they make no lie.

Be sure they still will make, not been dead,

and poets shall have flames upon their head,

and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:

there each shall choose for ever from the All.

 

Trees, trees, trees… Did Tolkien ever write about languages being like trees? I seems to me that he well could have.

Kirinki54 23/Mar/2006 at 02:42 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Galin, I also found that paragraph to come ‘from Tolkien´s own mouth’, and yet it does not seem Lowdham was meant to resemble Tolkien at all; if anyone he might be construed as Hugo Dyson; this is evident in the notes edited by Christopher Tolkien. (But I should also add that CT warns us to conclude that any of the characters represent any real person.)

 

This is one observation by CT regarding Dyson as Lowdham:

 

The fact that Lowdham is ’loud’ and makes jokes often at inappropriate moments derives from Dyson(but he was wittier than Lowdham), yet Lowdham is the very antithesis of Dyson in his learning and interests; no doubt Frankley’s horror borealis is a reminiscence of Dyson also, though it is profoundly un-Dysonian to have read mediaeval works on Saint Brendan p. 265).

 

In the list of members, Lowdham is described thus:

 

ALWIN ARUNDEL LOWDHAM. B.N.C. Born 1938. Lecturer in English Language. Chiefly interested in Anglo-Saxon, Icelandic, and Comparative Philology. Occasionally writes comic or satirical verse. [Known as Arry.]   

 

Just as Tolkien made a note HVD (eg Hugo Dyson) beneath the name Lowdham (or in that first version Loudham), beneath the name of Ramer he wrote ‘Self’ but this was later stricken. Of Ramer the list of members says:

 

MICHAEL GEORGE RAMER. Jesus College. Born 1929(in Hungary). Professor of   Finno-Ugric Philology; but  better known as a writer of romances. His parents returned to England when he was four; but he spent a good deal of time in Finland and Hungary between 1956 and 68. [Among his interests are Celtic languages and antiquities.]

 

Namewise – he is as CT remarks ‘apparently speechless’ – there is also a

 

John Jethro Rashbold. Magdalen. Born 1965. Undergraduate. Classical scholar; apprentice poet. [Introduced by Frankley, to whom he is much attached.]    

 

‘Rashbold’ is the translation of german Toll-kühn, the basis for the name Tolkien.

 

Anyway, that section of NCP part II (Night 66) from which you quoted is really interesting altogether.

 

Aldoriana, the text of Mythopoeia is indeed grand, and though it can be found on the web, why not give it here:

 

Mythopoeia

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

To one who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless,

even though "breathed through silver"

PHILOMYTHUS TO MISOMYTHUS (J.R.R.T. to C.S.L.)

 

 

You look at trees and label them just so,

(for trees are `trees’, and growing is `to grow’);

you walk the earth and tread with solemn pace

one of the many minor globes of Space:

a star’s a star, some matter in a ball

compelled to courses mathematical

amid the regimented, cold, Inane,

where destined atoms are each moment slain.

 

At bidding of a Will, to which we bend

(and must), but only dimly apprehend,

great processes march on, as Time unrolls

from dark beginnings to uncertain goals;

and as on page o’erwitten without clue,

with script and limning packed of various hue,

and endless multitude of forms appear,

some grim, some frail, some beautiful, some queer,

each alien, except as kin from one

remote Origo, gnat, man, stone, and sun.

God made the petreous rocks, the arboreal trees,

tellurian earth, and stellar stars, and these

homuncular men, who walk upon the ground

with nerves that tingle touched by light and sound.

The movements of the sea, the wind in boughs,

green grass, the large slow oddity of cows,

thunder and lightning, birds that wheel and cry,

slime crawling up from mud to live and die,

these each are duly registered and print

the brain’s contortions with a separate dint.

 

Yet trees and not `trees’, until so named and seen -

and never were so named, till those had been

who speech’s involuted breath unfurled,

faint echo and dim picture of the world,

but neither record nor a photograph,

being divination, judgement, and a laugh,

response of those that felt astir within

by deep monition movements that were kin

to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars:

free captives undermining shadowy bars,

digging the foreknown from experience

and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.

Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,

and looking backward they beheld the Elves

that wrought on cunning forges in the mind,

and light and dark on secret looms entwined.

 

He sees no stars who does not see them first

of living silver made that sudden burst

to flame like flowers beneath the ancient song,

whose very echo after-music long

has since pursued. There is no firmament,

only a void, unless a jewelled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb whence all have birth.

 

The heart of man is not compound of lies,

but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,

and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,

man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.

Disgraced he may be, yet is not dethroned,

and keeps the rags of lordship one he owned,

his world-dominion by creative act:

not his to worship the great Artefact,

man, sub-creator, the refracted light

through whom is splintered from a single White

to many hues, and endlessly combined

in living shapes that move from mind to mind.

Though all the crannies of the world we filled

with elves and goblins, though we dared to build

gods and their houses out of dark and light,

and sow the seed of dragons, ’twas our right

(used or misused). The right has not decayed.

We make still by the law in which we’re made.

 

Yes! `wish-fulfilment dreams’ we spin to cheat

our timid hearts and ugly Fact defeat!

Whence came the wish, and whence the power to dream,

or some things fair and others ugly deem ?

All wishes are not idle, not in vain

fulfilment we devise - for pain is pain,

not for itself to be desired, but ill;

or else to strive or to subdue the will

alike were graceless; and of Evil this

alone is dreadly certain: Evil is.

 

Blessed are the timid hearts that evil hate,

that quail in its shadow, and yet shut the gate;

that seek no parley, and in guarded room,

through small and bare, upon a clumsy loom

weave rissues gilded by the far-off day

hoped and believed in under Shadow’s sway.

 

Blessed are the men of Noah’s race that build

their little arks, though frail and poorly filled,

and steer through winds contrary towards a wraith,

a rumour of a harbour guessed by faith.

 

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme

of things nor found within record time.

It is not they that have forgot the Night,

or bid us flee to organised delight,

in lotus-isles of economic bliss

forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss

(and counterfeit at that, machine-produced,

bogus seduction of the twice-seduced).

 

Such isles they saw afar, and ones more fair,

and those that hear them yet may yet beware.

They have seen Death and ultimate defeat,

and yet they would not in despair retreat,

but oft to victory have turned the lyre

and kindled hearts with legendary fire,

illuminating Now and dark Hath-been

with light of suns as yet by no man seen.

 

I would that I might with the minstrels sing

and stir the unseen with a throbbing string.

I would be with the mariners of the deep

that cut their slender planks on mountains steep

and voyage upon a vague and wandering quest,

for some have passed beyond the fabled West.

I would with the beleaguered fools be told,

that keep an inner fastness where their gold,

impure and scanty, yet they loyally bring

to mint in image blurred of distant king,

or in fantastic banners weave the sheen

heraldic emblems of a lord unseen.

 

I will not walk with your progressive apes,

erect and sapient. Before them gapes

the dark abyss to which their progress tends -

if by God’s mercy progress ever ends,

and does not ceaselessly revolve the same

unfruitful course with changing of a name.

I will not treat your dusty path and flat,

denoting this and that by this and that,

your world immutable wherein no part

the little maker has with maker’s art.

I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,

nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.

 

In Paradise perchance the eye may stray

from gazing upon everlasting Day

to see the day-illumined, and renew

from mirrored truth the likeness of the True.

Then looking on the Blessed Land ’twill see

that all is as it is, and yet may free:

Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,

garden not gardener, children not their toys.

Evil it will not see, for evil lies

not in God’s picture but in crooked eyes,

not in the source but in the tuneless voice.

In Paradise they look no more awry;

and though they make anew, they make no lie.

Be sure they still will make, not been dead,

and poets shall have flames upon their head,

and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:

there each shall choose for ever from the All.

 

Trees, trees, trees… Did Tolkien ever write about languages being like trees? I seems to me that he well could have.

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Mar/2006 at 10:12 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

That was , Kirinki!

As for ’trees < > languages’, I now can’t recall a particular remark by Master T. about it, but I do think that his Ents (Treebeard in particular) did not miss a remark or two on languages.
Remember that talk Treebeard is having with the two Hobbits when they first met? All that matter with the ’naming’ of things and peoples...?
And I think that in Treebeard’s words one can again see Master Tolkien’s approach towards names and words - what they stand for, and how they develop, that is. And also, it is in this discourse that he found a perfect occasion to pay respect to Old English!
Like in:

" ’For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to."

etc.

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Mar/2006 at 10:12 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

That was , Kirinki!

As for ’trees < > languages’, I now can’t recall a particular remark by Master T. about it, but I do think that his Ents (Treebeard in particular) did not miss a remark or two on languages.
Remember that talk Treebeard is having with the two Hobbits when they first met? All that matter with the ’naming’ of things and peoples...?
And I think that in Treebeard’s words one can again see Master Tolkien’s approach towards names and words - what they stand for, and how they develop, that is. And also, it is in this discourse that he found a perfect occasion to pay respect to Old English!
Like in:

" ’For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to."

etc.

Kirinki54 24/Mar/2006 at 02:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Ai! I just re-read ‘On Translation’ from the Appendices, and frankly I am a bit dazed… This is really a gem of a text, but the problem is, it really makes too much sense. It is so plausible, it is almost scary. Talk about sub-creation! In another thread, Halfir quoted C. S. Lewis saying of Tolkien that he ’had been inside language’ What if he takes me in there, and I cannot get back? Just kidding…

 

But take just a detail like this:

 

One point in the divergence may here be noted, since, though often important, it has proved impossible to represent. The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms. It was, however, one of the peculiarities of Shire-usage that the deferential forms had gone out of colloquial use. They lingered only among the villagers, especially of the Westfarthing, who used them as endearments. This was one of the things referred to when people of Gondor spoke of the strangeness of Hobbit-speech. Peregrin Took, for instance, in his first few days in Minas Tirith used the familiar forms to people of all ranks, including the Lord Denethor himself. This may have amused the aged Steward, but it must have astonished his servants. No doubt this free use of the familiar forms helped to spread the popular rumour that Peregrin was a person of very high rank in his own country. (On Translation)

 

I feel pretty certain that these ‘deferential forms’ going out of use have a real background, or at least that something very similar exist in RL. (Can anybody tell?) But if not, they seem extremely plausible. Anyway, note how Tolkien cunningly used this linguistic element in the story plot. Without it, Denethor might never have been humoured enough to accept Pippin as his knight, and it is easy to imagine what the repercussions would have been in such an instance! The process was likely the same in Rohan and with Théoden: he was no stranger to formality either (though it begs the question if ‘Dernhelm’ would have cared if Merry was a squire or not in bringing him to Pelennor).

 

Aldoriana wrote: As for ’trees < > languages’, I now can’t recall a particular remark by Master T. about it, but I do think that his Ents (Treebeard in particular) did not miss a remark or two on languages.
Remember that talk Treebeard is having with the two Hobbits when they first met? All that matter with the ’naming’ of things and peoples...?
And I think that in Treebeard’s words one can again see Master Tolkien’s approach towards names and words - what they stand for, and how they develop, that is.

 

I do remember that. But it seems that Entish is an exception to his efforts of translation. It is

 

"slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity which even the loremasters of the Eldar had not attempted to represent in writing" (Appendix F)

 

And so, in parallel of the Elves giving up, he almost does too. Tolkien invented the structure and principle of this language, but never (apparently) developed it much. And it is very difficult to translate, but note that he gives us some – though Quenya roots. Again translation. And speaking of roots, it seems to be a very organic language, never stopping to grow. It seems to me very ‘treeish’. I wonder if the Ent-wives developed a more ‘bushy’ one?

Kirinki54 24/Mar/2006 at 02:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Ai! I just re-read ‘On Translation’ from the Appendices, and frankly I am a bit dazed… This is really a gem of a text, but the problem is, it really makes too much sense. It is so plausible, it is almost scary. Talk about sub-creation! In another thread, Halfir quoted C. S. Lewis saying of Tolkien that he ’had been inside language’ What if he takes me in there, and I cannot get back? Just kidding…

 

But take just a detail like this:

 

One point in the divergence may here be noted, since, though often important, it has proved impossible to represent. The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms. It was, however, one of the peculiarities of Shire-usage that the deferential forms had gone out of colloquial use. They lingered only among the villagers, especially of the Westfarthing, who used them as endearments. This was one of the things referred to when people of Gondor spoke of the strangeness of Hobbit-speech. Peregrin Took, for instance, in his first few days in Minas Tirith used the familiar forms to people of all ranks, including the Lord Denethor himself. This may have amused the aged Steward, but it must have astonished his servants. No doubt this free use of the familiar forms helped to spread the popular rumour that Peregrin was a person of very high rank in his own country. (On Translation)

 

I feel pretty certain that these ‘deferential forms’ going out of use have a real background, or at least that something very similar exist in RL. (Can anybody tell?) But if not, they seem extremely plausible. Anyway, note how Tolkien cunningly used this linguistic element in the story plot. Without it, Denethor might never have been humoured enough to accept Pippin as his knight, and it is easy to imagine what the repercussions would have been in such an instance! The process was likely the same in Rohan and with Théoden: he was no stranger to formality either (though it begs the question if ‘Dernhelm’ would have cared if Merry was a squire or not in bringing him to Pelennor).

 

Aldoriana wrote: As for ’trees < > languages’, I now can’t recall a particular remark by Master T. about it, but I do think that his Ents (Treebeard in particular) did not miss a remark or two on languages.
Remember that talk Treebeard is having with the two Hobbits when they first met? All that matter with the ’naming’ of things and peoples...?
And I think that in Treebeard’s words one can again see Master Tolkien’s approach towards names and words - what they stand for, and how they develop, that is.

 

I do remember that. But it seems that Entish is an exception to his efforts of translation. It is

 

"slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity which even the loremasters of the Eldar had not attempted to represent in writing" (Appendix F)

 

And so, in parallel of the Elves giving up, he almost does too. Tolkien invented the structure and principle of this language, but never (apparently) developed it much. And it is very difficult to translate, but note that he gives us some – though Quenya roots. Again translation. And speaking of roots, it seems to be a very organic language, never stopping to grow. It seems to me very ‘treeish’. I wonder if the Ent-wives developed a more ‘bushy’ one?

Lady d`Ecthelion 24/Mar/2006 at 10:29 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms.

Now, aren’t we here reading about the "fate" of the second person pronoun in the English language?

Randomly chosen source, explains it like that:

"The development of the second-person pronoun in English has been a complex process, one which shows the variation available within what is considered a “closed system.” In the Middle English period, the distinct singular and plural forms were increasingly used to signify social rather than grammatical relationships. Yet, by the early eighteenth-century, this distinction was levelled in standard usage, and you assumed the functions of both the singular and plural forms.
Old English distinguished between singular þu (ME thou) and plural ge (ME ye, later you ). Yet, notably, OE also contained dual pronouns to represent ‘you two,’ as opposed to ‘you many.’
Barber and Mustanoja explain how, into the Middle English period, second-person pronouns were still distinguished by number and case, thou/thee the singular forms (nominative/objective) and ye/you the plural forms, but the dual form was lost.
During the sixteenth century, however, this nominative/objective distinction in the plural form would be levelled at the expense of ye.


More - >> here<<, and >> here<< .


" .... slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity.... "

*G*! Old English sounds to me just like that!

"Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon

    Hwæt!
    We Gardena     in geardagum,
    þeodcyninga,     þrym gefrunon,
    hu ða æþelingas     ellen fremedon.
    Oft Scyld Scefing     sceaþena þreatum,
5
    monegum mægþum,     meodosetla ofteah,
    egsode eorlas.     Syððan ærest wearð
    feasceaft funden,     he þæs frofre gebad,
    weox under wolcnum,     weorðmyndum þah,
    oðþæt him æghwylc     þara ymbsittendra
"

But then .... I may be wrong! I am not 100% certain of how to pronounce all these letter-combinations, and even not all the letters!
Entish might’ve sounded like that.

*"What if he takes me in there, and I cannot get back?"*

Never fear! It’s a wonderful world!
Lady d`Ecthelion 24/Mar/2006 at 10:29 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003

The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms.

Now, aren’t we here reading about the "fate" of the second person pronoun in the English language?

Randomly chosen source, explains it like that:

"The development of the second-person pronoun in English has been a complex process, one which shows the variation available within what is considered a “closed system.” In the Middle English period, the distinct singular and plural forms were increasingly used to signify social rather than grammatical relationships. Yet, by the early eighteenth-century, this distinction was levelled in standard usage, and you assumed the functions of both the singular and plural forms.
Old English distinguished between singular þu (ME thou) and plural ge (ME ye, later you ). Yet, notably, OE also contained dual pronouns to represent ‘you two,’ as opposed to ‘you many.’
Barber and Mustanoja explain how, into the Middle English period, second-person pronouns were still distinguished by number and case, thou/thee the singular forms (nominative/objective) and ye/you the plural forms, but the dual form was lost.
During the sixteenth century, however, this nominative/objective distinction in the plural form would be levelled at the expense of ye.


More - >> here<<, and >> here<< .


" .... slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity.... "

*G*! Old English sounds to me just like that!

"Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon

    Hwæt!
    We Gardena     in geardagum,
    þeodcyninga,     þrym gefrunon,
    hu ða æþelingas     ellen fremedon.
    Oft Scyld Scefing     sceaþena þreatum,
5
    monegum mægþum,     meodosetla ofteah,
    egsode eorlas.     Syððan ærest wearð
    feasceaft funden,     he þæs frofre gebad,
    weox under wolcnum,     weorðmyndum þah,
    oðþæt him æghwylc     þara ymbsittendra
"

But then .... I may be wrong! I am not 100% certain of how to pronounce all these letter-combinations, and even not all the letters!
Entish might’ve sounded like that.

*"What if he takes me in there, and I cannot get back?"*

Never fear! It’s a wonderful world!
Kirinki54 25/Mar/2006 at 07:52 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

 Aldoriana!

Now, aren’t we here reading about the "fate" of the second person pronoun in the English language?

 

Absolutely, it was something like that I intuited. Though thanks to your sources, I find also a likely explanation why Tolkien inserted this linguistic development; at least I would join those academics that advocate a change in social structure as an important reason for the change. I think it goes well in hand with my perception of the social structure of Hobbit society in the Shire.

 

Of Old English: you inspired me to find this link: http://www.engl.virginia.edu/OE/Beowulf.Readings/Beowulf.Readings.html

 

You can find your quote read there. Amazing times we live in!

 

Well, I personally do not think of Entish in connection to that, but instead of the Rohirric. Though I know full well that the actual (or alleged) Rohirric did not resemble OE, but OE was only used as a tool of expressing the relation to Westron in the process of translation.

 

Still, there is something about rhythm, intonation, cadence that reminds me of the words of Legolas: for it is like to this land itself; rich and rolling in part, and else hard and stern as the mountains. But I cannot guess what it means, save that it is laden with the sadness of Mortal Men. Again, the master in action!

 

And now for something completely different. The above lost ‘deferential’ forms in RL for some reason made me think about the ‘The Shibboloteh of Fëanor’. Because that also, while being transferred via religious scripture, has a historical background.

From the Book of Judges. (Full account in Chapter 12, verses 1-15.)

12, 4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, art thou an Ephraimite? If he say Nay;

6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words/shibboleth.html

 

Do you think there something in that story that Tolkien felt was applicable to tales of The Sil, or did he just like the notion of the Shibboleth? I am not familiar enough with the Bible to say.

Kirinki54 25/Mar/2006 at 07:52 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

 Aldoriana!

Now, aren’t we here reading about the "fate" of the second person pronoun in the English language?

 

Absolutely, it was something like that I intuited. Though thanks to your sources, I find also a likely explanation why Tolkien inserted this linguistic development; at least I would join those academics that advocate a change in social structure as an important reason for the change. I think it goes well in hand with my perception of the social structure of Hobbit society in the Shire.

 

Of Old English: you inspired me to find this link: http://www.engl.virginia.edu/OE/Beowulf.Readings/Beowulf.Readings.html

 

You can find your quote read there. Amazing times we live in!

 

Well, I personally do not think of Entish in connection to that, but instead of the Rohirric. Though I know full well that the actual (or alleged) Rohirric did not resemble OE, but OE was only used as a tool of expressing the relation to Westron in the process of translation.

 

Still, there is something about rhythm, intonation, cadence that reminds me of the words of Legolas: for it is like to this land itself; rich and rolling in part, and else hard and stern as the mountains. But I cannot guess what it means, save that it is laden with the sadness of Mortal Men. Again, the master in action!

 

And now for something completely different. The above lost ‘deferential’ forms in RL for some reason made me think about the ‘The Shibboloteh of Fëanor’. Because that also, while being transferred via religious scripture, has a historical background.

From the Book of Judges. (Full account in Chapter 12, verses 1-15.)

12, 4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, art thou an Ephraimite? If he say Nay;

6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words/shibboleth.html

 

Do you think there something in that story that Tolkien felt was applicable to tales of The Sil, or did he just like the notion of the Shibboleth? I am not familiar enough with the Bible to say.

Lady d`Ecthelion 31/Mar/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Kirinki, please forgive my long absense.
I have been lately occupied with so many other things, that I have long not been able to come to the Lore fora.

First, I shall thank you for providing that link, where I could hear how A/S sounds. That was a thrilling experience!

I cannot say for sure whether Old Entish, or "New" Entish sounded anything like Old English, of course. I just made some strange analogy between "Old Entish" and "Old English".
Of course, much stronger reference is made between A/S (=Old English) and the Rohirric languages. It is where the common opinion comes from, I believe, that the Rohirrim sort of "represent" the Anglo-Saxons, which, IMO, is a false opinion, and I had a very long thread dedicated on this matter ( I’ll have to find it somewhere).

As for:

Quote:
Still, there is something about rhythm, intonation, cadence that reminds me of the words of Legolas: for it is like to this land itself; rich and rolling in part, and else hard and stern as the mountains. But I cannot guess what it means, save that it is laden with the sadness of Mortal Men. Again, the master in action!

Ah! He never misses a chance to throw in some linguistics!

As for the Shibboleth and the Bilble, I’m afraid, me, too, have less than enough knowledge of the Holy Book, to be able to comment.

Now... while was working on
this Quiz, I noticed something that I have not thought about before.

Have you noticed that many of the Hobbits’ names are of three-letters?
Sam, Ted, Hal ....
Why would that be so?
For I don’t recall other three-letters’ names used for other ME-peoples.
Opinions?
Lady d`Ecthelion 31/Mar/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Kirinki, please forgive my long absense.
I have been lately occupied with so many other things, that I have long not been able to come to the Lore fora.

First, I shall thank you for providing that link, where I could hear how A/S sounds. That was a thrilling experience!

I cannot say for sure whether Old Entish, or "New" Entish sounded anything like Old English, of course. I just made some strange analogy between "Old Entish" and "Old English".
Of course, much stronger reference is made between A/S (=Old English) and the Rohirric languages. It is where the common opinion comes from, I believe, that the Rohirrim sort of "represent" the Anglo-Saxons, which, IMO, is a false opinion, and I had a very long thread dedicated on this matter ( I’ll have to find it somewhere).

As for:

Quote:
Still, there is something about rhythm, intonation, cadence that reminds me of the words of Legolas: for it is like to this land itself; rich and rolling in part, and else hard and stern as the mountains. But I cannot guess what it means, save that it is laden with the sadness of Mortal Men. Again, the master in action!

Ah! He never misses a chance to throw in some linguistics!

As for the Shibboleth and the Bilble, I’m afraid, me, too, have less than enough knowledge of the Holy Book, to be able to comment.

Now... while was working on
this Quiz, I noticed something that I have not thought about before.

Have you noticed that many of the Hobbits’ names are of three-letters?
Sam, Ted, Hal ....
Why would that be so?
For I don’t recall other three-letters’ names used for other ME-peoples.
Opinions?
Kirinki54 01/Apr/2006 at 02:21 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Well, Aldoriana, there is always RL which is to be both enjoyed and struggled with!  Perhaps this is an ample opportunity to state that other posters are welcome to join in! Though I suspect they are still looking for the thread in the thread - if they bother to read our ramblings at all...

Sam quoting his ’philosophical’ father (on choosing a name for Sam´s firstborn):

The Gaffer, he says: “Make it short, and then you won’t have to cut it short before you can use it.”

So I wonder: are the Hobbit names really short to begin with? It seems to me many are very florid and ornate, while many others are two-syllable, and just abbreviated for comfy daily use. The section in Appendices on Hobbit names is fun and interesting to read where Tolkien for example elaborates on the differences in name-giving between the different clans.

On the A-S versus the Rohirrim: given the complex situation on translation I think we can forgive people to make that mistake, but of course it was very important to Tolkien to have it corrected. But he did not make it easier when he (as we just discussed in another thread) does things like taking actual lines from A-S poems (The Wanderer in this case) and inserts them in Rohirric songs!

Kirinki54 01/Apr/2006 at 02:21 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Well, Aldoriana, there is always RL which is to be both enjoyed and struggled with!  Perhaps this is an ample opportunity to state that other posters are welcome to join in! Though I suspect they are still looking for the thread in the thread - if they bother to read our ramblings at all...

Sam quoting his ’philosophical’ father (on choosing a name for Sam´s firstborn):

The Gaffer, he says: “Make it short, and then you won’t have to cut it short before you can use it.”

So I wonder: are the Hobbit names really short to begin with? It seems to me many are very florid and ornate, while many others are two-syllable, and just abbreviated for comfy daily use. The section in Appendices on Hobbit names is fun and interesting to read where Tolkien for example elaborates on the differences in name-giving between the different clans.

On the A-S versus the Rohirrim: given the complex situation on translation I think we can forgive people to make that mistake, but of course it was very important to Tolkien to have it corrected. But he did not make it easier when he (as we just discussed in another thread) does things like taking actual lines from A-S poems (The Wanderer in this case) and inserts them in Rohirric songs!

Lady d`Ecthelion 01/Apr/2006 at 11:00 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Ah, dear Sir! RL is a constanta.
I was actually speaking about my Plaza-time, and that link was for your eyes only (whose else’s, anyway?! ); just another way of letting you know why I have abandoned you for so long (sorry!). This + lots of things going on in the Library forum, where I’m involved, have kept me away from here.

Anyway, let’s have our chat.

The Shibboleth -issue made me look again into this essay and recall what it was about.
Apart from being titled by this very strange (to me) word, which would not easily "stick" into my mind (and still refuses to do so! ), I cannot avoid being captured right away by even the very first sentence and paragraph:

"In all my father’s last writings linguistic history was closely intertwined with the history of persons and of peoples"

"...records how the difference in pronunciation of a single consonantal element in Quenya played a significant part in the strife of the Ñoldorin princes in Valinor."


It’s such characteristic Tolkienish lingusitics! Language and history - bound together!

The other thing that grabs one’s attention right from the beginning, is that after all, this essay was dedicated to a ’linguistic’ problem, namely - the case of the Quenya change of Þ to s.

Now, it is known that this letter - Þ, existed in the Old English, too, and was later replaced by the letter combination th.
The sound, however, seems to have not changed, only the graphical sign, representing it, has.
Whatever the change - at first glance, different in ME and in RL England, there’s some peculiar similarity between these both cases.
Because, even though in RL English it is said that only the graphical symbol changed, the sound, too may be said to have its new form of pronunciation, which is very close to the sound s.
The sound behind both graphical expressions : Þ and th, is a very specific one! As much as I know, it exists in the English language and in the Spanish, too; obviously - preserved also in the Scandinavian languages of Germanic origin.
Now ... what however is interesting, is that in many cases, this sound, which is very difficult to be pronounced!, is often changed to some other sounds - easier to be pronounced - like t, or s, or d (in the second, vocal variant). And, IMO, many people use these ’easier’ forms of pronunciation, especially out of the Albion.
On the other hand, it seems that the very pronunciation (this sound - being just one of the cases ), has become a distinguishing feature for the various class-strata in the society; the "upper" using the original, ’pure’, pronunciation, while the "lower" - choosing over the easier forms of pronunciation.

