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12/14/2007

TGIF and payday, at that!!

Yes - today is Friday and it's the day that the eagle shits!!! I've made it to yet another payday without going completely broke.

Last night my lovely Annie told me about hearing a mother and daughter conversing in a language she didn't understand, but which struck her as being the most beautiful language she had ever heard spoken. She asked the mother what language it was she and her daughter were speaking, and the mother replied "Finnish." This woman has several children and, though they live, permanently, here in the U.S., she speaks Finnish to them and they to her. She wants them to be multi-lingual, as is the custom in her homeland. But Annie kept going back to her impression of the beauty of Finnish as it is spoken.

I told you all that to tell you this.

When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote "The Lord of the Rings", he developed languages for the various races of peoples in the books. That is, after all, what Tolkien was really all about - language. He was a Philologist, and as such, his life was spent studying languages and their origins. Many people have remarked how how beautiful and lyrical sounding the language of the Elves is, in "The Lord of the Rings". What many people don't know is that Tolkien used Finnish as the basis for Elvish. Tolkien had taught himself Finnish in order to learn an ancient Finnish epic poem which essentially is an oral history of the Finnish people. His knowledge of Finnish, and Old English, and Norse, and Old Slavic, informs all of his work in the languages he developed for his books. So the next time you pick up a copy of "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings" or "The Silmarillion", to read, do so knowing that there is a depth and richness underlying the words on the paper that isn't obvious until you know that all of those funny looking, strange sounding words that he uses throughout the books have actual history and meaning to them. And therein lies the real source of the strange, magnetic power that these books hold over those that read them.

I just thought you might like to know all that.

1 comments:

Hyphen Mama said...

I'm just going back reading some of your posts and didn't want to go on without expressing how much I enjoyed this one.