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Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, Jonah, and Job

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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                          • alexeik@aol.com
                            In a message dated 6/6/4 3:39:16 AM, Bianca wrote:
                            Message 13 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 14 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 15 of 20 , Jun 14, 2004
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                                  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 16 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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