Thursday, May 15, 2008

Writing for Grammar: Grammar and Glamour


As of 30 November 2005, the Oxford English Dictionary contained aboutGrandma 301,100 main entries. The dictionary's latest, complete print edition (Second Edition, 1989) was printed in 20 volumes, comprising 291,500 entries in 21,730 pages.

The OED could be called one of the first "Wicki" projects, since much of it is compiled by volunteers.

One of the most famous of the OED's volunteer word explorers was J.R.R. Tolkien, the great medieval scholar and author of "Lord of the Rings." In a song that appears in the Ring Trilogy, Tolkien wrote "Of glamoury he tidings heard" (He heard news of magic).

In a study of Tolkien's language, "Ring of Words," the authors reveal the influence of OED learning upon all of Tolkien's scholarly and imaginative writing:"Glamoury (occult knowledge, magic, necromancy) ... is a relatively modern word (the first example in the OED files is from a Scots poem of 1811), adapted from glamour ... which the OED suggests may be due to the influence of a related word, gramarye. The connection between magic and grammar is perhaps not instantly obvious to the modern reader."

For more, go to Grammar and Glamour on the Writing Tips page of Moore Partners.

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