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Tolkien, Jonah, and Job

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  • Michael Martinez
    A few weeks ago, a small brouhaha erupted over my statements in various places about Tolkien having translated the Book of Job for the Jerusalem Bible. Many
    Message 1 of 20 , Jun 2, 2004
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      A few weeks ago, a small brouhaha erupted over my statements in
      various places about Tolkien having translated the Book of Job for the
      Jerusalem Bible. Many people keep pointing out that he only claimed
      to have finished Jonah (though without mentioning Job referring to
      other unspecified texts he had been assigned) in Letter 294.

      The citation from Letter 294:
      "Naming me among the 'principal collaborators' was an undeserved
      courtesy on the part of the editor of the Jerusalem Bible. I was
      consulted on one or two points of style, and criticized some
      contributions of others. I was originally assigned a large amount of
      text to translate, but after doing some necessary preliminary work I
      was obliged to resign owing to pressure of other work, and only
      completed 'Jonah', one of the shortest books."

      My source of information regarding Tolkien's work on Job is a
      statement by Wayne Hammond and Douglas Anderson:

      "_The Jerusalem Bible_ (London: Darton, Longman & Todd; Garden City,
      N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966). Tolkien served as an editor of this version
      in a capacity nowhere definitively described. According to Tolkien
      himself, in a letter to Charlotte and Denis Plimer of 8 February 1967,
      he was originally to have translated a large amount of text, but under
      pressue from other work, completed only Jonah ('one of the shortest
      books'), and otherwise 'was consulted on one or two points of style,
      and criticized some contributions of others'. According to Anthony
      Kenney . . . Tolkien was asked to translate Judges and Jonah, but in
      the end contributed only a revision of the latter. According to
      Carpenter . . . Tolkien's only contribution was the original draft of
      a translation of Jonah, which was extensively revised by others before
      publication. But it was reported in the Tolkien Society bulletin,
      _Amon Hen_, no. 26 (May 1977), that according to Darton, Longman, &
      Todd Tolkien also worked on the Book of Job, providing its initial
      draft and playing an important part in establishing its final text."

      Well, after posting this citation in response to a request that I
      retract what I have been saying about Tolkien and Job for years,
      someone posted the following:

      "The exact quote from Amon Hen (the journal of the [UK] Tolkien
      Society), issue number 26 is from a review of Carpenter's Biography
      where the reviewer states that she wrote to the NJB publishers to
      check what Carpenter says:

      "'It surprises me that Tolkien is named as the translator of "Jonah"
      for the Jerusalem Bible, when I always thought it was "Job" he worked
      on. I have received a letter from Michael Longman of Darton Longman
      and Todd, who says that "Professor Tolkien certainly did provide the
      initial draft of Job ... he played an especially important part in
      establishing the final text of the book of Job"'.


      So, is this all there is to the story? And how do you folks feel
      about my saying that Tolkien "translated the book of Job for the
      Jerusalem Bible"? It has always been an offhand remark, included in
      broader discussions of Tolkien's work with languages. But is it
      unmerited, even as a casual point of reference?
    • David Bratman
      I m inclined to think that as Tolkien and Kenny are in agreement about what Tolkien wrote, that s most likely to be correct. In that case, Michael Longman,
      Message 2 of 20 , Jun 2, 2004
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        I'm inclined to think that as Tolkien and Kenny are in agreement about what
        Tolkien wrote, that's most likely to be correct. In that case, Michael
        Longman, being in direct disagreement with them, might have been confused.
        (It's quite possible.) However, Hammond/Anderson notes the evidence for
        Job, so there's no reason we can't do so also. But I would phrase it
        tentatively, as is done there.

        A couple specific points:

        >My source of information regarding Tolkien's work on Job is a
        >statement by Wayne Hammond and Douglas Anderson:
        >"... According to Anthony
        >Kenney . . . Tolkien was asked to translate Judges and Jonah, but in
        >the end contributed only a revision of the latter."

        The word "revision" in the above is an error for the word "version", as
        reported in a corrigenda for the Bibliography in _The Tolkien Collector_.

