Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finnish in Middle Earth

Sophia hasn't read any Tolkien yet. She knows the stories from the movies and has a picture of a certain elf hanging in her room. I read all the books, even Silmarillion. When I read the books, I didn't pay much attention to the elvish or dwarvish, but then I never paid attention to Klingon either.

Tolkein wrote his wonderful books as a vehicle for the languages he invented. Arika Okrent, in her book In the Land of Invented Languages, explains that when The Lord of the Rings was published, Tolkein had been working on the languages for fifty years.

According to Okrent, Tolkein fell in love with Welsh as a child. As a student at Oxford, Tolkein discovered Finnish and said, "It was like discovering a wine-cellar filled with bottles of amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before. It quite intoxicated me."

So, a tipsy toast to Finnish! Kippis!

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