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Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien, Jonah, and Job

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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