        I recommend looking at Kenny's book, _A Path from Rome_, if one hasn't done
        so. He has a lot of interesting material on the creation of the Jerusalem
        Bible, and a vivid account of working with Tolkien professionally, or
        trying to. He makes clear that stylistic idiosyncracies from the
        translators were ruthlessly ironed out in the revision process, so how much
        of Tolkien remains in the final text of anything he worked on is doubtful.
        And that's the old Jerusalem Bible: there's been a revised edition, further
        edited.
      • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
        I recommend looking at Kenny s book, _A Path from Rome_, if one hasn t done so. He has a lot of interesting material on the creation of the Jerusalem Bible,
        Message 3 of 20 , Jun 2, 2004
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          I recommend looking at Kenny's book, _A Path from Rome_, if one hasn't done
          so. He has a lot of interesting material on the creation of the Jerusalem
          Bible, and a vivid account of working with Tolkien professionally, or
          trying to. He makes clear that stylistic idiosyncracies from the
          translators were ruthlessly ironed out in the revision process, so how much
          of Tolkien remains in the final text of anything he worked on is doubtful.
          And that's the old Jerusalem Bible: there's been a revised edition, further
          edited.
          >>

          Sounds like an interesting book -- but is it a snoozer to us laypersons?
          In any case, amazon says it's out of print with limited availability, and
          abebooks has no idea what I'm talking about.

          Ah well, I'm behind anyway. And it's probably over my head, so to speak.
          Phoo.

          Thanks anyway, David. Maybe I'll see it in the library.

          Lizzie

          Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          lizziewriter@...
          amor vincit omnia
        • David Bratman
          ... Try a library. Preferably a university library, or a public library with inter-library loan. My knowledge of the book comes from a university library
          Message 4 of 20 , Jun 2, 2004
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            At 06:43 PM 6/2/2004 -0400, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:
            >>I recommend looking at Kenny's book, _A Path from Rome_,
            >
            >Sounds like an interesting book -- but is it a snoozer to us laypersons?
            >In any case, amazon says it's out of print with limited availability, and
            >abebooks has no idea what I'm talking about.

            Try a library. Preferably a university library, or a public library with
            inter-library loan. My knowledge of the book comes from a university
            library copy.

            It's not highly technical, but it is detailed. So its interest level
            depends on how much one wants to know about that stuff.
          • Larry Swain
            ... Michael, None of this should be news to you; I posted this to you four years ago, only to be told by you in no uncertain terms that I lied. As for what
            Message 5 of 20 , Jun 2, 2004
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              >
              > So, is this all there is to the story? And how do you folks feel
              > about my saying that Tolkien "translated the book of Job for the
              > Jerusalem Bible"? It has always been an offhand remark, included in
              > broader discussions of Tolkien's work with languages. But is it
              > unmerited, even as a casual point of reference?
              >

              Michael,

              None of this should be news to you; I posted this to you four years ago, only to be told by you in no uncertain terms that I lied.

              As for what Tolkien did and did not do for the JB: Alexander Jones, the head of the English committee, states that the project began simply as a translation from the French edition. Sections were divied up and assigned. It was later decided that to do a proper job of it they should go back to the original Hebrew and Greek mss that the French committee had consulted and offer a fresh English translation that kept its eye carefully on the well-received French edition, but was independent of it. They also used the French committee's notes on the text. This naturally necessitated the reassignment and the redoing of those texts already completed. By this point Tolkien had already resigned due to his increasing work on Ancrene Riwle, revising LoTR, and other projects.

              Did Tolkien know Hebrew well enough to have been part of the process after this decision was made? Probably not, though he had already resigned. There is no evidence independent of the circular reasoning that he did Job therefore he knew Hebrew that Tolkien knew Hebrew to any great extent. Sure as a linguist and philologist he knew many languages and had looked at many more. He likely was very aware of the Hebrew alphabet and the history of the alphabet and likely could work with Hebrew words and lexica and discuss semantic ranges of Hebrew words in relation to English words being used to translate them. He knew Greek and undoubtedly the LXX and the Vulgate helped him out here as well. But there is no mention of his knowledge of Hebrew when at school anytime in his youth (unlike Welsh and Esperanto), nor while he was teaching, giving exams and the like at Oxford, nor in his private notes or in his correspondance. There are many other languages we know that Tolkien knew
              because he left us that information. Such information so far as I have been able to discover does not exist for his knowledge of Hebrew.

              As David suggests, Tolkien and Kenny are in agreement. If Tolkien contrbuted a version of Jonah and Carpenter is undoubtedly correct that it had to revised and redone, and only the review in Amon Hen says otherwise, I find it likely that only Jonah was completed and was done so at the early stage before Tolkien resigned.

