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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:05 am 
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of Vinyamar
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Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 8427
Location: Ireland
I was "recommended" this by Amazon's website. Its something I've often thought of looking into more. However, the two very different reviews make it difficult to judge.

This one seems very encouraging.

Quote:
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and creative scholarship, July 5, 2007
By Robert E. Romanelli "elf-friend" (Goleta, CA United States)

David Salo's humble attitude regarding his intensely thorough research has produced a work of profound and astounding scholarship. This book is exciting to the point of being breathtaking, for, again, it raises the expectation that Middle Earth was indeed peopled by speakers of i-lambi Eldaron and rich with a living, thriving culture in which the powers of Light finally overcame the forces of darkness. Elvish is aesthetically thrilling, but getting a handle on this tongue, i.e., actually allowing tangible use of Sindarin makes this "linguist" jump for joy. The organization of the book moves the reader through what might easily be one of the most interesting graduate courses in language that any elf-friend has ever taken in higher education. Hannon lle, David Salo!


But this one is downright damning.

Quote:
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Title, Unscholarly Contents, May 30, 2008
By H. Grace (Boston, MA) -

Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to give this item zero stars.

Sadly, this book lives up to neither its title nor its promise. For anyone who knows anything about J.R.R. Tolkien's invented languages, this book is not a reliable 'Gateway to Sindarin'. Rather, it is an unacknowledged mishmash of Noldorin of the 1930s (fr. 'The Etymologies'), Sindarin of the 1950s (fr. 'The Lord of the Rings'), and numerous inventions of David Salo himself. It is therefore misleading to call this book 'A Gateway to Sindarin'. It would have been more accurate to call it 'An Introduction to David Salo's Synthetic Reinterpretation of Tolkien's Gnomish-Noldorin-Sindarin language'.

(One might charitably suppose that this was in fact Salo's preferred title, but that there simply wasn't room on the stylized Moria Gate on the cover of his book to accommodate such a lengthy phrase. Perhaps the switch from a Beleriandic mode of vowel-representation to one accommodating vowel-pointing tehtar might have saved some room?)

In all seriousness: the unacknowledged, uncredited, and therefore (one presumes) copyright-violating use of Tolkien's 'Moria Gate' drawing on the cover of 'Gateway to Sindarin' is just the tip of the iceberg. While the book does have an "Annotated Bibliography" (pp.416-435), this is no substitute for a proper citation and referencing strategy. One searches in vain for any accreditation of earlier scholars of Tolkien's languages, not least the editors of Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon, whose publications and analyses of much original Tolkien linguistic material this book silently mines for forms without acknowledging any of their theoretical or methodological contributions. If this book isn't already tied up in court proceedings then it certainly should be.

There are several reviews of this deeply-flawed and pseudo-scholarly work online; I urge all would-be purchasers to consult them before supporting the publication of this book (and those like it).


The problem is, it's very had to know if either are accurate. The first guy might be a friend, and the second could be a disgruntled competitor. Its very hard to know. Also, David Salo has not endeared himself to a lot of people over the years, and some would love to knock him down a peg or two.

Any thoughts?

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