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Old 02-26-2003, 08:56 AM   #1
littlemanpoet
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Pipe Linguistic puns, riddles, and jokes in LotR, etc.

I was thinking about the names, ‘Boromir’ and ‘Faramir’.

I’m thinking that Tolkien was so comfortable with linguistic ‘laws’ (which may seem quite esoteric to you and me) that he could use them to make linguistic puns, riddles, and jokes. Have you heard of Werner’s and Grimm’s Laws? I forget which is which, but here’s the basic idea: as time passes and the human tongue finds a more smooth way to produce a word, its pronunciation changes.

For example, a ‘b’ sound slides toward a ‘v’ sound (I’m simplifying), which slides toward an ‘f’ sound.

There’s more to it than that, but it’ll serve for what I’m thinking about.

Compare the Latin ‘vulpus’ to the English ‘fox’

(Latin isn’t the direct ancestor of English, but its literary form is older than that of English, and the two languages are related)

Boromir is older than Faramir.

‘Bor’ is reminiscent of the English ‘to bore’ – as in, ‘boring, yawn’, or ‘boring-digging a hole’.
‘mir’ is reminiscent of the English ‘mirror’ or ‘mere’, a water in which one can see clear reflection.
‘Far’ is reminiscent of, well, ‘far=distant’, which suggests far-seeing.

So, Boromir ‘mirrors’, perhaps, forcing the issue?
And Faramir ‘mirrors’, perhaps, far sight?

Do you think Tolkien though out his names on this level?

If so, what do you make of Frodo? Samwise? Pippin/Peregrin? Merry/Meriadoc? Legolas? Gimli? All the rest, such as Denethor, and so forth? And all those hobbit names in the genealogies?

[Pay no attention to this mad scribing: I’m dinging dat Tholgien vaz zo gomvorthavle vid tlinkhwizdig tlawsh dath he goult yewsh dem doo maig tlinkhwizdig bunsh, rrithils, on yoegz.- unless you can tell what the mad scribe is up to? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ]
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Old 02-26-2003, 09:47 AM   #2
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Very interesring point, littlemanpoet. I never thougt of it. Here´s what I came up with...

SamWISE: Intresting. Hobbits are described as careles, happy folks, sometimes even dumb, but certainly not WISE. Maybe this should indicate that Sam stands out from the hobbit crowd?

Merry: That´s rather obvious. Merry also means "happy", and it´s one of Merry´s qualities that he hardly ever loses his spirit and humor.

Eomer and Eowyn. This one´s sort of far fetched, but not very. They both share "Eo-" which indicates they´re very close. But now it´s interesting: EoWYN is spoken like "to win". An indication that she will indeed "win renown", which she obviously wants. EoMER however is spoken like EoMARE. A mare is a female horse. Eomer comes from Rohan. Rohan is famous for horses. Makes sense, doesn´t it?

[ February 26, 2003: Message edited by: Manardariel ]
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Old 02-26-2003, 10:41 AM   #3
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Manardariel,

I'm afraid to say that Sam's name doesn't suggest that he is wise.

Sam is an Old English prefix meaning half, so Samwise = halfwit.
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Old 02-26-2003, 11:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Samwise = halfwit
And that's the joke. Sam's intellect is no great shakes, but the joke is that it doesn't matter. He has a whole battery of good character traits that make up for a, shall we say, fair to middling mind, such as loyalty, courage, not to mention insights into other people.
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Old 02-26-2003, 02:30 PM   #5
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The book, "The Hobbit Companion" by David Day, explores some of the linguistics/philology behind many of the names in Tolkien's work. Since my school deems linguistics something creative writing majors needn't bother themselves with, I can't comment on the accurracy/scholarship of the book, but it's interesting, at least.
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Old 02-26-2003, 02:58 PM   #6
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Tolkien

A very interesting topic!

