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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Much Writing and Tolkien Philology

Back at university for term 2. Only a Philosophy and Religious Studies paper this time round. No more English untill the research paper over summer term.

I've been getting up early for the last week and am happy to say that I've written 6 000 words in the last 7 days. Whoohoo!

I've a small pet side-research-thingy.

For those who have read Lord of The Rings, I'm researching the possible origins of Tolkien's word 'Riddermark'. If you happen to be a philologist, hey-ho! Though Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa (my birthplace, woot for the Rainbow Nation!), I'm not sure if he himself spoke Afrikaans, although I'm pretty sure he would have heard the language since the Free State Province (then the Orange Free State), certainly at the time, would have been an Afrikaans stronghold.

The word "ridder" in
Afrikaans means "knight", or more generally, a horse rider. This would fit very well with 'Riddermark', as it is the area of Middle Earth populated by the Rohirrim, famed for their love of horses. The word "ridder" can more generally be applied to Germanic languages, such as Dutch and German. But I have recently become interested in the potential influence that the South African/African landscape could have had on Tolkien's mythologies.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Having read the book and now listening to it again on audio, I have to agree with you. Although this is not the only example of afrikaans creaping into Tolkiens writing. Oliphant is another example and if you read The Silmarillion, you will find he calls Earth or the World Arda (Aarde) also a very afrikaans translation.

Lynne Jamneck said...

Hey Tim,

Yea I picked up on the Oliphant, but The Silmarillion is the one Tolkien I have not read.Thanks for the Aarde nod - more Afrikaans than that you can't get! Are you South African?