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Quenya, the Black Speech and the Sonority Scale
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on J.R.R. Tolkien's Invented Languages Omentielva Minya, Stockholm 2005, The Arda Society, Stockholm , 2007, 14-21 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The paper explores the phonology and syllable structure of three of the invented languages in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings": the two Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin on the one hand, contrasting these with the Black Speech, represented by the Ring inscription. An English text specimen, representing the linguistic setting of the narrative, is also incuded. The investigation shows that the Elvish languages have a significantly higher proportion of sonorant sounds, both in terms of individual segments and in terms of onsets of both open and closed syllables, than the Black Speech, with English somewhere in between. Similarly, the Elvish languages have a higher proportion of open syllables than both English and the Black Speech. These differences are sufficiently prominent to create an impression of the Elvish languages as pleasant and melodious, while the Black Speech is perceived as harsh and strident. Thus Tolkien managed to create a consistent phonological analogue of the differences between the users of the Elvish languages and the users of the Black Speech.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Arda Society, Stockholm , 2007. 14-21 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18085OAI: diva2:184607
Available from: 2008-01-18 Created: 2008-01-18Bibliographically approved

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Johannesson, Nils-Lennart
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