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    Just finished reading the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. Magnificent pieces of literature. But they just baffled me totally. How on earth can someone create a world, a WHOLE world full of new places, races, countries, terrain, motives, history; including languages. And on top of that create an incredible narrative for the greatest (IMO) books of all time!

    Therefore, my question is, how do you create or construct a new language or place names. Do place names have to mean something in English or Latin etc?

    Thanks in advance.
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    (Original post by DLJ)
    Just finished reading the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. Magnificent pieces of literature. But they just baffled me totally. How on earth can someone create a world, a WHOLE world full of new places, races, countries, terrain, motives, history; including languages. And on top of that create an incredible narrative for the greatest (IMO) books of all time!

    Therefore, my question is, how do you create or construct a new language or place names. Do place names have to mean something in English or Latin etc?

    Thanks in advance.
    If you believe Tolkien, it all started cause he wanted to know who Eärendel was.

    To create a new language you have to be an exceedingly good linguist, otherwise the language won't work, won't have that inner consistency that languages should have. Tolkien worked out from his languages, he created Quenya and Sindarin, but then he realised he needed a reason for why certain phrases were used, etc. so he began to write what later became The Silmarillion, to give his languages the feeling of depth. His inspiration for Quenya is Finnish and Welsh is his inspiration for Sindarin.

    Names all mean something. We are just so far removed from the origins of the names that we no longer understand them without asking a philologist.

    Very few authors these days try to make a new language. The most they'll do is create snippets, to give the illusion of a fully-fledged language hidden in the wings. Others, like myself, prefer to use little used languages, meaning it's less likely people will understand them but also allowing those who will the pleasure of knowing what's going on.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    If you believe Tolkien, it all started cause he wanted to know who Eärendel was.

    To create a new language you have to be an exceedingly good linguist, otherwise the language won't work, won't have that inner consistency that languages should have. Tolkien worked out from his languages, he created Quenya and Sindarin, but then he realised he needed a reason for why certain phrases were used, etc. so he began to write what later became The Silmarillion, to give his languages the feeling of depth. His inspiration for Quenya is Finnish and Welsh is his inspiration for Sindarin.

    Names all mean something. We are just so far removed from the origins of the names that we no longer understand them without asking a philologist.
    Thanks for your reply mate! So it seems that nobody is as awesome as Tolkien to construct a whole language . In regards to the names, could they just be made up? I mean, they must have been made up from relations somewhere in time?!
    And, you must know your stuff about 'Tolkienology', was Middle Earth on Earth? And the Ages just a long time ago? Or a new planet altogether?

    Thanks again bud!
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    (Original post by DLJ)
    Thanks for your reply mate! So it seems that nobody is as awesome as Tolkien to construct a whole language . In regards to the names, could they just be made up? I mean, they must have been made up from relations somewhere in time?!
    And, you must know your stuff about 'Tolkienology', was Middle Earth on Earth? And the Ages just a long time ago? Or a new planet altogether?

    Thanks again bud!
    Nyah, I can't talk for every author out there, I'm sure there are a few who've attempted to truly create their own language. The gods know enough linguists have tried to make up their own, like Esperanto, for instance.

    The names in most sci-fi and fantasy are made up, and then given an arbitrary meaning, again to create the illusion of history. Tolkien's names evolved out of his language. Names in our world mean something, but, like i said, most languages have evolved past the point of understanding them. There was a time when everyone knew what names meant. They're meant to be descriptions of a sort, which is why modern names seem terribly dull compared to older ones.

    Tolkien liked to say that Middle Earth could have existed a long time in the past, further back in time than anyone knows. He certainly set it up to be like that, the books are filled with little Easter Eggs which reference the real world and the Shire is based on Tolkien's favourite area in England.
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    It depends. Tolkien is a freaking genius, while someone like JK Rowling just murders the Latin language to make her words, she really has no imagination.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    Nyah, I can't talk for every author out there, I'm sure there are a few who've attempted to truly create their own language. The gods know enough linguists have tried to make up their own, like Esperanto, for instance.

    The names in most sci-fi and fantasy are made up, and then given an arbitrary meaning, again to create the illusion of history. Tolkien's names evolved out of his language. Names in our world mean something, but, like i said, most languages have evolved past the point of understanding them. There was a time when everyone knew what names meant. They're meant to be descriptions of a sort, which is why modern names seem terribly dull compared to older ones.

    Tolkien liked to say that Middle Earth could have existed a long time in the past, further back in time than anyone knows. He certainly set it up to be like that, the books are filled with little Easter Eggs which reference the real world and the Shire is based on Tolkien's favourite area in England.
    I may be wrong on this but Tolkien based a lot of what he wrote on various European older languages like the Norse and SAxon (in regards to Rohan i believe) languages. I do know that his Elvish was based as you said on Finnish and Welsh.

