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philosophy in transcribing English

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  • Anthony J. Bryant
    Greetings, all! I m new (again) to Elvish, having had my first round with it 25 years ago when I was in high school and was producing a hand-lettered version
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 28, 2001
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      Greetings, all!

      I'm new (again) to Elvish, having had my first round with it 25 years ago
      when I was in high school and was producing a hand-lettered version of the
      LotR in the Mode of Beleriand.

      I've decided to go back to an ancient love -- Elvish, of course -- and now I
      find myself looking at it with a more confused perspective than I had then.
      There are basically two conflicting philosophies when transcribing English
      into tengwar.

      One is to go phonetic, which in the process renders all homophones with the
      same spelling and really plays holy hell with English spelling in general. It
      would render "their" "their" and "they're" as all the same word: "Der." It
      would call for a lot more imagination in creating word sounds, and in a way
      could make life more difficult for readers who would have to intuit that "ai
      em nau hapi tu bii yor neiber" is actually "I am now happy to be your
      neighbor."

      The other is to ignore phonetics and go straight with "each letter represents
      a tengwa and vice-versa." Of course, TH and DH and so on would be replaced by
      the proper tengwar, but other than that, the native English spelling would be
      retained.

      What is the general consensus on this issue? I tend to prefer the Mode of
      Beleriand when working in English, but I'm really in a quandry as to how best
      to deal with this.


      Tony (Who, many, many years ago, used the name "Valeldaron")
    • DDanielA@webtv.net
      Well, Tony, when writing in English, I generally use the mode Tolkien used for writing English in the King s Letter in Sauron Defeated . I agree that phonetic
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 28, 2001
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        Well, Tony, when writing in English, I generally use the mode Tolkien
        used for writing English in the King's Letter in 'Sauron Defeated'. I
        agree that phonetic transliteration can be mind-boggling when trying to
        read someone else's work. The person who writes something might have a
        different interpretation of the sounds in words. Vowels can also be a
        pain since written vowels and spoken vowels in English often seem to
        have little to do with each other. The 'plain letters', as Rose Gamgee
        calls them, are based on orthography rather than pronunciation ... even
        the silent 'gh' in words like 'eighth' and 'daughter' is retained. There
        are a couple of nods to pronunciation: the distinction between voiced
        'th' (anto) and voiceless 'th' (thúle) is kept; hard 'c' is written
        as quesse, while soft 'c' is represented by silme nuquerna; silent 'e'
        or schwa is written with the under-dot tehta while the 'clearer' 'e' is
        written as a yanta; and the distinction between strong 'r' (rómen) and
        weak 'r' (óre) is retained. Vowels are written as full letters rather
        than tehtar, but there are some tehtar used for a few things (nasal bar,
        's' curl, 'w' tilde, diphthongs, etc.). As someone used to English
        spelling, I find it more useful and eminently clearer than the 'mode'
        used on the title page of LotR. As far as its 'canonicity', it was
        devised and used by Tolkien himself, so it's got to be acceptable! If
        you want to know more about this mode, let me know.

        Cuio mae, Danny.
      • gildir_1
        ... and now I ... had then. ... English ... Mode of ... to how best ... English must be one of the more difficult languages to write with tengwar, for many
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 28, 2001
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          Valeldaron teithant:


          > [...]
          > I've decided to go back to an ancient love -- Elvish, of course --
          and now I
          > find myself looking at it with a more confused perspective than I
          had then.
          > There are basically two conflicting philosophies when transcribing
          English
          > into tengwar.
          > [...]
          > What is the general consensus on this issue? I tend to prefer the
          Mode of
          > Beleriand when working in English, but I'm really in a quandry as
          to how best
          > to deal with this.

          English must be one of the more difficult languages to write with
          tengwar, for many reasons. (The phonemic/orthographic choice is
          only one). I have so far dodged that language in my guides
          (http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_teng_primers.html) -- Swedish
          is *much* easier since spelling reforms have kept the orthography
          close to the pronounciation.

          When studying Tolkien's english tengwar, one should not ignore
          the largest specimina published so far, DTS 16-18
          (http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/mdtci.html#dts16)
          published in e.g. _Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien_.
          They seem to have a fairly consistent mode.

          It is said that Tolkien wrote his diary with tengwar, and
          often changed his mind about how to use them. (It seems to
          me that he liked to experiment and invent). So whatever mode
          you use, it's just one of many possible.

          (Nope, I don't like that answer myself! :-)

          Suilaid,
          Gildir
        • Anthony J. Bryant
          ... Shoot. Umm... know any good Sindarin expletives? ... Thanks, I ll take a look at this. I ve got piles of Tolkien writings here (HoME and the art
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 28, 2001
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            gildir_1 wrote:

            >
            > English must be one of the more difficult languages to write with
            > tengwar, for many reasons. (The phonemic/orthographic choice is
            > only one). I have so far dodged that language in my guides
            > (http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_teng_primers.html) -- Swedish
            > is *much* easier since spelling reforms have kept the orthography
            > close to the pronounciation.
            >

            Shoot. Umm... know any good Sindarin expletives? <G>

            >
            > When studying Tolkien's english tengwar, one should not ignore
            > the largest specimina published so far, DTS 16-18
            > (http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/mdtci.html#dts16)
            > published in e.g. _Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien_.
            > They seem to have a fairly consistent mode.
            >

            Thanks, I'll take a look at this. I've got piles of Tolkien writings here
            (HoME and the art books); I'll have to take a closer look at how JRRT used
            'em.

            >
            > It is said that Tolkien wrote his diary with tengwar, and
            > often changed his mind about how to use them. (It seems to
            > me that he liked to experiment and invent). So whatever mode
            > you use, it's just one of many possible.
            >
            > (Nope, I don't like that answer myself! :-)
            >
            > Suilaid,

            "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for advice, for they will say both yes and
            no.'"

            <G>

            Tony
          • Abrigon
            Alternate is to find out the actual sounds, and transcrib them as such. It seems that JRR had a chart of the consonants and their place in the mouth when he
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 28, 2001
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              Alternate is to find out the actual sounds, and transcrib them as
              such.

              It seems that JRR had a chart of the consonants and their place in the
              mouth when he did the Tengwar, maybe base the characters on the chart?

              When it comes to vowels and all, well have fun.. I prefer the
              diacritical marks and all, but sometimes individual letters works.

              Myself when it comes to spellings. Well English was Middle English,
              until those who created dictionaries decided to enrich the lingo with
              all those french words that they were to loss cause English had
              finally won out over French. So go with good spelling versus how they
              are spelled in the dictionaries for they (dictionaries) often have
              little consistancy at times when it comes to spelling, most spelling
              look more like they had some origin in French, even the English words
              look like they are French. The spelling works great for French, but
              loosy for English.

              Mike
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