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Discussing: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

comments on Fair Folk and Foul

Some stray notes on "Fair Folk and Foul" - sorry they are so chaotic. I will gladly comment on dwarven women (and related issues) later on.

The subplot of border dispute is developing very nicely. Some tension between neighbouring Dwarves and Elves is probably inevitable, but I am glad you did not go overboard with it, as many authors tend to do. (I mean, most of the time Dwarves and Elves managed to get along quite well.) I would love to see a confrontation of Veylin with Falathar (this elf badly needs taking down a peg or two.) Your (Tolkien wrote so little of them that they are practically OCs) Elladan and Elrohir are very likable and very believable, too. (Elrond's sons should be likeable, Elrond himself gets big points with me for attitude to Bilbo.)

You have written more about Veylin, he has come more alive now. So he is the chieftain of the Firebeards... We wonder, my preciousss... Is he descended from Azaghâl? (Azaghâl is very much on my mind nowadays, although, with my pace of writing, I doubt the intended piece will see daylight in any predictable feature.) Assuming the position is hereditary, see below.

I like your potrayal of dwarven society. I am not sure, though, whether you didn't go too far with dwarven egalitarianism. True, I don't think they would accept a position limiting their freedom (Do not put bonds on a Dwarf! He will not forgive it.), but, on the other hand, at least Durin's Folk had a hereditary monarch, so the idea of aristocracy should not be so foreign to the Dwarves. (Although Numenoreans with their 'lesser folk' concept would get on Dwarves' nerves, I have no quarrel with that. On the other hand... Petty Dwarves? Perhaps Dwarves tried that just once, and that experience taught them something about the dangers of such attitude.) BTW, is Veylin a hereditary chieftain, or was he elected? (Or something in between.)

Arathorn got me confused for a while, but, with the help of Appendixes, I recovered. (Chronology was never my strong suit, and I remembered Aragorn's father was killed by trolls.)

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

Ah, someone who will keep me on my toes at last!  Grin  I'm glad you're still enjoying the story, Mantida.  (A story about Azaghâl?  Oo!  Come on, you can nibble away on it until it's done.)

Yes, I expect Veylin is a descendant of his.  Not in the senior, "royal" line, but one of the side branches.  More on dwarven kinship and social structure in a bit.

Thank you for the comment on my moderation.  One of the problems with setting stories out on the edge of the world is that my characters are far from the centers of power and most of the action (against Sauron, anyway).  You can focus a story on the one great extraordinary crisis--which is how I started--but if you want to maintain a level of narrative realism, you can't keep inventing great calamities in a quiet backwater.  You need to find the smaller things that can plausibly maintain conflict, without getting too trivial.  The cycle will probably end when I run out of ideas for interesting conflicts that are more significant than what you find in a soap opera.  Laugh out loud  But even "ordinary" life is full of heroism and tragedy.  I think I have enough grist for the mill for a while yet.

Oh, I'm going to be having lots of fun with tension between an Elf (not Falathar) and Dwarves, especially Veylin, in "Of Like Passion."  Most people see the relationships between Dwarves and Elves as either black (fight like cats and dogs) or white (Gimli and Legolas, however close they think that is); I like the shades of grey . . . and beige, and mauve (what a hideous color!  Wink ), etc. in between.

I like your potrayal of dwarven society. I am not sure, though, whether you didn't go too far with dwarven egalitarianism. True, I don't think they would accept a position limiting their freedom (Do not put bonds on a Dwarf! He will not forgive it.), but, on the other hand, at least Durin's Folk had a hereditary monarch, so the idea of aristocracy should not be so foreign to the Dwarves. (Although Numenoreans with their 'lesser folk' concept would get on Dwarves' nerves, I have no quarrel with that. On the other hand... Petty Dwarves? Perhaps Dwarves tried that just once, and that experience taught them something about the dangers of such attitude.) BTW, is Veylin a hereditary chieftain, or was he elected? (Or something in between.)