I have always thought Frodo, was a very un-Hobbit like name, some how too angular. However, when you take it apart, it is "Fro-" as in forward, and "do" as in an action. Perhaps this is reflective of the fact that Frodo was the one to go forward and do this seemingly impossible deed, emphasizing that it was his fate to carry the Ring.
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Old 02-26-2003, 03:00 PM   #7
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Actually, I've only looked into the Elvish names. Thank you littlemanpoet for bringing this up! BTW, welcome to the Downs, Carorëiel!! As I now say to every newly deceased BDer I get to meet: isn't it great to be dead and rotting?
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Old 02-26-2003, 03:29 PM   #8
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Here's a linguistic pun regarding Eowyn that Tolkien didn't intend (but ended up with anyway. This has to do with the more recent (some 50 years after LOTR was written) feminist spelling of 'women' as 'wymyn'. It's kind of amusing that Eowyn has a 'y' substituting for an 'i' and is the only character who could plausibly be interpreted as feminist icon.

A different linguistic pun Tolkien may have intended. One of the Dwarf-lords of Moria who was killed after the balrog reappeared was named Nain. '-ain' seems a common ending of dwarven names, Thain, Dain, ... But nain means 'dwarf' in French. I wonder how the translators handled this...otherwise he might end up sounding pretty generic. "We couldn't think up a good name for him, so we just call him 'dwarf'!" [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 02-26-2003, 05:40 PM   #9
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Rina:

Quote:
"Fro-" as in forward, and "do" as in an action.
This is precisely what I had been thinking. Frodo was the one who did 'do' the deed of continuing 'fro'-ward, no matter what.

Thanks, Carorëiel, for the reference. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Eressië Ailin: You're welcome. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Quote:
Actually, I've only looked into the Elvish names.
What have you turned up?

Angry Hill Troll: Hi, Troll, I'm Dwarf. Meet my friend, Hobbit. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

'wyn' is equivalent to 'friend' or 'friendly' in Anglo Saxon. I'm not sure what 'eo' stands for in Anglo Saxon, though.

What about the word, "Eotheod"? That has half of Theoden's name in it, too.

Now to really spice things up. I was trying to think up a name for the beings in a story I'm writing, which are based on the Hebrew mythic tale found in Genesis chapter 6, about the sons of the gods. I came up with: El (god) - Bar (son) = El-bar. Think of those linguistic laws and allow for a little bit of slippage of the tongue and you have: El-var - then El-far. Elvar. Elfar. Elves. The Elves as such, in myth come down to us from Nordic an Celtic myths, where they are called (Nordic) Elves and (Celtic) Tuatha de Danaan. They're the same basic thing. Was Tolkien playing a linguistic joke by calling his Elves the El-dar? Ne?
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Old 02-26-2003, 06:09 PM   #10
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Tolkien

That is really interesting about the Eldar/El-bar. And that explains the rather cryptic story in Genesis -- they were elves of course!

I have discovered something interesting. The last half of Theoden's name is reminiscent of Odin or Woden, the supreme Norse god. Also, the last part of Denethor's name is like Thor, the Norse God of thunder. I wonder if Tolkein did this purposely.

Also, Gimli's name is similar to gimlet, which is apparently a small tool for carving, yet is also used to mean piercing. Perhaps this refers to a dwarf's prediliction for carving and working in stone and piercing the earth with mining.
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Old 02-26-2003, 08:19 PM   #11
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In Tom Shippey's book, he offers a very interesting thought. It states in the appendix that all the names were "translated," and that the names of hobbit males usually ended with -a, while the females ended with -o or were the name of a plant or jewel. Therefore, Frodo's name would really be Froda (wise one in Old English), which corresponds with two stories.
Froda was the father of Ingeld, a warrior. Froda was on the other hand, a pacifist, just as Frodo was at the end of RotK.
The Norse equivalent of Froda would be written in a way I can't type on this keyboard, but is pronounced Frolith. Frolith had complete peace under his leadership, due to a magic mill that ground out peace and prosperity. He refused to let the giantesses who worked it have any rest, so they ground out an army who killed Frolith and took his gold. The mill is now supposed to be in the ocean, grinding the salt into the sea.
So there you go. I have no idea if this is relevant at all, and I probably paraphrased everything poorly, but I tried. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-27-2003, 02:04 AM   #12
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Hmmm...Interesting thread.

