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[gothic-l] Re: Tolkien's orcs (and elves and ents)

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  • jdm314@aol.com
    tim o neill wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/gothic-l/?start=1009 ... Now in one of thoses references it describes
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 28, 1999
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      tim o'neill <scath-@...> wrote:
      original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/gothic-l/?start=1009
      > Thanks Neil, I'd forgotten all about 'enta geworc' (Beowulf ll. 2717,
      > 2774 and 1679).

      Now in one of thoses references it describes Beowulf's sword, no? Of
      course Roman swords were pathetically smallish, hardly the work of
      giants ;)

      > But isn't 'eotenas' related to the ON for giant (as in Jotunheim)?
      Are

      Yes, of course. SOmeone once told me this word was cognate with "eat",
      but I can't quite get it to work. Was he wrong?

      > there any other Germanic cognates for 'ent'? I also wonder if there
      > were any differences in the mind of the average Anglo-Saxon between
      > 'ent' giants and 'eoten' giants, in the way that my nephew can explain
      > to me with great authority that pixies are smaller than elves.

      Of course they are ;) Elves after all are depicted in different sizes
      in different sources, but pixies are almost always depicted at the
      scale of insects, living in flowers and such.
      [Incidentally, in the mythos of Dungeons and Dragons, an etten is a
      two-headed orc-like giant]

      >
      > And if we work out the Gothic words for ent, elf, etten and orc (we
      have
      > hobbit already) we can then undertake a full translation of 'The Lord
      of
      > the Rings'.
      > Just kidding.

      Speaking of which, here's some notes I typed up:

      OK, these are from “Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings”, by
      Tolkien himself, published in A Tolkien Compass, which was edited by
      Jared Lobdell (I’d like to thank Carl Hostetter for sending me a copy
      of this book). The purpose of this essay is to give translators a
      better idea of how to render difficult words and proper nouns used in
      LotR, so often it deals more with translation than etymology, but
      Tolkien being Tolkien, he always makes a point to at least touch on the
      word origins. Another important point is that he repeatedly refers to
      his conlangs, stating that the Common Speech should be rendered into
      the language of translation. Other times he suggests dialectical or
      archaic forms.
      Any typoes are, of course, mine. I hope this message isn’t too long
      and off-topic, but I thought it might be of interest since the subject
      came up.

      Ent. Retain this, alone or in compounds, such as Entwives. It is
      supposed to be a name in the language of the vale of Anduin, including
      Rohan, for these creatures. It is actually an Old English word for
      ‘giant’, which is thus right according to the system attributed to
      Rohan, but Ents of this tale are not in form or character derived from
      Germanic mythology. Entings ‘children of Ents’ (II 78) should also be
      unchanged except in the plural enging. The Grey-elven (Sindarin) name
      wasOnodrim (II 45)

      Ettendales. This is meant to be a Common Speech (not Elvish) name,
      though it contains an obsolete element eten ‘troll, ogre’. This should
      be retained, except in a language which preserves a form of the same
      word, as Danish jaette, Swedisj jätte, Icelandic jötunn, = Old English
      eoten, Middle English eten, English dialect eten, yetên.
      Similarly Ettenmoors;moor here has the northern sense of ‘high barren
      land’.

      Hobbit. Do not translate, since the name is supposed no longer to have
      had a recognixed meaning in the Shire, and not to have been derived
      from the Common Speech (= English, or the language of translation).

      Orc. This is supposed to be the Common Speech name of these creatures
      at that time; it should therefore according to the system be translated
      into Egnlish or the language of translation. It was translated ‘Goblin’
      in The Hobbit, except in one place; but this word, and other words of
      similar sense in other European languages (as far as I know), are not
      really suitable. The orc in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion
      though of course partly made out of traditional features is not really
      comparable in supposed origin, functions, and relation to the Elves. In
      any case orc seemed to me, and seems, in sound a good name for these
      creatures. It should be retained.
      It should be spelt ork (so in the Dutch translation) in a Germanic
      language, but I had used the spelling orcin so many places that I have
      hesitated to change it in the English text, though the adjective is
      necessarily spelt orkish. The Grey-elven form is orch, plural yrch.
      I originally took the word from Old English orc [Beowulf 112 orc-nass
      and the gloss orc = pyrs (‘ogre’), heldeofol (‘hell-devil’)]. This is
      supposed not to be connected with modern English orc, ork, a name
      applied to various sea-beasts of the dolphin order.