              Thus, it is inaccurate to claim that Tolkien knew Hebrew to the extend of serving on the JB committee. It is further inaccurate to claim that Tolkien did Job. With David, I would say that the wariness with which Hammaond and Anderson report this should be taken to note. The publisher was probably mistaken...easy to take Jon. for Job, particularly if in hand written notes and memos at a remove of some years. (The JB appeared in 1966, the review in Amon Hen is a decade later. So at best, 10 years.) So I'd have to say that yes, it is an unmerited credit to Tolkien even as a casual reference and you should retract.

              Larry Swain
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            • Wayne G. Hammond
              ... [etc.] Sorry, Michael, I ve been too busy to reply to this question on r.a.b.t., though I ve had it on my to-do list. Since writing the _Bibliography_ I ve
              Message 6 of 20 , Jun 3, 2004
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                Michael wrote:

                >A few weeks ago, a small brouhaha erupted over my statements in
                >various places about Tolkien having translated the Book of Job for the
                >Jerusalem Bible. Many people keep pointing out that he only claimed
                >to have finished Jonah (though without mentioning Job referring to
                >other unspecified texts he had been assigned) in Letter 294.

                [etc.]

                Sorry, Michael, I've been too busy to reply to this question on r.a.b.t.,
                though I've had it on my to-do list.

                Since writing the _Bibliography_ I've seen the letters written to Tolkien
                by the General Editor of _The Jerusalem Bible_, Alexander Jones, preserved
                in the Tolkien Papers at the Bodleian. Jones first wrote to Tolkien in
                January 1957, asking him to contribute to the Bible project, on the
                strength of _The Lord of the Rings_ with which Jones was very impressed. He
                hoped that Tolkien would translate several books of the Old Testament, but
                held out Jonah (only three pages in the finished printed Bible) if Tolkien
                was pressed for time. Tolkien quickly sent a sample translation from
                Isaiah, and then a draft translation of Jonah. After that he was indeed too
                pressed for time to do much more. He did, however, discuss points of
                translation with Jones, including what to do about archaisms (a potentially
                very interesting subject, especially in relation to his comments on
                archaisms in _The Lord of the Rings_; unfortunately, copies of Tolkien's
                letters to Jones are not at the Bodleian), and Jones solicited Tolkien's
                opinions on a first draft of most of the Book of Job. Tolkien passed a
                final revision of Jonah only in 1961.

                So, Tolkien did translate Jonah, which others revised (in the
                _Bibliography_, p. 279, "revision of the latter [i.e. Jonah]" should read
                "version of the latter"), and the evidence strongly indicates that this was
                the only book that he translated in full. He certainly did not translate
                Job -- one of the letters from Jones makes it clear that this was done by
                someone else -- though he may have given his advice about it (Jones's
                letters at the Bodleian end at the point at which he sent Job to Tolkien),
                and this may have led to some confusion on this point at Longmans.

                Jones wrote in his foreword to _The Jerusalem Bible_: "In the case of a few
                books the initial draft was made from the French and was then compared word
                for word with the Hebrew or Aramaic by the General Editor and amended where
                necessary to ensure complete conformity with the ancient text. For the much
                greater part, the initial drafts were made from the Hebrew or Greek and
                simultaneously compared with the French when questions of variant reading
                or interpretation arose." That the work was never simply a translation from
                the French was made clear to Tolkien by Jones in an early letter: reference
                by the General Editor to Hebrew and Greek was always a given. Nor was Jones
                overly concerned to recruit translators who were fluent in French:
                obviously they had to have some facility with it, but he was concerned in
                the first instance with their command of English. Thus he wanted Tolkien on
                board, and others such as Roy Campbell (who died before completing his work).

                I agree with Larry's argument about the level of Tolkien's knowledge of
                Hebrew, but can add that Tolkien wished to know more, and in April 1957 he
                wrote to his grandson Michael George (an unpublished letter) that he was
                immersing himself in the language so that, when he retired, he could
                participate in a Bible translation project, i.e. _The Jerusalem Bible_. But
                there is no evidence that he got very far with this study before other
                matters became too pressing.

