Linguistic archaisms

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Aug 29, 2011, 2:11:32 PM8/29/11
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I was recently re-reading 'The Lord of the Rings', Appendix A, part v
(the tale of Aragorn and Arwen), in a not very subtle attempt to try
and solve a recent 20 Questions poser, and I came across a linguistic
archaism I hadn't noticed before.

It was Arwen's use of the phrase "Whether I will or I nill" when
speaking to Aragorn on his deathbed, and I noticed that "nill" is
spelt with a double 'l', when I think I had previously assumed it was
spelt 'nil' (with one 'l'). I'd always (correctly) assumed that the
meaning of the phrase was "whether I will or not". I then went and
looked this up this word with the slightly different spelling to what
I had previously (and obviously incorrectly) remembered, and found
that 'nill' is a completely different and archaic word:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nill

nill
v. nilled, nill·ing, nills Obsolete
v.tr.
Not to will; not to wish.
v.intr.
To be unwilling; will not.

Middle English nilen, from Old English nyllan : ne, not; see ne in
Indo-European roots + willan, to desire; see wel-1 in Indo-European
roots

Wiktionary has a couple of interesting examples from Spenser and
Malory:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nill

(you have to click the quotations links to see the examples)

Some more on the etymology at the online etymology dictionary:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=nill

Which mentions "willy-nilly", which is still a common phrase today.

I've read that passage loads of times and I've only just noticed that
word 'nill' now. Did anyone else completely miss that when reading
that passage previously, or was it just me? I'm wondering how many
archaisms just slip past the reader without them realising? My
favourites are words such as weregild and glede, but there are many
others as well.

Christopher

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 29, 2011, 5:23:13 PM8/29/11
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In message
<16eb5f8c-d135-472e...@t29g2000vby.googlegroups.com>
Christopher Kreuzer <chrisk...@hotmail.com> spoke these staves:
>

<bigsnip>

> I've read that passage loads of times and I've only just noticed
> that word 'nill' now. Did anyone else completely miss that when
> reading that passage previously, or was it just me?

I think I must have, because I had this sense of 'I know that' when
you quoted the dictionary ;-)

Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to _will_
rather than the complement (the difference being that the latter
includes indifference, while the former does not). The dictionary
definitions that you cite seem rather to favour the complementary
(not to will) (the difference that I am trying to describe here is
rather like the difference between normal darkness and Ungoliant's
Unlight, which was not the mere absense of light, but rather the
antithesis to light).

It may, of course, depend on whether the word is used transitively or
intransitively.

> I'm wondering how many archaisms just slip past the reader without
> them realising?

I remember that the description of the Pelennor Fields slips quite a
lot of words by the reader that I, at some reading within the last
few years, suddenly realized that I had no idea of the specific
meanings of (mostly words for various farm outhouses etc.)

> My favourites are words such as weregild and glede, but there are
> many others as well.

These are good ;-)

Kine is also one of favourites, but I think my favourite passage is
still Ulmo's speech to Tuor in UT -- the archaisms there lend the
whole thing a gravity that is absolutely beautiful (to my eyes, of
course).

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

Ash nazg durbatuluk,
ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatuluk
agh burzum ishi krimpatul.
- /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Aug 29, 2011, 8:02:19 PM8/29/11
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On Aug 29, 10:23 pm, Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>
wrote:

> Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to _will_
> rather than the complement (the difference being that the latter
> includes indifference, while the former does not).  The dictionary
> definitions that you cite seem rather to favour the complementary
> (not to will) (the difference that I am trying to describe here is
> rather like the difference between normal darkness and Ungoliant's
> Unlight, which was not the mere absense of light, but rather the
> antithesis to light).  

I think there is a distinction that should be drawn, like you say, but
I'm not quite sure what it is.

> It may, of course, depend on whether the word is used transitively or
> intransitively.

Probably.

> > I'm wondering how many archaisms just slip past the reader without
> > them realising?
>
> I remember that the description of the Pelennor Fields slips quite a
> lot of words by the reader that I, at some reading within the last
> few years, suddenly realized that I had no idea of the specific
> meanings of (mostly words for various farm outhouses etc.)

I've had a quick look. Is this in the Minas Tirith chapter when
Beregond and Pippin see the wains (another archaic word) leaving for
the refuges in the hills? I see words there like byre and farmstead,
which are not really archaic. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong passage?

> > My favourites are words such as weregild and glede, but there are
> > many others as well.
>
> These are good ;-)
>
> Kine is also one of favourites, but I think my favourite passage is
> still Ulmo's speech to Tuor in UT -- the archaisms there lend the
> whole thing a gravity that is absolutely beautiful (to my eyes, of
> course).

You said that deliberately to get me to find my copy of Unfinished
Tales, didn't you? :-) Well, I've got TH, LotR, and Letters out now.
Might as well dive back in and find UT, and Biography and The
Silmarillion, and Mr Bliss. That last one is vital, of course.

I think it is more the archaic language you are referring to (thou,
hast, thee, art, shouldst, wilt, hath), but there are archaic words as
well, such as 'lappet'. Not a clue what that means, though I probably
looked it up at one point, and from the context the reader can think
of it as a cloak (for Ulmo, it is a lappet; for Tuor, a cloak -
probably emphasises the difference in sizes). OK, I looked it up: "A
decorative flap or loose fold on a garment or headdress". So yeah, for
Ulmo it is something small, for Tuor it is a big cloak he can use to
cover himself with.

And on re-reading that passage, Ulmo does have a nifty line in
vanishing acts. Blow your very loud horn and induce visions of the
world's waters and the distant shores below Mount Taniquetil in those
watching, and then when the note ends, you are gone and they are left
alone in the storm. But skip forward to the end of the (unfinished
tale) and the cloak (Ulmo's lappet) is mentioned again at that point
(and in the footnotes).

Christopher

Steve Morrison

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Aug 29, 2011, 11:44:13 PM8/29/11
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> On Aug 29, 10:23 pm, Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>
(snip)

>> I remember that the description of the Pelennor Fields slips quite a
>> lot of words by the reader that I, at some reading within the last
>> few years, suddenly realized that I had no idea of the specific
>> meanings of (mostly words for various farm outhouses etc.)
>
> I've had a quick look. Is this in the Minas Tirith chapter when
> Beregond and Pippin see the wains (another archaic word) leaving for
> the refuges in the hills? I see words there like byre and farmstead,
> which are not really archaic. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong passage?

After they had followed the wall for some time, the sound of
hurried labor could be heard: beat of hammers, clink of
trowels, and the curses of those who were nearly run down by
carts rushing through the mist. As they had hoped, the workers
had not yet finished their repairs of the great wall, and a
small section remained that was both unwatched and tumbled
down. Slimshade climbed over the piles of rubble, and his
hoofbeats were lost in the sounds of construction. They passed
now into the wide land beyond the Lammas Ichor(TM), where they
saw wide tilth, oasts, garners, folds, byres, a whole mess of
rills, and many other common sights of the countryside
described in obscure, obsolete language. After riding through
the fields for over half an hour, a brisk wind from the river
swept aside the mist, and Pipsqueak beheld the polished walls
and tall spires of Minas Tirith(TM) for the first time.

--Minas Tirith™, transcribed by Steuard Jensen

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3z9sek7

John W Kennedy

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Aug 30, 2011, 6:12:21 PM8/30/11
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On 2011-08-29 21:23:13 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:
> Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to _will_
> rather than the complement (the difference being that the latter
> includes indifference, while the former does not).

"Nill" is simply a contraction for Middle English "ne will", or, in
Modern English, "will not". It is useless to suppose that the
distinction you imply would be observed by any but logicians, and even
they only while on duty.