I don't see Dwarves as egalitarian; I see them as a meritocracy with strong hereditary structures underneath.  Yes, you may be the Heir of Durin, but if you don't have the kingdom, you aren't a king.  (This comes out particularly well in "The Quest for Erebor," where Gandalf tells exactly how he came to send Bilbo off with Thorin and Company.)  Tolkien tells us that the Dwarves deeply respect seniority and that they are strongly patrilineal, and that naturally creates an "aristocratic" structure.  Rich, powerful fathers pass their wealth and power on to their sons . . . but if you lose the wealth and power, as Durin's Line did twice in the Third Age, what happens?  Some Dwarves stick with them, betting they will pull themselves up by their bootstraps somehow--others join more successful Dwarves, whether in the Iron Hills or the Blue Mountains.  A Dwarf with a valuable skill-set could go to another mansion or a leader more to their taste, although there would be some loss of standing if they went to another kindred . . . but who better to weigh the relative costs and benefits than a Dwarf?

Think about what would have happened if there had been no Quest.  Thorin had no sons, and seniority would have gone to Dain--but Thorin's other kin and followers would have had to take second place to Dain's clique among the Longbeards of the Iron Hills, or elect to remain a lower-rank Longbeard line among the Dwarves of the Ered Luin.

The senior line always keeps the prestige (the other kindreds will come and fight to avenge them) and potential for power, but if they don't have the resources to make good on their claims, it's a hollow title.  I think a Dwarf would have more real respect for someone who built their fortune from modest beginnings than for someone who spent (or lost) or merely maintained their inheritance, no matter what their ancestry.

What you see among Veylin and his followers may look more egalitarian than it is, because the "principals" of Gunduzahar are all higher-status Dwarves (notice in the Dramatis Personae how inter-related they are), and their prentices are also high-status and/or highly talented.  As the colony grows, the "class" distinctions will become more noticeable.  For a meritocracy to work, however, you have to have some idea of underlying equality, or people won't bother to sweat to better their position.  (That doesn't mean the society is actually egalitarian--just look at modern American society.)

Yes, I've done some extrapolation here, but it's based on twenty years of research in an area known as "political economy": how sociopolitical power and access to resources relate to each other, cross-culturally.  Very useful for getting inside the heads of pragmatic Dwarves!  Grin

So, Veylin inherited his position.  There is no evidence that the Dwarves "elected" leaders from among a set of closely related candidates (which was, by the way, the standard practice among the early medieval Scots)--that would contradict their preference for seniority.  Since Veylin has no sons, his cousin will inherit the position after him, and Veylin is "convincing" him to fall in line with his ideas through a combination of rewards and threats, specifically of gifting a substantial part of his personal wealth to his sister's sons.  Technically, this is "not done," but it's the kind of rule-bending all these unilineal societies do when playing power games.  Why do you think Kili and Fili were so close to Thorin?

Petty Dwarves interest me, particularly the bit about them being descended from Dwarves who were thrown out of their mansions for "bad behavior": laziness is the only specific crime I remember ("freeloading" is probably nearer the mark), although Dwarves have so many taboos it's not hard to imagine others.  Didn't it include "deformed" Dwarves as well?  (Many human groups have had the practice of exposing infants they thought wouldn't survive, as a form of euthenasia, but did the other outcasts hang around waiting to pick them up?)

So many puzzles, with Dwarves.  Smile

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

"Oh, I'm going to be having lots of fun with tension between an Elf (not Falathar) and Dwarves, especially Veylin, in "Of Like Passion."

I am looking forward to that - interactions of Elves and Dwarves are my favourite subject (well, about the only subject I have ever writen on). Not Falathar - hmm, some gems-fixated Noldo perhaps? We shall see...

"specifically of gifting a substantial part of his personal wealth to his sister's sons. Technically, this is "not done," but it's the kind of rule-bending all these unilineal societies do when playing power games."

I rather think a Dwarf had a complete freedom of disposal of own property (with possible exception of heirlooms etc going with the position). If property was patrilinearly entailed, daughters would be excluded from inheritance, which would not fit with strong position of women in dwarven society you envisage. (Since Dwarves rather valued property.) Of course, Veylin's (and other chieftains' or kings') situation was special, since he would normally want the property to go with the title (in order not to weaken the future chieftain's position).