      The notes on Elves are quite extensive:

      Elven-smiths.Translate. The archaic adjectival or composition form
      elvenused in The Lord of the Rings should on no account be equated with
      the debased English word elfin, which has entirely wrong associations.
      Use either the word elf in the language of translation, or a first
      element in a compound, or divide into elvish + smiths, using an
      equivalent in the language of translation for the correct adjective
      elvish.
      With regard to German: I would suggest with diffidence that Elf, elfen
      are perhaps to be avoided as equivalents of elf, elven. Elf is, I
      believe, borrowed from English, and may retain some of the associations
      of a kind that I should particularly desire not to be present (if
      possible): for example thos of Drayton or of A Midsummer Night’s
      Dream(in the translation of which, I believe, Elf was first used in
      German). That is, the pretty, fanciful reduction of ‘elf’ to a
      butterfly-like creature inhabiting the flowers.
      I wonder whether the word Alp(or better still the form Alb, still
      given in modern dictionaries as a variant, which is historically the
      more normal form) could not be used. It is historically the more normal
      form) could not be used. It is the true cognate of English elf;and if
      it has senses nearer to English oaf, referring to puckish and malicious
      sprites, or to idiots regarded as ‘changelings’, that is true also of
      English elf. I find these debased rustic associations less damaging
      than the ‘pretty’ literary fancies. The Elves of the ‘mythology’ of The
      Lord of the Ringsare not actually equatable with the folklore
      traditions about ‘fairies’, and as I have said (III 415) I should
      prefer the oldest availible form of the name be used, and left to
      acquire its own associations for readers of my tale. In Scandinavian
      languages alf is available.
    • David Salo
      ... Freeish sort of translation of 111-113: Þaþro unhulþans allai uswokun Itunos jah albeis jah aurkunaweis Swaleikai gigans þaiei wiþra Guþ wunnun...
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 28, 1999
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        >Tolkien's 'orc' comes directly from Old English - 'orcneas' in Beowulf
        >l. 112 where they share a line with 'ylfe' (elves) and 'eotenas' (a word
        >Tolkien took as the name for his ents).
        >
        >In Gothic I'm guessing they'd be 'Albos', 'Aurkanaus' (? or is it
        >'Arkanaus'?) and
        >'Iutinos'? Someone help me out here.

        Freeish sort of translation of 111-113:

        Þaþro unhulþans allai uswokun
        Itunos jah albeis jah aurkunaweis
        Swaleikai gigans þaiei wiþra Guþ wunnun...

        !ituns < *etunaz, cf. OE eoten, ON jötunn; the jö in jötunn shows that we
        have an original e, broken by a following u

        !albs, pl. albeis or albos < *albiz or *albaz: OE ielfe, ylfe, shows the
        i-stem plural ending; ON álfar shows the a-stem plural

        !aurkunaus, pl. aurkunaweis: "hell-corpses"? The second element of the
        compound is pretty clearly OE né, Go naus "corpse"; I assume !aurkus <
        Latin Orcus "hell". There are a lot of problems with the meaning of OE
        "orc" -- starting with the fact that the normal, most common meaning of
        this word is "large cup" = Go aurkeis -- and I have not been able to track
        everything relevant down yet.

        !gigas < Greek , which I have declined as a weak masculine (i.e. as if
        +giga), like Andraias.

        "ent" is used repeatedly in Old English poetry, with reference to an
        extinct race that made remarkable works; I do not know its origin. If it
        is from gigas, gigant-, something rather strange has happened to the word
        in its wanderings. Eotenas are also sometimes credited with ancient works:
        cf. ll. 2977-2979: Let se hearda Higelaces þegn bradne mece, þa his broþor
        læg, eald sweord eotonisc, entiscne helm brecan ofer bordweal:
        Lailot sa hardja Hugilaikis þigns
        Braidana meki þan broþar is lag
        Alþi swaird itunisk antiskana(?) hilm
        Brikan ufar baurdawaddju...

        Eofor, son of Wonred, after his brother Wulf has been cut down by
        the Swedish king Ongenþéow, strikes the king's "entisc helm" with his "eald
        sweord eotonisc".

        /\ WISTR LAG WIGS RAIHTS
        \/ WRAIQS NU IST <> David Salo
        <dsalo@...> <>
      • Mike Adams
        The Hobbit in Gothic, would be interesting to say the least. What other lingos has the Hobbit been translated into? Other than the standard
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 29, 1999
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          The Hobbit in Gothic, would be interesting to say the least. What other lingos
          has the Hobbit been translated into? Other than the standard
          Spanish/French/German/Russian. But like Esperanto and other lingos.

