Tolkien's Secret Vice

The discussion about foreign languages has been very cool. Something's occurred to me which might interest those of you writing science fiction or fantasy with your own invented languages.

You probably already know, but in case you don't...Tolkien wrote an essay called A Secret Vice, in which he described how he went about inventing new languages. It's fascinating.

Here is a link to Tolkien's A Secret Vice on scribd. Highly recommended.


This post was brought to you to the tune of Band On The Run.

12 comments:

MattDel said...

I knew Tolkien created all his own languages, but I didn't know he'd actually ended up releasing a book on how he did it (or, more likely, that his son release the book). That's pretty cool.

Mimzy said...

If Tolkien wrote it, it's not out of copywrite yet. I mean, the Lord of the Rings series isn't out of copywrite, so an essay he wrote after the series probably isn't either.

That said, here's an essay that talks about the essay. That'd be safe to post. (Even though I'd doubt the Tolkien estate would care about a blogger posting the essay... Although I've heard that Christopher Tolkien can be a real jerk.)

http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/vice.htm

Gary Corby said...

Useful link, Mimzy. Thanks.

Yes, I know it's only an essay, but I'm sensitive to stepping on other people's copyright. I'm dead sure the essay could be found in most big libraries, anyway. For someone creating a language for a book, it'd be worth the effort.

Joanna said...

All of Tolkien's copyrights are owned by his estates/publishers--not yet public domain!

If you can find a site with the essay online, than someone else pubbed it online and you can link to it without worry.

JM Diaz said...

I'd love to take a look at that. Thanks for bringing it up. I'm sure it I can find it somewhere, now that I know it exists!

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

I have enough trouble with English to go out and try and invent another language. Thanks for the info, though.

Ricky Bush said...

Well, I learn something everytime I cruise to the blog here, Gary. Thanks, for the post and thanks to all you commentators. Anyway--

Gary Corby said...

I've updated the post with a link to the essay on scribd.

Thanks Jo. I'm glad you understand how this works. I'm slightly amazed though. If as I suspect the essay's not on scribd with permission, is it still okay to make use of it?

Joanna said...

You can link to it--don't copy and paste it into your own page. It could be on a site WITH permission--that's second serial rights or other electronic rights.

Loretta Ross said...

Funny you mentioning Tolkien today. I've spent most of a lazy Sunday browsing through Lord of the Rings. I found a nice paperback edition with all three volumes at a junk shop for only $2 and since I'd worn out my last ones I couldn't resist. :)

Have you read Tree and Leaf? I LOVED Mythopoeia. (Not sure I can SPELL it, but I LOVED it. *G*)

Gary Corby said...

Hi Loretta, I do indeed have Tree and Leaf, on the shelves behind me as I write this. I actually enjoyed it more than LOTR.

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