Uf! It has become such a long post! But I’m just thinking aloud ... or rather - in written.

Time to make the "loop".

If the difference in pronunciation is considered as a characteristic feature for the difference in socail standing, as well as to distinguish in nations, then the transitions and the changes in the Elven language, which we read about in the "Shibboleth of Feanor", could possibly be considered as representing some similar changes that occurred in the real world’s English language and hence - history.

I, at least, find such a similarity in the case of ME Þ > [/s], and Old English Þ > th.

So, this is one of the things that the "Shibboleth" evokes in my mind.
Lady d`Ecthelion 01/Apr/2006 at 11:00 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Ah, dear Sir! RL is a constanta.
I was actually speaking about my Plaza-time, and that link was for your eyes only (whose else’s, anyway?! ); just another way of letting you know why I have abandoned you for so long (sorry!). This + lots of things going on in the Library forum, where I’m involved, have kept me away from here.

Anyway, let’s have our chat.

The Shibboleth -issue made me look again into this essay and recall what it was about.
Apart from being titled by this very strange (to me) word, which would not easily "stick" into my mind (and still refuses to do so! ), I cannot avoid being captured right away by even the very first sentence and paragraph:

"In all my father’s last writings linguistic history was closely intertwined with the history of persons and of peoples"

"...records how the difference in pronunciation of a single consonantal element in Quenya played a significant part in the strife of the Ñoldorin princes in Valinor."


It’s such characteristic Tolkienish lingusitics! Language and history - bound together!

The other thing that grabs one’s attention right from the beginning, is that after all, this essay was dedicated to a ’linguistic’ problem, namely - the case of the Quenya change of Þ to s.

Now, it is known that this letter - Þ, existed in the Old English, too, and was later replaced by the letter combination th.
The sound, however, seems to have not changed, only the graphical sign, representing it, has.
Whatever the change - at first glance, different in ME and in RL England, there’s some peculiar similarity between these both cases.
Because, even though in RL English it is said that only the graphical symbol changed, the sound, too may be said to have its new form of pronunciation, which is very close to the sound s.
The sound behind both graphical expressions : Þ and th, is a very specific one! As much as I know, it exists in the English language and in the Spanish, too; obviously - preserved also in the Scandinavian languages of Germanic origin.
Now ... what however is interesting, is that in many cases, this sound, which is very difficult to be pronounced!, is often changed to some other sounds - easier to be pronounced - like t, or s, or d (in the second, vocal variant). And, IMO, many people use these ’easier’ forms of pronunciation, especially out of the Albion.
On the other hand, it seems that the very pronunciation (this sound - being just one of the cases ), has become a distinguishing feature for the various class-strata in the society; the "upper" using the original, ’pure’, pronunciation, while the "lower" - choosing over the easier forms of pronunciation.

Uf! It has become such a long post! But I’m just thinking aloud ... or rather - in written.

Time to make the "loop".

If the difference in pronunciation is considered as a characteristic feature for the difference in socail standing, as well as to distinguish in nations, then the transitions and the changes in the Elven language, which we read about in the "Shibboleth of Feanor", could possibly be considered as representing some similar changes that occurred in the real world’s English language and hence - history.

I, at least, find such a similarity in the case of ME Þ > [/s], and Old English Þ > th.

So, this is one of the things that the "Shibboleth" evokes in my mind.
Kirinki54 02/Apr/2006 at 02:46 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

 Aldoriana!

 

The name of this phenomenon, “the Shibboleth”, certainly give us one fact as to where Tolkien found a source for a similar occurence. You might be right that Tolkien was inspired also by historical examples of social changes reflected by the differentiation of pronunciation. I do not possess that knowledge. But I agree that ‘The Shibboleth of Fëanor’ is another wonderful example of the relation between linguistic and mythological creations.

 

As you know, some passages from this essay were used by Christopher Tolkien in ‘Unfinished Tales’ (The History of Galadriel and Celeborn), but the essay itself is a true treasure trove of Elven history and customs. One of my favourites! Just a detail like Fëanor asking three times for a tress of her unique golden hair but was denied (IMO mirrored by the gift to Gimli when Galadriel gives him three hairs in parting).

 

And speaking of Galadriel, she also gave the Company lembas. When writing a post on lembas, I happened to notice that only a Queen (or the highest present nís) was allowed to bestow this gift, and she was called massanie or besain: that is Lady, or bread-giver. But CT goes on the observe that his father must when using the translation have gone from the origin of the word ‘Lady’, which is Old English hlaef-dige, the two roots from hlaf (or in modern English loaf) and dig (knead). In the same way Lord comes from hlaf-weard, ‘bread-keeper’.

 

Amazing what discoveries can be made when studying Tolkien!

 

BTW, that link was interesting, and had it not been too late I think I would have entered.

 

PS As you can see, my royal days are now over. Well, easy come easy go…

 

**

Kirinki54 02/Apr/2006 at 02:46 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

 Aldoriana!

 

The name of this phenomenon, “the Shibboleth”, certainly give us one fact as to where Tolkien found a source for a similar occurence. You might be right that Tolkien was inspired also by historical examples of social changes reflected by the differentiation of pronunciation. I do not possess that knowledge. But I agree that ‘The Shibboleth of Fëanor’ is another wonderful example of the relation between linguistic and mythological creations.

 

As you know, some passages from this essay were used by Christopher Tolkien in ‘Unfinished Tales’ (The History of Galadriel and Celeborn), but the essay itself is a true treasure trove of Elven history and customs. One of my favourites! Just a detail like Fëanor asking three times for a tress of her unique golden hair but was denied (IMO mirrored by the gift to Gimli when Galadriel gives him three hairs in parting).

 

And speaking of Galadriel, she also gave the Company lembas. When writing a post on lembas, I happened to notice that only a Queen (or the highest present nís) was allowed to bestow this gift, and she was called massanie or besain: that is Lady, or bread-giver. But CT goes on the observe that his father must when using the translation have gone from the origin of the word ‘Lady’, which is Old English hlaef-dige, the two roots from hlaf (or in modern English loaf) and dig (knead). In the same way Lord comes from hlaf-weard, ‘bread-keeper’.

 

Amazing what discoveries can be made when studying Tolkien!

 

BTW, that link was interesting, and had it not been too late I think I would have entered.

 

PS As you can see, my royal days are now over. Well, easy come easy go…

 

**

Lady d`Ecthelion 02/Apr/2006 at 09:56 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003


Kirinki wrote:
"BTW, that link was interesting, and had it not been too late I think I would have entered."

There’s still time!

Look at geordie! He has joined one of the teams!
So, why don’t you come over, too!!! It’ll be fun!

BTW, I am glad that you chose to "dwell" in Imladris!

As for :

Amazing what discoveries can be made when studying Tolkien!
I so much agree! This is what I’m trying to make people understand, those who, whenever seeing my Tolkien+mythology+history library (or any other LoTR+mythology+history - related detail), "arch" an eyebrow in astonishment.
Though, to many linguistics is just as "fantastic" as Fantasy itself!

As it is Monday, my Plaza time shall be a bit limited for a week ahead, so I shall ask you in advance to please excuse me if I don’t respond accordingly in this lovely chat we’re having here (and which I’m enjoying so much!)
Read I shall, however!
Lady d`Ecthelion 02/Apr/2006 at 09:56 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003


Kirinki wrote:
"BTW, that link was interesting, and had it not been too late I think I would have entered."

There’s still time!

Look at geordie! He has joined one of the teams!
So, why don’t you come over, too!!! It’ll be fun!

BTW, I am glad that you chose to "dwell" in Imladris!

As for :

Amazing what discoveries can be made when studying Tolkien!
I so much agree! This is what I’m trying to make people understand, those who, whenever seeing my Tolkien+mythology+history library (or any other LoTR+mythology+history - related detail), "arch" an eyebrow in astonishment.
Though, to many linguistics is just as "fantastic" as Fantasy itself!

As it is Monday, my Plaza time shall be a bit limited for a week ahead, so I shall ask you in advance to please excuse me if I don’t respond accordingly in this lovely chat we’re having here (and which I’m enjoying so much!)
Read I shall, however!
Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Apr/2006 at 10:55 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Something interesting, perhaps:

Tolkien, explaining his "translations" from older sources, and hence - him applying suitable styles/forms/variants of the English language to reproduce those languages of the peoples who once lived in the ancient times of Arda, said that in a way he regretted to have used the English word "Elves" to "translate" the name of the race of the Firstborn Children of Eru, who called themselves "Quendi" (Letter # 144), and whom the Valar, after Orome, called them "Eldar".
Now... this is an issue interesting in itself, but what caught my eyes, was something else. In the LOTR Companion book the authors, discussing this issue, also refer the reader to the ’Nomenclature’(where was that? ), remind of Tolkien’s suggestion for the German translator of his book to use the word ’Alp’, or ’Alb’, and quote Tolkien, about those two possible words to be:

Quote:
the true cognate of English ’Elf’...
The Elves of the ’mythology’ of The Lord of the Rings are not actually equatable with the folklore traditions about ’faires’...


All right, why do I bring this here?
Because of the old Germanic ’Alb’, where obviously the English word ’Elf’ derives from, and is therefore used as such in the LOTR to name the Quendi-people.

Now ... one of my favourite online sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the following :

Quote:
elf - "race of powerful supernatural beings in Gmc. folklore," O.E. elf, ælf, from P.Gmc. *albiz, origin unknown, possibly from PIE *albho- "white."


Which immediately evoked in my mind the following reasoning: If in choosing the word Elves’ to "translate" ’Quendi’, Tolkien applied this particular meaning of the old Germanic word - namely:*albho- "white", then do we not actually witness the subtle expression of his earliest idea - to represent England as the land of the Quendi? England is strongly associated with the white cliffs - the first thing (they say ) one sees when approaching the island from the mainland.

And we should not also forget that this particular Germanic roots of the the word ’Elf’ was "exploited at large in The Lost Road!

On the other hand, the Germanic ’ælf’, has the strong meaning of ’proud’ and ’noble’. It is not then to wonder why it became :

Quote:
A popular component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given names and surnames, cf. Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine "Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women’s names such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty."

(a.m. dictionary; but also there is a lot of relevant info about the origin of names starting with ’Ælf’ )

And, following the "track" ... this A/S "element" again drives us to the same - Tolkien did want, in any possible way, to emphasize on his main idea - England was the land of the Firstborn Children of Eru!

And in the very word which he chose to "translate" the "actual" name of the mythological race, he has obviously achieved it!
**

Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Apr/2006 at 10:55 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Something interesting, perhaps:

Tolkien, explaining his "translations" from older sources, and hence - him applying suitable styles/forms/variants of the English language to reproduce those languages of the peoples who once lived in the ancient times of Arda, said that in a way he regretted to have used the English word "Elves" to "translate" the name of the race of the Firstborn Children of Eru, who called themselves "Quendi" (Letter # 144), and whom the Valar, after Orome, called them "Eldar".
Now... this is an issue interesting in itself, but what caught my eyes, was something else. In the LOTR Companion book the authors, discussing this issue, also refer the reader to the ’Nomenclature’(where was that? ), remind of Tolkien’s suggestion for the German translator of his book to use the word ’Alp’, or ’Alb’, and quote Tolkien, about those two possible words to be:

Quote:
the true cognate of English ’Elf’...
The Elves of the ’mythology’ of The Lord of the Rings are not actually equatable with the folklore traditions about ’faires’...


All right, why do I bring this here?
Because of the old Germanic ’Alb’, where obviously the English word ’Elf’ derives from, and is therefore used as such in the LOTR to name the Quendi-people.

Now ... one of my favourite online sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the following :

Quote:
elf - "race of powerful supernatural beings in Gmc. folklore," O.E. elf, ælf, from P.Gmc. *albiz, origin unknown, possibly from PIE *albho- "white."


Which immediately evoked in my mind the following reasoning: If in choosing the word Elves’ to "translate" ’Quendi’, Tolkien applied this particular meaning of the old Germanic word - namely:*albho- "white", then do we not actually witness the subtle expression of his earliest idea - to represent England as the land of the Quendi? England is strongly associated with the white cliffs - the first thing (they say ) one sees when approaching the island from the mainland.

And we should not also forget that this particular Germanic roots of the the word ’Elf’ was "exploited at large in The Lost Road!

On the other hand, the Germanic ’ælf’, has the strong meaning of ’proud’ and ’noble’. It is not then to wonder why it became :

Quote:
A popular component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given names and surnames, cf. Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine "Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women’s names such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty."

(a.m. dictionary; but also there is a lot of relevant info about the origin of names starting with ’Ælf’ )

And, following the "track" ... this A/S "element" again drives us to the same - Tolkien did want, in any possible way, to emphasize on his main idea - England was the land of the Firstborn Children of Eru!

And in the very word which he chose to "translate" the "actual" name of the mythological race, he has obviously achieved it!
**

Bearamir 18/Apr/2006 at 12:15 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Kiriniki54 & Aldoriana: After reading through this thread (WOW!) I am minded to make this the second Collegium thread.  If this change is not agreeable to the both of you, please let me know.   Otherwise, this thread will change to Collegium, and as thread starter we will consider Kiriniki54 the "moderator."
Bearamir 18/Apr/2006 at 12:15 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Kiriniki54 & Aldoriana: After reading through this thread (WOW!) I am minded to make this the second Collegium thread.  If this change is not agreeable to the both of you, please let me know.   Otherwise, this thread will change to Collegium, and as thread starter we will consider Kiriniki54 the "moderator."
Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Apr/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
WOW!
Bael, you have done us a great honour! Thank you!
I hope Kirinki comes back soon and joins me again in this little "chat" of ours.
And I also hope to see more people participating!
* * *

Now,Kirinki wrote:

Quote:
When writing a post on lembas, I happened to notice that only a Queen (or the highest present nís) was allowed to bestow this gift, and she was called massanie or besain: that is Lady, or bread-giver. But CT goes on the observe that his father must when using the translation have gone from the origin of the word ‘Lady’, which is Old English hlaef-dige, the two roots from hlaf (or in modern English loaf) and dig (knead).
In the same way Lord comes from hlaf-weard, ‘bread-keeper’.

As you said, amazing, indeed!

So,
Lady = bread-giver
Lord = bread-keeper

Also, the etymology sourse, which I have quoted from several times already, provides the following entry for the word Lady:
Quote:
M.E. lafdi, lavede, ladi, from O.E. hlæfdige "mistress of a household, wife of a lord," lit. "one who kneads bread," from hlaf "bread" (see loaf) + -dige "maid," related to dæge "maker of dough" (see dey (1); also compare lord).


All this, for some reason reminded me of something we were taught at the University, namely the etymology of the word woman - our lecturer told us that in fact this word comes out of the depths of time, from the language spoken by the Celts before the A/S ’wave’, and it was used to mean: "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man".

"The creature" !!!!

But, what I’m driving at is, that if this etymology of the word ’woman’ has a shred of truth in it, then it is well connected to the etymology standing behind the word ’Lady’ - both strongly pointing to a fact - we, women, feed!

Such thing could not escape the attention of Tolkien - the linguist!
Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Apr/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
WOW!
Bael, you have done us a great honour! Thank you!
I hope Kirinki comes back soon and joins me again in this little "chat" of ours.
And I also hope to see more people participating!
* * *

Now,Kirinki wrote:

Quote:
When writing a post on lembas, I happened to notice that only a Queen (or the highest present nís) was allowed to bestow this gift, and she was called massanie or besain: that is Lady, or bread-giver. But CT goes on the observe that his father must when using the translation have gone from the origin of the word ‘Lady’, which is Old English hlaef-dige, the two roots from hlaf (or in modern English loaf) and dig (knead).
In the same way Lord comes from hlaf-weard, ‘bread-keeper’.

As you said, amazing, indeed!

So,
Lady = bread-giver
Lord = bread-keeper

Also, the etymology sourse, which I have quoted from several times already, provides the following entry for the word Lady:
Quote:
M.E. lafdi, lavede, ladi, from O.E. hlæfdige "mistress of a household, wife of a lord," lit. "one who kneads bread," from hlaf "bread" (see loaf) + -dige "maid," related to dæge "maker of dough" (see dey (1); also compare lord).


All this, for some reason reminded me of something we were taught at the University, namely the etymology of the word woman - our lecturer told us that in fact this word comes out of the depths of time, from the language spoken by the Celts before the A/S ’wave’, and it was used to mean: "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man".

"The creature" !!!!

But, what I’m driving at is, that if this etymology of the word ’woman’ has a shred of truth in it, then it is well connected to the etymology standing behind the word ’Lady’ - both strongly pointing to a fact - we, women, feed!

Such thing could not escape the attention of Tolkien - the linguist!
Kirinki54 19/Apr/2006 at 07:29 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Baelmyrrdn, thanks for your perhaps too kind assessment of this ad lib discourse!

I will humbly accept your request of ’moderation’, but in all fairness I have to say that my time will be quite limited also for the next few days and I will be having difficulty getting internet access on my spare time (depending on work load and burglars stealing our home computers).

So, now you now the score also, Aldoriana. I will answer your interesting threads  when I can find the time they deserve!

Kirinki54 19/Apr/2006 at 07:29 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Baelmyrrdn, thanks for your perhaps too kind assessment of this ad lib discourse!

I will humbly accept your request of ’moderation’, but in all fairness I have to say that my time will be quite limited also for the next few days and I will be having difficulty getting internet access on my spare time (depending on work load and burglars stealing our home computers).

So, now you now the score also, Aldoriana. I will answer your interesting threads  when I can find the time they deserve!

Bearamir 19/Apr/2006 at 12:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Kirinki54:  No worries...I would rather this thread proceed slowly (and maintain it’s current excellence), than have you feel that you need to "keep up appearances" and post when you are not ready. 

Remember, in a Collegium Thread it’s "Quality NOT Quantity" that makes them what they are!  (Congratulations again...) 

Bearamir 19/Apr/2006 at 12:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Kirinki54:  No worries...I would rather this thread proceed slowly (and maintain it’s current excellence), than have you feel that you need to "keep up appearances" and post when you are not ready. 

Remember, in a Collegium Thread it’s "Quality NOT Quantity" that makes them what they are!  (Congratulations again...) 

Lady d`Ecthelion 19/Apr/2006 at 10:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, good Sire, I am so sorry to hear what misfortunes have fell upon you! Burglary! Oh, my!
But my opinion entirely coincides with Bael’s! We have time! I shall always be delighted to read your excellent observations!
Lady d`Ecthelion 19/Apr/2006 at 10:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, good Sire, I am so sorry to hear what misfortunes have fell upon you! Burglary! Oh, my!
But my opinion entirely coincides with Bael’s! We have time! I shall always be delighted to read your excellent observations!
Kirinki54 21/Apr/2006 at 09:14 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana, thanks for those interesting posts!

 

I think the latest published version of ’Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings’ can be found in ‘The Lord of the Rings: A Reader´s Companion’ by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. To complete your quote:

 

With regard to German: I would suggest with diffidence that Elf, elfen are perhaps to be avoided as equivalents of elf, elven. Elf is, I believe, borrowed from English, and may retain some of the associations of a kind that I should particularly desire not to be present (if possible): for example those of Drayton or of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in the translation of which, I believe, Elf was first used in German). That is, the pretty, fanciful reduction of ’elf’ to a butterfly-like creature inhabiting flowers.

I wonder whether the word Alp (or better still the form Alb, still given in modern dictionaries as a variant, which is historically the more normal form) could not be used. It is the true cognate of English elf; and if it has senses nearer to English oaf, referring to puckish and malicious sprites, or to idiots regarded as ’changelings’, that is true also of English elf. I find these debased rustic associations less damaging than the ’pretty’ literary fancies. The Elves of the ’mythology’ of The Lord of the Rings are not actually equatable with the folklore traditions about ’fairies’, and as I have said (III 415) I should prefer the oldest available form of the name to be used, and left to acquire its own associations for readers of my tale. In Scandinavian languages alf is available.

 

But before that quote are a couple of passages of equal interest:

 

Elder Kindred, Elder Race, Elder People. Translate. In a language which possesses two forms of the comparative of old, use the more archaic form. (In English the older form elder implies both seniority and kinship).

The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental. The name Elda ’Elf’ had been devised long before The Lord of the Rings was written. There is no need to seek to imitate it; it is not useful or significant. Compare Elder Days, which again implies a more ancient epoch in the history of people of the same kin, that is in the days of their far-off ancestors.

Elf-friend. Translate. It was suggested by Aelfwine, the English form of an old Germanic name (represented for instance in the Lombardic Alboin), though its analyzable meaning was probably not recognized or thought significant by the many recorded bearers of the name Aelfwine in Old English.

 

Elven-smiths. Translate. The archaic adjectival or composition form elven used in The Lord of the Rings should on no account be equated with the debased English word elfin, which has entirely wrong associations. Use either the word for elf in the language of translation, or a first element in a compound, or divide into elvish + smiths, using an equivalent in the language of translation for the correct adjective elvish.

 

BTW note what Tolkien wrote on Eldar: The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental.

 

Which would mean that there is really no (intentional or conscious) significance to the likeness of this word:

 

Proto-Germanic: *alan- vb., *aldí-z, *aldṓ, *aldá-, *aldrá-z, comp. *álʮiza-, *alidja-n, *aldian- vb. etc.

Meaning: grow, breed; old

IE etymology:

Gothic: *alan st. `grow’; *ald-s f. (i) `generation, age’; CrimGot alt adj. `senex’; *aldōmō m. ˜ n. (n) `old age’; alʮī-s (ja) `old’; ptc. *us-alʮan-s `sinile’, *fram-aldr-s (a) `aged’

Old Norse: ala st. `hervorbringen, zeugen, züchten, nähren’; ɔld f. `Lebenzzeit, Zeitalter’, pl. `Menschen’; aldr, gen. aldr-s m. `Alter, Leben, Zeit’, ptc. aldin-n `gealtert’; aldin n., aldin-n m. `Baumfrucht’; eldi n. `Nährung, Kind’; comp. ellri; elda wk. `alt machen’

Norwegian: ala vb.; dial. old sbs.; alder sbs.; comp. eldre; elde `Züchtung, Brut’; elda vb.

Old Swedish: ala vb.; alda `fruchttragende Eiche’; aldin, aldon, aallan `Eichel’

Swedish: comp. äldre; ɔlder sbs.; ɔllon `Eichel’

Old Danish: alä vb.; olden `Frucht der Buche oder der Eiche’; comp. äldre; älde-s vb.

Danish: old sbs.; older sbs.

Old English: alan (ōl, ōlon; alen) `to nourish, grow, produce; to appesr’, ild, -e f. `age, period of time; age, time of life, years; mature or old age, eld’, pl. `age, old people, chief people’, ealdor (aldor), -es n. `life; age’; { eald }; { ieldan }

English: eld, old

Old Saxon: ald; pl. eldi `Menschen’; aldar `Greisen-, Lebensalter’

Middle Dutch: out

Dutch: oud

Middle Low German: ōlt; elden `warten, zögern’

Old High German: alt (8.Jh.); altar `Greisenalter, Lebensalter’; elten `alt werden, verzögern’

Middle High German: alt ’alt (im gegensatz von jung)’

German: alt

 

As a dabbling amateur, such coincidences are nonetheless striking!

But let us have a look (from the same source) at the word alb (or alp):

 

Proto-Germanic: *alba-z, *albi-z

Meaning: elf

IE etymology:

Old Norse: alf-r m. `Albe, Elf’

Norwegian: alv

Old Swedish: älf `Albe, Elf’

Old Danish: elv `Albe, Elf’

Old English: älf, -es m., ilf, -e f. `elf’

English: elf

Old Saxon: alf

Middle Dutch: alf m. `boze geest, die de mensen zoekt te bedriegen’

Dutch: alf m.

Middle Low German: alf `Mare, Alp’

Old High German: alb (11.Jh.)

Middle High German: alp (-b-) st. m., n. ’gespenstisches wesen, gehilfe des teufels; alp, das alpdrücken’; md. alf ’tor, narr’

German: Alb m.

 

As we can see, the good Professor of course had his suggestions of translation well grounded!

We can also find the root for ‘white’ which bears a striking resemblance to the root of ‘elf’:

 

Proto-Germanic: *alb=, *alft=

Meaning: something white

IE etymology:

Swedish: dial. alf `alkhaltiges Sand unter der Fruchterde’

Old Saxon: 58

Dutch: { alft, elft `Weissfisch’ }; alver (visnaam)

Low German: alf, albe `Weissfisch’

Middle High German: albel `Weissfisch’ st. m. ’weissfisch’; alber st. m. ’pappelbaum’

German: { Albe `Weissfisch’; dial. Alben `alkhaltiges Sand unter der Fruchterde’ }

 

Lots of fisssh in these examples!  But have a look also at this derivative noun (or so I see it):

 

Proto-Germanic: *albut, *albuti-z, *albiti-z f., *albitjōn, *albitō

Meaning: swan

IE etymology:

Old Norse: ɔlpt f. `Schwan’; elpt-r f. `id.’

Old English: { älbitu }, ilfetu, -e f., ilfette, -an f. `swan’

Old High German: { albiʒ, elbiʒ }

Middle High German: ɛlbiʒ, albiʒ st. m. ’schwan’

 

Swan? Hmmm…

 

Sorry, not all letters copy strictly to the original; you can look up these on this page, where the quotes are from: http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cgermet&first=41

 

Now, Aldoriana, you took ‘alb’ back to the PIE roots, and assumed that there was a possible connection, and if so, that the connection was intentional:

 

And, following the "track" ... this A/S "element" again drives us to the same - Tolkien did want, in any possible way, to emphasize on his main idea - England was the land of the Firstborn Children of Eru!

And in the very word which he chose to "translate" the "actual" name of the mythological race, he has obviously achieved it!

And: England is strongly associated with the white cliffs - the first thing (they say ) one sees when approaching the island from the mainland.

 

So: you say that the Elves were the true ‘Sons of Albion’?

 

Virtue’s Simplified Dictionary gives the following definition:

Albion. noun [derived from Latin albus, white: in allusion to the white cliffs as seen from the Channel], a poetic name for England. Greek Mythology, a giant son of Poseidon, slain by Hercules.

I am not sure if anyone has investigated this venue before, and either proved or falsified it? And I do not think that Tolkien would have admitted to such an interpretation; the reasons he gave for choosing his particular suggestions for translation stand on their own ground. (And as we know Tolkien ever only admitted to one ‘real’ source for his invented languages - and that is of course the Earendel/Eärendil mythos – apart from the Rohirric versus A/S connection.)

That said, I could not agree with you more.  This would be exactly the kind of masterly elaborated linguistic double/multi-twist one expects from Tolkien. And it fits well with the time frame, because at first Tolkien was indeed writing what he perceived as a missing mythology for England. The name Elda ’Elf’ had been devised long before The Lord of the Rings was written.
Kirinki54 21/Apr/2006 at 09:14 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana, thanks for those interesting posts!