          Mike
        • Mike Adams
          From what I have read, Master Tolkien was translating the original lingo into a more recognizible form, such as Rohan is Nordic/Germanic and more. I know
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 29, 1999
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            From what I have read, Master Tolkien was "translating" the original lingo into a
            more recognizible form, such as Rohan is Nordic/Germanic and more. I know Hobbit,
            supposedly came form the original lingo of the Rohan (before modern translation)
            and is a short form (no pun) of a Rohanic word for "hole dweller", alluding to the
            hobbits (especially one or more of the three original types) habit of living in
            hills/holes, ie: bags end.
            Especially since the Hobbits originally lived near the Rohan or related peoples in
            the ancient past.

            Mike
          • Neil Fulton
            ... We have to remember that giant in this context is merely the conventional, and probably not very good, translation of a word whose exact connotations in
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 29, 1999
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              > From jdm314@... Wed Sep 29 01:49:55 1999
              > tim o'neill <scath-@...> wrote:
              > original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/gothic-l/?start=1009
              > > Thanks Neil, I'd forgotten all about 'enta geworc' (Beowulf ll. 2717,
              > > 2774 and 1679).
              >
              > Now in one of thoses references it describes Beowulf's sword, no? Of
              > course Roman swords were pathetically smallish, hardly the work of
              > giants ;)

              We have to remember that "giant" in this context is merely
              the conventional, and probably not very good, translation of
              a word whose exact connotations in OE are unknown to us. As
              David has pointed out, it refers to the extinct race that
              left various traces of themselves in the world, and that
              doesn't necessarily imply anything about size; it might be
              better to translate it in a way that emphasises antiquity
              and mystic power.

              (That's naturally distinct from the question of etymology -
              the only cognate I can find is Ger. "Enz", which Grimm's
              dictionary says is a Bavarian word for "Riesen, Ungeheuer",
              so it's very plausible that the etymon referred to some-
              thing pretty big and nasty.)

              One interesting parallel that occurred to me while typing
              all of this is from Greek: Mycenean period fortifications
              were described as "cyclopean" walls because it was said
              they had been constructed by the Cyclopes. But the Cyclopes
              were also the servants of Hephaistos, who made the armour
              of Achilles. So a mythic race that vanishes, but leaves
              walls and arms behind, isn't absolutely unheard-of.

              > > But isn't 'eotenas' related to the ON for giant (as in Jotunheim)?
              >
              > Yes, of course. SOmeone once told me this word was cognate with "eat",
              > but I can't quite get it to work. Was he wrong?

              Dunno. De Vries traces "eoten" back to *etuna-, which he
              reports may be either the source of or borrowed from Finnish
              "etona/etana", a wormlet or evil person. It may well be in
              some way related to the "eat" root, but the only other form
              that might suggest some kind of extension/suffix in -u- is
              Latin "edulis", edible, and that isn't enough to carry much
              conviction.

              Neil
            • Mike Adams
              Noted, interesting that the last syllyble of Titen is similar to Ent. I know a stretch. But I know the Norse hadVanir Aesir Alf - Svart and otherGreek
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 29, 1999
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                Noted, interesting that the last syllyble of "Titen" is similar to Ent. I know a
                stretch. But I know the Norse had

                Vanir
                Aesir
                Alf - Svart and other

                Greek has the Titans and the Gods

                Celts (Irish) had the Fomor, Firbolg and the Tuatha de Danaan and others/Sidhe
                unseelie and seelie.

                I know it is comparible religion and all, but many of the IE myths have
                similarities. So I expect the Goths to have had before the became christian
                atleast two or more groups of dieties/powers.

                Mike
              • Eric T Sasse
                ... Concerning Jo:tunn and the verb to eat : My Icelandic etymological dictionary, which I m starting to mistrust, has this listed under the entry for
                Message 7 of 13 , Sep 29, 1999
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                  On Wed, 29 Sep 1999, Neil Fulton wrote:

                  > > > But isn't 'eotenas' related to the ON for giant (as in Jotunheim)?
                  > >
                  > > Yes, of course. SOmeone once told me this word was cognate with "eat",
                  > > but I can't quite get it to work. Was he wrong?
                  >
                  > Dunno. De Vries traces "eoten" back to *etuna-, which he
                  > reports may be either the source of or borrowed from Finnish
                  > "etona/etana", a wormlet or evil person. It may well be in
                  > some way related to the "eat" root, but the only other form
                  > that might suggest some kind of extension/suffix in -u- is
                  > Latin "edulis", edible, and that isn't enough to carry much
                  > conviction.

