Hardly anyone can understand what J.R.R Tolkien is saying in resurfaced interview
| Last updated
J.R.R. Tolkien is, among many things, famous as a linguist.
The Lord of the Rings author spoke and understood numerous languages, including Latin, Ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon, German, Danish, Icelandic, Welsh, and French.
However, in a resurfaced interview from 1968, his accent - which was an even posher version of Received Pronunciation - was difficult for many modern speakers to understand. I must admit, even I struggled a bit.
It's extraordinary really, as it shows just how much language changes even in a relatively short space of time.
Helpfully, one person did understand, and transcribed what Tolkien was saying in a comment pinned to the video.
In the interview, which was conjunction with the BBC television documentary Tolkien in Oxford, the author says: "Let me say at once that owing to the casualties in the war and various other things, there were very few people to elect. It's a pity you couldn't be here in the springtime when that tree there wouldn't look sad, but it'd be covered with leaves, you see.
"It would look old but not sad. And these, with all the limes obviously, however old they are, they're a lovely green in spring. I suppose. I have actually, in some simple-minded form of longing, actually would like to. I should've liked to be be able to make contact with a tree and find out what it feels about things.
"I first began to seriously invent languages about when I was 13 or 14. I've never stopped really."
When answering the question of what comes first, the world or the language, most fantasy writers would probably think of a language as a bit of extra flavour in the world. Things like never calling magic 'magic', but instead 'magick' or 'ma'arjock'.
Not so for Tolkien. In fact, the author actually invented his fictional languages first, and then decided it would only be right for them to have world to exist in.
From the author's incredible capacity to invent languages came all the places and people in Middle Earth, Beleriand, and the Undying Lands which have since become so beloved.