Manny’s review of The Hobbit or There and Back Again > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert I'm fascinated by philology but not equiped to pursue it. :-(


message 2: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Okay, so what about Tomnoddy? Of course, that's insulting to anyone. =)

I was amazed when I started learning Sindarin that almost all the names for things are just literal translations of their English names (or vice-versa, I mean). So like Aglarond means glittering cave, Legolas means Greenleaf, etc. I thought that was cool.

Also, I think all the words in the speech of the Eorlingas are actual Old English words, so we know a lot of those words now just from reading the LotR trilogy a gazillion times.

I remember being shocked when realizing a lot of the Fremen words from Dune are actually Arabic. It's nice to accidentally learn something from the real world too when you get involved in fiction. =)


message 3: by Manny (new)

Manny Tatiana wrote: "I remember being shocked when realizing a lot of the Fremen words from Dune are actually Arabic."

Tatiana: if you haven't already done so, you might want to take a look at my review of Dune, where I expand on this theme.




message 4: by Trice (last edited May 10, 2010 07:20AM) (new)

Trice lol -- that question (origin of 'attercop') randomly popped into my head 2 days ago at which point I got distracted by daily life - thank you for answering it for me!

I love his personal history with languages, as well as what he does with them in his writing


message 5: by unknown (new)

unknown More fun language trivia - in the earlier editions, Tolkien referred to the High Wood Elves as "gnomes" because of the derivation from the Greek "gnosis," but changed because obviously what comes to mind is garish garden decorations.




message 6: by Srikumar (new)

Srikumar Krishna Iyer Totally agree with you... A new language learnt will take us to a new horizon & open many doors, which weren't visible(accessible?) earlier...
Thanks for sharing ur feeling.....


message 7: by Neil (new)

Neil Manny did you first read Tolkien's books in English?


message 8: by Manny (new)

Manny Neil wrote: "Manny did you first read Tolkien's books in English?"

Absolutely. In fact I have never read them in any other language.


message 9: by Neil (new)

Neil Manny wrote: "Neil wrote: "Manny did you first read Tolkien's books in English?"

Absolutely. In fact I have never read them in any other language."


What hooked me was the epic use of archaic language he uses throughout his works, I wonder if they would translate well, maybe they would with another Germanic language, I only speak English, though I've often wondered about it


message 10: by Manny (new)

Manny I must look at a French translation! Now I have to know too :)


message 11: by Neil (new)

Neil Manny wrote: "I must look at a French translation! Now I have to know too :)"

Yay, post your findings:)


message 12: by Manny (new)

Manny Start by looking here.


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert I find it no fun at all to acquire a new language; I just find it impossible. I think it would be immense fun to have acquired a new language, though. E.g. English...


bileys little stupid kindle you're right about that Robert. I have a Japanese teacher who randomly starts speaking in japanese and im just like ...
the hell?


message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert Bails_Williams wrote: "you're right about that Robert. I have a Japanese teacher who randomly starts speaking in japanese and im just like ...
the hell?"


Is your Japanese teacher Japanese?


bileys little stupid kindle sorry Robert, she isn't. also isnt that racist but still, i dont really care


message 17: by Tatiana (last edited Mar 17, 2015 08:25PM) (new)

Tatiana I've started reading El Hobbit (in Spanish) and it's giving me a whole new feeling for the story. It's all new to me again, in some way. Of course it's much slower going for me, since my Spanish is only so-so (I've been studying it on duolingo for about 7 months now) and part of it may have to do with just how much more you notice when you read slower. But part of it is the language itself, which is making the story fresh for me again. It's pretty awesome! After El Hobbit, I plan to read the whole Señor de los Anillos trilogy.


message 18: by Manny (new)

Manny Hey, I'm learning Spanish too! Though I decided to read Persépolis instead, which is also working pretty well.

I seriously considered El Hobbit... actually got as far as taking it down from the shelf at the bookstore and leafing through it before putting it back. An impressive near-coincidence!


message 19: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Manny wrote: "An impressive near-coincidence!"

And on such things entire mumbo-jombo belief systems are built...


message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny As Lea Thompson says in Howard the Duck, everything happens for a purpose!


message 21: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I'm sceptical.


message 22: by Manny (new)

Manny What?!

Look, if Howard hadn't been fetched from the Duck Planet by Dr Jenning's laser spectroscope, no one would have been there to save Earth from the Dark Overlord. I know you'll say it's just a story, but things like that happen all the time... it's really more a parable. How much proof do you need?


message 23: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Manny wrote: "How much proof do you need?"

You're persuasive, of course, but I think I need to talk to the Duck.


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I thought everything happened for a porpoise. I've given up trying to assimilate.


message 25: by Manny (new)

Manny Cecily, you must have been born from a really hard-boiled egg.


bileys little stupid kindle what is this about eggs and ducks?


message 27: by Manny (new)

Manny Bails_Williams wrote: "what is this about eggs and ducks?"

Bails, you have to see Howard the Duck . It's a masterpiece of bad taste. Or if you're in a hurry, save time by just checking out the ten most disturbing moments...


message 28: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Bails_Williams wrote: "what is this about eggs and ducks?"

Which came first?


message 29: by Robert (new)

Robert Cecily wrote: "Bails_Williams wrote: "what is this about eggs and ducks?"