                  Concerning Jo:tunn and the verb 'to eat':

                  My Icelandic etymological dictionary, which I'm starting to mistrust,
                  has this listed under the entry for Jo:tunn:

                  Jo:tunn 'giant; large-grown man' Faeroese joetun, Nynorsk joetul, jutul,
                  jeten, Mod.-Swedish jaette, Old Swedish iaetun, Mod.-Danish jaette, Old
                  Danish iaetaen, Old English eoten, Old Low German eteninne 'galdranorn'.
                  Borrowed in Finnish as etana, etona 'snail, worm, evil person'.
                  jo:tunn < *etuna meaning 'man-eater' or 'glutton'. See (among others) a't
                  (=eating), (j)eta (=to eat, restricted to animals in modern Icelandic)
                  etc.

                  I have seen a reconstruction to a modern English form 'etin' from the OE
                  'eoten' used among the Asatru community carrying the meaning 'giant'

                  As far as a -u- extension/suffix, the dictionary also lists the
                  following cognates under the listing for (j)eta:

                  Greek edomai 'will eat', Lithuanian edu (no gloss)
                • Tomas Mac an Chrosain
                  According to Languages of Middle Earth The name of orc is derived from Latin ORCUS unlike the other names which Tolkien mostly derived from Old English and
                  Message 8 of 13 , Sep 30, 1999
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                    According to "Languages of Middle Earth"
                    The name of orc is derived from Latin ORCUS unlike the other names which
                    Tolkien mostly derived from Old English and Old Norse. The author also
                    lists the character called Vidugavia as being derived from Gothic
                    Widugauja.
                    But they spell it Vidugauja. I presume that the V- should be more
                    properly transliterated as W-.

                    Einar Haugen did an excellent structural analysis of Norse Deities.
                    Georges Dumezil did another great study of Norse mythology. Edgar
                    Polome, a retired professor at Univerity of Texas did several excellent
                    studies of Germanic myth and preChristian religion.
                    Aesir (OE Os as in Osborne,Osgood,Oswald) the gods of the first and
                    second function of the Indo-European Dumezilian scheme.
                    Apparently cognate with Vedic asuras (PIE *ansu-, Germ. *ansuz).
                    Vanir -- gods of the third function in the Indo-European Dumezilian
                    scheme. Apparently a cognate of Latin Venus.
                    alfar or elves -- male household spirits and ancestors of the dead.
                    similar to the Roman lares and penates.
                    Apparently a cognate of Celtic Albios, also Latin albus and alpine from
                    PIE *albh- "white, clear"
                    disir -- female household spirits of the dead and ancestral spirits.
                    The female equivalent of the alfar/elves.
                    Jotnar or Etins -- the divinities in opposition to the gods.
                    here is a remnant of an inherent Indo-European dualism:
                    Greek -- Olympians versus Titans
                    Zeus versus Kronos.
                    Aryan(Vedic Indian) -- Devas and Asuras.
                    Indra versus Vrtra
                    Irish Celtic -- Tuatha De Danann versus Fomoire (and the historicized
                    Fir Bolg)
                    Lugh versus Breas in the Second Battle of Maigh Tuiredh.

                    First function:
                    A Sovereign God who is King, Warlord and Magician
                    Woden, Varuna, Zeus, Lugh, Jupiter
                    A Priestly God who is an advisor and judge
                    Tyr, Mitra, Hades, Nuadu, Dius Fidius
                    Second Function:
                    A Warrior God who is champion and also possesses secondary fertility
                    functions.
                    Thor, Indra, Ares, Ogme, Mars
                    A Herder God -- who bestows fecundity
                    Freyr, Asvins, Daghda (Eochu Ollathair),Quirinus (deified Romulus)
                    Third Function:
                    A Cultivator Goddess who bestows fertility and sovereignty
                    Freyja, Asvins, Demeter or Persephone, Brigit or Morrigu, Ops (from
                    which opulent)..
                    Of course, this system is breaks down as myths floated further away from
                    the original Indo-European ideology but the tradition can be found inthe
                    various mythic texts.
                    Germanic myth survives mainly in the Eddas which were written down long
                    after the majority of Germanic peoples were converted to Christianity.
                    The Irish myths were heavily historicized by those who transmitted the
                    storis to the writers.
                    Greek myths mainly come from Hesiod's versions in Theogony. Slavonic and
                    Baltic myths are fragmented because the sources are very late and from
                    oral traditions long after Christianity brought in literacy.
                    Indo-European preChristian mythology seems to have never been unified
                    into a "canon" but instead was fragmented by various tribes. To
                    reconstruct Gothic mythical tradition would take reconstucting from the
                    Norse/Icelandic sources and first moving backwards to Common Germanic
                    then forward to Gothic.
                    --Tomas
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