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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Informative look at JRRT and Ireland

Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 2 2017, 5:34am

Post #1 of 20 (1946 views)
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Informative look at JRRT and Ireland Can't Post

I have always noticed the JRRT tried to distance his writing from all things Celtic (but clearly there are quite a few influences) and this article explains his mixed feelings toward Ireland. The Irish language is one that foiled him linguistically.

https://ansionnachfionn.com/...tolkien-and-ireland/


squire
Half-elven


Feb 2 2017, 12:56pm

Post #2 of 20 (1890 views)
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So interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I knew more about Irish culture and language, and how they do and don't seem to appear in Tolkien's early and later mock-mythologies. The blog you link to seems to conflate the two, but is it certain that even a language nut like Tolkien would reject a legend's plot and characters (say) because he disliked the language it was recorded in?

Ditto for the Dunlendings being the Celts; Rohan the Anglo-Saxons; Gondor the Romans, all in a kind of whirligig context relative to historical England. I'm not sure I've ever seen it put so baldly. Is that a connection that others have made besides Irish Tolkien fans?

The responses to the blog, including those by the author to his respondents, are equally interesting. It's not as relevant to the main questions, but I enjoyed one Irish fan of Tolkien agreeing that the "britishness" of the stories was slightly off-putting:
"At the time I just accepted it as obtuse british nationalism – Tolkien couldn’t have made Bilbo Baggins more of a public school toff if he tried and even now, as an adult, it’s hard to read past the “britishness” affected by a lot of the characters." - comment by Loughlin, July 6, 2015
Shades of Hogwarts. I never heard Bilbo called a 'public school toff' before. Eton? Harrow? Rugby? What would the Shire's version have been called?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 2 2017, 3:29pm

Post #3 of 20 (1874 views)
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Per his bio he went to - [In reply to] Can't Post

King Edward’s School.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/...2f3Hh6aRSQ=w271-h160

And then of course - Exeter College, Oxford which is very Hogwarts like.
I thought the analogy to Rome and then the Anglo Saxons being like Gondor and Rohan was a good one. The Welsh were forced back into their mountainous strongholds so one can also see the Dunlending reference.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Feb 2 2017, 3:33pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 3 2017, 4:03pm

Post #4 of 20 (1831 views)
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Thanks, very interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

I really enjoyed reading this. As a Brit in Ireland myself, I've always been fascinated by Tolkien's responses to the landscape and people of Ireland. That report of Tolkien's sense of "evil" in the Irish landscape is something I'd come across before, and in fact it's an idea I've mused about more than once while out walking in the Irish countryside. There's no doubt that the Irish landscape is wilder, and darker, and more untamed than the domesticated shires Tolkien was most familiar with in England. And Irish myths reflect that too - even just reading Yeats' Celtic revival poetry, (The Stolen Child, The Song of Wandering Aengus) there's no doubting the danger of the Irish fairy folk, who are very much bound up with the landscape. I can certainly imagine Tolkien responding to that!

I also love the idea of Tolkien's visits to University College Dublin, which in his day was housed in some beautiful buildings on St Stephen's Green, and was very Catholic in its ethos. An academic environment that was also Catholic must have been an appealing combination for him.

As for his reaction to the Irish language, I have to admit that I find it surprisingly unmusical and rather harsh - not at all what you'd expect from the way Irish people speak English. I tried to learn it but it's definitely a challenge - I do speak several European languages but Irish is so completely different that I never really got to first base. I doubt Tolkien would have been put off as easily as I was, though, if he'd really wanted to learn the language. I wonder if he may have had aesthetic reasons for his lack of interest - I know the aesthetics of how languages sound was very important to him. As for me, I love finding all the Irish meanings hidden in the placenames here but that's about as far as I can go!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 3 2017, 4:21pm

Post #5 of 20 (1835 views)
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Dragon school? [In reply to] Can't Post

https://www.dragonschool.org/

Tongue


In Reply To
Shades of Hogwarts. I never heard Bilbo called a 'public school toff' before. Eton? Harrow? Rugby? What would the Shire's version have been called?


