- --- In lambengolmor@y..., Jérémie Knuesel <jeremie.knuesel@e...>
> Did Tolkien use a name more specific than "the language of theThis was discussed in the Mellonath Daeron a few months ago.
> 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.
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
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
I hope this probably imperfect digest of our discussions will bring
the discussion at least a little bit forward.
Gildir, Per Lindberg
- Considering that _Rohan_, _Rohirrim_ are elvish names and the indigenous name
is Mark, Riddersmark for the country (formerly _Calenardhon_?) and Riders of
the Mark for the cavalry, the language would be called Markish or Merkish --
which approximates what it would be called in Old Mercian, since it was called
Miercisc in West Saxon. Rohirric is linguistically Old Mercian, differing from
West Saxon notably in the absence of certain vowel breakings: Saruman where
WS would have had Searuman, Isengard instead of Isengeard etc.
Hans Georg Lundahl
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