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Old 09-26-2022, 07:55 AM   #1
Huinesoron
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Silmaril How does Earendil speak Beorian?

A certain quote from HoME XII's The Problem of Ros came up in another thread, and I have A Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Problem of Ros
It is said that before Manwe [Earendil] spoke the errand of Elves and Men first in Sindarin, since that might represent all those of the suppliants who had survived the war with Morgoth; but he repeated it in Quenya, since that was the language of the Noldor, who alone were under the ban of the Valar; and he added a prayer in the Mannish tongues of Hador and Beor*, pleading that they were not under the ban, and had aided the Eldar only in their war against Morgoth, the enemy of the Valar.

*The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Turin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.
How exactly did Earendil speak Beorian? Tolkien's notes after finishing The Problem of Ros indicate that 1) most of it doesn't work, but 2) the key details around the use of Beorian hold up. It seems that Beren taught it to Luthien, but gave up speaking it himself; Dior learnt and spoke it, and used it in the name of his daughter Elwing and (possibly) one of his sons, Elured. Earendil then used the -wing element of his wife's name in the name of his ship. All well and good, but that's one word of Beorian.

Elwing was born in the same year Beren and Luthien died, so she definitely didn't pick it up from them. Dior was killed when she was three, so while she was probably talking and had basic childhood Beorian (assuming Dior used it around the house), she wasn't exactly fluent. There's no indication of mortal residents in Doriath at the time, so presumably anyone who escaped with her spoke Sindarin only. It seems a stretch to say that Earendil learnt it from her.

So did he get it from his own family? Again, it seems unlikely. Tuor's mother was Beorian, but he never knew her; he was fostered by elves of Mithrim, who presumably spoke Sindarin and maybe Hadorian. Idril definitely didn't know it - she was locked up in the mountains since before the language existed. There weren't any mortals in Gondolin to teach him, either.

That only leaves other refugees at the Havens. They would have to be descendants of the refugees of Dorthonion, who left under Emeldir and included Morwen and Rian. Were they so numerous and/or stubborn that they stuck to their own language through integration with the Hadorians, enslavement by the Easterlings, and then evacuation to the Havens? Were they even at the Havens? Tolkien only wrote about Doriath and Gondolin as the sources for Earendil's settlement, with the others seeming to be over in Balar.

None of these routes ring particularly true. I'm left with the image of Earendil delivering his speech in Sindarin, Quenya, and Hadorian, and then stumbling through a version in broken Beorian that Elwing helped him write from her vague memories of her father. He tries to say "Great Powers of the West" and ends up saying "Big Bossypants over there".

~

There's also a colossal snub in that quote: Unfinished Tales says that Druedain moved to the Mouths of Sirion after the fall of the Haladin, and we know that they eventually moved to Numenor. They would have spoken both their own language and Haladin (to chat to their neighbours), so it would definitely have been possible for Earendil to learn the supposedly-extinct language of Haleth. But did he bother to include the Druedain in his multi-lingual statement? Nope! He used Beorian instead, to give representation to one-quarter of his wife's ancestry.

hS
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Old 09-26-2022, 01:46 PM   #2
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I think we have to assume the possibility that there were Edain at the Havens, absent any definitive statement they were NOT: the Edain were proven allies of the Eldar, people who are in terror of their lives flee, and where else were they going to flee to? And we needn't be talking about enough individuals that it would a remarked-upon contingent within the community: it could just be a few escaping refugees fleeing south and taken in.

But there's always the possibility that Eärendil learnt it from the Eldar: even if the Havens were more Doriathrin/Gondolindrim in make-up than aught else, Círdan's community on Balar surely included refugees from the Finarfinian realms: i.e. the realms where "Mannish" probably meant the tongue of Bëor, Barahir, and Beren. Given his sea-faring, it's not unreasonable to think that Eärendil would have had the opportunity to know various members of the Balar community.

