Philology And Language In Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings

776 Words4 Pages
Throughout the epic tales described in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, as well as in both The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, philology and language prove to be important aspects of creating a fictional universe that has become interlaced with popular culture. With contributing factors from both Tolkien’s time as a professor of Anglo- Saxon and English literature and language and as a research associate for Oxford English Dictionary, the importance of the language to his literary works is vastly evident. However, Tolkien’s interest in philology and language stemmed from a much earlier time in his life, during which he worked on becoming competent in Latin, Greek, Gothic and Finnish. As a result of this early established interest in language,…show more content…
During the time of World War I, he experienced the war from the trenches. This had a profound impact on Tolkien as it was a contributing factor to the ties he felt to England. As aforementioned, Tolkien was deeply interested in language during his youth, eventually becoming a professor of Old English and other archaic languages. Tolkien had a strong love for such ancient languages, and this interest coupled with the alliance Tolkien felt to England, resulted in a desired to create mythology for his homeland. Tolkien wrote his novels through his life experiences and his love for archaic languages and British lore. It is for this reason that it would seem that Tolkien’s past played a central role in the development of his literary works, as well as in the rise of their popularity. Throughout his novels, Tolkien scatters real-life experiences which provide the reader with an anchor to the storyline which acts as a vehicle of alliance for the reader’s self within the plot. For example, Tolkien likens the cries of the ringwraiths in Return of The King as similar to the sound of artillery shells producing similar effects as the shells on soldiers as “Even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into…show more content…
Tolkien, a linguist before an author, was quoted saying that “Nobody believes me when I say that my long book (LOTR) is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real, […] it was an effort to create a situation in which a common greeting would be elen sila lumenn omentielmo (Carpenter 264-265)”. Over the course of his lifetime, Tolkien created several different languages, such as Elvish (including Quenya and Sindarin), Dwarvish, Black Speech, and Entish. It seems that in Tolkien’s eyes, language was the beginning of a culture rather than only a product of it. Tolkien wrote that “The invention of languages is the foundation,” the ‘stories’ were made rather to fit the notion of the languages than the reverse.” In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien created Middle-earth as a world for his invented language [...]. Each invented language in his works plays an important role in the evolution of events and development of the characters in the story. Language and literature go hand in hand, however it is important for the dialogue of the story because it's one of the main ways for characters to communicate and interact with the world around
Open Document