A thank-you to Tom Shippey!
- 1.117 even a Hero.
- 1.117 and in this neighbourhood heroes are scarce,
- 3.032 and heroes of the North for ancestors,
- 12.006 dwarves are not heroes,
- 18.002 ‘At any rate I am not yet one of the fallen heroes;
A thank-you to Tom Shippey!
Friends, I’m excited to be speaking tomorrow afternoon at the Tolkien in Vermont conference at the University of Vermont. Will you be joining me?
Here are the slides I’ll be using, for those of you who want to sing along (or refer back to them after joining me for a lovely day in Burlington). I’ve posted my Works Cited for you as well.
Good morning, Word Fans!
It will be my pleasure to talk about hyphens at the Tolkien in Vermont conference in early April with fellow scholars – perhaps I’ll see you there? Folks can find my references right here for their convenience. The slides are posted here as well.
Alden, L. F. S. “A Tolkien Concordance”. Words That You Were Saying: An adventure through the words of The Hobbit. WordPress, 2015. https://wordsthatyouweresaying.blog/concordance/
Alden, L. F. S. “Hyphen Mini-Concordance”. Words That You Were Saying: An adventure through the words of The Hobbit. WordPress, 2017. https://wordsthatyouweresaying.blog/2017/05/13/hyphen-mini-concordance/
Alden, L. F. S. “Uncommon Words Revealing Adventures in Mirkwood” Words That You Were Saying: An adventure through the words of The Hobbit. WordPress, 2015. https://wordsthatyouweresaying.blog/2015/06/14/uncommon-words-revealing-adventures-in-mirkwood/
Burroughs, F. G., Jr. Old English. Bowdoin College. Autumn, 1984. Lecture.
Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass. Project Gutenberg, 2016. E-book.
Drout, Michael. “Germanic languages allow compounding…” Michael Drout: Timeline. Facebook, September 19, 2017. Informal post with disclaimer.
Flieger, Verlyn (2002-01-28). Splintered Light: Tolkien’s World, Revised Edition (Kindle Locations 931-940). Kent State University Press. Kindle Edition.
GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program. Open source software. Web. https://www.gimp.org/
LeBlanc, M.D., Drout, M., Kahn, M., Kleinman, S. Lexomics Tools. Wheaton College, 2013. Web. http://lexos.wheatoncollege.edu/
OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015, http://www.oed.com. Various dates 2015-2017.
Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
Parsons, Catriona NicIomhar. Gàidhlig Immersion Week. Colaisde na Gàidhlig. August, 1996. Lecture.
Tolkien, J. R. R. A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages, edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins. HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Tolkien, J. R. R. “On Faerie Stories.” The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine Books, 1966 (first Printing). Print.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Annotated Hobbit. Revised and expanded edition annotated by Douglas A. Anderson. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston. Print.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit: or There and Back Again. The Children’s Book Club.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Edited by Humphrey Carpenter. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
Just for the record, Word Fans, the map for the hyphenated food words closely follows the graph of all the food words:
Do you see that tiny little red dot at the very end? “Tobacco-jar”.
The food graph, if you recall, also indicates a dearth of food in Chapter 6 and plenty of crockery at the end of Chapter 1 – as well as plain eggs and ham in Chapter 1 for the dwarves and plain food (mostly flagons, jugs, and casks) for the elven feast:
Would you like a little menu of Hobbit-specialty food words?
I’ve spent a good deal of yesterday and today assigning functions to the 407 hyphenated words. I’ve also beaten myself up a bit for not preserving the inflected forms of the words on my spreadsheet and went back to re-capture that information. Then there was that little capitalization inconsistency problem. I know, I could have asked Tech Support to make the script I was using case-insensitive, but I hate to bother them too many times per week. On the Big Plus side, I discovered ConvertCase.net for all your Latin alphabet capitalization needs!
Sorry, I’m nattering.
In the course of labeling the functions of words, I found a big old whack of natural landscape descriptions, “bee-pastures”, “fir-trees”, and similar. Let’s look at the graph!
Do you like it? Descriptions in early Chapter 2, as Bilbo is leaving his home territory; very few descriptions in the dark of the goblins’ and Gollum’s caverns until the side-passages and similar formations on Bilbo’s way out; a steep peak for the “pine-needles”, “forest-gloom”, “forest-silence”, and “sea-sighing”, all of paragraph 6.045, as we leapt out of the “frying-pan”.
Landscape words taper off as we see Bilbo at a loss for words to describe Mirkwood, then suddenly, Smaug discovers the theft of the cup! We take the dragon’s perspective as he shakes the mountain-roots, exits the mountain-palace, settles on the mountain-top, licks the mountain-sides with flame, and leaves rock-shadows dancing in paragraphs [12.021] through [12.032]. Finally, during the battle-scenes of Chapter 17, there is no looking about at the landscape: that pleasure can only resume in Chapter 18, The Return Journey.
Good morning, Word Fans. I hope it doesn’t intrude on your peace over the next three days, but the blog is going into overdrive to fulfill its other primary role as my lab notebook. Please practice good self-care: if you need to, unsubscribe until Sunday afternoon, when things should return to normal.
Just over half of the hyphenated words in The Hobbit are perfectly ordinary English words, per the OED. Some of them may have no hyphen in the preferred spelling, some may have a space instead of a hyphen between the elements, but the hyphenated forms are found at least in the example sentences of the OED.
The other part of the hyphenated words have received the JRRT tag. Of these, some are given by OED specifically as creations of Tolkien, such as “elf-king“! Others are credited to Tolkien for introducing the hyphenated form, for example “riddle-game”. Some, like “raven-messenger” are in the OED just so, but Tolkien has used them with a completely new meaning, earning the tag. The majority, including Middle-earth specific names like “Foe-Hammer” as well but many more plain words such as “thunder-battle” are simply not found in OED at all.
In what pattern did Tolkien use these inventions? Is there anything to be discerned from the map of them?
Fascinating. OK, I’m going to compare it to yesterday’s graph of all hyphenated words:
As the Tolkien Professor would say, “What do we see?” Here’s a clue we can use to compare the charts: Lexos makes the chart fit the space, even if the height of the red line is on a different scale from chart to chart. Since the JRRT words number just under half of the total hyphenated words, know that the scale is doubled. In other words, the “pretty full in the beginning of chapter five” appearance of the red line on the first, JRRT, graph would be equal to “filling up just about half of the available height” on the second, All Hyphens graph.
I finally feel like it’s OK to brag a little. Brenton Dickieson, Tolkien scholar and lecturing professor at Signum University, has called this project “one of the nerdiest Tolkien projects I know about.” I’m just over the moon with this compliment – Dickieson would know from nerdy. His delicious blog, A Pilgrim in Narnia, has a new post about C. S. Lewis, Inklings, fantasy, and other treats at least weekly.