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Discussing: Faramir & Boromir's Education?

Faramir & Boromir's Education?

I've been thinking about how Boromir and Faramir might have been educated as young noblemen. In particular, I'm interested in languages -- would they have learned to read Adunaic or Quenya, or to speak Sindarin, or Rohirric?

Faramir in particular clearly knows of Numenor, but it's not clear to me whether he's read translations or documents written in their original languages.

Any help appreciated!




Re: Faramir & Boromir's Education?


Sindarin at least we know something on. From The Two Towers:

They [Faramir's rangers] spoke together in soft voices, at first using the Common Speech, but after the manner of older days, and then changing to another language of their own. To his amazement, as he listened Frodo became aware that it was the Elven-tongue that they spoke, or one but little different; and he looked at them with wonder, for he knew then that they must be Dúnedain of the South, men of the line of the Lords of Westernesse. ("Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit")

So Sindarin is common among the Dunedain. Also,

"The Atani had learned the Sindarin tongue in Beleriand and most of them, especially the high men and the learned, had spoken it familiarly, even among themselves: but always as a learned language, taught in early childhood; their native language remained the Adunaic, the Mannish tongue of the Folk of Hador (except in some districts of the west of the Isle where the rustic folk used a Beorian dialect). Thus the Sindarin they used had remained unchanged through many lives of Men" (HoME vol 12, Pt 2 [Late Writings], "Of Dwarves and Men," Note 71)

So not only did they learn Sindarin, but they learned it from tutors. It wasn't their native tongue; that was Adunaic.

As for Rohirric, the one quote that comes to mind is also from TTT:

"'Stay, strangers here unknown!' they cried in the tongue of the Riddermark, demanding the names and errand of the strangers. Wonder was in their eyes but little friendliness; and they looked darkly upon Gandalf.

'Well do I understand your speech,' he answered in the same language; 'yet few strangers do so. Why then do you not speak in the Common Tongue, as is the custom in the West, if you wish to be answered?'

'It is the will of Theoden King that none should enter his gates, save those who know our tongue and are our friends,' replied one of the guards. 'None are welcome here in days of war but our own folk, and those that come from Mundburg in the land of Gondor." ("The King of the Golden Hall")

There are two ways to take this quote, I suppose. Either the Rohirrim could recognise a Gondorian on sight and would speak in the Common Tongue when they approached, or the Gondorians could speak Rohirric.

Since Boromir is described as being similar to the Rohirrim, however, I'm not sure they'd be so certain they could tell a Gondorian from a Rohirrim easily enough to do so with certainty. Eomer said:

"He came seldom to the Mark, for he was ever in the wars on the East-borders; but I have seen him. More like to the swift sons of Eorl than to the grave Men of Gondor he seemed to me, and likely to prove a great captain of his people when his time came."("The Riders of Rohan," TTT)

Interestingly, this quote seems to suggest (at least to me) that it wasn't unusual for Gondorians to come to Rohan. Boromir came seldom because he was usually in the East, not because Gondorians never came.

So it seems likely to me that Boromir and Faramir may have learned Rohirric, but I wouldn't assert it as fact -- just my interpretation.

As to Quenya, I'm more sceptical. When Sam asks Faramir why he doesn't talk much about the Elves in all his tales, Faramir answers:

"No indeed, Master Samwise,' said Faramir, `for I am not learned in Elven-lore.'" ("The Window on the West," TTT)

I would consider Quenya in the category of "Elven-lore". Also, most of the Noldor Elves left Middle-earth at the end of the First Age, didn't they? I was under the impression that Quenya wasn't spoken that much, except possibly by some of the remaining Noldor among themselves. However, I don't have a canonical basis for that -- this is just my impression, not canonical fact.




Re: Faramir & Boromir's Education?

Wow, yes, that's terribly helpful, especially with respect to the Sindarin.

