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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 3:45 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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Lol I must be doing something wrong because I always loose when I argue with myself! O_@


Anywyas, it makes sense, as you say, that Tolkien simply thought orc would be a good name for the creatures. The more you lay it out it seems more and more as though orcs, Goblins, and Uruk are all the same.

Having done some writing myself I have found myself using a comin English word for something butblater on in the text using a word from in "in world" language simply to first introduce the reader to it in the term they are familiar with. Then, sometimes, I catch myself alternating between the two without even thinking about it. Something to this effect might be possible as well.

It could, perhaps, be like translting a creature into the term Monster. A comonly know word in English. Bit monster is non- specific. They cone in all shapes and sizes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 7:53 pm 
Gondorian
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Good point Jax. As the writing flows out, and Tolkien being "tuned into" words and the flow of sentences, he probably just thought "goblin" sounded good in some sentences in The Lord of the Rings, despite that, in time, he generally preferred orc.

To me the word orc at least sounds "bigger and meaner" than goblin, but I'm not sure why. And to me the word hund sounds bigger than dog too...

... but "sound sense" is pretty subjective, and perhaps I am more used to thinking small when I hear "goblin" based on other fairy tales and stories (while ogres and trolls are often large).


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 8:58 pm 
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Yes, sound sense is extremily subjective. No mistaking that.

I, too, tend to think of smaller creatures when the word Goblin is used... But as you say I think it is die to other fairy tales and stories. In English Goblin (in my experience) is used for small evil creatures. If you look up the defenition (at least the one I found) it refers to them as dwarf- like. So small. Though this has nothing to do with Tlkien lore or middle earth.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 9:31 am 
Gondorian
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Well, just when you thought (or hoped) I was done... :)

... there is another seemingly popular distinction that I must disagree with, and it's suggested on the current Wikipedia page (although interestingly, it's not stated there as boldly as it used to be): that the word "goblin" represents some special word used by Hobbits.

In other words, while the theory seemingly agrees that goblins and orcs are the same thing, it proposes that the Hobbits still had a special term for these creatures. Or to think of it in terms of Tolkien's translation conceit (since no one spoke English back in Frodo's day): the theory appears to submit that the Hobbits used "some word" represented by English goblin, while other folk used some word represented by English "orc", or the word orc itself.

Generally speaking it's not impossible, give that the Hobbits had a "special" word for themselves for example, a different word than used by other Westron speakers (see below with respect to the word kuduk), but I don't think the idea holds up for orc and goblin, given the details here. First, the Wikipedia passage:

Quote:
"Tolkien sometimes, particularly in The Hobbit, used the word goblin instead of orc to describe the creatures. He notes that 'orc' is 'usually translated' as 'goblin'. In The Lord of the Rings, 'goblin' is also used as an alternative to 'orc', particularly in chapters describing events from a hobbit's perspective. Thus, the Uruk-hai of Isengard and the Mordor orc-captain Grishnakh are described as both 'orcs' and 'goblins' in The Lord of the Rings." Orc, current Wikipedia page


The description here starts off well enough (if brief), but in my opinion ends up suggesting that Hobbits used an alternative to orc. First off, what about all the chapters in which we have Frodo and Sam in or near Mordor, for examples? Anyone have a version of The Lord of the Rings that allows an easy word search? As far as I know the word "goblin" does not appear in any chapter with Frodo and Sam in it after the breaking of the Fellowship, and I don't think the word occurs at all in The Return of the King.

But it doesn't matter much, because in the same quote Wikipedia refers to about translation, it's noted that orc is the Hobbits' form of the name "given at that time", and that it is not an English word. The translation is in English, but orc is not English. The Hobbits used Westron orc.


But this idea has even been raised by noted Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey. In his article History in Words, Tolkien's Ruling Passion, Mr. Shippey writes:

Quote:
'I used to say that Tolkien dropped the word goblin after he introduced the word orc, because he was not satisfied with its etymology [...] I was wrong about goblin, as the Thesaurus again revealed to me, with nine uses of the word in The Lord of the Rings. The Thesaurus also reveals, however, that the word tends to be used, in The Lord of the Rings, not by the wise and the long-lived, like Gandalf or Elrond, but by the Hobbits*: and hobbits, like modern English-speakers, are not good at etymology. The word is perhaps part of their low-style speech mode, which attracts particular attention in Gondor and indeed in the Riddermark. Tolkien's use of language, in short, is deep and consistent, and the Thesaurus helps you trace it.'


But Mr. Shippey is "guilty" here of relying not on The Lord of the Rings but a secondary source, a thesaurus. And it turns out that the number of instances in this thesaurus is not correct. Also, he notes that the word "tends" to be used by Hobbits, which in my opinion hardly makes for a fully consistent theory at least, even if it was true (stressing if).

Also it appears that Shippey is discounting The Hobbit itself, in order to say that folks like Elrond or Gandalf don't "use" goblin. Well, granted we all know that The Hobbit was not, at first, written with a lot of care regarding such things, as it began as a tale for Tolkien's children, so (it may be argued) that Tolkien wasn't trying to suggest anything with usage in this book. That said, Tolkien revised the book twice and at least aruably desired things in The Hobbit to be consistent with The Lord of the Rings.

He never fully got there, but in my opinion Tolkien did get there with respect to the matter of orc versus goblin, and in any case I think JRRT would want a scenario to arguably "work" using everything he published. Anyway, Mr. Shippey notes:

Quote:
*five times out of nine the word is either used by a Hobbit or in an entirely hobbitic context. Gimli and Gamling the Rider also use the word once, the latter perhaps showing the connection between the Rider's language and the ancestral speech of the hobbits. Twice it is used in general narration.'


