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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars has dated badly, but still the best available
Not for the general reader, this is a collection of essays written by American linguists on the languages of Middle-earth and their history, as can be deuced from TLOTR. It's often degree-level stuff and will go right over the head of anyone without a keen interest in philology. Although it's truly astounding how much detail is uncovered and the standard of scholarship is...
Published on May 4, 1998

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253 of 262 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Originally good, now outdated
I don't really know how many stars to give this book. When it was originally published, it would have deserved four or five stars. Now, to be frank, it only deserves one star if you are interested in Tolkien's languages as such. Well, let's make it two stars, shall we?
When this book appeared in the late seventies, it was about as good as it could be. The authors...
Published on May 11, 2002 by Helge K. Fauskanger


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253 of 262 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Originally good, now outdated, May 11, 2002
By 
Helge K. Fauskanger (Near Bergen, Norway) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
I don't really know how many stars to give this book. When it was originally published, it would have deserved four or five stars. Now, to be frank, it only deserves one star if you are interested in Tolkien's languages as such. Well, let's make it two stars, shall we?
When this book appeared in the late seventies, it was about as good as it could be. The authors were competent and tried to analyze the entire available corpus. However, TONS of new material about Tolkien's languages would be published in the eighties and the nineties. Why, this book even predates the Silmarillion!
The real revolution in Tolkienian linguistics occurred in 1987, about a decade after _Introduction_ was published. Then Christopher Tolkien published the all-important source document "The Etymologies", his late father's main listing of Elvish vocabulary, in the History of Middle-earth book _The Lost Road_. Almost every analysis of Tolkien's languages predating this publication was rendered instantly obsolete.However good and plausible the theories set out in _Introduction_ were when this book first appeared, almost everything has now been obsoleted. Even in the cases where the theories actually turned out to be correct, a present-day student would want to know that this info is indeed "Tolkien fact" and not post-Tolkien speculation. At least 80 % of what we now know about Tolkien's invented languages was quite unknown when _Introduction_ was written and published. I maintain a Tolkien-linguistic web-site, Ardalambion, attempting to present more up-to-date analyses. But even now, very much of Tolkien's linguistic material remains unpublished, and it will probably be decades before all the sources are available and any "definite" presentation of Tolkien's languages can be attempted. I, for one, would be very hesitant to publish anything on paper in the meantime.
Just about the only part of _Introduction_ that has not been hopelessly outdated is the discussion of the two main writing systems, the Tengwar and the Cirth. Yet the info in this section is merely a rather more readable presentation of the very dense descriptions provided by Tolkien in Appendix E of the _Lord of the Rings_ itself. Even this section of _Introduction_ is no longer a "complete" discussion, since much material about yet another Elvish writing system -- the Sarati of Rúmil -- was published only this year (2002).
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars has dated badly, but still the best available, May 4, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
Not for the general reader, this is a collection of essays written by American linguists on the languages of Middle-earth and their history, as can be deuced from TLOTR. It's often degree-level stuff and will go right over the head of anyone without a keen interest in philology. Although it's truly astounding how much detail is uncovered and the standard of scholarship is always rigorous (even despite the odd nutter insisting that TLOTR is actual, literal history), it predates the Silmarillion and all the subsequent books so an update or a new work is desperately needed. Anyone?
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-Tolkien scholars or non-linguists need not apply!, November 1, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
this text is very interesting. it covers the linguistics of the languages of tolkien very well, and is trade-paper published. i like it a lot. however, as the other reviewer pointed out, it predates silmarillion and needs to be updated drastically.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Earliest, But Still the Best, May 30, 2008
This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
Good scholarship is not "obsoleted" by the passage of time, Mr. Fauskanger...

Although Jim Allen et al's 'An Introduction to Elvish' was written before the publication of 'The Silmarillion' and the important 'History of Middle Earth' series it nevertheless remains the most reliable book yet published on Tolkien's invented languages. Further -- unlike Fauskanger's 'Ardalambion' website and Salo's 'A Gateway to Sindarin' -- Jim Allen and his coauthors carefully cite their sources, distinguishing at all times between Tolkien's work and their own necessarily speculative reconstructions. This continues to distinguish it from much else that is written about Tolkien's languages online.

Still a must-have for anyone interested in Tolkien's linguistic creations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars J.R.R Tolkien is Amazing!, December 10, 2012
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This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
This is a super cool book for your collection. I am a big Tolkien fan and got this to see his genius. I love his design of the elvish language and have used it for writing a few little things around the house. Good to add to your bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of knowleddge for Tolkien admirers!!, April 15, 2014
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This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
I must admit, When i first bought this title i was expecting the author to explain elvish and lightly go over the other tongues of middle earth. But once I opened it I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of depth and thought that was put into it! This book has everything that one needs to speak elvish and many other languages of the 3rd age fluently. In closing I must add that I am greatly impressed and glad that I bought this! Thank you Jim Allan for writing it!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Technical book, January 30, 2014
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This review is from: An Introduction to Elvish, Other Tongues, Proper Names and Writing Systems of the Third Age of the Western Lands of Middle-Earth as Set Forth in the Published Writings of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Paperback)
I think this is a technical book in great detail of the various languages Tolkien developed. It's a good book, but be prepared.
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