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  1. #1

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    Tolkien Etymology

    As I said on your other post, welcome to the FG forums! You will find a much more active and slightly more helpful (the LW boards were pretty good, after all), crowd here.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Lord Galen View Post
    Dark Lord Galen is a nod to my first D&D Character I created as a player back in 1979 1e days. He didn't start off being "dark" but as we were all "murder hobos" in the day and my fellow adventurers tossed me to the foes to save themselves. All those many years ago they thought me dead, but in the dark he prevailed and now as a DM he has slowly become a nemesis to be feared in the same campaign now 40 years in the making.
    Galen is the name of a famous Greek physician. Either he or Maimonides are the most important figures in world medical history (there are always arguments about this sort of thing). He founded a lot of medical techniques and wrote some of the earliest texts on anatomy.

    He figured out the circulatory system by examining dead soldiers and gladiators, but he thought the veins and arteries were totally separate systems, he couldn't see capillaries so never learned the two were connected. Still, it took other researchers over 1,200 years to figure out the actual way that blood circulated. Most amazingly he did this without the legal ability to dissect a body, he had to just look inside the wounds and guess based on what he could see. He also operated on pigs and monkeys then extrapolated to humans. Today we still use pigs in medical schools because they are so similar to primates anatomically.

    He was the first person in the west to both diagnose and give a prognosis, other than him people turned to oracles "tell me Delphi, what will happen to my father, will he survive this disease?". This became the core of the Galenic method and we still use it today. His prognosis was typically honest, not bragging (I can cure anything muhahaha) nor fatalistic. He truly did his best to predict what would happen based on the best information available.

    He identified smallpox and treated the first plague that devastated Rome.

    He was able to identify and surgically remove cataracts, a feat that went unmatched until the mid-1700s. If you couldn't get Galen to help you, the other more common treatment for cataracts was to wait until the eye was totally blind, then hit it and hope the rigid cataract cracked off of your lens.

    If names have power then Galen is a very strong one indeed.

  3. #3
    Thanks Gavin.
    As you mentioned I am aware of the Greek Galen tie from and etymology connection, but the details are certainly intriguing.

    I have been a language and etymology hobbyist since the days of first reading Tolkien. The man was a language genius.

    I would be interested in some supporting ties to sources. Not sure I wish to further derail this thread with my own desires since I am new to FG forums.... so maybe a private post might be more appropriate ... I defer to those that have far more posts than I do as to what is good forum form as it tends to differ from site to site.
    DLG

  4. #4

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    We encourage other topics but the moderators generally encourage a new thread if you are going too far off topic. I too am a Tolkien etymology admirer and would enjoy such a thread. Not sure what I can contribute but would love to read and encourage.

  5. #5
    dulux-oz's Avatar
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    Tolkien Etymology

    Moderator:

    A new thread started from transfered Posts from the Where does your user name come from Thread

    Enjoy!
    Dulux-Oz

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    Moderator:

    A new thread started from transfered Posts from the Where does your user name come from Thread

    Enjoy!
    Huh, I didn't think of it as etymology, I figured that would have been more how "Galenus" becomes "Galen". I thought it was simply the biography of first historical person using the name thus "where it came from". Also, not sure how it has any relationship to Tolkien.

  7. #7
    First Thanks Dulux-Oz for the new thread!
    @Gavin- well when referencing the discussion of name origins and where they come from or based lead to the thoughts around etymology.
    Etymology> the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history, as a linguistic discipline. Often a branch of linguistics.
    As to Tolkien, he was first and foremost a well versed linguist (Philologist) and embedded his knowledge of languages into his fictional works such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. After WWI he worked at Oxford Dictionary on the history and etymology of words. At the onset of WWII he worked for the british government in cryptography... lol not surprising.
    Out of all this experience he is credited with creating his own languages for Middle Earth, most notably Sindarin and Quenya, amazingly with complete with phonetics, syntax, and punctuation. He dabbled with and created others such as Dwarvish (and the spellings of Dwarves vs Dwarfs he is also credited with rebirth), Numenorean,
    and the Black Speech of Mordor. All of which were not as fully developed or complete by the time of his death as the aforementioned Elvish languages.

    Below are some links I have saved on the topic, especially since I utilize Quenya and Sindarin for elvish dialects in my game world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._R._Tolkien
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langua..._R._R._Tolkien
    http://www.ambar-eldaron.com/telecha...ya-engl-A4.pdf

    DLG

  8. #8
    Yea, but Lord of the Rings sure losses something in the translation from the original Klingon. ba dum tiss
    Paul Grosse
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  9. #9

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    My interest in adventure gaming and writing in general I credit to Tolkien. He was a heck of an influence.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Lord Galen View Post
    First Thanks Dulux-Oz for the new thread!
    @Gavin- well when referencing the discussion of name origins and where they come from or based lead to the thoughts around etymology.
    Etymology> the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history, as a linguistic discipline. Often a branch of linguistics.
    That is a very unusual definition. Try Merriam Webster:
    : the history of a linguistic form (such as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language.

    It is the study of how word sounds and cognates change. Yes it touches on meaning, but that is mostly done by and for non-linguists for the general public. Hence my comment the etymology of Galen would focus on how Galenus dropped the final syllable. Notice nothing was said in my post about languages older than Greek or that evolved out of Greek.

    As to Tolkien, he was first and foremost a well versed linguist (Philologist) and embedded his knowledge of languages into his fictional works such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. After WWI he worked at Oxford Dictionary on the history and etymology of words. At the onset of WWII he worked for the british government in cryptography... lol not surprising.
    Out of all this experience he is credited with creating his own languages for Middle Earth, most notably Sindarin and Quenya, amazingly with complete with phonetics, syntax, and punctuation. He dabbled with and created others such as Dwarvish (and the spellings of Dwarves vs Dwarfs he is also credited with rebirth), Numenorean,
    and the Black Speech of Mordor. All of which were not as fully developed or complete by the time of his death as the aforementioned Elvish languages.
    Totally aware of this, and I also enjoy it. But it still has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the history of a Greek doctor's life which is relevant to "where did the name Galen come from" Answer: a Greek doctor.
    Last edited by GavinRuneblade; November 22nd, 2019 at 06:34.

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