 

I think the latest published version of ’Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings’ can be found in ‘The Lord of the Rings: A Reader´s Companion’ by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. To complete your quote:

 

With regard to German: I would suggest with diffidence that Elf, elfen are perhaps to be avoided as equivalents of elf, elven. Elf is, I believe, borrowed from English, and may retain some of the associations of a kind that I should particularly desire not to be present (if possible): for example those of Drayton or of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in the translation of which, I believe, Elf was first used in German). That is, the pretty, fanciful reduction of ’elf’ to a butterfly-like creature inhabiting flowers.

I wonder whether the word Alp (or better still the form Alb, still given in modern dictionaries as a variant, which is historically the more normal form) could not be used. It is the true cognate of English elf; and if it has senses nearer to English oaf, referring to puckish and malicious sprites, or to idiots regarded as ’changelings’, that is true also of English elf. I find these debased rustic associations less damaging than the ’pretty’ literary fancies. The Elves of the ’mythology’ of The Lord of the Rings are not actually equatable with the folklore traditions about ’fairies’, and as I have said (III 415) I should prefer the oldest available form of the name to be used, and left to acquire its own associations for readers of my tale. In Scandinavian languages alf is available.

 

But before that quote are a couple of passages of equal interest:

 

Elder Kindred, Elder Race, Elder People. Translate. In a language which possesses two forms of the comparative of old, use the more archaic form. (In English the older form elder implies both seniority and kinship).

The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental. The name Elda ’Elf’ had been devised long before The Lord of the Rings was written. There is no need to seek to imitate it; it is not useful or significant. Compare Elder Days, which again implies a more ancient epoch in the history of people of the same kin, that is in the days of their far-off ancestors.

Elf-friend. Translate. It was suggested by Aelfwine, the English form of an old Germanic name (represented for instance in the Lombardic Alboin), though its analyzable meaning was probably not recognized or thought significant by the many recorded bearers of the name Aelfwine in Old English.

 

Elven-smiths. Translate. The archaic adjectival or composition form elven used in The Lord of the Rings should on no account be equated with the debased English word elfin, which has entirely wrong associations. Use either the word for elf in the language of translation, or a first element in a compound, or divide into elvish + smiths, using an equivalent in the language of translation for the correct adjective elvish.

 

BTW note what Tolkien wrote on Eldar: The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental.

 

Which would mean that there is really no (intentional or conscious) significance to the likeness of this word:

 

Proto-Germanic: *alan- vb., *aldí-z, *aldṓ, *aldá-, *aldrá-z, comp. *álʮiza-, *alidja-n, *aldian- vb. etc.

Meaning: grow, breed; old

IE etymology:

Gothic: *alan st. `grow’; *ald-s f. (i) `generation, age’; CrimGot alt adj. `senex’; *aldōmō m. ˜ n. (n) `old age’; alʮī-s (ja) `old’; ptc. *us-alʮan-s `sinile’, *fram-aldr-s (a) `aged’

Old Norse: ala st. `hervorbringen, zeugen, züchten, nähren’; ɔld f. `Lebenzzeit, Zeitalter’, pl. `Menschen’; aldr, gen. aldr-s m. `Alter, Leben, Zeit’, ptc. aldin-n `gealtert’; aldin n., aldin-n m. `Baumfrucht’; eldi n. `Nährung, Kind’; comp. ellri; elda wk. `alt machen’

Norwegian: ala vb.; dial. old sbs.; alder sbs.; comp. eldre; elde `Züchtung, Brut’; elda vb.

Old Swedish: ala vb.; alda `fruchttragende Eiche’; aldin, aldon, aallan `Eichel’

Swedish: comp. äldre; ɔlder sbs.; ɔllon `Eichel’

Old Danish: alä vb.; olden `Frucht der Buche oder der Eiche’; comp. äldre; älde-s vb.

Danish: old sbs.; older sbs.

Old English: alan (ōl, ōlon; alen) `to nourish, grow, produce; to appesr’, ild, -e f. `age, period of time; age, time of life, years; mature or old age, eld’, pl. `age, old people, chief people’, ealdor (aldor), -es n. `life; age’; { eald }; { ieldan }

English: eld, old

Old Saxon: ald; pl. eldi `Menschen’; aldar `Greisen-, Lebensalter’

Middle Dutch: out

Dutch: oud

Middle Low German: ōlt; elden `warten, zögern’

Old High German: alt (8.Jh.); altar `Greisenalter, Lebensalter’; elten `alt werden, verzögern’

Middle High German: alt ’alt (im gegensatz von jung)’

German: alt

 

As a dabbling amateur, such coincidences are nonetheless striking!

But let us have a look (from the same source) at the word alb (or alp):

 

Proto-Germanic: *alba-z, *albi-z

Meaning: elf

IE etymology:

Old Norse: alf-r m. `Albe, Elf’

Norwegian: alv

Old Swedish: älf `Albe, Elf’

Old Danish: elv `Albe, Elf’

Old English: älf, -es m., ilf, -e f. `elf’

English: elf

Old Saxon: alf

Middle Dutch: alf m. `boze geest, die de mensen zoekt te bedriegen’

Dutch: alf m.

Middle Low German: alf `Mare, Alp’

Old High German: alb (11.Jh.)

Middle High German: alp (-b-) st. m., n. ’gespenstisches wesen, gehilfe des teufels; alp, das alpdrücken’; md. alf ’tor, narr’

German: Alb m.

 

As we can see, the good Professor of course had his suggestions of translation well grounded!

We can also find the root for ‘white’ which bears a striking resemblance to the root of ‘elf’:

 

Proto-Germanic: *alb=, *alft=

Meaning: something white

IE etymology:

Swedish: dial. alf `alkhaltiges Sand unter der Fruchterde’

Old Saxon: 58

Dutch: { alft, elft `Weissfisch’ }; alver (visnaam)

Low German: alf, albe `Weissfisch’

Middle High German: albel `Weissfisch’ st. m. ’weissfisch’; alber st. m. ’pappelbaum’

German: { Albe `Weissfisch’; dial. Alben `alkhaltiges Sand unter der Fruchterde’ }

 

Lots of fisssh in these examples!  But have a look also at this derivative noun (or so I see it):

 

Proto-Germanic: *albut, *albuti-z, *albiti-z f., *albitjōn, *albitō

Meaning: swan

IE etymology:

Old Norse: ɔlpt f. `Schwan’; elpt-r f. `id.’

Old English: { älbitu }, ilfetu, -e f., ilfette, -an f. `swan’

Old High German: { albiʒ, elbiʒ }

Middle High German: ɛlbiʒ, albiʒ st. m. ’schwan’

 

Swan? Hmmm…

 

Sorry, not all letters copy strictly to the original; you can look up these on this page, where the quotes are from: http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cgermet&first=41

 

Now, Aldoriana, you took ‘alb’ back to the PIE roots, and assumed that there was a possible connection, and if so, that the connection was intentional:

 

And, following the "track" ... this A/S "element" again drives us to the same - Tolkien did want, in any possible way, to emphasize on his main idea - England was the land of the Firstborn Children of Eru!

And in the very word which he chose to "translate" the "actual" name of the mythological race, he has obviously achieved it!

And: England is strongly associated with the white cliffs - the first thing (they say ) one sees when approaching the island from the mainland.

 

So: you say that the Elves were the true ‘Sons of Albion’?

 

Virtue’s Simplified Dictionary gives the following definition:

Albion. noun [derived from Latin albus, white: in allusion to the white cliffs as seen from the Channel], a poetic name for England. Greek Mythology, a giant son of Poseidon, slain by Hercules.

I am not sure if anyone has investigated this venue before, and either proved or falsified it? And I do not think that Tolkien would have admitted to such an interpretation; the reasons he gave for choosing his particular suggestions for translation stand on their own ground. (And as we know Tolkien ever only admitted to one ‘real’ source for his invented languages - and that is of course the Earendel/Eärendil mythos – apart from the Rohirric versus A/S connection.)

That said, I could not agree with you more.  This would be exactly the kind of masterly elaborated linguistic double/multi-twist one expects from Tolkien. And it fits well with the time frame, because at first Tolkien was indeed writing what he perceived as a missing mythology for England. The name Elda ’Elf’ had been devised long before The Lord of the Rings was written.
Lady d`Ecthelion 21/Apr/2006 at 11:23 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Oh, my!
What an analyses!!!


Let me, however pay attention to one particular issue:

Quote:
BTW, note what Tolkien wrote on Eldar: The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental.


(my bold )

In cases like this one I apply a simple "logic" , and just as that, simply can’t accept that a word can "accidentally" be similar to another word, be it even in languages which at first sight might look as if totally alien to each other; less even such "accident" I can accept to happen within languages with common roots!
I find it far not ’accidental’ that the modern English comparative form of the adjective "old" - "elder", can only ’by accident’ coincide with the ’Elf’-mythological race, existing in the folklore of the peoples speaking languages with common roots.
Just on the contrary! I do believe that the modern English ’elder’ has its logical and meaningful grounds to coincide with the mythological ’Eldar’ , and with the mythological race of the Elves in general.
Just as I see the same relation in the case of the element Ælf , present in words and especially in names characteristic for the peoples populating these particular regions of Europe where the myth about Elves has been existing for ages!
No! It cannot be a ’coincidence’, methinks!
And I think that your excellent detailed etymological "quest" in the above post, rather proves this particular assertion, instead of backing-up the opposite opinion - the one about the "accidental" coincidence in the words in question.

Hehehe ... am I contradicting Master Tolkien’s opinion?

Whatever the case, however, I more clearly see how Tolkien "twisted" (linguistically even! ), the mythology of the Western world, with the purpose of achieving his main intentions - build a true English mythology.
But ’mythology’ as such, and very simply put, is a compilation of stories, and stories are told / written in a language... The language, thus, plays a very important role in mythology itself! These two are,IMO, forever interelated.


As for the Albion, well, I can only say that I have been for quite a long time curious of why would the British Isles be called by that name, so I took a "long shot" at the element ’alb" in its meaning of "white" and then connected it with something that a certain Northumbrian told me recently - that the first thing a sailor sees when approaching the Isle, are the white cliffs... and there I made a connection ...
Lady d`Ecthelion 21/Apr/2006 at 11:23 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Oh, my!
What an analyses!!!


Let me, however pay attention to one particular issue:

Quote:
BTW, note what Tolkien wrote on Eldar: The similarity between Elda-r plural, the western Elves, and Elder is accidental.


(my bold )

In cases like this one I apply a simple "logic" , and just as that, simply can’t accept that a word can "accidentally" be similar to another word, be it even in languages which at first sight might look as if totally alien to each other; less even such "accident" I can accept to happen within languages with common roots!
I find it far not ’accidental’ that the modern English comparative form of the adjective "old" - "elder", can only ’by accident’ coincide with the ’Elf’-mythological race, existing in the folklore of the peoples speaking languages with common roots.
Just on the contrary! I do believe that the modern English ’elder’ has its logical and meaningful grounds to coincide with the mythological ’Eldar’ , and with the mythological race of the Elves in general.
Just as I see the same relation in the case of the element Ælf , present in words and especially in names characteristic for the peoples populating these particular regions of Europe where the myth about Elves has been existing for ages!
No! It cannot be a ’coincidence’, methinks!
And I think that your excellent detailed etymological "quest" in the above post, rather proves this particular assertion, instead of backing-up the opposite opinion - the one about the "accidental" coincidence in the words in question.

Hehehe ... am I contradicting Master Tolkien’s opinion?

Whatever the case, however, I more clearly see how Tolkien "twisted" (linguistically even! ), the mythology of the Western world, with the purpose of achieving his main intentions - build a true English mythology.
But ’mythology’ as such, and very simply put, is a compilation of stories, and stories are told / written in a language... The language, thus, plays a very important role in mythology itself! These two are,IMO, forever interelated.


As for the Albion, well, I can only say that I have been for quite a long time curious of why would the British Isles be called by that name, so I took a "long shot" at the element ’alb" in its meaning of "white" and then connected it with something that a certain Northumbrian told me recently - that the first thing a sailor sees when approaching the Isle, are the white cliffs... and there I made a connection ...
Faele 27/Apr/2006 at 12:37 PM
Defender of Imladris Points: 1121 Posts: 634 Joined: 22/Jan/2003

I keep thinking about hte way that Lord of the Rings sort of came about unwillingly. Tolien - wanting to write about the Silmarillion, having wrttten the Hobbit and now hounded to write more of the same: yet every day he dealt in other languages - icelandic, finnish, old english.. It makes sense to me that this would generate a tale with many peoples  or races - the rohirrim , with their distinctly icelandic roots, the Ents , with something of the Welsh in them, the gentlehobbits of the Shire ( AEngel-land ) HB4 9BR... And - naturally - or unnaturally ! the Elvenkind

I think thsere is much to be said for the theory that the languages beget the cultures, and teh cultures tthe peoples, the peoples give birth to characters who weave the myth.. And - as so often in life - in reality,  language bends itself to fit in.

Faele 27/Apr/2006 at 12:37 PM
Defender of Imladris Points: 1121 Posts: 634 Joined: 22/Jan/2003

I keep thinking about hte way that Lord of the Rings sort of came about unwillingly. Tolien - wanting to write about the Silmarillion, having wrttten the Hobbit and now hounded to write more of the same: yet every day he dealt in other languages - icelandic, finnish, old english.. It makes sense to me that this would generate a tale with many peoples  or races - the rohirrim , with their distinctly icelandic roots, the Ents , with something of the Welsh in them, the gentlehobbits of the Shire ( AEngel-land ) HB4 9BR... And - naturally - or unnaturally ! the Elvenkind

I think thsere is much to be said for the theory that the languages beget the cultures, and teh cultures tthe peoples, the peoples give birth to characters who weave the myth.. And - as so often in life - in reality,  language bends itself to fit in.

Lady d`Ecthelion 27/Apr/2006 at 10:18 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Faele , welcome to this discussion ... or rather exchange of opinions!

I got intrigued about the relations you make -

Rohirrim - Icelandic roots
Ents - Welsh strain


I would love to read more of your opinions on these two references. What would be the "threads" linking fantasy to reality? What are the indices that would prompt these relations to the reader?

Looking forward to your post.

****... wondering where Kirinki has disappeared.... *****
Lady d`Ecthelion 27/Apr/2006 at 10:18 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Faele , welcome to this discussion ... or rather exchange of opinions!

I got intrigued about the relations you make -

Rohirrim - Icelandic roots
Ents - Welsh strain


I would love to read more of your opinions on these two references. What would be the "threads" linking fantasy to reality? What are the indices that would prompt these relations to the reader?

Looking forward to your post.

****... wondering where Kirinki has disappeared.... *****
Kirinki54 29/Apr/2006 at 03:13 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Well, Aldoriana, I am still around!

Faele, like Aldoriana I would welcome elaborations on those influences. For example, I never connected Welsh (a language I know very little about) to the Ents, but you might be onto something with regarding those long agglutinated words. I also like your point on Tolkien being pressed to write a story he did not really believed in at the beginning, and then, partly by using all his professional tools and partly by introducing his language-based older mythology, turned it into a story very much his own and of his liking…

 

Aldoriana wrote: "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" – surely this would have absolutely now relevance in this day and age? Or?

 

When I read this a while back, I was reminded of a word in the African language cishona. (I took a crash course before I went to work in Zimbabwe some years back, but I am almost recovered by now!  ) The word for parent is mbereki (m represents the article). Bereki is derived from the verb root bereka which means ‘to carry’. A parent is somebody who carries the children. Another lovely example of how ancient culture formed the language.

 

The publication of LotR did not mean that Tolkien´s labour or worries were over, far from it. The interest for the book grew, and quite soon there were editions planned in other countries - which of course meant translations. He had earlier in connection to ‘The Hobbit’ experienced the horrors such undertakings could bring in terms of arbitrary alterations especially on nomenclature. When Allen & Unwin sent him a list of proposed changes of place-names from a Dutch translator, he was ready to do battle from the start.

 

In principle I object as strongly as is possible to the ’translation’ of the nomenclature at all (even by a competent person). I wonder why a translator should think himself called on or entitled to do any such thing. That this is an ’imaginary’ world does not give him any right to remodel it according to his fancy, even if he could in a few months create a new coherent structure which it took me years to work out./…/

May I say now at once that I will not tolerate any similar tinkering with the personal nomenclature. Nor with the name/word Hobbit. I will not have any more Hompen (in which I was not consulted), nor any Hobbel or what not. Elves, Dwarfs/ves, Trolls, yes: they are mere modern equivalents of the correct terms. But hobbit (and orc) are of that world, and they must stay, whether they sound Dutch or not./…/

I am no linguist, but I do know something about nomenclature, and have specially studied it, and I am actually very angry indeed. (190 From a letter to Rayner Unwin 3 July 1956)

 

It was not only the Dutch translation that caused alarm, but also the Swedish version which had been published with not only many alterations of the nomenclature, but also some revisions of the text. These events motivated Tolkien to write a guide for translators of which he later commented:

 

I have composed a commentary on the nomenclature for the use of translators; but this is directed primarily to indicating what words and names can and should be translated into L(anguage) of T(ranslation) which takes over the function from English of representing the C(ommon) S(peech) of the period, it being understood that names not in or derived from mod. English should be retained without change in translation, since they are alien both to the original C.S. and to the L.T. (297 Drafts for a letter to ’Mr Rang’)

 

So, the process of creation continued in the form of new translations, and Tolkien clearly wanted to have control over it. The guide was titled ‘Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings’. (I think the last publication was – as mentined above - by the inclusion in ‘The Lord or the Rings: A Reader´s Companion’ by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull. BTW I have ordered this highly commended work, and it is being shipped at the moment. Nice!)

 

The guide is a relatively small text, and it is quite simple in principle. It lists those names that might be altered and the different rules on how to go about it. The rest are supposed to be left as they are! Of course, we have mentioned this text before in this thread, but I wanted to focus on it again because of its great worth to any LotR fan: there are nuggets of gold.

 

One would perhaps think only of the animalistic connection in Buckland, but Buckland, an English place-name, is frequently in fact derived from ’book-land’, land originally held by a written charter.

 

On a forgetful inn-keeper: Butterbur’s first name Barliman is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’ (suitable to an innkeeper and ale-brewer), and should be translated.

 

Or: Bamfurlong. An English place-name, probably from bean ’bean’ and furlong (in the sense of a division of a common field), the name being given to a strip of land usually reserved for beans.

 

But that will suffice for now; for those unfamiliar with the guide, read it!

 

Aldoriana wrote in another post: But ’mythology’ as such, and very simply put, is a compilation of stories, and stories are told / written in a language... The language, thus, plays a very important role in mythology itself! These two are,IMO, forever interelated.

 

The Master wrote in his essay ‘On Faërie-stories’:

 

Mythology is not a disease at all, though it may like all human things become diseased. You might as well say that thinking is a disease of the mind. It would be more near the truth to say that languages, especially modern European languages, are a disease of mythology. But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. /…/

To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.

In human art Fantasy is a thing best left to words, to true literature.

 

Kirinki54 29/Apr/2006 at 03:13 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Well, Aldoriana, I am still around!

Faele, like Aldoriana I would welcome elaborations on those influences. For example, I never connected Welsh (a language I know very little about) to the Ents, but you might be onto something with regarding those long agglutinated words. I also like your point on Tolkien being pressed to write a story he did not really believed in at the beginning, and then, partly by using all his professional tools and partly by introducing his language-based older mythology, turned it into a story very much his own and of his liking…

 

Aldoriana wrote: "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" – surely this would have absolutely now relevance in this day and age? Or?

 

When I read this a while back, I was reminded of a word in the African language cishona. (I took a crash course before I went to work in Zimbabwe some years back, but I am almost recovered by now!  ) The word for parent is mbereki (m represents the article). Bereki is derived from the verb root bereka which means ‘to carry’. A parent is somebody who carries the children. Another lovely example of how ancient culture formed the language.

 

The publication of LotR did not mean that Tolkien´s labour or worries were over, far from it. The interest for the book grew, and quite soon there were editions planned in other countries - which of course meant translations. He had earlier in connection to ‘The Hobbit’ experienced the horrors such undertakings could bring in terms of arbitrary alterations especially on nomenclature. When Allen & Unwin sent him a list of proposed changes of place-names from a Dutch translator, he was ready to do battle from the start.

 

In principle I object as strongly as is possible to the ’translation’ of the nomenclature at all (even by a competent person). I wonder why a translator should think himself called on or entitled to do any such thing. That this is an ’imaginary’ world does not give him any right to remodel it according to his fancy, even if he could in a few months create a new coherent structure which it took me years to work out./…/

May I say now at once that I will not tolerate any similar tinkering with the personal nomenclature. Nor with the name/word Hobbit. I will not have any more Hompen (in which I was not consulted), nor any Hobbel or what not. Elves, Dwarfs/ves, Trolls, yes: they are mere modern equivalents of the correct terms. But hobbit (and orc) are of that world, and they must stay, whether they sound Dutch or not./…/

I am no linguist, but I do know something about nomenclature, and have specially studied it, and I am actually very angry indeed. (190 From a letter to Rayner Unwin 3 July 1956)

 

It was not only the Dutch translation that caused alarm, but also the Swedish version which had been published with not only many alterations of the nomenclature, but also some revisions of the text. These events motivated Tolkien to write a guide for translators of which he later commented:

 

I have composed a commentary on the nomenclature for the use of translators; but this is directed primarily to indicating what words and names can and should be translated into L(anguage) of T(ranslation) which takes over the function from English of representing the C(ommon) S(peech) of the period, it being understood that names not in or derived from mod. English should be retained without change in translation, since they are alien both to the original C.S. and to the L.T. (297 Drafts for a letter to ’Mr Rang’)

 

So, the process of creation continued in the form of new translations, and Tolkien clearly wanted to have control over it. The guide was titled ‘Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings’. (I think the last publication was – as mentined above - by the inclusion in ‘The Lord or the Rings: A Reader´s Companion’ by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull. BTW I have ordered this highly commended work, and it is being shipped at the moment. Nice!)

 

The guide is a relatively small text, and it is quite simple in principle. It lists those names that might be altered and the different rules on how to go about it. The rest are supposed to be left as they are! Of course, we have mentioned this text before in this thread, but I wanted to focus on it again because of its great worth to any LotR fan: there are nuggets of gold.

 

One would perhaps think only of the animalistic connection in Buckland, but Buckland, an English place-name, is frequently in fact derived from ’book-land’, land originally held by a written charter.

 

On a forgetful inn-keeper: Butterbur’s first name Barliman is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’ (suitable to an innkeeper and ale-brewer), and should be translated.

 

Or: Bamfurlong. An English place-name, probably from bean ’bean’ and furlong (in the sense of a division of a common field), the name being given to a strip of land usually reserved for beans.

 

But that will suffice for now; for those unfamiliar with the guide, read it!

 

Aldoriana wrote in another post: But ’mythology’ as such, and very simply put, is a compilation of stories, and stories are told / written in a language... The language, thus, plays a very important role in mythology itself! These two are,IMO, forever interelated.

 

The Master wrote in his essay ‘On Faërie-stories’:

 

Mythology is not a disease at all, though it may like all human things become diseased. You might as well say that thinking is a disease of the mind. It would be more near the truth to say that languages, especially modern European languages, are a disease of mythology. But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. /…/

To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.

In human art Fantasy is a thing best left to words, to true literature.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Apr/2006 at 11:15 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Hey! Glad you’re around!

Re: Translation

I am glad Master Tolkien didn’t live to see the BG-translation of his works!
"The Hobbit" and "The Silmarillion" are OK ... more or less...
But the LOTR!!!!! Oh, my! The translator of this particular book must’ve never obviously read Tolkien’s own opinions and instructions on translation. That man translated almost all names - especially Hobbits - related ... and many more, and the translation often has nothing to do with the original, or simply sounds .... not properly and genuinly!

Take the name of the Innkeeper BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR.
As Kirinki quoted above, the first name "is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’.
Then how on ME did that "translator" come with the idea of translating this name into an ’altered spelling of ’beer’’ and ’pour."?
The second name of the good man - ’Butterbur’ can also easily be analysed as a "compound" of two different words - ’butter’ and   ’bur’. But the BG-translator for some reason had decided to "translate" using the words (in back translation) ’spread’ (as for ex. "spread butter on bread" ), and ’burdock’ (the plant).
All right! Master Tolkien did say he actually most had in mind the plant - "butterbur". And a name of a plant was indeed used in the translation, but it is about, as you see above, the plant ’burdock’ , which is, if I’m not mistaken, a weed-plant.
Hmmmm ...

Why!?! The very name ’Baggins’ was translated!!!!!
As was ’Bag End’, although ... the latter could, of course be translated, yet ...
I dunno ... when it comes to fiction literature, I personally am a supporter of that practice when names (of placs and characters) are not being translated within the text itself, but marked with an "*, and respectively refer the reader to the bottom of the page, to find all about it - etymology of the original word(s), suggested translation based on that, etc. This, IMO applies especially when we deal with such a type of "linguistic fiction" as Tolkien’s!

* * *

Kirinki wrote:
Quote:
"the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" – surely this would have absolutely now relevance in this day and age? Or?




No comment!

But, if this brought to your mind memories of your African period (exciting!!!) , it "sends" me to North America.
You see, when I wrote about that word - ’woman’, I forgot to mention that our professor at the Uni said that in fact the word was once two words, namely - ’wo’ and ’man’ and "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" refers actually only to the part ’wo’.
So, this short word (claimed to be of Celtic origin) reminds me strangely of the Indian word "squaw" - which is, as much as I know, the Indian word for a ’woman’, or, in fact - ’everything female’ (don’t actually wish to introduce here the hot discussion on the use of this word in North America!).
Strange a coincidence in the sounding of the two source words compared - ’wo’ and ’squaw’ , don’t you think?
But ... it may after all be just this - a ’phonological coincidence’.
Besides, if one starts thinking "historically", namely - on one hand, about where the Celts came from, and about their supposed ethnic origin, etc. - hence, language; and on the other hand - about the North American Indians and their ethnic origin - hence, language... Well! It all must be just that - a coincidence in sound, nothing more!
Yet, the mind plays tricks, based on the so similar sound of both these words!

* * *   

Lastly, you know ... I was surprised by a short sentence in one of the quotes you provided above, namely :
Quote:
"May I say now at once that I will not tolerate any similar tinkering with the personal nomenclature. Nor with the name/word Hobbit. I will not have any more Hompen (in which I was not consulted), nor any Hobbel or what not. Elves, Dwarfs/ves, Trolls, yes: they are mere modern equivalents of the correct terms. But hobbit (and orc) are of that world, and they must stay, whether they sound Dutch or not./…/

I am no linguist, but I do know something about nomenclature, and have specially studied it, and I am actually very angry indeed. (190 From a letter to Rayner Unwin 3 July 1956) "

(my bold)

He is not a ’linguist’ ???
Why would he say such a thing about himself?
Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Apr/2006 at 11:15 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Hey! Glad you’re around!

Re: Translation

I am glad Master Tolkien didn’t live to see the BG-translation of his works!
"The Hobbit" and "The Silmarillion" are OK ... more or less...
But the LOTR!!!!! Oh, my! The translator of this particular book must’ve never obviously read Tolkien’s own opinions and instructions on translation. That man translated almost all names - especially Hobbits - related ... and many more, and the translation often has nothing to do with the original, or simply sounds .... not properly and genuinly!

