shekinahcancook, avatar

Why Do Dwarves Sound Scottish and Elves Sound Like Royalty?
Blame Tolkien and time - by Eric Grundhauser December 7, 2016

"...Tolkien would create languages first, then write cultures & histories to speak them... In the case of the ever-present Elvish in his works, Tolkien took inspiration from Finnish and Welsh. As the race of men & hobbits got their language from the elves in Tolkien’s universe, their language was portrayed as similarly Euro-centric in flavor.

For the dwarves, who were meant to have evolved from an entirely separate lineage, he took inspiration from Semitic languages for their speech, resulting in dwarven place names like Khazad-dûm & Moria.

“When dwarves actually talk, they don’t sound Scottish at all,” says Olsen. “They sound like Arabic or Hebrew.”...As radio & film adaptations of Tolkien’s works were released in later decades, you can see the slow evolution of the dwarven accent..."

oliphaunt, avatar

@shekinahcancook "Moria", of course, is an Elvish name, not Dwarvish. Zirakzigil and Kheled-Zaram are other examples of actual Dwarvish names.

(I know that's not your mistake; it's in the article.)

shekinahcancook, avatar


Yeah, I know. My father's family was Scottish (Clan Crawford) and the men were not very tall, low to average height. My husband is 6'4" and his family was Welsh, and the Elves were supposed to be tall, so I thought that was interesting.

shekinahcancook, (edited ) avatar

If you watched the Banshee of Inisherin or Netflix's Bodkin and wondered if they really say "that" pretty much every other word in small Irish towns, apparently the answer is yes.


#SwearWords #Cussing #Linguistics #Language

Streetsweeper, avatar
shekinahcancook, avatar


Got it, updated the post.

tomstewart, avatar
sordyakernow, avatar

Learn your heritage language, learn one that needs you. Build independent bridges. #Kernewek #Cornish #language


mrundkvist, avatar

Sweetie, in which English village would you prefer to join your bumpstead to my steeple?

mrundkvist, avatar

@ArchaeoIain Gay big cats?

ArchaeoIain, avatar

@mrundkvist of course. I must have overlooked its twin town "Shelionesses Bumpstead"

wendypalmer, avatar

When people tell me they read one of my books and found it “quite good”, I like to assume they’re from the US where “quite” apparently means “very” 😊

As opposed to the UK/Aus, where “quite good” is just damning with faint praise.

Unless you say it was “really quite good”. That’s when you mean “very good”.

If you say “quite good, really”, that means you’re surprised it was any good.

And if you say “Oh, I say, that is quite, quite remarkable”, you’re an 18th-century Earl confronted by a tempestuous highland beauty who is tossing her raven-black locks and flashing her sapphire-blue eyes at you because you’re enclosing her commons 😉

jens, avatar

@wendypalmer quite.

econads, avatar

aha! Time to trot this out again

AugierLe42e, French avatar

The latin words you don't know you're using — RobWords

paulfoerster, avatar

A random study of predictability of non-linear, randomized, non-deterministric and chaotic systems under consideration of external influencing factors.

In other words: Poker 🤣

stronglang, avatar

We can [VERB] the [TABOO TERM] out of something, but what happens when it's an intransitive verb that takes a prepositional phrase?

@bgzimmer on "agreed the fuck out of it" and similar phrases:

#swearing #syntax #linguistics #profanity #grammar #language

kechpaja, avatar

I'm at the in Prague, for the first time since right before the pandemic (2019).

One highlight so far: "If you think Indonesian and Malay are easy, you haven't met the rest of the family" - Brian Loo, in his talk on comparative phonology and grammar of Austronesian languages. This also holds if your primary exposure to Austronesian languages was Polynesian (Hawai'ian, Māori, etc).

Unfortunately, I seem to be the only person trying to wear a mask in indoor spaces, even at an event with over 800 people. I haven't gotten any pushback on this, but the combination of mask + queer hair + bad at pretending to be neurotypical does occasionally draw looks.

Overall, the feel of the event is definitely different from when it was 200-some people jammed into a youth hostel in Berlin, but similar to the Bratislava years (I never got to the Polish instances).

Alon, avatar

@kechpaja I'm surprised the other people at polyglot conferences are neurotypical...

mycrowgirl, avatar

Where you live/grew up, what is the word for the natural path between two points that often goes near a more formal walkway/sidewalk?
The formal English word is “desire path” which always gave me the ick. In german it was technically “Trampelpfad” (trampel path) but colloquially in the areas I grew up it was usually Gänsenpfad (goose path) or “Ziegenpfad” (goat path), usually dependent on which small livestock was more common to the region.

maddad, avatar


We called it 'The Trail'

ottaross, (edited ) avatar

My morning radio feed has a new fill-in traffic reporter with that current language trend of not pronouncing terminating Ts and it's distracting. I wonder where it came from and why it's so rampant recently?

"There's an acciden aa the stree where ih crosses the river in the wess end."

Funny how speech trends come and go, and sometimes stay. I suspect Tiktok is amplifying it. Modern accents are becoming disconnected from geography and more about subculture/demographics.

#language #accent

LillyHerself, avatar

@ottaross Some thing cropping up in Canadian English in the last couple of years that really bugs my ears is "Keyjanada" ,🤮

ottaross, avatar

@LillyHerself yes, and "kianada."