Which came first?"


Eggs.


bileys little stupid kindle ok thanks manny. Will look it up on YouTube today.


message 31: by Miquel (new)

Miquel Reina I think that is my favourite book of all time! ;)


message 32: by Nate (new)

Nate Yeah, I think I read somewhere that Tolkien based a lot of his languages on Norwegian. But you have a lot of patience to wait 40 years for an answer! I pretty much only thought of the question as I was reading your review.


message 33: by Manny (last edited Apr 26, 2017 10:23PM) (new)

Manny He clearly uses Norwegian/Swedish/Old Norse/Old English for the Westron tongue and the language of the Rohirrim. The language of the Sindarin is equally clearly based on Welsh. Quenya is supposed to be based on Finnish, but that's less obvious to me (perhaps because I know very little Finnish). Looking at the Wikipedia entry for Khuzdul, the language of the Dwarves, I see it's vaguely based on Hebrew.


message 34: by Thomas Ray (new)

Thomas Ray Tolkien said his interest in the stories was mainly linguistic.

The Sackville-Bagginses were the Bagginses' nemeses. Tolkien had a colleague, Sackville-West. I wonder whether Tolkien hated him, or whether naming the bad guys after him was good-natured.


message 35: by Robert (new)

Robert Manny wrote: "He clearly uses Norwegian/Swedish/Old Norse/Old English for the Westron tongue and the language of the Rohirrim. The language of the Sindarin is equally clearly based on Welsh. Quenya is supposed t..."

On Quenya and Finnish see:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Review and comments.


message 36: by Manny (new)

Manny The more I get to know about the linguistic aspects, the more impressed I become.

Today's discovery: he even invented a basic sign language (!) for the Dwarves. I do hope that some Deaf Tolkien-geek has taken the trouble to elaborate this. I would love to be able to sign "By Durin's beard!" or "There is a balrog in the West Hall".


message 37: by Robert (new)

Robert Manny wrote: "The more I get to know about the linguistic aspects, the more impressed I become.

Today's discovery: he even invented a basic sign language (!) for the Dwarves. I do hope that some Deaf Tolkien-g..."


"You shall not pass!"


message 38: by Manny (new)

Manny On thinking about it, there must be a full two-handed version and a reduced one-handed version suitable for a Dwarf holding a hammer or an axe.


message 39: by Robert (new)

Robert Manny wrote: "On thinking about it, there must be a full two-handed version and a reduced one-handed version suitable for a Dwarf holding a hammer or an axe."

You'd definitely want a single sign for "Balrog!" Having to spell it out would potentially cost lives.


message 40: by Manny (new)

Manny Yup, I think that's clear. And it would need to be a one-handed sign too.


message 41: by Nate (new)

Nate Manny wrote: "On thinking about it, there must be a full two-handed version and a reduced one-handed version suitable for a Dwarf holding a hammer or an axe."

According to https://dwarves-of-the-lonely-mountai... ,
"It is hindered if both hands are not free for use....But it is flexible enough that if a gesture normally requires two hands, a one-handed approximation is usually clear enough in context to be read correctly."

I've actually thought about making up something like this (a sign language so subtle no one knows you're using it) before, so it's pretty cool that Tolkien already has! Do you know if he actually made up the entire language, or just the concept of it?


message 42: by Manny (new)

Manny With anyone else, I'd be sure they'd just made up the concept and left it at that. With Tolkien, I'd say 50/50 that there's a series of unpublished A4 notebooks with hand diagrams, syntax wittily combining elements from Old Irish Sign Language and borrowings from Langue de Signes Française, and everything painstakingly adapted for short, stocky signers with beards and axes.


message 43: by Robert (new)

Robert Manny wrote: "With anyone else, I'd be sure they'd just made up the concept and left it at that. With Tolkien, I'd say 50/50 that there's a series of unpublished A4 notebooks with hand diagrams, syntax wittily c..."

Probably scribbled on the back of a bunch of Oxford exam scripts...


message 44: by erin (new)

erin Thank you for that little etymology lesson!
I was also curious about "Attercop"
Knowledge is power ;)


message 45: by Manny (new)

Manny Hey, thank you erin! Always a pleasure to meet another etymology fan :)


message 46: by Acompassforbooks (new)

Acompassforbooks Great review! Love the book and language! :)


message 47: by Manny (new)

Manny There are so many language Easter eggs in Tolkien! The other day, I just noticed for the first time that in the passage from "The Field of Cormallen" when the hobbits are being publicly honoured ("Praise them with great praise!"), the praise is being uttered in Westron, Sindarin and Quenya.


message 48: by Manny (new)

Manny 'Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!

Cuio i Pheriain anann! Aglar'ni Pheriannath!

Praise them with great praise, Frodo and Samwise!

Daur a Berhael, Conin en Annûn! Eglerio!

Praise them!

Eglerio!

A laita te, laita te! Andave laituvalmet!

Praise them!

Cormacolindor, a laita tárienna!

Praise them! The Ring-bearers, praise them with great praise!'


message 49: by Manny (new)

Manny And after further hunting around, I've found this page, where you can hear the Quenya part read out loud. It does indeed sound a whole lot like Finnish.


message 50: by Daniele (new)

Daniele this is really interesting, I wonder if anyone has compiled a list of similar references


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