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88Re: [elfscript] The runes of The Hobbit.

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  • erilaz@earthlink.net
    Nov 3, 2000
      Emanuele Vincentini wrote:

      > This feature is not used regularly (I think Tolkien introduced it
      >to correct some spelling error: hobit for hobbit, etc.), but I'd like to
      >know, anyway, what you think about it.

      Tolkien later used a subscript line for the same purpose in the cirth of
      the Book of Mazarbul (_Pictures_ #23, page III). I'm not aware of such a
      use of diacritical marks to indicate gemination in any historical runic
      inscriptions. In most authentic runic inscriptions, geminate consonants
      and long vowels are represented by single runes. Doubled runes are more
      common in later inscriptions than in early ones (due to the influence of
      manuscript spelling practices), and they also seem to be more common in
      Anglo-Saxon inscriptions than in Scandinavian ones. Doubled consonants
      appear on the Franks Casket and the Ruthwell Cross, for example.

      You may be right about Tolkien introducing the dot to correct a misspelt
      _hobit_. I suspect that the stemless forms of cirth #55 and #56 likewise
      had their origin in a scribal error. In the title page inscriptions of the
      first impressions of _The Fellowship of the Ring_ and _The Two Towers_, the
      _d_ is missing from _translated_. In later impressions (and in the first
      impression of _The Return of the King_), this has been corrected by
      changing the final #55 (schwa) into #9 (d) and squeezing a stemless #56
      between the _t_ and the _d_. See Wayne Hammond's _J. R. R. Tolkien: A
      Descriptive Bibliography_, p. 94, for facsimiles of the original and
      corrected inscriptions.

      Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

      "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
      "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
      "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

      --Lewis Carroll,
      _Through the Looking-glass_
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