Elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo *

A star shines upon the hour of our meeting. – Standard Elvish greeting

I had an acquaintance at university who was a bit of an odd duck.  (OK, many of my acquaintances and friends were and are odd ducks, wanna make something of it?)  He was a tall, thin fellow with a very wispy blond moustache and goatee beard and long hair in a ponytail, and rode his motorcycle everywhere so he was always carrying his helmet (or wearing it – even when not on the bike).  I  am ashamed to admit that I cannot for the life of me remember his name.  What I do remember is that he took his love of anything Tolkein to a new level, and spent endless hours studying the Elvish language, reading, speaking, and writing it.  For a year he wrote me letters in Elvish at least once a week, and left Elvish notes on my dorm room door.  (Alas, when I moved out of the dorm we drifted apart and I rarely saw him except for the occasional coffee/tea on campus.)  Over the year, I began to recognise Elvish words and phrases, although I never mastered the alphabet…and now  that scant knowledge is long gone.  I was pretty fascinated by it, but as a linguistics major I was already juggling studies in alphabets, phonetics, semantics, etc, not to mention researching five languages.   So I didn’t tackle another that I wouldn’t be taking exams for.

I hadn’t thought about this guy for years.  Decades, even.  Until last week. Author and former teacher Stephen D. Rogers has published The Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: From Elvish to Klingon, The Anwa, Reella, Ealray, Yeht (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons.  

This very cool book  includes thousands of words in more than 100 languages pulled from history (such as 19th century Volapük, Esperanto), literature (like Parseltongue, or Hardic, Osskili, and Kargish from Ursula Leguin’s Tales From Earthsea), and pop culture (Dungeons and Dragons).  There are pronunciation and punctuation guides, numbering systems, as well as must-know conversational terms.   How do you say “Where is the bathroom?” in Klingon?  Or “Open the door!” in Vulcan?  What about “I apologize for this moron” in Avatar’s Na’vi?    Find out here.

This book was clicked onto my wish list so fast I may have scorched the keyboard.

A fun book to peruse, and a great addition to the reference shelf!  A wonderful buni*.

* Gift in asa’pili, as spoken by the people of  bolo’bolo.

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.    ~ Rita Mae Brown


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