Friday 28 December 2007

Looking forward to the New Year

It was certainly a busy autumn professionally and especially with the start of a new job in a new arena for me I did really start to feel the way Tolkien felt when he tried to fit in all his work on languages and Middle Earth into a busy schedule and keeping a roof over his families head and food on the table. So I am looking forward to 2008 because besides keeping up studies in Old English, Old Norse, Welsh, Greek and Latin (currently in play with Harrius Potter 1) I also want to embark on learning the oldest Indo European languages - Hittite and also get more of Tolkien's languages under my belt.
The recent publishing by the invaluable Elvish Linguistic Fellowship of Parma Eldalamberon 17
A Guide to Names and Places in Lord of the Rings has opened up a lot of new information on the key languages and I have just given this one read - so I will be tucking into this more and developing some key models for the languages.

I am currently reading a first edition translation of The Ancrene Riwle (Ancrene Wisse) which my partner gave me for Christmas. This is the edition by M. Salu who was a student of Tolkien. The Ancrene Riwle is a guide for female nuns and was written in the 12th century in the midlands (Tolkien has a keen linguistic interest in this due to the Early Middle English (Semi Saxon as he called it) midlands dialect it was written in. It was most likely written by a student priest and exists in several versions which go all the way up to the 15th century. One of the key messages that I have seen at the outset is the idea of being physically and morally "pure" to have a truly contemplative relationship with God. Of course a lot of the Riwle is about how to ward off those terrible evil impure thoughts (all those nuns together - reminds me of that scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail with all the maidens in Castle Anthrax!) - should be an interesting read.

There's also a new spate of Tolkien books to read and I am (as Professor Simon Schama so beautifully put it on a recent Radio 4 podcast) about to set off on the grand voyage with the new translation of War and Peace which is sitting on my bedside table waiting to be opened.

So it looks like its going to be a fun interesting year and with my new WIFI mini laptop I should get more postings in!!

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