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Devanagari: An Inspiration for the Tengwar?

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  • aurandfillan@hotmail.com
    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
    Message 1 of 15 , Jun 6, 2001
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      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
      Futhark)?

      Were there other models for other aspects of the Tengwar?
    • aurandfillan@hotmail.com
      Date Posted: Jun/04/2001 6:28 AM Yes, perhaps a more acurate heading would have been Devanagari: An Inspiration for Tengwar? . One of my hopes for this thread
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 6, 2001
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        Date Posted: Jun/04/2001 6:28 AM


        Yes, perhaps a more acurate heading would have been "Devanagari: An
        Inspiration for Tengwar?".

        One of my hopes for this thread was that someone might turn up
        specific info related to JRRT's knowledge of Devanagari and other
        scripts. It seems curious to me that while there has been a lot of
        discussion of the origins and influences upon his constructed
        languages, I have never seen much thought spent on those matters for
        the Tengwar. Since it is one of the most visible and popular
        expressions of readers interest in LotR, I find that strange.


        --- In elfscript@y..., aurandfillan@h... wrote:
        > 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
        > Futhark)?
        >
        > Were there other models for other aspects of the Tengwar?
      • Helge K. Fauskanger
        ... Tengwar? It has often been suggested that the idea of expressing vowels with diacritical marks was based on Hebrew writing. Hebrew is a language (and
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 6, 2001
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          > > Were there other models [than the Devanagari] for other aspects of the
          Tengwar?

          It has often been suggested that the idea of expressing vowels with
          diacritical marks was based on Hebrew writing. Hebrew is a language (and
          writing) which Tolkien definitely studied; he even translated the Book of
          Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible.

          I agree, though, that the general visual impression made by the Tengwar is
          more similar to the Devanagari than it is to Hebrew (square) characters.

          - Helge Fauskanger
        • Mans Bjorkman
          ... This is an intriguing question, but one which I don t think we can fully answer. An early version of the Tengwar is exemplified in a drawing made 1925 for
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 7, 2001
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            aurandfillan@... wrote:
            >
            > 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
            > Futhark)?
            >
            > Were there other models for other aspects of the Tengwar?

            This is an intriguing question, but one which I don't think we can fully
            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.


            Yours,
            Måns


            --
            Måns Björkman "Mun þu mik!
            Störtloppsvägen 8, III Man þik.
            SE-129 46 Hägersten Un þu mer!
            Sweden http://hem.passagen.se/mansb An þer."
          • jonathan wust
            ... In J. Allan: An Introduction to Elvish , there is given a script which has even a lot more coincidences with the tengwar: a
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 8, 2001
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              <helge.fauskanger@...>
              > wrote:
              >> > Were there other models [than the Devanagari] for other aspects of the
              >Tengwar?

              In J. Allan: "An Introduction to Elvish", there is given a script which has even a lot more coincidences with the tengwar: a "Universal Alphabet" by some guy from XVIth or XVIIth century � I dont remember it exactly (I would have to go for the book). As tengwar, it has also a regular formation of the letters, and all the vowels are marked by diacritics. But I dont think there could be any evidence that Tolkien would have known it.

              >It has often been suggested that the idea of expressing vowels with
              >diacritical marks was based on Hebrew writing. Hebrew is a language (and
              >writing) which Tolkien definitely studied; he even translated the Book of
              >Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible.

              I think you cant say the tengwar function like hebrew (or like arabic), unless you say, like the hebrew which is used in the bible (or the arabic used in the koran), because normal texts dont use any diacritics � they omit all the vowels but the long, which are written with consonantal signs.

              As far as I know, only some very exotic writing systems make a regular use of diacritics to represent the vowels: the systems used for the ethiopian language and some systems used to write indigenous northern american languages (Cree for example, if Im not wrong). But these writing systems dont put the diacritics above the consonantal signs, but they are kind of graphical modifiers. The results are writing systems which are similar to syllabic writing systems (and theyre often called so).

