245Re: [elfscript] Devanagari: An Inspiration for the Tengwar?
- Jun 7, 2001aurandfillan@... wrote:
>This is an intriguing question, but one which I don't think we can fully
> When one looks at the Hindi/Sanskrit script, one sees many parallels
> with the Tengwar: presentation as a phonetically based grid, not as a
> linear ABC; the use of diacrtics for most vowels in a syllable; and,
> the use of conjunct consonants.
> It seems obvious that JRRT must have been using the Devanagari as a
> model. I wonder if there is any evidence of how and when he was
> exposed to the system. Was he acquainted with it before his study of
> philology would have exposed him to Sanscrit? Do we know when he
> started using the Tengwar(as opposed to the Cirth, inspired by the
> Were there other models for other aspects of the Tengwar?
answer. An early version of the Tengwar is exemplified in a drawing made
1925 for _Roverandom_ (see _Artist and Illustrator_, ill. 72), which,
though markedly different from the later system, is still recognizable
as the same script. A system closer to the one we know was in existence
circa 1930 (see the "So Lúthien" and "Tom Bombadil" inscriptions). On
the other hand, the 'Alphabet of Rúmil', which was put to use in 1919,
was also clearly inspired by Indic scripts (although being written
vertically it perhaps reminds more of Mongolian at a glance).
So when did Tolkien get in touch which Sanscrit? As far as I know we
can't tell; but he started studying linguistics during the first decade
of the 1900's, and it seems very probable indeed that he would have
encountered Devanagari already then.
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