Monday, April 1, 2013

Lingually Serious

One of the things the internet has given us is the ability to find out what our name might be were we in any of a number of alternate situations. There are websites and Facebook memes dedicated to telling us our pirate names, or what we would be called if we were hobbits.

Most of the memes are just assortments of words connected to letters of the alphabet. If you choose one word based on, say, the first letter of your first name and then another word based on the last letter of your last name, voila! You have what your name would be if you were one of whatever the meme is working from. Some of the websites are random name generators that either use letters or maybe even whole words that are parts of your name.

But for the seriously nerdy, both linguistically and in the plain ol' D&D-playing, sci fi-loving comic-book-collecting senses, I present the work of the site Quenya101, where a fellow who has studied J.R.R. Tolkien's elvish language from The Lord of the Rings will actually investigate your name's etymology and try to come up with the closest equivalent in the Quenya language spoken by Tolkien's elves. It's a hobby, so it may be awhile before he gets around to it, but there is a list of already translated names at the site.

What's kind of fun about the site is that it probably falls as closely in line with Tolkien's ideas as anything else on the web relating to LotR. Both the trilogy and The Hobbit came about as the author worked up some backstory for the language he was inventing. Although he was ambivalent about a great deal of modern technology, I imagine Tolkien might have been OK with the work at this particular site and grudgingly admitted a shade of usefulness for the cyberspace that allowed it to come into being.

(H/T Mere Inkling)

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