Which brings me to the subject of Auð and dwarven women in general. You wrote: "For a widow, Auð was in easy circumstances" which suggests she was an exception. Why should it be so, if women had a high position in the society? And I agree they must have had, on the basis of (scant) textual evidence we have, since, judging from the family tree of Erebor, Dwarves (women included, if Dis is a representative example) married normally at about 100. Which means they had at least 60 years (and probably more) to work and develop their craft before marriage (into which they could enter or not, as they wished). Plus, they had few children (at least in III Age), so they had plenty of time after the children grew up. And, given the famous toughness of the Dwarves, I don't think dwarven children needed much care for long. I know Dwarves were considered fit for really hard work or fighting only at 40, but taking into account what Dwarves would have considered 'really hard work', one can easily imagine that a dwarven teenager would be already quite independent - and Dain Ironfoot at 32 was managing very well. (BTW, Glóin, eight years old, was apparently among dwarven forces at Azanulbizar - what for, is anybody's guess.) To sum up these ramblings, a dwarf-woman would be an equally skilled (and most probably equally strong) artisan as a dwarf-man (except they would need to rely on men for trade, and possibly dangerous professions - perhaps copper-mining? - would be closed to them), so there is no reason a widow would be at any great disadvantage. (Apart from a case of being left with very young children.)

Marriage gift? Not sure how it worked if given to a woman. I mean, if a dwarf-woman married outside her clan, a bride-price given to a head of a clan would make sense. But to a woman hersef? What for?

I am very curious how Auð looks like (I suppose I need to wait for Saelon to meet her). Personally, I don't really think the women were really that similar to men. Rather, Men and Elves were confused by their beards and clothes (Éowyn was supposed to be completely unrecognizable in male clothes, so the other cultures in Middle-earth must have had strong distinction between male and female clothing.)

"Petty Dwarves interest me, particularly the bit about them being descended from Dwarves who were thrown out of their mansions for "bad behavior": laziness is the only specific crime I remember ("freeloading" is probably nearer the mark), although Dwarves have so many taboos it's not hard to imagine others. Didn't it include "deformed" Dwarves as well?"

The ancestors of Petty Dwarves were supposed to be 'undersized and deformed' or 'slothful and rebellious' (History of Middle-earth 11). They must have been numerous (or fast multiplying) for the settlements to last that long (since they were supposed to have settled in Beleriand before the Elves arirved there). Actually, I don't think Tolkien thought it over really well.

PS Concerning iglishmêk, in case you haven't noticed yourself and wanted to use them, there are two actual signs given in "From Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D": for "listen!" and "I am listening".

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

Ah!  We seem to be thinking on very similar lines, with differences in nuance rather than the essentials.

I rather think a Dwarf had a complete freedom of disposal of own property (with possible exception of heirlooms etc going with the position). If property was patrilinearly entailed, daughters would be excluded from inheritance, which would not fit with strong position of women in dwarven society you envisage.

Of course!  (And yes, I also believe there is likely to be property that goes with the title.)  But if they are as patrilineal as suggested (Tolkien's comment about Dwarves not having a separate term for sister's-son and distinguishing them less than Elves and Men did), the expectation would have been that the property would stay in the male line (less what was needed to endow any daughters).  If a Dwarf couldn't dispose of their own wealth as they saw fit, the threat would be empty.

You wrote: "For a widow, Auð was in easy circumstances" which suggests she was an exception. Why should it be so, if women had a high position in the society?

Trying to come up with a workable interpretation of dwarf-women was giving me nightmares a few months ago, so I'm glad for the chance to check my logic.

Actually, Auð is in extremely easy circumstances; this is a little bit of self-reassurance, since she's feeling less secure than she'd like.  Her standard for comparison is, at the least, the undoubtedly numerous widows created by the War with the Orcs some 50 years before (when she was newly married).  I'm trying to decide whether any significant number of Longbeard women could have survived Smaug's descent on Erebor; if so, and they refugeed to the Ered Luin, she would probably consider their situation pitiable indeed.  Of course, these are Dwarves we're talking about: pitiable means they need a roof over their head and some venture capital for a start-up.

I think a dwarf-woman would consider her situation grievous if she was widowed (I'm accepting Tolkien's word that they don't remarry) before her children were self-sufficient: not that she couldn't provide the necessities, but a single-income household would be a disadvantage to the children.  If you believe that parents continued to provide resources to their children later (most likely in marriage settlements and setting up a household/business, which would make the children about 90-100; parents would only expect to live another 50 years or so after settling their eldest), then the loss of a productive parent would still be a handicap.

BTW, Glóin, eight years old, was apparently among dwarven forces at Azanulbizar - what for, is anybody's guess.