I think Loughlin has a point - Bilbo, Frodo, Merry and Pippin all have the diction that says upper-middle-class privately educated, for which the shorthand could indeed be "public school toff"! Especially from an Irish perspective - people in Britain are used to hearing that accent all the time from politicians, academics and anyone else who wants to sound "authoritative", and it doesn't always imply boarding school etc. But in Ireland, that accent would have been associated with the Anglo-Irish "ascendancy" who used to rule over Ireland before its independence, and whose children normally would have been sent to boarding school, across the water in England. I guess it's the accent of English entitlement, and I can see how an Irish reader would have to get over that.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 3 2017, 4:50pm

Post #6 of 20 (1830 views)
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My wife and I visited the UK years ago and did a private drive/rail tour [In reply to] Can't Post

basically around the UK. What struck me about the landscape is
that all of the UK has beautiful green places but there are subtle shifts in mood. England often has a more manicured look..beautiful but tamed....Scotland is wrapped in wild mystery - having the fog / mist on the mountain roads just adds to the senses. Ireland, a quilt work of land patches with old tumble down structures reflecting the difficult times of the past - more a sense of loss - though again, strikingly beautiful. Wales.....from what I could see from my white knuckle driving on narrow, hedge lined mountain roads twisting and turning the length of the country was also gorgeous.


Morthoron
Gondor


Feb 4 2017, 3:55am

Post #7 of 20 (1807 views)
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I've always loved The Waterboys' description of the British Isles.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 Islandman
Of my body England is the spine
The backbone and the trunk
My shoulders span the mighty Tyne
London sprawls across my rump

Cornwall my crooked ancient leg
Wales two hands held apart
Scotland is my dreaming head
Ireland is my heart

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 4 2017, 5:05pm

Post #8 of 20 (1772 views)
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When Tolkien was writing, accent was a potent badge of class and education [In reply to] Can't Post

The Bagginses, Merry and Pippin speak in the only feasible accent for educated upper- or middle-class people at the time Tolkien was writing. Middle-class English children during Tolkien's time were taught to speak in 'received pronunciation', and dissuaded from speaking in any other regional accent. It's not so much that Merry and Pippin are 'affecting' such an accent (e.g. to show off or be offensive) but that Tolkien is flagging that they are gentry; the officer class.

Alan Garner has a good example " This was what I knew as “talking broad’. I had had my mouth washed out with carbolic soap for speaking that way when I was five years old."

It all changed in the sixties - if anything, people who naturally have a received pronunciation may affect a more demotic accent so as not to seem to posh (politicians are sometimes mocked for doing this).

I have been greatly enjoying his book of essays and speeches The Voice That Thunders after dormouse's recommendation over here http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=923285#923285) What Garner is talking about in this passage is very interesting in a wider way - note both which text is 'talking broad' and the reactions of Mr Garner's parents.


Quote
"I was reading, voluntarily, the text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and I wondered why there were so many footnotes. My grandfather was an unlettered smith, but he would have not needed all these footnotes if a native speaker had read the poem to him aloud.

a little on a lande · a lawe as hit were; A balg berg bi a bonke · the brimme besyde, Bi a fors of a flode · that ferked there.

This was no Latin creole. This was what I knew as “talking broad’. I had had my mouth washed out with carbolic soap for speaking that way when I was five years old. The Hopi, and other peoples, report the same treatment today.

Hit hade a hole on the ende · and on ayther syde, And overgrowen with gresse · in glodes aywhere, And al was holwe inwith · nobbut a cave, Or a crevisse of an old cragge, · . . .

Every generation needs its voice, but here was I, at home in the fourteenth century, and finding the English of later centuries comparatively alien, unrewarding. “Yon’s a grand bit of stuff,” my father said when I read a passage to him, which he understood completely. “I recollect as Ozzie Leah were just the same.”

“And that’s what all our clothing coupons went on, to get you your school uniform?* ” said my mother. Something had gone wrong.

“Is there any more?” said my father."


I should perhaps explain “And that’s what all our clothing coupons went on, to get you your school uniform? - Alan Garner went to the prestigious and ferociously academic Manchester Grammar School, which would certainly have had and insisted upon a school uniform. Most forms of clothing were rationed in Britain during the Second World War and for a time afterwards - families were issued with a limited number of coupons to buy rationed items. So - jokingly or otherwise - Mrs Garner is wondering whether the sacrifice was in vain.

