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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge -- Valantine's Edition
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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 18 2013, 2:53am

Post #26 of 47 (490 views)
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That's odd [In reply to] Can't Post

according to the Inklings page at Tolkien Gateway (which cites The Company They Keep) Roger was a member. They'll probably want to fix that.


squire
Valinor


Feb 18 2013, 3:17am

Post #27 of 47 (469 views)
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Not all Inklings are equal [In reply to] Can't Post

Colin Duriez, in his article on Green in J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, says Green attended "a number of Inklings gatherings in the Eagle and Child [pub]". In his article on the Inklings in the same reference work, Duriez cites Green as one of those "documented as attending, permanently, frequently, or occasionally" the Inklings' get-togethers. Duriez draws a distinction between those who read to the group, and those who listened; as seen above, he points out that the Inklings were not a club with a membership list, but rather an informal and continuously shifting meeting of friends and friends of friends; and he calls "Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, and Barfield" the "central figures, so much so that the other members, even though important, are defined in relation to one or more of the four as part of the literary movement [that the Inklings represented]".

What I get from this is that Green was relatively rarely in attendance at the Inklings' actual meetings, even though he was very much a part of the literary set that revolved around C. S. Lewis and the other three "central" figures identified by Duriez.

Does that make him an "Inkling"? It seems to depend where you draw the line. Glyer and Bratman evidently draw the line more closely around the inner circle than Duriez and the Tolkien Gateway folks do. Yet I have to believe Duriez when he asserts that yes, Green did attend at least some of the Inklings' meetings.



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk 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 18 2013, 3:19am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 18 2013, 5:02pm

Post #28 of 47 (443 views)
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I have no doubt that attended some meetings, [In reply to] Can't Post

nor that he was close to Lewis, and to a lesser extent, Tolkien. I also agree that there is no hard and fast definition of who was a member of the Inklings. But I think the fact that he "was relatively rarely in attendance" at the Inklings meetings would be tend to mitigate against calling him an actual member of the group. Green, of course, was of a younger generation than Lewis and Tolkien, having been a student of the former. The only individuals from that generation that Bratman lists among the actual members of the group are Lewis' other student John Wain, and of course Christopher Tolkien. I believe (though I have not read it), that Bratman bases his list of "canonical members" on Humphrey Carpenter's study of the group, The Inklings. Of course, Duriez was also very knowledgable and well-respected as well.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


squire
Valinor


Feb 18 2013, 5:37pm

Post #29 of 47 (435 views)
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Good point about the generation gap [In reply to] Can't Post

I hadn't caught that. Green was definitely of the next generation at Oxford, which came of age after the War. The Inklings' identity as a group seems to be based on the earlier years of the mens' meetings, from the mid 1930s to the mid 40s. (We should note that Green was a student of both Tolkien and Lewis, not just Lewis; Tolkien supervised his B. Litt. thesis on Andrew Lang and fairy tales.)

Of the two young men you note, it's funny to compare John Wain's and Roger Green's status as Inklings in the later 1940s. Bratman, it turns out, wrote the JRRT Encyclopedia article on Wain, and credits him therein as a member of the Inklings, based on Wain's own claim to have been in attendance at the Eagle and Child for several years. Duriez, by contrast, does not give any specifics of how long or how often young Green took a seat with the oldsters. What I thought ironic is that Bratman clearly explains that Wain, although personally attracted to Lewis and Tolkien as companions and mentors, disagreed rather severely with their interest in fantasy and fairy stories. He was a realist in his tastes in fiction, hated The Lord of the Rings, and thought Tolkien's ideas about subcreation were bosh. Meanwhile Green, who Bratman feels never quite made it as an actual Inkling, was Lewis' biggest promoter in the matter of the Narnia series, declaring it to be on the whole a worthy successor to English children's classics like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Wind in the Willows. Green also liked Tolkien's work, taking it on its own terms. Duriez even suggests (without any proof) that Green is a candidate for "Jeremy" in Tolkien's roman-a-clef about the Inklings, the Notion-Club Papers.

