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Tags hobbit , script , tolkien , translate

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Old 9th November 2022, 11:02 PM   #1
Chanakya

 
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English to Tengwar, and back again

Question for any Tolkien geeks on here:

How best can one translate/transliterate from English into Tengwar, and back again into English by using that translated/transliterated message?

Just transliteration will do fine for me, so if there's some easy-to-refer chart that shows what English letters might correspond to the relevant letters in the Tengwar alphabet/script, that would be cool. Or else maybe a website that can directly transliterate the English letters into Tengwar, and back again.

I realize these are languages, not just static codes based off of English. So if there's some website that offers easy-to-use translations, that'd be cool, provided you can also translate back using it into English.

A quick Google search did not really help. That is, there's heaps of sites out there with lots of information, as well as sites that let you directly translate/transcribe, but none, so far as I could make out, that let you translate back into English. If that isn't available, or at least not available easily, then transliteration will do just fine.

The most promising website seems to be this one, as far as I can make out off of a quick Google search: https://www.tecendil.com/. It's a cool site, very easy to use, but again, they either don't allow for transliterations back into English, or else I couldn't figure out how. I've written to them just now, asking about it, about whether their site allows translations back into English

Meantime, I was wondering if anyone here might know how to do this.

-----

TLDR: I'm looking for some way, either a chart, or else a translator-website, that can translate (or transliterate, either way) messages written in Englsh into Tolkien's Tengwar, and also translate/transliterate that Tengwar message back into English.


-----
eta:
I'm going for Tengwar, as the most promising of Toliken's languages/scripts, but if you think some other might be better, for whatever reason, then go ahead, please, and make your case.

(And also show me how do the translation/transliteration thing into your proposed alternative language/script, using either an alphabet-to-alphabet transliteration chart, or else easy-to-use two-way transliteration/translation software in some website. And back again. I keep saying this last, because while I've found lots of places that do one-way translations/transliterations, at least into Tengwar, but the "back again" part is what has me stumped.)

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Old 9th November 2022, 11:11 PM   #2
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Old 10th November 2022, 12:09 AM   #3
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You should be able to find a tengwar-to-Roman letter transliteration table pretty easily. Omniglot, being the useful site that it is, provides some information. I don't know of any site that auto-translates from English to Sindarin and back.
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Old 10th November 2022, 02:52 AM   #4
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English to Sindarin

Sindarin to English

Haven't tried it, but that's the only thing I found while pretending to work .
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Old 12th November 2022, 06:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Georg View Post
English to Sindarin

Sindarin to English

Haven't tried it, but that's the only thing I found while pretending to work .

Hi, Georg. Checked out both links just now, and they work like a dream.

Thanks much for the links!
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Old 12th November 2022, 07:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You should be able to find a tengwar-to-Roman letter transliteration table pretty easily. Omniglot, being the useful site that it is, provides some information. I don't know of any site that auto-translates from English to Sindarin and back.

Haha, I was kind of expecting that you might be able to come up with something, arthwollipot, given your thing about languauge in general, and variations in usage, and etymology, and such!

Thanks very much, that chart your link leads to is just perfect, exactly what I was looking for!

(That is, and as you may have seen, Georg has come up with a couple of links for Sindarin, that are very easy to use, and naturally far more ...efficient, than any chart can be; but in the specific context of what I was looking for they're of limited use, because the reverse link works only when you've already got the Tolkien script of whatever you're trying to convey in html or whatever, the computer version of it I mean. Unless you've got a Sindarin or Tengwar keyboard, that won't help you with a message that is either handwritten or that you've got in a hard print-out of. For that I guess an old-school chart of the kind you've linked to is best. Actually I hadn't thought it out, but I suppose this limitation any online software will necessary have. .....In short, what I'm getting at is, the simple concise chart your link leads to is, like I said, exactly what I was looking for!)
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Old 13th November 2022, 07:42 PM   #7
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No worries.
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Old 14th November 2022, 08:28 AM   #8
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Tengwar is just an alphabet, with some logic added to make its shapes less arbitrary than the Roman alphabet. International Phonetic Alphabet it ain't. But like any complete alphabet, it can be used to spell anything with a few easily learned conventions: Coos, San, Igbo, you name it. At one time, teenage girls would write to each other with Tengwar characters, often dreamily calling it "runes." Harmless fun.

As for T's invented languages, well, um (ahem), they're hardly complete tongues, for all the 3,000 pages he filled with them over the decades. I saw somewhere that Quenya (or Sindarin? damfino) consists of about a thousand words, enough to communicate some basic things. (About "words": Linguists have estimated that a language must contain a minimum of 20,000 "lexical items" in order to be usable. Saying "lexical item" avoids the craggy problem of defining what words are in a given tongue: it just means anything you'd expect to find in a dictionary of it. IOW, the fellahs pass the difficulty on to the lexicographers, a humble but useful caste on the margins of polite academia.)