Kinda interestingly, both Garner and Tolkien see/saw themselves as latter-day Mercians (Mercia being the Anglo-Saxon kingdom that occupied the central portion of England). And Tolkien once published a translation of Sir Garwain as part of his day job.
.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 4 2017, 5:50pm

Post #9 of 20 (1760 views)
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The late art critic Brian Sewell was famous for his "old school" posh accent [In reply to] Can't Post

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EFJ_rpSAa4

T.H. White though Irish by ancestry had an Edwardian accent.


squire
Half-elven


Feb 4 2017, 7:51pm

Post #10 of 20 (1755 views)
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I believe we are talking about diction, not accent. [In reply to] Can't Post

What you say about English accents sounds both right and very likely relevant. But in a written work, unless the author makes an effort to write "dialect", we don't hear accents which have to do with sound and pronunciation. You can only write "heard" one way, but you can say it quite a number of different ways that reflect your accent.

The upper class hobbits' manner of speaking is represented by their diction, or choice of words and expressions. We see the difference when Sam or the Gafffer or even Farmer Maggot speaks, as they are given more working class diction. That these two groups also had different accents seems undeniable, but we'd need a radio show or movie version to hear the difference!

I do think it's interesting that Irish fans would take more notice of how upper-class Bilbo and Frodo come across as, even in purely written dialogue! We have ventured before into questions of what class Tolkien was writing for, or who he imagined his audience was; one conclusion we came to was that, because England promotes 'received' as the default proper speech, even those who write and speak differently (demotically, you said) among their own circles are too used to reading the received style in all published work to even notice it any more.

I think an American audience, and maybe other English-speaking audiences, can hear class differences in native English speech more easily than we are able to pick it up in the written language. But with the Irish, evidently not.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
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FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 4 2017, 8:20pm

Post #11 of 20 (1746 views)
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Then there's Jacob Rees-Mogg [In reply to] Can't Post

He's a conservative MP who revels in his old-fashioned "posh" accent.

Here he is talking about something that's not too divisive - he's known for his abrasive political opinions but I won't link to those, as I am all for TORn's decision to keep the boards a place where we can escape from all that for a while!


Quote
T.H. White though Irish by ancestry had an Edwardian accent.

Are you thinking of the right person? According to Wikipedia, T.H. White seems to be English by descent, and born in India.

W.B. Yeats had an old-fashioned English accent, but he was a part of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, and spent a lot of his life in England. He was a great Irish patriot, and like many of the Anglo-Irish thought of himself as thoroughly Irish (and indeed his family had been in Ireland for centuries). But their accents as well as their names set them apart from the old Celtic, Catholic Irish that Yeats lived to see become the new leaders of the country after independence.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 4 2017, 9:03pm

Post #12 of 20 (1744 views)
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Well yes, no argument there... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The Bagginses, Merry and Pippin speak in the only feasible accent for educated upper- or middle-class people at the time Tolkien was writing. Middle-class English children during Tolkien's time were taught to speak in 'received pronunciation', and dissuaded from speaking in any other regional accent.

That's definitely true, and hadn't completely died out when I was at school myself in the late 50s/early 60s. We had an elocution teacher who was supposed to teach us to "speak proper" but I'm afraid she didn't get very far with me! Luckily by the time I got to university regional accents were starting to be a badge of pride (as you say, being posh was the thing to avoid by then!).

But it's not just that, I think. It's also the tradition of children's stories that Tolkien was following in The Hobbit. Things like The Wind in the Willows, or Beatrix Potter's tales, affect a rather "posh" grown-up diction, perhaps for humorous effect (and probably to make it more fun for parents to read aloud). The trend carries on into Enid Blyton, with the "lashings" of ginger beer and all that, although by that time perhaps it was more public school than Edwardian gentleman! I remember that although it was very different from the speech I heard around me in real life, I didn't find the rather posh diction of stories odd at all - it was just the way stories were. In fact, it was only when there was a northern-accented character whose speech was spelled out ("trouble at ' mill" style) that I even noticed and was then offended by the implication that I wasn't who the story was intended for!

I like your example of the regional speaker whose broad accent means that he could have understood the Middle English of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pretty well. I remember when we were learning German that our teacher told those of us with broad northern accents that we would find German easy to pronounce - "Butter" for example sounds exactly the same in German as in my own Lancastrian accent.

