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RE: [Lambengolmor] Kalevala & Qenya

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  • Pavel Iosad
    Hello, Christopher Gilson wrote an fascinating essay on Kalevala influence in Tolkien s early Qenya. Among other things, he noted the apparent relationship
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 13, 2003
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      Hello,

      Christopher Gilson wrote an fascinating essay on Kalevala influence in
      Tolkien's early Qenya. Among other things, he noted the apparent
      relationship between F. kulta_ and the Qenya words associated with
      'gold'

      > If we allow that the Germanic cognates of English _gold_, especially
      > Gothic _gulth_, were also part of the original inspiration for the Q.
      > root KULU, then I think the proposed Finnish influence likely to be
      > valid.

      I agree. A further twist is added by the fact that the Finnish word is
      one of the numerous loans into Finnish from very early Germanic, such as
      _rengas_ < *_xrengaz_ 'ring' and _kuningas_ < *_kuningaz_ 'king', the
      latter not infrequently also occurring in the Kalevala. Tolkien would
      certainly have known this, and he might have encountered this particular
      word even before the _Kalevala_, as I imagine these Finnish loans would
      be mentioned in Germanic philology courses. By the way, we might hazard
      a very, very, very cautious guess that _rengas_, which is also a
      standard example of this Germanic-Finnic interaction, could be an
      influence (I am wary of the word 'source') for some Qenya words, which
      are to be found in PE12:80 s.v. RINI-. While _rin (nd-)_ 'year, circle',
      has a rather distant relationship to _rengas_ in form, it certainly has
      a similar meaning. The words _rinkalenda_ 'anniversary', _rinko (o)_
      'disc, circle, orb'_, and the erased _rinku (û)_ 'Orb of the Moon', also
      mentioned in PME in a different form, show a closer affinity. Still, the
      inspiration is not as likely as in the case of _kulta_, and _rengas_ is
      not met in the Kalevala. Still, while not very likely, the link is not
      impossible.

      > Among the grammatical devices exemplified in the Kalevala excerpt,
      > the genitive ending _-n_ occurs several times: _Pohjan_ "of Pohja";

      As the editors mention in PE12:xii, the word is also found in Qenya,
      PE12:74 s.v.PO- listing _pôya_, untranslated but presumably 'northern'
      or at least connected with North.

      [...]
      > But I don't know if the difference in spelling between _w_ and
      > _v_ was intended to reflect an
      > etymological distinction

      As far as I know, it is a purely orthographic convention. I'd imagine
      Early Modern Finnish would have a vacillation between 'w' and 'v' for
      [v]. Contemporary Swedish did, as far as remember.

      Thanks again, Christopher!

      Pavel
      --
      Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

      Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth
      --Welsh saying
    • Hans Georg Lundahl
      ... Actually, in books printed in Gothic (Blackletter) style, w was the norm in Swedish, like it still is in German and Polish. In books printed in Antiqua
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 15, 2003
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        Pavel Iosad <edricson@...> wrote:

        > As far as I know, it is a purely orthographic convention. I'd imagine Early
        > Modern Finnish would have a vacillation between 'w' and 'v' for [v]. Contemporary
        > Swedish did, as far as remember."

        Actually, in books printed in Gothic (Blackletter) style, 'w' was the norm in Swedish,
        like it still is in German and Polish. In books printed in Antiqua (Round letter) style,
        as well as loan words from French, Latin, English, 'v' was the norm.

        Now, back to Qenya, the sooner the better.

        Hans Georg Lundahl

        Höstrusk och grå moln - köp en resa till solen på Yahoo! Resor

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • cgilson75
        Pavel Iosad wrote: A further twist is added by the fact that the Finnish word [_kulta_ gold ] is one of the numerous loans into Finnish from very early
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 18, 2003
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          Pavel Iosad wrote:

          "A further twist is added by the fact that the Finnish word
          [_kulta_ 'gold'] is one of the numerous loans into Finnish from very
          early Germanic, such as _rengas_ < *_xrengaz_ 'ring' and _kuningas_ <
          *_kuningaz_ 'king', the latter not infrequently also occurring in the
          Kalevala. Tolkien would certainly have known this, and he might have
          encountered this particular word even before the _Kalevala_, as I
          imagine these Finnish loans would be mentioned in Germanic philology
          courses."