--
John W Kennedy
"There are those who argue that everything breaks even in this old dump
of a world of ours. I suppose these ginks who argue that way hold that
because the rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets it in
the winter things are breaking even for both. Maybe so, but I'll swear
I can't see it that way."
-- The last words of Bat Masterson

derek

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Aug 31, 2011, 12:32:21 PM8/31/11
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On Aug 30, 7:12 pm, John W Kennedy <jwke...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 2011-08-29 21:23:13 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:
>
> > Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to _will_
> > rather than the complement (the difference being that the latter
> > includes indifference, while the former does not).
>
> "Nill" is simply a contraction for Middle English "ne will", or, in
> Modern English, "will not". It is useless to suppose that the
> distinction you imply would be observed by any but logicians, and even
> they only while on duty.

Logicians are never _off_ duty.

derek

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Aug 31, 2011, 12:42:01 PM8/31/11
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On Aug 29, 3:11 pm, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

> I was recently re-reading 'The Lord of the Rings', Appendix A, part v
> (the tale of Aragorn and Arwen), in a not very subtle attempt to try
> and solve a recent 20 Questions poser, and I came across a linguistic
> archaism I hadn't noticed before.
...

> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=nill
>
> Which mentions "willy-nilly", which is still a common phrase today.
...

> I'm wondering how many
> archaisms just slip past the reader without them realising? My
> favourites are words such as weregild and glede, but there are many
> others as well.

All of them? OK, maybe not quite all because I had to look up "glede"
but honestly, as with "will or nill" or "willy-nilly" (which it seems
I always knew was a contraction of "will he, nill he"), not many of
the "archaisms" are unknown to me. So their use gives an archaic feel
to me, without jarring me out of the narrative with the use of unknown
words.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 31, 2011, 12:47:51 PM8/31/11
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On Tue, 30 Aug 2011 18:12:21 -0400, John W Kennedy
<jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:

>On 2011-08-29 21:23:13 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:
>> Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to _will_
>> rather than the complement (the difference being that the latter
>> includes indifference, while the former does not).
>
>"Nill" is simply a contraction for Middle English "ne will", or, in
>Modern English, "will not". It is useless to suppose that the
>distinction you imply would be observed by any but logicians, and even
>they only while on duty.

In Middle English, is this "will" as in "maybe it will be warm
tomorrow" or "will" as in "it is my will that you do this"?

In other words, what is being negated? A prediction about the future
or a statement of determination? And, if the latter, is it merely a
negation or does in imply a statement of determination that something
not happen?

I grew up considering "willy-nilly" to indicate indifference or going
along with something for no particularly good reason -- but for some
time now, I have been taking it to mean "whether he wants to or not".
--
"I begin to miss Öjevind."
"I have missed him long since."

derek

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Aug 31, 2011, 1:08:26 PM8/31/11
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On Aug 30, 12:44 am, Steve Morrison <rima...@toast.net> wrote:

> where they
>    saw wide tilth, oasts, garners, folds, byres, a whole mess of
>    rills, and many other common sights of the countryside
>    described in obscure, obsolete language.

I'd say that not one of those was obsolete in _every_ part of England
where I've lived, and only "garner" (as a noun, rather than a verb)
seems at all obscure or obsolete to me. "oast" is probably only
obsolete because the buildings hardly exist anymore, not that they
wouldn't still be called oasts if they were there. We have only one
or two malting operations left in all of Canada, and tobacco kilns (my
Dad certainly called them oasts) that used to be found all across
southern Ontario are now practically non-existent.

Julian Bradfield

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Aug 31, 2011, 2:08:45 PM8/31/11
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On 2011-08-31, Paul S Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
[ willy-nilly ]

> In Middle English, is this "will" as in "maybe it will be warm
> tomorrow" or "will" as in "it is my will that you do this"?
>
> In other words, what is being negated? A prediction about the future
> or a statement of determination? And, if the latter, is it merely a
> negation or does in imply a statement of determination that something
> not happen?

A statement of determination. "to do something willy-nilly" is to do
something whether you want to or not. There's little future in
discussing whether it's "not(want to do)" or "want (not to do)",
because to the best of my knowledge English has never routinely
distingished the two. Though in most uses (e.g. "I will not do this
thing!"), it is a strong statement of intent not to do the thing. Same
in everyday language now: "I don't want to go to the pub" is a
positively negative statement, unless modified by intonation and/or a
follow-on: "I don't *want* to go the pub, but I don't mind if we do."

> I grew up considering "willy-nilly" to indicate indifference or going
> along with something for no particularly good reason -- but for some
> time now, I have been taking it to mean "whether he wants to or not".

The "undecided, shilly-shally" meaning is assertively described by the
(original) OED as "erron.".

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 31, 2011, 5:59:11 PM8/31/11
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In message <news:4e5d6045$0$2688$607e...@cv.net>
John W Kennedy <jwk...@attglobal.net> spoke these staves:

>
> On 2011-08-29 21:23:13 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:
>>
>> Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to
>> _will_ rather than the complement (the difference being that the
>> latter includes indifference, while the former does not).
>
> "Nill" is simply a contraction for Middle English "ne will", or,
> in Modern English, "will not".

Actually I think that the difference is tied to the transitive /
intransitive -- at least I would understand it differently whether it
is used in the context of "I will not do it" or "whether I will or will
not" -- the latter usage implies a completeness that includes
indifference, while the former, in my understanding, doesn't imply
indifference.

> It is useless to suppose that the distinction you imply would be
> observed by any but logicians, and even they only while on duty.

Oh, I think it is a quite common distinction to make and that people
observe it all the time in various ways. There is a range of meanings
to e.g. "I just wanted a job", "it is not that I /wanted/ this job" or
"I would not have this job" or even "I would not have that job" -- so
while people might not be able to describe the distinction in terms of
set theory or logic, I think they nonetheless can observe the
distinction by understanding fine nuances to the degree of desire for
something.

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
- /Eric/ (Terry Pratchett)

John W Kennedy

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Aug 31, 2011, 9:43:44 PM8/31/11
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On 2011-08-31 21:59:11 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:

> In message <news:4e5d6045$0$2688$607e...@cv.net>
> John W Kennedy <jwk...@attglobal.net> spoke these staves:
>>
>> On 2011-08-29 21:23:13 +0000, Troels Forchhammer said:
>>>
>>> Except that my understanding is that _nill_ is the opposite to
>>> _will_ rather than the complement (the difference being that the
>>> latter includes indifference, while the former does not).
>>
>> "Nill" is simply a contraction for Middle English "ne will", or,
>> in Modern English, "will not".
>
> Actually I think that the difference is tied to the transitive /
> intransitive -- at least I would understand it differently whether it
> is used in the context of "I will not do it" or "whether I will or will
> not" -- the latter usage implies a completeness that includes
> indifference, while the former, in my understanding, doesn't imply
> indifference.

You're falling into a syntactic trap caused by the peculiar rule of
Modern English, that "not" is used only with auxilliary verbs and,
sometimes, verbs that are not auxilliary in the present sentence, but
are in other sentences. Because of that, "I will not do it" is used in
place of both the clumsy "I do not will to do it" and the archaic "I
will do it not". "I nill do it" corresponds to the first, not the
second.

--
John W Kennedy
"Those in the seat of power oft forget their failings and seek only the
obeisance of others! Thus is bad government born! Hold in your heart
that you and the people are one, human beings all, and good government
shall arise of its own accord! Such is the path of virtue!"
-- Kazuo Koike. "Lone Wolf and Cub: Thirteen Strings" (tr. Dana Lewis)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Aug 31, 2011, 10:00:26 PM8/31/11
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I think part of it is because Tolkien uses the words so well and in
such obvious context, that people realise what they mean. Take for
example the last words of Denethor (ignoring his dying cry) before he
ignites his own pyre:

"'Come hither!' he cried to his servants. 'Come if you are not all
recreant!'"

Given the drama of the moment, I'm not sure many would stop to wonder
what "recreant" means. It clearly means (from the context) something
like "if you are not all disobedient" (or possibly cowardly) and it is
obviously related to the word "miscreant". But it is not a word I am
familiar with. Is it a word that others have encountered before in
other works (Shakespeare, Malory, Spenser)?

