What’s the Gaelic for “Bilbo Baggins”?
“Biolbó Baigín”, apparently.
A version of The Hobbit as Gaeilge ('An Hobad'), is to hit the books-elves at the end of March, according to Monday’s Irish Times.
The author of The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein, created the children’s work before going on to develop his theme into “Lord of the Rings”, in which Bilbo’s fluffy-footed offpring Frodo (Friodó Baigín, I imagine) went on to save Middle Earth from the tyranny of Sauron.
Tolkien was a polyglot whose lingo-list included, according to Wiki:
"Latin, French, German, Middle English, Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh. He was also familiar with Danish, Dutch, Lombardic, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Swedish and older forms of modern Germanic and Slavonic languages."
Not satisfied with that lot, he invented several of his own, and had a reasonable knowledge of many other tongues into the bargain. . Gaeilge, however, he never developed a gra for.
The following extract is from the aforementioned article.
“Despite his apparent love of languages, the English author and academic revealed a dislike of Irish in a selection of letters published posthumously in 1981 (he also admitted having a dislike for French and preferring Spanish to Italian).
In a letter to Deborah Webster, dated October 1958, he wrote: “I go frequently to Ireland (Éire: southern Ireland) being fond of it and of (most of) its people; but the Irish language I find wholly unattractive.
Some years later, in “Drafts for a letter to Mrs Rang”, Tolkien considered the etymology of the word “nazg”, the Black Speech word for “ring”, which featured so prominently in The Lord of the Rings
In his letter, Tolkien admitted a similarity to the Irish word “nasc”, but put this down to coincidence.
“I have no liking at all for Gaelic from Old Irish downwards, as a language, but it is of course of great historical and philological interest, and I have at various times studied it. (With alas! very little success.)
“It is thus probable that nazg is actually derived from it, and this short, hard and clear vocable, sticking out from what seems to me (an unloving alien) a mushy language, became lodged in some comer of my linguistic memory.”
In 1979, Prof George Sayer recounted a conversation he had with Tolkien, a devout Catholic, who described Ireland as “naturally evil”.
He could “feel”, Sayer said, “evil coming up from the earth, from the peat bogs, from the clumps of trees, even from the cliffs, and this evil was only held in check by the great devotion of the southern Irish to their religion.”
Not sure if all the above rings true, and it is quite possible he could have been acting the troll to some ext-ent.
But at least one influence which in the darkness bound us is greatly diminished.
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