Quote:
Gimli's name is similar to gimlet, which is apparently a small tool for carving, yet is also used to mean piercing. Perhaps this refers to a dwarf's prediliction for carving and working in stone and piercing the earth with mining.
Here's some more on Gimli. Maybe that piercing quality is shown through his tongue (no, not a tongue ring). His conversations with Galadriel seemed to have pierced her heart, in a good way. Also, Gimli is similar to gimbals, which is a device used on axes, the weapon of choice for Gimli and the dwarves. Also, gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but I don't know what it means or if it fits in.

Here's one, Pippin. 'Pip' can mean the small seed of a fruit. So, Pippin in a way was like a seed in the Shire, but along the journey he grew up and came back strong (not just in a physical sense) and tall, like the seed will grow into a tall strong tree. Also, 'pip' can mean to hatch out of an egg. So, kind of like the first analogy, Pippin hatched out of his eggshell of ignorance, innocence, and immaturity into a life of maturity, knowledge, etc. You get the picture. Pippin also means the seed of a fruit. And slang for pippin is, 'an admired person or thing.' 'Pippin' and 'pip' are similar to pep and pepper. This could indicate the immaturity of Pippin and show his energetic childish qualities.

And Pippin was the son of Paladin. A paladin being a champion (sort of like a knight). And Pippin sort of became a Paladin on his journey.

Quote:
This has to do with the more recent (some 50 years after LOTR was written) feminist spelling of 'women' as 'wymyn'.
Do you think it's possible that this term spawned from Tolkien?

[ February 27, 2003: Message edited by: MLD-Grounds-Keeper-Willie ]
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Old 02-27-2003, 02:34 AM   #13
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Interesting discussion indeed! I would just like to add one thing concerning the names like Eomer, Eowyn and like. éo- was a very common prefix in Rohan and for obvious reasons: its meaning in old english is 'horse'.
And what about Gimli then?
Quote:
'its meaning seems to have been "fire"' (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No 297, dated 1967).
The meanings you have given to his name sound better to me though. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ February 27, 2003: Message edited by: Annunfuiniel ]
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Old 02-27-2003, 08:36 AM   #14
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Actually Tolkien has a lot to say concerning character names, in the "Translations" section in the back of RotK. Tolkien says that in "Hobbitish" Merry was actually named Kalimac:

Quote:
Meriadoc was chosen to fit the fact that this character's shortened name. Kali, meant in the Westron 'jolly, gay', though it was actually an abbreviation of the now unmeaning Buckland name Kalimac.
Likewise, Sam and his father had names that were similarly changed to give them a certain meaning to the reader:

Quote:
But Sam and his father Ham were really called Ban and Ran. These were shortenings of Banazîr and Ranugad, originally nicknames, meaning 'half-wise, simple' and 'stay-at-home', but being words that had fallen out of colloquial use they remained as traditional names in certain families. I have therefore tried to preserve these features by using Samwise and Hamfast, modernizations of ancient English samwís and hámfæst which corresponded closely in meaning.
Personally, I find this "Translation" section to be fascinating. While it's still clearly a fictional account, it does give some insight on names that were purposely chosen to be close to words or styles of words that the reader might be familiar with.
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Old 02-27-2003, 11:37 AM   #15
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Rina:
Quote:
That is really interesting about the Eldar/El-bar. And that explains the rather cryptic story in Genesis -- they were elves of course!
Well, it's not really quite that simple. One must deal with the question, "is there any real correlation between a Hebrew word-pair and a Germanic word? Is there any proof that the primordial Germanic word came from a Hebrew word? I suppose that depends on the linguistic prevalence of "El" as being equated with 'godhood'; I don't know the answer to that one.