So, (not counting Christopher Tolkien, obviously) of the two most likely students of Tolkien and Lewis who gravitated to their professors' literary/social set, we have the young Inkling who didn't like the older Inklings' stuff; and the young non-Inkling who did!



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk 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 18 2013, 5:38pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 18 2013, 6:04pm

Post #30 of 47 (437 views)
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I didn't know (or perhaps had forgotten) [In reply to] Can't Post

that Tolkien supervised Greens B. Litt thesis on Andrew Lang and fairy tales. I did recall that Green, like Tolkien, delivered the Andrew Lang Lecture at St. Andrew's University, though Green's was 29 years after Tolkien famous lecture "On Fairy-Stories".

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 18 2013, 7:41pm

Post #31 of 47 (427 views)
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Last Call! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to give anyone who may still want to play a chance to do so, I'll be posting answers around midnight EST.

In the meantime feel free to jump in on the fascinating side discussion that has developed, or with anything else related to the historical Tolkien.


telain
Rohan

Feb 18 2013, 8:27pm

Post #32 of 47 (465 views)
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under the wire? [In reply to] Can't Post

here it goes! (and thank you Sir Dennis!)

1. wholesomely
2. farther
3. reverence
4. laughter
5. swoons
6. gifts
7. forego (or forgive?)
8. thrive
9. overmuch
10. telling

Not the most consistent answers, but fun nonetheless!


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 19 2013, 8:44am

Post #33 of 47 (490 views)
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Answers and further discussion [In reply to] Can't Post

Imma do this a little differently this time... for each word I'll give Tolkien's gloss, at least to the extent that it relates to the list word, and the glossary it appears in: (SG) for Sir Gawain; and (ME) for A Middle English Vocabulary.

Someone may correct me if I'm wrong, but being glossaries, the listings are more about how the words are used in the texts than they are about defining the words. I mention this at all for the sake of accuracy. However, for our challenge, since we don't know the context of the words outside of the list, a full point is awarded for grasping a word's essence (as usual).

According to Tolkien, according to original context:

1. holsumly, adv. healthfully [OE. hal + -sum; cf. ON heilsamr.] (SG)
2. forşer, adv. [OE. furşor, forşor.] See [also] Fyrşer (ME)
3. reuerence, n. honour [OFr. reverence.] (SG) and n. reverence [OFr. reverence.] (ME)
4. laȝter, n. laugh [OE. hlæhtor.] (SG)*
5. sweuenes, n. pl. dreaming [OE. swefn, often pl. with sg. sense.] (SG) and n. dream [OE. swefn.] (ME)
6. ȝiftis, n. pl. gifts [OE. gift.] see [also] Gyfte. (ME)
7. forȝeue, v. to forgive [OE. for-gefan.] (ME)
8. şryue, v. to thrive [ON. şrifask.] (SG)**
9. ouermoche, adj. and n. too much [OE. ofer-mycel.] (ME)
10. teuelyng, n. labour, deeds [Prob. from ON. tefla, play (at tables)...] (SG)***

* This seems odd except when you see the word in context: "And şus he bourded aȝayn with mony a blyşe laȝter." (SG 1217). The verb, to laugh, Tolkien glosses as laȝe [OE. hlæhhan.]

** For the sake of comparison: şryue, thrife, and thryfe are given for v. to prosper [ON şrifask.] in (ME)

*** Teuelyng reminds me of the French word travailler: to work, to strive [OFr. travailler, to work, to trouble, torture]. It is also related to the English word travail: strive, strain etc. However, if the "u" is not pronounced like modern "v" then it looks like it would sound very much like toiling, which I didn't notice until you guys started giving it for an answer.Laugh

Speaking of which, here are the scores out of 10:

Arithmancer 8
CuriousG 5 (+1)
AuntieDB 8
Morthoron 9 (and our only player to get "dreams" for #5)
BoromirofWinterfell 6
Aragalen The Green 9
dernwyn 9
Telain 8

With an average of almost 7.9/10 I think it's safe to say we are getting better at this. Thank you to our players this time round, and to all contributors to the thread!

Further thoughts, observations, theories are more than welcome.