Take the name of the Innkeeper BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR.
As Kirinki quoted above, the first name "is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’.
Then how on ME did that "translator" come with the idea of translating this name into an ’altered spelling of ’beer’’ and ’pour."?
The second name of the good man - ’Butterbur’ can also easily be analysed as a "compound" of two different words - ’butter’ and   ’bur’. But the BG-translator for some reason had decided to "translate" using the words (in back translation) ’spread’ (as for ex. "spread butter on bread" ), and ’burdock’ (the plant).
All right! Master Tolkien did say he actually most had in mind the plant - "butterbur". And a name of a plant was indeed used in the translation, but it is about, as you see above, the plant ’burdock’ , which is, if I’m not mistaken, a weed-plant.
Hmmmm ...

Why!?! The very name ’Baggins’ was translated!!!!!
As was ’Bag End’, although ... the latter could, of course be translated, yet ...
I dunno ... when it comes to fiction literature, I personally am a supporter of that practice when names (of placs and characters) are not being translated within the text itself, but marked with an "*, and respectively refer the reader to the bottom of the page, to find all about it - etymology of the original word(s), suggested translation based on that, etc. This, IMO applies especially when we deal with such a type of "linguistic fiction" as Tolkien’s!

* * *

Kirinki wrote:
Quote:
"the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" – surely this would have absolutely now relevance in this day and age? Or?




No comment!

But, if this brought to your mind memories of your African period (exciting!!!) , it "sends" me to North America.
You see, when I wrote about that word - ’woman’, I forgot to mention that our professor at the Uni said that in fact the word was once two words, namely - ’wo’ and ’man’ and "the creature sitting by the fire, cooking and taking care of the man" refers actually only to the part ’wo’.
So, this short word (claimed to be of Celtic origin) reminds me strangely of the Indian word "squaw" - which is, as much as I know, the Indian word for a ’woman’, or, in fact - ’everything female’ (don’t actually wish to introduce here the hot discussion on the use of this word in North America!).
Strange a coincidence in the sounding of the two source words compared - ’wo’ and ’squaw’ , don’t you think?
But ... it may after all be just this - a ’phonological coincidence’.
Besides, if one starts thinking "historically", namely - on one hand, about where the Celts came from, and about their supposed ethnic origin, etc. - hence, language; and on the other hand - about the North American Indians and their ethnic origin - hence, language... Well! It all must be just that - a coincidence in sound, nothing more!
Yet, the mind plays tricks, based on the so similar sound of both these words!

* * *   

Lastly, you know ... I was surprised by a short sentence in one of the quotes you provided above, namely :
Quote:
"May I say now at once that I will not tolerate any similar tinkering with the personal nomenclature. Nor with the name/word Hobbit. I will not have any more Hompen (in which I was not consulted), nor any Hobbel or what not. Elves, Dwarfs/ves, Trolls, yes: they are mere modern equivalents of the correct terms. But hobbit (and orc) are of that world, and they must stay, whether they sound Dutch or not./…/

I am no linguist, but I do know something about nomenclature, and have specially studied it, and I am actually very angry indeed. (190 From a letter to Rayner Unwin 3 July 1956) "

(my bold)

He is not a ’linguist’ ???
Why would he say such a thing about himself?
Melyanna Falas 08/May/2006 at 03:55 PM
Guardian of Imladris Points: 4141 Posts: 2688 Joined: 04/Jan/2005
I don’t know if you are aware that “butterbur” is actually a plant name: called so because of the large round kidney-shaped leaves that were in times past used to wrap butter. [My source was Webster dictionary of 1950’s – was looking up something else and this jumped out!]
Melyanna Falas 08/May/2006 at 03:55 PM
Guardian of Imladris Points: 4141 Posts: 2688 Joined: 04/Jan/2005
I don’t know if you are aware that “butterbur” is actually a plant name: called so because of the large round kidney-shaped leaves that were in times past used to wrap butter. [My source was Webster dictionary of 1950’s – was looking up something else and this jumped out!]
Kirinki54 13/May/2006 at 04:34 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Time and other factors have been pressing lately, but I think I will venture a reply on our favourite inn-keeper. Thanks for expanding, Aldoriana, and thanks for your comment, Melyanna Falas.

 

Mr Tolkien wrote:

Butterbur. So far as I know, not found as a name in England, though Butter is so used, as well as combinations (in origin place-names) such as Butterfield. These have in the tale been modified, to fit the generally botanical names of Bree, to the plant-name ’butterbur’ (Petasites vulgaris). If the popular name for this contains an equivalent of ’butter’, so much the better. Otherwise use another plant-name containing ’butter’ (as German Butterblume, Butterbaum, Dutch boterbloeme) or referring to a fat thick plant. The butterbur is a fleshy plant with a heavy flower-head on a thick stalk, and very large leaves.

Butterbur’s first name Barliman is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’ (suitable to an innkeeper and ale-brewer), and should be translated. (Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings)

 

The Swedish translator Dr. Åke Ohlmarks actually had done just as Tolkien later suggested, choosing Smörblomma as translation which means literally ‘butterflower’; however this is not Petasides vulgaris but instead Ranunculus acris. (And, typically, Ohlmarks did not translate ‘barley’ into the Swedish equivalent ‘korn’.)

 

In fact, Melyannas comment on “wrapping butter” made me realize that for thirty odd years (I think I got my first English copy in 1972) I have mistakenly confused these two plants. Petasides is not uncommon, occurring in a few variants, and indeed have a lore reputation as protection for butter. The plant was also planted near bee-hives in order for the bees to draw nectar early in the season when there were few other flowers.

 

‘Butterbur’ was apparently also known as a healing herb in many countries, for fever and other illness, including the plague. In English, another old name is ‘plague-flower’. It was also known as ‘Lagwort’ because of the leaves delaying until after the flower had faded – not a bad metaphor for BB being late in delivering the famous letter! However, one can only speculate whether the latter allusion was intentional by Tolkien.

 

Aldoriana, perhaps Tolkien when – modestly - stating he was no linguist simply meant he was foremost a philologist? After all, he was a “worldclass niggler” as someone (I think Geordie) quoted Christoper to have said.

 

On ‘squaw’ versus ‘wo’ – that is out of my league. But I think the languages of the First Nations are not related to Indo-European at all, so I would guess just coincidence.

 

I have been meaning – to give this thread some resemblance of direction – to delve a bit into the sources of the knowledge of the past (as depicted in LotR): important works and their authors, and the ways and vehicles for conveying it through the ages. Could that be interesting?

Kirinki54 13/May/2006 at 04:34 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Time and other factors have been pressing lately, but I think I will venture a reply on our favourite inn-keeper. Thanks for expanding, Aldoriana, and thanks for your comment, Melyanna Falas.

 

Mr Tolkien wrote:

Butterbur. So far as I know, not found as a name in England, though Butter is so used, as well as combinations (in origin place-names) such as Butterfield. These have in the tale been modified, to fit the generally botanical names of Bree, to the plant-name ’butterbur’ (Petasites vulgaris). If the popular name for this contains an equivalent of ’butter’, so much the better. Otherwise use another plant-name containing ’butter’ (as German Butterblume, Butterbaum, Dutch boterbloeme) or referring to a fat thick plant. The butterbur is a fleshy plant with a heavy flower-head on a thick stalk, and very large leaves.

Butterbur’s first name Barliman is simply an altered spelling of ’barley’ and ’man’ (suitable to an innkeeper and ale-brewer), and should be translated. (Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings)

 

The Swedish translator Dr. Åke Ohlmarks actually had done just as Tolkien later suggested, choosing Smörblomma as translation which means literally ‘butterflower’; however this is not Petasides vulgaris but instead Ranunculus acris. (And, typically, Ohlmarks did not translate ‘barley’ into the Swedish equivalent ‘korn’.)

 

In fact, Melyannas comment on “wrapping butter” made me realize that for thirty odd years (I think I got my first English copy in 1972) I have mistakenly confused these two plants. Petasides is not uncommon, occurring in a few variants, and indeed have a lore reputation as protection for butter. The plant was also planted near bee-hives in order for the bees to draw nectar early in the season when there were few other flowers.

 

‘Butterbur’ was apparently also known as a healing herb in many countries, for fever and other illness, including the plague. In English, another old name is ‘plague-flower’. It was also known as ‘Lagwort’ because of the leaves delaying until after the flower had faded – not a bad metaphor for BB being late in delivering the famous letter! However, one can only speculate whether the latter allusion was intentional by Tolkien.

 

Aldoriana, perhaps Tolkien when – modestly - stating he was no linguist simply meant he was foremost a philologist? After all, he was a “worldclass niggler” as someone (I think Geordie) quoted Christoper to have said.

 

On ‘squaw’ versus ‘wo’ – that is out of my league. But I think the languages of the First Nations are not related to Indo-European at all, so I would guess just coincidence.

 

I have been meaning – to give this thread some resemblance of direction – to delve a bit into the sources of the knowledge of the past (as depicted in LotR): important works and their authors, and the ways and vehicles for conveying it through the ages. Could that be interesting?

Lady d`Ecthelion 14/May/2006 at 11:13 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Yes! We seem to have plunged unnecessarily deep into morphology!

Let’s take the turn, Sire!
Lady d`Ecthelion 14/May/2006 at 11:13 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Yes! We seem to have plunged unnecessarily deep into morphology!

Let’s take the turn, Sire!
Kirinki54 15/May/2006 at 02:18 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

It seems I have been reading not a few novels on books lately. I hope I might be permitted to stray a bit from Middle-earth in the following description of two of them. There was this wonderful novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento) a love story and suspense novel set in Barcelona. I found it a truly amazing and enchanting book (and of course it did not hurt that I happened to visit Barcelona last June).

 

The other book, recently finished, I picked up in the small librería Cervantes in La Cruz de la Palma. They had all of 15 novels in English stacked on a little shelf and one of them was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The theme being darker, on the lore of Dracula, this is an astounding feat of historical facts and fiction mixed into a riveting tale – highly recommended!

 

Both these books are shock-full of references to books, documents, letters, etc (especially the Historian); these texts are bearing elements in carrying the narrative and the plot further. In this they remind me – in spirit – of the way Tolkien operated, although his structuring was usually far more straightforward.

 

The above is also linked and adheres to the profoundly new way of appreciating Tolkien I have found myself in lately: the linguistic elements and the narrative as myth. Way back, I used to read Tolkien mostly for the wonderful tales in themselves. Funny how our choices work out.

Kirinki54 15/May/2006 at 02:18 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

It seems I have been reading not a few novels on books lately. I hope I might be permitted to stray a bit from Middle-earth in the following description of two of them. There was this wonderful novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento) a love story and suspense novel set in Barcelona. I found it a truly amazing and enchanting book (and of course it did not hurt that I happened to visit Barcelona last June).

 

The other book, recently finished, I picked up in the small librería Cervantes in La Cruz de la Palma. They had all of 15 novels in English stacked on a little shelf and one of them was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The theme being darker, on the lore of Dracula, this is an astounding feat of historical facts and fiction mixed into a riveting tale – highly recommended!

 

Both these books are shock-full of references to books, documents, letters, etc (especially the Historian); these texts are bearing elements in carrying the narrative and the plot further. In this they remind me – in spirit – of the way Tolkien operated, although his structuring was usually far more straightforward.

 

The above is also linked and adheres to the profoundly new way of appreciating Tolkien I have found myself in lately: the linguistic elements and the narrative as myth. Way back, I used to read Tolkien mostly for the wonderful tales in themselves. Funny how our choices work out.

Lady d`Ecthelion 15/May/2006 at 09:40 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
***...Aldo, scratching her head ... ***

I dunno what to say!



But I’d love to hear more of it!
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/May/2006 at 09:40 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
***...Aldo, scratching her head ... ***

I dunno what to say!



But I’d love to hear more of it!
armand77 17/May/2006 at 03:57 AM
Horse-groom of the Mark Points: 516 Posts: 16 Joined: 16/Dec/2005
Here’s something ammusing I found recently;

In Homer’s Iliad, there is a goddess called Thetis. Now there are a few similarities between her and a certain Tolkien character, namely Idril:

They both have the epithet ’silver-footed’.
Both are immortal, but marry an immortal.
Both have sons that grow up to save their race (Achilles saves the Greeks, Earendil saves everyone).

That’s it, but I’m sure that JRRT must have taken some sort of inspiration from her.
armand77 17/May/2006 at 03:57 AM
Horse-groom of the Mark Points: 516 Posts: 16 Joined: 16/Dec/2005
Here’s something ammusing I found recently;

In Homer’s Iliad, there is a goddess called Thetis. Now there are a few similarities between her and a certain Tolkien character, namely Idril:

They both have the epithet ’silver-footed’.
Both are immortal, but marry an immortal.
Both have sons that grow up to save their race (Achilles saves the Greeks, Earendil saves everyone).

That’s it, but I’m sure that JRRT must have taken some sort of inspiration from her.
Kirinki54 17/May/2006 at 02:05 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

armand77, this is the sort of coincidence I am prone to ponder myself when I find them, so I say why should it not be an influence? Tolkien was certainly well versed also in Greek mythology.

 

Another possible element with bearing might be that Thetis was a deity of the sea. If any likeness to Idril, it might fit that her son was the greatest mariner ever, though I fail to come up with any sea-connection with Idril per se. And though both Thetis and Idril were gifted with the epithet ‘silver-footed’, I fail to come up with any specific linguistic connection otherwise.

Kirinki54 17/May/2006 at 02:05 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

armand77, this is the sort of coincidence I am prone to ponder myself when I find them, so I say why should it not be an influence? Tolkien was certainly well versed also in Greek mythology.

 

Another possible element with bearing might be that Thetis was a deity of the sea. If any likeness to Idril, it might fit that her son was the greatest mariner ever, though I fail to come up with any sea-connection with Idril per se. And though both Thetis and Idril were gifted with the epithet ‘silver-footed’, I fail to come up with any specific linguistic connection otherwise.

Kirinki54 28/May/2006 at 01:01 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

I wonder if Aldo is around? Long time no e…

 

I have been thinking of my planned continuance:

 

I have been meaning – to give this thread some resemblance of direction – to delve a bit into the sources of the knowledge of the past (as depicted in LotR): important works and their authors, and the ways and vehicles for conveying it through the ages.

 

How to go about it? Originally I thought the starting point ought to be the writers themselves, perhaps beginning with the famous Rúmil. What works are credited to him; what did they specifically contain; what of the ancient lore displayed in LotR can be discerned to emanate from him? But for several reasons, I will abandon or at least save that approach for now. I am still pondering this venue as well as some other approaches.

 

In the meantime, I might post some stuff in a just as disorderly way as before, starting with this trifle.

 

RL is really taking its toll (or rather time) right now, but I have also had another reason for scant posting lately; I am presently reading ‘The Lord of the Rings. A Reader´s Companion’ by Hammond & Scull, and I really must join the chorus of praise for this work!

 

On the paragraph on ann-thennath  (which term occurs in LotR after Strider had told the tale of Tinúviel), the authors quotes comments in turn made Patrick Wynne and Carl F. Hostetter in ‘Tolkien´s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth” (2000).

 

There they (Wynne & Hostetter) say that Aragorn´s song is but one of several English poems in LotR portrayed as translations from Elvish originals into Westron, the Common Speech for which there is no evidence that Tolkien ever actually wrote any of the original Elvish poems said to underlie these “translated” versions, but such references provide an additional layer of depth to the sub-created world, implying that Middle-earth was home to a vast body of authentic Elvish verse of which we are shown only tantalizing glimpses.

 

Wynne & Hostetter assumes that the ‘original’ poem was in Sindarin, since the verse mode of ann-thennath is Sindarin, and the literal translation of that term appears to be ‘long-shorts’ (describing the organization of the poems).

 

I wanted to connect this alleged vast body of authentic Elvish verse to our prior discussions on this thread, and it gives me just that sense of wonder on the achievements of the Master. I have never myself given the issue much thought – that actually there was no original in Elvish – because of the amazing credibility of the purported mythology. Of course it ‘exists’, if only Tolkien had applied time to write it down – it is metaphorically like that virtual matter which is witnessed in our world only in glimpses but really exists all the time in another dimension. (And those cunning in physics might criticize my wording, but I hope you get my drift.) A master feat of Secondary Belief!

Kirinki54 28/May/2006 at 01:01 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

I wonder if Aldo is around? Long time no e…

 

I have been thinking of my planned continuance:

 

I have been meaning – to give this thread some resemblance of direction – to delve a bit into the sources of the knowledge of the past (as depicted in LotR): important works and their authors, and the ways and vehicles for conveying it through the ages.

 

How to go about it? Originally I thought the starting point ought to be the writers themselves, perhaps beginning with the famous Rúmil. What works are credited to him; what did they specifically contain; what of the ancient lore displayed in LotR can be discerned to emanate from him? But for several reasons, I will abandon or at least save that approach for now. I am still pondering this venue as well as some other approaches.

 

In the meantime, I might post some stuff in a just as disorderly way as before, starting with this trifle.

 

RL is really taking its toll (or rather time) right now, but I have also had another reason for scant posting lately; I am presently reading ‘The Lord of the Rings. A Reader´s Companion’ by Hammond & Scull, and I really must join the chorus of praise for this work!

 

On the paragraph on ann-thennath  (which term occurs in LotR after Strider had told the tale of Tinúviel), the authors quotes comments in turn made Patrick Wynne and Carl F. Hostetter in ‘Tolkien´s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth” (2000).

 

There they (Wynne & Hostetter) say that Aragorn´s song is but one of several English poems in LotR portrayed as translations from Elvish originals into Westron, the Common Speech for which there is no evidence that Tolkien ever actually wrote any of the original Elvish poems said to underlie these “translated” versions, but such references provide an additional layer of depth to the sub-created world, implying that Middle-earth was home to a vast body of authentic Elvish verse of which we are shown only tantalizing glimpses.

 

Wynne & Hostetter assumes that the ‘original’ poem was in Sindarin, since the verse mode of ann-thennath is Sindarin, and the literal translation of that term appears to be ‘long-shorts’ (describing the organization of the poems).

 

I wanted to connect this alleged vast body of authentic Elvish verse to our prior discussions on this thread, and it gives me just that sense of wonder on the achievements of the Master. I have never myself given the issue much thought – that actually there was no original in Elvish – because of the amazing credibility of the purported mythology. Of course it ‘exists’, if only Tolkien had applied time to write it down – it is metaphorically like that virtual matter which is witnessed in our world only in glimpses but really exists all the time in another dimension. (And those cunning in physics might criticize my wording, but I hope you get my drift.) A master feat of Secondary Belief!

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/May/2006 at 09:10 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear friend, I’m still around ... but this is it - a r o u n d , and not i n.
These days the wonderful Plaza has become to me like a Valinor to a Numenorean (as I am one ) - I wish to be there, but cannot.
RL issues have completely occupied my life and my mind. And for some time all I can do is just read what others have posted ... whenever I can.

I am so sorry that I am temprorarily unable to be your partner in this discussion, especially now that you have brought in such an intriguing issue!
But ... I promise, as soon as this wave passes, I’ll be back.
Why don’t you meanwhile keep on writing your observations on this issue?

Oh, I have to run now!
Lady d`Ecthelion 28/May/2006 at 09:10 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear friend, I’m still around ... but this is it - a r o u n d , and not i n.
These days the wonderful Plaza has become to me like a Valinor to a Numenorean (as I am one ) - I wish to be there, but cannot.
RL issues have completely occupied my life and my mind. And for some time all I can do is just read what others have posted ... whenever I can.

I am so sorry that I am temprorarily unable to be your partner in this discussion, especially now that you have brought in such an intriguing issue!
But ... I promise, as soon as this wave passes, I’ll be back.
Why don’t you meanwhile keep on writing your observations on this issue?

Oh, I have to run now!
halfir 05/Jun/2006 at 02:12 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

 

Kirinki 54: Further to your quote from Wynne and Hostetter regarding the fact that

 

there is no evidence that Tolkien ever actually wrote any of the original Elvish poems said to underlie these “translated” versions, but such references provide an additional layer of depth to the sub-created world, implying that Middle-earth was home to a vast body of authentic Elvish verse of which we are shown only tantalizing glimpses.

 

 In a post in Books- Who Made  the Ring Verse?  in commenting on the question geordie observed:

 

Contrary to popular belief, he never made any complete languages. He made up a small vocabulary in his two Elvish languages; and provided linguistic rules, but that’s all. And he never got past a few words in Dwarvish, nor Black Speech. He only did what he needed to, for the story.

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=201757&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=1

 

I must admit - not being an expert in the created languages of Tolkien - that I had a different image of the corpus of languages that he did invent,  and would be interested in your observations.

 

 

halfir 05/Jun/2006 at 02:12 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

 

Kirinki 54: Further to your quote from Wynne and Hostetter regarding the fact that

 

there is no evidence that Tolkien ever actually wrote any of the original Elvish poems said to underlie these “translated” versions, but such references provide an additional layer of depth to the sub-created world, implying that Middle-earth was home to a vast body of authentic Elvish verse of which we are shown only tantalizing glimpses.

 

 In a post in Books- Who Made  the Ring Verse?  in commenting on the question geordie observed:

 

Contrary to popular belief, he never made any complete languages. He made up a small vocabulary in his two Elvish languages; and provided linguistic rules, but that’s all. And he never got past a few words in Dwarvish, nor Black Speech. He only did what he needed to, for the story.

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=201757&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=1

 

I must admit - not being an expert in the created languages of Tolkien - that I had a different image of the corpus of languages that he did invent,  and would be interested in your observations.

 

 

Galin 05/Jun/2006 at 09:25 AM
New Soul Points: 3638 Posts: 1945 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
I’ll note Tolkien’s general comments about Quenya and Sindarin (from a letter), mentioned within the following by Patrick Wynne (the subject of which is really Qenya and Goldogrin)... 

’Moreover, both Qenya and Goldogrin appear to have achieved a high degree of grammatical sophistication and organization. In A Secret Vice Tolkien states that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry; and as Carl Hostetter and I note in our essay Three Elvish Verse Modes in Tolkien’s Legendarium, by this criterion the Qenya of the Lost Tales was undoubtedly a success, for as early as 1915–16 Qenya had been elaborated and polished to the point where Tolkien could use it to write Narqelion, a twenty-line meditation on Autumn in rhyming verse (p. 113). Tolkien echoes the same sentiment in his 1967 letter to Mr. Rang, in which he says, It should be obvious that if it is possible to compose fragments of verse in Quenya and Sindarin, those languages (and their relations one to another) must have reached a fairly high degree of organization — though of course, far from completeness, either in vocabulary, or in idiom (Letters, p. 380). The detailed charts of Qenya verb forms tucked inside the front cover of the Qenya Lexicon (and now published in Parma 14) bear further witness to the grammatical development achieved by the early language.’ Patrick H. Wynne 4 April 2004 ’Are Goldogrin and Qenya ’primitive’? (under ’Editorials’ for Tengwestië)

At present not all of Tolkien’s writings about his ’hobby’ have been published of course, but indeed we should not forget the long ’history’ (exterior) behind the Quenya and Sindarin found in The Lord of the Rings and later ’unpublished’ work.

http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/editorials/20040404.phtml

Galin 05/Jun/2006 at 09:25 AM
New Soul Points: 3638 Posts: 1945 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
I’ll note Tolkien’s general comments about Quenya and Sindarin (from a letter), mentioned within the following by Patrick Wynne (the subject of which is really Qenya and Goldogrin)... 

’Moreover, both Qenya and Goldogrin appear to have achieved a high degree of grammatical sophistication and organization. In A Secret Vice Tolkien states that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry; and as Carl Hostetter and I note in our essay Three Elvish Verse Modes in Tolkien’s Legendarium, by this criterion the Qenya of the Lost Tales was undoubtedly a success, for as early as 1915–16 Qenya had been elaborated and polished to the point where Tolkien could use it to write Narqelion, a twenty-line meditation on Autumn in rhyming verse (p. 113). Tolkien echoes the same sentiment in his 1967 letter to Mr. Rang, in which he says, It should be obvious that if it is possible to compose fragments of verse in Quenya and Sindarin, those languages (and their relations one to another) must have reached a fairly high degree of organization — though of course, far from completeness, either in vocabulary, or in idiom (Letters, p. 380). The detailed charts of Qenya verb forms tucked inside the front cover of the Qenya Lexicon (and now published in Parma 14) bear further witness to the grammatical development achieved by the early language.’ Patrick H. Wynne 4 April 2004 ’Are Goldogrin and Qenya ’primitive’? (under ’Editorials’ for Tengwestië)

At present not all of Tolkien’s writings about his ’hobby’ have been published of course, but indeed we should not forget the long ’history’ (exterior) behind the Quenya and Sindarin found in The Lord of the Rings and later ’unpublished’ work.

http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/editorials/20040404.phtml

Kirinki54 05/Jun/2006 at 02:15 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Thanks for directing me to that thread, Halfir (I have only, due to lack of time, read through it but not participated). I also note there the interesting post by Óin concerning ‘The Rhymes of Lore’ that apparently also was recorded in Imladris.

 

We know that Elrond was considered a lore-master, and yet he is seldom mentioned among the famous chroniclers or Arda. That is rather peculiar by itself, but might be due to the fact that no works in particular are attributed to him (that is, no titles per se are mentioned). But we do know that he was a writer himself, and so he might well have not only collected ‘The Rhymes of Lore’ but perhaps also have commented and expanded on them.

 

In LotR (The Council of Elrond), we learn about some of the content that he was certain to have written about:

 

Then through all the years that followed he traced the Ring; but since that history is elsewhere recounted, even as Elrond himself set it down in his books of lore, it is not here recalled. For it is a long tale, full of deeds great and terrible, and briefly though Elrond spoke, the sun rode up the sky, and the morning was passing ere he ceased. (my bold)

 

Hammond & Scull (in ‘The Lord of the Rings. A Reader´s Companion’) reminds us that while much of the corpus of Ring lore was developed while writing the CE chapter, it grew to such volume that Tolkien first intended it to appear instead in the Appendices. But that was not to be, as the Appendices also became too large, and finally much of this part of the mythology was published in the Silmarillion, in the essay ‘Of the Rings of power and the Third Age’. Other parts (or related material) also occurred in ‘History of Galadriel and Celeborn’ in ‘Unfinished Tales’.

 

As I recall – though I might be wrong - there are no references in either of these published texts to alleged sources in the works of Elrond, and if so, it seems that Tolkien did not consider that option. Given the alleged history of the mythology finding its way into The Red Book of Westmarch, that would otherwise seem to be a logical alternative for much of the corpus concerning these matters.

Kirinki54 05/Jun/2006 at 02:15 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Thanks for directing me to that thread, Halfir (I have only, due to lack of time, read through it but not participated). I also note there the interesting post by Óin concerning ‘The Rhymes of Lore’ that apparently also was recorded in Imladris.

 

We know that Elrond was considered a lore-master, and yet he is seldom mentioned among the famous chroniclers or Arda. That is rather peculiar by itself, but might be due to the fact that no works in particular are attributed to him (that is, no titles per se are mentioned). But we do know that he was a writer himself, and so he might well have not only collected ‘The Rhymes of Lore’ but perhaps also have commented and expanded on them.

 

In LotR (The Council of Elrond), we learn about some of the content that he was certain to have written about:

 

Then through all the years that followed he traced the Ring; but since that history is elsewhere recounted, even as Elrond himself set it down in his books of lore, it is not here recalled. For it is a long tale, full of deeds great and terrible, and briefly though Elrond spoke, the sun rode up the sky, and the morning was passing ere he ceased. (my bold)

 

Hammond & Scull (in ‘The Lord of the Rings. A Reader´s Companion’) reminds us that while much of the corpus of Ring lore was developed while writing the CE chapter, it grew to such volume that Tolkien first intended it to appear instead in the Appendices. But that was not to be, as the Appendices also became too large, and finally much of this part of the mythology was published in the Silmarillion, in the essay ‘Of the Rings of power and the Third Age’. Other parts (or related material) also occurred in ‘History of Galadriel and Celeborn’ in ‘Unfinished Tales’.

