I don't think everything was dry in Unfinished Tales... I thought the story about Gandalf came to send the Dwarfs to Bilbo was quite interesting. I agree that the first section of the Silmarillion is quite a swamp, but it is pretty good as a whole.dondrei said:I read the Silmarillion and I seem to recall at least flicking through the Unfinished Tales. It's all quite dry though
I've looked through all the appendices and I've never found much on Elvish as a language - maybe I've got a different edition, but where is it?if Tolkien was ever going to release some of this sort of material in the same vein as LOTR or even The Hobbit he'd have had to drastically rewrite it. I think he mostly wrote it for his own entertainment and maybe would've let some of it be published to satisfy some of his more - erm - fanatical fans. You know, the ones that actually learn Elvish...
The way I understand it, all of the languages Tolkien invented were Indo-European.MadMachine said:I've looked through all the appendices and I've never found much on Elvish as a language - maybe I've got a different edition, but where is it?
El/il is a word that means 'light', 'bright' or 'shining' and 'guardian or shepherd' (in the same sense as the Greek original of 'planet'). The word 'mul' signified a star in Babylonian. Variations of El often form the name of a chief deity, for example El (and his female counterpart Elat), Baal, Bel, Enlil. The Hebrew word Elohim means The Shining Ones (and is to an extent cognate with the English word Elves). The Arabic name Allah and the Hebrew name El are identical. The English word Illuminate is derived from this root.The Silmarillion p358 said:el, ele 'star'. According to Elvish legend, ele was a primitive exclamation 'behold!' made by Elves when they saw the first stars. From this origin derived the ancient words el and elen, meaning 'star', and the adjectives elda and elena, meaning 'of the stars'. These elements appear in a great many names. For the later use of the name Eldar see the Index [of Names and Places]. The Sindarin equivalent of Elda was Eldhel (plural Edhil), q.v.; but the strictly corresponding form was Eledh, which occurs in Eledhwen.
Quenya.Sokar Rostau said:The way I understand it, all of the languages Tolkien invented were Indo-European.
Taking the Elvish languages as an example he gave us a lot of both Quenya and Sindarin. I forget which is which, but one of those is an archaic, Latin-like, language. There are words in both languages he only gave examples of once, but because they are Indo-European and we have the "Latin" we can figure out what the words are in the other language.
True, but...My copy of The Silmarillion has 55 pages of appendices - Note on pronunciation, an Index of Names and Places (and their meanings), and Some Elements in Quenya and Sindarin (includes dialect and regional pronunciations and root words). Together with songs and poetry in these languages they can be reconstructed in the exact same way ancient languages are.
I couldn't be bothered going to the bookshelf to check, but the complete alphabet of at least one language and bits and pieces of others are also included in The Hobbit and LotR.
All of this goes together to enable students to study these languages as a subject that counts towards the linguistics degree at either Oxford or Cambridge (which ever one it was that Tolkien was a Prof. at), and maybe other universities, because the languages are based on the 'stern laws' of the discipline. In fact, I seem to remember reading somewhere that Quenya or Sindarin was invented by Tolkien in the first place to satisfy the requirements of his own degree in linguistics.
Have a look at some of the source material for the 2 writers i mentioned, they aren't exactly lacking in material.DurfBarian said:If you like his stories a lot, his son's editorial work is worth taking a look at. Yeah maybe Martin is a better writer than Christopher Tolkien, but CT kicks the pants off of Robert Jordan or most anyone else in the genre today when he's got this kind of source material to play with.