So if you can be content to say "Let blades bright as ice shine now! The Chanakyas are upon you!" in the course of your day, then harmless fun to you.
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Old 16th November 2022, 10:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
Tengwar is just an alphabet, with some logic added to make its shapes less arbitrary than the Roman alphabet. International Phonetic Alphabet it ain't. But like any complete alphabet, it can be used to spell anything with a few easily learned conventions: Coos, San, Igbo, you name it. At one time, teenage girls would write to each other with Tengwar characters, often dreamily calling it "runes." Harmless fun.

As for T's invented languages, well, um (ahem), they're hardly complete tongues, for all the 3,000 pages he filled with them over the decades. I saw somewhere that Quenya (or Sindarin? damfino) consists of about a thousand words, enough to communicate some basic things. (About "words": Linguists have estimated that a language must contain a minimum of 20,000 "lexical items" in order to be usable. Saying "lexical item" avoids the craggy problem of defining what words are in a given tongue: it just means anything you'd expect to find in a dictionary of it. IOW, the fellahs pass the difficulty on to the lexicographers, a humble but useful caste on the margins of polite academia.)

So if you can be content to say "Let blades bright as ice shine now! The Chanakyas are upon you!" in the course of your day, then harmless fun to you.

Girls, really? I'd have thought this geeky nerdy stuff more of what young boys, and the young at heart as well, might take to more? But works for me, I actually intend this for a young girl, who reads less than she should (or at least, less than I imagine she should), but who loved Harry Potter, so I'm hoping she might like Tolkien as well. I thought of introducing her to these codes as added enticement. May work, may not, but no harm trying.



No clue what these mean, though:

Quote:
...Coos, San, Igbo...
That last is apparently some Nigerian language, is that what you meant? Not sure how that comes in in this context.


Quote:
So if you can be content to say "Let blades bright as ice shine now! The Chanakyas are upon you!" in the course of your day, then harmless fun to you.

Nothing's surer to kill a joke than explaining it, but afraid I didn't get that either!



eta: At the time I'd started this thread, I'd asked a couple other people as well who I thought might know a bit about this. One of them recommended two books for me. Reading whole books is a bit over the top for what I have in mind --- I've already got what I wanted from this thread! --- but my point is, apparently Tolkien's got enough stuff to write not one but two books on. And apparently new nuggets keep turning up, among his papers, that his estate turns over to the people doing this thing, so it's a work in process. (But depends on the books I guess. Merely having books written about something doesn't necessarily mean that something's actually worth having books written on, I realize that.)


etaa:
Heh, kind of ironic, I guess, my unwillingness to read those books that've been recommended to me, given that the whole point of this was to encourage a child to read more!

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Old 16th November 2022, 10:39 AM   #10
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Coos is (or was) a Northwest Coast language with some strange phonemes that sounded like clearing your sinuses. San is a click language spoken by the San (who else?) in South Africa. Igbo includes both implosives and an ingressive that I despair of describing; try wiki. Up to a certain limit -- one I eventually reached -- phonetics is fun.

My point was simply that a full alphabet can be used to record any language. Show the young lady how Tolkien wrote English with Tengwar and she'll either be charmed or bored. Probably charmed, and she may learn to use it for private communication. Yes, there's Tengwar code on line.

Although I like the idea of girls learning calligraphy. Yes, steel pens and the incomparable inks of India, on hand-laid paper.

As for composing in Tolkien's Elvishes, all I meant was that they aren't really functional. He didn't invent nearly enough vocabulary for that. The man wasn't crazy, after all.

And at last: I rend my corselet, cast down my spear, fling off my silvern helm, and confess before the Sindarin, the Eldar, and all the Speaking Peoples, that Tolkien Studies pretty often bore the ever-lovin' hell out of me.

Anything good on the tube?
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Old 16th November 2022, 10:55 AM   #11
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●Chanakya● Dunno how old the child in question is, but I started Tolkien at 16, when I stumbled on the Hobbit in our rather odd school library. I was charmed, and not a bit too old for it.

Didn't find Lord o' the Things until grad school. It's one of the greatest works of the imagination ever written -- and it's the product of a well-stored professorial mind. By that I mean it's not for kids.

Or grad students, in some places. When he tries to sound like Sir Thomas Mallory, he quickly gets embarrassing.
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Old 16th November 2022, 03:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
●Chanakya● Dunno how old the child in question is, but I started Tolkien at 16, when I stumbled on the Hobbit in our rather odd school library. I was charmed, and not a bit too old for it.

Didn't find Lord o' the Things until grad school. It's one of the greatest works of the imagination ever written -- and it's the product of a well-stored professorial mind. By that I mean it's not for kids.

Or grad students, in some places. When he tries to sound like Sir Thomas Mallory, he quickly gets embarrassing.

