Language creation was one of the greatest interests that J. R. R. Tolkien had in his life. The Professor’s stories were closely connected with his invented tongues which were an integral and vital part of the whole mythology of Arda. There are a lot of various aspects to look at Tolkien’s language creation from, so to begin with the exploration of this amazing manifestation of his creativity, I am going to look into what makes Tolkien’s languages resemble those we speak in our world.
What is language for a people? The most obvious answer is that it is a means of communication. But what if we look deeper and examine other properties of language rather than communication alone?
Among the characters in The Silmarillion one of the most renowned for his deeds of valour and nobility was Fingolfin’s eldest son Fingon. Named the Valiant, Fingon won great honour for his glorious feats and showed himself as a person of real courage.
The rider’s cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed. To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if through a thin veil.
(Fellowship of the Ring, p. 275) Read more
As many major characters in Tolkien’s work, the greatest villain of Middle-earth Morgoth had a lot of different names and titles among Elves and Men that reflected his character and personality. Read more
Tolkien stated in The Silmarillion that Melkor was the mightiest of the Ainur and surpassed his brethren in many ways. He had a share in everything others knew, but how he chose to apply his unique gifts is a matter for another discussion. While very often Melkor comes across as a pure machinery adept and keen on technology, he had a talent which could make even Fëanor twitch with envy: the First Dark Lord was a gifted linguist.
The Two Trees of Valinor created by Yavanna were the source of illumination in Valinor. Being the luminaries of the natural origin the Trees were noted for their soft light, gentle dew and cycles of waxing and waning which led to the beginning of time measurement.
The matter of Elvish names is one of the most interesting ones in Tolkien’s Legendarium. The way of Elves’ giving names to their children presents a very thought-out system showing the depth of Elvish culture, the importance of family values to them and their skill in giving the names that capture the inner nature of a person. Let’s have a look at the story of Fëanor’s name and how it reflects his personality.
Languages are prone to changes. Influenced by many factors, they never stay the same but always evolve at all levels. J. R. R. Tolkien was well-known for creating his own languages which became more than just different words in his works. His invented languages actually worked within Arda and turned into one of the most important elements of the narrative.