Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Reading written Elvish...

Expand Messages
  • barbhalley
    Is there anyone, anywhere -- in this group or elsewhere -- who can actually look at written Elvish and read it -- either pronounce it or deduce the meaning? I
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 7, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Is there anyone, anywhere -- in this group or elsewhere -- who can actually look at written Elvish and read it -- either pronounce it or deduce the meaning?

      I am not referring to known texts, I'm referring to, perhaps, a poem that a member of the group has written (or translated) and transcribed into Tengwar -- would anyone be able to read it?

      Does it make a difference, to someone reading Tengwar, whether the transcription was done from English, Quenya, or Sindarin? I'm asking because most English speakers can pronounce a Russian word written with 'english' characters even if they don't know what the word might mean. Is that possible with Tengwar? Can someone familiar with both the characters and the pronounciation rules 'sound it out'?

      If there is anyone with this skill...how long did it take you to achieve that level of poficiency?

      Thank you,
      Barb
    • Arden R. Smith
      ... For myself, I would have to answer, It depends. Give me a text in tengwar, and I can (as a rule) pronounce what it says. Some modes I can read with
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 7, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        On Sep 7, 2009, at 2:58 PM, barbhalley wrote:

        > Is there anyone, anywhere -- in this group or elsewhere -- who can
        > actually look at written Elvish and read it -- either pronounce it
        > or deduce the meaning?
        >
        > I am not referring to known texts, I'm referring to, perhaps, a poem
        > that a member of the group has written (or translated) and
        > transcribed into Tengwar -- would anyone be able to read it?

        For myself, I would have to answer, "It depends." Give me a text in
        tengwar, and I can (as a rule) pronounce what it says. Some modes I
        can read with greater ease than others. I can read (and write) the
        modes that are used in _The Lord of the Rings_ and _The Road Goes Ever
        On_ without difficulty. Other modes might slow me down considerably,
        but I've puzzled out texts in previously unknown modes on a number of
        occasions.

        It's the "deducing the meaning" part that might be tricky. If the
        text is in a language I know well, say English or German, then I will
        understand it, even if it's written in a quirky mode that isn't
        entirely familiar to me. Texts written in one of Tolkien's invented
        languages, e.g. Quenya or Sindarin, present their own challenges.
        There it would depend on how much unfamiliar and/or extrapolated
        vocabulary the writer used.

        > Does it make a difference, to someone reading Tengwar, whether the
        > transcription was done from English, Quenya, or Sindarin?

        Yes, because the language of the text would (at least to some extent)
        dictate what mode was being used. The mode used to write the poem
        "Namárië" in _The Road Goes Ever On_, for example, could not be used
        for the representation of English, because it doesn't fit the
        phonology of English. In this mode, for example, there are tengwar
        for /ld/, /nd/, and /rd/, but not /d/ by itself.

        > I'm asking because most English speakers can pronounce a Russian
        > word written with 'english' characters even if they don't know what
        > the word might mean. Is that possible with Tengwar? Can someone
        > familiar with both the characters and the pronounciation rules
        > 'sound it out'?

        Yes, assuming that the reader is familiar with the mode being used and
        the mode in question is being used phonemically, i.e. used to
        represent actual pronunciation rather than an alien spelling. Tengwar
        can also be used more or less orthographically, to represent the
        spelling of the source language (e.g. English) rather than its
        pronunciation; in this case you would have to be familiar with how the
        words are pronounced in the source language. For example, depending
        on mode and personal preference, you could spell "knight" in tengwar
        with the characters representing n-a-y-t or k-n-i-gh-t (or even k-n-i-
        g-h-t). The latter spelling gives no more clue to pronunciation than
        the standard English spelling does.

        > If there is anyone with this skill...how long did it take you to
        > achieve that level of poficiency?

        I've been using the tengwar for over 31 years. My knowledge of
        various modes has been accumulated throughout that time, but I learned
        my first few modes very quickly and was using them without reference
        to a key almost immediately (I was in the sixth grade at the time). I
        frequently write notes to myself in tengwar, and I've kept a journal
        in English, using the mode exemplified on the title page of _The Lord
        of the Rings_, since 1983. The tengwar that I use for those purposes
        have degenerated into a cursive script that I can read easily enough,
        but other tengwar scholars might have difficulty reading.


        ***************************************************
        Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

        Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
        --Elvish proverb

        ***************************************************




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • congruwer
        ... Provided I know the mode, I can read it fluently, just like Roman letters. That took about a week (not full time of course) to learn, which is apparently
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 30 5:45 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          > If there is anyone with this skill...how long did it take you to achieve that level of poficiency?
          Provided I know the mode, I can read it fluently, just like Roman letters. That took about a week (not full time of course) to learn, which is apparently about the same time people need to learn Greek or Cyrillic. In other words, tengwar aren't particularly hard to master.
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.