I don't think I'm a Mercian though, but I do seem to be an Anglo-Saxon - in fact my mother's family name of Melling means that I am one of the Mealingas!


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 5 2017, 4:43pm

Post #13 of 20 (1705 views)
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Och aye the noo and ooh arr, boyo! [In reply to] Can't Post

[bilbo voice] Oh you are probably right, as usual![/Bilbo voice]

Actually I'd not thought about that but it's a very good point - it's mostly diction that hints at how the characters sound: Tolkien does the odd dialect word or similar, but most of it is in the dictionary, and (except for the 3 trolls in Hobbit) he doesn't resort to cliches (does any Scott say 'och aye the noo', or is that False Noos?)

Anyway, Tolkien is really good at it: in Council of Elrond, Dain does not sound like Elrond, who does not sound like Bilbo. Aragorn sounds more like Boromir as he tries to win the Gondorian over (something you do commonly hear).

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Feb 5 2017, 4:44pm)


squire
Half-elven


Feb 5 2017, 5:21pm

Post #14 of 20 (1704 views)
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Ye're havering [In reply to] Can't Post

I had to look up 'och aye the noo' to even figure out what you were talking about (although your general context was clear). It seems that Scottish dialect jokes have not crossed the Water, at least not to my neck of the woods.

I would be curious if we could point to examples of either diction or dialect (accent rendered in writing) that Tolkien uses to differentiate the lower class hobbits from the upper class ones - the public school toffs, as it were.

Take "reckon" as in to think, to consider, to calculate. It seems to be a word most commonly used by Sam for simply "think". When it is used at all by the toffs (Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragorn occasionally use the word, not to mention the narrator) it seems to be in the sense of counting or calculating. Perhaps a less educated person associates all self-conscious "thinking" with the kind of calculating one is forced to learn in school? But that's a pretty fine line to draw.

In a quick scan, I found a few words that seem to be working class dialect: agin (against), nowt (nought), and 'ee (contraction of thee, objective singular of you); or diction: clean (adverb for completely, e.g. "I'd clean forgotten it"), ain't (isn't), and drat (euphemism for damn). But the patterns aren't very clear; for instance, even Sam and other working hobbits use isn't more than they use ain't. Maybe Tolkien was trying to avoid the indelicacy of completely stereotyping his classes?

One thing I found in my quick search was that Treebeard uses some dialect at times that is remarkably close to Sam and the Gaffer. I wonder if that is meant to reflect his age, as a lot of working class language is often simply held over from past generations (cf. the example of Alan Garner being able to read Sir Gawain!).



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.

(This post was edited by squire on Feb 5 2017, 5:22pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 5 2017, 6:20pm

Post #15 of 20 (1699 views)
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"Of all the confounded nuisances..." [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that some British books, radio, film and TV of my childhood (and before) might have been rather given to lazy stereotype about regional or national accents. There are certain Cliched flags that lazy writing would use to suggest the stage Scotsman, Irish man, American, or (Strewth , Shiela, !) Australian. Bad stuff. So perhaps I am relieved not to see that in Tolkien (trolls excepted). That kind of thing might not travel - quite likely if I read American literary greats, I might miss a yards-wide clue about a character from their speech: something an American would get immediately. (Tangentially- Translating such clues out of English must be a whole further problem: do you render Tolkien into German, say, as directly as you can, or should the Shire have one German accent, and Rivendell another?)

It's a good question - are there specific examples of how the gentry hobbits contrast with the yeomanry, or have I started with that assumption and read it all in? Ah, that endlessly interesting (to me) question of how much of a story is the creation of each and every reader....

A proper study would be a good learned work, which I shall not utter here. I can think of this example though:


Quote
‘Of all the confounded nuisances you are the worst, Sam!’ he said. ‘Oh, Mr. Frodo, that’s hard!’ said Sam shivering. ‘That’s hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn’t a guessed right, where would you be now?’"

The breaking of the Fellowship


Feelings are running high here, so we might expect them not to be adapting their speech patterns.

I'll pick out "confounded nuisance" on Frodo's side: high level, Latinate vocabulary, and he doesn't really mean it, I think, and Sam is supposed to realise this.

Then, Sam's "That's hard", and his colloquial "and all" shows that he's different to Frodo.