And looking it up, it does mean cowardly, not disobedient. Though
Tolkien (or rather, Denethor) was probably using it in the sense of
faithless and disloyal, so it does sort of mean disobedient as well.
Anyway, the online definition I found was this:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/recreant

And one of the etymologies there is:

"Middle English recreaunt, defeated, from Old French recreant, present
participle of recroire, to yield in a trial by combat, surrender
allegiance, from Medieval Latin recredere, to yield, pledge : Latin
re-, re- + Latin credere, to believe; see kerd- in Indo-European
roots"

Given that the linguistic origins is from words meaning "defeated" and
"to surrender" and that one of the definitions explicitly says
"deserting your allegiance or duty to leader or cause or principle",
it is almost certainly no coincidence that Tolkien made this the last
word uttered by Denethor, who is the one that has succumbed utterly to
despair and defeat.

There is also an example of the use of the word by Spenser: "this
recreant knight".

Christopher

Steve Morrison

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Sep 1, 2011, 12:17:39 AM9/1/11
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Given the drama of the moment, I'm not sure many would stop to wonder
> what "recreant" means. It clearly means (from the context) something
> like "if you are not all disobedient" (or possibly cowardly) and it is
> obviously related to the word "miscreant". But it is not a word I am
> familiar with. Is it a word that others have encountered before in
> other works (Shakespeare, Malory, Spenser)?

Shakespeare does use it a number of times. Just type "recreant" into
the search box at http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/ and you'll see.

sean_q

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Sep 1, 2011, 3:35:44 AM9/1/11
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On 8/29/2011 4:02 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> I see words there like byre and farmstead,
> which are not really archaic.

I like this passage a lot; from _Return of the King_:

The townlands were rich,
with wide tilth and many orchards
homesteads there were
with oast and garner, fold and byre

It's as if Tolkien could hardly restrain himself from breaking into
poetry. Compare the last line above to these from "The Lady of Shalott":

Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,

Also compare the bountiful pastoral scene with this one from
John Greenleaf Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie":

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde

SQ

Steve Hayes

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Sep 1, 2011, 5:25:42 AM9/1/11
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On Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:35:44 -0800, sean_q <no....@no.spam> wrote:

>On 8/29/2011 4:02 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
>> I see words there like byre and farmstead,
>> which are not really archaic.
>
>I like this passage a lot; from _Return of the King_:
>
> The townlands were rich,
> with wide tilth and many orchards
> homesteads there were
> with oast and garner, fold and byre
>
>It's as if Tolkien could hardly restrain himself from breaking into
>poetry. Compare the last line above to these from "The Lady of Shalott":
>
> Out upon the wharfs they came,
> Knight and burgher, lord and dame,

What? No "wharves"?


Then there's this:

The mountain sheep are sweeter
The valley sheep are fatter
we therefore deemed it meeter
to carry off the latter.

and it goes on to say

As we drove our prize at leisure
The king marched forth to catch us
His rage surpassed all measure
But his people could not match us
He fled to his hall pillars
And ere our force we led off
Some sacked his house and cellars
While others cut his head off.

The introduction to the anthology that this comes from says that these poems
"will appeal to young readers" -- and no doubt inspire them to behave as they
did recently in British streets, though David Cameron, whose rage surpassed
all measure, still has his head.


--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius

Paul S. Person

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Sep 1, 2011, 1:22:02 PM9/1/11
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On Wed, 31 Aug 2011 18:08:45 +0000 (UTC), Julian Bradfield
<j...@inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:

On 2011-08-31, Paul S Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

<snippo>

>> I grew up considering "willy-nilly" to indicate indifference or going
>> along with something for no particularly good reason -- but for some
>> time now, I have been taking it to mean "whether he wants to or not".
>
>The "undecided, shilly-shally" meaning is assertively described by the
>(original) OED as "erron.".

Well, then it looks like I have replaced a bad meaning with a good
one! For once!

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 1, 2011, 8:42:48 PM9/1/11
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On Sep 1, 6:22 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

> On Wed, 31 Aug 2011 18:08:45 +0000 (UTC), Julian Bradfield
>
> <j...@inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> On 2011-08-31, Paul S  Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
> <snippo>
>
> >> I grew up considering "willy-nilly" to indicate indifference or going
> >> along with something for no particularly good reason -- but for some
> >> time now, I have been taking it to mean "whether he wants to or not".
>
> >The "undecided, shilly-shally" meaning is assertively described by the
> >(original) OED as "erron.".
>
> Well, then it looks like I have replaced a bad meaning with a good
> one! For once!

Ascribing the wrong meaning to a word reminds me of how this can
happen with objects as well. The example I'm thinking of is the Eros
statue in Piccadilly Circus, which is actually Eros's twin brother
Anteros, but many think of it as, and call it, Eros. So which is it?
Is it what large numbers think it is, or is it what the original
author intended? Reminds me of those 'intention of the author'
debates...

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 1, 2011, 8:35:26 PM9/1/11
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Thanks for that link. Very useful!

Every time I find a reasonably interesting archaism, I'm going to post
it here. The "recreant" one I found literally by leafing through a few
pages at random. Though it isn't that easy to decide what is archaic
or not. Here are a couple of less common words. Do they qualify as
archaisms?

Moot
Hauberk
Thane
Embrasure
Yestereve
Bane
Dwimmerlaik
Dromund
Corsair
Fell (deeds)
Wold
Pinion
Howe
Vambrace
Fief(dom)

Some are technical terms that are not known today because we live in a
different society without embrasures, hauberks, vambraces or thanes.
Some are trivial, such as "yestereve", and some are better known than
others. Which of the above would be considered archaic?

Christopher

sean_q

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Sep 2, 2011, 1:54:56 PM9/2/11
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On 9/1/2011 4:35 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Here are a couple of less common words. Do they qualify as
> archaisms?

> Moot

A "moot point"?

> Hauberk

Dimly recognized as some kind of weapon or clothing from
the Middle Ages.

> Thane

Anyone who's ever taken "The Scottish Play" (considered bad luck
to be named) in school would have a vague idea what a Thane is.
(Curiously, Cawdor and Glamis are about 100 miles apart;
quite a distance in those days).

> Embrasure

Somehow I associated this word with the US Civil War:
http://www.featurepics.com/online/Civil-War-Embrasure-1307536.aspx

> Yestereve

Recognizable even out of context from the root words.

> Bane

"When we were kids my sister was the bane of my life."

> Dwimmerlaik

A true archaism. However, whatever it is, it doesn't sound friendly.

> Dromund

This is the only one that totally mystified me. However, my knowledge
of the Byzantine Navy is extremely sparse.

> Corsair

Anyone familiar with WW2 aviation would recognize the Vought
F4U Corsair, a carrier-capable fighter aircraft also used in Korea.

> Fell (deeds)

Archaic but recognizable.

> Wold

Recognizable from place names such as Cotswolds and Yorkshire Wolds.

> Pinion

The difference between a crow and a raven is a matter of a pinion.

> Howe

Anyone who read _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_ would recognize
Aslan's How (ie, hill).

> Vambrace

Another Medieval something-or-other. Whatever it is, cute chix
like Eowyn in Medieval outfits (men's or women's) really turn me on.

> Fief(dom)

Almost everyone learns about the Middle Ages in school; the fiefdom
being fundamental to Feudalism.

SQ

Troels Forchhammer

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Sep 2, 2011, 1:17:18 PM9/2/11
to
In message
<79b52c52-cd9d-4ab8...@u20g2000yqj.googlegroups.com>
Christopher Kreuzer <chrisk...@hotmail.com> spoke these staves:
>
> On Aug 29, 10:23 pm, Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> I remember that the description of the Pelennor Fields slips
>> quite a lot of words by the reader that I, at some reading within
>> the last few years, suddenly realized that I had no idea of the
>> specific meanings of (mostly words for various farm outhouses
>> etc.)
>
> I've had a quick look. Is this in the Minas Tirith chapter when
> Beregond and Pippin see the wains (another archaic word) leaving
> for the refuges in the hills? I see words there like byre and
> farmstead, which are not really archaic. Maybe I'm looking at the
> wrong passage?

