Editorial: Lambengolmor at one year
- Today marks the first anniversary of the first posting to the
Lambengolmor list. Looking back, I am _exceedingly_ pleased and
gratified by the course this list has taken, the discussions that its
members have pursued, and the thoughts that you have shared with us.
The extremely high "signal-to-noise" ratio of this list is, I think, an
all too rare example what can be achieved in a public Internet forum
when attentive moderation is strictly applied in the service of a set
of scholarly goals and principles; and the fact that I have in fact had
to do so little moderation over the course of this past year
demonstrates that the good example the members have set greatly
encourages others to follow suit. I also note that the number of
members, now hovering around 500, has far exceeded my expectations for
(by Internet standards) such a rigorous and technical discussion list;
which I take as a hopeful sign. I thank you all for your interest.
I am particularly pleased to see a strong awareness among our
contributors of the _totality_ of Tolkien's linguistic creations, of
the complexity not only of the languages themselves at each stage of
their long Primary-world development, but of the development itself;
and a willingness to accept and navigate that complexity. To that end,
I would like to offer some words that I recently posted in a quite
different context on another list:
"To the extent that we can speak accurately of Quenya and Sindarin as
single entities, it is only as _continuities_ of change over time, i.e.
as _processes_; all else is simply individual snapshots of (most often
only small parts of) this process, any detail of which may have
persisted from the beginning to the end of that process, or have had no
more extent in that process than the sheet it was written on; and in
some cases there may be no way to tell which of these two extremes is
true of any given detail. But _every_ detail in turn _defined_ Quenya
and Sindarin _at the point it
was written_ (at least), and so reflects an aspect of Tolkien's
linguistic Art, which is _supposed_ to be the common and proper object
of interest pursued by all scholars of Tolkien's languages."
I would also like to take this occasion to look forward by looking back
to one of the very first posts on Lambengolmor, message 16 by Sebastien
Bertho (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/16>), in
which he says (_inter alia_):
"I hope the list will indeed prove useful and that we'll have the
opportunity to discuss the material recently published (last Parma
Eldalamberon and the latest issues of Vinyar Tengwar). It seems to me
that these publications have been somewhat a little ignored on the
other lists (except as "new words" providers), whereas there are many
very interesting features that would deserve to be discussed."
While I think that a portion of Sebastien's hope has been realized, a
very great part of it has not, particularly as regards the discussion
of the material presented in the past three issues of _Parma_. As I
have said before, we have in these the initial expression of Tolkien's
profoundest linguistic thoughts and aesthetic, upon which _all_ that
would follow was firmly based and, in many ways, was largely mere
variation on the themes set there. It seems strange to me that these
works should continue to be so neglected in scholarly discussion of
Tolkien's Art, and I hope that this list will at least begin to correct
Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org
ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
"I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."