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388Similarities between Elvish and real-world languages

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  • David Kiltz
    Mar 30, 2003
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      On Sonntag, März 30, 2003, at 09:20 Uhr, Edward J. Kloczko wrote:

      > Tolkien wrote:
      > "My series of invented languages became heavily Finnicized in
      > phonetic pattern and structure" (Letters, p. 214).
      > Structure is the key word here. Meaning is not involved at all. Most
      > of the time Tolkien created roots then made words from them
      > according to his own rules.

      It is abundantly clear that Tolkien's languages feature a number of
      words identical in sound and meaning to those of real world languages.
      These may not be instances of sheer loans. However, some words might
      have pleased Tolkien so much that he simply used them and never dropped
      them afterwards. TUL- is one such (root) word.

      Also, Tolkien had a way of arriving at Elvish words that "surprisingly"
      would have the form of e.g. a Germanic word with an opaque etymology.
      The whole process was certainly very complex and I personally find it
      immensely intriguing to observe these phenomena.

      You may not be interested in the origin of these words but others,
      including me, are.

      I take your statement that you "don't find Harri Perälä's approach
      and [Petri's] find to be of any interest to Tolkienology" to mean
      that this approach is of no interest to you.

      I think it would be fair to say that the study of Tolkien's invented
      languages (in particular and myth in general) can be exercised in many
      ways. One not having necessarily primacy over another unless it be in
      terms of accuracy or personal liking. I'm not a Tolkienologist, so I
      can't make a statement on the bearing that such undertakings have on
      that branch of intellectual endeavour.

      Still, I'd say that Petri's and Harri's observation shed some light on
      Tolkien's languages, even if the conclusion may be, as possibly in this
      instance, that no "influence" was present. Not all ends of Tolkien's
      motives or methods are known and I, personally, would second a
      rich and diversified approach to his creations.

      David Kiltz
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