Post BQ8nb4hPGSd

simon cook Aug 21, 2015 (08:36)

Hi Tamas,

Did not know of this community until jut now. I'd just posted the question below in the Middle-earth G+ community, but see that this is by far the better place...

Can I ask an obscure question? I'm not a linguist, so excuse me if I put things in a clumsy way.

Here is my starting-point. In Splintered Light Verlyn Flieger shows the importance to Tolkien of Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction (1927). Now, I've purchased Barfield's book, and what I find is that Barfield is looking to relatively recent work by comparative philologists (e.g. Jesperson 1894) in order to overturn an older view of the development of language by comparative philologists (held by, e.g. Max Muller). 

On request,  I can try to set out the competing theories of the development of language (it is all to do with roots and inflexions). But my question is on the level of secondary literature.

What I want to know is whether anyone has related the way in which Tolkien envisaged his Elvish languages to develop to particular theories held as to how real world languages develop. That is, is it possible to establish which of the competing theories of the comparative philologists is actually embodied in Sindarin and Quenya?

Or put another way, the theories of the comparative philologists have changed a lot over the last two centuries. Is there a way of locating Tolkien in relation to that history?

I hope my question is clear. If not please let me know. I'd be very grateful if anyone could point me anywhere at all on all this.



+Oliver Stegen 

Tamas Ferencz Aug 21, 2015 (08:44)

Copying my answer from over there:)

Hello, +simon cook - the body of works on Tolkien's languages is rather small, owing to the fact that his language related writings and notes are still being processed and published in two dedicated journals. Perhaps the new annotated edition of A Secret Vice of which I reported in the Tolkien related communities yesterday, will discuss this.
I am also invoking my esteemed friends +Roman Rausch  , +Carl Hostetter  , +Christopher Gilson  and of course this entire community, perhaps they can give you more useful information.

simon cook Aug 21, 2015 (08:50)

:) thanks +Tamas Ferencz !  (Although note that when copying and pasting in G+ one looses the + call function). 

Tamas Ferencz Aug 21, 2015 (09:06)

+simon cook
indeed - edited now:)