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Author Topic: Dwimmerlaick
Berguiss
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Who can give me a list of all Middle earth's dwimmerlaicks ?
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Éoric of the Riddermark
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Dwimmerlaik wasn't really a title. It was a scornful, derisive term used by Éowyn right before she sent the Nazgûl-lord to his final resting place.

It's Anglo-Saxon for "magical corpse". []

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Glóin the Dark
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...and was not a term reserved, in Rohan, for the Nazgûl: rather, it was used there to refer to any "work of necromancy" or "sceptre" (recall that Éomer described Saruman as "dwimmer-crafty"), according to the The Lord of the Rings index.
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Imbëar
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And Lothlórien was called Dwimmordene, the witch-wood(?).

The first time I read the Books, I thought the reference was to the Nazgûl's winged steed.

Imbëar

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Grondar
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Dwimmerlaik is a conjoined word from Old English which can be translated as "illusionary-liar". Eowyn is insulting the Lord of the Nazgul, calling him a fake, and an illusion, not a master of true magical powers.

Similarly Dwimmer-crafy is a more respectful statement about the ability of Saruman to weave deceitful webs of illusion which fool others.

Dwimmordene would translate as "Valley of Illusions". Rather fitting given the powers of Galadriel and how the Rohirrim would view the effects of her defensive protections.

An interesting page for some of this is
Bob Longman's : ABOUT SOME WORDS

[ 07-18-2002, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: Grondar ]

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Éoric of the Riddermark
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Grondar, I've never seen the stem dwimmer- associated strictly with illusion. The most-cited translation I've seen is that the stem was taken from the AS gedwimer for "sorcery". Also, the stem laik is harder to associate, but the references I've found claim it's a form of lich, meaning corpse.

Where did you find your info, and can you share it? []

Also, the word dweomer-cræften appears in a medieval work meaning "magical art". I've taken this to mean that "dwimmer-crafty" isn't insulting or speaking only of illusions, but simply recognition of Saruman's abilities--though maybe, given the fact that the Rohirrim don't seem fond of "magic", it carried a negative connotation.

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Grondar
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Éoric, Hello!

I believe that you will find that the word dwimmer can refer to either illusions or spirits, but mostly refer to the former. I only have a dictionary knowledge, so if there are examples of the words usage that contest this, feel free to enlighten me []

I am following what I believe is JRRT's use of it. To quote Michael Martinez:
quote:
... he (Tolkien) defined two aspects of magic, magia (physical effects) and goiteia (effects on the mind or spirit),
It is this latter aspect that I believe "Dwimmer" is refering to. Mostly phantasms, delusions, and illusions, but also some working with spirits.

Sorcery usually refers to working with spirits. In middle earth these are unbodied feä, spirits of men or elves, who refuse to leave ME upon their death. The Nazgul are a specialized form, but wights, wraiths, and other such are mentioned in various places.

So in your use could be argued, but would not explain the scorn Eowyn applies with the epitath.

Lich (OE Lic) does mean corpse, but if you look at the related words, they all follow the "i" sounds (closed and to to front of the mouth). Gothic "leik", Old Saxon "lík", Danish "lig", Swedish "lik". None of these words have the "-laik" sound to them.

English "liar" comes from OE "Leogere" / "Leogan". When you compare this with the "-lock" of "warlock" which has the same root and meaning, with a bit of mouth movement I can see where "-laik" can be contrived.