    Forgotten realm writers have created thier own languages as well, so many books have been written that now the basis of such languages as Elvish (particuarly the surface elf races) Orcish and even kobold have the beginnings of a language in place, purely because so much of it is in place now through the dozen upon dozens of books for it.
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    (Original post by DLJ)
    Thanks for your reply mate! So it seems that nobody is as awesome as Tolkien to construct a whole language . In regards to the names, could they just be made up? I mean, they must have been made up from relations somewhere in time?!
    And, you must know your stuff about 'Tolkienology', was Middle Earth on Earth? And the Ages just a long time ago? Or a new planet altogether?

    Thanks again bud!
    middle earth is exactly what it says i believe 'the middle of earth'
    Tolkien was a genius there is no doubt about that but what people forget is that the lord of the rings books where kinda wrote by two people tolkien and a man who he sat in the pub with while writing his book a man who is famous in his own write and an incredible other(my favourite tbh) C.S lewis the creator of the chronicles narnia books

    so theoretically both series where wrote by two people as i find it hard to believe
    mainly as me and my friend both go the pub write are books and ask each other for ideas in times of writers block or check we are consistent
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    (Original post by danmart1n)
    It depends. Tolkien is a freaking genius, while someone like JK Rowling just murders the Latin language to make her words, she really has no imagination.
    I will assume you mean that based purely on her spell namings and not the books themselves which are incredibly imaginative
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    (Original post by danmart1n)
    I JK Rowling just murders the Latin language to make her words, she really has no imagination.
    Riddikulus!
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    Nyah, I can't talk for every author out there, I'm sure there are a few who've attempted to truly create their own language. The gods know enough linguists have tried to make up their own, like Esperanto, for instance.

    The names in most sci-fi and fantasy are made up, and then given an arbitrary meaning, again to create the illusion of history. Tolkien's names evolved out of his language. Names in our world mean something, but, like i said, most languages have evolved past the point of understanding them. There was a time when everyone knew what names meant. They're meant to be descriptions of a sort, which is why modern names seem terribly dull compared to older ones.

    Tolkien liked to say that Middle Earth could have existed a long time in the past, further back in time than anyone knows. He certainly set it up to be like that, the books are filled with little Easter Eggs which reference the real world and the Shire is based on Tolkien's favourite area in England.
    I get ya, so like if I was to make a whole civilisation up out of thin air and call their state name something, I could make up the name and create a meaning too? That would create history, like you said, and could relate to ideologies of the people for extra description? And, like you said, could be part of smaller constructions of language!

    (Original post by danmart1n)
    It depends. Tolkien is a freaking genius, while someone like JK Rowling just murders the Latin language to make her words, she really has no imagination.
    He is, totally agree! He deserves more recognition for what he's done!
    Give J.K. Rowling some credit though, she did, after, all allow for more accreditation of some words like 'muggle' etc! And you have to say she used them rather well!
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    (Original post by silverbolt)
    I will assume you mean that based purely on her spell namings and not the books themselves which are incredibly imaginative
    the books where imaginative when the ideas where formed in the original book they came from
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    (Original post by kopite493)
    middle earth is exactly what it says i believe 'the middle of earth'
    Tolkien was a genius there is no doubt about that but what people forget is that the lord of the rings books where kinda wrote by two people tolkien and a man who he sat in the pub with while writing his book a man who is famous in his own write and an incredible other(my favourite tbh) C.S lewis the creator of the chronicles narnia books

    so theoretically both series where wrote by two people as i find it hard to believe
    mainly as me and my friend both go the pub write are books and ask each other for ideas in times of writers block or check we are consistent
    If you really want to get like that, they were written by more than just two people, as both Tolkien and Lewis used The Inklings as their sounding board. However, Lewis had minimal impact on Tolkien's universe, as Lewis himself says that Tolkien was as "stubborn as a bandersnatch".

    All the languages came from Tolkien himself, though.

    (Original post by silverbolt)
    I may be wrong on this but Tolkien based a lot of what he wrote on various European older languages like the Norse and SAxon (in regards to Rohan i believe) languages. I do know that his Elvish was based as you said on Finnish and Welsh.
    The Rohirrim's language was based on Anglo-Saxon, aye, what little we can see of it.


    (Original post by silverbolt)
    Forgotten realm writers have created thier own languages as well, so many books have been written that now the basis of such languages as Elvish (particuarly the surface elf races) Orcish and even kobold have the beginnings of a language in place, purely because so much of it is in place now through the dozen upon dozens of books for it.
    Not to try and take away that achievement from them, but the Forgotten Realms are a work of many people, and they still only have a basis. When you compare that to something like Tolkien's languages, it's a bit pale. It's better than most, have to admit. I don't read that series, though, so can't make any comment. Paolini for example *******ises Old Norse in his novels.



    (Original post by History-Student)
    [geek-mode]
    The world of LotR is called Arda.

    Arda has two continents side by side, attached at the top like a conjoined twin joined at the head.

    The left is Middle Earth, where LotR is set. The Right is called Valinor, that's where the Silmarillion is set & where the Elves & Frodo go at the end of LotR.

    So no, it's not set on Earth.
    [/geek-mode]
    You should research Tolkien's own thoughts on the matter more then.

    Besides, with the sinking of Númenor, Valinor was sundered from the Middle Earth and is no longer connected to it except by a special sea path, which only the elves can find.