Heart


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 19 2013, 6:22pm

Post #34 of 47 (416 views)
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oops re #2 [In reply to] Can't Post

Number 2 should read:

2. forşer, adv. further [OE. furşor, forşor.] See [also] Fyrşer (ME)


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 19 2013, 6:50pm

Post #35 of 47 (424 views)
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Fascinating... [In reply to] Can't Post

If we play this again I need to think of more than just English and German clues. With 20-20 hindsight, I can now see that sweuenes is really quite similar to the word "svajone" (j is pronounced like a consonant y in English...) in my native Lithuanian. That word means dream or daydream.

Thanks for making this thread, it has been fun!


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Feb 20 2013, 12:09am

Post #36 of 47 (405 views)
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It also reminds me [In reply to] Can't Post

of "swoon"--to faint, pass out, or lose consciousness.

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 20 2013, 2:49am

Post #37 of 47 (411 views)
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Somewhere in the back of my mind [In reply to] Can't Post

there was a notion that sweuenes might be related to Fr. suivre, to follow... but that makes no sense whatsoever.

I am reminded that not all ME words survive as modern day, phonetically similar words. Some words just die over time.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Feb 20 2013, 2:50am)


Morthoron
Gondor


Feb 20 2013, 3:18am

Post #38 of 47 (462 views)
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One emendation.... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. holsumly, adv. healthfully [OE. hal + -sum; cf. ON heilsamr.] (SG)

I found an alternative definition to "holsumly" as "comfortably". There is a line (1730-31) from GatGG where "healthfully" would be a misapplication: "Whyle the hende knyght at home holsumly slepes Withinne the comly cortynes, on the colde morne." The word comfortably" is a better definer here.

http://books.google.com/...holsumly&f=false

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



(This post was edited by Morthoron on Feb 20 2013, 3:21am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 20 2013, 3:12pm

Post #39 of 47 (386 views)
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Semantics [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I found an alternative definition to "holsumly" as "comfortably". There is a line (1730-31) from GatGG where "healthfully" would be a misapplication: "Whyle the hende knyght at home holsumly slepes Withinne the comly cortynes, on the colde morne." The word comfortably" is a better definer here.

I would certainly vote for you getting the extra point for "comfortably" in the quiz Cool, but I can't help thinking that it's not a great translation in the particular sentence you quote. I get the impression that this line means that the knight is sleeping a "healthy sleep" - a sound and innocent sleep, you might say, or (to use the direct derivation) a "wholesome" sleep. Isn't this perhaps meant to make a contrast between Gawain's wholesome innocence and the tricksy behaviour of his host and his host's wife?

(It's interesting to me to see that "hale"/"healthy" and "whole" are derived from the same Middle English word. I guess we modern English speakers split up the two ideas and lost the "holistic" view of health that our ancestors took for granted...)


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



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 21 2013, 6:02am

Post #40 of 47 (376 views)
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Just when I was about to adjust Morthoron's score [In reply to] Can't Post

Lady FarFromHome makes a rare appearance, and a salient point. Wink

However, I am thankful for the link to Richard Morris' 1869 edit of SGatGK (including glossary). Morris' work is mentioned in Tolkien and Gordon's introduction to their version. As well, it is listed in the bibliography with the note, "Corrects some of Madden's text. There are a few notes and a glossary (incomplete, of little value)."

(I'm guessing Morris wasn't around to defend himself at the time Tolkien and Gordon's edition was made. Shocked )


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 21 2013, 11:17am

Post #41 of 47 (370 views)
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I enjoy reading your vocabulary threads, SirD [In reply to] Can't Post

And I always learn something from everyone's answers, but I don't usually take on the challenge because I don't seem to have a feel for the sounds of Old English (Old French is more my thing - or was, I think I've forgotten most of it...).