I think that the passage that I remembered must be this one:

The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many

orchards, and homesteads there were with oast and garner,
fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green
from the highlands down to Anduin.
(_LotR_, V, 1 'Minas Tirith')

But notice that I made no claim to all these being _archaic_ -- just
that I suddenly realized that I had read that sentence a dozen times
without knowing _exactly_ what a number of the words meant, just
taking in the general meaning.

>> I think my favourite passage is still Ulmo's speech to Tuor in UT
>> -- the archaisms there lend the whole thing a gravity that is
>> absolutely beautiful (to my eyes, of course).
>
> You said that deliberately to get me to find my copy of Unfinished
> Tales, didn't you? :-)

Well, yes, of course. I didn't mention it because I thought it would
be too embarrasing for you to admit that you didn't have it out for
easy reference ;-)

> Well, I've got TH, LotR, and Letters out now. Might as well dive
> back in and find UT, and Biography and The Silmarillion, and Mr
> Bliss. That last one is vital, of course.

Don't forget _Morgoth's Ring_ and _War of the Jewels_ ;-)

> I think it is more the archaic language you are referring to
> (thou, hast, thee, art, shouldst, wilt, hath),

Well, the informal second person singular pronouns are surely archaic
words in their own right by now, aren't they? :-)

The rest are, of course, just archaic conjugations.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

"It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent
whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought of going into
teaching?"
- /Mort/ (Terry Pratchett)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 2, 2011, 8:21:40 PM9/2/11
to
On Sep 2, 6:54 pm, sean_q <no.s...@no.spam> wrote:
> On 9/1/2011 4:35 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> > Here are a couple of less common words. Do they qualify as
> > archaisms?
> > Moot
>
> A "moot point"?

I meant moot as in meeting (place).

> > Hauberk
>
> Dimly recognized as some kind of weapon or clothing from
> the Middle Ages.

Me too. A lot of these words are, as you point out, just words that
were common in a pre-industrial and medieval society.

> > Thane
>
> Anyone who's ever taken "The Scottish Play" (considered bad luck
> to be named) in school would have a vague idea what a Thane is.
> (Curiously, Cawdor and Glamis are about 100 miles apart;
> quite a distance in those days).

Good point.

> > Embrasure
>
> Somehow I associated this word with the US Civil War:http://www.featurepics.com/online/Civil-War-Embrasure-1307536.aspx

More something associated with medieval castles for archers. Didn't
know the term was still in use in the US Civil War.

<snip>

> > Dromund
>
> This is the only one that totally mystified me. However, my knowledge
> of the Byzantine Navy is extremely sparse.

More used in the medieval sense of "any large ship" I think.

> > Corsair
>
> Anyone familiar with WW2 aviation would recognize the Vought
> F4U Corsair, a carrier-capable fighter aircraft also used in Korea.

In all seriousness, when looking it up I hadn't realised this word was
so, well, French.

> > Fell (deeds)
>
> Archaic but recognizable.

But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?

[I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
properly say you have winded a horn?]

<snip>

> > Pinion
>
> The difference between a crow and a raven is a matter of a pinion.

Not sure if pinion is more a *modern* word:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pinion

Turns out to be older than I thought.

> > Vambrace
>
> Another Medieval something-or-other. Whatever it is, cute chix
> like Eowyn in Medieval outfits (men's or women's) really turn me on.

In this case, it was Imrahil wearing the vambrace, though I grant you
Eowyn was breathing on it (just). :-)

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 2, 2011, 8:38:48 PM9/2/11
to
On Sep 2, 6:17 pm, Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>
wrote:

> Well, the informal second person singular pronouns are surely archaic


> words in their own right by now, aren't they?  :-)

Ah, but didst thou knowest what 'meet' means herein?

"Mourn not overmuch! Mighty was the fallen, meet was his ending."

Interesting discussion of that here:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive5/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=209873&PagePosition=3

When I say interesting, I mean interesting to see that phrases that
some find simple cause confusion in others.

Try writing in archaic style (like I did above). It is hard to do!
Most people end up writing like Shakespeare, rather than Tolkien.

What I'd love to know is whether Tolkien wrote in that style (for
Denethor and others) naturally, or whether he had to stop and think
and polish things up and tweak things as he went along? I suspect his
long immersion in ancient languages and his knowledge of the grammars,
meant it came naturally to him. Alliterative prose, as well.

Christopher

sean_q

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Sep 2, 2011, 11:21:32 PM9/2/11
to
On 9/2/2011 4:38 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Try writing in archaic style (like I did above). It is hard to do!
> Most people end up writing like Shakespeare, rather than Tolkien.

To write like Tolkien; that would indeed be a great talent.

But the price would be steep: losing my parents too soon; barred
for years from marrying my teenage girlfriend; months of trench
warfare with all its horrors; more months recovering from sickness,
then trying to raise a family during the Great Depression --
and then after all that, having to witness the Criminal Pride
of a defeated enemy Power I once faced in battle arising anew.

Somehow it all reminds me of the "gift" of Apollo to Orpheus.

SQ

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 12:55:37 PM9/3/11
to
On Sep 3, 4:21 am, sean_q <no.s...@no.spam> wrote:
> On 9/2/2011 4:38 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> > Try writing in archaic style (like I did above). It is hard to do!
> > Most people end up writing like Shakespeare, rather than Tolkien.
>
> To write like Tolkien; that would indeed be a great talent.

<snip>

But do you think it came naturally to him, or did he have to polish
his prose? Some of his drafts he wrote and rewrote (and never
published). Others were written almost or actually complete at the
first attempt. So what I'm asking is whether the passages where he
uses archaic style, did he have to slow down there or not? I guess we
will never know, but there are less examples than you might think.

On a brief look through, I only found a few:

1) The words Halbarad brings to Aragorn from Elrond and Arwen, both
these messages use constructions such as thou, cometh, and thee.

2) The words of the Witch-King to Eowyn: thee, thy, thee, thy, thy
[...] thou.

3) The words of the Mouth of Sauron: thee, thou, hast, shalt,
shouldst. Interestingly, after his opening salvo, the Mouth of Sauron
lapses back into normal speech. Is this intentional on his and
Tolkien's part?

Christopher

Paul S. Person

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Sep 3, 2011, 1:15:16 PM9/3/11
to
On Fri, 02 Sep 2011 19:17:18 +0200, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>In message
><79b52c52-cd9d-4ab8...@u20g2000yqj.googlegroups.com>
>Christopher Kreuzer <chrisk...@hotmail.com> spoke these staves:

>> I think it is more the archaic language you are referring to


>> (thou, hast, thee, art, shouldst, wilt, hath),
>
>Well, the informal second person singular pronouns are surely archaic
>words in their own right by now, aren't they? :-)

In general, yes.

There are (IIRC) some subcultures in which they are still current.

>The rest are, of course, just archaic conjugations.

As archaic or not as the pronouns, depending on subculture.

Paul S. Person

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 1:22:07 PM9/3/11
to
On Fri, 2 Sep 2011 17:21:40 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
<chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:

<snippo>

>But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?
>
>[I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
>wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
>you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
>properly say you have winded a horn?]

FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 1:45:47 PM9/3/11
to
On Sep 3, 6:22 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

> On Fri, 2 Sep 2011 17:21:40 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
>
> <chriskreu...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> <snippo>
>
> >But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?
>
> >[I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
> >wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
> >you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
> >properly say you have winded a horn?]
>
> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).

I agree, but maybe the better synonym is "sound"?

