On 2012-02-24 16:21, Michael Everson wrote:

> > On 2012-02-23 21:31, Michael Everson wrote:
> >
> > > But the Ardalambion crowd are interested in
> > > Neo-Quenya, which is a very different thing from the
> > > study of what Tolkien actually did. That scholarly
> > > work is ongoing; see
> >
> > But which might be an interesting topic in its own right
> > to an academic studying conlangs as a phenomenon.
> Perhaps, but it's still not Tolkien's work.

When did I claim it was? Armin Buch (SHT) was looking for
literature on the use and practice of non-auxlang conlangs
in general, and use and practice of conlangs it is, whether
anybody disapprove of it or not. Mind you many, not least in the
academic linguistic world, many disapprove of conlangs in any
form as 'not being languages'.  That's only a difference by
degree from what you are saying.

> > BTW one can be interested in Tolkien's languages from
> > both a paleo- and a neo- angle. And how come reviving a
> > conlang would be bad, while reviving a natlang would be
> > good?
> You can't "revive" Quenya. Or Sindarin. Or Goldogrin. Or
> Khuzdul. Or the Black Speech. You can make up stuff to
> fill in the gaps, but the result is never "authentic"

By the same criteria you can't revive Cornish either,
because you can never know how authentic a form modelled on
Welsh or Breton, or on general morphological principles
would be in the light of what was not recorded.

And what do you think Fr. Schleyer would have thaught of
Arie de Jong's Volapük!?

> in Tolkien's terms.

In the terms by which Tolkien revived Gothic and
old English?  If 'autenthicness' be the issue he
shouldn't have done that!

The product of a language revival is *never* 'the same
thing' as the language it seeks to revive, be it
Cornish, Gothic, Old English, Hebrew or (Neo-)Quenya,
Novial or myself trying to revive my own conlang Sohlob
from the remains of media loss and format lock in. And
where there's many poeple involved there will always be
that pointless bickering about 'the one true way'. As
if this were hard science -- and even there you have
the observer's paradox! Yet all creative endeavor is
worthwhile in some way at least to those involved in it!
I may look back at my involvement with auxlangs with
mixed feelings, but I learned things about language,
and about people, from it.

> But it's making up stuff.

All creative work is, including what is done in
departments of comparative linguistics, or by different
stripes of 'theoretical linguists'. It may still be
worthwhile, at least to those who pursue it, in ways
unforseen by them or their detractors, even. (And
comparative philologists have their detractors, as do
Chomskyans! In the one case I belong to the detracted,
and in the other to the detractors, but I let them do
their thing and all I ask is for them to let me do my

> And may contradict the actual etymological data
> (inconsistent as that may be).

And that differs from the Cornish revival exactly how?
As you surely know not all enthusiasts go about what they
do with the same skill, understanding, care or respect
for their models. Surely you also know that invention
out of thin air is generally frowned upon in Neo-Eldarin

> I suppose I have no great objection to new works being
> written in these languages, so long as anything Neo- is
> labelled as Neo-.

No argument there. The same goes for Tolkien's
Neo-Gothic or Neo-Englisc, of for Neo-Cornish or
Neo-Hebrew, or Neo-Icelandic (compare the 'modern'
antiquarizing standard language to the written
Icelandic of the 17th and 18th centuries -- it's highly
instructive --, yet I'm a great lover and admirer even
of the 'modern' version of the language. Given the
calibre of literature written in it its neo-roots don't
seem to invalidate it in any way!)

> Personally, though, I think I would not publish an Alice
> in Neo-Quenya, because of the honour and respect I hold
> for Tolkien, whose work, which I read at a formative time
> in my life, helped to make me the person I am today.

Tolkien's respect for the Beowulf poet or Cynewulf or
Wulfila, or the great impact the acquaintance with their
work had on him, didn't stop him from composing in
Neo-Gothic and Neo-Anglo-Saxon!

> To me, a Neo-Quenya Alice would not be authentic.

Neither are Tolkien's 'Old English' and 'Gothic' poems, then!

> > That the two crowds don't go well together is because of
> > personal chemistry issues rather than the two pursuits
> > being antithetical. It's not like no one can do the
> > other if anyone does the one.
> I guess. Ursula Le Guin tells of being asked by various
> writers and aspiring writers for permission to write
> stories set in her Ekumen. Her answer was "No, go invent
> your own universe."

A sentiment I can sympathize with. If I ever get published
you'll see that Sohldar is nothing like Arda. No working
magic for one thing -- unless you count telepathy and
telekinesis (neither of which I consider proven or disproven)
as magic.

The problem with languages is that there is a limit to
the gratification you can derive from merely
catalogizing them. Many philologists have felt and
indulged in the urge to compose 'in the language' of
their study, including Tolkien!  One Festshrift highly
valued by my highly conservative professor, and written
by his likes, had a Latin title printed in Linear B!

> Another excellent resource for Tolkienian linguistics is
> Vinyar Tengwar:

Sure, but that's primary sources for the most part.
Mr Buch was looking for secondary literature.

> Michael Everson \*