From Tolkien Gateway

Animalic was a private language invented by Mary Incledon and Marjorie Incledon, Tolkien's young cousins, during the first years of the 1900's.[1][2][3] It was probably the first introduction of artificial languages to Tolkien.

Fragment[edit | edit source]

Tolkien, then about ten years old, was taught some of the language which his cousins used 'fluently to the dismay of bystanders'. Tolkien says he was 'never fully instructed in it, nor a proper Animalic-speaker', but he cites by memory in his lecture A Secret Vice the only surviving fragment of the Animalic: Dog nightingale woodpecker forty, meaning "you are an ass". Donkey was the Animalic word for numeral "forty", while forty had the converse meaning. In general, Animalic was almost entirely constructed 'out of English animal, bird, and fish names'.[2][1][4]

Otter?[edit | edit source]

Fimi and Higgins propose that Tolkien assumed (or was given) an Animalic name Otter for himself. In the year 1909 he wrote under the title Book of the Foxrook of his notebook in Esperanto Privata al LUTTRO 'Private to OTTER'. According to the editors, "if this was Tolkien's name in Animalic, it is significant given the fact that in The Book of Lost Tales Tolkien's fictional informant is the Anglian mariner Eriol, whose original name was Ottor, an Old English form of otter".[5][6]

Characterization[edit | edit source]

It appears that the Animalic was a rather awkward language, Tolkien himself calls it "crude (in some ways) in the extreme" and characterized by "a complete absence of phonematic invention which at least in embryo is usually an element in all such constructions.[1][4]

After Animalic[edit | edit source]

Later on, Tolkien developed another, more sophisticated language, Nevbosh, with Mary Incledon, Marjorie having lost her interest in such activities..[7][8][2] After that Tolkien began constructing languages of his own, the first of these being Naffarin.[9][10][2]

External links[edit | edit source]


Languages and scripts in Tolkien's works
Elvish Angerthas (Angerthas Daeron) · Avarin · Cirth (Certhas Daeron) · Common Eldarin · Mátengwië · Moon-letters · Nandorin · Primitive Quendian · Quenya (Exilic · Valinorean · Vanyarin) · Sarati · Silvan Elvish · Sindarin (Doriathrin · Falathrin · Númenórean · Mithrimin · Old) · Telerin (Common) · Tengwar
Mannish Adûnaic · Dalish · Drúadan · Dunlendish · Halethian · Northern Mannish · Pre-Númenórean · Rohanese · Taliska · Westron (Bucklandish · Hobbitish · Stoorish)
Dwarvish Angerthas (Erebor · Moria) · Aulëan · Iglishmêk · Khuzdul
Other Black Speech · Old Entish · Orkish · Valarin · Warg-language
Earlier legendarium Gnomish · Gnomic Letters · Gondolinic Runes · Ilkorin · Keladian · Noldorin (Kornoldorin) · Melkian · Oromëan · Qenya · Valmaric script
Outside the legendarium Animalic · Arktik · Gautisk · Goblin Alphabet · Mágol · Naffarin · New English Alphabet · Nevbosh · Privata Kodo Skauta
Real-world Celtic · English (Old · Middle · AB) · Finnish · Germanic · Gothic · Hebrew · Runic alphabet · Welsh
"A Secret Vice" (book) · "The Lhammas" · "The Tree of Tongues" · Sub-creation