Tolkien's Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages
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Tolkien Collector's Guide
Dec 21, 2021 (edited)
2021/12/21 14:29:24 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thank you folks! I noted another mistake: in "ƿ = p" the first letter is actually not runic ᚹ but a cursive variant of the Latin letter p. Updated version:

Dear Charles,

Thank you for your letter. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the "Ring" books.

Your runic letter was correct and readable. But the runes used in *The Hobbit* are not my invention. Just as the language of the time was turned into English, so were the runes of the day. So I used a selection, more or less applicable to modern English spelling, of the runes formerly used by the English in England. Owing to the competition of the Latin letters the runes went out of use, & were never in fact used for writing books except the two letters borrowed from the Runic Alphabet and used in writing *English*: ᚦ and ᚹ, written forms þ and ƿ ( distinct from 𝓅 = p ). þ was used for *th*, -- or rather, represented the *sounds* we shall have in *thin*, *this*, until it was replaced by *th* in the 14th. century. It lingered on ( broken down in shape to y, [two more cursive variants]) in the abbreviations *yᵉ* *yᵗ* = *the*, *that*, which [half page not shown] in English did not, [3-4 words not shown] in use, require a letter for z; and they did not use z in their own language, except occasionally for *ts* (as mod. German)

Various signs occur which seem to be used for *x* (=ks): among them Ψ.

Of course the Runes were properly used to spell by *sound* and they do not fit mod. English spelling very well. The *Angerthas* at the end of Vol iii will give you plenty of signs for all the sounds of English, and more -- or for the letters and most common letter-combinations, if you care to rearrange them.

Yours sincerely

J.R.R.Tolkien
Dec 21, 2021
2021/12/21 16:04:38 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that “mod.” is the only world before “German”. There is another word there, which looks to me like “as”, which would make sense, but not 100% about that.
Dec 21, 2021
2021/12/21 16:30:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Where are people seeing the sentence ending "not the z in their own language, except occasionally for *ts* (mod. German)"? In my viewing of the video, that line is above the top of the video frame.
Dec 21, 2021
2021/12/21 20:57:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

Where are people seeing the sentence ending "not the z in their own language, except occasionally for *ts* (mod. German)"? In my viewing of the video, that line is above the top of the video frame.

Not the first time but the second time it cuts to the letter, right before he flips it back over to the front and sets it on the table. You can even see a line or two above that for a split second as he flips it, but it’s too blurry (for me at least) to make out what it says (something about Z).

At about 18 seconds in the clip here.
Dec 21, 2021
2021/12/21 21:09:09 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
You can see a little bit more,

in use, require a (rest of sentence not shown)
not use z in their own language , except
occasionally for ts (as mod. German)

10_61c2420f3bd26.jpg 1079X124 px
Dec 21, 2021
2021/12/21 23:11:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
OK, thanks for this. The correct reading is:

[First partial line:] in use, require a ...
not use z in their own language, except
occasionally for ts (as mod. German)
Dec 22, 2021
2021/12/22 1:00:43 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:

You can see a little bit more,

in use, require a (rest of sentence not shown)

Aelfwine wrote:

[First partial line:] in use, require a ...

This is what I was referring to (see photo). The rest of this line is shown, briefly, it’s just blurry because he’s moving the letter. You can even see part of a line above that one (next to his thumb). Could conjecture about some of the words.

5109_61c2780a92a96.jpeg 1676X312 px
Dec 22, 2021
2021/12/22 1:20:35 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
From Philomythos's image:

[finger] in English did not, ...
in use require a letter for z; and they did
not use z in their own language, except
occasionally for ts (as mod. German)
Various [etc. as above]
Dec 22, 2021
2021/12/22 1:48:48 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks as always Aelfwine for your keen eye and experience reading Tolkien's handwriting (even when blurry letters moving on a screen!)
Dec 22, 2021
2021/12/22 3:55:26 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks to all, transcription at the top of this page updated :)
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