                Wayne Hammond
              • Michael Martinez
                ... Thank you. While I cannot change anything which has appeared in prince, I ll post a followup to the newsgroups. Cover your ears, as the roar of
                Message 7 of 20 , Jun 3, 2004
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                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Wayne G. Hammond"
                  <Wayne.G.Hammond@w...> wrote:
                  > Michael wrote:
                  >
                  > >A few weeks ago, a small brouhaha erupted over my statements in
                  > >various places about Tolkien having translated the Book of Job
                  > >for the Jerusalem Bible. Many people keep pointing out that he
                  > >only claimed to have finished Jonah (though without mentioning Job
                  > >referring to other unspecified texts he had been assigned) in
                  > >Letter 294.
                  >
                  > [etc.]
                  >
                  > Sorry, Michael, I've been too busy to reply to this question on
                  > r.a.b.t., though I've had it on my to-do list.

                  Thank you. While I cannot change anything which has appeared in
                  prince, I'll post a followup to the newsgroups.

                  Cover your ears, as the roar of jubilation over a retraction from
                  Michael Martinez -- in any form -- will undoubtedly be deafening for
                  years to come.
                • Michael Martinez
                  ... Even a finger-fumble would not explain how I managed to write prince for print , but I did have a good time dancing last night. David, thank you for the
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jun 3, 2004
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                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@x> wrote:

                    > Thank you. While I cannot change anything which has appeared in
                    > prince, I'll post a followup to the newsgroups.

                    Even a finger-fumble would not explain how I managed to write "prince"
                    for "print", but I did have a good time dancing last night.

                    David, thank you for the suggestion. I will look into Kenny's book.
                  • Larry Swain
                    Wayne, Thanks very much for writing and taking time from toher things. ... Just for the sake of clarity, what we are talking about here is a translation from
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jun 3, 2004
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                      Wayne,

                      Thanks very much for writing and taking time from toher things.

                      >
                      > Since writing the _Bibliography_ I've seen the letters written to Tolkien
                      > by the General Editor of _The Jerusalem Bible_, Alexander Jones, preserved
                      > in the Tolkien Papers at the Bodleian. Jones first wrote to Tolkien in
                      > January 1957, asking him to contribute to the Bible project, on the
                      > strength of _The Lord of the Rings_ with which Jones was very impressed. He
                      > hoped that Tolkien would translate several books of the Old Testament, but
                      > held out Jonah (only three pages in the finished printed Bible) if Tolkien
                      > was pressed for time. Tolkien quickly sent a sample translation from
                      > Isaiah, and then a draft translation of Jonah. After that he was indeed too
                      > pressed for time to do much more. He did, however, discuss points of
                      > translation with Jones, including what to do about archaisms (a potentially
                      > very interesting subject, especially in relation to his comments on
                      > archaisms in _The Lord of the Rings_; unfortunately, copies of Tolkien's
                      > letters to Jones are not at the Bodleian), and Jones solicited Tolkien's
                      > opinions on a first draft of most of the Book of Job. Tolkien passed a
                      > final revision of Jonah only in 1961.
                      >

                      Just for the sake of clarity, what we are talking about here is a translation from French, not a translation from Hebrew that Tolkien did for the portion of Isaiah and Jonah. That's the impression I devloped and have in my notes. I'll be in the Bodleian later this summer and can check again. Same thing with the draft...Jones was soliciting Tolkien's opinion on the English of the translation, not its accuracy from the original language. Please do correct me if your impression is different.


                      > Jones wrote in his foreword to _The Jerusalem Bible_: "In the case of a few
                      > books the initial draft was made from the French and was then compared word
                      > for word with the Hebrew or Aramaic by the General Editor and amended where
                      > necessary to ensure complete conformity with the ancient text. For the much
                      > greater part, the initial drafts were made from the Hebrew or Greek and
                      > simultaneously compared with the French when questions of variant reading
                      > or interpretation arose." That the work was never simply a translation from
                      > the French was made clear to Tolkien by Jones in an early letter: reference
                      > by the General Editor to Hebrew and Greek was always a given.

                      I can only imagine that this is in reaction to my statements that initially the project translated from French and later switched gears and translated from Hebrew and Greek with an eye on the French. In the end I don't see much difference. Some books in their initial drafts were translated from French as I said. That these initial drafts were then compared to the Hebrew and Greek has no bearing on whether Tolkien translated Jonah from Hebrew or not.


                      Thanks again!