Just as interesting to me is the similarity between "Deus" and "Zeus", but that's only tenuously related to the topic of this thread, I suppose.
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Old 02-27-2003, 11:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Also, gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but I don't know what it means or if it fits in.
Did Tolkien know Hebrew? If he did...well, I can't find anything symbolic about the letter gimel, though it is rather strange/funny, that if Gimli were translated into Hebrew, it would probably sound more like "Gimeli" than like "Gimli".
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Old 02-28-2003, 01:20 AM   #17
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Actually, I think the word gimel means camel, and dwarves, like camels could travel long distances carrying heavy burdens.
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Old 02-28-2003, 05:12 AM   #18
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Here are some interesting names to consider, not only their meanings according to the languages of Tolkien, but their English connotations:

Elrond

Glorfindel

Galadriel

What do they mean? And what do they connote, do you think?
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Old 02-28-2003, 08:15 AM   #19
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In looking at those names, I wonder, what came first, the names or the language? Obviously if you're looking for meaning in the Elvish names, the first thing I'd want to know is whether he made up the names first, then derived the rest of the language afterward, or whether the names originally came from the language.

Does anyone know?
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Old 02-28-2003, 10:48 AM   #20
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Tolkien

To me, all the elvish names are very rolling, and liquid, which makes them seem melodic, as opposed to be angular and prosy.

Elrond especially demonstrates this as it has the two liguid sounds back to back, l and r. I'm not sure what his name connotes to me.

Glorfindel and Galadriel both begin with a G sound. There is a linguistic term which I believe is called phonostheme, which means that sounds can have a theme or their own particular connotations. In English, some sounds with GL often connote light or brightness. For example, glisten, glitter, glimmer, glow, etc. It seems that a good many elven names begin with G and this may be why, because elves are thought of as bright. Also, in elvish, I believe the stem "Galad" means light.

Glorfindel contains the stem "glor," which to me not only connotes light, but is similar to the word glory. Perhaps Glorfindel is one who finds glory.

Galadriel reminds me of the word glad, which seems contradictory to me. Galadriel is wise and powerful, but I don't see her as being truly glad.
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Old 02-28-2003, 08:42 PM   #21
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Phrim: All the reports are that Tolkien created the language and then wrote the history to figure out how they came to be. Which means the phonemes (word-pieces) were there before the characters and their names.

Rina: A very enlightening post! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Galadriel seems to have 'lady' in it, too.

El-rond = star-roof. Weird.
Galadriel = ?
Glorfindel = ?____-hair-star

That's using the glossary in back of the Sil. I don't know my elvish well enough to do much good. I guess connotations will have to do.

But I do see the "glory" in Glorfindel. Elrond feels like 'rock' to me, somehow. Aglarond? Nargothrond? A fortress?

Now for my pet peeve - Tolkien's worst name: Legolas. Leg 'o lamb. An elf with a lass's leg? See what I mean? erk [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 02-28-2003, 08:58 PM   #22
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And as for the ego in Legolas - perhaps the product of too many fan-gurls? [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 06-17-2003, 01:30 PM   #23
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In elvish, Elrond is elf-dome, Galadriel is Light-lady (i think) and Glorfindel is... er... Im not wholly sure. Glor means gold, and fin means hair. Maybe the golden haired?
By the way, this is with my limited knowledge of elvish and should not be trusted. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Anyway, Ive noticed Galad (light) is like Galadh (tree). Many it was intentional? As in, Galadriel, Galadhriel?
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Old 06-17-2003, 02:54 PM   #24
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Interesting topic! Why am I always late for these things? Anyway...

Quote:
Now for my pet peeve - Tolkien's worst name: Legolas. Leg 'o lamb. An elf with a lass's leg? See what I mean? erk
I think somewhere Tolkien said that Legolas's name is the dialect form of the two words "Laeg" and "[g]olas" or something like that. When I've looked at this name, I mess around with the pronunciation. For example, pronouncing the "Le" as "Lee." (Which just makes me laugh.) Then when I found "laeg" as being the actual root, I thought of something else:

First of all, rearrange ae into ea. Then take away the g and put an f in it's place. You have the word "leaf" now (while still having it bear a resemblance to "laeg"), which is also an element in the English translation of Legolas's name.

