Word logging

ruth barratt

Active Member
Hello all, Due to lock down I have finally had time to do an insane project that I have wanted to do for ages. A spreadsheet of words that we may want to track in The Lord of the Rings. I have not finished it yet (as you can imagine it will take some time) but this is so far and I will be updating it. this is for all to use for whatever they need it for. if you have any thoughts or suggestions let me know and I'll see what I can do. Enjoy :)

This like is a view-only link if you want more access then just hit the request button. I've left it as view only used to it doesn't get any unwonted changers.
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
A heroic undertaking... And anywhere near a comprehensive concordance would be beyond the strength of a single person to accomplsh. But one word that has leaped out at me, and seems to be unusually important (partly because he uses it so often) is "sudden/suddenly". Sudden is used 527 times. Suddenly is used 429 times. That's is 956 times together in a book that is only (!) about 1030 pages. In other words the equivalent of once on almost every page, on average. Unexpected(ly) are used only 23 times. And I suspect most of these times sudden(ly) does not mean just "hasty", "quick", "rapid" or even"abrupt:... it means "unexpected"... What does this tell us about Middle-earth and those in it?... Until a full listing is made of it, we are not able to draw any firm conclusions. There may be other frequent usages that I have not noticed....

Correction: the total of 956 is erroneous... Sudden is used 90 times, suddenly 429 times, total for both is 523.
 
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ruth barratt

Active Member
I'm just finishing up the compass points as cap v non-cap at the min but I may have a look-see at them next and see what I can do. Thank you, my good wizard, for the recommendation
 

ruth barratt

Active Member
Hello My wonderful forums friend, I am in need of help. In column G I am wanting to add the meaning of the Sudden/suddenly word in response to Timdalf's request but for this, I need some help to decide what the are: is it speed, unexpected, and so on.
Any help would be amazing so that I can keep logging new words.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Ruth, may I suggest that, since this is an inductive process -- namely to discover how JRRT actually used these words judging by the examples in context, you first just catalogue all the uses with their sentences. Then consult the OED for various shades of meaning. Then try to draw conclusions as to what JRRT meant in each instance. The result will depend on what the evidence shows. Don't try and ab initio a priori create a list of meaning categories and then try to fit the individual cases into them... JRRT was a poet, even in his prose, and might well come up with some new shade that is all his own... Deciding things in advance might cause us to miss that. Just my sudden (!) suggestion.... ;) PS: one angle to explore is the etymology of the word group... I wouldn't put it past the old rascal to have had such matters not so suddenly pop into his brain! PPS: Or course the first step is, using a Word file complete text (hopefully a critical text of reliability), simply to do the yeoman leg work of assembling all the examples. Tedious, boring, but essential.... first the data, then the patterns, then the conclusions...
 
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ruth barratt

Active Member
I'm odd I love the data logging :) My plan was to look through the OED but would still love the help for the words that have been done. I am thinking that just a quick a short note like for the a 'you may find a sudden tree' something like 'unexpected item' then if needed we can expanded on it. It would be just a quick note that would be used for quick searches
 

Timdalf

Active Member
So when you have listed all the instances, what patterns will emerge?... Or even more interestingly why does he use one of the three when he does in some cases? Your "a sudden tree or standing stone" is a perfect example. There is nothing sudden about an immovable tree or stone! Unless one is just walking along inattentively. But I don't think that is his point. Rather than an otherwise ordinary tree or stone suddenly (!) becomes unique and meaningful. He does not say "suddenly there was a tree", but "a sudden tree". The odd usage makes it seem special. The is the "mooreeffoc" effect that JRRT writes about (which now that I think of it, is a very deft pun on "more effect"! The old rascal!) It's watching out for those touches that will be most interesting to notice.
You start at 3582 and so far have to 4076, that's 495 by my count,
Looking back over my totals I realize I counted "sudden" twice with "suddenly". I should have put a space after "sudden" to differentiate it. So the totals (using Word search) seem to be 90 "sudden", 429 "suddenly" and 4 "suddenness". with a grand total of 523 for the whole book, so actually about once every two pages in the book (correcting my previous statement). You have completed through the "Mount Doom" chapter which is #410 out of 429 "suddenly"s
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
My initial hypothesis about why JRRT seems to love the word "suddenly" is that it creates an atmosphere of the unexpected which is essential to the nature of Faerie where unusual things happen and unusual figures are common. One is constantly surprised in this world by the unordinary, the fantastical. And given the strangeness of it all, he must take all the more pains to make the rest seem normal. Hence the vivid and lengthy descriptions of the natural surroundings, the frequency of commonplace elements, like cooking pots, camp fires, trees and rivers, etc amidst which and out of which the "magical" appear -- suddenly. This makes them gain a reality even as they are unexpected.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Some one who might be very interested in this SpreadSheet and have some ideas on how to analyze it and come up with tome conclusions is Prof. Micjhael Drout who teaches English and Anglo-Saxon at Wheaton College in Mass. His computer programs for dealing with word usage as a function of writers' styles might be applicable here. They are called Lexonomics. He presented some fascinating and detailed examples at the last two MythMoots (non virtual only). I wonder what he would make of these SpreadSheets... https://wheatoncollege.edu/academics/special-projects-initiatives/lexomics/introduction-lexomics/
 

ruth barratt

Active Member
hello hello,
I have done all the words that I can think of that will be good to track. If there are any others that would be good just let me know
 

ruth barratt

Active Member
Hello hello
I have started to graph the table. I'll be posting them as I get them done. There may be little notes with my thoughts on them. Please feel free to add your thoughts and correct mine. Happy April all :)

 
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