Either way, it is likely enough that Eärendil did have to pick up Bëorian as an "extra" language, but that doesn't seem like something to be wondered at in someone with Elvish blood: picking up languages was one of their great skills and delights, and there is definitely evidence somewhere that Eärendil felt a closer kinship with his Mannish side (if I recall correctly, Tolkien states that he chose an Elvish fate despite feeling closer to his father's side): and I don't cite this as proof that he wouldn't be good at learning languages; I'm say that as a half-Elf learning languages, he'd be motivated to learn the tongues of his Mannish side (and either Bëorian refugees or Elves who saw him as more Half-Man in a benign way would be prone, I think, to pass this heritage along).

Certainly, given its kinship to Hadorian proto-Adûnaic, I think Bëorian would have been fairly easy if he had a knowledgeable teacher--a reason, perhaps, why Bëorian would have been learned, rather than the tongue of Haleth--like an Englishman learning Dutch.

It's perhaps even possible to concoct a love story, wherein Eärendil seeking to learn more of his Mannish forebears from the Finrodian element of the mariners on Balar, discovers that he shares not just a kinship but a rare language with Elwing, who learned Bëorian from human refugees that helped her and her nurse to the Havens from the wrack of Doriath.
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Old 09-26-2022, 04:03 PM   #3
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The published Sil sidesteps the issue as Earendil "called aloud in many tongues, both of Elves and Men" without specifying the tongues, and for grammar to work just one tongue of Men would suffice - though I wouldn't say 3 languages is "many" (Quenya, Sindarin, Mannsih?) - but then is 4 many (if you have 2 Mannish tongues)? or 5? How many do you need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
He tries to say "Great Powers of the West" and ends up saying "Big Bossypants over there".
Hey, he was doing his best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
Certainly, given its kinship to Hadorian proto-Adûnaic, I think Bëorian would have been fairly easy if he had a knowledgeable teacher--a reason, perhaps, why Bëorian would have been learned, rather than the tongue of Haleth--like an Englishman learning Dutch.
If Tolkien's ever said anything on the matter of these languages, I've forgotten, but my headcanon was that the Mannish tongues were related to each other - if not different dialects of the same speech, then languages of the same family. Similar to the different languages/dialects of Elvish. And at least between the people of Beor and Hador there seemed to be enough connections and intermingling throughout history to make it plausible that the two languages did not drift that far apart.

And I also agree about other mortal refugees at the Havens. Lots of people fled Dorthonion with Emeldir, and lots more probably fled in a less organized fashion, and surely they didn't all settle in the same spot. Of course everything went awry after the Nirnaeth, so if there was any Beorian-established settlement in South Beleriand it probably did not survive, and the more solitary refugees might not have held on to their language - but if there were any survivors, the environs of the Havens was the only place they could end up in significant enough concentrations. And they very well might have held on to their language, because people do in real life, moving doesn't always mean forgetting - immigration and assimilation come on a spectrum. Elwing might even have found a bunch of "compatriots" at the Havens who would have hailed her as a figure of honour in their community just by virtue of being Beren's granddaughter and the last heir of the line of Beor. I think it's not impossible that Earendil could have picked it up at the Havens (new fanfic idea: Earendil learning Beorian while courting Elwing ).
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Old 09-26-2022, 04:56 PM   #4
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Like everyone else. He used a web-based language learning software. Duh.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
( . . .) If Tolkien's ever said anything on the matter of these languages, I've forgotten, but my headcanon was that the Mannish tongues were related to each other - if not different dialects of the same speech, then languages of the same family. Similar to the different languages/dialects of Elvish. And at least between the people of Beor and Hador there seemed to be enough connections and intermingling throughout history to make it plausible that the two languages did not drift that far apart.
In The Problem of ROS itself, the speech of the Hadorians is said to be related to the tongue of Beor's folk: "(probably about as nearly as Noldorin Quenya to Telerin of Valinor): communication between the two peoples was possible but imperfect, mainly because of phonetic changes in the Beorian dialect."

Here it's added that the language of the folk of Haleth, "so far as it was later known, appears to have been unrelated (unless in remote origin) and unintelligble to the other peoples."

The essay goes on to say that the folk of Beor continued to speak their own tongue among themselves with fair purity, though many Sindarin words were borrowed and adapted by them. "This was of course the native tongue of Beren . . ."

