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>
> Yep. Like when I planned to compose an opera based on _The Lord of the
> Rings_ (a foolish plan that I have abandoned long ago, as the thing
> would have been Wagnerian in its dimensions), I was about to
> characterize Sauron by a 12-tone series because I considered 12-tone
> serialist music monstrously ugly.


How far did you make it? And you're right, 12 tone serialism is
"monstrously ugly."

On Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:32 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Hallo conlangers!
>
> On 25/04/2017 10:12 R A Brown wrote:
>
> > On 24/04/2017 18:12, Gage Amonette wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Completely ignoring practically everything as the
> >>> double dots made not the slightest difference to
> >>> pronunciation. It's only for looks; I'd always assumed
> >>>  to make it look 'Teutonic' (or maybe 'Gothic' which
> >>> would IMO be even ridiculous)
> >>
> >>
> >> You're right: Gothic didn't even have umlaut. :)
> >>
> >
> > Didn't even use the Roman alphabet either   :)
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_alphabet
> >
> > But even when the Visigoths took to using the Roman
> > alphabet, they did not use double-dots to denote umlaut.
>
> Of course not; they did not have umlaut in their language, and thus had
> no need for umlaut dots!
>
> > As
> > most know this symbol was first in Hellenistic Greek to
> > denote _diaeresis_ as, indeed, it still is in _naïve, Noël,
> > Chloë, Zoë_.
>
> And has nothing to do with vowel qualities.
>
> > Its use to denote umlaut in German dates from
> > the late Middle Ages when a superscript _e_ was often
> > written as two dots in handwriting - nothing to do with the
> > Goths  :)
>
> Just that. A superscript _e_, which has a rather n-like appearance in
> German cursive, was reduced to two vertical strokes and those to two
> dots. The resemblance to Greek diaeresis is a mere coincidence.
>
> > In Mötörhead it they are merely weird decoration with no
> > phonetic value.
>
> Yep. But Motörhead (no dots on the first _o_!) did not start it. Unless
> there were some unknown antecedents (see below), it were Blue Öyster
> Cult. But that doesn't really matter. The point is, these dots are just
> fancy decorations without phonetic value, and the proper way of dealing
> with them in an environment that doesn't allow such diacritics is to
> omit them. I remember a discussion in a music-related newsgroup where a
> German had spelled the band name _Hüsker Dü_ as "Huesker Due", which was
> widely considered a disfiguration.
>
> But one of the first internationally noteworthy bands with umlaut dots
> in the name was a German one, Amon Düül II. Herein, _Düül_ is a made-up
> nonsense word; in German, this is usually pronounced /dy:l/, i.e.
> reading the dots as umlaut dots (though /y:/ is never spelled _üü_ in
> German); I guess most English speakers simply ignore them. (Maybe Blue
> Öyster Cult got the idea from Amon Düül II, but that is uncertain; the
> former did not sound as if they were influenced by the latter much,
> which does not preclude the possibility that they just saw the dots on
> an album cover in a record shop and decided to use them.)
>
> > ------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > On 25/04/2017 04:35, Gage Amonette wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Carbon and nitrogen aren't toxic, but cyanide is quite
> >>>  poisonous.  It's not the elements of a language that
> >>> give it complex qualities, but how they're put
> >>> together.
> >>
> >>
> >> Probably, but I would still argue that the effect that
> >> those combinations exercise on the hearers is still
> >> largely one of association;
> >
> > I agree with Gage.  It's (largely) subjective.
>
> Right.
>
> > [snip]
> >
> >>
> >> Even Tolkien,  which was mentioned by someone recently on
> >> this list, followed this convention (or made it up? maybe
> >> not; it seems like this motif has been firmly entrenched
> >> in western thought for a long time) when he created
> >> Quenya and the Black Speech.
> >>
> >
> > Tho it should be noted that Sindarin and Quenya are in many
> > respect quite different.
