This is topic Dwarves........Dwarfs? in forum Lord of the Rings at Minas Tirith Forums.


To visit this topic, use this URL:
http://www.minastirith.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001154

Posted by Guinevere (Citizen # 1141) on :
 
Oky, this is probably a stupid question. What is the difference between Dwarves and Dwarfs? I know that a Dwarf is usually refered to as a person who didnt grow to there full size. But both are used in the books. Is there some major difference between them? Or is it just different ways of spelling? All anwsers are welcome.

[ 07-06-2002, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Guinevere ]
 
Posted by Imbëar (Citizen # 729) on :
 
This is a fair question.

But first, forget any modern definition of the word.

"Dwarf" is simply the singular form, whereas "Dwarves" is plural. Tolkien also mentions that he wished the plural had followed a different pattern of change and had become "Dwarrows."

Imbëar
 
Posted by Fingolfin of the Noldor (Citizen # 156) on :
 
Also 'dwarfs' does not appear in Tolkien's mythology but rather soley 'dwarves' as Tolkien wished to distinguish his from those of Germanic traditions:

quote:
Even the dwarfs are not really Germanic 'dwarfs' (Zwerge, dweorgas, dvergar), and I call them 'dwarves' to mark that.
Indeed Maerbeen I do believe he got it from both [] Here is a brief passage from letter 25:

quote:
And why dwarves? Grammar prescribes dwarfs; philology suggests that dwarrows would be the historical form.

 
Posted by Adulithien (Citizen # 2193) on :
 
quote:
Also 'dwarfs' does not appear in Tolkien's mythology but rather soley 'dwarves'
I believe both terms appear no matter what printing you may read, due to Tolkien's neverending wrangling with editors.

quote:
from Note on the Text, The Fellowship of the Ring: ... Tolkien experienced what became for him a continual problem: printer's errors and compositor's mistakes, including well-intentioned 'corrections' of his sometimes idiosyncratic usage. These 'corrections' include the altering of dwarves to dwarfs, elvish to elfish...

 
Posted by Guinevere (Citizen # 1141) on :
 
Well this is starting to make more since to me.

quote:
"Dwarf" is simply the singular form, whereas "Dwarves" is plural.
Imbëar, if 'Dawrf' is the singular form and 'Dwarves' is the plural why in the book was Dwarf sometimes 'dwarfes'? But Dwarves where never 'dwarv'. But I could see that as being a mistake.
 
Posted by Adulithien (Citizen # 2193) on :
 
See above post!
 
Posted by Fingolfin of the Noldor (Citizen # 156) on :
 
I don't believe Tolkien ever used the terms 'dwarfes' further I can find no use of 'dwarfs' aside from in the appendices(f) where Tolkien describes why he did not use it.

quote:
No reviewer (that I have seen), although all have carefully used the correct dwarfs themselves, has commented on the fact (which I only became conscious of through reviews) that I use throughout the 'incorrect' plural dwarves. I am afraid it is just a piece of private bad grammar, rather shocking in a philologist; but I shall have to go on with it. -letter 17


[ 07-07-2002, 07:23 AM: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]
 
Posted by Telperion (Citizen # 1636) on :
 
I have read something about this about a year ago: The use of 'dwarves' instead of 'dwarfs' was actually a grammer mistake made by Tolkien, but as he was one of the leading philologists in the world at the time, he convinced people that justice was with him all along. That is, he convinced the literary world that 'dwarves' was used on purpose to seperate it from the German 'dwarfs' (Cobolds?).

In fact his argument was so convincing, that it actually changed the grammatical English rules world wide. If you take a peek at an early version of the Oxford English-English dictionary, you will notice that 'dwarfs' is the only listed plural of 'dwarf'. In the editions published after Tolkien defended his mistake, the word 'dwarf' has two plural forms: 'dwarfs' and 'dwarves'.

I don't know if it's true for other dictionaries (other than Oxford, that is). JRRT was, after all, a member in the team that prepared the first edition of this dictionary if I'm not mistaken.

[ 07-07-2002, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: Telperion ]
 
Posted by Imbëar (Citizen # 729) on :
 
I feel confident in the informed posts preceding mine, but just in the case of further confusion...

One Dwarf walks, two Dwarves run.

Imbëar
 
Posted by Adulithien (Citizen # 2193) on :
 
quote:
I don't believe Tolkien ever used the terms 'dwarfes' further I can find no use of 'dwarfs' aside from in the appendices(f) where Tolkien describes why he did not use it.
Then you obviously don't have a first edition printing.

Wow, does anybody actually read the posts around here? "Dwarfs" was not used by Tolkien, but the word did appear in the texts because his editors thought they were being helpful in 'correcting' Tolkien. This occurred in the earliest printings of FotR only. Yes, the word appears, no Tolkien didn't write it that way. No, it's not in the edition I own, either.

I thought this was pretty clear?