                      Larry Swain
                      --
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                    • Wayne G. Hammond
                      ... This is my interpretation also. Wayne
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jun 4, 2004
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                        Larry wrote:

                        >Just for the sake of clarity, what we are talking about here
                        >is a translation from French, not a translation from Hebrew
                        >that Tolkien did for the portion of Isaiah and Jonah. That's
                        >the impression I devloped and have in my notes. I'll be in the
                        >Bodleian later this summer and can check again. Same thing
                        >with the draft...Jones was soliciting Tolkien's opinion on the
                        >English of the translation, not its accuracy from the original
                        >language. Please do correct me if your impression is different.

                        This is my interpretation also.

                        Wayne
                      • alexeik@aol.com
                        In a message dated 6/3/4 12:14:08 PM, Wayne Hammond wrote:
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jun 4, 2004
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                          In a message dated 6/3/4 12:14:08 PM, Wayne Hammond wrote:

                          <<I agree with Larry's argument about the level of Tolkien's knowledge of
                          Hebrew, but can add that Tolkien wished to know more, and in April 1957 he
                          wrote to his grandson Michael George (an unpublished letter) that he was
                          immersing himself in the language so that, when he retired, he could
                          participate in a Bible translation project, i.e. _The Jerusalem Bible_. But
                          there is no evidence that he got very far with this study before other
                          matters became too pressing.
                          >>

                          I think there's also the evidence of Adûnaic, which seems specifically
                          designed to incorporate elements characteristic of Semitic languages. Of course,
                          this doesn't mean that Tolkien "knew Hebrew", but it does suggest that he had
                          delved into it deeply enough to be generally aware of the unique non-European
                          features of its grammar (and naturally used it as inspiration for his own
                          linguistic subcreation).
                          Alexei
                        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                          Alexei said: I think there s also the evidence of Ad?naic, which seems specifically designed to incorporate elements characteristic of Semitic languages. Of
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jun 4, 2004
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                            Alexei said:

                            I think there's also the evidence of Ad?naic, which seems specifically
                            designed to incorporate elements characteristic of Semitic languages. Of
                            course,
                            this doesn't mean that Tolkien "knew Hebrew", but it does suggest that he
                            had
                            delved into it deeply enough to be generally aware of the unique
                            non-European
                            features of its grammar (and naturally used it as inspiration for his own
                            linguistic subcreation). >>

                            I'm sorry, but I have no idea what that A word is or what it means.
                            There's also the evidence of what?


                            Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                            lizziewriter@...
                            amor vincit omnia
                          • Michael Martinez
                            ... The Tolkien linguists have identified Hebrew influence in Adunaic, Khuzdul, and Elvish (the latter being some comments by Helge Fauskanger). Carpenter
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jun 4, 2004
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                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, alexeik@a... wrote:
                              >
                              > I think there's also the evidence of Adûnaic, which seems specifically
                              > designed to incorporate elements characteristic of Semitic languages.
                              > Of course, this doesn't mean that Tolkien "knew Hebrew", but it does
                              > suggest that he had delved into it deeply enough to be generally
                              > aware of the unique non-European features of its grammar (and
                              > naturally used it as inspiration for his own linguistic subcreation).
                              > Alexei

                              The Tolkien linguists have identified Hebrew influence in Adunaic,
                              Khuzdul, and Elvish (the latter being some comments by Helge
                              Fauskanger). Carpenter says one of Tolkien's early alphabets was
                              apparently modelled in part on Hebrew.

                              There are tons of references to Tolkien and Hebrew. It's impossible
                              to determine where everyone got their ideas/information from. Some
                              other authors besides me have identified him even more closely with
                              Hebrew and the Jerusalem Bible (there seems to be a virtual tidal wave
                              of religious Tolkien books these days -- too many for me to keep up with).
                            • Michael Martinez
                              ... Adunaic is the name of the language Tolkien devised for his Edainic peoples. It replaced an earlier language, Taliska, which had been devised for the
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jun 4, 2004
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                                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
                                <lizziewriter@e...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I'm sorry, but I have no idea what that A word is or what it means.
                                > There's also the evidence of what?

                                Adunaic is the name of the language Tolkien devised for his Edainic
                                peoples. It replaced an earlier language, Taliska, which had been
                                devised for the so-called mythology for England (THE BOOK OF LOST
                                TALES) and was a pseudo-Germanic language.