JeremyMallin, avatar

It seems contradictory to me that at many schools, you can get a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in the same field. Which is it? Is the field an art or science?

wirthy, avatar

@JeremyMallin You can take different approaches to the same subject area. Speaking for my own area of Computer Science, a Bachelor of Arts would probably mean the student's learning was focused more on the practice of programming, using the word "Art" broadly to mean anything created. If they get a Bachelor of Science, it indicates a more theoretical approach. In general, practitioner vs. researcher.

Cassandra, avatar

@wirthy @JeremyMallin Neat. I would be interested if anyone else had examples.

Shanmonster, avatar

I was very briefly in a discord group for writers that I’d been invited to join. Someone posted something which included the word “bullshit,” and the discord host said there was no room for such language as it was a “family-friendly” forum, something that was definitely not mentioned before I joined up. I quickly left the server, as I use words much more salty than that, and do not write “family-friendly” fiction.

NaraMoore, avatar


Bet I know the one. And with that level of censorship, I probably should leave.

stronglang, avatar

Diseases are used for swearing in Dutch – but how does that work? @sesquiotic analyses the idiom "sjouw me de tering" in a new post on the Strong Language blog:

slothrop, avatar

@stronglang @sesquiotic OK, this is fascinating. Thanks!

I must admit I hadn´t truly realized the potential of Dutch for effective swearing.

blogdiva, avatar

NORMAL FINKELSTEIN is having the biggest "i fucking told you so" moment of his life and am sure, though well received, it is more bitter than sweet.

this is an important article for his focus on the cognitive of protests:

«"I believe the “Cease-fire now” slogan is most important. On a college campus, that slogan should be twinned with the slogan of “Free speech.” If I were in your situation, I would say “Free Gaza, free speech”...»

turbobob, avatar

"Cease-Fire Now" & "Free Speech" 💯

Great article, thanks for sharing @blogdiva !

paninid, avatar

Anytime someone uses the idiom “in the trenches”, it makes me wince.

Just find another way to express the idea you want to convey.

slothrop, avatar

@paninid Pleading an exception for actual infantry folk

DoesntExist, avatar

@slothrop @paninid

The silly thing about Sun Tzu is how obvious most of it is:

"Attack your opponent when you have the advantage..." That kind of thing.

Like, duh.

Business types often aren't great at the whole Humanities thing, turns out.

JeremyMallin, avatar

I find expressions with directions in them interesting, ones like "beating up", "dressing down", "pitching in", "pulling out".

I wonder if other languages do things like that too.

JeremyMallin, avatar

It's fascinating to me that giving someone a "beat down" is the same thing as "beating them up". It implies that beating exists in some sort of non Euclidean space that folds in on itself.

#Linguistics #Topology

glynmoody, avatar

Sperm whale ‘alphabet’ discovered, thanks to machine learning - great: soon we will be able to apologise to #whales for hunting them almost to extinction... #linguistics

mmezabet, avatar


I've never been able to spell "guarantee" correctly on the first try, and today I really looked at it to try to figure out why.

Which is when I realized that the opening "guar" sounds really close to "war" if you are someone who regularly says GUAO or GUËY.

Which is when I realized that a GUARANTEE is the SAME DAMN THING as a WARRANTY.


Fifty fucking years on this planet it took me to figure that out, ffs.

grvsmth, avatar

@mmezabet Tons of those pairs, since it's the way that French and Spanish speakers wrote down words that start with /w/ in other languages!


okay, that last one was a joke...

mina, avatar


When you read the word "guarantee", don't you hear instantly that song

🎶 Guarantanamera, guajira, guarantanamera 🎵

darkling, avatar

What's the most obscure hyper-local word or phrase you know?

For example, where & when I grew up, woodlice were knows as "cheeselogs". As far as I know, that's specific to one town in the UK. I don't know how long it was in general use, or even if it continues to this day.

#RdgUk #Linguistics #Language

Shanmonster, avatar

I’m no good with corporate jargon. Every time I see the word “stakeholder,” I think of vampire slayers. #language #jargon #vampire

abdalian, avatar

Is there a term for an interlocutor saying the last word of the previous speaker’s sentence in unison with them? Not just occasionally or when the previous speaker is having trouble recalling a word, but nearly every sentence, possibly even when that sentence is not the end of a turn? I’m looking for articles or research about this out of personal curiosity.


lynneverson, avatar

@abdalian @linguistics since I see you got your proper answer, here's a silly one...
Q:"Is there a #linguistic term for an interlocutor saying the last word of the previous speaker’s sentence in unison with them"
A: "Cantus Puerorum Bestiarum" (otherwise know as singing of the Beastie Boys)

syderiaos, avatar

@abdalian @linguistics there is one because some neuroD people (ADHD and autism, if I remember correctly) do this, but the exact term escapes me at the moment

ShaulaEvans, avatar

Who else is on Duolingo?

It's always nice to cheer for people I know there. If you'd like to connect, here's my invitation link. Just let me know here that you're a Masto friend and I will follow you back.

Note: this is not an invitation to rant about why you hate Duolingo. Don't be boorish please, I'm far too tired for it. xo

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