I'm sorry, I don't know how to quote here, but re: "It wasn't their native tongue; that was Adunaic". You mean the Adunaic that had become Westron, correct? The intro to Appendix F says Westron "had become the native language of nearly all the speaking-peoples (save the Elves) who dwelt within the bounds of the old kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor..."

This does make me curious about the preservation of true Numenorean Adunaic (as opposed to the Adunaic that morphed into Westronf). At the end of the SA, it must have have a lot of cultural baggage among the Dunedain, given that it had become the sole language the King's Men used in Numenor -- the language of the oppressor of the Faithful. Would Elendil have sought to preserve its use in Middle-earth? I know this is hinting at a larger cultural issue, but now I'm curious. I'm not finding anything on this in Appendix F -- it just says that by the time Elendil returned, men didn't really speak Sindarin much anymore.

I was also thinking of Quenya like Latin, that it might be taught as a "dead language" for purpioses of reading rather than speaking. I think Faramir makes a reference somewhere to scrolls in the archive that few now understand, and I'd thought those might be Quenya, but perhaps Adunaic? Hrm.

Anyway, for story purposes, your reply was greatly helpful, thank you!




Re: Faramir & Boromir's Education?

Hi Melina

Your suppositions regarding "true Numenorean Adunaic" appear to be correct:

"The ancient Adunaic of Numenor became worn down by time - and by neglect. For owing to the disastrous history of Numenor it was no longer held in honour by the 'Faithful' who controlled all the Shorelands from Lune to Pelargir. For the Elvish tongues were proscribed by the rebel Kings, and Adunaic alone was permitted to be used, and many of the ancient books in Quenya or in Sindarin were destroyed. The Faithful, therefore, used Sindarin, and in that tongue devised all names of places that they gave anew in-Middle-earth. Adunaic was abandoned to unheeded change and corruption as the language of daily life, and the only tongue of the unlettered. All men of high lineage and all those who were taught to read and write used Sindarin, even as a daily tongue among themselves. In some families, it is said, Sindarin became the native tongue, and the vulgar tongue of Adunaic origin was only learned casually as it was needed. The Sindarin was not however taught to aliens, both because it was held a mark of Numenorean descent and because it proved difficult to acquire - far more so than the 'vulgar tongue'. Thus it came about that as the Numenorean settlements increased in power and extent and made contact with Men of Middle-earth (many of whom came under Numenorean rule and swelled their population) the 'vulgar tongue' began to spread far and wide as a lingua franca among peoples of many different kinds. This process began in the end of the Second Age, but became of general importance mainly after the Downfall and the establishment of the 'Realms in Exile' in Arnor and Gondor. [....]

"Within the original bounds of the Kingdoms the 'vulgar speech' soon became the current speech, and eventually the native language of nearly all the inhabitants of whatever origin, and incomers who were allowed to settle within the bounds adopted it. Its speakers generally called it Westron (actually Aduni, and in Sindarin Annunaid). But it spread far beyond the bounds of the Kingdoms - at first in dealings with 'the peoples of the Kingdoms', and later as a 'Common Speech' convenient for intercourse between peoples who retained numerous tongues of their own. Thus Elves and Dwarves used it in dealings with one another and with Men." (HoME vol 12, Pt 2 [Late Writings], "II. The Atani and their Languages")

Regarding Quenya: as you suggest, it appears to have been a scholarly language:

"The language of the Dunedain was thus the Elvish Noldorin, though their high lords and men of wisdom knew also the Quenya, [> Thus in Numenor two languages were used: the Numenorean (or Adunaic), and the Elvish Noldorin, which all the lords of that people knew and spoke, for they had many dealings with the Elves in the days ere their fall. But their men of wisdom learned also the Quenya, and could read the books of Elven lore;] and in that high tongue they gave names to many places of fame or reverence, and to men of royalty and great renown." (HoME vol 12, II. The Appendix on Languages, "The Languages at the end of the Third Age" §9)

Note: As I understand it "Elvish Noldorin" is Tolkien's way of referring to Sindarin at this point in his writings.

Cheers, Liz



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