[LMB] Reading in different languages
mark at allums.email
Wed Oct 13 01:12:30 BST 2021
IIRC, orcs were goblins bred/engineered into a semblance/mockery of
elves. So, yeah.
On 10/12/2021 1:28 PM, Eric Oppen wrote:
> "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>
>> 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
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