Second, I discovered that ae is supposed to be pronounced as a long "i" (kind of) in Tolkien's words. I have no idea if this applies everywhere, but when I put it in the pronounciation I ended up with "Lie"-golas. Then, playing around the dialect Tolkien wrote of, it became "Le"-golas again. Realizing on which syllable I was placing the emphasis, it sounded less like "leg o'lamb" and more like "L(ay)gol-la(z)."
I have no idea where this idea is going, maybe someone else can pick up where I left off.

The third thing I came up with after breaking it down were other Sindarin words with "ae" or preferably "aeg" in them OR with "las" or "olas" in them. Here's what I found:
maeg-"sharp; piercing" Looking at it this way- possibly a reference to eyesight? This is also seen in the eyesight of the other Legolas in Gondolin(?).
dae- "shadow" I almost eliminated this one because of the "d."
falas- "shore, line of surf" Possibly a reference to Legolas's future love for the sea?
gaer- "sea" If not for the meaning, I would have eliminated this one. But when I found the previous "falas", I changed my mind.
lad- "plain, valley" Similar to "las," but no reference I could thing of except for the matching syllable of "Imladris."
ras- "horn" Also similar to "as," but again no reference other than the match in "Caradhras."

That's all I found, maybe someone else has ideas.

Or maybe the joke's on us this time. Maybe Toklien created a name with little to other linguistic meaning than his own translation for his own amusement.

Or, maybe my Bawston [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] accent is getting n the way of proper pronunciation of...everything.
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:48 AM   #25
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"theod" means "people" in Rohirric, so the name "Theoden" actually means something like "People-King" or "Chieftain". That and the prefix "Eo-" is a very common thing in Rohirric names.

I also think that in the case of Elrond, his name provided a lot of insight into his character. In the most recent "version" of Quenya, "rond" or "rondo" means "cave." Elrond's name could mean something like "Starry Cave" or "Star Cave." I always imagined Elrond's eyes as caves of wisdom and the color of stars.

Galadriel's name doesn't quite mean "Light-lady." In fact, it is the Sindarin equivalent of Quenya Altariel, Telerin Alatariel, and Primitive Elvish Nalatarigelle. It means "Maiden Crowned with a Bright Garland." It quite obviously refers to her hair. In her youth in Aman, Galadriel was a bit of a tomboy. For races and competitions like that, she bound up her hair in a kind of crown about her head, which was where she got her "nickname." The prevalent theme of light where she is concerned also refers to her status as the last Great One in Middle-earth. She was the last, and greatest, of the Elves who had come from Aman, and it is said that in their faces, the light of the Two Trees was still present.

Glorfindel's name, which means "Golden Haired One" also could have a long history. In Quenya, his name is Laurefindil, which can also mean "Golden-Hair-Servant." Subscribing to the theory that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Imladris were one and the same, Glorfindel could have indeed served one of "Golden-Hair," Idril. She is always described as having golden hair, and I can imagine that Glorfindel was a close friend of hers, or at least a sort of self-appointed guardian of her and her family.
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Old 06-18-2003, 02:53 PM   #26
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Legolas is sindarin for Grenleaf. But you want linguistic puns, right? hm...
Well, this isnt quite an intended pun, but have you seen the LotR lego sets? LEGOlas? I laughed when i saw them, but that was definitely unintended.
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Old 06-18-2003, 03:53 PM   #27
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Rina Said:
Quote:
Also, Gimli's name is similar to gimlet, which is apparently a small tool for carving, yet is also used to mean piercing.
We all get wiser, thanks - I always thought that a gimlet was just a bloody good drink ;o)

[ June 18, 2003: Message edited by: Telchar ]
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:20 PM   #28
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I've always wondered about a possible connection between the Norse troublemaker, Loki (who was associated with fire, I believe), and the Uruloki, the firebreathing pests of Middle-Earth.
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:27 PM   #29
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Good point, Sophia! I had never thought of Loki and the Uruloki...

