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Re: [mythsoc] Medieval studies

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    John Gravois, the author of the article linked to, writes: Elvish, a language created by Tolkien, is one of the most widely spoken invented languages —
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 6, 2007
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      John Gravois, the author of the article linked to, writes:

      "Elvish, a language created by Tolkien, is one of the most widely
      spoken invented languages — along with Esperanto and Klingon."

      Let's see: Esperanto is spoken by between 100,000 and 2 million
      people (according to Wikipedia). Klingon is probably spoken (slowly,
      I'm sure; as opposed to simply being written, slowly) by no more than
      a few dozen people. And precisely no one speaks "Elvish", either
      Quenya or Sindarin (not even Tolkien could do so casually).

      "Elvish" can certainly be classified with Klingon in terms of _the
      number of people who study it_ (but can't actually speak it
      casually). But both are surely dwarfed by even the most conservative
      estimate of those who actually can and do speak Esperanto.

      Carl


      On Jul 6, 2007, at 11:18 PM, WendellWag@... wrote:

      > Here's an article from _The Chronicle of Higher Education_ on
      > Tolkien's
      > importance to modern medieval studies:
      >
      > _http://chronicle.com/free/v53/i44/44a00801.htm_
      > (http://chronicle.com/free/v53/i44/44a00801.htm)
      >
      > Wendell Wagner
      >
    • lynnmaudlin
      ... Not to mention Volapuk...! But really, Carl, we re supposed to infer what he *means* and not simply understand what he said... [eye-rolling] -- Lynn --
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 8, 2007
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        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...> wrote:
        >
        > John Gravois, the author of the article linked to, writes:
        >
        > "Elvish, a language created by Tolkien, is one of the most widely
        > spoken invented languages — along with Esperanto and Klingon."
        >
        > Let's see: Esperanto is spoken by between 100,000 and 2 million
        > people (according to Wikipedia). Klingon is probably spoken (slowly,
        > I'm sure; as opposed to simply being written, slowly) by no more than
        > a few dozen people. And precisely no one speaks "Elvish", either
        > Quenya or Sindarin (not even Tolkien could do so casually).
        >
        > "Elvish" can certainly be classified with Klingon in terms of _the
        > number of people who study it_ (but can't actually speak it
        > casually). But both are surely dwarfed by even the most conservative
        > estimate of those who actually can and do speak Esperanto.
        >
        > Carl


        Not to mention Volapuk...! But really, Carl, we're supposed to infer
        what he *means* and not simply understand what he said... [eye-rolling]

        -- Lynn --
      • John D Rateliff
        Here s something very silly I happened to come across last week: Peter Jackson s The Lord of the RIngs as experienced by a bunch of numskulls trying to play
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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          Here's something very silly I happened to come across last week:
          Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the RIngs' as experienced by a bunch of
          numskulls trying to play thorough the story as if it were a typical
          D&D adventure.

          http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612


          The story is still ongoing, after about a hundred and twenty
          installments; they're currently messing around in the middle of the
          Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The best episode of those I've seen so
          far is the one covering Elrond's sudden appearance in Rohan, here
          presented as a desperate attempt by the DM to fit a plot-hole caused
          by narrator inattention:

          http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1148

          So, if you like D&D jokes, enjoy. If not, or if you don't like to
          see the Jackson films mocked, better to give this a pass.

          --John R.
        • John D Rateliff
          Perhaps it would have been more accurate for him to have written one of the most widely KNOWN invented languages , since a great many people know about it and
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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            Perhaps it would have been more accurate for him to have written "one
            of the most widely KNOWN invented languages", since a great many
            people know about it and may even have some idea how it looks and
            sounds, but they can't actually read or write it. So its recognition
            threshold is high, though its mastery is extremely low.
            --JDR