Emphasis on the scenario as described in this late essay at least!

A note adds that the Halethian language was already failing before Turin's time, and finally perished after Hurin in his wrath destroyed the small land and people.

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Old 09-26-2022, 06:55 PM   #6
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A note adds that the Halethian language was already failing before Turin's time, and finally perished after Hurin in his wrath destroyed the small land and people.
How was the language failing? Just that the number of speakers was dwindling? Or the language was becoming too dilute and polluted with the additions of all the refugees fleeing to Brethil after the Nirnaeth?
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Old 09-26-2022, 10:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
How was the language failing? Just that the number of speakers was dwindling? Or the language was becoming too dilute and polluted with the additions of all the refugees fleeing to Brethil after the Nirnaeth?
Oh. I wasn't prepared for a follow up question
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Old 09-27-2022, 02:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I think it's not impossible that Earendil could have picked it up at the Havens (new fanfic idea: Earendil learning Beorian while courting Elwing ).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
It's perhaps even possible to concoct a love story, wherein Eärendil seeking to learn more of his Mannish forebears from the Finrodian element of the mariners on Balar, discovers that he shares not just a kinship but a rare language with Elwing, who learned Bëorian from human refugees that helped her and her nurse to the Havens from the wrack of Doriath.
Okay that's actually adorable. Having him learn from Balar-dwellers means keeping Elwing unaware that the language still even exists, until Earendil reveals his lessons to her, possibly when he names his boat. (Though a CT note says that -wing as Beorian might have been dropped later, so maybe not that.)

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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
I think we have to assume the possibility that there were Edain at the Havens, absent any definitive statement they were NOT: the Edain were proven allies of the Eldar, people who are in terror of their lives flee, and where else were they going to flee to? And we needn't be talking about enough individuals that it would a remarked-upon contingent within the community: it could just be a few escaping refugees fleeing south and taken in.
I've always had it in my head that the Havens were originally a mix of everyone, but were then abandoned in Cirdan's retreat to Balar. The Doriath/Gondolin group then made their own settlement, which was just them. I don't know how accurate that is though.

... actually, "Problem of Ros" itself answers the question. "In the havens of refuge... there were several tongues to be heard... among the Men of the Atani some still used their Mannish speeches; and of all these Earendil had some knowledge." I guess I didn't read the source text well enough, oops. ^_^

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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
But there's always the possibility that Eärendil learnt it from the Eldar: even if the Havens were more Doriathrin/Gondolindrim in make-up than aught else, Círdan's community on Balar surely included refugees from the Finarfinian realms: i.e. the realms where "Mannish" probably meant the tongue of Bëor, Barahir, and Beren. Given his sea-faring, it's not unreasonable to think that Eärendil would have had the opportunity to know various members of the Balar community.
That's a fair point, and works best if Gil-Galad is of the Golden House: he must have come from Nargothrond with someone, right? But I'm not sure how much traffic there was between the Mouths of Sirion and Balar, because... if there was the option, why didn't Tuor evacuate to the island? The mainland is emphatically Not Safe at this point, the only place still in active resistance to Morgoth is Ossiriand, and that's full of Feanorians who just destroyed Doriath.

Though maybe the Mannish refugees are an answer to that? The Mouths of Sirion isn't just a hidden settlement - it's a transit point for people escaping the ruin of Beleriand. All Welcome (unless your father-name has a -finwe in it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
How was the language failing? Just that the number of speakers was dwindling? Or the language was becoming too dilute and polluted with the additions of all the refugees fleeing to Brethil after the Nirnaeth?
The note suggests that the Haladin just switched to Sindarin. "The languages of the Holk of Haleth... appears to have been unrelated... to the other two peoples. * This was the reason... why the chieftains, elders, and wise men and women of the Atani learned Sindarin. The Halethian language was already failing" etc etc. "Wanderings of Hurin" notes that it was out of daily use.