On a side note- if you pronounce Glaurung as "Gl-OW-rung," it sounds an awful lot like "glowering." Do dragons (or very large worms) glower? Or, rather, can they glower?
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:55 PM   #30
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Here is a thought. I read somewhere that a gimlet was a tool for boreing holes into pieces of wood. Is Tolkien implying that Gimli was very boring, and bored holes into peoples heads (metaphorically of course).

Lol, probably not.
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Old 06-19-2003, 02:33 PM   #31
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Here is something interesting about the origin of the names of Elrond and Elros which I found in letter 211 :
Quote:
"*rondo was a primitive Elvish word for "cavern" (Cf Nargothrond, Aglarond etc) *rosse meant "dew, spray" (of fall or fountain).
Elrond and Elros, children of Eärendil(Sea-lover) and Elwing (Elf-foam), were so called, because they were carried off by the sons of Fëanor.(...) The infants were not slain, but left like "babes in the wood", in a cave with a fall of water over the entrance. There they were found: Elrond within the cave, and Elros dabbling in the water."
so they weren't named so by their parents!

And here something about Frodo and Pippin,from letter 168:
Quote:
Peregrin is, of course, a real modern name, though it means "traveller in strange countries".
Frodo is a real name from the Germanic tradition. Its Old English form was Fróda. Its obvious connexion is with the old word "fród" meaning etymologically "wise by experience", but it had mythological connexions with legends of the Golden Age in the North..."
And here is what Tolkien wrote about Gimli's name (letter 297)
Quote:
As stated in the Appendices the "outer" public names of the northern Dwarves were derived from the language of men in the far north NOT from the variety represented by AngloSaxon, and in consequence are given Scandinavian shape.(...) A-S will have nothing to say about GIMLI. Actually the poetic word "gim" in archaic Old Norse verse is probably not related to "gimm"(an early loan from latin "gemma") though possibly it was later associated with it: its meaning seems to have been "fire".
Nearly every name has a meaning, but for us who are not Philologists its easy to draw wrong deductions!

[ June 19, 2003: Message edited by: Guinevere ]
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Old 06-19-2003, 06:20 PM   #32
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Actually, I'm surprised that the whole Elrond/Elros discovery slipped my mind. That did indeed play a great part in their naming. I think that Elros's name can also be taken a little deeper. His name means "Star-foam." Waves have foam don't they? Elros became the King of the Mariner-Kingdom, Numenor. Perhaps Tolkien wanted to "prepare" him for his later role.
Another reason why both Elrond and Elros' names start with "El-" is that, considering the theory that it was Earendil himself who named them before leaving on the Quest of Eldamar (as I like to call it), and wanted to keep their names close to that of their mother, Elwing. He also probably wanted to keep their names close to those of Elwing's lost brothers, Elured and Elurin, and of Elu Thingol, the King of the Sindar. After all, the little twins had quite a lineage.
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Old 06-21-2003, 09:15 PM   #33
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Galadriel I always thought meant "tree-lady" because the "-iel" part means lady and the Galadrim were tree people. But that is not based on fact - just an assumption.

Also - I don't know if this is the right thread for this, but some puns that I noticed in the book were

1) Faramir is guessing to Frodo about an heirloom, and Frodo tells him he is near the mark, but not in the GOLD!

2) Sam's "the sooner I stop talking the sooner I drop off" speech - those always amused me a lot, and I find more puns as I read the books!
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Old 06-22-2003, 01:02 AM   #34
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Yes, you can certainly haev some fun with names as a linguist. Of course he ahs used his knowledge in nordic languages. Look at the map at southwest Gondor. There you will find adn area with the name 'Langstrand' which in Swedish (the fair lagnuage [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]), Danish and Norwegian means: Long beach or shore. There is, of course more examples liek this. Isengard is one example. ISen is both the river, but also the word for ice in definite form, gard means anything from a farm to a house in the countyrside. Moreover, the word Took is very similar to the word "tok" which indicates a person that is a little nuts! You could certainly say that about teh Tooks, as they are described in the Hobbit, and the Tookish partof the Baggins's minds is a little nuts too.