            On Jul 8, 2007, at 10:32 PM, lynnmaudlin wrote:
            > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...>
            > wrote:
            >>
            >> John Gravois, the author of the article linked to, writes:
            >>
            >> "Elvish, a language created by Tolkien, is one of the most widely
            >> spoken invented languages — along with Esperanto and Klingon."
            >>
            >> Let's see: Esperanto is spoken by between 100,000 and 2 million
            >> people (according to Wikipedia). Klingon is probably spoken (slowly,
            >> I'm sure; as opposed to simply being written, slowly) by no more than
            >> a few dozen people. And precisely no one speaks "Elvish", either
            >> Quenya or Sindarin (not even Tolkien could do so casually).
            >>
            >> "Elvish" can certainly be classified with Klingon in terms of _the
            >> number of people who study it_ (but can't actually speak it
            >> casually). But both are surely dwarfed by even the most conservative
            >> estimate of those who actually can and do speak Esperanto.
            >>
            >> Carl
            >
            > Not to mention Volapuk...! But really, Carl, we're supposed to infer
            > what he *means* and not simply understand what he said... [eye-
            > rolling]
            >
            > -- Lynn --
          • William Cloud Hicklin
            ... have written one ... a great many ... how it looks and ... So its recognition ... low. Fair enough, but the column s reference to speaking or knowing
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
              <sacnoth@...> wrote:
              >
              > Perhaps it would have been more accurate for him to
              have written
              "one
              > of the most widely KNOWN invented languages", since
              a great many
              > people know about it and may even have some idea
              how it looks and
              > sounds, but they can't actually read or write it.
              So its
              recognition
              > threshold is high, though its mastery is extremely
              low.


              Fair enough, but the column's reference to 'speaking'
              or 'knowing' or 'knowing of' the language "Elvish" is
              simply ignorance. One can't, even in theory, speak
              "Elvish" any more than one could speak Romance, or
              Finno-Ugric.
            • Linda DeMars
              What a delight! You certainly brightened my day. As a fan of Bill and Ted movies, at least the first one, I really appreciated this silly link and laughed as I
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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                What a delight! You certainly brightened my day. As a fan of Bill and Ted
                movies, at least the first one, I really appreciated this silly link and
                laughed as I scrolled through each one.

                Linda D.

                On 7/9/07, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                >
                > Here's something very silly I happened to come across last week:
                > Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the RIngs' as experienced by a bunch of
                > numskulls trying to play thorough the story as if it were a typical
                > D&D adventure.
                >
                > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612
                >
                > The story is still ongoing, after about a hundred and twenty
                > installments; they're currently messing around in the middle of the
                > Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The best episode of those I've seen so
                > far is the one covering Elrond's sudden appearance in Rohan, here
                > presented as a desperate attempt by the DM to fit a plot-hole caused
                > by narrator inattention:
                >
                > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1148
                >
                > So, if you like D&D jokes, enjoy. If not, or if you don't like to
                > see the Jackson films mocked, better to give this a pass.
                >
                > --John R.
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • John D Rateliff
                ... Or Indo-European. Of course. But I m willing to cut him a break on that point, since Bilbo himself often uses Elvish when he means Sindarin (e.g.
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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                  On Jul 9, 2007, at 12:58 PM, William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
                  > Fair enough, but the column's reference to 'speaking'
                  > or 'knowing' or 'knowing of' the language "Elvish" is
                  > simply ignorance. One can't, even in theory, speak
                  > "Elvish" any more than one could speak Romance, or
                  > Finno-Ugric.

                  Or Indo-European. Of course. But I'm willing to cut him a break on
                  that point, since Bilbo himself often uses "Elvish" when he means
                  Sindarin
                  (e.g. "Translations from the Elvish" or "I thought you knew enough
                  Elvish at least to know dun-adan: Man of the West, Numenorean").
                  Finally getting a chance to read the article itself, I think it
                  does a pretty good job of pointing out that today's scholars don't
                  become medievalists by reading BEOWULF in college; they discover a
                  love of medieval literature either through reading JRRT, or playing
                  D&D, or (in the vast majority of cases) both.
                  It's funny that as a gamer I see pieces like this every year
                  where a reporter goes to regale people about the odd going-ons at
                  GenCon; seeing the same treatment transferred to a scholarly
                  conference is bemusing. Though as a purist I do scoff at the idea
                  that finding a computer to play D&D Online isn't the same thing as
                  finding a place to play D&D.
                  Thanks to Wendell for posting the link.
                  --JDR

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Merlin DeTardo
                  ... himself often uses Elvish when he means Sindarin (e.g. Translations from the Elvish or I thought you knew enough Elvish at least to know dun-adan: Man
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jul 9, 2007
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                    >>John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                    >>But I'm willing to cut him a break on that point, since Bilbo
                    himself often uses "Elvish" when he means Sindarin
                    (e.g. "Translations from the Elvish" or "I thought you knew enough
                    Elvish at least to know dun-adan: Man of the West, Numenorean").