But so far I agree, that no definite sequence of connections makes this absolute. I'm not sure of the sources Mr Longman used to make his connection. Any scholars of Anglo-Saxon out there?? []

In addition to the URL I referenced in the previous posting you can also look at:

A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by John R. Clark Hall (page 80 - Dwimmer)
A Conscise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by John R. Clark Hall (page 186 - Leogan)
A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by John R. Clark Hall (Main)

Bosworth and Toller: An Anglo-Saxon dictionary (page 220)
Bosworth and Toller : An Anglo-Saxon dictionary (main)
[] [] []

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cian
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I'm no scholar of Anglo-Saxon, but here's David Salo's take:

quote:
"dwimmer-crafty - Anglicized from Middle English dwemercraft(y), from OE *dwimorcraeft(ig) /dwimorkr@fti:/. Dwemer actually comes from an unattested dialectical variant of dwimor "magic", *dweomor. dwimmerlaik - Anglicized from Middle English dwemerlaik. This is from dwemer + a suffix laik, borrowed from a Scandinavian -leikr, but cognate to an Old English suffix -la'c /la:k/. It means "practice of magic, sorcery". David Salo
David is a linguist (hired for the film) and currently studying Tocharian IIRC. That's his version anyway, though posted some time ago. Cheers
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Éoric of the Riddermark
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Curiouser and curiouser. Interesting takes on these words, though I suppose (barring a successful seance!) we'll never know exactly which meaning Tolkien had in mind, and what root-stem he used for -laik.

And Salo's theory that -laik is cognate to ON -leikr is interesting, as the root can mean "play" (as well as "practice"). Calling the Nazgûl-lord a "player with magic" sounds somewhat insulting, no? []

Thanks for the information, though. I'll have to look through the other sites and digest it...

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Roll of Honor Lugbúrz
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Grondar,

Thank you for providing those excellent links, but the TIFF files that are linked from the main pages of the two dictionaries are not loading. I was wondering whether this was a temporary problem or it was something that was affecting me alone.

All,

Thank you for providing such an interesting discussion on etymologies.

Websites of the above kind and references to Old and Middle English would be most interesting to me. Please post them here or if you feel they are out of place do PM me.

Regards,
Lug

[ 07-20-2002, 07:00 AM: Message edited by: Lugbúrz ]

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Grondar
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Lugbúrz, When I access these tiff files, via IE 5.5, I recieve a pop-up box asking me if I wish to save to disk, or view over the net. I choose the latter. If you are not seeing this pop-up box, then that may be the problem. You can check you internet options, maybe you have some setting that prevents downloading...
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cian
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Here's a spot from HOME into the mix:

"Go back to him and report that his shadows and dwimor-lakes* are powerless ..." [The War Of The Ring]

quote:
*(note 2)
dwimorlakes: 'illusions, phantoms". Old English (ge)dwimor, er; cf. Wormtongue's name Dwimordene of Lórien in 'The King of the Golden Hall' (TT p. 118), and Dwimorberg. In the present chapter in RK (p. 116) Éowyn calls the Lord of the Nazgûl 'foul dwimmer-laik', -laik being the Old Norse ending -leikr corresponding to Old English -lác, here 'modernised' as -lake."


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Éoric of the Riddermark
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Lug, I have bookmarked about a dozen good sites related to Old English/Anglo-Saxon--partially because I was a history major in college and enjoy the study of ancient languages, and partially because it's useful info to have when studying the Eorlings. Unfortunately the bookmarks are all on my home computer and I usually read the Minas Tirith MB's from work. I'll try to remember to post them here or email them to you. []
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Roll of Honor Lugbúrz
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I would be very grateful, Éoric! Great name and avatar, by the way. My e-mail is in my profile, you could also PM me if that suits you better. Thanks! [] []
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Éoric of the Riddermark
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I'll post them here, in case anybody else is interested. Also, just a note that sometimes you'll find reference to Anglo-Saxon and other times reference to Old English, but they're the same thing (for anybody who isn't familiar with such the terms). Anyhow, here are my favorite links:

Bright's Old English Glossary

Beowulf in Old English with interlinear translation

Old English Lessons Online

Hwæt! Old English in Context

Modern English to Old English Vocabulary

Old English (introduction)

Old English at the U. of Virginia (includes fonts, pronunciation guide, etc.)

