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146Re: [Lambengolmor] Re: [LDB] "Canonical" Quenya and Quettahostanie

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  • Kai MacTane
    Jul 26, 2002
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      At 7/24/02 05:44 PM , williamwelden wrote:

      > > _always_ cite forms found in those texts that were incorporated
      > > in _The Silmarillion_ from the original texts as presented in
      > > _The History of Middle-earth_.
      >
      >A fine practice from the standpoint of scholarship. It does emphasize
      >that "canonicity" is of more interest to those trying to speculate on
      >what Tolkien would eventually have done with Quenya than to those who
      >are trying to set out clearly what he did do.

      And it's my hope that QH can be of service to both groups.

      >If your point is that Silmarillion shouldn't be considered canonical,
      >I agree.

      I'm getting the strong impression, at this point, that I should demote the
      Silmarillion to "unpublished" status.

      >I would argue for categorizing entries as canonical or not. It might
      >be possible to create an additional, slightly weaker distinction
      >like "this bit was approved for publication by Christopher Tolkien,
      >and we believe that he believed that Tolkien would have published it
      >in the same form", but I think the distinction itself is
      >mushy.

      I personally feel that the distinction can be even mushier than that, and
      have wound up dividing things into rather a few "grades" of mushiness
      (seven, to be exact, though only five refer to actual Tolkien-attested words).

      > "Canonical" is crisp (though I could imagine situations in
      >which we might disagree about it).
      >
      >As for inclusion of material invented by others, I think we ought to
      >acknowlege that different people will want to use this database for
      >different purposes, and honor everyone's interest. If the entries are
      >clearly marked with a provenience and "attestation level" the
      >database will serve the purposes of scholarship just as well as if
      >the entries had never been included.

      And indeed, the broad "attestation levels" can certainly be ignored by
      those of a more scholarly bent, who will simply look at the direct
      attestations included in each entry. As QH currently stands:

      1) Anything non-Tolkienian will be clearly marked as either "coined"
      or "compounded", and this marker will be quite noticeable in an
      individual entry, or any search or browse results;
      2) The colors of orange and red were chosen specifically to give a
      feeling of "danger" about those entries;
      3) Non-Tolkien material will not even show up in a search unless the
      user goes to the advanced search page and selects a lower attestation
      level cutoff point. By default, both simple and advanced searches
      search only the "published", "unpublished", and "derived" forms.
      (Though browse results will display all levels.)

      At the moment, I have only one non-Tolkienian word entered in the database:
      _curweahuo_, a compound I put together to mean "coyote". I'm curious to
      know how many of you have even noticed that entry. Short of an advanced
      search with the attest level cutoff set to "compounded" or "coined", it
      will only show up if you browse nouns or animals. In both cases, it should
      stick out like a sore thumb, with that bright orange "C" standing out from
      the blue "P"s and green "U"s.

      But there is one major reason why I'd like to keep the attestation levels:
      they form an easy way to track the general level of a word's "canonicality"
      in search and browse results. By displaying a single icon that fits into
      one of a few categories, I can quickly give the user a general idea of how
      well attested the element is, without having to try to fit every detail of
      the element's attestation onto one screen. Could I program QH to dump the
      entire "Attestations" field into search results? Sure! But the result would
      be a visual nightmare.

      >Second: inclusion of inauthentic forms will require a vetting process far
      >more complicated than that needed if only authentic forms are permitted.
      >(What value will the database of inauthentic forms have if anyone can
      >contribute any forms whatsoever? But if you don't allow that, then what
      >persons will decide what does or does not get in, and on what criteria?
      >And who will decide who decides, and what the criteria are?)

      I had been planning on simply grabbing the words from the PPQ, pending
      Boris' approval. I'm not sure what his criteria are, but they seem to serve
      the needs of the community.

      >That, and the additional properties needed to mark and characterize
      >authentic vs. inauthentic entries in the database, will impart (needless,
      >in my opinion) complexity (to say nothing of bloat) to the database and
      >its design and compilation. Carl]

      Actually, given the presence of the attestation level field to begin with
      (to separate words like _elen_ (which appear in many places, published by
      Tolkien) from those like _├▒armo_ (which TTBOMK, appears only in _Etym._,
      and hence JRRT never though it would see the light of day) -- anyway, given
      the presence and utility of such a field to begin with, it's trivial to
      extend the number of options in that field to include another setting for
      _curweahuo_ and the like.

      --Kai MacTane
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me."
      --Sisters of Mercy,
      "Lucretia, My
      Reflection"
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