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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Goblin/Orc connection?
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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 11 2012, 7:32pm

Post #26 of 30 (171 views)
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They are interchangeable [In reply to] Can't Post

Goblin is just the English translation of orc.

This is not really a matter of opinion in terms of Tolkien's world. It is an established fact.


Elthir
Gondor

Nov 11 2012, 10:39pm

Post #27 of 30 (171 views)
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Tolkien's note to the third edition Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I remember the great goblin as being large in the book, though I cannot recall why (I'm looking for a description of his actual size and cannot find it), but goblins generally seemed small. I assumed for the longest time that orc was a subset of goblin, but I cannot for the life of me trace back why I came to that conclusion.




Examples of large goblins include: Saruman's uruks described as 'goblin-soldiers' at least once. Bolg's bodyguard has huge goblins. Azog is referred to as both an orc and a goblin. But even if these examples did not exist, I think Tolkien's note to the Third Editon Hobbit explains what we need (which agrees with Tolkien's advice to translators). And so I will say...


... all instances of goblin in the text are really instances of the word orc in the fictional original text Smile

If you could read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the original Westron, you would find the word orc, orc, orc, orc, over and over again... 'goblin' is only the result of the modern English translator -- when he sees orc he writes 'goblin' rather, translating the word orc -- but the fictional translator (Tolkien himself) actually asked other translators not to translate orc where it is found in The Lord of the Rings -- because by this time Tolkien wanted orc left alone wherever it appeared, despite that this went against the rules of his own system!


Of course 'goblin' could translate Sindarin orch too, for instance; but the text should make it plain when some original word other than Westron orc is involved in any case.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 11 2012, 10:44pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Nov 11 2012, 10:57pm

Post #28 of 30 (149 views)
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by the way... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I didn't mean to sound as if I was correcting you, especially by quoting only part of your post (in my previous post). I wasn't correcting anything you said, or trying to (especially considering your full post), just making a further point about translation.

And I was too late to edit properly Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 11 2012, 10:59pm)


GothmogTheBalrog
Rivendell


Nov 12 2012, 4:40am

Post #29 of 30 (142 views)
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"Orc" of course being [In reply to] Can't Post

the Old English word for "demon". An apt comparison methinks.

"It was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it." ~FotR


Elthir
Gondor

Nov 12 2012, 12:42pm

Post #30 of 30 (140 views)
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That's true [In reply to] Can't Post

I would only add that we must not confuse (not that you are) external inspirations with the scenario Tolkien ultimately landed on here.

Tolkien explicitly notes (The Hobbit, third edition) that Orc is not an English word, and that it was a word used by Hobbits at the time of the story. That makes it a Westron word I would say, and thus it was in use very many years before even Old English arose as a language in the Primary World. Tolkien will even refer to 'Orc' as a Common Speech word in his advice to translators. Some might think that the Common Speech is English but it is not, as that would not make sense in the fictional scenario Tolkien was trying to illustrate.

The reason to blather about this is this: if we take both orc and goblin as English translations (like hobbit and halfling) then one could more easily claim that there is a distinction -- another popular one being that 'goblin' represents a word used by hobbits, while orc represents a word used by other folk. I must disagree with that as well.

So although the external inspiration (or source) is Old English, the ultimate choice by Tolkien was that it must have been a Westron word in Frodo's day, and possibly survived down the ages into Old English, meaning 'demon' basically, but in any case the word became fairly unknown to speakers of Modern English until the early 1950s.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 12 2012, 12:48pm)

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