 

As I recall – though I might be wrong - there are no references in either of these published texts to alleged sources in the works of Elrond, and if so, it seems that Tolkien did not consider that option. Given the alleged history of the mythology finding its way into The Red Book of Westmarch, that would otherwise seem to be a logical alternative for much of the corpus concerning these matters.

Kirinki54 18/Jun/2006 at 02:28 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

When discussing not chroniclers per se, but Lore-masters in a more general sense, we might well include someone who is often overlooked in this capacity though his contributions were considerable. The reason for this is of course his actions in other areas which makes us view him more in light of a troublemaker and the proverbial ‘mad scientist’. You guessed right: Fëanor.

 

Fëanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame. (The Sil)

 

Fëanor was the greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore, but also the proudest and most selfwilled. (Appendices)

 

I will not elaborate upon Fëanor´s career as an inventor in craft; that and its consequences are well known. But the discoveries of language and lore also came to be important additions to the wisdom of the Eldar, and other peoples.

 

He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand. In his youth, bettering the work of Rúmil, he devised those letters which bear his name, and which the Eldar used ever after; (The Sil)

 

The oldest Eldarin letters, the Tengwar of Rúmil, were not used in Middle-earth. The later letters, the Tengwar of Fëanor, were largely a new invention, though they owed something to the letters of Rúmil. They were brought to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor, and so became known to the Edain and Númenoreans. (Appendices)

 

This was the situation when Fëanor, early in his career, turned his attention to matters of language and writing. It is said that he soon advanced far beyond the loremasters of his time. He made collections of all the available lore, oral and written, concerning Quenya in earlier days, and studied in detail its relations with Telerin. He is said also, being then in his youth before the days of his discontent, to have learned "more than any other of the Eldar in Arda" of the language of the Valar. This he got mostly from Aule (Note 2), and so enlarged his view by experience of a tongue wholly different in sounds and structure from his native language. But Fëanor soon turned to other matters; and in any case his primary interest was in writing, in its practical and its decorative aspects rather than as an accurate phonetic transcription. Not that he was without interest in phonetic analysis. He was indeed superior in this department to any of his predecessors; and the alphabet, or alphabetic system, that he devised provided the means of expression for many more individual sounds than those that actually existed in Quenya or Telerin. (Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D)

But Tolkien also used Fëanor to demonstrate other sides of language, like the role it could play in political struggle and the historical consequences thereof.

 

But the chief of the loremasters was Fëanor, and he attacked "s for þ" in intemperate and scornful language, so that the linguistic point became caught up in the strife between the sons of Finwë. (Etymological Notes on the Ósanwe-kenta)

 

One of the more fascinating aspects of the works of Fëanor (and indeed one that is of utmost importance of the preservation of Lore) was the creation of Lambengolmor.

 

Though Feanor after the days of his first youth took no more active  part in linguistic lore and enquiry, he is credited by tradition with the foundation of a school of Lambengolmor or ’Loremasters of Tongues’ to carry on this work. This continued in existence among the Noldor, even through the rigours and disasters of the Flight from Aman and the Wars in Beleriand, and it survived indeed to return to Eressea.                     

Of the School the most eminent member after the founder was, or still is, Pengolodh, an Elf of mixed Sindarin and Noldorin ancestry, born in Nevrast, who lived in Gondolin from its foundation. (WJ: Quendi and Eldar)

 

To me this side of Fëanor goes to prove the complexity that Tolkien was able to give his characters. Even someone who by his actions proved so disastrous to his people – to the world – could also create something that worked in the other direction. The preservation of the Light of the Trees is such an obvious case that we often forget other contributions of Fëanor: his love for lore and language which served to preserve other treasures of a more cultural nature.

 

I end this post lamenting the usual RL obstacles; time & energy, travel, lack of net access, etc for not posting much lately – but the reasons are unfortunately true. May I humbly suggest that Aldoriana – who may not have started this thread, but is equally responsible for any possible merits therein – be made co-moderator? If she will accept, that is. That would secure a firm grip of the Collegium. Hoping for the best!

Kirinki54 18/Jun/2006 at 02:28 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

When discussing not chroniclers per se, but Lore-masters in a more general sense, we might well include someone who is often overlooked in this capacity though his contributions were considerable. The reason for this is of course his actions in other areas which makes us view him more in light of a troublemaker and the proverbial ‘mad scientist’. You guessed right: Fëanor.

 

Fëanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame. (The Sil)

 

Fëanor was the greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore, but also the proudest and most selfwilled. (Appendices)

 

I will not elaborate upon Fëanor´s career as an inventor in craft; that and its consequences are well known. But the discoveries of language and lore also came to be important additions to the wisdom of the Eldar, and other peoples.

 

He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand. In his youth, bettering the work of Rúmil, he devised those letters which bear his name, and which the Eldar used ever after; (The Sil)

 

The oldest Eldarin letters, the Tengwar of Rúmil, were not used in Middle-earth. The later letters, the Tengwar of Fëanor, were largely a new invention, though they owed something to the letters of Rúmil. They were brought to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor, and so became known to the Edain and Númenoreans. (Appendices)

 

This was the situation when Fëanor, early in his career, turned his attention to matters of language and writing. It is said that he soon advanced far beyond the loremasters of his time. He made collections of all the available lore, oral and written, concerning Quenya in earlier days, and studied in detail its relations with Telerin. He is said also, being then in his youth before the days of his discontent, to have learned "more than any other of the Eldar in Arda" of the language of the Valar. This he got mostly from Aule (Note 2), and so enlarged his view by experience of a tongue wholly different in sounds and structure from his native language. But Fëanor soon turned to other matters; and in any case his primary interest was in writing, in its practical and its decorative aspects rather than as an accurate phonetic transcription. Not that he was without interest in phonetic analysis. He was indeed superior in this department to any of his predecessors; and the alphabet, or alphabetic system, that he devised provided the means of expression for many more individual sounds than those that actually existed in Quenya or Telerin. (Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D)

But Tolkien also used Fëanor to demonstrate other sides of language, like the role it could play in political struggle and the historical consequences thereof.

 

But the chief of the loremasters was Fëanor, and he attacked "s for þ" in intemperate and scornful language, so that the linguistic point became caught up in the strife between the sons of Finwë. (Etymological Notes on the Ósanwe-kenta)

 

One of the more fascinating aspects of the works of Fëanor (and indeed one that is of utmost importance of the preservation of Lore) was the creation of Lambengolmor.

 

Though Feanor after the days of his first youth took no more active  part in linguistic lore and enquiry, he is credited by tradition with the foundation of a school of Lambengolmor or ’Loremasters of Tongues’ to carry on this work. This continued in existence among the Noldor, even through the rigours and disasters of the Flight from Aman and the Wars in Beleriand, and it survived indeed to return to Eressea.                     

Of the School the most eminent member after the founder was, or still is, Pengolodh, an Elf of mixed Sindarin and Noldorin ancestry, born in Nevrast, who lived in Gondolin from its foundation. (WJ: Quendi and Eldar)

 

To me this side of Fëanor goes to prove the complexity that Tolkien was able to give his characters. Even someone who by his actions proved so disastrous to his people – to the world – could also create something that worked in the other direction. The preservation of the Light of the Trees is such an obvious case that we often forget other contributions of Fëanor: his love for lore and language which served to preserve other treasures of a more cultural nature.

 

I end this post lamenting the usual RL obstacles; time & energy, travel, lack of net access, etc for not posting much lately – but the reasons are unfortunately true. May I humbly suggest that Aldoriana – who may not have started this thread, but is equally responsible for any possible merits therein – be made co-moderator? If she will accept, that is. That would secure a firm grip of the Collegium. Hoping for the best!

Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Jun/2006 at 10:20 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Ah! Am I happy to see you’re back ... even though you stopped-by for just a while.
But what a ’stop-by’ you’ve made!

Look, there’s no actually need in any "titles" for me to Take care of this thread.
I only know, that when I have something really meaningful (like the above post of yours! ) to say, I shall "stop-by" and say it.
And meanwhile, I shall take care of it.

Now ... Fëanor.
What you have summed up and shared here, has indeed, or should have, enough strength as to finally "erase" the false image of the "Devil of Fëanor", which image I’ve always regretted to see deeply embedded into the minds of the larger part of Tolkien readers. Because of the high tension and high emotion of the events related to the Flight of the Noldor from Aman, Fëanor’s name is wrongly connected only with the "ugly face" of war, and what had been achieved by his brilliant mind before those events, seems to not be taken readily into consideration.
Fëanor I have always found to be one of the few characters Tolkien created with deep complexity of the personality. One reads about him, and one cannot miss the enormous love Tolkien worked on this character with. This is perhaps why I have always tried to figure out why the character of Fëanor had to be so disastrously cut off the story.
What I find also interesting is that Tolkien seems to have this tendency - when creating a truly deep and complex character, lore (and languages included therein), are not missed as important achievements of this character.
In fact, thinking about it, his best and most memorable characters seem to be built following a sort of a "matrix" - ’a Loremaster and a Warrior’.

Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Jun/2006 at 10:20 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Ah! Am I happy to see you’re back ... even though you stopped-by for just a while.
But what a ’stop-by’ you’ve made!

Look, there’s no actually need in any "titles" for me to Take care of this thread.
I only know, that when I have something really meaningful (like the above post of yours! ) to say, I shall "stop-by" and say it.
And meanwhile, I shall take care of it.

Now ... Fëanor.
What you have summed up and shared here, has indeed, or should have, enough strength as to finally "erase" the false image of the "Devil of Fëanor", which image I’ve always regretted to see deeply embedded into the minds of the larger part of Tolkien readers. Because of the high tension and high emotion of the events related to the Flight of the Noldor from Aman, Fëanor’s name is wrongly connected only with the "ugly face" of war, and what had been achieved by his brilliant mind before those events, seems to not be taken readily into consideration.
Fëanor I have always found to be one of the few characters Tolkien created with deep complexity of the personality. One reads about him, and one cannot miss the enormous love Tolkien worked on this character with. This is perhaps why I have always tried to figure out why the character of Fëanor had to be so disastrously cut off the story.
What I find also interesting is that Tolkien seems to have this tendency - when creating a truly deep and complex character, lore (and languages included therein), are not missed as important achievements of this character.
In fact, thinking about it, his best and most memorable characters seem to be built following a sort of a "matrix" - ’a Loremaster and a Warrior’.

Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Jun/2006 at 11:07 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Something to throw in and offer for pondering on

In his Letter 131, speaking about Elves, Master T. mentions something, that I thought might be brought in here.

"Behind my stories is now a nexus of languages (mostly only structurally sketched). But to those creatures which in English I call misleadingly Elves are assigned two related languages more nearly completed, whose history is written, and whose forms (representing two different sides of my own linguistic taste) are deduced scientifically from a common origin."

Have I understood him correctly, that the English word "Elves" he finds not the very right one to name these mythical creatures?
If so, then why?
Didn’t he, after all, follow the "pattern" of the ancient Norse myths when creating his fantasy worlds? I think he has. But in those myths, preceeding his own, Elves were present.
Then the question arises: What’s the original word used in the Norse myths for these creatures? For this word=name then was translated into English by the English word "Elves".
I feel helpless here, for I am not well acquainted with the origin and etymology of the language in which the original Norse myths were once upon a time told, hence I cannot know what word was used to name those creatures that lived in the "upper" world, almost next to the world of the Gods.

However, digging for some infor on the issue, I again come back to the origin of this particular word, and it is obvious from many sources that even in Old Norse, the word used to name these creatures is still the same.
For convenience, I’ll quote from the

Wikipedia :

"Álfar (singular: álfr) is the Old Norse word for elves. Álfar figure in Norse mythology. Snorri Sturluson in the Younger Edda differentiate between ljósálfar (light-elves) and dökkálfar (dark-elves). The light-elves live in Álfheimr.
The Eddas tend to use "Álfar" and "Vanir" interchangeably."


So then, how to understand Master T.’s reluctancy in calling his elves "elves"?

Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Jun/2006 at 11:07 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Something to throw in and offer for pondering on

In his Letter 131, speaking about Elves, Master T. mentions something, that I thought might be brought in here.

"Behind my stories is now a nexus of languages (mostly only structurally sketched). But to those creatures which in English I call misleadingly Elves are assigned two related languages more nearly completed, whose history is written, and whose forms (representing two different sides of my own linguistic taste) are deduced scientifically from a common origin."

Have I understood him correctly, that the English word "Elves" he finds not the very right one to name these mythical creatures?
If so, then why?
Didn’t he, after all, follow the "pattern" of the ancient Norse myths when creating his fantasy worlds? I think he has. But in those myths, preceeding his own, Elves were present.
Then the question arises: What’s the original word used in the Norse myths for these creatures? For this word=name then was translated into English by the English word "Elves".
I feel helpless here, for I am not well acquainted with the origin and etymology of the language in which the original Norse myths were once upon a time told, hence I cannot know what word was used to name those creatures that lived in the "upper" world, almost next to the world of the Gods.

However, digging for some infor on the issue, I again come back to the origin of this particular word, and it is obvious from many sources that even in Old Norse, the word used to name these creatures is still the same.
For convenience, I’ll quote from the

Wikipedia :

"Álfar (singular: álfr) is the Old Norse word for elves. Álfar figure in Norse mythology. Snorri Sturluson in the Younger Edda differentiate between ljósálfar (light-elves) and dökkálfar (dark-elves). The light-elves live in Álfheimr.
The Eddas tend to use "Álfar" and "Vanir" interchangeably."


So then, how to understand Master T.’s reluctancy in calling his elves "elves"?

Aelindis 08/Jul/2006 at 12:10 PM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana: Although I may scan a couple of  the countless threads of the Plaza Forums every now and then, I usually confine myself, for various reasons, to posting in the Languages Forum only. But in this case an exception seems appropriate: 

You were asking, with respect to Letter 131 ("those creatures which in English I call misleadingly Elves* "):

> Have I understood him correctly, that the English word "Elves" he finds not the very right one to name these mythical creatures? If so, then why?

My suggestion would be to read the footnote to this very quote, indicated by an asterisk, it says:
" * Intending the word to be understood in its ancient meanings, which continued as late as Spenser - a murrain on Will Shakespeare and his damned cobwebs.
"

Cf. also Letter 151:
"I now deeply regret having used Elves, though this is a word in ancestry and original meaning suitable enough. But the disastrous debasement of this word, in which Shakespeare played an unforgiveable part, has really overloaded it with regrettable tones, which are too much to overcome."

If you are aware of the conception of Shakespeare’s Elfs, you will probably get the idea.

And, last but not least, you may want to read Appendix F to LotR:
"This old word was indeed the only one available, and was once fitted to apply to such memories of this people as Men preserved, or to the making of Men’s minds not wholly dissimilar. But it has been diminished, and to many it may now suggest fancies either pretty or silly, as unlike to the Quendi of old as are butterflies to the falcon - not that any of the Quendi ever possessed wings of the body, as unnatural to them as to Men." 

( Quendi  means "Elves", lit. "the speakers" in Quenya.)

Hopefully, these pointers will enable you to understand Letter 131.


 

Aelindis 08/Jul/2006 at 12:10 PM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana: Although I may scan a couple of  the countless threads of the Plaza Forums every now and then, I usually confine myself, for various reasons, to posting in the Languages Forum only. But in this case an exception seems appropriate: 

You were asking, with respect to Letter 131 ("those creatures which in English I call misleadingly Elves* "):

> Have I understood him correctly, that the English word "Elves" he finds not the very right one to name these mythical creatures? If so, then why?

My suggestion would be to read the footnote to this very quote, indicated by an asterisk, it says:
" * Intending the word to be understood in its ancient meanings, which continued as late as Spenser - a murrain on Will Shakespeare and his damned cobwebs.
"

Cf. also Letter 151:
"I now deeply regret having used Elves, though this is a word in ancestry and original meaning suitable enough. But the disastrous debasement of this word, in which Shakespeare played an unforgiveable part, has really overloaded it with regrettable tones, which are too much to overcome."

If you are aware of the conception of Shakespeare’s Elfs, you will probably get the idea.

And, last but not least, you may want to read Appendix F to LotR:
"This old word was indeed the only one available, and was once fitted to apply to such memories of this people as Men preserved, or to the making of Men’s minds not wholly dissimilar. But it has been diminished, and to many it may now suggest fancies either pretty or silly, as unlike to the Quendi of old as are butterflies to the falcon - not that any of the Quendi ever possessed wings of the body, as unnatural to them as to Men." 

( Quendi  means "Elves", lit. "the speakers" in Quenya.)

Hopefully, these pointers will enable you to understand Letter 131.


 

Kirinki54 08/Jul/2006 at 02:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

It would indeed seem that the treatment of Elves in the plays by William Shakespeare is an important key to the expressed dislike of him by Tolkien. But as Tom Shippey commented:

 

Tolkien said that he ‘disliked’ Shakespeare ‘cordially’, but he used exactly the same phrase of allegory too, where it concealed an opinion of some subtlety. /…/ It is thus clear that whatever he said about Shakespear´s plays, Tolkien read some of them with keen attention: most of all, Macbeth. (The Road to Middle-earth)

 

There seems then to be a subtle difference between ‘cordial’ as an emotional reason and at least an intellectual/analytical interest in his language and literary style. Another reason for dislike was that Tolkien felt that Shakespeare had missed several opportunities to focus on mythological elements of Anglo-Saxon origin that – to the mind of Tolkien – might have proved far more fertile soil for an English mythology.

Kirinki54 08/Jul/2006 at 02:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

It would indeed seem that the treatment of Elves in the plays by William Shakespeare is an important key to the expressed dislike of him by Tolkien. But as Tom Shippey commented:

 

Tolkien said that he ‘disliked’ Shakespeare ‘cordially’, but he used exactly the same phrase of allegory too, where it concealed an opinion of some subtlety. /…/ It is thus clear that whatever he said about Shakespear´s plays, Tolkien read some of them with keen attention: most of all, Macbeth. (The Road to Middle-earth)

 

There seems then to be a subtle difference between ‘cordial’ as an emotional reason and at least an intellectual/analytical interest in his language and literary style. Another reason for dislike was that Tolkien felt that Shakespeare had missed several opportunities to focus on mythological elements of Anglo-Saxon origin that – to the mind of Tolkien – might have proved far more fertile soil for an English mythology.

Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Jul/2006 at 12:32 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, I am SOOOO glad to see you around!

Aelindis, I am also very much pleased to meet you here. This is a thread dedicated to linguistics, so the more linguists, or people interested in it meet here, the better! I shall be happy to have you here, as well as more of your firneds from the Languages Guild!

Now... I happen to know well about the points that you were so kind to draw my attention to. In fact by some coincidence, in another AL thread - "On Fairy-Stories" we have come to a point of discussing precisely the same issue - Tolkien Elves v.s. Shakespearean (etc.) Elves - which of these were "traditional" and "original", and what, in fact, were the "traditional" and "original" Elves (I unfortunately lack enough knowledge about those ’traditional’ and ’original’ Elves .... What can |I do?! I come from lands where other creatures populate the "Perilous Realm" ).

Anyway, I see a slight difference in both these discussions, even though they both have the same subject and are very closely connected.
Here, I am more interested to find out, what Master Tolkien did not like in the word ’Elf/Elves’ itself.
I understand well that he disagreed almost outrageously with the alterations caused to the original and traditional Elves - the diminishing etc.
But the alterations were made upon the ’original’ Elves, right?
And those ’original’ Elves existed in the Old Norse mythology, and they were named there Álfar (singular: álfr). So, if Master T. wished to "correct" the "injustice" made to these original Elves, why dislike their original name, too?

All right, he gave these creatures several names, within the languages he invented them for.

Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices; for as yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang.

Oromë loved the Quendi, and named them in their own tongue Eldar, the people of the stars; but that name was after borne only by those who followed him upon the westward road.

etc.

So, there come my thoughts, which I can not separate from or not refer to the opinion of Captain Bingo in the a.m. mentioned OFS - thread, namely that Tolkien’s Elves were his original creations, having nothing to do with the ’original’ and/or ’traditional’ Elves.
I then think ... if what Captain Bingo says is true, then I can understand why Master Tolkien showed reluctance in using the Norse/Germanic/AS variant of the name of the ’original/traditional’ Elves.
Through developing his original "Elvish" languages to be spoken by his original Elves, he obviously also wanted to produce his original name(s) for these creatures. Right?
Hence - the names such as the quoted above.
And therefore, the name "Elf/Elves" had to appear because the whole story was told in English, therefore, English-language words had to be used translating from the "original" languages of the Quendi-people, ’Elves’ being just one of these translations.

Do you think I’m right?
Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Jul/2006 at 12:32 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Kirinki, I am SOOOO glad to see you around!

Aelindis, I am also very much pleased to meet you here. This is a thread dedicated to linguistics, so the more linguists, or people interested in it meet here, the better! I shall be happy to have you here, as well as more of your firneds from the Languages Guild!

Now... I happen to know well about the points that you were so kind to draw my attention to. In fact by some coincidence, in another AL thread - "On Fairy-Stories" we have come to a point of discussing precisely the same issue - Tolkien Elves v.s. Shakespearean (etc.) Elves - which of these were "traditional" and "original", and what, in fact, were the "traditional" and "original" Elves (I unfortunately lack enough knowledge about those ’traditional’ and ’original’ Elves .... What can |I do?! I come from lands where other creatures populate the "Perilous Realm" ).

Anyway, I see a slight difference in both these discussions, even though they both have the same subject and are very closely connected.
Here, I am more interested to find out, what Master Tolkien did not like in the word ’Elf/Elves’ itself.
I understand well that he disagreed almost outrageously with the alterations caused to the original and traditional Elves - the diminishing etc.
But the alterations were made upon the ’original’ Elves, right?
And those ’original’ Elves existed in the Old Norse mythology, and they were named there Álfar (singular: álfr). So, if Master T. wished to "correct" the "injustice" made to these original Elves, why dislike their original name, too?

All right, he gave these creatures several names, within the languages he invented them for.

Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices; for as yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang.

Oromë loved the Quendi, and named them in their own tongue Eldar, the people of the stars; but that name was after borne only by those who followed him upon the westward road.

etc.

So, there come my thoughts, which I can not separate from or not refer to the opinion of Captain Bingo in the a.m. mentioned OFS - thread, namely that Tolkien’s Elves were his original creations, having nothing to do with the ’original’ and/or ’traditional’ Elves.
I then think ... if what Captain Bingo says is true, then I can understand why Master Tolkien showed reluctance in using the Norse/Germanic/AS variant of the name of the ’original/traditional’ Elves.
Through developing his original "Elvish" languages to be spoken by his original Elves, he obviously also wanted to produce his original name(s) for these creatures. Right?
Hence - the names such as the quoted above.
And therefore, the name "Elf/Elves" had to appear because the whole story was told in English, therefore, English-language words had to be used translating from the "original" languages of the Quendi-people, ’Elves’ being just one of these translations.

Do you think I’m right?
Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 12:46 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Hi mellon Aldo, and others! I do pop in from time to time, but some current tantalizing threads (like Authorial Intent and others like the current development of Bombadil Onion) I have no time to participate. Alas!

Aldo wrote:

 

So, there come my thoughts, which I can not separate from or not refer to the opinion of Captain Bingo in the a.m. mentioned OFS - thread, namely that Tolkien’s Elves were his original creations, having nothing to do with the ’original’ and/or ’traditional’ Elves.

 

Credit where credit is due! And of course debates will be greater if we can utilize valid opinions and arguments from other posters. I think it is clear that Tolkien found himself forced by linguistic reasons to used the much abused term Elves, though this is a mere representation of something different.


I then think ... if what Captain Bingo says is true, then I can understand why Master Tolkien showed reluctance in using the Norse/Germanic/AS variant of the name of the ’original/traditional’ Elves.
Through developing his original "Elvish" languages to be spoken by his original Elves, he obviously also wanted to produce his original name(s) for these creatures. Right?
Hence - the names such as the quoted above.
And therefore, the name "Elf/Elves" had to appear because the whole story was told in English, therefore, English-language words had to be used translating from the "original" languages of the Quendi-people, ’Elves’ being just one of these translations.

Do you think I’m right?

 

In short: yes. But I also think (and I know Tolkien denied this as “accidental”!  ) that he liked the similarity of sound between Elves and some of his ‘El-phrases’ in those invented languages.

 

Galin quoted:

’Moreover, both Qenya and Goldogrin appear to have achieved a high degree of grammatical sophistication and organization. In A Secret Vice Tolkien states that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry; and as Carl Hostetter and I note in our essay Three Elvish Verse Modes in Tolkien’s Legendarium, by this criterion the Qenya of the Lost Tales was undoubtedly a success, for as early as 1915–16 Qenya had been elaborated and polished to the point where Tolkien could use it to write Narqelion, a twenty-line meditation on Autumn in rhyming verse (p. 113). Tolkien echoes the same sentiment in his 1967 letter to Mr. Rang, in which he says, It should be obvious that if it is possible to compose fragments of verse in Quenya and Sindarin, those languages (and their relations one to another) must have reached a fairly high degree of organization — though of course, far from completeness, either in vocabulary, or in idiom (Letters, p. 380). The detailed charts of Qenya verb forms tucked inside the front cover of the Qenya Lexicon (and now published in Parma 14) bear further witness to the grammatical development achieved by the early language.’ Patrick H. Wynne 4 April 2004 ’Are Goldogrin and Qenya ’primitive’? (under ’Editorials’ for Tengwestië)

I have been pondering this statement by Tolkien that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry and I must say I find it both very much Tolkien and mystifying (the two often go together!) Am I right in thinking that this is because of the high skill of form needed (reflected in effects of sound when reading aloud)? This reminds me of ‘Song of Eärendil’, which evidently uses five stylistic devices: rhyme, internal half-rhyme, alliteration, alliterative assonance and variations of syntax. Amazing! Please tell more if you can of this chief criterion, Galin!

 

Let me finish with a small reference to our prior A-S discussions, Aldo; a small gem never discovered (I presume) unless pointed out by another philologist (like Shippey). It seems that all the names of Rohirric rulers - from Théoden to most of his ancestors lying in the grave mounds under simbelmynë - are in fact old Anglo-Saxon words for “prince”, “lord”, etc. The fun Tolkien had! And some people say that the tale is the tale, plain and simple…

Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 12:46 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Hi mellon Aldo, and others! I do pop in from time to time, but some current tantalizing threads (like Authorial Intent and others like the current development of Bombadil Onion) I have no time to participate. Alas!

Aldo wrote:

 

So, there come my thoughts, which I can not separate from or not refer to the opinion of Captain Bingo in the a.m. mentioned OFS - thread, namely that Tolkien’s Elves were his original creations, having nothing to do with the ’original’ and/or ’traditional’ Elves.

 

Credit where credit is due! And of course debates will be greater if we can utilize valid opinions and arguments from other posters. I think it is clear that Tolkien found himself forced by linguistic reasons to used the much abused term Elves, though this is a mere representation of something different.


