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Rectification (was Re: Fantasy/Tolkien)

From:Didier Willis <dwillis@...>
Date:Friday, November 26, 1999, 19:41
Christophe Grandsire wrote
> > Funny, Didier Willis (a fellow conlanger, some may remember him, who > has no time to see us on the list) [. . .]
I am *still* reading the list, though I have indeed no time currently but to be a mere lurker. And I do hope indeed that many people remember my conlangs, at least Almaqerin. Er... okay, just a few people... er... okay, okay, just you and Mathias, my fellow french conlangers ;-) ;-) Actually I have completed Almaqerin, insofar as a conlang might ever be considered as complete... At list it has reached the state I wanted it to have. 'Time to turn to another project, I would say ;-) [but no, I have not changed the website]
> [. . .] gave me once a booklet with a few articles about LotR where one of > them says exactly the thing you say. It says most of all that the title of > Gandalf "the Wizard" should be taken etymologically ("the wiseman") more than > as its modern meaning ("the sorcerer") and complained that the magic of LotR > which was more a kind of poetry (like it was said about the Elves) had become > so utilitarian in other fantasy stories and in roleplaying games (it didn't > say that such kind of magic was wrong, it just complained that people made a > connection between it and the one in LotR, where there was none). There > was also a small article in this booklet that went against the belief > that the Elves of Tolkien had pointed ears (by the way, do anyone knows > what they are doing for the movie? Will the elves have pointed ears?). A > small article but a lot of fun (with though a serious background on folk > fairy tales and such).
Ahem..... I don't think I gave you such a booklet, Christophe. I did give you a booklet, indeed, but without any article of this kind, I am afraid. So it seems likely that you are confusing it with something else. (Though my own booklet has certainly "a serious backround on folk fairy tales" too :^). As far as I know, there's no textual evidence that Tolkien's Elves had pointed or leaf-shaped ears. On one hand, it is true that the _Etymologies_ (written in the thirties, and published in _History of Middle-eath_, volume V) provide two roots LAS1 and LAS2: LAS (1) *lasse 'leaf'; Quenya _lasse_, Noldorin _lhass_ [...] LAS (2) 'listen'; Noldorin _lhaw_ 'ears' (of one person), old dual _*lasu_, whence singular _lhewig_. [...] Quenya _lar_, 'listen' [...] On the other hand, Tolkien never said that the roots were related. Moreover, he changed the phonology of these languages years later, when he migrated the "Noldorin" vocabulary (formerly the language of the exiled Noldor) to "Sindarin" (now the language of the Grey-Elves). In particular, the derivation of the primitive L and SL was entirely revised. (for details refer to The definitive scheme would presumably be the following: LAS (1) *lasse 'leaf'; Quenya _lasse_, Noldorin **_lass_; *SLAS (2) 'listen'; Noldorin _lhaw_ 'ears' (of one person), old dual _**slasu_, whence singular _lhewig_. Quenya **_hlar_ 'listen'; [...] The new Quenya form 'hlar-' is attested in a late text, 'Man hlaruva ...' ("Who shall hear ..."). So it finally seems that there is no relation between "leaf" and "ear"... Didier. -- -