>
> Indeed they are; they are of quite different phonological (and
> grammatical) flavour, and there are people who like one and dislike the
> other, or vice versa. It is quite easy to tell which language a given
> Elvish text is in.
>
> > Tolkien AIUI wanted Quenya to be
> > noble and stately, and we know from his own writings that
> > his experience of the Classical languages (Latin & Greek)
> > had a major influence in the development of the language, as
> > did Finnish which Tolkien greatly like when he first
> > encountered the language (as indeed so did I).  Quenya comes
> > out of this background which is probably why I much
> > preferred the language to Sindarin when I first encountered
> > the LotR in my late teens more than half a century ago.
>
> Yes. Quenya is the "Latin" of Middle-earth; at the time of the War of
> the Rings, it was hardly spoken by anyone at home (even the few
> remaining Noldor had shifted to Sindarin for daily matters), but it was
> still used as a scholarly and ritual language. Of course, there is no
> necessity that a language used for those purposes was typologically like
> Latin, but this pretty much was Tolkien's idea. And, as you say, he
> liked the sound of Finnish, and added some Finnish flavour to it.
>
> > Sindarin is clearly influence by Welsh and, to a lesser
> > extent, by Old English (e.g. its vowels include OE [y] which
> > is not found in Welsh).  That is why the language remains a
> > favorite among those to whom Insular Celtic is "mystical"   ;)
>
> Very much so. Sindarin is indeed very similar to Welsh in its phonology
> (with similar initial mutations!), but also influenced by Old English.
> You mention /y/, which occurs in OE but not in Welsh. Indeed, one
> publisher complained about (an early version of) the _Quenta
> Silmarillion_ that it contained too many "Celtic" names that would make
> it hard to follow. Of course, actually none were Celtic: a few were
> Quenya, but most in the language that would eventually be named Sindarin.
>
> > You're right that Tolkien look to languages he thought ugly
> > for the Black Speech.  But this a matter of taste.
>
> Yep. Like when I planned to compose an opera based on _The Lord of the
> Rings_ (a foolish plan that I have abandoned long ago, as the thing
> would have been Wagnerian in its dimensions), I was about to
> characterize Sauron by a 12-tone series because I considered 12-tone
> serialist music monstrously ugly.
>
> > Interestingly Tolkien did not hold the "mystical" view of
> > Insular Celtic and while he liked and was fascinated by
> > Welsh, he considered the Gaelic languages to be harsh and
> > ugly.
>
> And that tells us that he had a refined and differentiated taste of
> languages. Many people aren't even aware that Welsh and Gaelic are
> different languages! To Tolkien, there was nothing "mystical" about
> Insular Celtic languages, or anything Celtic at all; he just liked Welsh
> - and disliked Gaelic.
>
> > I disagree with him; I find the Gaelic languages,
> > with their palatalization and lenition of plosives to
> > fricatives, "softer" and more attractive than Welsh (and
> > none of them mystical).
>
> I like both branches of Insular Celtic, but there is nothing "mystical"
> about them to me. They are just interesting and beautiful languages,
> nothing more and nothing less.
>
> > These things are clearly (to a large extent) subjective and
> > IMO have a good deal to do with the experience of one's own
> > L1.  I have no doubt that someone brought up speaking, say,
> > a Berber language would find _nothing_ barbarous or ugly
> > when encountering pharyngeal fricatives in another language,
> > but s/he might well find some English consonants ugly   ;)
>
> Certainly! It's all subjective.
>
> > While I can appreciate that someone may put together all the
> > things s/he finds harsh or ugly in order to produce a
> > barbarous conlang, I get very uneasy when people label
> > particular natlangs as 'barbarous'.
>
> So do I. By the "historical" token, German and Japanese would have to be
> the most "barbarous" languages, as the worst atrocities were perpetrated
> in the names of these peoples, but Japanese doesn't sound harsh at all,
> with hardly any closed syllables (syllable-final _n_ tends to be
> realized just as nasalization of the vowel) or consonant clusters and
> all that. It's utter nonsense.
>
> --
> ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
> http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
> "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
>