I then think ... if what Captain Bingo says is true, then I can understand why Master Tolkien showed reluctance in using the Norse/Germanic/AS variant of the name of the ’original/traditional’ Elves.
Through developing his original "Elvish" languages to be spoken by his original Elves, he obviously also wanted to produce his original name(s) for these creatures. Right?
Hence - the names such as the quoted above.
And therefore, the name "Elf/Elves" had to appear because the whole story was told in English, therefore, English-language words had to be used translating from the "original" languages of the Quendi-people, ’Elves’ being just one of these translations.

Do you think I’m right?

 

In short: yes. But I also think (and I know Tolkien denied this as “accidental”!  ) that he liked the similarity of sound between Elves and some of his ‘El-phrases’ in those invented languages.

 

Galin quoted:

’Moreover, both Qenya and Goldogrin appear to have achieved a high degree of grammatical sophistication and organization. In A Secret Vice Tolkien states that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry; and as Carl Hostetter and I note in our essay Three Elvish Verse Modes in Tolkien’s Legendarium, by this criterion the Qenya of the Lost Tales was undoubtedly a success, for as early as 1915–16 Qenya had been elaborated and polished to the point where Tolkien could use it to write Narqelion, a twenty-line meditation on Autumn in rhyming verse (p. 113). Tolkien echoes the same sentiment in his 1967 letter to Mr. Rang, in which he says, It should be obvious that if it is possible to compose fragments of verse in Quenya and Sindarin, those languages (and their relations one to another) must have reached a fairly high degree of organization — though of course, far from completeness, either in vocabulary, or in idiom (Letters, p. 380). The detailed charts of Qenya verb forms tucked inside the front cover of the Qenya Lexicon (and now published in Parma 14) bear further witness to the grammatical development achieved by the early language.’ Patrick H. Wynne 4 April 2004 ’Are Goldogrin and Qenya ’primitive’? (under ’Editorials’ for Tengwestië)

I have been pondering this statement by Tolkien that the chief criterion by which one can measure the success of an art language is the ability to use it to write poetry and I must say I find it both very much Tolkien and mystifying (the two often go together!) Am I right in thinking that this is because of the high skill of form needed (reflected in effects of sound when reading aloud)? This reminds me of ‘Song of Eärendil’, which evidently uses five stylistic devices: rhyme, internal half-rhyme, alliteration, alliterative assonance and variations of syntax. Amazing! Please tell more if you can of this chief criterion, Galin!

 

Let me finish with a small reference to our prior A-S discussions, Aldo; a small gem never discovered (I presume) unless pointed out by another philologist (like Shippey). It seems that all the names of Rohirric rulers - from Théoden to most of his ancestors lying in the grave mounds under simbelmynë - are in fact old Anglo-Saxon words for “prince”, “lord”, etc. The fun Tolkien had! And some people say that the tale is the tale, plain and simple…

Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 05:59 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

BTW, regarding post above, I was cruising the net for info on Elves when I happened to find this page with the proposed linguistic history of Elf http://www.alarichall.org.uk/ahphdapp.pdf

 

I even understood something here and there!  I found out that this is part of a thesis that can be read here http://www.alarichall.org.uk/phd.php

 

There is also some other stuff especially on Tolkien here http://www.alarichall.org.uk/

 

Make of it what you will; there seems to be some interesting info, but I have not had a chance to scrutinize it yet.

Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 05:59 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

BTW, regarding post above, I was cruising the net for info on Elves when I happened to find this page with the proposed linguistic history of Elf http://www.alarichall.org.uk/ahphdapp.pdf

 

I even understood something here and there!  I found out that this is part of a thesis that can be read here http://www.alarichall.org.uk/phd.php

 

There is also some other stuff especially on Tolkien here http://www.alarichall.org.uk/

 

Make of it what you will; there seems to be some interesting info, but I have not had a chance to scrutinize it yet.

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Jul/2006 at 07:55 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Oh, my!!! Head spinns!
Those tables and the whole analyses reminded me of our classes on History of the Language at the Uni. We then had to make them ourselves. How I hated it at that time!
Now is different. Now I find it interesting ... though still hard to "swallow". I’ve seen similar info, too. But so well for you to have shown these sources! Thanks!


And that fact about the Rohirric rulers. Hmmm... Haven’t noticed it before. Fascinating, eh?
All of a sudden, this fact made me think: We may all be here looking for various "sources" for Tolkien’s book, yet after all it does go down to language! That popular statement that it all began with inventing the languages, and only after to creating the peoples to speak them, then to creating a suitable environment for these peoples to live in, and then a suitable "history" of those peoples and their environment ... This must be it, after all!

The fun Tolkien had! Indeed!
Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Jul/2006 at 07:55 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Oh, my!!! Head spinns!
Those tables and the whole analyses reminded me of our classes on History of the Language at the Uni. We then had to make them ourselves. How I hated it at that time!
Now is different. Now I find it interesting ... though still hard to "swallow". I’ve seen similar info, too. But so well for you to have shown these sources! Thanks!


And that fact about the Rohirric rulers. Hmmm... Haven’t noticed it before. Fascinating, eh?
All of a sudden, this fact made me think: We may all be here looking for various "sources" for Tolkien’s book, yet after all it does go down to language! That popular statement that it all began with inventing the languages, and only after to creating the peoples to speak them, then to creating a suitable environment for these peoples to live in, and then a suitable "history" of those peoples and their environment ... This must be it, after all!

The fun Tolkien had! Indeed!
Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 09:25 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

You have studied such esoteric science? I am most impressed! (bows)

As for myself, I can digest some of the results (but most of the technicalities are beyond me, at least presently). For example I found it very interesting to learn more about the Mercian.

Kirinki54 10/Jul/2006 at 09:25 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

You have studied such esoteric science? I am most impressed! (bows)

As for myself, I can digest some of the results (but most of the technicalities are beyond me, at least presently). For example I found it very interesting to learn more about the Mercian.

geordie 10/Jul/2006 at 01:26 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Speaking of Rohirrim leaders’ names = old names for prince, lord etc. I suppose everyone knows that the names of people of the Eotheod - the folk whom the Rohirrim had as ancestors - were Gothic? Vidugavia for example.

Tolkien liked Gothic. he used to ’reconstruct’ asterisk-words [as they are called] in Gothic. And he wrote at least one poem in Gothic - ’Bagme Bloma’, included in ’Songs for the Philologists’.

[Shippey again]
geordie 10/Jul/2006 at 01:26 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Speaking of Rohirrim leaders’ names = old names for prince, lord etc. I suppose everyone knows that the names of people of the Eotheod - the folk whom the Rohirrim had as ancestors - were Gothic? Vidugavia for example.

Tolkien liked Gothic. he used to ’reconstruct’ asterisk-words [as they are called] in Gothic. And he wrote at least one poem in Gothic - ’Bagme Bloma’, included in ’Songs for the Philologists’.

[Shippey again]
halfir 10/Jul/2006 at 06:30 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

geordie: Tolkien liked Gothic.

 

Shades of Joseph Wright! Cf. Jersualem Bible my post of  Sunday, July 09, 2006 at 17:33

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=203223&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=1

halfir 10/Jul/2006 at 06:30 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

geordie: Tolkien liked Gothic.

 

Shades of Joseph Wright! Cf. Jersualem Bible my post of  Sunday, July 09, 2006 at 17:33

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=203223&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=1

geordie 11/Jul/2006 at 09:54 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
halfir - absolutely! Though mind you, Wright’s advice to young Ronald was ’Go in for Celtic lad, there’s money in it’. Not that Tolkien followed the advice. Never much one for following others’ advice, was old Tolkien.

geordie 11/Jul/2006 at 09:54 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
halfir - absolutely! Though mind you, Wright’s advice to young Ronald was ’Go in for Celtic lad, there’s money in it’. Not that Tolkien followed the advice. Never much one for following others’ advice, was old Tolkien.

Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Jul/2006 at 10:36 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Recently, I’ve come across an article about invented languages, and I liked what the author of one such invented language said:

"There are many terms for invented languages: imaginary languages, glossopoeisis, international auxiliary languages, but the preferred term among language inventors is "constructed language," which is most often abbreviated to "conlang." "

Further than that, and perhaps more important as it seems to me for the pressent topic, is that there are types of ’conlang’, and one of them is the art language or ’artlang’.

"... an artlang is an attempt to simulate a real natural language for the purpose of exploring the workings of language."

It is also interesting that the author places Master T.’s invented languages in this "class" - a ’conlang’, an artlang’ in its own, and I do agree with him on that!

I also found another common opinion between me and the author of the article - about linguistics and its role and place in the process of ’inventing’ a language, namely:

"Linguistics is the scientific study of language, in general, that is the study of the system of language — not learning to speak, write, read, or understand numerous languages. The simple answer to the question, how you invent languages, is merely to apply the discoveries of linguistics backwards".

I think this applies to Tolkien’s invented languages, too. He used his knowledge of how ’language’- as a system, works, he knew the linguistic formulas necessary to "build" language structures (effective for the languages he studied), and applying this backwards, he got his "invented" languages.

Language is very close to mathematics. Simply put, in Math you have digits and symbols and you arrange them in formulas and equations - and there you go! - you solve a problem, or derive/prove a theorem...
Language works in a similar way - one only has to have words as ’linguistic symbols/digits’, and know the "formulas" where to fill these in >> and there you have a language!

What I’m driving at (have patience! ) is to actually bring back into the spotlight of the present discussion an issue - one of the several that made me join the discussion group of the present thread in the first place.

In my very first post in this thread I wrote:
Quote:
...Elvish does not exist. It was invented by a person whose mother tongue is English!
So, there must also be a "back" interaction - that is, in the very process of creating the Elvish languages, even though strongly influenced by Finnish, Master T. must have interwoven the English language into his "created" languages. If so - where can it be seen?...


I am sooooo good at asking questions, am I not?!
And had I continued studying the Elvish languages, now I would’ve been able to actually answer and not ask.

But since I did not, I therefore strongly keep my fingers crossed for people from the Language Forum to come by and join us, because they have a very good knowledge in the "structural system" of Tolkien languages - and not the Elvish ones only, so their opinions may be of extreme help to find an answer to my question.
And , in fact... anyone, who might know the invented languages of Master T. in structural depth, would be most welcome!

* * *

And to tell you the truth, I’m trying to run away from "looking into words".
It has become dangerously contagious! Now I hear or read a word in the way a body would be seen through an X-ray! I almost can’t concentrate on the ’whole’, because of me looking onto the ’parts’ in it’!


Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Jul/2006 at 10:36 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Recently, I’ve come across an article about invented languages, and I liked what the author of one such invented language said:

"There are many terms for invented languages: imaginary languages, glossopoeisis, international auxiliary languages, but the preferred term among language inventors is "constructed language," which is most often abbreviated to "conlang." "

Further than that, and perhaps more important as it seems to me for the pressent topic, is that there are types of ’conlang’, and one of them is the art language or ’artlang’.

"... an artlang is an attempt to simulate a real natural language for the purpose of exploring the workings of language."

It is also interesting that the author places Master T.’s invented languages in this "class" - a ’conlang’, an artlang’ in its own, and I do agree with him on that!

I also found another common opinion between me and the author of the article - about linguistics and its role and place in the process of ’inventing’ a language, namely:

"Linguistics is the scientific study of language, in general, that is the study of the system of language — not learning to speak, write, read, or understand numerous languages. The simple answer to the question, how you invent languages, is merely to apply the discoveries of linguistics backwards".

I think this applies to Tolkien’s invented languages, too. He used his knowledge of how ’language’- as a system, works, he knew the linguistic formulas necessary to "build" language structures (effective for the languages he studied), and applying this backwards, he got his "invented" languages.

Language is very close to mathematics. Simply put, in Math you have digits and symbols and you arrange them in formulas and equations - and there you go! - you solve a problem, or derive/prove a theorem...
Language works in a similar way - one only has to have words as ’linguistic symbols/digits’, and know the "formulas" where to fill these in >> and there you have a language!

What I’m driving at (have patience! ) is to actually bring back into the spotlight of the present discussion an issue - one of the several that made me join the discussion group of the present thread in the first place.

In my very first post in this thread I wrote:
Quote:
...Elvish does not exist. It was invented by a person whose mother tongue is English!
So, there must also be a "back" interaction - that is, in the very process of creating the Elvish languages, even though strongly influenced by Finnish, Master T. must have interwoven the English language into his "created" languages. If so - where can it be seen?...


I am sooooo good at asking questions, am I not?!
And had I continued studying the Elvish languages, now I would’ve been able to actually answer and not ask.

But since I did not, I therefore strongly keep my fingers crossed for people from the Language Forum to come by and join us, because they have a very good knowledge in the "structural system" of Tolkien languages - and not the Elvish ones only, so their opinions may be of extreme help to find an answer to my question.
And , in fact... anyone, who might know the invented languages of Master T. in structural depth, would be most welcome!

* * *

And to tell you the truth, I’m trying to run away from "looking into words".
It has become dangerously contagious! Now I hear or read a word in the way a body would be seen through an X-ray! I almost can’t concentrate on the ’whole’, because of me looking onto the ’parts’ in it’!


Kirinki54 13/Jul/2006 at 01:45 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote: I think this applies to Tolkien’s invented languages, too. He used his knowledge of how ’language’- as a system, works, he knew the linguistic formulas necessary to "build" language structures (effective for the languages he studied), and applying this backwards, he got his "invented" languages.

But what is also interesting is Tolkien´s comment - the source eludes my poor brain at the moment - that the main and inevitable failure for introducing artificial languages was that they lacked stories and mythology. As we know a key factor in his own creations.

 

Kirinki54 13/Jul/2006 at 01:45 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote: I think this applies to Tolkien’s invented languages, too. He used his knowledge of how ’language’- as a system, works, he knew the linguistic formulas necessary to "build" language structures (effective for the languages he studied), and applying this backwards, he got his "invented" languages.

But what is also interesting is Tolkien´s comment - the source eludes my poor brain at the moment - that the main and inevitable failure for introducing artificial languages was that they lacked stories and mythology. As we know a key factor in his own creations.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 13/Jul/2006 at 09:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003


Well, technically, as Master T. himself admits in "The SV" : "Few philologists even are devoid of the making instinct - but they often know but one thing well; they must build with the bricks they have."

Now having almost no knowledge of the structure of his invented languages, I can’t say whether or not he "built with the bricks he had", but most probably - he did, if not with his contemporary English "bricks", then (and most probably) - Norse, Finnish, Gothic, A/S ones.

As for the ’mythology’ of language and the language of mythology, as much as I have understood his concept, it is that Master T., too, considered an invented language to be an ’artlang’, made for the pleasure of its creator. And as we read in the a.m. article, he expresses his firm belief that in order for this to be achieved,
"... for perfect construction of an art-language it is found necessary to construct at least in outline a mythology concomitant. Not solely because some pieces of verse will inevitably be part of the (more or less) completed structure, but because the making of language and mythology are related functions; to give your language an individual flavour, it must have woven into it the threads of an individual mythology, individual while working within the scheme of natural human mythopoeia, as your word-form may be individual while working within the hackneyed limits of human, even European, phonetics. The converse indeed is true, your language construction will breed a mythology."

And this is what he did precisely!
True, however this may be, and applied to his invented languages, the above reminded issue still "bugs" me.
He may have invented his ’artlangs’ for his pleasure (as he had stated numerous times on various occasions - from what we read in the records), and he most certainly "wove" mythology into them, and this issue in itself is highly exciting, and we must return to it and not let it out of our attention ... but ... I’m still so curious to find out about those "bricks"!
Lady d`Ecthelion 13/Jul/2006 at 09:46 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003


Well, technically, as Master T. himself admits in "The SV" : "Few philologists even are devoid of the making instinct - but they often know but one thing well; they must build with the bricks they have."

Now having almost no knowledge of the structure of his invented languages, I can’t say whether or not he "built with the bricks he had", but most probably - he did, if not with his contemporary English "bricks", then (and most probably) - Norse, Finnish, Gothic, A/S ones.

As for the ’mythology’ of language and the language of mythology, as much as I have understood his concept, it is that Master T., too, considered an invented language to be an ’artlang’, made for the pleasure of its creator. And as we read in the a.m. article, he expresses his firm belief that in order for this to be achieved,
"... for perfect construction of an art-language it is found necessary to construct at least in outline a mythology concomitant. Not solely because some pieces of verse will inevitably be part of the (more or less) completed structure, but because the making of language and mythology are related functions; to give your language an individual flavour, it must have woven into it the threads of an individual mythology, individual while working within the scheme of natural human mythopoeia, as your word-form may be individual while working within the hackneyed limits of human, even European, phonetics. The converse indeed is true, your language construction will breed a mythology."

And this is what he did precisely!
True, however this may be, and applied to his invented languages, the above reminded issue still "bugs" me.
He may have invented his ’artlangs’ for his pleasure (as he had stated numerous times on various occasions - from what we read in the records), and he most certainly "wove" mythology into them, and this issue in itself is highly exciting, and we must return to it and not let it out of our attention ... but ... I’m still so curious to find out about those "bricks"!
Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 02:18 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, I am not quite sure what you actually mean by those "bricks".

The influence of certain real languages on particular languages created by Tolkien was stated by himself and is evident. These matters were discussed in the Language Forum in numerous threads.

Furthermore, most of Tolkien’s languages have several features in common with Indo-European languages, and are therefore also related to English to some degree.

Or are you referring to typology according to Joseph H. Greenberg’s theory, mentioned in the article by Doug Ball  "Skerre: An Invented Language"  from which you were quoting in your post (July 12) ?
The typological classification of each language requires careful examination.

Here we meet a very interesting and important characteristic of Tolkien’s invented languages :  They do not fall neatly into one of the patterns "VO versus OV", but show exceptions, as real languages also do. The majority of other invented languages are totally "straightforward", like this language "Skerre" created by Doug Ball. In this respect, your comparison with mathemathics does actually apply.  
Real languages with a long history behind them are less regular, and I perceive this very fact, that Tolkien’s languages appear almost as real languages, as one of their greatest advantages.

 

Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 02:18 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, I am not quite sure what you actually mean by those "bricks".

The influence of certain real languages on particular languages created by Tolkien was stated by himself and is evident. These matters were discussed in the Language Forum in numerous threads.

Furthermore, most of Tolkien’s languages have several features in common with Indo-European languages, and are therefore also related to English to some degree.

Or are you referring to typology according to Joseph H. Greenberg’s theory, mentioned in the article by Doug Ball  "Skerre: An Invented Language"  from which you were quoting in your post (July 12) ?
The typological classification of each language requires careful examination.

Here we meet a very interesting and important characteristic of Tolkien’s invented languages :  They do not fall neatly into one of the patterns "VO versus OV", but show exceptions, as real languages also do. The majority of other invented languages are totally "straightforward", like this language "Skerre" created by Doug Ball. In this respect, your comparison with mathemathics does actually apply.  
Real languages with a long history behind them are less regular, and I perceive this very fact, that Tolkien’s languages appear almost as real languages, as one of their greatest advantages.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 04:42 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
First of all, I have to apologize for missing mentioning the author of the article about ’invented languages’, where I quoted from , and I thank Aelindis for doing so.
Here’s the URL: http://www.valdyas.org/conlang/skerre.html#typology

Now, as to the "brick" - this is the term used by Tolkien in his "Secret Vice", and which I liked. I realize that the term can refer to many aspects of a language.
But I was taught to be a practitioner, and whatever theory I studied, we were never introduced too far into the real depths of philology or linguistics.
(Rise, Kirinki, dear friend! No need to bow before me. Indeed!!! )

I however, was and still am interested, say as a "hoby" of mine, to analyse the "rules" of both word formation (this - rarer!) and of arranging the words in a sentence (much more!) - a sentence as the supposed method of communicating a thought of the speaker. What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and fcus, not in the main meaning of the words.

So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence. Or... so they sound to me...

Let’s look at an example from Tolkien’s books:
In Appendix A, in The Return of the King, we have these words in Sindarin:
"Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim."

This translates into English as:
’I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope for myself.’]

To me the ENG sentence looks quite ordinary in its construction. My lack of knowledge in Sindarin, however, allows me not to compare the strctures of both the sentences in the two different languages, and I can’t know whether the Sidarin sentence is "regular" or in "variation of the regular structure. So, by judging only from the ENG-translation, I have every evidence to suspect that my above theory is totally false. If so, if the "bricks" of Sindarin were laid regularly, as those in the ENG sentence, then I have to know that, and not live in "illusions".

Yet...

In another case, I do "see" the "bricks" of the English language used "backwards" in the invented Tolkien’s languages.

In Appendix F, II - On Translation, Tolkien writes:

"The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms. It was, however, one of the peculiarities of Shire-usage that the deferential forms had gone out of colloquial use. They lingered only among the villagers, especially of the Westfarthing, who used them as endearments. "

Now, compare with what he puts in the footnote 5:

"In one or two places an attempt has been made to hint at these distinctions by an inconsistent use of thou. Since this pronoun is now unusual and archaic it is employed mainly to represent the use of ceremonious language; but a change from you to thou, thee is sometimes meant to show, there being no other means of doing this, a significant change from the deferential, or between men and women normal, forms to the familiar."

Since the here explained refers actually to the English language, if we find this same linguistic "phenomenon" in the Common speech of ME, can we then deduct that it was in fact v.v. - this linguistic characteristic detail of the development of the real English languge was first "implemented" backwards into the dialect of the Shire, to later give the opportunity of "playing" the "game" of "translation" - a "game" which so strongly contributed to the overall mythological air of the whole tale.

And yes, to a certain extent, my question is related to the issue of ’typology’ of languages. But I do not know which "type" Tolkien’s artlangs were from, since, as you rightfully pointed out, not only English language was used as a "source".
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 04:42 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
First of all, I have to apologize for missing mentioning the author of the article about ’invented languages’, where I quoted from , and I thank Aelindis for doing so.
Here’s the URL: http://www.valdyas.org/conlang/skerre.html#typology

Now, as to the "brick" - this is the term used by Tolkien in his "Secret Vice", and which I liked. I realize that the term can refer to many aspects of a language.
But I was taught to be a practitioner, and whatever theory I studied, we were never introduced too far into the real depths of philology or linguistics.
(Rise, Kirinki, dear friend! No need to bow before me. Indeed!!! )

I however, was and still am interested, say as a "hoby" of mine, to analyse the "rules" of both word formation (this - rarer!) and of arranging the words in a sentence (much more!) - a sentence as the supposed method of communicating a thought of the speaker. What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and fcus, not in the main meaning of the words.

So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence. Or... so they sound to me...

Let’s look at an example from Tolkien’s books:
In Appendix A, in The Return of the King, we have these words in Sindarin:
"Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim."

This translates into English as:
’I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope for myself.’]

To me the ENG sentence looks quite ordinary in its construction. My lack of knowledge in Sindarin, however, allows me not to compare the strctures of both the sentences in the two different languages, and I can’t know whether the Sidarin sentence is "regular" or in "variation of the regular structure. So, by judging only from the ENG-translation, I have every evidence to suspect that my above theory is totally false. If so, if the "bricks" of Sindarin were laid regularly, as those in the ENG sentence, then I have to know that, and not live in "illusions".

Yet...

In another case, I do "see" the "bricks" of the English language used "backwards" in the invented Tolkien’s languages.

In Appendix F, II - On Translation, Tolkien writes:

"The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between ’familiar’ and ’deferential’ forms. It was, however, one of the peculiarities of Shire-usage that the deferential forms had gone out of colloquial use. They lingered only among the villagers, especially of the Westfarthing, who used them as endearments. "

Now, compare with what he puts in the footnote 5:

"In one or two places an attempt has been made to hint at these distinctions by an inconsistent use of thou. Since this pronoun is now unusual and archaic it is employed mainly to represent the use of ceremonious language; but a change from you to thou, thee is sometimes meant to show, there being no other means of doing this, a significant change from the deferential, or between men and women normal, forms to the familiar."

Since the here explained refers actually to the English language, if we find this same linguistic "phenomenon" in the Common speech of ME, can we then deduct that it was in fact v.v. - this linguistic characteristic detail of the development of the real English languge was first "implemented" backwards into the dialect of the Shire, to later give the opportunity of "playing" the "game" of "translation" - a "game" which so strongly contributed to the overall mythological air of the whole tale.

And yes, to a certain extent, my question is related to the issue of ’typology’ of languages. But I do not know which "type" Tolkien’s artlangs were from, since, as you rightfully pointed out, not only English language was used as a "source".
Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 09:34 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, just a few comments:

What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and fcus, not in the main meaning of the words.

What is demonstrated by these examples is the ability of the English language ( an ability which  many languages  possess  -  actually, all languages I know so far )  to modify the meaning of a sentence by altering the normal word order, and especially the ability to place emphasis on a part of speech by topicalization.

Unsurprisingly, also Tolkien’s languages display this versatility.


So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence. Or... so they sound to me...

You may not be aware of the fact, that we have a very  limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences, so even what can be inferred from the extant texts, regarding a "normal" word order, is to a certain degree hypothetical.

Whether a sentence sounds "mythically, fairy-tale-like" or not, would depend on its actual content.
For example, when the text of the well-known "King’s Letter" says:  "Aragorn [...] will approch the Bridge of Baranduin on the eighth of Spring", there would not be a mythical sound in this announcment  -  neither in English nor in Sindarin.

The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim"  follows the "regular" word order  -  or what we regard as regular  -  but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" ).

So, by judging only from the ENG-translation, I have every evidence to suspect that my above theory is totally false. If so, if the "bricks" of Sindarin were laid regularly, as those in the ENG sentence, then I have to know that, and not live in "illusions".  

I would rather say that, concerning word order, Sindarin has quite a few things in common with English ( and many other real languages ), including the license to put emphasis on a topicalizised part of speech.
Other things are different, for example., adjectives and other qualifiers mostly follow the noun, again, as in several real languages. This is quite different from English, but not per se fairy-tale-like.

Regarding the  familiar and deferential forms of pronouns:

Yes, Tolkien made some ( "inconsistent" ) use of  "thou" / "thee" etc. to render this distinction in his narration.  Many real languages possess the same distinction. ( In my native language it would be regarded as utterly disrespectful to address an unacquainted adult person in the familiar mode. )

If or to what extent this distinction is carried out in the Elvish Languages is an issue far too complex to be explained in this place.



 

Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 09:35 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, just a few comments:

What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and fcus, not in the main meaning of the words.

What is demonstrated by these examples is the ability of the English language ( an ability which  many languages  possess  -  actually, all languages I know so far )  to modify the meaning of a sentence by altering the normal word order, and especially the ability to place emphasis on a part of speech by topicalization.

Unsurprisingly, also Tolkien’s languages display this versatility.


So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence. Or... so they sound to me...

You may not be aware of the fact, that we have a very  limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences, so even what can be inferred from the extant texts, regarding a "normal" word order, is to a certain degree hypothetical.

Whether a sentence sounds "mythically, fairy-tale-like" or not, would depend on its actual content.
For example, when the text of the well-known "King’s Letter" says:  "Aragorn [...] will approch the Bridge of Baranduin on the eighth of Spring", there would not be a mythical sound in this announcment  -  neither in English nor in Sindarin.

The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim"  follows the "regular" word order  -  or what we regard as regular  -  but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" ).

So, by judging only from the ENG-translation, I have every evidence to suspect that my above theory is totally false. If so, if the "bricks" of Sindarin were laid regularly, as those in the ENG sentence, then I have to know that, and not live in "illusions".  