But when Morthoron kindly provided a context with that quote from Sir Gawain, my translator's instincts kicked in and I saw what the poet might have been getting at. What I really liked was discovering how the word for "healthy" also means "whole" or "sound" in Old English. It reminds me of Verlyn Flieger's point that (in Tolkien's view) language "splinters" over time, so while we gain in detail we may lose sight of the bigger picture. The evolution of this one word must be just a random example of thousands that Tolkien was familiar with. But it gave me a new little insight into the language of Tolkien's world, thanks to you and Morthoron! Smile

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



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 22 2013, 2:43am

Post #42 of 47 (373 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's so nice to see you here.Smile

I can understand using "comfortably" in that line, strictly based on context. As well, given the second half of the phrase it would create resonance, an effect we've seen elsewhere in the text (see here and related discussion). However, given Tolkien's gloss and a little further research "comfort" does appear to miss the author's mark. Still, translators are accorded license, often to our (the reader's) benefit I think.

As you say, the root word "hol" seems interchangeable with "health" and "whole" -- certainly Tolkien thought so, and Morris before him. Here is what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about the Modern English word whole:

"Old English hal "entire, unhurt, healthy," from Proto-Germanic *khailaz "undamaged" (cf. Old Saxon hel, Old Norse heill, Old Frisian hal, Middle Dutch hiel, Dutch heel, Old High German, German heil "salvation, welfare"), from PIE *koilas (cf. Old Church Slavonic celu "whole, complete;" see health). The spelling with wh- developed early 15c. The sense in whole number is from early 14c."

Here is the listing for health, which I rather like:

'Old English hælş "wholeness, a being whole, sound or well," from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (cf. Old English hal "hale, whole;" Old Norse heill "healthy;" Old English halig, Old Norse helge "holy, sacred;" Old English hælan "to heal"). Of physical health in Middle English, but also "prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety."'

Edit: Links fixed Wink


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Feb 22 2013, 2:49am)


squire
Valinor


Feb 22 2013, 3:14am

Post #43 of 47 (372 views)
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Westu Théoden hál! [In reply to] Can't Post

The Tolkien Society glosses this as 'Wes şu hal' or in our tongue: 'good health to you'.

I love that "hail!" (Greetings!), "hale" (In good shape), "health" (good state of being) and "whole" (all things where they belong) all come from the same old word.



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 22 2013, 5:44am

Post #44 of 47 (363 views)
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Another fine link, thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I really appreciate all the Tolkien related information and other threads our little game has generated.

As not to post here ouermoche (it may be long past that point already) I wanted to touch on the philosophical point Lady FarFromHome brought in via Verlyn Flieger:


Quote
It reminds me of Verlyn Flieger's point that (in Tolkien's view) language "splinters" over time, so while we gain in detail we may lose sight of the bigger picture.


In turn, this reminds me of something an old professor once said about a trend he observed in higher education... something to the effect: "the trend towards specialization has us awarding degrees for knowing the most about the least." I wonder if he was paraphrasing Tolkien and didn't know it? And isn't it interesting, as Tolkien knew, that language is the foundation of knowing... perhaps of consciousness itself?


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 22 2013, 5:57am

Post #45 of 47 (367 views)
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You may be interested in this [In reply to] Can't Post

Over at the Online Etymology Dictionary Lithuanian is mentioned in their listing for dream.

Also I wanted to thank you for bringing to bare your knowledge of German and other languages for our game.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 22 2013, 11:26am

Post #46 of 47 (343 views)
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Cool!// [In reply to] Can't Post

Sapnas, yes, that is dream in the sense of that thing we do when we sleep. Svajone, which I mentioned, is "dream" in the sense of "I have a dream" or "daydream".

I also find references to Lithuanian there when I look things up, it's a thing I enjoy about knowing the language, which is otherwise not very "practical". (I was born and still live in the US, so I speak it only with friends and family). It's a "conservative" language, meaning it is believed to have changed less over the years than a lot of modern Indo-European languages. It also has a grammar that is quite complicated compared to most.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 24 2013, 2:10am

Post #47 of 47 (412 views)
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Yes, fascinating! [In reply to] Can't Post

Working in the word "sleep": "sweuenes"..."sleeping-ness"...dreaming...

Note how that Dictionary has the Old English "dream" differ in meaning from our current "dream": over the centuries it took on a different meaning, or it could be that words such as "traum" worked their way into the language and their meanings gradually superseded the original.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"





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