148Re: [Lambengolmor] [LDB] An earlier experiment
- Jul 26, 2002At 7/25/02 02:07 AM , John Garth wrote:
>My aim was to create a diachronic database covering all the language-matterAs you might guess, I find this very interesting. Is your work available?
>Tolkien devised for "Middle-earth" from its inception with Qenya in c. 1915.
>I made no judgements about grammatical categories and just forged ahead with
>recording the occurence of words and names (and yes, phrases) in _HoMe_,
>etc. Naturally I made a full note of everything that Tolkien _said_ about
>each word (e.g. etymological information).
If so, please consider this a request for a copy, as well as an assurance,
if necessary, that I will not redistribute it.
>The project was abandoned primarily through a sense of its enormity. IIndeed, this is one reason why I have strongly considered, from the outset,
>catalogued all the texts and linguistic data in _HoMe_ volumes 1-5 and 10,
>apart from _Etymologies_, and I made a start on 6, 7, and 11 too. That took
>me months of work; pleasant enough, but not terribly thrilling.
having QH be a collaborative project, leveraging the Internet in much the
same way that open-source projects do. If a bunch of _lambengolmor_
collaborate on the work, it becomes much easier. (Coordinating such work
is, of course, something whose details have yet to be worked out; such
discussion might not be appropriate here (and it certainly would be
premature at this point!), but I can set up a mailing list of my own later,
if it becomes appropriate.)
>But I think this textual-history aspect is essential to the idea of aI agree that you have a strong point here about the "breadth" of the
>diachronic database, and the issue can't be fudged. The _Quettahostanie_
>system, with its very broad phases of composition, seems to me to rely on
>arbitrary divisions. Looked at close up, each of these phases turns out to
>have been in internal flux. All changes must be recorded, and all (with the
>exception of those which resulted in versions authorised by Tolkien) are
chronological categories QH uses. I have had, since I started that
grouping, a sneaking suspicion that it's likely to bite me in the ass
sooner or later -- what happens when we need to enter some form that was
used in, say, 1946, but has an opposing use in 1948? In theory, it should
then have both a green check mark *and* a red X in the late '40s.
My excuse for why I did it the way I have done, when the potential problem
is there, is simply that if I tried to list all years from 1915-1973, the
table formed would be far wider than most people's browsers can display.
(And I've always had in mind that this database should be Web-accessible;
to my mind, there's little point in making such a tool *not* be public.)
I agree that it's something of a problem; at the moment, my best solution
would be to have a symbol for "conflict", and list the details in the Notes
or Attestations section (or perhaps introduce a new field, like
"Diachrony", and put the specific chronology notes there). If you (or
anyone else) has any other suggestions (that don't involve everyone who
wants to use QH having to get 25" monitors), please let me know.
>It is, I feel, premature to speak about this in the future tense, except inI think the copyright problem is resolvable fairly easily, by simply asking
>terms of a sample database such as _Quettahostanie_. The copyright problem
the Estate's permission. If they give it, hoorah! If not, then the project
will need to be abandoned anyway. (Of course, the range of responses they
can give is *not* a strict binary set, but if they give some answer that's
more complex, I/we can deal with it when it happens; I can't possibly
predict all their possible responses. If, for example, they want all
references to Tolkien's works in the Attestations and Notes fields to be
hyperlinks to the appropriate "buy this book" page at amazon.com, that's
actually not too hard to set up.)
However, since a refusal on their part this time around is likely to
predispose them negatively to any future database attempts, I'd like to
make sure that QH is in the best possible shape before approaching them.
Hopefully, the feedback here will enable me to make some sort of
improvements. (For example, switching the Silmarillion into the
"unpublished" category is something I'm already working on. It's turning
out to be pretty simple.)
Alternatively, if the general consensus is that it's very likely to get
turned down, I can always just kill the project and not bother to approach
the Estate about it at all, so as not to pollute the prospects for future
attempts. (Naturally, that idea doesn't appeal to me much. But it is an
I know that some folks on this list have prior experience in dealing with
the Estate. If any of you have any advice to render on what would make them
more likely to give their permission, I'd love to hear it.
"And the Devil in a black dress watches over,
My guardian angel walks away..."
--Sisters of Mercy,
"Temple of Love"
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