                                Adunaic was incorporated into the LORD OF THE RINGS mythology. It is
                                mentioned in the Appendices.
                              • Bianca Iano
                                ... It s been a while since I looked at Helge s website, but IIRC, he identifies some common features like plural forms ending in im , and triconsonantal
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jun 5, 2004
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                                  Michael Martinez wrote:

                                  > The Tolkien linguists have identified Hebrew influence in Adunaic,
                                  > Khuzdul, and Elvish (the latter being some comments by Helge
                                  > Fauskanger). Carpenter says one of Tolkien's early alphabets was
                                  > apparently modelled in part on Hebrew.

                                  It's been a while since I looked at Helge's website, but IIRC, he
                                  identifies some common features like plural forms ending in "im",
                                  and triconsonantal roots in Adunaic, etc. I'm no philologist,
                                  but the borrowings didn't seem to me to be based on any systematic
                                  desire to create a thoroughly Semitic language. Specialists could
                                  probably tell you more.

                                  Nor to my ear do phrases like "Ephalak idon Yozayan" sound like
                                  any Semitic language spoken in this universe :).

                                  With all due respect, I find it hard to believe JRRT planned to work
                                  up his Hebrew during retirement so he could translate the book of Job (?)
                                  from the original. Unless by translating one means being able to check
                                  words in a dictionary using an already existing translation as an aid
                                  and polishing up the English?

                                  Not meaning to tread on any toes here ...

                                  Bianca
                                • Larry Swain
                                  ... Hi Alexei, I ll start by saying that I am somewhat less than expert on Tolkien s languages, to be honest. I ll respond to the things I ve seen about
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jun 6, 2004
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                                    > In a message dated 6/3/4 12:14:08 PM, Wayne Hammond wrote:
                                    >
                                    Hi Alexei,

                                    I'll start by saying that I am somewhat less than expert on Tolkien's languages, to be honest. I'll respond to the things I've seen about Adunaic and its dependence on Hebrew, though.

                                    One thing I've seen is that plurals in adunaic are in -im which is a Hebrew plural. That's true....one of the plurals, the masculine, in Hebrew is -im. But other languages have that as well, and it is not hard to go from a -"ium" ending in Latin third declension i-stem genitive plurals to sometimes an -im by medieval Latin writers. If there were other plurals in Adunaic that were in -oth or -ot, then I think a good case of modeling on Hebrew could be made, but not on -im alone.

                                    I've also read that in changing to the plural Adunaic changes the vowels of the stem, like Hebrew. But again other languages do this, notably Old Norse where depending on the case and number the stem vowels change. So its possible, but again not enough on this alone.

                                    I've also read that Adunaic has triconsonantal primitive roots like Hebrew...but this is true of all Semitic languages and if true is probably more demonstrative of a basic knowledge of certain things about Hebrew/Semitic languages than anyone with linguistics training would know than knowing the language.

                                    Is there more? This is suggestive, but far from conclusive.

                                    I think Michael mentioned the early alphabet that Carpenter mentions that was based on Hebrew. I wonder about this too, and have a theory that at the moment is baseless. I suspect though that Tolkien was probably thinking about the well known fact that the NW Semitic alphabet delevoped from Ugaritic gave rise to the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. The latter of course became the language of the Bible. The former passed its alphabet onto the Greeks and through them to the Romans and then to the rest of Europe. I suspect that he was playing around with the origins of the alphabet and trying to develop a different one from the "roots" so to speak, rather than modeling it directly on Hebrew. Of course this is just a guess since I've not seen the original (and might just need to go and see if I can find it), but given Tolkien's early interests in these sorts of things and what is known about his mind, I suspect that this is more likely than an imitation of a known language.

                                    Just some thoughts.

                                    Larry Swain

                                    found> I think there's also the evidence of Adûnaic, which seems specifically
                                    > designed to incorporate elements characteristic of Semitic languages. Of course,
                                    > this doesn't mean that Tolkien "knew Hebrew", but it does suggest that he had
                                    > delved into it deeply enough to be generally aware of the unique non-European
                                    > features of its grammar (and naturally used it as inspiration for his own
                                    > linguistic subcreation).
                                    > Alexei
                                    >
                                    --
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                                    Web-based SMS services available at http://www.operamail.com
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                                  • alexeik@aol.com
                                    In a message dated 6/6/4 3:39:16 AM, Bianca wrote:
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jun 11, 2004
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                                      In a message dated 6/6/4 3:39:16 AM, Bianca wrote:

                                      <<I'm no philologist,
                                      but the borrowings didn't seem to me to be based on any systematic
                                      desire to create a thoroughly Semitic language. Specialists could
                                      probably tell you more.

