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1012Magol or Mago - Another Language?

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  • Andrew Higgins
    Jul 14, 2007
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      I am currently reading and enjoying the second volume of the History
      of the Hobbit. While reading on my patio (on the one day it is not
      raining in London) I was surprised to see in notes of the Goblin of
      the Battle of the Five Armies name - _BOLG_ a note that says it comes
      not from Norse or Sindarin/Noldorin but from "one of Tolkien's minor
      invented languages, called _Mago_ or _Magol_ about which little is
      known other than at one point Tolkien considered making it the Orkish
      language, only to reject this idea." (Rateliff pg. 710)

      He then refers to Magol Document page 3 with a note - but the note is
      more about this potential historical etymology of the word _Bolg_
      from Celtic/Pictish - Fir Bolgs, etc.

      Does anyone know where this document lives and whether there is
      enough of it to understand? Has it appeared in any other writings,
      documents, etc.?

      Thanks, Andy

      BTW: VT 49 is a treasure trove of info - brought it to Wales with me
      on holiday and I am still digesting.

      [As I wrote in MythSoc message #18083 (cited here with some coding
      garbage tidied up):


      "Tolkien's Hungarian-style language is actually called _Mágol_. In the
      earlier of the two texts on this language it is called _Mágo_ and more
      closely resembles Adunaic than Hungarian; this same text also says
      that 'Old Mágo' was the language of the children of Húrin.

      "In the later text, the language is called _Mágol_ and seems clearly
      modeled after Hungarian in phonology and grammatical structure,
      while retaining a strong Elvish influence as well -- it reminds me of
      something that might have been spoken by a lost tribe of Avari who
      had taken up residence outside Budapest for a few millennia. This
      later text makes no internal mention of the speakers of the language,
      though some time after (perhaps _long_ after) its completion, Tolkien
      jotted the words 'Ork, Orkish' at the top of the typescript, then struck
      this out and wrote 'No'.

      "I should also note that Mágo(l) is probably the language misreported
      by Lisa Star as 'Mork' in her online 'List of Tolkien's Languages':


      "Star opines that 'Mork' is 'probably related to Old English', which
      is also not true. I presume that the name 'Mork' is a mistaken con-
      flation in Star's mind of 'Mágol' and 'Ork'."

      </end quote>

      So far as I know, the original Mágo/Mágol manuscripts are in the
      possession of Christopher Tolkien. I and the other members of the
      Editorial Team have photocopies of these texts, and I'll be presenting
      them in a future issue of VT. Both are fascinating documents, and there
      is much specific information provided about their phonology and
      grammar, particularly in the case of the later form Mágol. -- PHW]
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