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January 03, 2007


Mark Dreyer

No offence taken, Tim, & you try most handsomely: Carry on. It's another analytical language as English & Scots is, so you'll make rather more progress there than many speakers of more grammatical tongues. While we mention Scots, you may find just putting yourself in a linguistically Scottish frame of reference wil shunt you a fair distance all by itself. Only remember the the verb comes on the end, as with the Great Sage Yoda you would say. Aanhou wen!

Die Uwe,

Tim Abbott

Asseblief, Meneer. Ek kan nie Afrikaans praat nie, ek is n Engelsman, maar ek probeer.

I would not dream of calling you or any other Afrikaner a 'hairyback' or a 'rock spider' or worse things.

Sorry to have given offense. Tim

Mark Dreyer


What is your case? Afrikaans is wel 'n liefdestaal, 'n minnetaal, wortel, stam, tak, ja, en diepgelegde aar vanuit dese ryke Aarde tot die bloeisel, blom en sapsoete windgestreelde songesoene vrug van die Liefde!

So spreek nog 'n dwerg. Ask my wife, though I stand 1,725m (5'9") in my horny soles. I am shamelessly bearded, as one can be in this country, as well as rather chunky & unlovely to normal canons of more gracile humanity, & I am broad enough at the shoulders (belly too, now) to look short at a distance. Moreover,if you cherish your bodily integrity do not call me a hairyback.

I apologise to Sterkfontein & to his conversants for his choice of name (it belongs by rights to a whole cave). Conceded, this is not his true name but that is not our affair. My public name is Gillie. The virtue thereof is that I can use it as freely without comment in mundane society. Bear in mind the initial consonant is an unvoiced velar fricative, as for the 'ch' in 'Loch Lomond', soft in the mouth like all Afrikaans consonants & iminently suitable for cradle-talk & for seduction too.

Seductive metaphor & amatory terminology is also somewhat more extensive in Afrikaans than in modern English, which explains a lot about the English, a nation second only to the Swiss in the inelegance of their trystings (Do you notice how I have to fall back on an older language & lexicon of this tongue to make this point to you?) Let it pass.

Back to the Middle-Earth analogue of Afrikaans, which I take to be the speech of the Rohirrim (Rosheeren?), as well as the ancestral tongue,that of the Eastern foothills of Mirkwood & the vales of Anduin, & that I relate to the Saxon & Nether-Frankish of the Northern Borders of Germany & the Netherlands - sweet dialects! No matter: Riddermal would no more be Dwarvish than Westron, though Gimli & his subjects in the Glittering caves under Hornburg would in the course of time speak it as featly as Westron.

In an 'Afrikaansed' Dwarfish the battle-cry would more truly be: "Dwergebyle! Dwergbyle het jou!" Mind you, that is NOT what we would cry, but rather, "BARUK KHAZA'D! KHAZA'D AIME'NU!"

Terloops, Greenman, dit treur my dat 'n minnaares JOU nie in die fryleer diep geskool het nie, en dat daarom hierdie deel van ons mooi Taal vir jou vir ewig geslote moet bly.
(in translation)
By the way, Greenman, it is to my sorrow that a lady-love never schooled YOU deep in the craft of courtship, & that that part of my beautiful Taal must be forever closed to you.

In closing, this addressed to Sterkfontein & to Greenman & the others, Courtship is to a dwarf a craft like any other, & those who stop to learn it are as dedicated & skilful craftsmen as a poet, a stone-setter or lapidiarist, blade-wright or mason, or any other master-craftsman of his kind may be.

Heil vriende, en vaarwel:
Die Uwe,


P.S. (I quote), "Ek sal jou hoerse kind slaan, skop 'n doodmaak" sic. There are as Tolkien himself points out Orcish types enough among the English kind - no great effort is called for to find them, their types or their language. There is no need to look for them in mine; & they will be no easier to find.


Ah, those deadly puddings. But CV, did you ever confront the horror of the corridor-filling Gelatinous Cube? An adventurer's bane of the first order.

AVI - many thanks for the Lin Carter reference, which I will happily seek and failing that may indeed take you up on your kind offer.

Rereading Tolkien is a yearly pleasure, Genevieve, for the same reason you cite. No matter how familiar the territory, something fresh and new always surfaces.

LGD, When Sterkfontein issues that famed Khudzul battle cry, it comes out thus: "Besnoeis dwergese! Dwerge is tussen julle!" Afrikaans is not his first language, but whatever its grammatical shortcomings when bellowed by ol' Sterk it has taken the stuffing out many an adversary.

Afrikaans has many fine points but it is not the language of love. "Ek het jou lief." doesn't work so well for Sterk. He's more the sort who says "Ek sal jou hoerse kind slaan, skop 'n doodmaak!"


I am currently reading yet another of Christopher Tolkien's books on how his father created LRR. I can't seem to get enough of Middle Earth ...

Thanks for writing this tribute so I could forward the link to several other fans of the master.

Baruk Khaza'd! Khaza'd ai-me'nu!


I was grown up well before D&D became popular. I first happened across the Tolkien books about 1975, and I suppose I've read them through at least half a dozen times since then, each time discovering new things to enjoy.

Assistant Village Idiot

Good article. Lin Carter's "Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings" (Ballantine 1969) was the first place I encountered all the Old Norse and Old Icelandic references, including the dwarf names. If you can't find a copy, let me know and I'll lend you mine. I actually did my English Honors Thesis on how the Nordic tradition was being reworked into modern fiction. I don't have much patience for a lot of the derivative works of fantasy, but some were quite good, and I was a D&D addict for a few years myself. I was usually DM, but liked playing dwarves and halflings.

When I was at college in the early 70's someone told me about a medieval role-playing game that went on BY MAIL that was called Midgard. I have never been able to find anything else about it.


Ah yes, I too recall endless Friday nights in the dungeon, fearful that a wrong turn might put me face to face with a black pudding. I would have pegged you as a dwarf man.

Would love to see a scan of your corrected Cirth lab notes, by the way.

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