The scene is a partner of "Conspiracy Unmasked", where Frodo's intentions to slip away are talked down by Pippin


Quote
"‘You do not understand!’ said Pippin. ‘You must go –and therefore we must, too. Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon’s throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet; but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure.’"

Therefore
Excellent fellow
Companion
Dangerous Adventure

I dont see Sam saying any of that, or using the whole 'being serious by jesting' tone.

Sam would just say, as he does later, dripping wet on Parth Galen, having dared Frodo to leave him to drown:


Quote
But I am going to Mordor.’
'I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.’


~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Feb 5 2017, 6:24pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 5 2017, 7:56pm

Post #16 of 20 (1692 views)
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"...and no mistake!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Whenever I hear "...and no mistake" I know it's meant to be "regional dialect" - I'm not sure I've ever heard anybody say it in real life, except as a joke, but it still crops up in the dialogue of country folk on TV, or in books. And whenever it does, I think of LotR!

I just checked my ebook version of LotR, and it is said four times by Sam, and once each by Farmer Maggot, Barliman Butterbur, and Treebeard (this last one repeated, word for word, by Pippin when he tells their tale to Aragorn later). I agree with squire that Treebeard uses a lot of the same country expressions that the peasantry (or yeomanry, if you prefer!) use, perhaps because like them he is close to the land. I guess you could say that the colourful dialect language of the less-educated characters isn't meant to represent class as such - it's just a result of the gentry having had their native dialect educated out of them. Which does imply a "public-school" type of setup in the Shire, in which the children of the well-to-do have their schooling apart from the local working hobbits (assuming the working hobbits go to school at all - I know Sam is described as speaking his poetry standing with his hands behind his back "as if he was at school", but to me this proves nothing except that Sam was taught to speak his poetry in the proper way by Bilbo, and that the other hobbits watching him in this scene recognise it as the way they were taught at school.)

The BBC radio dramatisation of LotR is great for the accents, and as most of the dialogue is straight from the book, you see how the diction does fit the accents. Maggot and Butterbur have fruity West Country accents, Merry and Pippin sound like upper-class schoolboys when they chat to each other, and Frodo in particular has that ability of the educated Englishman to change the tenor of his voice depending on who he's speaking to - quite learned and careful with Faramir, for example, but casual and slightly careless with Sam. I think you can "hear" this in the way Frodo speaks in the book, too - I've tried to find a couple of examples, and like you I've found one at Parth Galen. First Frodo telling Faramir the story, with lots of learned vocabulary (peril, slain, perished, kindred):

“But the day when you heard it blowing, if your reckoning is true, was the day when we parted, when I and my servant left the Company. And now your tale fills me with dread. For if Boromir was then in peril and was slain, I must fear that all my companions perished too. And they were my kindred and my friends.”

And then what Frodo actually said at the time:

“So all my plan is spoilt!’ said Frodo. ‘It is no good trying to escape you. But I’m glad, Sam. I cannot tell you how glad. Come along! It is plain that we were meant to go together. We will go, and may the others find a safe road!”

Simple and warm, but it's still the language of a well-educated hobbit, and no mistake!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 5 2017, 10:22pm

Post #17 of 20 (1678 views)
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Correct, for some reason I thought T.H. White's ancestry had roots in Ireland but [In reply to] Can't Post

maybe I was recalling his period of life in Doolistown, Ireland during WWII. There is a great interview...the only one I have ever found...of White on the BBC Archives Modern Writers Interviews with remarkable authors - but you may not be able to view without an extension that allows UK content - http://www.bbc.co.uk/.../writers/12242.shtml
Monitor | TH White in Alderney


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 6 2017, 11:17am

Post #18 of 20 (1673 views)
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I begin to see better how Tolkien did it [In reply to] Can't Post

He did make use of dialect words and phrases ("worriting", ninnyhammer") but I think these stand out because they are as rare as they are entertaining.

Subject to a proper academic study, I'd guess that the general hobbitry use mostly simple words and short sentences. The educated hobbits - Bilbo, Frodo and his friends - show their education mostly by means of longer words and sentences. Their vocabulary, however, is mostly modern - it's only when we get out of the Shire that further speakers appear, bringing with them more archaic words and phrasing. And, as you've noticed, the hobbits respond in kind.

