Re: [elfscript] Re: Devanagari: An Inspiration for the Tengwar?
> > Were there other models [than the Devanagari] for other aspects of theTengwar?
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
- aurandfillan@... 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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> wrote: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.
>> > Were there other models [than the Devanagari] for other aspects of the
>It has often been suggested that the idea of expressing vowels withI 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.
>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.
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!
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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.
- 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).
aka Morgoth, I like how it rolls of the tongue. And from what I can
tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".
- Universal Alphabet, I remember it now, yes it looks alot like Tengwar
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
Examples of Tengwar, most importantly, of Japanese (Sorry no Dev)
Has charts and all of the script, as well as a history, from the time
Another one, is aligned differently, but okay.
This one is interesting, cause it shows the numerals, which are the
origin of our "Arabic" numbers.
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
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
- Abrigon scripsit:
> aka Morgoth, I like how it rolls of the tongue. And from what I canSuure.
> tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".
Actually, it means "Black Enemy".
John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@...
Please leave your values | Check your assumptions. In fact,
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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
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
> > tell, it means like "Dark" "Goth(person)".
> Actually, it means "Black Enemy".
> John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
> Please leave your values | Check your assumptions. In
> at the front desk. | check your assumptions at
> --sign in Paris hotel | --Miles Vorkosigan
- 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
- abrigon scripsit:
> We do need to remember Prof Tolkien was raised in part in SouthTolkien was born in S.A. and left there at age 4. Gandhi arrived at age
> Africa, that has a large east indian population, atleast one time.. It
> is also where Gandhi learned a bit of his lawyer ways..
23 and left at age 44. Not much common ground there!
John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@...
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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.