Intriguing Hyphens

I nourish ideas about the different people Bilbo encountered in Middle Earth and the different languages those people spoke (although they may all have spoken Bilbo’s own language to him during the adventure there and back again).  I’ve mentioned a few times already that Tolkien uses a goodly number of hyphenated words which are not hyphenated in the OED (snow-peak, egg-question, check the Concordance for all 608 of them). Either they are separate words that he’s joined or compound words that he has separated.  He even had made compound words of ones which the OED says are separate words or hyphenated!  I thought of searching for these words to see if they show a particular region of Middle Earth which speaks a language that flexibly mooshes words together to express meaning more specifically.  Would the right word for that be agglutinative?

Well, it’s easy enough to search on hyphens (fear not, I took out the dashes).  I’m just going to leave this graph here for folks to nibble with their second breakfast.

Hyphenated Graph

I’m not sure what to make of it yet; my first approximation is that Westron, Bilbo’s native language, is the agglutinative one and that Mirkwood and the effects of dragon-sickness were both so depressing as to shock Bilbo out of his usual speech patterns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s