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Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Nov 10, 2007 4:30 AM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>>Alex Bicksler wrote:
>>
>>>I've always noticed that in fantasy worlds such as Tolkien's Middle Earth, English is often
>>>used alongside conlangs.  This seems like it would be highly unlikely.
>>
>>And is surely a misrepresentation. According to Tolkien's conworld,
>>there is *NO* English! Nor are Sindarin, Quenya etc conlangs!
> 
> 
> Well, they are conlangs IRL.  

We know they are conlangs *here* - but not in Middle Earth.

> I think Alex just meant that they're
> fictional, and the presence of a real natlang like English in their
> midst would indeed be unlikely (although possible, given a creative
> in-world explanation); 

Yes, but that is not what Tolkien portrays. He quite explicitly says 
that he has translated the LotR from Westron into English. What we have 
in Middle earth are all fictional languages - JRRT just pretends to have 
translated the most commonly used one into English. I see nothing 
inconsistent or "highly unlikely" in this scenario.

> I don't think he was suggesting that they were
> supposed to be conlangs within the Middle-Earthen milieu.

Maybe not - but the comment "highly unlikely" does make it seem that he 
is suggesting that English was spoken in Middle Earth, which JRRT makes 
quite clear was not the case.

> But yes, LoTR is allegedly a translation of the original, and while
> JRRT didn't develop Westron enough to do a full back translation,
> there are some details about it available.  

True - the details are far too few to attempt such a thing. When one 
considers the sad quarelling among those who want to fill out Quenya and 
Sindarin, filling the gaps, goodness knows how many different Westrons 
we'd have!

> Most other fantasy works
> operate on a premise, explicit or implicit, that the language everyone
> is speaking is not, in fact, English, but is merely represented as
> such for the benefit of the reader.

That's what I would assume to be the case.

-- 
Ray
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