Old English Insults

ORB Guide to Online Old English Resources

Enjoy! []

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Fatty Bolger
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I'm thinking dwimmerlaik means "phantom corpse." My sources are Hall's Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary and the Bosworth Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. -laik is probably a cognate of lïc, "body; corpse," related to Ger. leiche. Dwimor ("illusion, delusion, apparition, phantom") seems related to dwïnen, "to waste away, disappear, languish, fade." I want to believe Tolkien is trying to say something about how the wraiths are corrupted, that there is a connection between the power of illusions and a process of wasting away. Does Saruman, the dwimmer-crafty, waste away?
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Eluchil
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May I point to Tom Shippey ? might be helpfull []
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Fatty Bolger
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Eluchil, thanks for the tip. I just ordered his essay "History in Words: Tolkien's Ruling Passion" on interlibrary loan.
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Tyrhael
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I too thought -laik was related to "corpse", but here's what Tolkien had to say on the matter in his previously unpublished 1966 Index (RC:562):

In the 1966 Index Tolkien says that dwimmer-laik in the language of Rohan means 'work of necromancy, spectre'. It is derived from Middle English dweomer, Old English (ge)dwimor, -er 'illusion, phantom' + Middle English -layk, -laik 'play'. Compare obsolete demerlayk (or dweomerlak, etc.) 'magic, practice of occult art' (OED)', and see also The War of the Ring, p. 372, n. 2. The OED notes also under -laik that 'occasionally the suffix representing Old English -lâc was in northern or noth Midland texts written -laik, so that it became coincident in form with the Scandinavian suffix [Old Norse -leikr], e.g. in dwimerlaik.'

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Fatty Bolger
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I'll give up on "corpse" then if the evidence is against it. Interestingly, I was reading in another forum ( onering.com: unusual words) that in Layamon's Brut there is an instance of dweomerlake (sorceror) and an instance of dweomerlace (sorcery).
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Tyrhael
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Déjà vu! I recently wrote a post on another forum about the word "dwimmerlaik" in which I said:

In Stratmann's Middle English Dictionary (Oxford Uni. Press, 1891), we find that the compound dweomor-lác actually occurs in certain texts:

(1) glossed as "magic play" in line 270 of La3amon's Brut, edited by F. Madden, Soc. of Antiquaries, London 1847. [? Worchestershire, first text about 1205, second about 1275].

(2) as demerlaik in line 414 of The Alliterative Romance of Alexander, edited by J. Stevenson, from the Ashmole MS. Roxburghe Club, 1849 [about 1400-50].

(3) line 1561 of Early English Alliterative Poems, edited by R. Morris: ii. Cleanness. E.E.T.S. No. 1, 1864. [?Lancashire about 1360, by the same author as GAW]. In this case "GAW" is Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight.

And 3e-dwimor is attested on page 3 of Fragment of Ælfric's Grammar, Ælfric's Glossary, and poem on the Soul and Body in the orthography of the 12th cent., edited by T. Phillipps, London, 1838.

But it seems someone else on another forum has already sought out the word in old texts — though I was unaware of his post, having not read it.

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Fatty Bolger
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I think Grondar is on the right track. Dwimmer has to do with illusions. I looked up demerlayk in the OED, and I read Shippey on the subject ("History in Words: Tolkien's Ruling Passion"), and I think that he is right to call into question both the form and the meaning given by the OED. He says:
quote:
"Magic art" is, however, only one aspect of its meaning. It is in fact a word rather like shimmer or glimmer, with a root meaning of 'being hard to make out, being on the edge of sight.' People then associate this with ghosts, as in Dwimorberg, with deceit, as in Dwimordene, with shape-shifting, as in dwimmer-crafty, all of which have something to do with blurred or warped vision; and with dreams, in which people see things that are not there.

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Finranfin
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The the old scandinavian word leikr (today lek) is used for other eanings than 'play' too. The word 'lekman' (not very common these days) is translated to english as 'layman'.
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