Really?!  How'd I miss that!  (Reference, please!)  After all, Gimli wasn't allowed to go on the Quest to Erebor because he was too young, and he was, um, 62?  (I think Dain was supposed to be extraordinary.)  If Glóin really was there, at 8, I think his momma was breaking the rules!  Wink

I've given a lot of thought to the sexual division of labor among Dwarves, and while I've settled on something that I'm happy with for now, I'm not sure I want to nail the flag to the mast yet.  Clearly there is one, if the women stay at home: at a minimum, you have a pattern like the Iroquois, where the men hunt (prospect), trade, and go to war, while the women run the village (because the men are away so much).  Mining and heavier metalworking may be a male province, or normally so.  (There are always exceptions to the rules.  I'm trying to work out the rules first.)  We think of Dwarves being associated with stone and metal, but there are so many other materials: glass, wood, textiles.  Who makes the furniture and the clothing?  Who cooks and cleans?

I don't like the idea of dwarf-women getting stuck with all the housekeeping, so I'm supposing the youngsters do most of it.  (Good for them.  Builds character.)  Many traditional human cultures have a craft division based on symbolically hard vs. soft materials (stone tool making vs. basketry, for instance), but I don't think that quite works here, or maybe only as a tendency but not a rule--so that women are more likely to work wood and textiles, but nobody thinks anything of it if she is a stonecarver or he is a furniture-maker.  I want to say that an individual's talent and calling are primary, but I don't have references to back it up.

Marriage gift? Not sure how it worked if given to a woman. I mean, if a dwarf-woman married outside her clan, a bride-price given to a head of a clan would make sense. But to a woman hersef? What for?

In the case of bride-price or bridewealth, her immediate family (father, brothers) usually get it.  But since Dwarves don't follow human rules on gender, I'm getting creative.  It looks like bridewealth, but it's actually more like a sort of male dowry--the men are competing for women, and the women won't take them unless they lay down a chunk of change that will support her and the potential kids if he dies.  (This doesn't really contradict what I said above because, trust funds aside, if dad's still around to make money, the kids have access to more resources.)  So if a Dwarf wants grandchildren (in the male line) they push their boys to work hard, get them the best training they can, and grubstake them as generously as they can when a woman seems interested.

Personally, I don't really think the women were really that similar to men. Rather, Men and Elves were confused by their beards and clothes.

I'm playing this straight, and accepting that dwarf-women are, to the uninitiated (and Dwarves aren't going to teach others how to tell), essentially indistinguishable from dwarf-men--when dressed as men.  The fact that men can't push the women around suggests that they are the same size and equally strong; the other principal distinguising characteristics (if both sexes are bearded) are breasts (which might be very small when not nursing, or at least small enough to cover with a good beard, or might even be absent...although I doubt the last) and broader hips (if newborns are small enough, they might get away with a more unisex pelvic structure).  (This also suggests that Dwarves don't wear tight pants--or at least not tight in the crotch. Wink )  The critical point here is to remember that the Dwarves were created by Aulë; while he had some idea of what the Children would look like, he hadn't grasped all the details...and undoubtedly tweaked certain features in his design.  There are several variant versions of the Dwarves' creation; I find I rather like the one where Aulë only made men, and when Eru took up Dwarves the One created women for them, as close to Aulë's design as possible.

This is what fascinates me about the Dwarves.  They truly are Other, the Children of Eru's adoption rather than creation.  If any of the Free Peoples is a different species, Dwarves are.  Humans have made so much of the comparatively trivial physiological differences between ourselves--what do you do when people are really different?

Actually, I don't think Tolkien thought [Petty Dwarves] over really well.

I think you're right.  Smile

Concerning iglishmêk, in case you haven't noticed yourself and wanted to use them, there are two actual signs given in "From Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D": for "listen!" and "I am listening".

Oo!  How'd I miss those?  Thank you!

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

"Her standard for comparison is, at the least, the undoubtedly numerous widows created by the War with the Orcs some 50 years before (when she was newly married). I'm trying to decide whether any significant number of Longbeard women could have survived Smaug's descent on Erebor; if so, and they refugeed to the Ered Luin, she would probably consider their situation pitiable indeed. "

You are right, I have not taken the atypical historical circumstances into account. It is quite possible that quite a lot women would have survived Smaug's attack (you can safely assume that, once you have decided that Dwarves were very protective towards women - it is written than far more of Durin's folk than originally thought survived, and women would have been given priority), and, while most would have probably gone to Iron Hills (nearer, thus safer - especially taking into account orcs-infested Misty Mountains), quite a few may have gone to the Ered Luin (after all, Gimli was born there).