                                      Nor to my ear do phrases like "Ephalak idon Yozayan" sound like
                                      any Semitic language spoken in this universe :).>>

                                      That's strange, because to mine it does. It doesn't closely reflect any
                                      particular Semitic language, but it does suggest to me the kind of aesthetic effect
                                      Semitic languages in general could have on an outsider for whom they
                                      represent something alien and exotic. All of the sounds in the quoted phrase can be
                                      found in Semitic languages in comparable combinations, and the shapes of the
                                      words reflect elements that are common features of Semitic (eg, the _-ak_ ending
                                      of 2sg. possessives; the _-an_ ending of many Arabic plurals and Hebrew
                                      extended verbs, etc.) -- even the orthographic use of _ph_ reflects the use of _ph_
                                      in transliterations of Hebrew and Aramaic where it points up the origin of
                                      that sound as a lenited _p_. The sound _z_ (common in Semitic) tends to be used
                                      by Tolkien as a sign of alienness, being characteristic of Adûnaic, Khuzdul and
                                      the Black Speech but absent from most recorded forms of Eldarin languages
                                      (except for very early Quenya, where it primarily serves to illustrate the
                                      phenomenon of rhotacism). The point is that Tolkien's linguistic subcreations are
                                      rarely close imitations of primary-world languages, but more usually
                                      elaborations of aesthetic reactions to certain of their features, so one shouldn't expect
                                      Adûnaic to be a "thoroughly Semitic language", even though it does indeed
                                      reflect both phonetic and structural aspects of Semitic. It's commonplace to
                                      point out that Quenya and Sindarin respectively resemble Finnish and Welsh; and
                                      yet Quenya is obviously not "a thoroughly Finno-Ugric language", any more than
                                      Sindarin is "a thoroughly Celtic language". Their sound-systems reflect certain
                                      characteristic features of Finnish and Welsh that Tolkien particularly liked,
                                      but leave out others that were judged less attractive (Quenya lacks the
                                      "umlauted" vowels of Finnish; Sindarin omits the ubiquitous short-_y_ "schwa" vowel
                                      of Welsh, etc.). On the structural level the subcreated languages share
                                      certain salient features with their primary-world models (eg, a great variety of
                                      case-suffixes in Quenya/Finnish; initial consonant mutation in Sindarin/Welsh,
                                      etc.), but by and large don't reproduce the primary-world languages' grammars
                                      closely at all. I see the relation of Adûnaic to Semitic languages as being of
                                      exactly the same degree: Tolkien incorporated aspects of Semitic phonetics
                                      that he found particularly suggestive or striking aesthetically (while ignoring
                                      others), and singled out one aspect of Semitic grammar (vowel variation within
                                      triconsonantal roots -- a far more complex and sophisticated phenomenon than
                                      Ablaut in Germanic languages) as particularly interesting and distinctive and
                                      worthy of being experimented with in a subcreated language. This last choice
                                      would indeed have necessitated his being exposed to the conjugation of a Hebrew
                                      (or Arabic) verb. I don't see that this would have been beyond his reach, or
                                      that it would have required devoting a great deal of time to intensive study of
                                      Hebrew.
                                      Alexei
                                    • Carl F. Hostetter
                                      ... Also in Tolkien s later concept of Valarin, also with, I feel the same intended effect of alienness, both to the Indo-European and the Eldarin ear. For
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jun 11, 2004
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                                        On Jun 11, 2004, at 4:45 PM, alexeik@... wrote:

                                        > The sound _z_ (common in Semitic) tends to be used
                                        > by Tolkien as a sign of alienness, being characteristic of Adûnaic,
                                        > Khuzdul and
                                        > the Black Speech

                                        Also in Tolkien's later concept of Valarin, also with, I feel the same
                                        intended effect of alienness, both to the Indo-European and the Eldarin
                                        ear.

                                        For what it's worth, I have yet to encounter any evidence, published or
                                        unpublished, that Tolkien had made any special study of Hebrew or any
                                        Semitic language, beyond that that any philologist and comparative
                                        linguist of his age would naturally encounter.
                                      • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                                        Pardon my linguistic ignorance, but what is an extended verb? Thanks in advance. ---djb ... From: alexeik@aol.com Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 16:45:58 EDT To:
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jun 14, 2004
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Pardon my linguistic ignorance, but what is an "extended verb?" Thanks in
                                          advance. ---djb

                                          Original Message:
                                          -----------------
                                          From: alexeik@...
                                          Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 16:45:58 EDT
                                          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien, Jonah, and Job



                                          In a message dated 6/6/4 3:39:16 AM, Bianca wrote:

                                          <<I'm no philologist,
                                          but the borrowings didn't seem to me to be based on any systematic
                                          desire to create a thoroughly Semitic language. Specialists could
                                          probably tell you more.