              Well, I dont think the tengwar could be based in these systems, but I think, they are the existing writing systems which are the most similar to tengwar � as systems, not as forms, of course!

              yours, choni

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            • DDanielA@webtv.net
              I ve always thought that the tengwar bear a resemblance to the Syriac script. It s more cursive in appearance than Hebrew, but not not to the same extent as
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 8, 2001
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              • Abrigon
                Well, since JRRT was either born or raised until like age 10 (?) in South Africa, and they have a large Indian population. I suspect he had some aquaintence
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 15, 2001
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                  Well, since JRRT was either born or raised until like age 10 (?) in
                  South Africa, and they have a large Indian population. I suspect he
                  had some aquaintence with it before he became a professor.

                  Sanskrit is more a syllybary than an alphabet. But I have noticed the
                  similiar look before. But from what I have read, there was a gentleman
                  in England some 20 years before Tolkien that had an Alphabet that was
                  almost exectly in form to Tengwar, maybe not in values.

                  Mike
                • Abrigon
                  Well, what we call Hebrew (the script) is only one of many scripts the speakers of Hebrew have used from ancient Egyptian times to recent. To include the same
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 15, 2001
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                    Well, what we call Hebrew (the script) is only one of many scripts the
                    speakers of Hebrew have used from ancient Egyptian times to recent. To
                    include the same used for Arabic (modern), as well as Aramaic (the
                    original script they used was more closed in form, and they adopted
                    the Aramaic form.

                    Diecritical marks, well have been around for a while, mostly in lingos
                    like Arabic and Hebrew as ways to show vowels and like that are often
                    not needed by fluent readers of the above lingos.

                    From memory diacritical marks for Hebrew/Arabic were not used much
                    until sometime after the 16th century (I forget when).

                    Mike
                    aka Morgoth, I like how it rolls of the tongue. And from what I can
                    tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".
                  • Abrigon
                    Universal Alphabet, I remember it now, yes it looks alot like Tengwar in form. Might check Uighur/Tibetan/Mongol/Manchu direction of the lingos that came form
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 15, 2001
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                      Universal Alphabet, I remember it now, yes it looks alot like Tengwar
                      in form.

                      Might check Uighur/Tibetan/Mongol/Manchu direction of the lingos that
                      came form the one for Sanskrit/Prakit.

                      It can be an interesting inspiration for a lingo, since it is up/down,
                      and right to left. But the decenders can give you some nice
                      calligraphy.

                      Mike
                    • Abrigon
                      http://homepage1.nifty.com/hobbit/english/tolkien/tengwar/index.html Examples of Tengwar, most importantly, of Japanese (Sorry no Dev)
                      Message 10 of 15 , Dec 15, 2001
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                        http://homepage1.nifty.com/hobbit/english/tolkien/tengwar/index.html

                        Examples of Tengwar, most importantly, of Japanese (Sorry no Dev)


                        http://www.omniglot.com/writing/devanagari.htm

                        Has charts and all of the script, as well as a history, from the time
                        of Brahmi.

                        http://www.aczone.com/itrans/dvng/node3.html

                        Another one, is aligned differently, but okay.
                        This one is interesting, cause it shows the numerals, which are the
                        origin of our "Arabic" numbers.

                        http://cres20.anu.edu.au/~mccomas/devanagari.html

                        Another one from a book.

                        I do think I need to find my sources for Tibetan and other scriptos.

                        I wish I had my "Elvish" books, lost it a while back in Canada.

                        http://www.aczone.com/ilkeyb/ A keyboard program, might be interesting
                        to see the source code and all, and see if it can be modified for
                        Tengwar?

                        Mike
                      • Abrigon
                        http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/9594/tibet.html It has much forms in common with Tengwar to including some of it s diacritical marks are the same, or
                        Message 11 of 15 , Dec 15, 2001
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                          http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/9594/tibet.html

                          It has much forms in common with Tengwar to including some of it's
                          diacritical marks are the same, or close. Could also be an inspiration
                          for calligraphy.

