LIN F312 • Linguistics of Tolkien's Middle Earth-W
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
In this course, we will study the languages of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Middle Earth." Tolkien is best remembered as the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and other books, but he was first and foremost a professional linguist who invented languages as a hobby. He wrote his fictional works in order to provide a historical 'context' for his inventions. His languages, such as Dwarvish (Khûdzul), Orcish (the Black Speech), and Elvish (Quenya and Sindarin), are therefore based on his knowledge of real-world languages such as Old English, Old Norse, Welsh, Finnish, and others. The first unit will include how Tolkien's languages "work": what sounds they include, how these sounds are put together to form words and sentences, how they are related to each other by processes of historical change, and how these processes reflect the real-world linguistics that Tolkien drew upon as source material. In the second unit we will study how the sounds and words of Tolkien's languages reflect the cultural and moral characteristics of the peoples who speak them, and how this relates to our own beliefs about language and culture. The third unit of the course will examine real-world use of 'fictional' or 'invented' languages like Tolkien's Elvish, Star Trek's Klingon, or Esperanto.
Class Participation: 20% Written Assignments: 30% Quizzes and Exams: 20% Final Project: 30%
Course Packet Tolkien, J.R.R: The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King), Noel, Ruth S: The Languages of Tolkien's Middle Earth Additional readings to be assigned in class. Students who have not already read "The Lord of the Rings" are very strongly encouraged to do so prior to the beginning of the course.