As in "this horn will sound no more"?

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 1:58:47 PM9/3/11
to
On Sep 3, 6:22 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

<snip>

> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).

Sorry for the double post, but noticed some sources saying that
flexible horns in the past were literally wound up (into a coiled
shape) before being blown, so that might be another theory for the
origin of that phrase, though I doubt Boromir's horn was of that sort.

Of course, the source I am using for this may be totally wrong:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yrMTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA657

The British Cyclopædia of the Arts and Sciences
1835, by Charles Frederick Partington

The quote is: "The hunting horn was formerly flexible, whence the old
phrase to 'wind a horn'".

That would suggest a pronunciation of wind (winding up) for one sense,
and a pronunciation of wind (strong wind) for the other sense.
Possibly both senses are possible depending on the type of horn.

See also the references to "winding horn" here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_horn

The (second) picture there is what I have always thought the horns
used by Gondor and Rohan looked like.

All a bit mysterious still.

Christopher

John W Kennedy

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Sep 3, 2011, 2:23:39 PM9/3/11
to
On 2011-09-03 17:22:07 +0000, Paul S. Person said:

> On Fri, 2 Sep 2011 17:21:40 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
> <chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> <snippo>
>
>> But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?
>>
>> [I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
>> wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
>> you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
>> properly say you have winded a horn?]
>
> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).

It does mean to blow (a horn), and it is normally pronounced to rhyme
with "find" when it is used with this meaning in Modern English.

--
John W Kennedy
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and
Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes.
The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being
corrected."
-- G. K. Chesterton

Julian Bradfield

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 2:40:43 PM9/3/11
to
On 2011-09-03, Christopher Kreuzer <chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> 3) The words of the Mouth of Sauron: thee, thou, hast, shalt,
> shouldst. Interestingly, after his opening salvo, the Mouth of Sauron
> lapses back into normal speech. Is this intentional on his and
> Tolkien's part?

Isn't it just that by then he's talking to all the Captains, or at
least to both Aragorn and Gandalf? The "opening salvo" is two
utterances addressed individually to Aragorn and Gandalf respectively.

John W Kennedy

unread,
Sep 3, 2011, 2:45:29 PM9/3/11
to

The relationship between "thou" and "you" is not one simply of new and
old. If you know French, they are roughly equivalent to "tu" and "vous"
-- in German, to "du", on the one hand, and to both "ihr" and "Sie" on
the other. In any case, for someone like Tolkien, who worked on a daily
basis with Old English and Middle English, doing Early Modern English
is easy-peasy. It's all a continuum, after all.

--
John W Kennedy
Having switched to a Mac in disgust at Microsoft's combination of
incompetence and criminality.

John W Kennedy

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Sep 3, 2011, 2:51:53 PM9/3/11
to
On 2011-09-03 17:58:47 +0000, Christopher Kreuzer said:

> On Sep 3, 6:22 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
>> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).
>
> Sorry for the double post, but noticed some sources saying that
> flexible horns in the past were literally wound up (into a coiled
> shape) before being blown, so that might be another theory for the
> origin of that phrase, though I doubt Boromir's horn was of that sort.
>
> Of course, the source I am using for this may be totally wrong:
>
> http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yrMTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA657
>
> The British Cyclopædia of the Arts and Sciences
> 1835, by Charles Frederick Partington
>
> The quote is: "The hunting horn was formerly flexible, whence the old
> phrase to 'wind a horn'".

Never ask an encyclopedist to do a lexicographer's job. "Wind" (e.g., a
windlass) may have influenced the pronunciation, but from the beginning
"wind" (to blow) has applied equally to flutes, etc..

--
John W Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. "Taliessin through Logres: Prelude"

David Trimboli

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Sep 3, 2011, 3:22:39 PM9/3/11
to

It is certainly intentional. I remember reading or hearing somewhere
(the Tolkien Professor?) that Tolkien wanted to portray a form of the
language that to hobbit ears was older and archaic. In modern English,
however, only the formal forms survived; it's the personal forms that
disappeared. To represent the archaic-sounding language, therefore,
Tolkien used the archaic personal forms, not intending that their
original personal meaning should come across to modern readers.

In other words, just as English is used in place of Westron, so archaic
English personal forms are used in place of archaic Westron (but not
archaic personal forms of Westron).

--
David Trimboli
http://www.trimboli.name/

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 3, 2011, 6:01:01 PM9/3/11
to
On Sep 3, 8:22 pm, David Trimboli <da...@trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 9/3/2011 12:55 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

<snip>

> > 3) The words of the Mouth of Sauron: thee, thou, hast, shalt,
> > shouldst. Interestingly, after his opening salvo, the Mouth of Sauron
> > lapses back into normal speech. Is this intentional on his and
> > Tolkien's part?
>
> It is certainly intentional.

I meant what I thought was lapsing back into normal speech (not the
use of archaic forms of address, which Tolkien himself explains in
Appendix F). But Julian makes a good point that it might be the Mouth
of Sauron addressing all the Captains there assembled (i.e. the plural
you). I've re-read the passage in question, and I'm not sure about
this any longer, but I do get an impression that the Mouth of Sauron
let's slip his initial 'style' if you like and becomes more, well,
excitable, as they reach the business end of the dealings.

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 3, 2011, 6:45:07 PM9/3/11
to
On Sep 2, 1:35 am, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

> Every time I find a reasonably interesting archaism, I'm going to post
> it here.

Found a few more (I'm sure a list has been compiled before, but just
throwing them out there in case they could spark discussion on
etymology and things like that).

dwimmer-crafty (Eomer's description of Sarumam)
cf. Dwimordene (Gandalf's poetic naming of Lorien in Edoras)

The following are less archaic, but just old words:

habergeon
carcanet

Both from Bilbo's song of Earendil.

Habergeon: "a sleeveless jacket of chain-mail, shorter than the
hauberk"
Carcanet: "a richly decorative collar"

From other poems you have 'ostler' (stableman), 'strand' (shore of a
sea, lake, or large river). To many, those will be familiar terms, but
to some they won't be.

And after looking through the poems, I noticed that the song the eagle
sings to the people of Minas Tirith is couched with terms like: ye and
hath. Again, completely deliberate.

The real switch into an ancient mode of speech is with Isildur's
scroll that Gandalf finds in Minas Tirith (seemeth, loseth, fadeth,
saith, misseth). But there are other examples in formal speech and
transmission of messages. I already mentioned the messages from Elrond
and Arwen passed on via Halbarad, and the archaic form of speech there
compared to what we hear from them in person elsewhere, and this is
seen again in the message passed on to Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli from
Galadriel.

When we read Galadriel's speech in Lothlorien, it seems normal (maybe
she was adopting Westron forms of speech, or maybe the hobbits
remembered or recounted it as such), but when Gandalf passes on the
messages (in 'The White Rider'), they are replete with thee, thou and
thy. Admittedly, the first two are poetic, and the third is clearly
made up by Gandalf to spare Gimli's feelings (I'm joking!), but I find
the differences in style fascinating.

Two more examples. The scene where Aragorn is crowned starts with
"thine and thy heirs" from Aragorn to Faramir. And the scene where the
minstrel of Gondor sings the lay of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the
Ring of Doom, includes in his acknowledgment of those present the
phrase "and ye sons of Elrond". Admittedly, "you" would be a bit rude
there, but can anyone explain the form of 'ye' being used there? Why
use 'ye' for the sons of Elrond and not for the other groups assembled
there? Is it different when addressing a group of two than when
addressing a larger group?

Christopher

Steve Morrison

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Sep 3, 2011, 8:09:15 PM9/3/11
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> On Sep 2, 1:35 am, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Every time I find a reasonably interesting archaism, I'm going to post
>> it here.
>
> Found a few more (I'm sure a list has been compiled before, but just
> throwing them out there in case they could spark discussion on
> etymology and things like that).

