The last line of Bilbo's lay of Earendil in _The Lord of the
Rings_ is "the Flammifer of Westernesse". As a non-native
English reader I would be interested to know where natives
would place the word _Flammifer_ on the scales of a) oddity,
and b) comprehensibility. (I have my bet on where to place it,
but I will not tell you beforehand.)
- In a message dated 2/11/2004 6:55:40 AM Central Standard Time,
>As a non-native English reader I would be interested to know where nativeswould place
>the word _Flammifer_ on the scales of a) oddity, and b) comprehensibility.On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), I rate it a 10 for oddity, as I doubt
anyone else ever used it, and 5 for comprehensibility, because it depends on
whether the reader is an educated person who recognizes the Latin roots of the
word well enough to translate "flame-bearer" - or perhaps has heard of the
ancient French banner, the Oriflamme (golden flame).
We have other words of this construction, though, in church usage
particularly: a thurifer who bears the thurible containing incense, a crucifer who
carries the processional cross, for example.
(When I would see acolytes in the Episcopal church carrying candles on tall
poles, I would mutter "are those the =lucifers="?) (feeble joke there)
My large Oxford Universal Dictionary has no "flammifer," but "flammigerous,"
said to be a rare adjective for "bearing flame," and "flammivomous," which of
course applies to Dragons.
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- Stolzi@... wrote:
> On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), I rate it [=Flammifer] a 10 for oddity, as IMany thanks for your answer. There seem to be no other takers;
> anyone else ever used it, and 5 for comprehensibility, because it depends on
> whether the reader is an educated person
does that mean everyone agrees?
You placed it fairly close to what I thought, but I had expected a
little higher score in comprehensibility, a 7 or so.