"BTW, Glóin, eight years old, was apparently among dwarven forces at Azanulbizar - what for, is anybody's guess.

Really?! How'd I miss that! (Reference, please!) "

Sorry, I confused the age - he was actually 16 (about 8 at the beginning of the War of Dwarces and Orcs, thus my mistake.)

"So Thráin and Thorin with what remained of their following (among whom were Balin and Glóin) returned to Dunland" (Appendix A to LoTR), referring to the events immediatelly after the Battle of Azanulbizar. It was in 2799, Glóin was born in 2783. This makes sense - if Dwarves at early age had more of less human growth pattern, a 16-year old Dwarf among military forces is not out of question, especially considering the 'holy war' situation.

"Mining and heavier metalworking may be a male province, or normally so. (There are always exceptions to the rules. I'm trying to work out the rules first.) We think of Dwarves being associated with stone and metal, but there are so many other materials: glass, wood, textiles."

Could be. My own idea (more or less same as yours) is it was more a matter of vocation, as long as the work did not involve travel or exposure to great dangers. (Which means that a female stonemason would be at disadvantage - she could only work in her own settlement). I like to think of dwarven women as jewelsmiths and silversmiths, but weavers, carpenters etc are all right, too. (It seems to have been more or less like that with the Noldor - men worked with stone or metal, women with textiles etc, except for some like Nerdanel.) A female armourer or weapon smith? It depends whether dwarf-women were taught to handle weapons. ( I think they were. For own protection.) One more comment - working with glass was physically exhausting and dangerous, more so than with metal (higher temperatures involved). To be a glass-blower was not a 'soft' job. (I seem to recall it was the only physical occupation with did not cause loss of nobility in medieval Italy - because of the danger involved.)

BTW, I think Dwarves had teachers. It is said that all Dwarves were taught Khuzdul from an early age, even though they nornally did not speak it among themselves (given what we know about baby speach developement, I like to think the first language a baby-Dwarf learnt was actually iglishmêk). How were they taught? Parents might have done it, but, with a larger community, it would be much more efficient if the whole class was taught at the same time.

"I want to say that an individual's talent and calling are primary, but I don't have references to back it up."

No references to the contrary, either, so I think you can go with it. As far as housekeeping goes, dwarf-men must have done it, even only because women were so few.

"I don't like the idea of dwarf-women getting stuck with all the housekeeping, so I'm supposing the youngsters do most of it. "

Makes sense. Except perhaps for cooking - it could have been considered a 'craft', and therefore a high prestige job. Some sexual division is possible here, too. (Among the Eldar, men cooked, women baked. )

BTW, what do you think about Dwarves growing own food? They must have done it at times, when they had no trade contacts with nearby Men/Hobbits/Elves. They did not keep animals, so it must have been a mostly vegetarian diet, except for ocassional hunting, but I can't believe Dwarves would not have seen advantages of agriculture. (True, Mim gathered roots - but then he was practically alone.) What do you think? Perhaps they treated it like we do with collecting domestic refuse - it is necessary for the community, someone must do it, but it isn't normally discussed. (Your Dwarves do not need to do it, at least not much.)

"It looks like bridewealth, but it's actually more like a sort of male dowry--the men are competing for women, and the women won't take them unless they lay down a chunk of change that will support her and the potential kids if he dies. "

This, I like. So perhaps dwarf-women normally tooks care of monetary matters of the family, too? (Quite probable, IMHO, considering that men were often away.)

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

My own idea (more or less same as yours) is it was more a matter of vocation, as long as the work did not involve travel or exposure to great dangers. (Which means that a female stonemason would be at disadvantage - she could only work in her own settlement).

I've been considering a model where dwarf-women do much, if not most, of the "interior design"--including the architecture--in a mansion.  If they're spending all or very nearly all of their lives there, it might be safer to let them do it, so they have no one to blame but themselves if they're dissatisfied!  Wink  In prosperous times, it would make sense for the women to see to the work at home, so the men could spend more time working outside the mansion (bringing in outside resources).

Oh, yes, I think the women were taught to handle weapons.  If they didn't, men would have an advantage in conflicts; and when they did travel, they would need to be able to defend themselves.

Hm--thanks for the info on glassblowing!  I didn't realize it was that arduous.