The Thesaurus noted here is Richard Blackwelder's. I don't have it, but for myself I have counted more instances of goblin in The Lord of the Rings than nine. And although I count instances of the word in a compound, if Shippey is counting Gamling's example, this is also a compound in any case.


So far [there may be more instances that I have missed] I find 7 examples of narration rather, plus 4 Hobbit related examples (2 Merry, 1 Sam, 1 Frodo thinking), plus 2 examples of someone other than Hobbits speaking: 1 Gimli and 1 Gamling. I assume then that Mr. Shippey's 'five' includes the four Hobbit examples plus the example of the goblin-barkers in narration, possibly being part of a 'hobbitic context'.

But we could put a different emphasis on things here: more often than not [9 examples out of 13] we simply have narration or someone other than a hobbit speaking, and Gamling is speaking Westron in any case. I'm not sure this usage necessarily speaks to Tolkien being consistent about employing 'goblin' to represent a low-style speech of the Hobbits. Gamling uses 'orc' just before 'goblin' and this example may simply illustrate the desire [of the author] to use variant terminology in the same sentence.

For Shippey's theory to work better, as I think I undestand things, 'goblin' as a modern translation should translate some word other than orc. Something like...

Westron Kuduk -- used by Hobbits, translated 'Hobbit'
Westron Banakil -- used by other folk, translated 'Halfling'

Which would leave us with the possibility:

unknown Westron word used by Hobbits [in low speech style] -- translated 'goblin'
unknown Westron word used by other folk -- translated 'orc'

But in my opinion, I think we ultimately have rather:

Westron orc used by Hobbits and other folk -- translated 'goblin' (just not all the time).

Again, as we can see, not only is orc said to be the Hobbits' form of the word "given at that time", but Tolkien directly characterizes orc as a Westron word, and not English, thus not a translation. Moreover, I note Appendix F: 'Orcs and the Black Speech. Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people, as it was in the language of Rohan. In Sindarin it was orch. Related, no doubt, was the word uruk of the Black Speech...' Appendix F

I note too that this is not the 'On Translation' section of Appendix F, and 'other races' must [I think] refer to races other than orcs. Also, the other words mentioned here [orch, uruk] are words actually spoken in Middle-earth, not translations.

This would also seem to explain that Gamling really said orc in Westron, just like the Hobbits, and that he would have used this word in his own tongue too I guess, even if 'goblin' was used by the modern translator in the Gamling example.

A further confusion comes in because of the fact that (A) in the conceit Tolkien used Old English to represent the actual language of the Rohirrim (they did not speak Old English, that would be impossible, but their language has been translated with Old English, like Modern English has been translated into Westron), and (B) we know that the external inspiration for the word orc is Old English.

So some folks think the word orc is itself a translation, and in at least one (possibly more than one, I can't recall at the moment) posthumously published text, even Tolkien appears to think orc has been used in translation. But Appendix F has two sections, one on languages and one on translation...

... and again, the Appendix F quote above is not from the translation section, and reads perfectly in accord with orc being a Westron word: other races plural (other than orcs) used orc, not simply the Rohirrim.

Of course other races used the word orc, as the Hobbits used it, and it was Westron. To my mind it all fits :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 1:40 pm 
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Hm... I wouldn't reckon that the hobbits would have used the actual word "goblin" since it is an english word.


The translations can get pretty complicated it seems. Figuring what is translates and what was not and how etc... With names, though, it could be easily understandible that they would not translate.

Such as if the creatures are orcs... That is simply what they are and so it would be reasonible to use their actual name even though it is not an english word. We might use the English term Goblin to refer to them so us english speakers might have some sortnof mental referance to know just what an "orc" might be since we have mever seen one prior to the movies... But the actual creature would be orc.


Just like a tiger is not a cougar but if you were explaining it to someone who had seen ancougar but knew nothing of tigers you might tell them it is a large cat that looks like a cougar only with stripes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 1:48 pm 
Gondorian
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Yes, for clarity, Tom Shippey must mean some Westron word translated by goblin, not the actual word goblin of course. Although sometimes even Tolkien arguably confused himself with this... as at one point in the story, for example, he suggests that Old English Orthanc is the actual name used by the Rohirrim (in a time well before even Old English had arisen in history)!

:-D

I suspect Tolkien could not resist having his fun here, as he wanted Orthanc to be a name in both Sindarin and the language of the Rohirrim.


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 4:49 pm 
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Well, i guess itnmight be possible. There are some words that mean totally different things in two languages yet are still a word in each language. *shrugs*

But who knows, maybe he just smidges the lines a wee bit because he liked the sound of it. Lol

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 7:05 pm 
Gondorian
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Yes that's possible, but what I mean is, Tolkien seems to have forgotten, or put aside his own conceit, in order to have this wordplay. Keeping in mind that the Rohirrim pre-date Old English in the historic scenario, Tolkien language expert Carl Hostetter put it this way:

"Alberto also asked whether orthanc, which in Sindarin means "Mount Fang", and which is said to mean "Cunning Mind" in "the language of the Mark of Old", is Old English. Yes, it is, and it does mean "cunning mind". However, the implication of Tolkien's statement is that the word has the same form and meaning in actual Rohirric (otherwise, there would be no pun apparent to the characters). A remarkable coincidence, indeed!" Carl Hostetter

So basically we've seemingly got:

Orthanc Sindarin "Mount Fang"

Orthanc Language of the Rohirrim "Cunning Mind"... and Orthanc meaning "Cunning Mind" in a language that didn't yet exist back when the Rohirrim were riding about in Rohan, that is, Old English.

;-)


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 5th, 2015, 8:59 pm 
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I see. Well, I guess there are bound to be a few things such as that.

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