          This does seem like something Tolkien would have learned about while
          at Oxford; so the sequence of events is worth bearing in mind. His
          original course of study was in the Classics, and what he was
          learning as a pupil of Joseph Wright in 1912 were "the elements of
          Greek philology" (Biography, chap. 5). After taking his Honour
          Moderations exam in 1913, he was advised to switch his studies to the
          English school, where he took up Old Norse as his special subject
          (Bio. chap. 6). So the instruction Tolkien received in Germanic
          philology would have been primarily between 1913 and 1915.

          Tolkien had read Kirby's translation of the Kalevala probably during
          his last year at King Edward's. He may still have been hoping to
          find a Finnish edition of the poem when he discovered that the
          library at Exeter College had a copy of C. N. E. Eliot's _Finnish
          Grammar_, soon after arriving at Oxford in 1911 (see
          http://www.elvish.org/resources.html#TolkienInfluence_anchor ). He
          clearly studied this grammar in great detail, and presumably worked
          through the longer excerpts from the Kalevala that are included at
          the end of the book (Runo XXXVI, lines 319-346; XVI, 151-384; and XL,
          113-244).

          Incidentally, the first of these excerpts is the account of
          Kullervo's death, and includes the words _terävä_ 'sharp' and
          _lapsi_ 'child', the proposed inspiration for Q _tereva_ 'piercing,
          acute, shrill, sharp' (QL) and _lapse_ ' babe' (Etym.). The third
          excerpt is about the invention of the harp, and includes
          the word _kantelo_ (a variant of _kantele_ 'harp'), clearly
          contributing to QL _kantl 'a large harp' (<< _kantil_ 'a small harp')
          and _kantele_ 'harping, (repetition)'; though I think the partial
          homophony with Latin _cantare_ 'to sing, chant' and its cognates may
          have contributed to Tolkien's adaptation of this Finnish word.

          [Pavel:] "By the way, we might hazard a very, very, very cautious
          guess that _rengas_, which is also a standard example of this
          Germanic-Finnic interaction, could be an influence (I am wary of the
          word 'source') for some Qenya words, which are to be found in PE12:80
          s.v. RINI-. While _rin (nd-)_ 'year, circle', has a rather distant
          relationship to _rengas_ in form, it certainly has a similar meaning.
          The words _rinkalenda_ 'anniversary', _rinko (o)_ 'disc, circle,
          orb'_, and the erased _rinku (û)_ 'Orb of the Moon', also
          mentioned in PME in a different form, show a closer affinity."

          The other side of this Germanic-Finnish connection is also worth
          considering. The Old English cognate is _hring_ 'ring, circle,
          cycle, orb' and the Old Norse _hringr_ 'ring, circle', words Tolkien
          would have encountered when first learning and reading in these
          languages while still at King Edward's. A cognate is not attested in
          Gothic, a lack that would have attracted Tolkien's attention, during
          the period when he was filling in the gaps in the Gothic lexicon through
          comparative extrapolation, using what he had learned from reading
          Wright's _Primer of the Gothic Language_ around 1908 or 1909. From
          the OE & ON cognates Primitive Germanic *_xringaz_ could be inferred,
          and Gothic *_hriggs_.

          But I also agree with Pavel that in this case we should be cautious.
          If the ultimate motive behind an external influence on Qenya is the
          appeal of a particular association of sound and sense embodied in the
          form that inspires it, then we may not need to look further than
          modern English _ring_ for Tolkien's source, since this is just as
          close in sound to the Qenya forms _rin_, _rinko_, etc., as OE
          _hring_, ON _hringr_ or Finnish _rengas_.

          Of course this group does display other influences. Thus the second
          component of _rinkalenda_ is _kalenda_ 'of the day; daily', which
          occurs under the root KALA 'shine golden' alongside _kalende_ 'a
          special day, festival'. The last seems clearly inspired by Latin
          _kalendae_, the term for the first day of the month, though the KALA
          words may also have been influenced by Latin _calere_ 'be warm or
          hot, glow', and its relatives. The second element of _rinku_ is
          _kuu_ (uu == u-macron) 'Crescent Moon', presumably inspired by Finnish
          _kuu_ 'moon'. This is another word Tolkien could have learned from
          Kirby's translation of the Kalevala, since _Kuutar_ 'the Daughter of
          the Moon' is translated there in a list of proper names at the end of
          the poem.

          This rather nicely illustrates just a few of the multiple layers of
          inspiration that were integrated in Qenya already when it was
          documented in QL. It is fascinating to peel back some of those
          layers and possibly glimpse what affected Tolkien during the years
          before this, when we know he was already continually inventing based
          on the many languages he encountered.

          Christopher Gilson
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