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Re: Auxlangs and Orcs' Langs

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 19:09
On Tuesday, March 16, 2004, at 10:10 PM, Tim May wrote:

> J Y S Czhang wrote at 2004-03-16 16:32:39 (EST) >> In a message dated 2004:03:16 08:24:01 PM, m.poxon@VIRGIN.NET writes:
>> I think you both are right. IIRC Tolkien was pretty favourable >> to E-o in his younger days while his colleagues were gaga over >> Ogden's Basic English, but as he got older his view changed and >> became highly critical. >> What I am curious about is did Tolkien know of Otto Jesperson >> (and Novial) and vice-versa... >> > > In a 1932 letter(?) to _The British Esperantist_ reproduced here: > > > Tolkien writes that "N**" is "ingenious, and easier than Esperanto, > but hideous -- "factory product" is written all over it, or rather, > "made of spare parts" -- and it has no gleam of the individuality, > coherence and beauty, which appear in the great natural idioms, and > which do appear to a considerable degree (probably as high a degree as > is possible in an artificial idiom) in Esperanto -- a proof of the > genius of the original author..." > > "N**" is presumed to be Novial by an editor (at what point the > editorial comments were made is not clear from that page, and I have > no further information).
Yep - I have seen it suggested that it was Neo. But if Arturo Alfandari's Neo is meant this surely cannot be. IIRC wasn't about in 1932. Of course there may have been another Neo. The archives of con-IALS are littered with projects forming their names either the Greek 'neos' or Latin 'novus' so there are, I've no doubt, many possible candidates. But the consensus of unbiased opinion is that JRRT probably did mean Novial (<-- Nov IAL, as OJ explains in the preface to 'Novial Lexike'). I guess that in Conlang terms, JRRT was saying that Novial was a mere "Euroclone" whereas E-o had a spark of originality about it. JRRT does have a point; and clearly he valued individuality in language creation (as he himself shows), but I do not agree with his assessment. N certainly has coherence & in the hands of a creative writer I think it would have as much beauty as most natlangs. I've never found E-o particular beautiful, tho it certainly has an individuality; whether that individuality is for good or ill is another matter and one that has been more than adequately argued for more than a century and is best IMO not aired on this list. In any case, questions like beauty are very subjective. Personally, I'd prefer Quenya as a con-IAL rather than either N or E-o ;) But, to return to where this thread began: On Tuesday, March 16, 2004, at 02:22 PM, Peter Bleackley wrote:
> I wonder if Tolkien was having a dig at Esperanto in his description of > the > Black Speech. It was, after all, an artificial language created by Sauron
I doubt it very much indeed.
> to unify his disparate followers. While Esperanto claims to be a highly > euphonious language, beauty is in the ear of the beholder, and if a > (mainly) Romance vocabulary adapted to a Slavic phonology offended JRRT's > ears,
It didn't - as you see in the quote John gives above, JRRT considered E-o to have a beauty and IIRC he does say somewhere that he considered it euphonious 9which, as you say, is in the ear of the beholder).
> having true lovers of language (the elves) stop their ears with > horror at the very sound of it would be a suitable way of expressing it.
maybe - but does fit with what JRRT actually wrote.
> The orcs' tendency to further debase the language into ever more barbarous > dialects can be seen as a parody of the factional fighting between > Esperantists, Idists and other schismatic auxlangers.
I somehow think the internecine quarreling of IAL advocates was not in his mind. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760