The whole language thing is so complicated with Dwarves.  You've got Khuzdul, you've got iglishmêk, you've got Common Speech (which seems to be the "everyday" language for the Dwarves of the West), and then whatever else they speak with their customers.  If you want seriously multi-lingual humans, you expose them to as many languages as possible as young as possible (before 5), because that's when the brain is "loading" the appropriate "software."  (People who do not learn a language by 5 usually cannot become competent speakers of any language.)  But the "cradle-tongue" is the one that has the greatest impact on later language use and how people percieve the world around them.  The fact that they have a marked "Dwarvish" accent makes me think that Khuzdul is learned very young.  They could easily learn a spoken and gesture language simultaneously--and, in fact, if you want them to be able to use them at the same time later, that would help.

I'm leaving this fuzzy, myself!  Smile  I don't see why they couldn't have had teachers, particularly in the larger mansions with lots of children; although given the long birth spacing (10 years between children) and how often very young children helped in traditional smithcraft among Men (4-year-olds helping with the bellows in daddy's forge...building those arm muscles already), I don't think they always did.

Oh, Dwarves could grow their own food...if they had to.  What did they do all those years before they met Elves in the First Age, when they already had large mansions?  They would just rather spend their time messing about with their craft.  Veylin's crew is doing a bit of hunting and fishing, to relieve the culinary boredom of easily stored foodstuffs--most of their supplies are coming from the Shire and Breeland, indirectly through Sulunduban.  (Where do you think upper-class Hobbits are getting all those buttons for their waistcoats and mirrors?)  I suspect that when Dwarves had to grow their own food, they had a preference for root crops ('taters, onions, parsnips, carrots, etc.) over grain--more stew and baked potatoes, less bread.

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

"But the "cradle-tongue" is the one that has the greatest impact on later language use and how people percieve the world around them. The fact that they have a marked "Dwarvish" accent makes me think that Khuzdul is learned very young."

But Tolkien said explicitly that Khuzdul was not a first tongue a Dwarf spoke (at least in the West) - they apparently spoke Common Speech first (this was their 'craddle-speech'), and then learnt Khuzdul (as a 'book-language'). The situation was probably similar as with Sindarin in Gondor. 'Dwarfish accent' was apparently aquired through hearing other Dwarves speaking Common with it rather though direct influence of Khuzdul (although obviously it was not the case in the past).

References (it=Khuzdul):

"for it had become a tongue of lore rather than a cradle-speech, and they tended it and guarded it as a treasure of the past" (Appendix E to LoTR)

"it has ceased to be their native tongue and had become s 'book-language', it was carefully preserved and taught to all their children at an early age." (Of Dwarves and Men, The People of Middle-earth)

I like to think (partly because of Tolkien's own comparisons) that Dwarves treated Khuzdul like Jews in Diaspora treated Hebrew - as a language of lore (possibly of religious ceremonies, too? There is one verry puzzling sentence about Dwarves in this context.), crutial for their cultural identity and used for communication with others of the same origin, but not spoken as an everyday tongue. Thus the teachers.

"Oh, Dwarves could grow their own food...if they had to. What did they do all those years before they met Elves in the First Age, when they already had large mansions? They would just rather spend their time messing about with their craft."

Exactly. Or during the Dark Years in II Age, when Khazad-dum lost their humun allies.

I am going away for holiday now - perhaps I will manage to write a bit of my own story, too (not the Azaghal one, though, although First Age, and with Dwarves, too).

 

 

Re: comments on Fair Folk and Foul

But Tolkien said explicitly that Khuzdul was not a first tongue a Dwarf spoke (at least in the West) - they apparently spoke Common Speech first (this was their 'craddle-speech'), and then learnt Khuzdul (as a 'book-language'). The situation was probably similar as with Sindarin in Gondor. 'Dwarfish accent' was apparently aquired through hearing other Dwarves speaking Common with it rather though direct influence of Khuzdul (although obviously it was not the case in the past).

...

I like to think (partly because of Tolkien's own comparisons) that Dwarves treated Khuzdul like Jews in Diaspora treated Hebrew - as a language of lore (possibly of religious ceremonies, too? There is one very puzzling sentence about Dwarves in this context.), crutial for their cultural identity and used for communication with others of the same origin, but not spoken as an everyday tongue.

Yes, you're right about the canon; I just keep chewing it over in my head, trying to make it fit with my own understanding of multilingual situations.  (Maybe it would be easier if I was functionally multilingual, instead of just dabbling in assorted languages.)

I hope you had a wonderful time on holiday!

 

 

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