[LMB] Reading in different languages

Eric Oppen ravenclaweric at gmail.com
Tue Oct 12 19:28:47 BST 2021


"Ent" was the AS word for "giant," and the Ents in the books and movies
qualify easily.

Watching the scene in The Two Towers when the Ents are wrecking Saruman's
workshops, I thought that the Kindly Old Professor would have been loving
every moment of it.  He loved trees and green things in general, and
disliked industrialization pretty strongly.

I've also thought that if I could have shown him the Warhammer Fantasy
universe, he might have thought that the Chaos Beastmen were an idea he
could have used himself.  He was never too comfortable with orcs and such
being "always evil," and changed his mind several times about where they'd
come from.  Having Sauron or Morgoth corrupt innocent animals into
murderous mutants for their armies might have been more up his alley.



On Tue, Oct 12, 2021 at 6:34 AM John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Marina: Old Icelandic underlays much of the Elven language.
>
> John: Um, not so. Old English and Old Norse (= Old Icelandic) underlie
> Rohirric strongly, and various other details, like 'wargs' and lots of
> names (Frodo, Samwise, Deagol and Smeagol) ; but Quenya was based on
> Finnish and Sindarin on Welsh (both for largely aesthetic reasons and after
> a grammatical as much as morphological and rather than lexical fashion),
> and when JRRT says (in the foreword to the 2/e of LR) that the story was
> needed to explain the language history he wasn't kidding because he had a
> Celtic language evolving from a Finno-Ugric language, which is like having
> an aardvark evolve into a flying hexapuma. Only massive disruption --
> displacement, migration, splintering, isolation, radically new terrain and
> lifestyles -- can hope to explain it plausibly to a philologist : hence the
> Madness at Alqualonde, the Revolt and Exile of the Noldor, the
> humongous timescale, and then the destruction of Beleriand with all that
> follows.  And why would any Noldorin Elf do such a thing? Well, there were
> these Silmarils, you see ... all so that Sindarin might half-plausibly
> arise from Quenya, however it kinda acquired its own life and
> momentum along the way.
>
> Seriously. This is the man who came across a single poetic reference in Old
> Norse to tribes of thyrses (whatever they may have been) living in
> rainwashed mountains, remembered that there was a single occurrence in an
> obscure OE poem of the untranslatable compound noun "orc-thyrs", and voila,
> the Misty Mountains full or orcs ; just as he came across the phrase
> "orthanc enta geweork" in OE, 'the cunning work of giants', probably
> meaning old Roman architecture which wowed folks who'd temporarily lost the
> arch, and from it took both Orthanc and its silvian nemesis.* Words were
> his life, professional and as a hobby.
>
> See also his notes to translators of LR, now most readily available in the
> Hammond & Scull *Reader's Companion to LR*.
>
> * Plus, he was slapping at Shakespeare, having found the pseudo-movement of
> Birnam Wood to Dunsinane a rotten swiz. If you're gonna have moving woods,
> do it properly!
> --
> John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)
>
> Associate Member, Hughes Hall, Cambridge
> Independent Scholar
> www.humanities-ebooks.co.uk
>
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>
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>
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