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Old 07-25-2013, 01:41 PM   #2
Shade of Carn Dûm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I don’t unfortunately find Sprague de Camp’s ideas at all unusual. Crank ideas about Tolkien’s languages and relations to things in the real world are unfortunately very common. It is so easy for a reader to assume that because he or she sees a connection, that there is a connection.

One of my first memories of a Tolkien commentary was in a fanzine where the letter-writer was explaining that Tolkien had many hidden references to his own friends in The Lord of the Rings, notably that Elessar referred to friend of Tolkien’s whose initials were L.S.R. However no-one has ever identified such a friend. It is obvious that someone has noticed that Elessar could stand for the initials L.S.R. and has just assumed that they did.

Similarly a relationship between Sauron and the Greek word saur ‘lizard’, while later denied by Tolkien, goes back at least as far as Edmund Wilson’s horrible review “Oo, Those Awful Orcs” ( ), originally published in 1956:
… possessed of a Ring that Sauron, the King of the Enemy, wants (that learned reptilian suggestion—doesn’t it give you a goosefleshy feeling?).
Wilson uses a bogus connection between Sauron and saur unrelated to anything in the book as an excuse of sneer at the Tolkien reader. Wilson also explains on the name Hobbit that: “(The name seems a telescoping of rabbit and Hobbs.)” Maybe, but this suggestion is not more likely than many other inventions that Wilson might have come up with. Tolkien himself seems not to know what Hobbit meant. In letter 319. He writes:
Also that the only E. word that influenced the invention was ‘hole’; that granted the description of hobbits, the trolls’ use of rabbit was merely an obvious insult, of no more etymological significance than Thorin’s insult to Bilbo ‘descendant of rats!’
As to a possible relation between Old English orcnēas and Latin Orcus, that goes back at least as far as Frederick Klaeber’s Beowulf and The fight at Finnsburg, originally published in 1922. See under orc-nēas at . The information appeared in many subsequent Old English dictionaries. Tolkien would almost certainly have known it by 1967.
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