I would rather say that, concerning word order, Sindarin has quite a few things in common with English ( and many other real languages ), including the license to put emphasis on a topicalizised part of speech.
Other things are different, for example., adjectives and other qualifiers mostly follow the noun, again, as in several real languages. This is quite different from English, but not per se fairy-tale-like.

Regarding the  familiar and deferential forms of pronouns:

Yes, Tolkien made some ( "inconsistent" ) use of  "thou" / "thee" etc. to render this distinction in his narration.  Many real languages possess the same distinction. ( In my native language it would be regarded as utterly disrespectful to address an unacquainted adult person in the familiar mode. )

If or to what extent this distinction is carried out in the Elvish Languages is an issue far too complex to be explained in this place.



 

Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:41 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Aelindis, thanks for your comments!

"What is demonstrated by these examples is the ability of the English language ( an ability which many languages possess - actually, all languages I know so far ) to modify the meaning of a sentence by altering the normal word order, and especially the ability to place emphasis on a part of speech by topicalization.
Unsurprisingly, also Tolkien’s languages display this versatility.
"

I hapen to be well aware of that, as much as English language is concerned (for I’m not going to comment on this detail as it is in say my mother tongue). It’s that I got my MD researching on this issue - simply put, it’s "stylistic grammar" (in the English language, that is, for this is what I majored ). And it is not about changing the ’meaning’ of the statement, actually, but about conveying a content additional to the main meaning - not through lexical units, but through syntax. In other words - "laying the "bricks" in a different way".

So again, to put it in fewer words, I was curious to find out whether or not such "odd" structures" were applied in his invented languages. But if, as you say, there is "a very limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences", and I suppose even less may be found about his other artlangs, then I’ll never get an answer to my question, I’m afraid. Or I shall simply have to dedicate some time and research.

Also, you mention that :
"The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim" follows the "regular" word order - or what we regard as regular - but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" )."

Would you, please, explain where the difference is?
I again aplogize for my lack of knowledge in Tolkien’s invented languages.

As to the SP pronouns, I do know what you mean, for in my language, too, we have this distinction, as it appears also in other languages, too. In Spanish, for example, there are even two variants of the "official" form, used in the different geographical regions this language is spoken in.

The thing is, as we know, and as it was in fact discussed earlier in this same thread, that the Middle English (if I’m not mistaken) did have the two forms. Contemporary English however, has not saved them, therefore Master T., as anyone else calls the forms "thou", ’thee’ etc. ’archaic’.
It’s an intriguing thought to assume that he might have purposely applied a similar form in the Common Speech of ME when he was inventing it, up to creating the Shire dialects, so later, he could use it back in his "translation" of the Red Book.
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:41 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Aelindis, thanks for your comments!

"What is demonstrated by these examples is the ability of the English language ( an ability which many languages possess - actually, all languages I know so far ) to modify the meaning of a sentence by altering the normal word order, and especially the ability to place emphasis on a part of speech by topicalization.
Unsurprisingly, also Tolkien’s languages display this versatility.
"

I hapen to be well aware of that, as much as English language is concerned (for I’m not going to comment on this detail as it is in say my mother tongue). It’s that I got my MD researching on this issue - simply put, it’s "stylistic grammar" (in the English language, that is, for this is what I majored ). And it is not about changing the ’meaning’ of the statement, actually, but about conveying a content additional to the main meaning - not through lexical units, but through syntax. In other words - "laying the "bricks" in a different way".

So again, to put it in fewer words, I was curious to find out whether or not such "odd" structures" were applied in his invented languages. But if, as you say, there is "a very limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences", and I suppose even less may be found about his other artlangs, then I’ll never get an answer to my question, I’m afraid. Or I shall simply have to dedicate some time and research.

Also, you mention that :
"The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim" follows the "regular" word order - or what we regard as regular - but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" )."

Would you, please, explain where the difference is?
I again aplogize for my lack of knowledge in Tolkien’s invented languages.

As to the SP pronouns, I do know what you mean, for in my language, too, we have this distinction, as it appears also in other languages, too. In Spanish, for example, there are even two variants of the "official" form, used in the different geographical regions this language is spoken in.

The thing is, as we know, and as it was in fact discussed earlier in this same thread, that the Middle English (if I’m not mistaken) did have the two forms. Contemporary English however, has not saved them, therefore Master T., as anyone else calls the forms "thou", ’thee’ etc. ’archaic’.
It’s an intriguing thought to assume that he might have purposely applied a similar form in the Common Speech of ME when he was inventing it, up to creating the Shire dialects, so later, he could use it back in his "translation" of the Red Book.
Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 01:12 PM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana:

"I hapen to be well aware of that, as much as English language is concerned (for I’m not going to comment on this detail as it is in say my mother tongue). It’s that I got my MD researching on this issue - simply put, it’s "stylistic grammar" (in the English language, that is, for this is what I majored )."

I always find it somewhat ridiculous to point out one’s academic titles in place of giving reasons, but that is a matter of taste. 

"And it is not about changing the ’meaning’ of the statement, actually, but about conveying a content additional to the main meaning - not through lexical units, but through syntax. In other words - "laying the "bricks" in a different way"."

As I have specified, it is about putting emphasis on a part of the sentence by topicalization.
If you prefer to take about  "laying the bricks", you are of course entitled to do so.

"So again, to put it in fewer words, I was curious to find out whether or not such "odd" structures" were applied in his invented languages."

Such structures are not  "odd", but quite common in many languages, and they do occur in Tolkien’s languages, as I have tried to convey to you.

"But if, as you say, there is "a very limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences", and I suppose even less may be found about his other artlangs, then I’ll never get an answer to my question, I’m afraid. Or I shall simply have to dedicate some time and research."

The latter would seem a very good idea, if you are actually interested in Tolkien’s languages.

The answer to your question, whether Sindarin has a way "to lay the bricks in a different way", is evident from my example: 

The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim" follows the "regular" word order - or what we regard as regular - but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" ).

"Would you, please, explain where the difference is?"

The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen  =  "I gave",  the subject is already part of the verb.

In the sentence "Tôl acharn"  the word order is VS. (  acharn ( "vengeance" ) = subject ,  tôl  ( "comes" ) = verb. In this position the action described by the verb is emphasized.)

Let’s leave it at that.

Aelindis 15/Jul/2006 at 01:12 PM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana:

"I hapen to be well aware of that, as much as English language is concerned (for I’m not going to comment on this detail as it is in say my mother tongue). It’s that I got my MD researching on this issue - simply put, it’s "stylistic grammar" (in the English language, that is, for this is what I majored )."

I always find it somewhat ridiculous to point out one’s academic titles in place of giving reasons, but that is a matter of taste. 

"And it is not about changing the ’meaning’ of the statement, actually, but about conveying a content additional to the main meaning - not through lexical units, but through syntax. In other words - "laying the "bricks" in a different way"."

As I have specified, it is about putting emphasis on a part of the sentence by topicalization.
If you prefer to take about  "laying the bricks", you are of course entitled to do so.

"So again, to put it in fewer words, I was curious to find out whether or not such "odd" structures" were applied in his invented languages."

Such structures are not  "odd", but quite common in many languages, and they do occur in Tolkien’s languages, as I have tried to convey to you.

"But if, as you say, there is "a very limited corpus of Sindarin and Quenya sentences", and I suppose even less may be found about his other artlangs, then I’ll never get an answer to my question, I’m afraid. Or I shall simply have to dedicate some time and research."

The latter would seem a very good idea, if you are actually interested in Tolkien’s languages.

The answer to your question, whether Sindarin has a way "to lay the bricks in a different way", is evident from my example: 

The sentence "Ónen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim" follows the "regular" word order - or what we regard as regular - but there are also exampes of a different word order, as "Tôl acharn!" (WJ:254) - "Vengeance comes!" ( acharn = "vengeance" ).

"Would you, please, explain where the difference is?"

The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen  =  "I gave",  the subject is already part of the verb.

In the sentence "Tôl acharn"  the word order is VS. (  acharn ( "vengeance" ) = subject ,  tôl  ( "comes" ) = verb. In this position the action described by the verb is emphasized.)

Let’s leave it at that.

Kirinki54 15/Jul/2006 at 03:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

The water is deep… but I will venture to walk some steps into it!

 

Aldoriana wrote:

 

I however, was and still am interested, say as a "hobby" of mine, to analyse the "rules" of both word formation (this - rarer!) and of arranging the words in a sentence (much more!) - a sentence as the supposed method of communicating a thought of the speaker. What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and focus, not in the main meaning of the words.

So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence.
Or... so they sound to me...

 

As to the use of word-formation or structure in the invented languages, I cannot really begin an analysis; I will have to rely on the professionals there. If we stick to how Tolkien viewed this in relation to his use of English in LotR and other works, I can at least see some patterns of application.

 

 What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

 

We can still stay in the “Fairy World”. Of course, being true to the ‘setting’ of his invented world, Tolkien would try to accommodate the text to a more archaic pattern of speech. The following (long) quote gives some reasons as to why.

 

But take an example from the chapter that you specially singled out (and called terrible): Book iii, "The King of the Golden Hall’. ’Nay, Gandalf!’ said the King. ’You do not know your own skill in healing. It shall not be so. I myself will go to war, to fall in the front of the battle, if it must be. Thus shall I sleep better.’

This is a fair sample — moderated or watered archaism. Using only words that still are used or known to the educated, the King would really have said: ’Nay, thou (n’)wost not thine own skill in healing. It shall not be so. I myself will go to war, to fall...’ etc. I know well enough what a modern would say. ’Not at all my dear G. You don’t know your own skill as a doctor. Things aren’t going to be like that. I shall go to the war in person, even if I have to be one of the first casualties’ — and then what? Theoden would certainly think, and probably say ’thus shall I sleep better’! But people who think like that just do not talk a modern idiom. You can have ’I shall lie easier in my grave’, or ’I should sleep sounder in my grave like that rather than if I stayed at home’ – if you like. But there would be an insincerity of thought, a disunion of word and meaning. For a King who spoke in a modern style would not really think in such terms at all, and any reference to sleeping quietly in the grave would be a deliberate archaism of expression on his part (however worded) far more bogus than the actual ’archaic’ English that I have used. Like some non-Christian making a reference to some Christian belief which did not in fact move him at all.

Or p. 127, as an example of ’archaism’ that cannot be defended as ’dramatic’, since it is not in dialogue, but the author’s description of the arming of the guests – which seemed specially to upset you. But such ’heroic’ scenes do not occur in a modern setting to which a modern idiom belongs. Why deliberately ignore, refuse to use the wealth of English which leaves us a choice of styles – without any possibility of unintelligibility.

I can see no more reason for not using the much terser and more vivid ancient style, than for changing the obsolete weapons, helms, shields, hauberks into modern uniforms.

’Helms too they chose’ is archaic. Some (wrongly) class it as an ’inversion’, since normal order is ’They also chose helmets’ or ’they chose helmets too’. (Real mod. E. ’They also picked out some helmets and round shields’.) But this is not normal order, and if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it. And so much the better for it the sooner it learns the trick again. And some one must begin the teaching, by example. (Letter 171 To Hugh Brogan) (my bold)

 

It seems clear that Tolkien saw as an integral element that the relation between world view and language must harmonize as much as possible. Not in absurdum, but to sufficient degree to project the thinking that provided motives and subsequent actions. An archaic society was not (as linguistic research of real examples show) characterized by a talkative and colloquial style, and to approach it one must be relatively terse of expression and observant of thought modes. None was better suited than Tolkien in achieving this, as he had such a thorough philological background in those real life fields most pertinent to his invented world and discoveries.

 

Kirinki54 15/Jul/2006 at 03:00 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

The water is deep… but I will venture to walk some steps into it!

 

Aldoriana wrote:

 

I however, was and still am interested, say as a "hobby" of mine, to analyse the "rules" of both word formation (this - rarer!) and of arranging the words in a sentence (much more!) - a sentence as the supposed method of communicating a thought of the speaker. What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

Example:
She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders.

Variations in word-order:

Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang.
A tale of old, of fairies and wonders, sang she.


As we can see, what is communicated by the two variations is different from what the "regular" sentence does - of course, in style and mood and focus, not in the main meaning of the words.

So, part of my question concerns this issue - in his invented languages, in their very structure, and always remembering Tolkien’s ’credo’ about the inter-relation between a language (especially an invented ’artlang’ !) and mythology, was it that he applied "variations" of the English language as in the examples above, backwards, with the purpose of achieving his aim - create a myth that would sound like one - mythically, fairy-tale-like?
Because, IMHO, there is much "fairytale" spirit in both above variations, and almost none in the "regular" sentence.
Or... so they sound to me...

 

As to the use of word-formation or structure in the invented languages, I cannot really begin an analysis; I will have to rely on the professionals there. If we stick to how Tolkien viewed this in relation to his use of English in LotR and other works, I can at least see some patterns of application.

 

 What is interesting to me, is that in English, I found out how the change in the word order communicates a variant of the thought - such a change may lead to variants in style, in mood, in focus...etc. of the statement.

 

We can still stay in the “Fairy World”. Of course, being true to the ‘setting’ of his invented world, Tolkien would try to accommodate the text to a more archaic pattern of speech. The following (long) quote gives some reasons as to why.

 

But take an example from the chapter that you specially singled out (and called terrible): Book iii, "The King of the Golden Hall’. ’Nay, Gandalf!’ said the King. ’You do not know your own skill in healing. It shall not be so. I myself will go to war, to fall in the front of the battle, if it must be. Thus shall I sleep better.’

This is a fair sample — moderated or watered archaism. Using only words that still are used or known to the educated, the King would really have said: ’Nay, thou (n’)wost not thine own skill in healing. It shall not be so. I myself will go to war, to fall...’ etc. I know well enough what a modern would say. ’Not at all my dear G. You don’t know your own skill as a doctor. Things aren’t going to be like that. I shall go to the war in person, even if I have to be one of the first casualties’ — and then what? Theoden would certainly think, and probably say ’thus shall I sleep better’! But people who think like that just do not talk a modern idiom. You can have ’I shall lie easier in my grave’, or ’I should sleep sounder in my grave like that rather than if I stayed at home’ – if you like. But there would be an insincerity of thought, a disunion of word and meaning. For a King who spoke in a modern style would not really think in such terms at all, and any reference to sleeping quietly in the grave would be a deliberate archaism of expression on his part (however worded) far more bogus than the actual ’archaic’ English that I have used. Like some non-Christian making a reference to some Christian belief which did not in fact move him at all.

Or p. 127, as an example of ’archaism’ that cannot be defended as ’dramatic’, since it is not in dialogue, but the author’s description of the arming of the guests – which seemed specially to upset you. But such ’heroic’ scenes do not occur in a modern setting to which a modern idiom belongs. Why deliberately ignore, refuse to use the wealth of English which leaves us a choice of styles – without any possibility of unintelligibility.

I can see no more reason for not using the much terser and more vivid ancient style, than for changing the obsolete weapons, helms, shields, hauberks into modern uniforms.

’Helms too they chose’ is archaic. Some (wrongly) class it as an ’inversion’, since normal order is ’They also chose helmets’ or ’they chose helmets too’. (Real mod. E. ’They also picked out some helmets and round shields’.) But this is not normal order, and if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it. And so much the better for it the sooner it learns the trick again. And some one must begin the teaching, by example. (Letter 171 To Hugh Brogan) (my bold)

 

It seems clear that Tolkien saw as an integral element that the relation between world view and language must harmonize as much as possible. Not in absurdum, but to sufficient degree to project the thinking that provided motives and subsequent actions. An archaic society was not (as linguistic research of real examples show) characterized by a talkative and colloquial style, and to approach it one must be relatively terse of expression and observant of thought modes. None was better suited than Tolkien in achieving this, as he had such a thorough philological background in those real life fields most pertinent to his invented world and discoveries.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Aelindis, I have to right away say that so far we have in this thread kept a most friendly tone while discussing the issues concerning linguistic discoveries in Tolkien’s books. And even though I am not administrating the thread, I woulod strongly advise you to keep to this tone, too, please.
I am proud of my MD, and I don’t see a reason of why mentioning it should be considered as a vain showing off. I personally would not mind at all to learn what education you have - no matter whether linguistic professional or whether linguistics is only a hoby to you (I hope one with a serious approach).
In fact, I’d better know, for everyone can come and voice his/her opinion. What matters, however, is the level of knowledge and of the seriousness of approach of this person towards the respective subjects being discussed, because this is to determine the level of credibility of his/her opinions.

Another thing that has to be also corrected right away, is that stylistic syntax has not much to do with topicalization, although both are close. But such an issue is far not the subject of the present discussion.

As to :

"The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen = "I gave", the subject is already part of the verb.
"

A pronominal ending of the verb is not an exclusion from the regular SVO structure, but is only a morphological characteristic feature of a language, though syntax related. Some languages have this feature, others don’t. The presence of suffixes to the verb, that indicate the subject, do not make the subject a "part of the verb". If we accept this to be the case, then how to explain the verb’s Tense inflection? A "part" of what, would then the Tense suffix be?

"In the sentence "Tôl acharn" the word order is VS. ( acharn ( "vengeance" ) = subject , tôl ( "comes" ) = verb. In this position the action described by the verb is emphasized.)"

Now this, I think, is a good example of what I’m talking about in the few latest posts. And in this sentence we do see a case of topicalization, indeed.
Anyway, the intriguing part is, that if the Sindarin sentence was built applying the same syntax principles effective in the English language, then I still might not be too much illusional about the use of the "bricks", after all.

Well, on the other hand, Master T. wrote (Letter # 144) that:
"The living language of the Western Elves (Sindarin or Grey-elven) is the one usually met, especially in names. This is derived from an origin common to it and Quenya; but the changes have been deliberately devised to give it a linguistic character very like (though not identical with) British-Welsh: because that character is one that I find, in some linguistic moods, very attractive; and because it seems to fit the rather ’Celtic’ type of legends and stories told of its speakers."
( my bold)

See what I’m after?
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Aelindis, I have to right away say that so far we have in this thread kept a most friendly tone while discussing the issues concerning linguistic discoveries in Tolkien’s books. And even though I am not administrating the thread, I woulod strongly advise you to keep to this tone, too, please.
I am proud of my MD, and I don’t see a reason of why mentioning it should be considered as a vain showing off. I personally would not mind at all to learn what education you have - no matter whether linguistic professional or whether linguistics is only a hoby to you (I hope one with a serious approach).
In fact, I’d better know, for everyone can come and voice his/her opinion. What matters, however, is the level of knowledge and of the seriousness of approach of this person towards the respective subjects being discussed, because this is to determine the level of credibility of his/her opinions.

Another thing that has to be also corrected right away, is that stylistic syntax has not much to do with topicalization, although both are close. But such an issue is far not the subject of the present discussion.

As to :

"The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen = "I gave", the subject is already part of the verb.
"

A pronominal ending of the verb is not an exclusion from the regular SVO structure, but is only a morphological characteristic feature of a language, though syntax related. Some languages have this feature, others don’t. The presence of suffixes to the verb, that indicate the subject, do not make the subject a "part of the verb". If we accept this to be the case, then how to explain the verb’s Tense inflection? A "part" of what, would then the Tense suffix be?

"In the sentence "Tôl acharn" the word order is VS. ( acharn ( "vengeance" ) = subject , tôl ( "comes" ) = verb. In this position the action described by the verb is emphasized.)"

Now this, I think, is a good example of what I’m talking about in the few latest posts. And in this sentence we do see a case of topicalization, indeed.
Anyway, the intriguing part is, that if the Sindarin sentence was built applying the same syntax principles effective in the English language, then I still might not be too much illusional about the use of the "bricks", after all.

Well, on the other hand, Master T. wrote (Letter # 144) that:
"The living language of the Western Elves (Sindarin or Grey-elven) is the one usually met, especially in names. This is derived from an origin common to it and Quenya; but the changes have been deliberately devised to give it a linguistic character very like (though not identical with) British-Welsh: because that character is one that I find, in some linguistic moods, very attractive; and because it seems to fit the rather ’Celtic’ type of legends and stories told of its speakers."
( my bold)

See what I’m after?
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Kirinki, thank you for bringing in that excerpt!

It does say a lot about the sylistic "savour" of Tolkien’s stories, indeed!
What I cannot agree with Master T. ( am I not bold?!!! ) on, is about the following:

He says that:
"if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it."

Sorry, Master, but the contemporary English I find to have fortunately not suffered this disaster!

I wonder sometimes, did people really talk that way in the past times - those times which we (for some strange reason) consider not only ’archaic’ but also "romantic"?
This reminds me of another issue, that has to do with the strong bond between language, language style and the tale to be told.
We have come to think of a certain historical period as of it being "romantic", and "romantic" we then call also the language we read in the literary records from that time. But when you think of it... it might well be that people of that remote time did not actually speak as "romantically", as we read in literature. Their language must have been different from our contemporary one, yet it was ’contemporary’ to them back then, and "romantic" they would’ve not considered it. What happens is that we apply to this language style the same "image" as we do to the time it was spoken in. But of course, it is here where comes the above question - "Did they really speak like that?"... For this style may very well be a product of only and only poetic intervention and invention.
But ... well... things are as they are .
One just has to have enough understanding as to recognize a language style and the historical period associated with it, as well as some other related factors such as for example geographical location, ethos, etc. Which, by the way, Master T. emphasizes on, as we read, and which is the main principle of the latest trend in the field of translation - ’localization’ (though if they ask me, localization has always been applied, for as long as different languages have existed. But who’d ask me?!!!
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 10:57 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Dear Kirinki, thank you for bringing in that excerpt!

It does say a lot about the sylistic "savour" of Tolkien’s stories, indeed!
What I cannot agree with Master T. ( am I not bold?!!! ) on, is about the following:

He says that:
"if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it."

Sorry, Master, but the contemporary English I find to have fortunately not suffered this disaster!

I wonder sometimes, did people really talk that way in the past times - those times which we (for some strange reason) consider not only ’archaic’ but also "romantic"?
This reminds me of another issue, that has to do with the strong bond between language, language style and the tale to be told.
We have come to think of a certain historical period as of it being "romantic", and "romantic" we then call also the language we read in the literary records from that time. But when you think of it... it might well be that people of that remote time did not actually speak as "romantically", as we read in literature. Their language must have been different from our contemporary one, yet it was ’contemporary’ to them back then, and "romantic" they would’ve not considered it. What happens is that we apply to this language style the same "image" as we do to the time it was spoken in. But of course, it is here where comes the above question - "Did they really speak like that?"... For this style may very well be a product of only and only poetic intervention and invention.
But ... well... things are as they are .
One just has to have enough understanding as to recognize a language style and the historical period associated with it, as well as some other related factors such as for example geographical location, ethos, etc. Which, by the way, Master T. emphasizes on, as we read, and which is the main principle of the latest trend in the field of translation - ’localization’ (though if they ask me, localization has always been applied, for as long as different languages have existed. But who’d ask me?!!!
Aelindis 16/Jul/2006 at 10:49 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, I am sorry that my remark on mentioning one’s academic titles in a discussion seems offensive to you. Allow me to clarify my point of view, please. 

You write:
"I am proud of my MD, and I don’t see a reason of why mentioning it should be considered as a vain showing off."

Leaving aside the question of "pride", I would like to voice my strong conviction that it is the reasoning that counts within a debate, not the possession of a diploma.

You also write:
"I personally would not mind at all to learn what education you have - no matter whether linguistic professional or whether linguistics is only a hoby to you (I hope one with a serious approach). 
In fact, I’d better know, for everyone can come and voice his/her opinion. What matters, however, is the level of knowledge and of the seriousness of approach of this person towards the respective subjects being discussed, because this is to determine the level of credibility of his/her opinions."

Now, this seems very strange to me, to put it mildly. 

This is a public forum, and "everyone can come and voice his/her opinion", very well !  The accuracy of a statement or the validity of an assertion can certainly be challenged at any time, and the author may be compelled to back up his/her statements by producing evidence, or otherwise to admit that he/she was wrong. The level of his/her knowledge should thus become apparent from the quality of his/her argumentation. 

As for my education, I am a specialist in German studies and a historian, and I have a master’s degree. 
I came here to participate in an open discussion, not to apply for a job as university lecturer.

Your declared approach, that you would "determine the level of credibility" of an argumentation from previously supplied information about the "education" of him/her who produces the argument is contrary to my belief, and I have to to add, no offence meant, that your approach is quite contrary to open-minded and independent thinking. 

Now, bierfly, to your statements on the subject:

You say:
"Another thing that has to be also corrected right away, is that stylistic syntax has not much to do with topicalization, although both are close. But such an issue is far not the subject of the present discussion."

The reason why I focussed on topicalization was that your own examples ( "She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders" / "Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang" and so on ) were in fact examples of the effect of topicalization.

I wrote:
"The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen = "I gave", the subject is already part of the verb."

You reply:
"A pronominal ending of the verb is not an exclusion from the regular SVO structure, but is only a morphological characteristic feature of a language, though syntax related. Some languages have this feature, others don’t. The presence of suffixes to the verb, that indicate the subject, do not make the subject a "part of the verb". "

That is exactly what is indicated by putting the S  in parantheses.
Of course there is a subject present in  "ónen" ("I gave"), but not explicitly, as, for example, in the phrase "Aragorn aun" ("Aragorn gave").

You ask:
"If we accept this to be the case, then how to explain the verb’s Tense inflection? A "part" of what, would then the Tense suffix be?"

A suffix that indicates a tense is without any doubt a part of the verb.

Regarding the flexibility of word order in Sindarin ( "Tôl acharn" ):

You write:
"Anyway, the intriguing part is, that if the Sindarin sentence was built applying the same syntax principles effective in the English language, then I still might not be too much illusional about the use of the "bricks", after all."

As already said, Sindarin has several features in common with English, and with many other real languages, especially Indo-European languages.

Regarding your quote:

>Well, on the other hand, Master T. wrote (Letter # 144) that:
"The living language of the Western Elves (Sindarin or Grey-elven) is the one usually met, especially in names. This is derived from an origin common to it and Quenya; but the changes have been deliberately devised to give it a linguistic character very like (though not identical with) British-Welsh: because that character is one that I find, in some linguistic moods, very attractive; and because it seems to fit the rather ’Celtic’ type of legends and stories told of its speakers."
( my bold)

See what I’m after? <

The most remarkable feature that Sindarin has in common with Welsh, which is, by the way, also an Indo-European language, is the occurrence of mutations. This means, among other things, that the initial consonant of a word changes, dependent on phonological or grammatical reasons, within a certain phrase or compound.
This feature actually gives Sindarin its special flair and makes it to a certain degree sound similar to Welsh.
Quenya, on the other hand, has a different structure, though both languages are derived from a common origin, as stated in your quote.  


Aelindis 16/Jul/2006 at 10:49 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Aldoriana, I am sorry that my remark on mentioning one’s academic titles in a discussion seems offensive to you. Allow me to clarify my point of view, please. 

You write:
"I am proud of my MD, and I don’t see a reason of why mentioning it should be considered as a vain showing off."

Leaving aside the question of "pride", I would like to voice my strong conviction that it is the reasoning that counts within a debate, not the possession of a diploma.

You also write:
"I personally would not mind at all to learn what education you have - no matter whether linguistic professional or whether linguistics is only a hoby to you (I hope one with a serious approach). 
In fact, I’d better know, for everyone can come and voice his/her opinion. What matters, however, is the level of knowledge and of the seriousness of approach of this person towards the respective subjects being discussed, because this is to determine the level of credibility of his/her opinions."

Now, this seems very strange to me, to put it mildly. 

