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Books on Elvish ‘Out of Date’

January 21, 2002 at 7:17 pm by Tehanu  - 

Several people wrote to warn us all that the books currently in print that teach Elvish are ‘seriously out of date.’

Jeremy wrote about the Ruth Noel book:

“Noel’s book in particular was published in 1980 – before the History of Middle Earth (HOME) or any of the subsequent work published in Vinyar Tengwar. So many of her suppositions turned out to be wrong.”

Sulien did like Noel’s “The Languages of Middle-earth and said why:

“It has a complete table with all of the values of the tengwar and cirthas, as well as a fairly complete English to Elvish (and vice versa) dictionary up to and including words from the Silmarillion. It also has sections on Khuzdul (Dwarvish) as well as Hobbitish and some of the Mannish languages (Rohirric) (sp?). The book also goes on to explain some of the derivations Tolkien took from “real world” languages. I would recommend this book VERY highly for anyone interested in learning Elvish.

The final word comes from David Salo, Elvish language specialist employed on the Rings films:

“I read your notice on Elvish books below, and just wanted to point out that while these books are available, they are in fact either very much out of date (“An Introduction to Elvish”) or were not particularly good to begin with (“The Languages of Middle-earth”). People trying to learn Elvish languages may be seriously misled by these books. “The best resource currently available on Tolkien’s languages is Helge Fauskanger’s web site Ardalambion I am now looking for a publisher for my own book on the type of Elvish (Sindarin) most used in the movie, which will help people understand the work that I did in Tolkien language translation for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Here’s a link to an article on Elvish.org that explains the shortcomings of that book. {More Talking of book-buying, this came in from David New:

“You may like to know that there is a truly excellent little bookshop in Oxford (our beloved Prof’s home for many a year) called Thorntons. It has that small bookshop charm that is lacking in the high street these days and they offer a good range of old editions of LOTR as well as old calendars and a few books such as the “Introduction to Elvish” you mentioned. If ever you’re in Oxford, check it out. I have a sneaky suspicion that JRRT may have visited this shop in times gone by, it is but a short walk from Merton.”

Posted in Old Special Reports on January 21, 2002 by

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