[ 07-07-2002, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: Adulithien ]
 
Posted by Lillianna (Citizen # 1843) on :
 
do I have have a calculated philsophical reason or can I humbly suggest that maybe Tolkien just liked the way it looked better? (though I do remember the quote about him saying that his dwarves were different than the German ones) *hides in a small cornor*

[ 07-07-2002, 08:14 PM: Message edited by: Lillianna ]
 
Posted by Imbëar (Citizen # 729) on :
 
Whether or not that is correct, the aesthetics of "Dwarves" is certainly the greater.
Linguistically, in this use "on the tongue," the pronunciation of Dwar-vz is much cleaner, lyrical, and comfortable in the mouth.

However, a course in the history of the English language will soon reveal every vowel and consonant "shift" that occurred. The patterns are predictable, which is why Tolkien suggested the "pattern" had gone wrong with the use of plural "dwarfs."

The -f- and the -v- are very close in how they are reproduced vocally. Consider the word "of." How many of you pronounce the word like this - uhff? How many of you pronounce it - uhv -? See what I mean.

Another consonant change occurs in the word - capitalise. Rather than capital-ice, we change the consonant to convey capital-ize. Granted, this is a strange example, but I think it helps.
Damn, an awful lot of posts for a simple question, eh?

Imbëar
 
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
 
I suppose dwarf > dwarves echoes such forms as leaf > leaves, and it certainly does sound more euphomious that way. On the other hand, such linguistic changes are not always consistent: hoof > hoofs, rather than 'hooves'.
 
Posted by Albion (Citizen # 1331) on :
 
I think the last comment is right: dwarves follows the form of leaf:leaves, turf:turves etc. and just sounds right. Enough of an explanation for the error, if it was an error.
 
Posted by Fingolfin of the Noldor (Citizen # 156) on :
 
Adulithien, I was responding to the following"

quote:
Imbëar, if 'Dawrf' is the singular form and 'Dwarves' is the plural why in the book was Dwarf sometimes 'dwarfes'? But Dwarves where never 'dwarv'. But I could see that as being a mistake.
and this:

quote:
I believe both terms appear no matter what printing you may read, due to Tolkien's neverending wrangling with editors.


 
Posted by Imbëar (Citizen # 729) on :
 
Cernunnos,
the plural of hoof is hooves, just as roof is rooves.

Imbëar
 
Posted by Mad Uncle Rupert (Citizen # 1148) on :
 
Really? I was under the impression that the plural of roof was roofs, and Websters seems to back me up. Is that an older English spelling? I admit I've never heard of it.
 
Posted by Imbëar (Citizen # 729) on :
 
Rupert,
I've never felt the need to consult with a dictionary. I've always followed the natural, comfortable, and most likely pattern.
If scarf is scarves and leaf is leaves,
then who am I to begin 'suggesting' new and novel spellings?

Standard Usage is for renting a U-Haul [] .
Traditional Usage is for obtaining a raise, impressing a date's parent(s), and otherwise securing power in the world of words.

Imbëar
 
Posted by Mad Uncle Rupert (Citizen # 1148) on :
 
And that means?
 
Posted by Watcher (Citizen # 1083) on :
 
Traditional Usage to rule them all
and in the Spelling bind them.
LOL Imbëar. []
 
Posted by Eöl the Dark Elf (Citizen # 411) on :
 
In my copy of LotR (Harper Collins 1995 - single volume with the John Howe-Gandalf ilustration on the front) hoofs is used instead of hooves.

Is this just my edition? I had thought that hooves was the correct plural []
 
Posted by Angathas (Citizen # 1319) on :
 
Not every noun that ends with "F" will be "-ves" in its plural form. The dictionary doesn't have the plural of dwarf as dwarves; it has it as dwarfs. Look also at the word "roof". Its plural is "roofs", as in "All the roofs in the neighborhood had TV antennae". How about the word "spoof"? Ex. "Saturday Night Live has done many spoofs on Pres. Bush".

The plural of "elf" is certainly "elves" so to keep things consistent it helps to pluralize "dwarf" as "dwarves". However, the word "dwarf" is also used as as verb, as in "The tower of Orthnac dwarfed the trees of Fangorn".

The plural of "dwarves" is a linguistic invention of JRRT, and I agree with Telperion's assessment.
 
Posted by Wandering Tuor (Citizen # 1685) on :
 
quote:
(Imbëar) "I've never felt the need to consult with a dictionary."
Well that clears up a great deal. []

[ 07-22-2002, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]
 
Posted by Elsilme (Citizen # 1925) on :
 
From LotR Appendix F Part II
quote:
It may be observed that in this book as in The Hobbit the form dwarves is used, although the dictionaries tell us that the plural of dwarf is dwarfs . It should be dwarrows (or dwerrows ), if singular and plural had each gone its own way down the years, as have man and men , or goose and geese . But we no longer speak of a dwarf as often as we do of a man, or even of a goose, and memories have not been fresh enough among Men to keep hold of a special plural for a race now abandoned to folk-tales, where at least a shadow of truth is preserved, or at least to nonsense-stories in which they have become mere figures of fun. But in the Third Age something of their old character and power is still glimpsed...It is to mark this that I have ventured to use the form dwarves , and remove them a little, perhaps, from the sillier tales of these latter days. Dwarrows would have been better...


[ 07-23-2002, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: Elsilme ]
 


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.6.1