Possibly the /Reader's Companion/ would be helpful? It glosses
just about every archaic or otherwise obscure word in /LotR/.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 3, 2011, 8:42:31 PM9/3/11
to

That was the book I was trying to remember that had done this!
Thanks. :-)

I just spent ages digging out the two-volume 'Companion and Guide' and
realised that this is a different work (a 'Reader's Guide' and a
'Chronology'). But it was helpful to find that again as well. Now to
find the /Companion/! Found it - it was hiding on the same bookshelf.
I just used it to look up where 'nuncheon' came from, and spotted
'mew' listed elsewhere.

Christopher

Paul S. Person

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Sep 4, 2011, 1:07:01 PM9/4/11
to
On Sat, 3 Sep 2011 10:58:47 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
<chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>On Sep 3, 6:22�pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
>wrote:
>
><snip>
>
>> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
>> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).

First, yes, considering "this horn shall wind no more", "sound" would
be better than "blow". However, ...

>Sorry for the double post, but noticed some sources saying that
>flexible horns in the past were literally wound up (into a coiled
>shape) before being blown, so that might be another theory for the
>origin of that phrase, though I doubt Boromir's horn was of that sort.
>
>Of course, the source I am using for this may be totally wrong:
>
>http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yrMTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA657
>

>The British Cyclop�dia of the Arts and Sciences


>1835, by Charles Frederick Partington
>
>The quote is: "The hunting horn was formerly flexible, whence the old
>phrase to 'wind a horn'".
>
>That would suggest a pronunciation of wind (winding up) for one sense,
>and a pronunciation of wind (strong wind) for the other sense.
>Possibly both senses are possible depending on the type of horn.

It certainly would. I was unaware of this characteristic of ancient
hunting horns.

Of course, whenever I watch /FOTR/ and hear Boromir's horn, I start
looking around for a ferry, since it sounds like a fog horn. But
that's just me.

>
>See also the references to "winding horn" here:
>
>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_horn
>
>The (second) picture there is what I have always thought the horns
>used by Gondor and Rohan looked like.

Yes, indeed. But it doesn't /look/ like it can be wound ...

>All a bit mysterious still.

The "wound birch bark" would, presumably, be something like birch bark
wound around a frame (possible wound, fixed, and removed), and not
necessarily something that can itself be "wound".

So now we have two confirmed meanings for "winding a horn": making it
of birch-bark, and winding it up before blowing on it. Plus the
possible meaning "blow" or "sound".

My trusty /American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language/
(purchased when it first came out, in 1969), gives, as the /third/
entry of "wind":

"1. To blow ( a wind instrument). 2. To sound by blowing."

So, in 1969, in American English, this meaning existed. Incidentally,
if I am reading the pronunciation indicators correctly, it can rhyme
with either "wine" or "win".
--
"I begin to miss �jevind."

Paul S. Person

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Sep 4, 2011, 1:09:13 PM9/4/11
to
On Sat, 3 Sep 2011 14:23:39 -0400, John W Kennedy
<jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:

>On 2011-09-03 17:22:07 +0000, Paul S. Person said:
>
>> On Fri, 2 Sep 2011 17:21:40 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
>> <chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> <snippo>
>>
>>> But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?
>>>
>>> [I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
>>> wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
>>> you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
>>> properly say you have winded a horn?]
>>
>> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
>> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).
>
>It does mean to blow (a horn), and it is normally pronounced to rhyme
>with "find" when it is used with this meaning in Modern English.

As noted in another post, in 1969 it could be pronounced that way or
to rhyme with "win". But that does not mean I dispute the normality of
rhyming with "find"; it would not be the first time I picked the
less-used of two options.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 4, 2011, 4:29:35 PM9/4/11
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On Sep 4, 6:07 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

> On Sat, 3 Sep 2011 10:58:47 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
> <chriskreu...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> >Sorry for the double post, but noticed some sources saying that
> >flexible horns in the past were literally wound up (into a coiled
> >shape) before being blown, so that might be another theory for the
> >origin of that phrase, though I doubt Boromir's horn was of that sort.
>
> >Of course, the source I am using for this may be totally wrong:
>
> >http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yrMTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA657
>
> >The British Cyclop dia of the Arts and Sciences
> >1835, by Charles Frederick Partington
>
> >The quote is: "The hunting horn was formerly flexible, whence the old
> >phrase to 'wind a horn'".
>
> >That would suggest a pronunciation of wind (winding up) for one sense,
> >and a pronunciation of wind (strong wind) for the other sense.
> >Possibly both senses are possible depending on the type of horn.
>
> It certainly would. I was unaware of this characteristic of ancient
> hunting horns.

Neither was I. It is likely not that common and maybe even based on a
misunderstanding. I suspect the phrase to "wind a horn" predates any
horns that were flexible. Certainly horns were first made of horn
(unsurprisingly) and I doubt you can make a flexible horn from horn. I
wonder if that source is only referring to relatively recent horns
(relative to the publication date of 1835), or hunting horns made from
a material other than horn? Two possibilities come to mind: firstly,
some sort of canvas wind instrument (like bagpipes); secondly, winding
brass tubes like the french horns.

Boromir's horn was horn, as it was made from the wild kine of Araw and
was found cloven in two, but the other thing that's always struck me
as strange is the reference to Theoden blowing upon a horn with such
force that it burst asunder (just before the Ride of the Rohirrim). I
suspect you can't really do that with a horn made from horn. It is
more common for people to damage themselves (sometimes fatally) by
blowing too hard on a horn. I wonder if you can burst horns made from
other materials, though? Going back to horns being burst asunder,
there is a famous case (that I was unaware of until looking for
examples just now) from 'The Song of Roland'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Roland

To quote from that Wikipedia article:

"Oliver counsels Roland to blow his olifant horn, to call back
Charlemagne's main force, but Roland refuses. The Franks fight
valiantly, but in the end they are killed to the man. Roland gives
three long mighty blasts on his oliphant so that Charlemagne will
return and avenge them. His temples burst from the force required, and
he presently expires. He positions himself so as to face toward the
enemy's land before dying, and his soul is escorted to heaven by Saint
Gabriel, Saint Michael and assorted cherubim."

The reference to oliphant horns makes me wonder. Tolkien would have
known this story for sure. Theoden blows a mighty blast on Guthlaf's
horn and it bursts asunder (rather than Theoden's temples bursting).
Theoden then rides off to a battle where mumakil (oliphaunts) are
present and he dies. It seems it might be possible to draw parallels
with the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, which like the one in the
Roland story ends with the 'evil' forces slaughtered or drowned in a
river.

Or maybe the above is stretching things a bit. Tolkien is more often
mentioned in this connection with Browning's 'Childe Rowland to the
dark tower came' from Robert Browning's 'Childe Rolande'.

Christopher

Message has been deleted

Steve Morrison

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Sep 4, 2011, 11:37:19 PM9/4/11
to
John W Kennedy wrote:
> On 2011-09-03 17:22:07 +0000, Paul S. Person said:
>
>> On Fri, 2 Sep 2011 17:21:40 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Kreuzer
>> <chrisk...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> <snippo>
>>
>>> But what about talk of a horn that will wind no more?
>>>
>>> [I still can't remember if that is pronounced 'wind' (as in strong
>>> wind) or wind (as in wind up the mechanism). I would say the latter if
>>> you would say someone wound a horn and then blew it, but maybe you
>>> properly say you have winded a horn?]
>>
>> FWIW, I would say "wind", as in strong wind, and (until someone finds
>> out what it really was) regard it as a synonym for "blow" (a horn).
>
> It does mean to blow (a horn), and it is normally pronounced to rhyme
> with "find" when it is used with this meaning in Modern English.
>

Tolkien uses it in the past tense, in /The Lay of Leithian/:

Then on a night when autumn damp
was swathed about the glimmering lamp
of the wan moon, and fitful stars
were flying seen between the bars
of racing cloud, when winter's horn
already wound in trees forlorn,
lo! Huan was gone. Then Lúthien lay
fearing new wrong, till just ere day,
when all is dead and breathless still
and shapeless fears the sleepless fill,
a shadow came along the wall.
[lines 2534-2544]

This is on pp. 242-3 in my copy. (And it was by pure
coincidence that I read that particular section today!)