                    Good point, but in the first instance, mightn't Bilbo have
                    translated from works in both Sindarin and Quenya at Rivendell?


                    >>I think it does a pretty good job of pointing out that today's
                    scholars don't become medievalists by reading BEOWULF in college;
                    they discover a love of medieval literature either through reading
                    JRRT, or playing D&D, or (in the vast majority of cases) both.

                    In further support of that point, Richard Scott Nokes and other
                    medievalists responded to the article with additional comments on
                    their introduction to medievalism by way of Tolkien, RPG, etc. at
                    Nokes' blog:

                    http://unlocked-wordhoard.blogspot.com/2007/07/sir-nokes-knight-of-
                    faculty-lounge.html
                  • William Cloud Hicklin
                    ... speaking ... Elvish is ... theory, speak ... Romance, or ... to cut him a break on ... Elvish when he means ... thought you knew enough ... West,
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jul 10, 2007
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                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
                      <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > On Jul 9, 2007, at 12:58 PM, William Cloud
                      Hicklin wrote:
                      > > Fair enough, but the column's reference to
                      'speaking'
                      > > or 'knowing' or 'knowing of' the language
                      "Elvish" is
                      > > simply ignorance. One can't, even in
                      theory,
                      speak
                      > > "Elvish" any more than one could speak
                      Romance,
                      or
                      > > Finno-Ugric.
                      >
                      > Or Indo-European. Of course. But I'm willing
                      to
                      cut him a break on
                      > that point, since Bilbo himself often uses
                      "Elvish" when he means
                      > Sindarin
                      > (e.g. "Translations from the Elvish" or "I
                      thought you knew enough
                      > Elvish at least to know dun-adan: Man of the
                      West, Numenorean").

                      Ok, good point. Come to think of it, I don't
                      believe the names "Sindarin" or "Quenya"
                      actually appear anywhere in the narrative proper
                      (unsurprisingly in the former case, since at the
                      time it was still "Noldorin.")
                    • Lynn Maudlin
                      Oh, John, thank you so much - this is great (I must send it to my son, who will also love it); just really good facial expressions and word bubbles! Um,
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jul 10, 2007
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                        Oh, John, thank you so much - this is great (I must send it to my son,
                        who will also love it); just really good facial expressions and word
                        bubbles! <grin>

                        Um, are we living in a bizarre world where Jackson LotR fans the
                        equivalent of Muslims reacting to "Danish" cartoons? The LotR novel
                        gets lampooned ("Bored of the Rings") and that's minimally tolerable
                        if not okay and sometimes actually embraced in a kind of dualism but
                        to mock the movie causes great frothing? Surely not--

                        -- Lynn --

                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Here's something very silly I happened to come across last week:
                        > Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the RIngs' as experienced by a bunch of
                        > numskulls trying to play thorough the story as if it were a typical
                        > D&D adventure.
                        >
                        > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612
                        >
                        >
                        > The story is still ongoing, after about a hundred and twenty
                        > installments; they're currently messing around in the middle of the
                        > Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The best episode of those I've seen so
                        > far is the one covering Elrond's sudden appearance in Rohan, here
                        > presented as a desperate attempt by the DM to fit a plot-hole caused
                        > by narrator inattention:
                        >
                        > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1148
                        >
                        > So, if you like D&D jokes, enjoy. If not, or if you don't like to
                        > see the Jackson films mocked, better to give this a pass.
                        >
                        > --John R.
                        >
                      • Lynn Maudlin
                        Remember: That which does not kill you was simply not permitted to do so for the purposes of the plot. bwahahahahahahahaha!
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jul 10, 2007
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                          "Remember: That which does not kill you was simply not permitted to do
                          so for the purposes of the plot."

