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Author Topic: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?  (Read 1521 times)

Quengoldo

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« on: June 24, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

Alla! Me'le elflingers!

Tolkien wrote: That is, the sounds were approximately those represented
by I, e, a, o, u in English machine, were, father, for, brute,
irrespective of quantity.

Isn't e supposed to be pronounced as in 'end', as Helge's course
suggests? Did Tolkien have an accent?

I tried listening Tolkien's recordings, yet my poor ears can't tell
how he pronounced 'were'. I'm pretty sure though, he pronounced e in
_Tintalle_ differently from what I know of e in 'were' - which is
little and could be wrong.

-----------------
Pengolodh Bengu^l



[elfling ID#36278]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Quengoldo »
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Menelion Elensuule

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

Hello,

Actually,  Quenya (and Sindarin) basic vowels are pronounced more like
Spanish or Russian ones, not like English sounds. However,  I  found
somewhere that long vowels such as á are pronounced somewhat
deeper/closer  in  Quenya  (so,  an  á would sound like a in Father, an
é is like Eh in the German word mehr etc.). Hope this helps!

Menelion.


q>  Alla! Me'le elflingers!

q>  Tolkien wrote: That is, the sounds were approximately those
q>  represented by I, e, a, o, u in English machine, were, father, for,
q>  brute, irrespective of quantity.

q>  Isn't e supposed to be pronounced as in 'end', as Helge's course
q>  suggests? Did Tolkien have an accent?

q>  I tried listening Tolkien's recordings, yet my poor ears can't
q>  tell how he pronounced 'were'. I'm pretty sure though, he
q>  pronounced e in _Tintalle_ differently from what I know of e in
q>  'were' - which is little and could be wrong.

q>  -----------------
q>  Pengolodh Bengu^l



[elfling ID#36280]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Menelion Elensuule »
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Julian Bradfield

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

On 2012-06-26, quengoldo wrote:
> Tolkien wrote: That is, the sounds were approximately those
> represented by I, e, a, o, u in English machine, were, father, for,
> brute, irrespective of quantity.
>
> Isn't e supposed to be pronounced as in 'end', as Helge's course
> suggests? Did Tolkien have an accent?

This has baffled many people - probably almost everybody who reads it!

However, the oed does document a pronunciation /wɛː/ for 'were'. I'm
not sure that I've ever heard it from 'Standard English' speakers,
though it's a feature of some regional accents such as that of
Liverpool, but I guess it was a feature of some variants of rp a century
or so ago.

Or it could have been a misprint for 'where' ...

--
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.



[elfling ID#36281]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Julian Bradfield »
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Morthegil

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

Thanks! I just got some digital edition of oed, didn't find /wɛː/, but
I found 'were (wɛə(r), wɜː(r), wə(r))'. It seems that these
pronunciations are given in order of decreasing formality/emphasis ...
there's also  'am (æm, əm, (ə)m, m)'. I don't remember ever hearing
'were' pronounced /wɛə(r)/. Maybe it's far too old-fashioned and
formal? Tolkien must be thinking of /ɛ/ anyway.

----------------------------
Pengolodh Bengûl



[elfling ID#36283]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Morthegil »
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Mike Urban

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

Of yellow leaves and gossamer  in autumns that there were,  with morning
mist and silver sun   and wind upon my hair.

Of course, this is poetry, so rhymes are necessarily dubious, but the
rhyming of 'were' and 'hair' is suggestive, I think.



[elfling ID#36284]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Mike Urban »
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Quengoldo

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

urban wrote:
>
> Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were, with morning
> mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair.
>
> Of course, this is poetry, so rhymes are necessarily dubious, but the
> rhyming of 'were' and 'hair' is suggestive, I think.
>

Wow! So great to see Tolkien himself confirm this! Thank you so much!
And thanks to all who kindly replied!
-----------------
Pengolodh Bengu^l



[elfling ID#36286]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Quengoldo »
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Dominic Bridwell

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How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2012, 05:00:00 PM »

Actually I think one would have to realize that the accents in England,
and there are many make this rhyme. Were is pronounced to rhyme with
Hair, is correct and probably indicative of his accent. Shakespeare if
spoken in the accents of Stratford on Avon rhyme really nicely.



[elfling ID#36291]
[original subject: How Did Tolkien Pronounce 'Were'?]
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 05:00:00 PM by Dominic Bridwell »
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