PMH

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Sep 5, 2011, 8:25:37 AM9/5/11
to
On Sep 4, 4:29 pm, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>
>
Two possibilities come to mind: firstly,
> some sort of canvas wind instrument (like bagpipes); secondly, winding
> brass tubes like the french horns.
>
>

In bagpipes, the bag is an air supply - a form of bellows - while the
sounding instrument(s) are more like a flute or recorder and are quite
rigid.

PMH

John W Kennedy

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Sep 5, 2011, 4:29:07 PM9/5/11
to

More like a shawm (antique oboe), with several krumhorns.

--
John W Kennedy
"Give up vows and dogmas, and fixed things, and you may grow like That.
...you may come to think a blow bad, because it hurts, and not because
it humiliates. You may come to think murder wrong, because it is
violent, and not because it is unjust."
-- G. K. Chesterton. "The Ball and the Cross"

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 5, 2011, 8:19:44 PM9/5/11
to

Fascinating. A fuller quote here:

http://oxfordinklings.blogspot.com/2008/03/geste-of-beren-and-lthien_11.html

I'm trying to work out what "winter's horn" is here. A metaphor or
something more? Maybe Tolkien was struggling to find something to
rhyme with folorn? :-)

Christopher

John W Kennedy

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Sep 5, 2011, 9:15:15 PM9/5/11
to
On 2011-09-06 00:19:44 +0000, Christopher Kreuzer said:
> http://oxfordinklings.blogspot.com/2008/03/geste-of-beren-and-lthien_11.html
>
> I'm trying to work out what "winter's horn" is here. A metaphor or
> something more? Maybe Tolkien was struggling to find something to
> rhyme with folorn? :-)

Wind in the trees, I rather fancy.

--
John W Kennedy
If Bill Gates believes in "intelligent design", why can't he apply it
to Windows?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 5, 2011, 8:57:29 PM9/5/11
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On Sep 5, 4:37 am, Steve Morrison <rima...@toast.net> wrote:

Been thinking about this some more, and I think "winter's horn" here
is the sound of the wind passing through the "trees forlorn", in the
same way that "autumn damp" is mist or fog across the Moon. This would
fit with "racing clouds" as well, though winds up high don't always
mean wind down here (often doesn't in fact). But the use of
"wound" (pronounced as the past tense of 'winding up' something) is
rather poetic.

Tolkien didn't work on the word 'wind' for the OED did he? I've looked
in 'The Ring of Words' and it seems not. Still, there might be some
bit of etymology that is relevant here that is being missed. I tried
the Online Etymology Dictionary, but it wasn't very helpful. Anyone
have the full OED and able to see if the entries for 'wind' help at
all on this?

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 5, 2011, 9:39:45 PM9/5/11
to
On Sep 5, 4:37 am, Steve Morrison <rima...@toast.net> wrote:

Sorry to post a third reply to this post, but I discovered that I do
have access to the OED through a library subscription and there are
quite a few uses of wind and wound relating to horns that I thought
would be of interest (funnily enough, the entry for 'wind wasn't very
helpful):

1) In the entry for 'cornage' (A feudal ‘service’, being a form of
rent fixed by the number of horned cattle; horngeld) there is this
quotation: 1767 W. Blackstone Comm. Laws Eng. II. 74 Tenure by
cornage‥was, to wind a horn when the Scots or other enemies entered
the land.

2) In the entry for 'horn', there are these lots of quotations (and a
whole entry for 'to wind the horn', which means to blow a blast on the
horn, to sound the horn). I'm only quoting a few here, including the
earliest attested form:

1611 T. Heywood Golden Age ii. sig. Ev, (stage direct.) Hornes
winded‥Winde hornes.
1617 F. Moryson Itinerary i. 7 Neither may the Citizens‥winde a
Horne in their night watches.
1735 W. Somerville Chace ii. 186 The clanging Horns swell their
sweet-winding Notes
1783–94 W. Blake School-boy in Songs Innoc. 3 The distant
huntsman winds his horn.
1810 Scott Lady of Lake i. 21 But scarce again his horn he wound.

Not sure what sense is meant here:

1647 A. Cowley Against Hope in Mistress i, And both the Horns of
Fates Dilemma wound.

3) Three entries under 'winded'

1622 M. Drayton Second Pt. Poly-olbion ii. xxvi. 122 His fellowes
winded Horne, not one of them but knew.
1806 Scott Lay of Last Minstrel (ed. 5) iv. xii. 112 Little care
we for thy winded horn.
1820 Scott Abbot I. iii. 50 A winded bugle.

4) cornet-winder n. one who winds or blows a horn.

5) winding - Of a horn: That is winded.

1735 W. Somerville Chace iii. 402 The winding Horn, and
Huntsman's Voice, Let loose the gen'ral Chorus.

There might be more. I wonder how far back the usage goes beyond the
earliest attested forms? It is interesting to see both winded and
wound being used. But other than that, I don't really know enough on
the etymology to comment further.

Christopher

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 5, 2011, 9:46:06 PM9/5/11
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On Sep 6, 2:15 am, John W Kennedy <jwke...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 2011-09-06 00:19:44 +0000, Christopher Kreuzer said:
>
> >http://oxfordinklings.blogspot.com/2008/03/geste-of-beren-and-lthien_...

>
> > I'm trying to work out what "winter's horn" is here. A metaphor or
> > something more? Maybe Tolkien was struggling to find something to
> > rhyme with folorn? :-)
>
> Wind in the trees, I rather fancy.

Yeah. It seems obvious when you stop to think about it. At first I
thought it might be ice or frost or something, and then I thought of
some mythical huntsman blow his horn to usher in winter (I was
distracted by all the references to a horn of winter in 'A Storm of
Swords' by George R. R. Martin) but then I realised I was trying too
hard and the simplest explanation was the most obvious one... :-)

Christopher

PMH

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Sep 6, 2011, 10:01:28 AM9/6/11
to
On Sep 5, 4:29 pm, John W Kennedy <jwke...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 2011-09-05 12:25:37 +0000, PMH said:
>
> > On Sep 4, 4:29 pm, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
> > wrote:
>
> >  Two possibilities come to mind: firstly,
> >> some sort of canvas wind instrument (like bagpipes); secondly, winding
> >> brass tubes like the french horns.
>
> > In bagpipes, the bag is an air supply - a form of bellows - while the
> > sounding instrument(s) are more like a flute or recorder and are quite
> > rigid.
>
> More like a shawm (antique oboe), with several krumhorns.
>
My point was there's nothing flexible in the portion that creates the
sound.

PMH

Count Menelvagor

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Sep 8, 2011, 4:56:15 PM9/8/11
to
On Sep 3, 6:45 pm, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
wrote:
> On Sep 2, 1:35 am, Christopher Kreuzer <chriskreu...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Every time I find a reasonably interesting archaism, I'm going to post
> > it here.
>
> Found a few more (I'm sure a list has been compiled before, but just
> throwing them out there in case they could spark discussion on
> etymology and things like that).
>
> dwimmer-crafty (Eomer's description of Sarumam)
> cf. Dwimordene (Gandalf's poetic naming of Lorien in Edoras)

i really like these "dwimmer-" words.
i wonder if tolkien was going by ear and what "sounds good" here.
although he would have known that old english had a dual pronoun
"git" (pronounced "yit," and presumably no relation to the modern
pejorative), and iirc this form survived into the 13th century. or
maybe he used it because they're elves and therefore better, so
deserve a more highfalutin form of the pronoun. who knows?

you will doubtless have seen the letter where tolkien comments on his
use of archaisms. he makes a number of poits: 1. the archaisms are
usually fairly mild (no "wottest thou," etc.); 2. the modern
equivalent is often both trivializing and long-winded. he gives as an
example théoden's remarks to gandalf ("nay, gandalf. you do not know
your own skill as a healer ...")

and here's another archaism: "rede" (early in book iii; but he
immediately provides a synonym).

