Saturday, March 31, 2012

Who knew? Tolkien liked linguistics!

I thought this was so cool. This past week I learned in my sociolinguistics class about conlang, better  known as constructed languages. There are people that dedicate all their time and efforts into creating languages (rather than a language forming naturally) and that conlanging is a big thing for certain fantasy books and t.v. series. I have not read any of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books but I know of them because of the movies. Well, did you know that Mr. Tolkien was in fact a linguist (who learned a BUNCH of languages, including  Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh?!) Holy crap. That and he learned other cool things like being a codebreaker. Like whoa. It amazes me sometimes the knowledge that the human brain is able to retain--and that some as fortunate as Mr. Tolkien are able to be so brilliant. So brilliant that he created many of the languages used by his characters in his stories. Seriously, there's a list of them.

Discovering that Tolkien was a conlanger makes me look at Lord of the Rings in an entirely different way. I've always planned on reading his books sometime during my life but now that I know about his linguistic background, I find myself appreciating his work a little more. He tied his love of literature and mythology with linguistics and created one of the most well-known fantasy series of all time.

Other books and t.v. series/movies where conlanging has been used? Game of Thrones, peeps. The Dothraki language was created for the show by another conlanger. I had a video that I wanted to show you but blogger's not letting me show it properly ;P Here's the link if you're interested. And to those who've seen Avatar, the Na'vi language spoken in the movie was created by another conlanger.

Sigh, this stuff is SO AWESOME. I love being a linguistics major!

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