For me, reading LOTR first as a child growing up in Southern England in the 1970s, it was a small jump from these word choices to imagining the kinds of people who might talk like that, and constructing a lot of character based on this. But it's a creative response of the reader, and readers with different life experiences to draw upon would come to different conclusions. Billy Boyd could read all of Pippin's dialogue from the book in the Scottish accent he used for the film, and I doubt it would sound at all unnatural. (Indeed, I expect that many readers do 'hear' Pippin that way when they read the book).

If I'm right about that use of vocabulary, it would have a further interesting effect. Alan Garner has a contribution here again:


Quote
"a strength of English is its ability to draw for enrichment on both Germanic and Romance vocabularies. The English themselves have no clear view of this. We tend to assume (because they come late in our infant learning) that words of Romance origin are intrinsically superior to those of Germanic. Certainly, when I look at my own Primary School essays, it is the use of the Romance word that has won for me the teacher’s approving tick. But, in evolved English, the assumption is wrong. The two roots have become responsible for separate tasks. We use the Germanic when we want to be direct, close, honest: such words as “love”, “warm” “come”, “go”, “hate”, “thank”, “fear”. The Romance words are used when we want to keep feeling at a distance, so that we may articulate with precision: “amity”, “exacerbate”, “propinquity”, “evacuate”, “obloquy”, “gratitude”, “presentiment”. Romance, with its distancing effect and polysyllabic intricacies, can also conceal, so that the result is not ambivalence but opacity."

Alan Garner The Voice That Thunders


I think Mr Garner has a point here (though I'd be amazed if there weren't many fine examples of very direct and emotive writing that uses a lot of Romance vocabulary). But, for example, Winston Churchill's fine wartime speech "We will fight them on the beaches..." needed no teacherly red ticks ("It is our intention to contest our territory from the extremities of its littoral zones..." would not have been anywhere near so good).

There's also a big difference, of course, in the sound and rhythm of English, depending on whether Germanic or Romance words are used. How about Alice Oswold:


Quote
Then I might know like water how to balance
The weight of hope against the light of patience

Alice Oswold THE SELF-PLAYING INSTRUMENT OF WATER, http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/...-INSTRUMENT-OF-WATER


(The Middle-English ex French 'balance' and 'patience' here, I think, c.f. the Old English sounds of might know, water, weight and hope. But I can't really describe what Alice Oswold's poetry does to my head, only that it does a lot of it, and that what i does is similar to the effect of reading Tolkien.
Alice Oswold is, in my Gimli-ish opinion one of the finest poets writing in English today, and I am willing to back that up with my axe, and no mistake. Wink )

BTW "...and no mistake" reminds me of my father, usually emphasising that he was sincere about the likely paternal reaction if we persisted in whatever annoyance we were perpetrating.
That is to say: my dad used to say "...and no mistake", to show us children that he was close to losing his rag."

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Na Vedui
Rohan


Feb 17 2017, 8:25pm

Post #19 of 20 (1443 views)
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Irish landscape [In reply to] Can't Post

Very interesting article - thanks for the link.
The reference to the "evil" Tolkien sensed in the landscape intrigued me, because I had felt something there, especially in Connemara. Not evil, I wouldn't have said that. More as if it was too beautiful, too close to a perilous boundary - with Faerie, or Paradise or the land of heart's desire - something like that. It felt as though it might be dangerous; not so much that "it" might break through, as that there could be a temptation for people to feel it was attainable and try to actualize it on earth, with the ethical dangers that sort of thing always entails . I'm not in the least a psychic sort of person, so this was quite possibly pure imagination on my part, from a mixture of landscape beauty and awareness of Ireland's turbulent history. But it was rather odd - and not a million miles from Tolkien's sense of something dangerous kept at bay by faith and piety.


Eruonen
Valinor


Feb 17 2017, 9:52pm

Post #20 of 20 (1433 views)
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A few Irish landscape examples that capture a bit of mystery and foreboding [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.trekworld.com/...rish-landscape-5.png

http://www.icteachers.co.uk/...otos5/ireland020.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/...e7716a90f6642af1.jpg

http://cdn.wallpapersafari.com/58/93/C4t3Zw.jpg
This one draws you in and you want to walk the path toward the "misty mountains"

http://johnbarclayphotography.com/...nd_20120705_0072.jpg

http://www.irishnews.com/...a63-451b272e3bf1.jpg Perilous tree line track

 
 

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