Oh she's much younger than that, around ten. Rowling has been admired as having gotten a whole generation to read, and I think that is spot on in this case. These kids are so spoilt for choice that reading even fantasy comes across as ...virtuous? No way Tom Sawyer would've got that fence of his aunt's painted after Twain's time, on the contrary he'd have had to be bribed and cajoled to eat that virtuous healthy apple. What I'm getting at is, rather than holding out a good book and having the kids fight over it, this generation most won't touch the things if they can help it, they've got so much else going even by way of solitary entertainment.

She's the age where "swooning" isn't on the menu, but some tomboyish codes and secret societies and all of that kind of are, so maybe, just maybe, Tolkien might get her to carry on reading.

Agreed, Tolkien isn't by any means (exclusively) kiddies books. I've re-read him more than once, with great pleasure. Never nerded out on his languages though, unfortunately, so I'm trying to get up to speed on that here and now. Not looking for anything more ambitious than a script to write English in, that's more than just the English alphabet dressed up differently, and I think Tolkien fits the bill there.
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Old 17th November 2022, 09:24 AM   #13
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How many H. Potter books are there now? I read #1 with pleasure, #2 with some skimming, and #3 not at all. But if your child wants to continue with them, rest assured that she'll become a reader. Probably a tough one.

Me, I'm too young* for Rowlings, too remote from public school culture, and too stodgy. I quit bothering with fiction generations ago.

* Hell no I'm not kidding. Children scared me when I was a child, and they scare me still.
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Old 17th November 2022, 10:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
How many H. Potter books are there now? I read #1 with pleasure, #2 with some skimming, and #3 not at all. But if your child wants to continue with them, rest assured that she'll become a reader. Probably a tough one.

Me, I'm too young* for Rowlings, too remote from public school culture, and too stodgy. I quit bothering with fiction generations ago.

* Hell no I'm not kidding. Children scared me when I was a child, and they scare me still.

Six I think.* And some more in the HP universe that aren't about HP per se. Haven't read any of them myself, but I've dipped into bits of them, and I think if I did sit down and read through them, I'd probably enjoy them.

In fact as far as children's books, I kind of feel --- haven't tested this rigorously myself, and far less seen it properly evaluated, jus a hunch, a feeling --- that while it's obviously a question of temperament, for kids no less than for adults, but any really good book for a child or a young adult would probably be one that an adult also would enjoy, to an extent at any rate. (Put another way, a book that's so dumb or so talking-down or so simplistic that an adult won't enjoy it even a little bit, that an adult that generally likes reading fiction won't be able stomach completing fully, will probably be a book that an intelligent child will not be drawn to either. Or so I tend to think, without really having seen any actual research that validates this gut feel of mine.)

True, some adults --- that is to say, some adults who do generally read a lot --- don't read much of fiction. For such, obviously children's fiction will hold no charm, and nor regular fiction either I guess.



eta:
* No, seven actually, Google tells me.
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Old 17th November 2022, 06:07 PM   #15
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There are seven in the main series, plus a number of spinoffs that you don't need to bother with.
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Old 17th November 2022, 06:13 PM   #16
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Kids' books for adults? Good lord, I even like Kipling in places. Yes, Just So Stories especially. Although I suppose Kipling really wrote for himself, i.e., a rather nasty adolescent boy -- certainly not for adults.

The grownup who can't enjoy Treasure Island has a locked-up mind.

"Young Adult" fiction is another genre altogether. Kay, nother abject confession: I read 3 of the Mockingjay books, and watched the movies too.
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Old 17th November 2022, 06:25 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
"Young Adult" fiction is another genre altogether. Kay, nother abject confession: I read 3 of the Mockingjay books, and watched the movies too.
Yes, me too. One of the reasons I like the YA genre is that they tend to be light and entertaining and don't deal with themes that are heavy and uncomfortable.

One interesting, and I think rather clever, thing about the Potter books in particular is that in the first book, the protagonist is 11 years old, and the writing style is suitable for that reading level. In each subsequent book Harry is one year older, and the reading level goes up in parallel, until by Deathly Hallows Harry is 17, and so is the expectation for the reader.

So a lot of adults coming to Philosopher's Stone for the first time are put off by the apparently juvenile writing style. But stick it out, because I think it's worth it.

If you can get the books by "borrowing" them (or whatever (not advocating anything illegal)), do that rather than give the transphobe more money.
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Old 18th November 2022, 08:19 AM   #18
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As regards my own lapse into 8th grade level litterachur, I blame Jennifer Lawrence.* But jezuss, I'm inoculated now. What fragmented crap! Worse, and more insulting, than the movies. (We could have a separate thread on godd movies made from poor books, quite the reverse of what Old Hollywood practiced.)

* That sounds crazy, right? I agree.
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