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英语世界文摘:Literary Mysteries: Did Tolkien Really Create Entire Languages for His Books?

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2021年04月08日

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Literary Mysteries: Did Tolkien Really Create Entire Languages for His Books?

文学之谜:所有语言都是托尔金造的?

ByTracy Mumford

文/特雷西·芒福德

Tancave!

That’s Quenya for “yes.”

Tancave!

这在昆雅语中意为“是的”。

Quenya is just one of the dozens oflanguages Tolkien dreamed up for the inhabitants of Middle Earth. Technically, it’s part of the Elvish language family, which has over 15 different languages and dialects within it.

昆雅语只是托尔金为中土世界居民虚构的众多语言之一。严格说来,它属于精灵语系,该语系有超过15种不同的语言和方言。

And that’s only the beginning. Tolkien created his first constructed language when he was just a teenager. He was a master of actual languages as well. He knew 35 different tongues, both ancient and modern – everything from Old Norse to Lithuanian. He taught himself Finnish for fun.

这只是开始。托尔金十几岁时就自创了第一种虚构的语言。他也精通很多现实中的语言。他知晓35种不同语言,包括古代的和现代的——从古斯堪的那维亚语到立陶宛语。为了消遣,他还自学了芬兰语。

For Tolkien, the languages came first. Middle Earth and the “Lord of the Rings” epics were created around his constructed languages. Basically, he invented words and needed speakers.

对托尔金而言,语言最重要。中土世界和“指环王”史诗系列皆围绕他虚构的语言创造而来。从根本上讲,他创造了话语和所需的说话者。

He created the 15 different Elvish dialects, along with languages for the Ents, the Orcs, the Dwarves, the men and the Hobbits and more. He thought of everything: The Dwarves even had a separate sign language, because the forges they worked were too loud.

他创造了15种不同的精灵方言,还为树人、半兽人、矮人、人类和霍比特人等生物创造了各种语言。他把一切都想到了:矮人甚至还有一种单独的手势语,因为他们工作的锻造环境噪音太大。

If Tolkien had gotten his way, the books wouldn’t have even been in English at all. “I should have preferred to write in Elvish,” Tolkien said.

如果由着托尔金自己,他甚至根本都不会用英文来写这些书。“我更想用精灵语来写。”托尔金说。

Of all the languages Tolkien created, two have enough words and grammar to be considered functional. They’re not “complete,” in the sense that they lack niche words, like “flambe” or “hydronucleic acid,” but people do speak and write in them. These languages are both Elvish in origin: Quenya and Sindarin.

在托尔金创造的所有语言中,有两种语言拥有足量的词汇和语法,被认为具有功能性。它们并不“完备”,因为缺少像flambe或hydro nucleic acid这样的术语,但是人们说话和书写的确都用它们。昆雅语和辛达林语都起源于精灵语。

When he died, Tolkien left behind a large number of unpublished works, many of which are still being studied. New words are still being uncovered. Tolkien was meticulous with his languages. His original manuscripts, which are at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., contain extensive notes in the margins about his word use.

托尔金去世后,留下大量尚未出版的著作,其中许多仍在研究之中。人们还在不断发现新的词语。托尔金对自己创造的语言精益求精。他的原稿收藏在位于美国威斯康辛州密尔沃基市的马凯特大学,稿中空白处标注了大量有关其词语使用的注释。

Curious folk who want to converse in Elvish themselves are in good company. The Internet abounds with language worksheets and pronunciation videos to kick start your studies.

想用精灵语交流的好奇者们可以成为好朋友。互联网上有很多语言活页练习和发音视频可供展开研究。

Quel marth!(Good luck!)

Quel marth!(祝你好运!)

(译者单位:上海交通大学)


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