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  • gildir_2
    Aug 26, 2002
      --- In lambengolmor@y..., Jérémie Knuesel <jeremie.knuesel@e...>

      > Did Tolkien use a name more specific than "the language of the
      > Rohirrim" to refer to this tongue? The word 'Rohirric' commonly
      > used doesn't seem to appear in any Tolkien text, and I could not
      > find the word 'Rohirian' in "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor"
      > in VT42, though I read somewhere that it was.

      This was discussed in the Mellonath Daeron a few months ago.
      Here follows an attempt to summarize our findings.

      We are not aware of any authorial use of the term 'Rohirric',
      although it appears to be used for quite some time; by Jim Allan
      in _An Introduction to Elvish_ and also by Tom Shippey and many

      In LR the language is only called things like "the language of/in
      Rohan", "the language of the Rohirrim", "the tongue of the Mark".
      Tolkien also uses the abbreviation "R." in the discussion of
      _mathom_ and _smial_, with no further explanation.

      In _Guide to the Names_ the word _Rohan_ is used attributively
      -- "a Rohan name" and similar. It therefore seems likely that
      this is what "R." means.

      The term 'Rohirric' was in use even before _ItE_: it occurs in the
      first edition of Foster's guide in 1971. He refers to Appendix F
      (where "R." occurs). In the preface there is mention of unprinted
      material, e.g. letters from Tolkien to Plotz. A reasonable conclusion
      is that Foster found some confirmation of "R." > "Rohirric" there,
      especially since Foster usually refrains from his own constructions.

      However, from _The Peoples of Middle-earth_ it appears that "R."
      must mean "Rohan" (in an attributive function), not "Rohirric".
      Compare PM II §§ 56-57

      "[mathom] is a translation of actual Hobbit _cast_ (older _castu_)
      compared with Rohan _castu_" and "genuine Rohan _trahan_ related to
      Hobbit _tra|n_"

      with appendix F

      "relationship of the actual Hobbit _kast_ to R. _kastu_"
      and "relationship of Hobbit _trân_ to R. _trahan_".

      From the indices to _Unfinished Tales_, _Letters_ and _History of
      Middle-earth_ it appears that 'Rohirric' does not occur in any other
      published text by Tolkien to date.

      It should also be noted that the word-formation of "Rohirric" is
      illogical from the viewpoint of elvish etymology, which also speaks
      against Tolkien as originator. The double R in "RohiRRic" must have
      its origin in the collective _Rohirrim_, not the singular _rohir_.
      Now, _Rohirrim_ is a concatenation of _rohir_ and _rim_ 'host,
      people', but "Rohirric" appears to presume a stem _rohirr-_ and a
      plural marker _-im_. The pattern should in that case be borrowed
      from Hebrew plurals in _-im_ that have been given corresponding
      English adjective counterparts in _ic_, e.g. _Sephardim_ : _Sephardic_,
      _seraphim: _seraphic_. But Tolkien was clearly eager to avoid this
      very association; in letter 144 he explicitly states that the
      collectives in _-rim_ are not intended to resemble Hebrew.

      The collected circumstances point to the conclusion that it was
      Foster (or some anonymous person before him) that coined the term
      'Rohirric'. It should perhaps be labled "Old Fannish" :-)

      In the languages of Middle-earth it is uncommon to combine the
      penultimate stress (as in _Rohan_ and _rohir_) with _-ish_ (and
      never in designation of inhabitants). The same goes for all other
      non-ultimate stress. It's ultimate stress that fits with _-ish_.

      A derivation of _rohir_ corresponding to _elvish_, _dwarvish_ and
      _entish_ would probably be *Rohirian or *Rohiric (with single R!)
      since Tolkien preferred suffixes with Latin origin when he formed
      English words based on elvish (e.g. "Telerian" from Q. _Teleri_ and
      _Beleriandic_, _Leikvian_). It is believed that Tolkien used the
      term 'Rohirian'.

      I hope this probably imperfect digest of our discussions will bring
      the discussion at least a little bit forward.

      Gildir, Per Lindberg
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