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Re: [mythsoc] Suite101 Nov. 29, 2002 article: Real orcs don't do windows

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  • LARRY SWAIN
    Michael, Delighted to find that you post to this list too. Perhaps we can begin our aborted discussion on Tolkien s career and related matters recently cut off
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 2, 2002
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      Michael,

      Delighted to find that you post to this list too.
      Perhaps we can begin our aborted discussion on
      Tolkien's career and related matters recently cut off
      elsewhere.

      But I have a few comments of a minor sort on your
      recent article. First the word "goblin" first appears
      in the LATIN text of Orderic Vitellus, yes he's
      speaking about those bogies in northern France, but
      the word is Latin in the 12th century. It is not
      recorded in French until the 15th century, and in
      English in the 14th. Given the early entrance into
      Med. Latin and the lateness into Norman French and
      Middle ENglish, one can not be dogmatic about this
      word being "French", particularly with the high degree
      of movement back and forth between the 3 languages in
      Norman England. The possible relation to Medieval
      Latin cobalus should not be dismissed too early or
      quickly though Onions did so.

      Orc may come from "orcneas", but I doubt it.
      "Orcneas" appears ONLY at Beowulf 112, and probably
      comes from Latin orca, possibly orcus. Several Old
      English glossaries (containing Latin words and their
      Old English equivalents) have as an Old English word,
      "orc" defined as a demon clearly coming from Latin
      "orcus" very early.

      Re: "eotenas" in Beowulf 112, you might have mentioned
      the obvious connection to the Ettinmoors.

      Elves are not necessarily evil in Old English
      tradition and it is impossible to try and describe
      just what they are and how they were conceived. In
      some Old English texts they appear as evil or as bad,
      in other texts as positive. Christian heroes are
      sometimes ascribed with elfen characteristics, Judith
      for example is "elf-shining", beautiful as an elf.

      There was a very good article in Mythlore back in the
      late '80, very early '90s that dealt with the issue of
      the words hobbit, goblin etc.

      Regards,
      Larry Swain
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