    Furthermore, most of The Silmarillion takes place in Beleriand, not Valinor.
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    (Original post by silverbolt)
    I may be wrong on this but Tolkien based a lot of what he wrote on various European older languages like the Norse and SAxon (in regards to Rohan i believe) languages. I do know that his Elvish was based as you said on Finnish and Welsh.

    Forgotten realm writers have created thier own languages as well, so many books have been written that now the basis of such languages as Elvish (particuarly the surface elf races) Orcish and even kobold have the beginnings of a language in place, purely because so much of it is in place now through the dozen upon dozens of books for it.
    Yep, like he said "Eärendel" was the basis for Tolkien's writing. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon constructions, so you could say the whole base of the Sindarin language could be influenced by Anglo-Saxon. And, come to think of it, all languages relate to each other in some way, you know, there's no unique language as a whole. I mean, English has many derivatives from French (castle) and Latin (animal, aquatic- endless forms), so therefore, over time, languages are naturally dictated by factors in their country. Like wars, trade etc.
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    (Original post by DLJ)
    was Middle Earth on Earth? And the Ages just a long time ago? Or a new planet altogether?

    Thanks again bud!

    (Original post by History-Student)
    [geek-mode]
    The world of LotR is called Arda.

    Arda has largely two continents side by side.

    The left is Middle Earth, where LotR is set (specifically the mid-left bit where the cluster of stuff is.

    So no, it's not set on Earth.
    Pretty sure I came across a quote by Tolkien saying it was meant to be Earth but thousands of years ago, or something along those lines. I can't find the quote...
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    Yeah apparently when Tolkien was a child there was a railway line at the bottom of his garden. The inspiration for his languages came from the welsh trains carrying coal along that track with their crazy welsh names. I really love Lord of the rings and the hobbit. The films don't really capture the essence of the book. Especially the fellowship of the ring. It is supposed to be just some friends in the safe English countryside venturing out into wild foreign lands, but the film ruined that a bit, making it too Hollywood (if thats an adjective).
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    (Original post by Ape Gone Insane)
    Riddikulus!
    "You have reached the limit of how many posts you can rate today!"
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    (Original post by History-Student)
    [geek-mode]
    The world of LotR is called Arda.

    Arda has largely two continents side by side.

    The left is Middle Earth, where LotR is set (specifically the mid-left bit where the cluster of stuff is.

    So no, it's not set on Earth.
    [/geek-mode]

    [wikipedia-mode]

    According to wikipedia: "In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Arda is the name given to the Earth in a period of prehistory, wherein the places mentioned in The Lord of the Rings and related material once existed."

    [/wikipedia-mode]

    Moral of the story- Wikipedia-mode always prevails over Geek-mode :coma:

    Just food for though in terms of the time and authenticity of 'Arda' (but also supports wikipedia). I thought millions of millions of years later, the plates shaped the continents to all be together, like a big land mass in the middle of the sea. So, really, Arda could be this ma-hoo-sive land mass? ORRRRRRRRR, it could be millions of millions of years later, because, naturally, the continents will eventually move together AGAIN? Am I wrong?
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    (Original post by History-Student)
    That map is so badly wrong it hurts. Beleriand is West of The Shire, not North. It was destroyed in the last war against Morgoth. The Ered Luin which you can see west of The Shire in The Lord of the Rings were at the most eastern edge of Beleriand.

    (Original post by DLJ)
    Yep, like he said "Eärendel" was the basis for Tolkien's writing. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon constructions, so you could say the whole base of the Sindarin language could be influenced by Anglo-Saxon. And, come to think of it, all languages relate to each other in some way, you know, there's no unique language as a whole. I mean, English has many derivatives from French (castle) and Latin (animal, aquatic- endless forms), so therefore, over time, languages are naturally dictated by factors in their country. Like wars, trade etc.
    He took the name along, though, and constructed a language based around Finnish from it. Eventually, the word becomes Eärendil, who becomes a star, much like the éarendel of the Anglo-Saxon poem.
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    I find it really interesting to find out what languages he based his invented ones on.

    Some definitely have a more Germanic feel to them. I always thought Elvish might be similar to Welsh or a brythyonic/celtic language? I've never been THAT interested in linguistics to find out, and it's been a while since I've read the books (might make it my "project" this summer )

    As way of saying how good Tolkien is as a writer, his are the only books in the past 7 or 8 years that I have read that either:

    I wasn't forced to read
    Had nothing to do with physics or physical chemistry
    Didn't display television listings
    wasn't a parody of another book/series/franchise

    The guy's a genius.
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    I find it really interesting to find out what languages he based his invented ones on.

    Some definitely have a more Germanic feel to them. I always thought Elvish might be similar to Welsh or a brythyonic/celtic language?
    Sindarin is based on Welsh; Quenya is based on Finnish. That said, knowing either of those won't help you understand Sindarin or Quenya.

    Rohirric is based on Anglo-Saxon, most likely a West-Mercian dialect.

    Dwarvish, we have no idea, as he based dwarves on the Jews and like them, the dwarves have a secret language.
 
 
 
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