This is a public forum, and "everyone can come and voice his/her opinion", very well !  The accuracy of a statement or the validity of an assertion can certainly be challenged at any time, and the author may be compelled to back up his/her statements by producing evidence, or otherwise to admit that he/she was wrong. The level of his/her knowledge should thus become apparent from the quality of his/her argumentation. 

As for my education, I am a specialist in German studies and a historian, and I have a master’s degree. 
I came here to participate in an open discussion, not to apply for a job as university lecturer.

Your declared approach, that you would "determine the level of credibility" of an argumentation from previously supplied information about the "education" of him/her who produces the argument is contrary to my belief, and I have to to add, no offence meant, that your approach is quite contrary to open-minded and independent thinking. 

Now, bierfly, to your statements on the subject:

You say:
"Another thing that has to be also corrected right away, is that stylistic syntax has not much to do with topicalization, although both are close. But such an issue is far not the subject of the present discussion."

The reason why I focussed on topicalization was that your own examples ( "She sang an old tale of fairies and wonders" / "Of fairies and wonders, an old tale she sang" and so on ) were in fact examples of the effect of topicalization.

I wrote:
"The usual word order is (S)VO.
If the verb has a pronominal ending, as in ónen = "I gave", the subject is already part of the verb."

You reply:
"A pronominal ending of the verb is not an exclusion from the regular SVO structure, but is only a morphological characteristic feature of a language, though syntax related. Some languages have this feature, others don’t. The presence of suffixes to the verb, that indicate the subject, do not make the subject a "part of the verb". "

That is exactly what is indicated by putting the S  in parantheses.
Of course there is a subject present in  "ónen" ("I gave"), but not explicitly, as, for example, in the phrase "Aragorn aun" ("Aragorn gave").

You ask:
"If we accept this to be the case, then how to explain the verb’s Tense inflection? A "part" of what, would then the Tense suffix be?"

A suffix that indicates a tense is without any doubt a part of the verb.

Regarding the flexibility of word order in Sindarin ( "Tôl acharn" ):

You write:
"Anyway, the intriguing part is, that if the Sindarin sentence was built applying the same syntax principles effective in the English language, then I still might not be too much illusional about the use of the "bricks", after all."

As already said, Sindarin has several features in common with English, and with many other real languages, especially Indo-European languages.

Regarding your quote:

>Well, on the other hand, Master T. wrote (Letter # 144) that:
"The living language of the Western Elves (Sindarin or Grey-elven) is the one usually met, especially in names. This is derived from an origin common to it and Quenya; but the changes have been deliberately devised to give it a linguistic character very like (though not identical with) British-Welsh: because that character is one that I find, in some linguistic moods, very attractive; and because it seems to fit the rather ’Celtic’ type of legends and stories told of its speakers."
( my bold)

See what I’m after? <

The most remarkable feature that Sindarin has in common with Welsh, which is, by the way, also an Indo-European language, is the occurrence of mutations. This means, among other things, that the initial consonant of a word changes, dependent on phonological or grammatical reasons, within a certain phrase or compound.
This feature actually gives Sindarin its special flair and makes it to a certain degree sound similar to Welsh.
Quenya, on the other hand, has a different structure, though both languages are derived from a common origin, as stated in your quote.  


Kirinki54 16/Jul/2006 at 03:55 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

What I cannot agree with Master T. ( am I not bold?!!! ) on, is about the following:

He says that:
"if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it."

Sorry, Master, but the contemporary English I find to have fortunately not suffered this disaster!


Well, I have to say that we differ on this point. I am with Tolkien here; modern language is rife with redundancy. I am even tempted to say that this very forum is sometimes an example of this tendency.  Though of course I am joking… We hardly have the same perspective on what we want to achieve as Tolkien had in his works, and it is from this perspective we need to scrutinize his statement.


I wonder sometimes, did people really talk that way in the past times - those times which we (for some strange reason) consider not only ’archaic’ but also "romantic"?
This reminds me of another issue, that has to do with the strong bond between language, language style and the tale to be told.
We have come to think of a certain historical period as of it being "romantic", and "romantic" we then call also the language we read in the literary records from that time. But when you think of it... it might well be that people of that remote time did not actually speak as "romantically", as we read in literature. Their language must have been different from our contemporary one, yet it was ’contemporary’ to them back then, and "romantic" they would’ve not considered it. What happens is that we apply to this language style the same "image" as we do to the time it was spoken in. But of course, it is here where comes the above question - "Did they really speak like that?"... For this style may very well be a product of only and only poetic intervention and invention.
But ... well... things are as they are
.

 

I think few people perceive that they live in “romantic” times; that is mostly something that comes with hindsight. But that does not change the fact that yes, as far as literary and supporting historic sources can tall, they did express themselves in a similar vein. And what is more, Tolkien was an expert in judging this, and to philologically investigate just what images and world views lay behind that. That is just the point as Tolkien wrote in that letter:

 

But there would be an insincerity of thought, a disunion of word and meaning. For a King who spoke in a modern style would not really think in such terms at all, and any reference to sleeping quietly in the grave would be a deliberate archaism of expression on his part (however worded) far more bogus than the actual ’archaic’ English that I have used.

 

You wrote:


One just has to have enough understanding as to recognize a language style and the historical period associated with it, as well as some other related factors such as for example geographical location, ethos, etc. Which, by the way, Master T. emphasizes on, as we read, and which is the main principle of the latest trend in the field of translation - ’localization’ (though if they ask me, localization has always been applied, for as long as different languages have existed. But who’d ask me?!!!

 

Well, I for one might well ask… But then: what is our disagreement (or yours with the Master)? You just expressed the crux of the matter yourself! Though admittedly none of us has the ability that Tolkien had, to delve deep enough to find the real value and nuances emanating from historic roots but still living in a word used for example by the A-S.

 

There is another theory on literary styles brought to light by Tom Shippey in “The Road to Middle-earth”, that originally was formulated by Northrop Frye in “The Anatomy of Critism” (1957). Shippey found it most pertinent to LotR (though Frye included no such references). Frye identified “five ‘modes’ of literature, all defined by the relationship between heroes, environment and humanity” (Shippey):

Myth – hero superior to both other men and environment (thus divine)

Romance – hero superior in degree to other men and in degree to environment

High mimesis – hero superior in degree to other men but not to environment

Low mimesis – hero on level with other men and subject to environment

Irony – hero below other men (anti-hero)

 

“Looking over this table, we can see that European fiction, during the last fifteen centuries, has steadily moved its center of gravity down the list.” (Frye)

 

Most modern readers would naturally be confused of the references to the higher modes. But Tolkien wanted to contain the whole range of ‘modes’ in LotR, not the least because of the characters depicted. (Note that Hobbits was at the bottom of the list.) The solution then, according to Shippey, “was to present in The Lord of the Rings a whole hierarchy of styles”. That is another reason why he was so careful in selecting the exact phrases he saw suitable for each situation, and the effect would naturally be that the setting changed with the representation. But some critics of LotR have found this solution confusing and a mark of poor writing. I myself find it (when pointed out as a literary devise) to be extremely clever and functional.

 

(Sorry for trying to boil down a learned discussion to a few lines…)

 

Thus, “real mod. E” would naturally not suffice in for example modes of romance, and would enhance the motive of being true to world view as expressed by language.

 

And, dear gentlefolks, please try to keep replies on titles and such out of the discussion. Anyone is welcome to tell of their background, but as has been remarked above, what counts is what is presented by argumentation on the issues of discussion. BTW, my own background does not include any studies at all pertaining language per se, but I guess you have clearly perceived that before…

Kirinki54 16/Jul/2006 at 03:55 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

What I cannot agree with Master T. ( am I not bold?!!! ) on, is about the following:

He says that:
"if mod. E. has lost the trick of putting a word desired to emphasize (for pictorial, emotional or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without addition of a lot of little ’empty’ words (as the Chinese say), so much the worse for it."

Sorry, Master, but the contemporary English I find to have fortunately not suffered this disaster!


Well, I have to say that we differ on this point. I am with Tolkien here; modern language is rife with redundancy. I am even tempted to say that this very forum is sometimes an example of this tendency.  Though of course I am joking… We hardly have the same perspective on what we want to achieve as Tolkien had in his works, and it is from this perspective we need to scrutinize his statement.


I wonder sometimes, did people really talk that way in the past times - those times which we (for some strange reason) consider not only ’archaic’ but also "romantic"?
This reminds me of another issue, that has to do with the strong bond between language, language style and the tale to be told.
We have come to think of a certain historical period as of it being "romantic", and "romantic" we then call also the language we read in the literary records from that time. But when you think of it... it might well be that people of that remote time did not actually speak as "romantically", as we read in literature. Their language must have been different from our contemporary one, yet it was ’contemporary’ to them back then, and "romantic" they would’ve not considered it. What happens is that we apply to this language style the same "image" as we do to the time it was spoken in. But of course, it is here where comes the above question - "Did they really speak like that?"... For this style may very well be a product of only and only poetic intervention and invention.
But ... well... things are as they are
.

 

I think few people perceive that they live in “romantic” times; that is mostly something that comes with hindsight. But that does not change the fact that yes, as far as literary and supporting historic sources can tall, they did express themselves in a similar vein. And what is more, Tolkien was an expert in judging this, and to philologically investigate just what images and world views lay behind that. That is just the point as Tolkien wrote in that letter:

 

But there would be an insincerity of thought, a disunion of word and meaning. For a King who spoke in a modern style would not really think in such terms at all, and any reference to sleeping quietly in the grave would be a deliberate archaism of expression on his part (however worded) far more bogus than the actual ’archaic’ English that I have used.

 

You wrote:


One just has to have enough understanding as to recognize a language style and the historical period associated with it, as well as some other related factors such as for example geographical location, ethos, etc. Which, by the way, Master T. emphasizes on, as we read, and which is the main principle of the latest trend in the field of translation - ’localization’ (though if they ask me, localization has always been applied, for as long as different languages have existed. But who’d ask me?!!!

 

Well, I for one might well ask… But then: what is our disagreement (or yours with the Master)? You just expressed the crux of the matter yourself! Though admittedly none of us has the ability that Tolkien had, to delve deep enough to find the real value and nuances emanating from historic roots but still living in a word used for example by the A-S.

 

There is another theory on literary styles brought to light by Tom Shippey in “The Road to Middle-earth”, that originally was formulated by Northrop Frye in “The Anatomy of Critism” (1957). Shippey found it most pertinent to LotR (though Frye included no such references). Frye identified “five ‘modes’ of literature, all defined by the relationship between heroes, environment and humanity” (Shippey):

Myth – hero superior to both other men and environment (thus divine)

Romance – hero superior in degree to other men and in degree to environment

High mimesis – hero superior in degree to other men but not to environment

Low mimesis – hero on level with other men and subject to environment

Irony – hero below other men (anti-hero)

 

“Looking over this table, we can see that European fiction, during the last fifteen centuries, has steadily moved its center of gravity down the list.” (Frye)

 

Most modern readers would naturally be confused of the references to the higher modes. But Tolkien wanted to contain the whole range of ‘modes’ in LotR, not the least because of the characters depicted. (Note that Hobbits was at the bottom of the list.) The solution then, according to Shippey, “was to present in The Lord of the Rings a whole hierarchy of styles”. That is another reason why he was so careful in selecting the exact phrases he saw suitable for each situation, and the effect would naturally be that the setting changed with the representation. But some critics of LotR have found this solution confusing and a mark of poor writing. I myself find it (when pointed out as a literary devise) to be extremely clever and functional.

 

(Sorry for trying to boil down a learned discussion to a few lines…)

 

Thus, “real mod. E” would naturally not suffice in for example modes of romance, and would enhance the motive of being true to world view as expressed by language.

 

And, dear gentlefolks, please try to keep replies on titles and such out of the discussion. Anyone is welcome to tell of their background, but as has been remarked above, what counts is what is presented by argumentation on the issues of discussion. BTW, my own background does not include any studies at all pertaining language per se, but I guess you have clearly perceived that before…

Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Jul/2006 at 10:33 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
"Thus, “real mod. E” would naturally not suffice in for example modes of romance, and would enhance the motive of being true to world view as expressed by language."

I liked this very much!

"Most modern readers would naturally be confused of the references to the higher modes. But Tolkien wanted to contain the whole range of ‘modes’ in LotR, not the least because of the characters depicted. (Note that Hobbits was at the bottom of the list.) The solution then, according to Shippey, “was to present in The Lord of the Rings a whole hierarchy of styles”. That is another reason why he was so careful in selecting the exact phrases he saw suitable for each situation, and the effect would naturally be that the setting changed with the representation. But some critics of LotR have found this solution confusing and a mark of poor writing. I myself find it (when pointed out as a literary devise) to be extremely clever and functional."

I, for one, do not mind the use of that "trick" at all! I can’t, of course feel what the dissatisfaction of the critics came from, for I suspect, one has to have been born and to have grown up in an English language country environment, in order to feel that.
But I like this "switching" between styles, and entering here and there some (only several) elements from the particular syle (and not switching to this style of speech completely). IMHO, it gives a better image of the time and the place of the events. Had he switched completely to a certain style of speech, the text would’ve become very hard to read.

I haven’t yet come to those chapters of Shippey’s "RoME", parts wherefrom you are bringing in here, but I’m on it.
I personally respect Shippey’s analyses, observations and conclusions very much!

"But who’d ask me?!!!

Well, I for one might well ask….."

You would dare?


"... Though admittedly none of us has the ability that Tolkien had, to delve deep enough to find the real value and nuances emanating from historic roots but still living in a word used for example by the A-S."

And let’s also not forget that Master T. was most intrigued in how "real value and nuances" of language emanated from myth, and on the other hand, how myth itself - in all its ’real value and nuances’, could emanate from a word! Right?
I guess, that was his chief "entertainment".
Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Jul/2006 at 10:33 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
"Thus, “real mod. E” would naturally not suffice in for example modes of romance, and would enhance the motive of being true to world view as expressed by language."

I liked this very much!

"Most modern readers would naturally be confused of the references to the higher modes. But Tolkien wanted to contain the whole range of ‘modes’ in LotR, not the least because of the characters depicted. (Note that Hobbits was at the bottom of the list.) The solution then, according to Shippey, “was to present in The Lord of the Rings a whole hierarchy of styles”. That is another reason why he was so careful in selecting the exact phrases he saw suitable for each situation, and the effect would naturally be that the setting changed with the representation. But some critics of LotR have found this solution confusing and a mark of poor writing. I myself find it (when pointed out as a literary devise) to be extremely clever and functional."

I, for one, do not mind the use of that "trick" at all! I can’t, of course feel what the dissatisfaction of the critics came from, for I suspect, one has to have been born and to have grown up in an English language country environment, in order to feel that.
But I like this "switching" between styles, and entering here and there some (only several) elements from the particular syle (and not switching to this style of speech completely). IMHO, it gives a better image of the time and the place of the events. Had he switched completely to a certain style of speech, the text would’ve become very hard to read.

I haven’t yet come to those chapters of Shippey’s "RoME", parts wherefrom you are bringing in here, but I’m on it.
I personally respect Shippey’s analyses, observations and conclusions very much!

"But who’d ask me?!!!

Well, I for one might well ask….."

You would dare?


"... Though admittedly none of us has the ability that Tolkien had, to delve deep enough to find the real value and nuances emanating from historic roots but still living in a word used for example by the A-S."

And let’s also not forget that Master T. was most intrigued in how "real value and nuances" of language emanated from myth, and on the other hand, how myth itself - in all its ’real value and nuances’, could emanate from a word! Right?
I guess, that was his chief "entertainment".
Aelindis 17/Jul/2006 at 04:33 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Kirinki54, although, primarily, I wanted to contribute a few snippets of information to the understanding of Tolkien’s comments on the term "Elves", and subsequently, on the structure of Tolkien’s invented languages, it seems to me that details on grammar, word order, phonology etc. of those languges are actually of secondary importance, if a linguistic analysis of  LotR is intended.

After all, the number of Elvish samples, apart from the names of people and places, is rather limited, and if it were not for posthumous publications, our knowledge and understanding of the Elvish languages would amount to the total of what we have in LotR plus Appendices. Of course, the Elvish names and occasionally interspersed sentences and poems enhance the frequently observed feeling of historical "depth" of the narration.

Your spot-on quote from Letter 171 is of special importance for the estimation of Tolkien’s views concerning nuances of his English style.  

Your observation:  "[...] modern language is rife with redundancy. I am even tempted to say that this very forum is sometimes an example of this tendency" is absolutely correct, also or maybe especially referring to my own posts, and I am not trying to make excuses by saying that English is not my native languge.

May I close my (active) participation in your interesing thread by quoting from an essay by T. A. Shippey : 

"[...] it seems to me that one of the major sources of [ LotR’s ] continuing appeal, fifty years on, is the enormous range of its vocabulary  -  I think I would back Tolkien against Shakespeare any day, and certainly against any modern author  -  and along with that the extreme versatility of its narrative styles. Tolkien is often rebuked for being archaic, and he is, of course, with a whole range of odd or barely comprehensible words coming from the Riders, from Gandalf, from Treebeard. But he is also frequently highly colloquial, with the voices of Hamfast and Samwise Gamgee, and the other Hobbits too, and this is very much part of philological tradition  -  philology, I may well say, has always been a highly democratic tradition, quite unlike the increasingly haughty and confessedly élitist tradition of modernist literature (let alone postmodernist literature). Going back to Tolkien’s range of styles, one of the amusing things in his work is to hear the hobbits trying to change their speech, with Merry in particular trying to talk to Théoden KIng in a way which Théoden will accept and understand, and Pippin more awkwardly trying to talk in Gondorian fashion to Denethor." *

* T. A. Shippey, "History in Words. Tolkien’s Ruling Passion," in Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, ed., The Lord of the Rings 1954 - 2004. Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder (Marquette University Press, 2006), 37.

(Tributed 8-17-06)

 

Aelindis 17/Jul/2006 at 04:33 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004

Kirinki54, although, primarily, I wanted to contribute a few snippets of information to the understanding of Tolkien’s comments on the term "Elves", and subsequently, on the structure of Tolkien’s invented languages, it seems to me that details on grammar, word order, phonology etc. of those languges are actually of secondary importance, if a linguistic analysis of  LotR is intended.

After all, the number of Elvish samples, apart from the names of people and places, is rather limited, and if it were not for posthumous publications, our knowledge and understanding of the Elvish languages would amount to the total of what we have in LotR plus Appendices. Of course, the Elvish names and occasionally interspersed sentences and poems enhance the frequently observed feeling of historical "depth" of the narration.

Your spot-on quote from Letter 171 is of special importance for the estimation of Tolkien’s views concerning nuances of his English style.  

Your observation:  "[...] modern language is rife with redundancy. I am even tempted to say that this very forum is sometimes an example of this tendency" is absolutely correct, also or maybe especially referring to my own posts, and I am not trying to make excuses by saying that English is not my native languge.

May I close my (active) participation in your interesing thread by quoting from an essay by T. A. Shippey : 

"[...] it seems to me that one of the major sources of [ LotR’s ] continuing appeal, fifty years on, is the enormous range of its vocabulary  -  I think I would back Tolkien against Shakespeare any day, and certainly against any modern author  -  and along with that the extreme versatility of its narrative styles. Tolkien is often rebuked for being archaic, and he is, of course, with a whole range of odd or barely comprehensible words coming from the Riders, from Gandalf, from Treebeard. But he is also frequently highly colloquial, with the voices of Hamfast and Samwise Gamgee, and the other Hobbits too, and this is very much part of philological tradition  -  philology, I may well say, has always been a highly democratic tradition, quite unlike the increasingly haughty and confessedly élitist tradition of modernist literature (let alone postmodernist literature). Going back to Tolkien’s range of styles, one of the amusing things in his work is to hear the hobbits trying to change their speech, with Merry in particular trying to talk to Théoden KIng in a way which Théoden will accept and understand, and Pippin more awkwardly trying to talk in Gondorian fashion to Denethor." *

* T. A. Shippey, "History in Words. Tolkien’s Ruling Passion," in Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, ed., The Lord of the Rings 1954 - 2004. Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder (Marquette University Press, 2006), 37.

(Tributed 8-17-06)

 

Kirinki54 23/Aug/2006 at 01:44 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

There is a nice thread by Aldoriana, Tolkien and Iceland: The Philology of envy, which can be found here if you wish to participate.

 

I have taken the liberty to use the article by Tom Shippey that is the starting point of her thread; the article is named as Aldoriana´s thread.

 

I have also taken the liberty to copy a passage from Shippey´s article (though it deserves to be read in full).

 

Let me take first the lesser issue of linguistic correspondences in The Lord of the Rings. We know now that Tolkien had great difficulty in getting his story going. In my opinion, he did not break through until, on February 9th 1942, he settled the issue of languages. Think about the dwarves, with their Old Norse names. Clearly it was not possible for the dwarves really to have had Old Norse names, they lived long long ago, long before Old Norse was a language. So the names Tolkien had given them, in work written in modern English, must be there just to show that the dwarves, for convenience, spoke a language which related to the hobbits’ language in the same sort of way as Old Norse to modern English, or modern Icelandic to modern English - these things do happen in reality. But if that was the case, then it was possible to imagine, in Middle-earth, a place where people were still speaking Old English, or even Gothic, a place where the poem Beowulf was still alive. Once Tolkien allowed himself to think this - and we can see him doing so on p. 424 of The Treason of Isengard - then he could immediately, and with great ease, imagine the society of the Riders of Rohan, or the Riddermark, contrast them with the post-Imperial society of Gondor, and allow his story suddenly to expand in entirely new and to Tolkien quite unexpected directions. The linguistic correspondences freed Tolkien’s imagination. They made the book three times as long as it was supposed to be. That’s the first half of philology. (Tom Shippey: Symposium, The Nordic House. Tolkien, Laxness, Undset. September 13th -14th 2002) (my bold)

 

So, what what do we find on page 424 in The Treason of Isengard? In this chapter XXIII NOTES ON VARIOUS TOPICS Christopher Tolkien finds among other things this:

 

Another group of notes reads:                                       

                                                                       

   Language of Shire = modern English                                  

   Language of Dale = Norse (used by Dwarves of that region)           

   Language of Rohan = Old English                                      

   ’Modern English’ is lingua franca spoken by all people (except a few

   secluded folk like Lorien) - but little and ill by orcs.            

                                                                       

So, after all the (interesting) meandering done in this thread, we might return for a moment to the crux of the matter. Some fellow posters have helped me (and vice versa) to explore precisely the aspect of linguistic discoveries as a key factor in the conception and creation of LotR. It is gratifying to find that scholars like Shippey have made the same conclusion. (Though please note that of course no comparisons are intended – a work like “The Road to Middle-earth” is incomparably more learned and insightful than any commentary I might produce!)

 

What I find somewhat surprising to observe, is the difference between the above approach that Tolkien decided to adopt for LotR, and the conception process of the Silmarillion corpus. It was largely born out of the invention of the Elven languages (even though the extremely important Eärendil myth had an explicit Anglo-Saxon inspiration). This approach (if one can call it that) had served him well. But perhaps he found that – given the nature of LotR – an approach of invented languages would not suffice?

 

Largely I also think that the ‘break-through’ might be connected to his current professional views and course at that time. It has been said that Tolkien was disappointed of the possibilities to conduct ‘proper’ research (according to his own standards), and had found that the direction he travelled in was futile and wasted in light of the academic community at large. While still acting as the perfect don and professor, he now embarked for his own destination.

 

Of course, regarding the creation of LotR, it was a stroke of pure genius to incorporate languages that had once or was still spoken. Apart from the linguistic discoveries per se, it helped to fill all the gaps regarding the transformation of lore and history; it was a perfect setup. I also believe that it was – from many aspects - the most logic solution in terms of the narrative and the plot. It served many literary purposes.

 

Perhaps you concur with the above, perhaps not? Was the ‘break-through’ the key not only to writing the LotR, but also the (ongoing) success with many readers and devoted fans?

Kirinki54 23/Aug/2006 at 01:44 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

There is a nice thread by Aldoriana, Tolkien and Iceland: The Philology of envy, which can be found here if you wish to participate.

 

I have taken the liberty to use the article by Tom Shippey that is the starting point of her thread; the article is named as Aldoriana´s thread.

 

I have also taken the liberty to copy a passage from Shippey´s article (though it deserves to be read in full).

 

Let me take first the lesser issue of linguistic correspondences in The Lord of the Rings. We know now that Tolkien had great difficulty in getting his story going. In my opinion, he did not break through until, on February 9th 1942, he settled the issue of languages. Think about the dwarves, with their Old Norse names. Clearly it was not possible for the dwarves really to have had Old Norse names, they lived long long ago, long before Old Norse was a language. So the names Tolkien had given them, in work written in modern English, must be there just to show that the dwarves, for convenience, spoke a language which related to the hobbits’ language in the same sort of way as Old Norse to modern English, or modern Icelandic to modern English - these things do happen in reality. But if that was the case, then it was possible to imagine, in Middle-earth, a place where people were still speaking Old English, or even Gothic, a place where the poem Beowulf was still alive. Once Tolkien allowed himself to think this - and we can see him doing so on p. 424 of The Treason of Isengard - then he could immediately, and with great ease, imagine the society of the Riders of Rohan, or the Riddermark, contrast them with the post-Imperial society of Gondor, and allow his story suddenly to expand in entirely new and to Tolkien quite unexpected directions. The linguistic correspondences freed Tolkien’s imagination. They made the book three times as long as it was supposed to be. That’s the first half of philology. (Tom Shippey: Symposium, The Nordic House. Tolkien, Laxness, Undset. September 13th -14th 2002) (my bold)

 

So, what what do we find on page 424 in The Treason of Isengard? In this chapter XXIII NOTES ON VARIOUS TOPICS Christopher Tolkien finds among other things this:

 

Another group of notes reads:                                       

                                                                       

   Language of Shire = modern English                                  

   Language of Dale = Norse (used by Dwarves of that region)           

   Language of Rohan = Old English                                      

   ’Modern English’ is lingua franca spoken by all people (except a few

   secluded folk like Lorien) - but little and ill by orcs.            

                                                                       

So, after all the (interesting) meandering done in this thread, we might return for a moment to the crux of the matter. Some fellow posters have helped me (and vice versa) to explore precisely the aspect of linguistic discoveries as a key factor in the conception and creation of LotR. It is gratifying to find that scholars like Shippey have made the same conclusion. (Though please note that of course no comparisons are intended – a work like “The Road to Middle-earth” is incomparably more learned and insightful than any commentary I might produce!)

 

What I find somewhat surprising to observe, is the difference between the above approach that Tolkien decided to adopt for LotR, and the conception process of the Silmarillion corpus. It was largely born out of the invention of the Elven languages (even though the extremely important Eärendil myth had an explicit Anglo-Saxon inspiration). This approach (if one can call it that) had served him well. But perhaps he found that – given the nature of LotR – an approach of invented languages would not suffice?

 

Largely I also think that the ‘break-through’ might be connected to his current professional views and course at that time. It has been said that Tolkien was disappointed of the possibilities to conduct ‘proper’ research (according to his own standards), and had found that the direction he travelled in was futile and wasted in light of the academic community at large. While still acting as the perfect don and professor, he now embarked for his own destination.

 

Of course, regarding the creation of LotR, it was a stroke of pure genius to incorporate languages that had once or was still spoken. Apart from the linguistic discoveries per se, it helped to fill all the gaps regarding the transformation of lore and history; it was a perfect setup. I also believe that it was – from many aspects - the most logic solution in terms of the narrative and the plot. It served many literary purposes.