I think there was a fair amount of traffic between the mortal realms. The remnants of Dorthonion reached Dor-lomin by way of Brethil; Hurin and Huor were fostered there. I recall from Letters that Tolkien was against the trend of languages vanishing during globalisation, so I suspect that's what he showed happening: to communicate with their neighbours, the Haladin forgot their own language, and almost as a "therefore" they faded away and were lost.

hS
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Old 09-27-2022, 05:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hui
Okay that's actually adorable. Having him learn from Balar-dwellers means keeping Elwing unaware that the language still even exists, until Earendil reveals his lessons to her, possibly when he names his boat. (Though a CT note says that -wing as Beorian might have been dropped later, so maybe not that.)
Maybe that's the new question: did Elwing know Beorian, and if so, then how.

If I remember correctly, both Earendil and Elwing were kids when their respective kingdoms fell and they were sped away to the Havens. Elwing lived in the same Havens aa Earendil, with the same presumed Mannish refugees. Why would she not also learn at least a bit about her mortal side of the family while living there? Earendil might have learned Beorian independently or after meeting Elwing, but Elwing did not learn because of Earendil - she should have been flocked by the remaining Beorians. Of course they might have been speaking Sindarin when addressing her, but she would have been at the very least aware of the existence of their language.

What am I missing? Why would she discover the language from Earendil, when she could easily (re)discover it directly?
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Old 09-27-2022, 07:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Maybe that's the new question: did Elwing know Beorian, and if so, then how.

If I remember correctly, both Earendil and Elwing were kids when their respective kingdoms fell and they were sped away to the Havens. Elwing lived in the same Havens aa Earendil, with the same presumed Mannish refugees. Why would she not also learn at least a bit about her mortal side of the family while living there? Earendil might have learned Beorian independently or after meeting Elwing, but Elwing did not learn because of Earendil - she should have been flocked by the remaining Beorians. Of course they might have been speaking Sindarin when addressing her, but she would have been at the very least aware of the existence of their language.

What am I missing? Why would she discover the language from Earendil, when she could easily (re)discover it directly?
Elwing was about three, Earendil about ten (always "about", because Tolkien's timelines were in flux and quite old). If the NoME stuff about half-elven aging is accurate, we'd expect them both to be small for their age, but advanced - maybe Elwing is cognitively a five year old, Earendil perhaps fifteen.

So Earendil has good memories of Gondolin. His mother-tongue is Quenya, and Tuor would definitely have taught him North Sindarin (they expected to have to evacuate the city, after all). Did Tuor know Hadorian? Maybe, if his foster-father taught him. He would definitely know Easterling (he was a slave for four years), but it's anyone's guess whether the enslaved population of Dor-lomin were allowed to use Sindarin, Hadorian, or neither.

It's even possible that Tuor learnt 'proper' Hadorian only in Gondolin! Pengolodh the Loremaster lived there, and it's impossible to believe he wouldn't have had Hurin and Huor teach him their language. How excited he must have been to have a new speaker show up after all those years - and, frankly, how much more excited to realise he needed to teach Tuor, not the other way round.

Elwing would have a child's grasp of Doriathrin Sindarin. She would have at least a little Beorian, because we know Dior spoke it - at the least, he'd use endearments and idioms that didn't translate. With no other Beorian speakers in Doriath, would he have deliberately raised Elwing and her brothers to use it? Maybe. But it would still be a second language, and she wouldn't have much.

In the Havens... in that quote I was building off the idea that Earendil picked Beorian up deliberately from Nargothrondrim sailors over from Balar. Elwing wouldn't have much reason to talk to sailors, and they wouldn't be using it themselves - Earendil would have to seek them out.

But, the source actually says that the Atani "still used their Mannish speeches", so that's out, and Form is right - there are Men at the Mouths of Sirion. Given the plural of 'speeches', that must include both Hadorians and Beorings - quite possibly even elders who were among the evacuees of Dorthonion as children. It was only about 50 years between the Bragollach and Elwing's arrival at the Havens, a peer of Rian and Morwen could easily still be alive. The Beorian family tree in HoME XI was amended to give Beleth, Beren's first cousin, unspecified descendents - and even more intriguingly, it gives Beren himself a sister, Hiril. Her children, if she had any, could easily still be alive, though they'd probably be too young to remember Beren himself.