                          bwahahahahahahahaha!
                        • Merlin DeTardo
                          ... or Quenya actually appear anywhere in the narrative proper (unsurprisingly in the former case, since at the time it was still Noldorin. ) I never
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 10, 2007
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                            >>---"William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:
                            >>Come to think of it, I don't believe the names "Sindarin"
                            or "Quenya" actually appear anywhere in the narrative proper
                            (unsurprisingly in the former case, since at the time it was
                            still "Noldorin.")


                            I never noticed that (or didn't not notice those missing words,
                            rather)! Your comment sent me on a search of _LotR_, using Scull
                            and Hammond's (wonderful) index to the 2005 one-volume, paperback
                            edition. No doubt I'm repeating what others have done before, but
                            for fun or further comment, here are the appearances of "Quenya"
                            or "Sindarin", by those or other names, in order of appearance;
                            references are to Book, Chapter, page(s):

                            ---Quenya---
                            High-elven speech (I, iii, 81)
                            Ancient Tongue (I, iii, 81)
                            Ancient Speech (I, iii, 85)
                            ancient tongue of the Elves beyond the Sea (II, viii, 377)
                            high tongue of old (V, viii, 863)
                            Valinorean (V, viii, 864)
                            High-elven (App. A, I, ii, 1038; App. A, I, iii, 1039; App. F, I,
                            1127; App. F, II, 1137)
                            Quenya (App. D, 1107, 1110, 1111; App. E, I, 1113, 1114, 1115, 1116;
                            App. E, II, 1118, 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1126; App. F, I, 1127,
                            1128, 1131)
                            High-elven Quenya (App. E, 1113; App. F, I, 1128)
                            Q. (App. E, 1113, 1114, 1115)
                            High-elven tongue (App. F, I, 1131)

                            ---Sindarin---
                            Elvish (II, i, 233; II, iv, 307)
                            Elvish tongue (II, iii, 283; App. A, III, 1074)
                            elven-tongue of the West of Middle-earth in the Elder Days (II, iv,
                            306)
                            our woodland-tongue (II, vi, 339) [1]
                            elven-tongue (II, vi, 342, 343; IV, iv, 659; App. F, I, 1129) [1]
                            Elvish speech (III, viii, 555)
                            noble tongue (V, viii, 864) [2]
                            Sindarin (App. D, 1107, 1110, 1111; App. E, 1114, 1115, 1116, 1117;
                            App. E, II, 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1126; App. F, I, 1127, 1128,
                            1131)
                            S. (App. E, I, 1113, 1114, 1115)
                            Grey-elven (App. E, II, 1123; App. F, I, 1127, 1128, 1130, 1132)

                            Apologies for any omissions or errors. Also for the missing
                            diacritical marks in these notes:

                            [1] S&H apparently refer to the terms "our woodland-tongue"
                            and "elven-tongue" in the chapter "Lothlorien" when they index the
                            same pages under both "Sindarin" and "Silvan Elves, language of",
                            presumably per the first note to Appendix F (p. 1127), which says
                            that Frodo at first misunderstood the accented Sindarin speech of
                            the Lorien elves to be a Silvan tongue. (Though perhaps that note
                            also should be indexed under "Silvan Elves, language of"?)

                            [2] S&H give "noble tongue" as a name for Quenya. The only
                            appearance I found for "noble tongue" is in "The Houses of Healing",
                            where the herb-master uses it to describe the name "athelas",
                            contrasting it to the name "asea aranion" in the "Valinorean"
                            language, which is Quenya. I have listed "noble tongue" under
                            Sindarin on the assumption that "athelas" is therefore a Sindarin
                            word...

                            ...and after searching for "athelas" on the lambengolmor list, and
                            reading this post and its successors:

                            http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/850

                            I am a bit lost. So "athelas" is Sindarin, but with an unresolved
                            etymology suggesting a strong element of Quenya (or Old English?) --
                            is that right?
                          • Cathy Akers-Jordan
                            RTFL! Thank you, John! You are right: the Elrond bit is particularly funny. Cathy
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jul 11, 2007
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                              RTFL! Thank you, John! You are right: the Elrond bit is particularly
                              funny.