                                          Nor to my ear do phrases like "Ephalak idon Yozayan" sound like
                                          any Semitic language spoken in this universe :).>>

                                          That's strange, because to mine it does. It doesn't closely reflect any
                                          particular Semitic language, but it does suggest to me the kind of
                                          aesthetic effect
                                          Semitic languages in general could have on an outsider for whom they
                                          represent something alien and exotic. All of the sounds in the quoted
                                          phrase can be
                                          found in Semitic languages in comparable combinations, and the shapes of
                                          the
                                          words reflect elements that are common features of Semitic (eg, the _-ak_
                                          ending
                                          of 2sg. possessives; the _-an_ ending of many Arabic plurals and Hebrew
                                          extended verbs, etc.) -- even the orthographic use of _ph_ reflects the use
                                          of _ph_
                                          in transliterations of Hebrew and Aramaic where it points up the origin of
                                          that sound as a lenited _p_. The sound _z_ (common in Semitic) tends to be
                                          used
                                          by Tolkien as a sign of alienness, being characteristic of Adûnaic, Khuzdul
                                          and
                                          the Black Speech but absent from most recorded forms of Eldarin languages
                                          (except for very early Quenya, where it primarily serves to illustrate the
                                          phenomenon of rhotacism). The point is that Tolkien's linguistic
                                          subcreations are
                                          rarely close imitations of primary-world languages, but more usually
                                          elaborations of aesthetic reactions to certain of their features, so one
                                          shouldn't expect
                                          Adûnaic to be a "thoroughly Semitic language", even though it does indeed
                                          reflect both phonetic and structural aspects of Semitic. It's commonplace
                                          to
                                          point out that Quenya and Sindarin respectively resemble Finnish and Welsh;
                                          and
                                          yet Quenya is obviously not "a thoroughly Finno-Ugric language", any more
                                          than
                                          Sindarin is "a thoroughly Celtic language". Their sound-systems reflect
                                          certain
                                          characteristic features of Finnish and Welsh that Tolkien particularly
                                          liked,
                                          but leave out others that were judged less attractive (Quenya lacks the
                                          "umlauted" vowels of Finnish; Sindarin omits the ubiquitous short-_y_
                                          "schwa" vowel
                                          of Welsh, etc.). On the structural level the subcreated languages share
                                          certain salient features with their primary-world models (eg, a great
                                          variety of
                                          case-suffixes in Quenya/Finnish; initial consonant mutation in
                                          Sindarin/Welsh,
                                          etc.), but by and large don't reproduce the primary-world languages'
                                          grammars
                                          closely at all. I see the relation of Adûnaic to Semitic languages as being
                                          of
                                          exactly the same degree: Tolkien incorporated aspects of Semitic phonetics
                                          that he found particularly suggestive or striking aesthetically (while
                                          ignoring
                                          others), and singled out one aspect of Semitic grammar (vowel variation
                                          within
                                          triconsonantal roots -- a far more complex and sophisticated phenomenon
                                          than
                                          Ablaut in Germanic languages) as particularly interesting and distinctive
                                          and
                                          worthy of being experimented with in a subcreated language. This last
                                          choice
                                          would indeed have necessitated his being exposed to the conjugation of a
                                          Hebrew
                                          (or Arabic) verb. I don't see that this would have been beyond his reach,
                                          or
                                          that it would have required devoting a great deal of time to intensive
                                          study of
                                          Hebrew.
                                          Alexei



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                                        • alexeik@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 6/14/4 1:58:04 PM, Diane Joy wrote: A verb
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jun 14, 2004
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                                            In a message dated 6/14/4 1:58:04 PM, Diane Joy wrote:

                                            <<Pardon my linguistic ignorance, but what is an "extended verb?" Thanks in

                                            advance. ---djb>>

                                            A verb with various affixes in addition to its basic root and
                                            number/gender/person indicators, thus modifying its meaning.
                                            Alexei
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