Long story short: yes, Elwing would have encountered Beorian around the Havens, and probably had fairly close relatives among the mortals living there. Earendil will have to find some other way to win her heart.

hS
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Old 09-27-2022, 07:50 AM   #11
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This thread is a combination of good detective work and logic coupled with necessary speculation. An alternative to struggling to determine if, how and when Earendil became fluent in Mannish tongues, Occam's Razor may provide an alternative.

Earendil hoped to deliver an appeal for aid against Morgoth on behalf of both Elves and Men to the Valar. He planned to deliver the appeal, if he was allowed to present it, in the languages of both races. He does not need to become fluent in the Mannish tongues. He only must deliver the message. To do so, he needs to learn only enough to make his entreaty or he could simply memorize (or even write down and read) the messages.
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Old 09-27-2022, 08:42 AM   #12
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This thread is a combination of good detective work and logic coupled with necessary speculation. An alternative to struggling to determine if, how and when Earendil became fluent in Mannish tongues, Occam's Razor may provide an alternative.

Earendil hoped to deliver an appeal for aid against Morgoth on behalf of both Elves and Men to the Valar. He planned to deliver the appeal, if he was allowed to present it, in the languages of both races. He does not need to become fluent in the Mannish tongues. He only must deliver the message. To do so, he needs to learn only enough to make his entreaty or he could simply memorize (or even write down and read) the messages.
Okay, now I'm imagining him dropping his note cards in the Ring of Doom, and all the Valar watching as he scrabbles to put them back in the right order.

The thing about the appeal being a prepared script is... why stop at those languages? Even if Haladin is entirely extinct (which presupposes that nobody who ever had to deal with That Lot In Brethil made it out of Doriath), the Druedain are attested at the Havens. There are Nandor originally from Ossiriand hanging around. There's probably even a scholar who speaks rudimentary Khuzdul. If the appeal was prepared, then Earendil made a conscious decision to appeal on behalf of the Noldor, the Sindar, two of the three houses of the Edain, and no-one else. It seems a little harsh, right?

Of course the whole question is moot - I missed Tolkien's explanation right above the quote I started with:

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoME XII - The Problem of Ros
In the havens of refuge, when Morgoth's conquest was all but complete, there were several tongues to be heard. Not only the Sindarin, which was chiefly used, but also its Northern dialect; and among the Men of the Atani some still used their Mannish speeches; and of all these Earendil had some knowledge.
So Earendil learnt all four languages from his neighbours, case closed.

So why didn't he use North Sindarin as well as Doriathrin? Well, according to a note on why Thingol despised Beren's accent:

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoME XII - The Problem of Ros
He [Thingol] had small love for the Northern Sindar who had in regions near to Angband come under the dominion of Morgoth, and were accused of sometimes entering his service and providing him with spies. The Sindarin used by the Sons of Feanor also was of the Northern dialect; and they were hated in Doriath.
Which a) shows Thingol to be even more racist than I already knew, b) makes it all the funnier that Doriathrin was the first of the three Sindarin dialects to die out, and c) explains why Earendil didn't use North Sindarin - they probably weren't spies, but just in case, it's probably best to leave them out of it, eh?

hS
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Old 09-27-2022, 08:44 AM   #13
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Elwing was about three, Earendil about ten (always "about", because Tolkien's timelines were in flux and quite old).
Where are you getting the ages from?

505 [> 503] Birth of Earendil Half-elven in Gondolin (Spring).

511 [> 509] The Second Kinslaying

512 [> 510] The Fall of Gondolin. Death of King Turgon.

503 Elwing the White daughter of Dior born in Ossiriand.
WotJ, ToY



And Annals in HoMe 5:

300 [500] Here was born Earendel the Bright, star of the Two Kindreds, unto Tuor and Idril in Gondolin. In this year was born also Elwing the White, fairest of all women save Lúthien, unto Dior son of Beren in Ossiriand.

