A word for "code" ?

Becca Ingram-Bryant #1533

I would love input on creating a Sindarin word for 'code,' as in programming. As I can see, teitha- is to write, inscribe etc. but I wonder if it is possible to create a more accurate and elegant phrase for code that doesn't just compound a lot of words. Is this the forum where I would go about doing so?

Possible pieces:

dolen teithar (secret writing?)

cirth cernui (command runes?)

maenas maethar (craft control?)

I am still a sindarin super noob and I'm working my way through Fiona Jalling's book. The rules around lenition and mutation are still tricky to me.

Becca Ingram-Bryant #1550

Yes I can't shake the feeling of a bit of heresy for trying to imagine what Tolkien or elves would think about computers, or code, or javascript.

Recalling back to the Annon Allen How to Thank in Sindarin article I read, what is the process of deriving a Sindarin word from a Quenya term? I imagine you might end up with something like Teng-ist or isteng.

Röandil #1551

There isn't one — you rather derive words in both from an older common ancestor (though once the Noldor arrived in Beleriand, I suppose some words would have been loaned/adapted directly from Quenya, but not many). It's a matter of familiarizing yourself with Elvish linguistic history. Not very clean-cut, unfortunately.

Quenya is much more conservative, so it's easier to guess what shape an ancient form might have taken. Tengwesta probably looked and sounded almost identical, likely teŋwestā or teŋgwestā, which I believe would yield teweth and tengweth in Sindarin. I'll leave more seasoned Sindarists to confirm/refute, though.

Aldaleon #1552

I've followed this thread with a smile on my face. It's so hard to express contemporaneous words with a language designed and used in a medieval era!

So, I understand why code would seem like it is something that's hidden and cryptic, but for those who have studied it, it is actually instructive and deterministic. In a sense, code is a set of sequential commands, and I would base a potential neologism on that characteristic.

Elaran #1553

@Aldo: Next to you, it would be folly to claim familiarity with codes, but I am familiar enough to know that computer codes are "instructive and deterministic" indeed. Hence, my suggestion *dolthain contains *thain "rule, law". But as I said when I shared it, it is an attempt to relay all of the senses (save tree-related ones) in the etymology of the English word, so that the same word could be used in Sindarin as it is used in English. The goal was to be able to relay even things like "the bro code" (i.e. unspoken laws to which male friends oft abide, thus "hidden"). Also, for example, although this website is nothing but code, the front-end user does not see it, hence "hidden". And of course, outside the context of programming, the word indeed has "hidden" connotations.

Alesque Strandgazer #1559

As often, homonymy is our ban. a code is defined as the representation of a meaning by a sign chosen arbitrarily (like morse), by opposition to a chiffre where the assignation follow a logic (like javascript), the base of encryption (like SHA-1).

My thought is there should be different elvish words to name the different concepts. my trial in Quenya :

  • Muinatehtelë (secret scripture) could be the secret writing, like code enigma
  • Notessetehtelë (digital scripture) could be the computer coding, like hexadecimal
  • Lambë (tongue, language) is by itself a code, Notesselambë could thus be a programmation language. like Java.

I am pretty sure that if these words was of use for the elven had, they would have evolve in a more compact way.

Röandil #1560

I think NDUL is more the root we’re after than MUY here, and Middle Period tehtele is likely to have been replaced by tengwë or sarmë, so I’d suggest muinatehtele > nul(u)tengwë or nulusarmë.

Notessë literally means “number-name,” so notessetehtele, in addition to being overlong for a Quenya compound, is redundant. Perhaps nototengwë, notosarmë (or even nottengwë and notsarmë with syncope, though those forms do feel slightly off to my taste).

Lambë (from LAB “lick, move the tongue,” cf. lamba, the body part) refers to spoken language. For a general system of communication and codified signs, I’d look at tengwelë (“language” as a general term) or tengwestië (language as a concept, abstracted from tengwesta “system of code or signs”).