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484Re: "A Gateway to Sindarin"

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Nov 5, 2004
      In Elfling message 30553
      (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/30553>), David Salo
      writes of his now-published book, _A Gateway to Sindarin_:

      > It is not intended to be the last word on Sindarin; it would be
      > impossible to create a book like this that was error-free.

      Er... no, it isn't. All one has to do is avoid claiming more than is
      actually currently known; i.e., to avoid asserting as fact what is in
      fact only conjecture. (Not that there's anything wrong with conjecture,
      so long as the conjecture is well-founded, so long as it is not made in
      the face of suppressed counter-evidence, and so long as one avoids
      pretending that it is anything more than conjecture. Oh, wait...) But
      then again, the sufficient and necessary way to achieve this is to
      allow one's work to be reviewed prior to publication by someone(s) with
      both the means and the willingness to assess your claims and to
      disagree with you when you err or overreach, so you're probably right.

      > It is intended to be improved, criticized, rebutted, refuted,
      > superseded

      Just not before publication; i.e., not before one's money's been
      plunked down. Tell us again, David -- and by "again" I of course mean
      "for the first time" -- why it is that, despite the long lecturing of
      yourself and your wife on the superior morality of making one's work
      freely accessible to all, and despite the fact that your wife considers
      herself to be the Enlightened (and now Persecuted) Librarian and Text
      Artisan of the Future leading the crusade for free, electronic "Open
      Publishing", you've instead decided to sell your work to all those
      "young students of Sindarin", to whom you now dedicate your work, in
      expensive, dead-tree form through what your wife ominously refers to as
      an "American company" (namely, the for-profit University of Utah Press,
      purveyor of this and many other fine and expensive text-books to
      captive student audiences), instead of publishing it on the Web? Where,
      of course, it could be freely "improved, criticized, rebutted, refuted,
      superseded", per your supposed intent, without asking your student
      dedicatees to plunk down for this and for each of the projected
      subsequent "improved and superseding" editions? Not that there's
      anything wrong with advancing your career and "prestige" (as you once
      so nicely put it) by "making a splash" (ditto), or with making a little
      money for yourself (and far more for your publisher) for all your hard
      work (all of it either fully original or fully credited, no doubt) --
      personally, I say more power to you; it's just that it's pretty clearly
      a privilege that you and your wife would reserve to yourself if you
      could, given your (pl.) habitual, ostentatious, and self-congratulatory
      excoriation of others (and their publishers) for pursuing the same.
      Could it be that preaching and practice don't match? Hoom. Hoom.

      > with an especial emphasis on the etymologies of words and names

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and boldly predict that Helge, in
      his forthcoming fawning review of David's book, does not apply to this
      fact quite the same enthusiasm he applied in his "review" of _Parma
      Eldalamberon_ 15 to my colleague's own presentation and analysis of
      Tolkien's own special emphasis on names:

      > Names, names, names. Hurray.

      (Elfling message 30418
      (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/30418>)) You see, when
      Tolkien does it, it's boring. When David does it, it's useful.

      > the Tolkien language community that has been (for the most part!) so
      > patient with me

      Certainly far more patient than you and Helge and your ilk have ever
      been with certain members of the "Tolkien language community".

      Carl Hostetter

      (who pre-ordered the book the day it became available for ordering --
      you're welcome, David! -- and who has the means and willingness indeed
      to assess your claims, and to disagree with you when you err or
      overreach, and will do so ASAP after it is received in the mail --
      i.e., per Helge's definition, once it has in fact at last been

      P.S. David, you might want to let Dorothea know that the title of your
      book is _A Gateway to Sindarin_, not **"A Gateway to Sindarin Elvish"
      as she gives it in her blog.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]