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Namárië, JRRT

Posted on Thursday, September 2, 2010 in Books, Conlangers

JRR Tolkien

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1973 of JRR Tolkien, arguably the Shakespeare of constructed languages. Although my personal penchant for playing with language (okay, that’s more than a sufficient amount of alliteration) dates back even to Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra in elementary school, Tolkien was a HUGE influence on my early conlanging efforts and beyond. My personal constructed world owes a lot (in its early incarnations) to Middle-earth. I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, but I think my favorite parts were the Appendices. It was the background that Tolkien felt compelled to create that really sparked my imagination and set me down the path of language creation.

Furthermore, “A Secret Vice” is still instructive and remains a pivotal, eloquent document in the line of apologetics for our craft which has continued with David J. Peterson’s The Conlang Manifesto and Boudewijn Rempt’s Apologia pro Imaginatione to name only two.

So, thank you, Professor Tolkien, for your inspiration.

Nan úye sére indo-ninya símen, ullume; ten sí ye tyelma, yéva tyel ar i narqelion, íre ilqa yéva nótina… (from Firiel’s Song)

(Note: The photo at left is one of my most enduring images of JRRT. It was the one on the back cover of the first edition of The Lord of the Rings that I ever bought.)

Bring on the comments

  1. Esploranto says:

    I completely agree with you. I also think Tolkien was a major influence for all of us conlangers out there, I even remember how much “A Secret Vice” affected me when I read it all those years ago. Not only that, but I think most conlangers of our generation and also most artistic conlangers in general will agree that Tolkien’s work was a fundamental cornerstone of our craft.

    Everyone who has experienced the joy of savoring languages will agree his work was of great impact.

    For all this I salute the professor on this day

    A laita tárienna! Andave laituvalmes!

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