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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Is it dwarfs? or dwarves?

Israfellius
The Shire

Nov 28 2013, 4:36am

Post #1 of 6 (305 views)
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Is it dwarfs? or dwarves? Can't Post

I seem to see it both ways although I thought Tolkien wanted it to be dwarfs.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Nov 28 2013, 4:42am

Post #2 of 6 (217 views)
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Other way around. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien preferred "dwarves" and resisted editors' attempts to "correct" the spelling. He didn't invent that usage, and had linguistic explanations of why it was better.

In contemporary usage, "dwarves" seems to be generally used in fantasy (following Tolkien, apparently), but "dwarf" is the preferred term elsewhere.








Endor Dweller
Bree


Nov 28 2013, 7:57am

Post #3 of 6 (200 views)
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The use of 'dwarves' is explained by Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

in LOTR, Appendix F, Chapter II, "On Translation".
And in his letter to Stanley Unwin (Letter 17):



Quote


No reviewer (that I have seen), although all have carefully used the correct dwarfs themselves,
has commented on the fact (which I only became conscious of through reviews) that I use

throughout the 'incorrect' plural dwarves. I am afraid it is just a piece of private bad grammar, rather
shocking in a philologist; but I shall have to go on with it. Perhaps my dwarf since he and the
Gnome2 are only translations into approximate equivalents of creatures with different names and
rather different functions in their own world may be allowed a peculiar plural. The real 'historical'

plural of dwarf (like teeth of tooth) is dwarrows, anyway: rather a nice word, but a bit too archaic.
Still I rather wish I had used the word dwarrow.




( The form 'dwarrow' is used only in the name Dwarrowdelf.)

In other words, if we talk about Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Dopey etc., we use 'dwarfs' but if we talk about the descendants of the Naugrim of the Elder Days, we use 'dwarves'. Smile

- Good morning.
- What do you mean? Do you mean to wish me a good morning, or do you mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not? Or perhaps you mean to say that you feel good on this particular morning...or are you simply stating that this is a morning to be good on?

- Good evening.
- Yes, yes it is. Though I think it might rain later.


dijomaja
Lorien

Nov 30 2013, 11:25am

Post #4 of 6 (91 views)
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but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...we don't say "Elfs". Whatever the difference in derivation, Tolkien's use of "Dwarves" makes sense in terms of the sounds.


dormouse
Half-elven


Nov 30 2013, 3:49pm

Post #5 of 6 (85 views)
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Yes, true, but whatever else the English language may be... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it's very rarely logical!


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Nov 30 2013, 8:29pm

Post #6 of 6 (113 views)
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In other words, if we talk about Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Dopey etc., we use 'dwarfs' but if we talk about the descendants of the Naugrim of the Elder Days, we use 'dwarves'. Smile



I can't help thinking of Snow White's protectors as dwarves as well; they are the fantastical beings of myth and folktale rather than a bunch of short humans. Besides, it sounds much better than Snow White and the Seven Dwarrows.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 30 2013, 8:30pm)

 
 

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