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 9, 2011, 8:03:14 PM9/9/11
to
On Sep 8, 9:56 pm, Count Menelvagor <Menelva...@mailandnews.com>
wrote:

<snip>

> you will doubtless have seen the letter where tolkien comments on his
> use of archaisms. he makes a number of poits: 1. the archaisms are
> usually fairly mild (no "wottest thou," etc.); 2. the modern
> equivalent is often both trivializing and long-winded. he gives as an
> example théoden's remarks to gandalf ("nay, gandalf. you do not know
> your own skill as a healer ...")

I probably have read that letter, but don't recall it right now. Do
you know what number that one is?

> and here's another archaism: "rede" (early in book iii; but he
> immediately provides a synonym).

Legolas saying "Rede oft is found at the rising of the Sun"? And Gimli
immediately saying that "three suns already have risen on our chase
and brought no counsel"? Yes, counsel is the meaning of rede, and it
is interesting, as you note, that Tolkien immediately explained it.

It is also an example of a proverb/saying (the whole concept of
proverbial passages is examined in some detail by Shippey, though I
forget the details of the papers/essays). The interesting thing is
that these messages passed on through the ages always seem to be
preserved in an archaic form, as if to prove they come from days of
yore.

Christopher

Steve Morrison

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Sep 9, 2011, 8:07:35 PM9/9/11
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> On Sep 8, 9:56 pm, Count Menelvagor <Menelva...@mailandnews.com>
> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>> you will doubtless have seen the letter where tolkien comments on his
>> use of archaisms. he makes a number of poits: 1. the archaisms are
>> usually fairly mild (no "wottest thou," etc.); 2. the modern
>> equivalent is often both trivializing and long-winded. he gives as an
>> example th�oden's remarks to gandalf ("nay, gandalf. you do not know

>> your own skill as a healer ...")
>
> I probably have read that letter, but don't recall it right now. Do
> you know what number that one is?

171.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 9, 2011, 8:55:00 PM9/9/11
to
On Sep 10, 1:07 am, Steve Morrison <rima...@toast.net> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

<snip>

> > I probably have read that letter, but don't recall it right now. Do
> > you know what number that one is?
>
> 171.

Thanks. I do remember that now. It is a good one. I wonder who the
critic was who described the archaic style as 'tushery'? Isn't that
rather an archaic word itself now? I must admit to feeling a bit
jealous that Hugh Brogan was able to write to Tolkien while still a
schoolboy and ask him all these questions over the following years
(though I note some of the letters, including this one, were drafts
and never got sent).

Goodness. I see Brogan has a Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Brogan

"Denis Hugh Vercingetorix Brogan (born 20 March 1936), known as Hugh
Brogan, is a British historian and biographer."

I must admit I'm also impressed that anyone would give their son a
middle name of 'Vercingetorix'. Though his parents were sensible
enough to also provide 'Hugh' in case 'Denis' wasn't suitable (bit
like JRRT and Ronald).

Christopher

sean_q

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Sep 10, 2011, 12:25:05 AM9/10/11
to
On 9/8/2011 12:56 PM, Count Menelvagor wrote:

> and here's another archaism: "rede" (early in book iii; but he
> immediately provides a synonym).

Re Æthelred the Unready, or Æthelred II (c. 968 – 1016), "Unready"
being a mistranslation of Old English unræd ("bad-counsel").

A better translation would be Redeless ie, without counsel (rede).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethelred_the_Unready

SQ

Jerry Friedman

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Sep 14, 2011, 12:45:23 AM9/14/11
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On Sep 2, 11:54 am, sean_q <no.s...@no.spam> wrote:
> On 9/1/2011 4:35 PM, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
...

> >Dwimmerlaik
>
> A true archaism. However, whatever it is, it doesn't sound friendly.
...

Especially not when it's "foul".

It means "magic corpse". D&D (can I mention that here?) popularized
other variants of its elements as "dweomer" and "lich".

I imagine "lich" or "lych" would have been a lot more recognizable to
English readers because of "lich-gate". I wonder why Tolkien chose
"laik". More northern?

--
Jerry Friedman

John W Kennedy

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Sep 14, 2011, 11:02:55 AM9/14/11
to
Tolkien may have expressly said so, but, absent that, a reading of the
OED rather suggests that it may not be a form of "lich", but rather a
now-obsolete OE suffix (of ON derivation) roughly corresponding to
modern "-ness".

Julian Bradfield

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Sep 14, 2011, 11:36:36 AM9/14/11
to
On 2011-09-14, John W Kennedy <jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 2011-09-14 04:45:23 +0000, Jerry Friedman said:

[ dwimmerlaik ]

>> I imagine "lich" or "lych" would have been a lot more recognizable to
>> English readers because of "lich-gate". I wonder why Tolkien chose
>> "laik". More northern?

> Tolkien may have expressly said so, but, absent that, a reading of the
> OED rather suggests that it may not be a form of "lich", but rather a
> now-obsolete OE suffix (of ON derivation) roughly corresponding to
> modern "-ness".

The OED seems slightly confused about it. The entry for demerlayk
suggests it is the (Norse leikr) -LAIK suffix you mention; but the entry for
-LOCK suggests that the earlier dweomerlak is from the cognate but
distinct (English lác) -LOCK suffix.

Either way, both suffixes indicate abstract qualities, which would be
a little odd. "Begone foul sorcery"...



John W Kennedy

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Sep 14, 2011, 6:32:03 PM9/14/11
to
I know what you mean, but it wouldn't be all that odd if it were, for
example, "Begone, thou foulness!" (Unfortunately, something is broken
in the online OED at the moment, so I can't look up "-ness".)

--
John W Kennedy
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and
Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes.
The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being
corrected."
-- G. K. Chesterton

Jerry Friedman

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Sep 15, 2011, 8:00:33 PM9/15/11
to
On Sep 14, 4:32 pm, John W Kennedy <jwke...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 2011-09-14 15:36:36 +0000, Julian Bradfield said:>
> > On 2011-09-14, John W Kennedy <jwke...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> >> On 2011-09-14 04:45:23 +0000, Jerry Friedman said:
>
> >  [ dwimmerlaik ]
>
> >>> I imagine "lich" or "lych" would have been a lot more recognizable to
> >>> English readers because of "lich-gate".  I wonder why Tolkien chose
> >>> "laik".  More northern?
>
> >> Tolkien may have expressly said so, but, absent that, a reading of the
> >> OED rather suggests that it may not be a form of "lich", but rather a
> >> now-obsolete OE suffix (of ON derivation) roughly corresponding to
> >> modern "-ness".

Thanks for the correction. Now I'm wondering where I got that idea.
I'm sure it wasn't from anything Tolkien said.

> > The OED seems slightly confused about it. The entry for demerlayk
> > suggests it is the (Norse leikr) -LAIK suffix you mention; but the entry for
> > -LOCK suggests that the earlier dweomerlak is from the cognate but
> > distinct (English lác) -LOCK suffix.
>
> > Either way, both suffixes indicate abstract qualities, which would be
> > a little odd. "Begone foul sorcery"...
>
> I know what you mean, but it wouldn't be all that odd if it were, for
> example, "Begone, thou foulness!" (Unfortunately, something is broken
> in the online OED at the moment, so I can't look up "-ness".)

Well, "mischief" can mean a mischievous person, says the OED.

--
Jerry Friedman

Jerry Friedman

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Sep 16, 2011, 1:36:04 PM9/16/11