                          Tibetan
                        • John Cowan
                          ... Suure. Actually, it means Black Enemy . -- John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@ccil.org Please leave your values |
                          Message 12 of 15 , Dec 16, 2001
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                            Abrigon scripsit:

                            > aka Morgoth, I like how it rolls of the tongue. And from what I can
                            > tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".

                            Suure.

                            Actually, it means "Black Enemy".

                            --
                            John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@...
                            Please leave your values | Check your assumptions. In fact,
                            at the front desk. | check your assumptions at the door.
                            --sign in Paris hotel | --Miles Vorkosigan
                          • Abrigon
                            Black Enemy, do you mean in the Elvish or do you mean in Gothic. The people who gave the name Goth to the language, but who were themselves very civilized once
                            Message 13 of 15 , Dec 17, 2001
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                              Black Enemy, do you mean in the Elvish or do you mean in Gothic.

                              The people who gave the name Goth to the language, but who were
                              themselves very civilized once they settled down, but sadly most when
                              they became christian, became Arian Christian, which to Catholics was
                              a heresy, same with their cousins the Vandals, who have the same
                              dislike in the western world. Even if it was the now Catholic
                              Visigoths who fell to the might of Islam in Spain. The goths existed
                              in the Crimea until around 1700, or so the stories go.

                              Goth is a Eastern Germanic lingo, verus the English/German being
                              Western Germanic, and Norse (and related tongues) as Northern
                              Germanic.

                              Mike
                              In Sindarian/Quenya it did mean the Black Enemy/Dark Enemy, while his
                              first name was Melkor, one who arises in might.. But after Feanor was
                              mindly corrupted by him, as well as cause Feanor to revolt against the
                              Vala, he was named Morgoth. Partially for his killing of Feanors
                              father, as well as poisoning the one tree and like. so that the only
                              light of the one tree in the world was the Silmarill.

                              --- In elfscript@y..., John Cowan <cowan@c...> wrote:
                              > Abrigon scripsit:
                              >
                              > > aka Morgoth, I like how it rolls of the tongue. And from what I
                              can
                              > > tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".
                              >
                              > Suure.
                              >
                              > Actually, it means "Black Enemy".
                              >
                              > --
                              > John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
                              cowan@c...
                              > Please leave your values | Check your assumptions. In
                              fact,
                              > at the front desk. | check your assumptions at
                              the door.
                              > --sign in Paris hotel | --Miles Vorkosigan
                            • abrigon
                              We do need to remember Prof Tolkien was raised in part in South Africa, that has a large east indian population, atleast one time.. It is also where Gandhi
                              Message 14 of 15 , Mar 31, 2003
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                                We do need to remember Prof Tolkien was raised in part in South
                                Africa, that has a large east indian population, atleast one time.. It
                                is also where Gandhi learned a bit of his lawyer ways..

                                Not likely the Prof and Ganghi knew each other, but they had some
                                similar exposure in a same time/place..

                                Also seen in one of my books, a script by another English professor
                                that looks alot like the later Tengwar.. Not sure of it's origin and
                                all..

                                Mike
                              • John Cowan
                                ... Tolkien was born in S.A. and left there at age 4. Gandhi arrived at age 23 and left at age 44. Not much common ground there! -- John Cowan
                                Message 15 of 15 , Apr 1 3:07 AM
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                                  abrigon scripsit:

                                  > We do need to remember Prof Tolkien was raised in part in South
                                  > Africa, that has a large east indian population, atleast one time.. It
                                  > is also where Gandhi learned a bit of his lawyer ways..

                                  Tolkien was born in S.A. and left there at age 4. Gandhi arrived at age
                                  23 and left at age 44. Not much common ground there!

                                  --
                                  John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@...
                                  To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There
                                  are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language
                                  that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful.
                                  --_The Hobbit_
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