Tolkien Gateway

Letter 168

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 168
RecipientRichard Jeffery
Date7 September 1955
Subject(s)Languages

Letter 168 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Richard Jeffery, an Oxford student, had some etymological queries. Tolkien replied late, because he was on vacation in Italy (as described in Letter 167). Jeffery had also sent a transcription of his name in Tengwar, to which Tolkien replied that because there is no standard for Tengwar and English, he can't technically make mistakes. Tolkien promised more information on Tengwar in appendices to The Return of the King, but the publishing was delayed because Tolkien tried to include a name-list of etymologies.

As for Jeffery's queries, Tolkien translated Orofarnë as "mountain-dwelling", Lassemista as "leaf-grey", and Carnemírië as "With adornment of red jewels". The plural of onod is enyd, class plural onodrim, but in Gondor, ened was used. Peregrin is a "real modern name", and Tolkien translated it as "traveller in strange countries". Frodo is a real name form Germanic tradition. In Old English, it was Fróda, and fród means "wise by experience".

[edit] Notes

  • Jeffery would later write Letter 347, also containing several linguistic and etymological queries and guesses.
  • Tolkien placed an overlay of Middle-earth on the map of Europe: he referred to Venice as "Gondor" and England as "the North Kingdom".
  • In a postscript, Tolkien wrote, in Quenya Tengwar, "nmárie". This word, known as DTS 12, is obviously namárië, "farewell".