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Old 12-19-2014, 09:22 AM   #16
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 956
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
In my opinion another option on the ear issue is that perhaps Tolkien would have accepted (from illustrators) both a depiction of pointed or 'leaf-shaped' ears (in some measure more than men), or a depiction of regular ears.

Post Lord of the Rings Tolkien wrote:

Q lasse 'leaf' (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf'.
So a root LAS- from which hail 'leaf-words', yet only applied to certain kinds of leaves, is thus possibly related to LAS- 'listen words' and SLAS- 'ear words'. Possibly also allows 'possibly not' in my opinion... and while we can note that this phrasing echoes 'some think this is related' in a similar statement about similar LAS- words back in Etymologies, in Etymologies the reason some thought this is given however, as it is stated there that the Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than human ears (in this earlier conception at least).

In ther words, in the 1950s or later Tolkien may or may not have made up his own mind about this detail, but even if he had, I think he was possibly prepared to accept illustrations of both ideas. Of course, internally both cannot be true, but even JRRT might play the game, meaning he might characterize his own vision as one interpretation of his 'translated work'.

Even if Tolkien had rejected his own former notion, if perhaps desiring to further distance his Quendi from the Elves of other legends, he had already published Elvish words like lassi 'leaves' and lasto 'listen' and Amon Lhaw.

Still, I think the path was yet open to the suggestion that this linguistic detail might have helped give rise to the 'incorrect' idea of Elves being pointy eared (the truer version of 'Elves' being revealed in his boooks). Again, if desired. Tolkien had put 'short' or 'winged' Elves off the table, but I wonder how he would have ulimately phrased the 'LAS- scenario' had he himself published his own account in The Lord of the Rings.

Anyway, I've already asked Hammond and Scull if the texts written in reaction to the artwork by Pauline Baynes (since not all of these descriptions have yet been published) reveal Tolkien's thoughts about Legolas' hair colour (who is hooded in the illustration by Pauline Baynes) or Elvish ears in general, and their answer was...

... no
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