The thing that to me represents the linguistic beauty in anything is the order of words. You can use the same words as in a beautiful texts in anotehr terxt, that's the point of them, yet you cannot guarantee that the beauty is maintained. The position fo commas and order of the words adn "satser" (grammatical parts of a sentence). This is what he is best at and what you can see has been lost a little in Silmarillion from HoME and LoTR.

My humble opinion.
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:40 AM   #35
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Actually Sam, her name "Galadriel" means "Maiden Crowned With a Bright Garland." The name that you are thinking of is "Galadhriel" ("Tree-maiden") to which her name was sometimes altered. Also, her people are called the Galadhrim "Tree-People," not Galadrim, which would mean "Light-people." That seems to describe the Vanyar better.
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Old 06-23-2003, 04:34 PM   #36
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I think there are two sides to Tolkien's liguistic riddles and name meanings.

First of all, the meaning of the name in the 'invented' languages of Middle Earth, which I'd imagine those into learning Sindarin etc. could clarify.

Secondly, and more mysteriously, is the question of why Tolkien chose the words he did for his invented languages. I feel that they tend to convey some meaning on (what is for us poor non-philologists) a subconcious level. Sindarin, especially, often has words which seem to convey a meaning before you find out what their Tolkien definition is, perhaps this is due to its partial derivation from Welsh, (for me anyway!). I think that one of Tolkien's greatest skills was to invent names and words which sound 'right', I'm sure that many of us have read lesser works of fantasy or sci-fi where the names seem faintly ridiculous, or have tried to write RPG scenarios which suffer from the same problem.
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:19 PM   #37
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ok here we go

Galadriel "Galad" this comes from the root "cal" or "gal" it means "shine" With Galadriel her name was often corrupted to "Galadhriel" but these two words have NO connection between Galad and galadh meaning "tree". in Quenya, Galadriel is Alatariel. Alata meaning 'radiance' and riel "garlanded maiden". Loose translation, "madien crowned with a radiant garland" a reference to her hair.

Glorfindel. Glor is Sindarin(I believe) foe gold or golden. Fin or findel is hair. Glor-findel "golden haired"

Now, wierdly enough, thre's a strange story behing the name of Elrond. According to elvish lore ele was the primitive word "behold" used when the elves first saw the stars. Thusly 'el' or "elen" is Quenya for star (gil being Sindarin). Also according to lore "Eldar" means "People of the stars' and was givien to them by Orome. This word described all kindreds. the Sindarin for elf was Edhil or Edhel. Now, I learned that El-wing meant "star spray" from the starlight that shone throught the waterfall on the night she was born. "El" could mean "Elf' in Sindarin and "star" in Quenya "Rond is essentially the same in either tongue, a vaulted or arched roof wich could b applied to the dome of the sky. "El-rond" Elf of the cave as called by Gil-Galad and Cirdan. Or perhapes the starry dome of the heavens?
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:13 PM   #38
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Interesting discussion! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

When I first read LotR, the only way I remembered Legolas' name was because I thought of 'LEGOlas'. Now I think of 'Legless'. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

To be technically correct, the Old English word for 'Horse' is 'eoh', not 'eo' but any way. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Eorl, the ancester of the Rohan people, is the old english word for 'noble'.

And there is more stuff I found out about Pippin's names. 'Pippin' is a word of old slang meaning 'a person or thing much admired'. Peregrine is a word that can mean alian or strange (or as I believe they put in the Thesaurus,'weird one'), exotic, traveler or pilgrim. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

~M
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Old 06-30-2003, 04:35 PM   #39
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Also, and I think this is probably what was meant by pippin, Pip is an apple seed and "pippin" is an apple - so he is small. That is a more british thing though, I believe.


Also, I think with the name Frodo meaning anything, after reading some of The History of Middle earth, I don't think the hobbit names have significance. The original Frodo was Bingo Bolger-Baggins (for a LONG time too) and Frodo was another character - a cross between Sam and Pippin, really.
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:27 PM   #40
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One of the Rohan names I find interesting is Hama, which means home in Old English. Hama was the man in charge of screening guests to the Golden Hall, and was, in a sense, helping with the home.
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