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Magradhaid 01/Dec/2006 at 10:48 AM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
   Thorsten ( 2656 Points ) Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at 18:29
   Sentinel of Lothlorien       View Thorstenís profileProfile Visit Thorstenís homepageHomepage
Having learned Elvish at this incredibly informative and helpful website, you come here and there are others asking for a good place to learn Elvish and to find info - so in order to be helpful, you should tell him the link, shouldnít you?

Well, it tells of your intentions to help, but no, you shouldnít.

If a friend of yours is in legal trouble - would you give him advice on what he should do based on what you have seen in your favourite TV series lately? I donít think so, youíd leave him to someone who has studied law.

If someone asks where he can read up about Elvish, heís prepared to spend a lot of evenings learning the language - donít you think he will be pretty angry if he discoveres that heís been sent to a bad place and has learned some things which have little to do with Tolkienís languages? Donít you think he deserves to be told about what places offer what?

So, like the legal advice, it is better to leave recommending links to people who have actually studied the matter and know what they are recommending and why. In fact, lists of links have been gathered precisely for that purpose, see the first post in the Language Helpdesk [snip].

So - if you want to be helpful, all you need to do is to send people there, and you can be sure they see a) a choice of resources and not only one b) a choice of reliable resources.

Some popular recommendations (and whatís wrong with them):
The Grey Company
It looks like Tolkienís Elvish, it has a few sentences of Tolkienís Elvish, it even uses tengwar to write things - but in fact it isnít. Itís a fake, made up from elements of Tolkienís languages and has almost nothing to do with his creations Sindarin and Quenya. If you learned Elvish there, youíre in for the sad news - you have to relearn everything.

Learn Elvish
This looks even more like Tolkienís Elvish, and in fact it is... sort of. Itís an attempt to teach Sindarin and Quenya by someone who has a rudimentary grasp of the underlying grammar but doesnít really distinguish between Sindarin and Quenya and makes lots of mistakes. <Lang Mod edit>: Their glossaries are still horrible, but now they simply link to Thorsten’s page on Tolkienian languages for the grammatical part (probably without permission, too).

Quenya verb conjugation:
Infinitive Ė ex. ďTultaĒ = ďto comeĒ (suffix Ėa, -ya-, -ta, -na)

The suffixes quoted are derivational suffixes for primitive Elvish roots, the verb íto comeí has in fact the infinitive/gerund forms tulŽ, tulita and tuliŽ, but tulta- is a separate verb íto fetch, to summoní as you can easily verify in íThe Lost Roadí page 395.

The Council of Elrond
This site is really a honest attempt of putting together reliable info in a Sindarin and a Quenya course. The courses are rather compact, though, so they provide a good background but leave out details and exceptions at times.

There is, however, a small problem: The courses are getting old. Of course, Sindarin doesnít evolve, but our knowledge does - with every publication of Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon (where Tolkienís linguistic writings appear) we learn more about Elvish grammar - and therefore, regular updates are important.

Example: The pronoun reconstruction dates from 3-19-03. Both Aaron íGildor Inglorioní Shaw and Florian íLothenoní Dombachí have changed their ideas substantially in the mean time. Hereís what Lothenon has to say:
I had planned to mark the article as "not up-to-date" quite some time now, I hope I can manage to do so soon, and hope Aaron will do the same, since I am somewhat tired of saying "Oh, yes, that was me, but itís not my points of view anymore, look at Thorstenís course, he believes quite the same as I do now"

So, unless the Council of Elrond gets someone to update the courses (I know that Aaron is not doing it) they will cease to be useful in the near future.
<Lang Mod edit>: At the moment the most inaccurate parts of their Sindarin workbook are the pronouns and verb conjugations.

Helge Fauskangerís site - and heís a well-known Elvish scholar with a lot of knowledge and there are good articles on his site. However, Helge in general writes very technically, and this is bound to scare off a beginner, especially someone who just wants to learn a few sentences in the language.

So - whereís the catch? I think itís here - I would recommend Ardalambion, but not only Ardalambion, because there are a lot of other good scholars out there, and one should not forget that these are only Helgeís theories, not truth. So, in order to get a more balanced picture (Helge tends to leave out evidence at times) one actually should read up some other sources and compare.

*gasp* Helge does things wrong?
Oh, yes, he does:

Suggested conjugation of Sindarin verbs (Helge):
muda- "labour, toil", inf. mudo, pr.t. muda, pa.t. mudanne- (3 sg mudant)

Etymologies, íThe Lost Roadí page 373 (Tolkien):
mudo (pa.t. mudas)

So, itís mudas, not **mudant

Suggested conjugation of Sindarin verbs (Helge):
aphada- "follow"
íThe War of the Jewelsí, page 387 (Tolkien):
S: aphad- ífollowí

So, itís aphad-, not **aphada-.

If you only read Ardalambion, youíll never learn about these things. So - donít recommend Ardalambion alone, recommend some other good sites offering alternative views.

So, how do I know? Well, by reading what Tolkien has written, going through the primary evidence, comparing my own observations to what is said on the various websites and so on. Itís a slow and hard learning process, but I hope to have demonstrated above, I donít deal in rumors - I can back up every claim I make that someone is wrong with a reference to Tolkienís writings.

So - do us a favour - do not confuse people by randomly advocating websites. Point them to the compiled lists of links. If you think weíve overlooked a good site, tell us. If it really is good, then everyone will be glad to include it into the list.

Thanks for listening!
SŪnead 31/Dec/2006 at 02:01 PM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 901 Posts: 397 Joined: 24/Jan/2009
I really do apologise most profoundly if I shouldn’t post in here. Really. Don’t shoot me. All I need to ask is whether or not I can recommend a website in this thread - or where I should be doing it. I’ve heard quite a few people around here asking about Latin, and I just wanted to say that the website is the site for the Cambridge Latin Course - and is brilliant for anyone wishing to test, brush up or learn Latin.
Sorry again if this is misplaced and I didn’t see a very obvious notice saying not to post in here...