More on Tolkien

I read through the appendices for The Lord of the Rings tonight, something I have never fully accomplished. In particular, the section concerning languages caught my eye. I skimmed the parts pertaining to the Elvish languages, but what really caught my eye was when Tolkien started talking about how the story was ‘translated’ from the common speech into Modern English, and that since the Riders of Rohan spoke a more archaic form of common speech, their dialogue was liberally spiced with Old English words and syntax. The Hobbits also spoke a variation on this archaic tongue, and most of the names Tolkien supplies for his characters are in fact translations. Interesting idea, probably something a linguist would think up. But then he starts producing examples of this common speech, and the corresponding translations. That’s when the depths of Tolkien’s language fixation struck me. Not only did this guy whip up several languages like Elvish and Dwarven, provide detailed etymologies and orthographies; he concocted an entire language which is never mentioned in the trilogy, and then translated names and locations into the appropriate English and Old English words. That’s just twisted.