Also noted in Shaping.
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Old 09-27-2022, 09:43 AM   #14
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Where are you getting the ages from?
Well, in honesty I was just using whatever Tolkien Gateway said and using 'about' to cover myself, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by "HoME XI - Tale of Years, version D
502 [as amended] - In this year, or according to others the year before, Tuor wedded Idril... and in the spring of the year after was born in Gondolin Earendil Halfelven.
503 - Elwing the White daughter of Dior born in Ossiriand.
[...]
506-507 - At Yule Dior fought the sons of Feanor on the east marches of Doriath, and was slain. [...] The Lady Lindis escaped with Elwing, and came hardly to Ossir, with the Necklace and the Jewel. Thence hearing the rumour she fled to the Havens of Sirion.
[...]
510 - Midsummer. Assault and sack of Gondolin...
So if the final version of the ToY is the latest info we have, then Elwing was three at the sack of Doriath, and Earendil was 7 at the fall of Gondolin.

... and Elwing's mother (here Lindis, later Nimloth relative of Celeborn) escaped with her. Is there a source for her death in Doriath other than the published Silm? Did Christopher bump her off in "Of the Ruin of Doriath" just to avoid dealing with her at the Havens? o.O

hS
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post

... and Elwing's mother (here Lindis, later Nimloth relative of Celeborn) escaped with her. Is there a source for her death in Doriath other than the published Silm?
Not that I recall off hand.
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Old 09-27-2022, 06:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
But, the source actually says that the Atani "still used their Mannish speeches", so that's out, and Form is right - there are Men at the Mouths of Sirion.
I love it when my Tolkien instincts are proven right--even if I over-hedged myself by saying "absent any definitive statement they were NOT" (since we have a definitive statement that they were).



I still think there's room for more than one source of transmission, and that Eärendil and Elwing are each unlikely to have learned it from their parents. They could easily represent the two streams (i.e. an "Elven" source: probably a better vocabulary, a purer grammar--closer to what Bëor himself actually spoke, and a "Mannish" source: Bëorian refugees, speaking a living, if less educated, language). There's certainly plausible motivation for the last Heir of Barahir and the last Heir of Bregolas to have wanted to learn the language for their own reasons--and it's absolutely the sort of desire that their circumstances and Elvish halves would have made easy and possible.

Elwing can easily be imagined to have motivation out of reverence for memories of her Father--there's a good fanfiction nugget in her hearing a Bëorian word in the streets of the Haven that she hadn't heard since it came off Dior's lips years before. Eärendil, I think, would be less personal, more "dynastic," insofar as we're told he identified himself more closely with his father, and insofar as he had no living personal connection to the Bëorian tongue. Learning the tongues of both Huor and Rían could even have been a project he shared with Tuor, whose own first tongue was probably Northern Sindarin--Tuor could plausibly have spoken poor Hadorian indeed before he reached Gondolin (though I doubt it: even in hiding, I think the Grey-Elves would have taught him his native tongue, and he would have had enough chance to exercise it as a slave in Dor-Lómin--but Bëorian is another matter.)

What I don't think is likely is that Eärendil planned it out as a speech to make in Valinor--as pointed out already, the Drúedain were near at hand and it should have been possible to learn enough Halethian to make a statement (from the Drúedain even!) to the Valar if that was his plan. It seems much more likely to me that Eärendil was a polyglot, being a half-Elf in an unusually multi-lingual community, and was moved in the moment in front of the Valar (by destiny or divine inspiration, perhaps) to make his statement. There's a strong element of fate about him, that he was the perfect messenger to plead for Middle-earth, but this is not his own careful planning as much as Divine Providence (which, admittedly, he may cooperate with).
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Old 10-03-2022, 05:33 AM   #17
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Well, the opening of the chapter tells us that "Bright Earendil now ruled the remnant of the Eldar and the Edain." I would think that to be a functional ruler he would have needed to be conversant in the relevant tongues: Sindarin, Quenya, Hadorian and Beorian. I think we have established that some of Beor's folk escaped Dorthonian and reached safety. Nor need we boggle at a half-Noldo learning languages easily!
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