                              Cathy

                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Here's something very silly I happened to come across last week:
                              > Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the RIngs' as experienced by a bunch of
                              > numskulls trying to play thorough the story as if it were a typical
                              > D&D adventure.
                              >
                              > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612
                              >
                              >
                              > The story is still ongoing, after about a hundred and twenty
                              > installments; they're currently messing around in the middle of the
                              > Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The best episode of those I've seen so
                              > far is the one covering Elrond's sudden appearance in Rohan, here
                              > presented as a desperate attempt by the DM to fit a plot-hole caused
                              > by narrator inattention:
                              >
                              > http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1148
                              >
                              > So, if you like D&D jokes, enjoy. If not, or if you don't like to
                              > see the Jackson films mocked, better to give this a pass.
                              >
                              > --John R.
                              >
                            • William Cloud Hicklin
                              ... with an unresolved ... (or Old English?) -- ... It s definitely Sindarin. I would suggest that the etymology isn t unresolved, either, although the note
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jul 11, 2007
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                                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Merlin
                                DeTardo" <emptyD@...> wrote:

                                >
                                > I am a bit lost. So "athelas" is Sindarin, but
                                with an unresolved
                                > etymology suggesting a strong element of Quenya
                                (or Old English?) --
                                > is that right?


                                It's definitely Sindarin. I would suggest that
                                the etymology isn't unresolved, either, although
                                the note in question hasn't been published (except
                                via Internet: my fault, but the wars were still in
                                the future at the time). The plant apparently was
                                not native to Middle-earth, but brought by the
                                Noldor; they called it in Quenya athea > asea (see
                                The Shibboleth of Feanor). In exile, the Sindarin
                                name was coined: regular cognate athe- compounded
                                with -las. My speculation is that Asea Aranion
                                was a specifically Numenorean term, the King being
                                associated with healing in that culture; the
                                translation would be something like 'kingsbalm.'

                                The link to Old English aethele was entirely my
                                guess- but it wouldn't be the only time OE found
                                its way into the Elvish tongues: see CT's note on
                                Orgel in Children of Hurin, or for that matter S.
                                orch (from OE orc: Tolkien expressly said this
                                word was 'Rohirric,' and it plainly comes from OE
                                orc-neas and not L. orcus.).
                              • William Cloud Hicklin
                                OMG, Dr John, that is *screamingly* funny! And I ve been that DM, too.
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jul 11, 2007
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                                  OMG, Dr John, that is *screamingly* funny! And I've
                                  been that DM, too.
                                • Merlin DeTardo
                                  ... unresolved, either, although the note in question... Thanks very much for that explanation. ... tongues: see CT s note on Orgel in Children of Hurin... I
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jul 15, 2007
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                                    >>"William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:

                                    >>>---"Merlin DeTardo" <emptyD@> wrote:
                                    >>>So "athelas" is Sindarin, but with an unresolved etymology ...?

                                    >> It's definitely Sindarin. I would suggest that the etymology isn't
                                    unresolved, either, although the note in question...

                                    Thanks very much for that explanation.


                                    >>...it wouldn't be the only time OE found its way into the Elvish
                                    tongues: see CT's note on Orgel in Children of Hurin...

                                    I can't find Orgel in the list of names at the back of _The Children
                                    of Hurin_ -- which character is that?

                                    Just kidding. Do you think Christopher Tolkien is right that it
                                    was "too late" to change "Saeros" to "Orgol"?
                                  • William Cloud Hicklin
                                    ... right that it ... Well, look at it from the perspective of CRT s purpose in publishing CoH. He very openly intended it to serve as a bridge to The
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jul 15, 2007
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                                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Merlin
                                      DeTardo" <emptyD@...> wrote:

                                      >
                                      > Just kidding. Do you think Christopher Tolkien is
                                      right that it
                                      > was "too late" to change "Saeros" to "Orgol"?
                                      >

                                      Well, look at it from the perspective of CRT's
                                      purpose in publishing CoH. He very openly intended
                                      it to serve as a bridge to The Silmarillion for
                                      readers of The Lord of the Rings. Not direct to
                                      HoME! Thus in this one case consistency overrode
                                      what was generally his 'extreme scrupulosity' in not
                                      altering the Narn papers at all beyond, in effect,
                                      copy-editing. (He was fortunate in the fact that the
                                      Narn papers, to all appearances, predate the 1958-60
                                      writings which underly so many 'canonicity' debates).
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