Friday, December 19, 2014

McWhorter on Sindarin

So, while I'm working on my review of THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (which I liked better than I expected, and enjoyed more on a second viewing than the first), here's an interim piece I wanted to share, in which linguist John McWhortor (author of THE POWER OF BABEL, which figured prominently in my piece for the Blackwelder festschrift ). It's nice to see Tolkien taken seriously by The Powers That Be (McWhorter is Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University) -- it's a long time now since language-invention was a 'secret vice'.  And I think the key to that transformation was Tolkien's insight that the language has to be used for something before it can capture the imagination. People want to learn Sindarin (et al.) because it's a means of getting deeper into an enormously appealing subcreated world, and I assume to same applies to devotees of Klingon, Dothraki, &c.

Anyway, here's the piece:

--John R.
current reading THE HOBBIT AND HISTORY, ed. Liedl & Reagin (2014)

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