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Harvard prof to teach Tolkien course this summer

06.02.09 | Kunochan | Speak, friend & comment!

Originally posted on JRR Tolkien Examiner on 6/2/09.

Harvard University, America’s Best College if you believe US News & World Report, will host a Tolkien-based course this Summer.

The class, entitled “Tolkien as Translator: Language, Culture & Society in Middle Earth,” will be taught by Anthropology Lecturer Dr. Marc Zender of the University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

From the web site:

In this course, we will study the important role of language in The Lord of the Rings, applying concepts from linguistic anthropology that shed light on Tolkien’s methods and purpose as the ‘translator’ (both linguistic and cultural) of Middle-Earth.  Students will be introduced to several of Tolkien’s invented languages (and their real-world inspirations), as well as two of his invented alphabets.  Understanding the linguistic foundations of Middle-Earth greatly increases one’s enjoyment of Tolkien’s work, and provides insights into one linguist’s view of the intricate and interdependent relationships of language, culture, and society.

Zender’s main research focus is Mesoamerican languages, but the Linguistics academic community is riddled with Tolkien fans, for obvious reasons.

Read the class site. Via the Tolkien Studies Blog.

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