Do certain words and languages have power in Middle Earth?

Discussions in Middle-earth lore, language and books.
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Orc
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'Hold it up!' said Gandalf 'And look closely.'
As Frodo did so, he now saw fine lines, finer than the finest pen-strokes, running around the ring, outside and inside: lines of fire that seemed to form the letters of a flowing script. They shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth.
'I cannot read the fiery letters,' said Frodo in a quavering voice.
'No,' said Gandalf, 'but I can. The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But in the common togue is that is said, close enough:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.


The Shadow of the Past, Fellowship of the Ring

'Very odd,' said Frodo, tightening his belt, 'considering that there is actually a good deal less of me. I hope the thinning process will not go on indefinitely, or I shall become a wraith.'
'Do not speak of such things!' said Strider quickly, and with surprising earnestness.

A Knife in the Dark, Fellowship of the Ring

'He did not make it up,' said Strider. 'It is part of the lay that is called the Fall of Gil-galad, which and ancient tongue. Bilbo must have translated it. I never knew that.'
'There was a lot more,' said Sam 'all about Mordor. I didn't learn that part, it game me the shivers. I never thought I should e going that may myself!'
'Do not speak that name so loudly!' said Strider.

A Knife in the Dark, Fellowship of the Ring

'I know only the little that Gandalf has told me,' said Frodo slowly. 'Gil-galad was the last of the great Elf-kings of Middle Earth. Gil-galad is Starlight in their tongue. With Elendil, the elf-friend, he went to the land of___.'
'No!' said Strider interrupting, 'I do not think that the tale should be told now with the servants of the Enemy at hand. If we win through to the house of Elrond, you may hear it there, told in full.'

A Knife in the Dark, Fellowship of the Ring

"Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul"
The change in the wizard's voice was astounding. Suddenly it became menacing, powerful, harsh as stone. A shadow seemed to pass over high sun, and the porch for a moment grew dark. All trembled, and the Elves stopped their ears.
'Never before has any voice dared to utter words of than tongue in Imladris, Gandalf the Grey,' said Elrond, as the shadow passed and the company breathed once more.
'And let us home that none will ever speak it here again,' answered Gandalf.

The Council of Elrond, Fellowship of the Ring

Here are some quotes that will form the context of what I'm asking. So in all of these, Gandalf, Strider and even Elrond are reluctant to speak the language of Mordor. In Strider's case, he does not encourage the hobbits to mention 'wraiths' and 'Mordor.' At first It seemed like a superstition, but the passage from The Council of Elrond shows words have power indeed. When Gandalf uttered the Black Speech, people became fearful and there was a change in the weather, even though momentarily.

What I'm asking is, how is it that words like Black Speech hold such sinister power and fear that uttering it darkens weather and creates terror? Is it same for Elven tongue in the sense that it gives hope? Has JRR Tolkien said anything about the power of languages and words?

Thanks!

Newborn of Lothlorien
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I think this entry from the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft has to do with it:
Words of Power (religion, spiritualism, and occult)
The words of a chant or spell can imbue the magician with feelings of power and, by so doing, can help generate that power into reality. In themselves, words can be a means of emotional control over persons and events. The foundation of successful spell-casting lies in the power and mystery of "the word." Jack Kornfield says, "In ancient cultures, shamans learned that to name that which you feared was a practical way to begin to have power over it."

In medieval times, it was believed that some words were so powerful that they should only be pronounced in exceptional circumstances. Because of their power, they should only be used with appropriate caution and preparation. The word Tetragrammaton, considered to be the ineffable name of God, was such a word and has come to be regarded as the most powerful word in ceremonial magic.

The pamphlet Tryall of Witch-Craft (London, 1616) says, "Galen writeth that a certain Sorcerer, by uttering and muttering but one word, immediately killed or caused to die a serpent or scorpion; Benivenius in his De Abd. Morb. Caus., affirmeth, that some kind of people have been observed to do hurt, and to surprise others, by using certain sacred and holy words."

Eliphas Lévi said, "In magic, to have said is to have done; to affirm and will what aught to be is to create." These are the two necessary ingredients of magic— the strong belief/desire, willing that it be so, and the right words. Finding those words is usually either a question of trial and error or discovering previously effective, time-tested words.

According to the Book of Genesis, "God said, `Let there be light,' and there was light. . . and God said, `Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,' . . . And God said `Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear' . . . and God said `Let the earth bring forth grass.'" All these things came to pass because God said them. According to the Old Testament, God created the world with words he spoke. In magic, exactly the same thing is being done: using powerful and appropriate words together with a concentration of power. (It doesn't matter that we are not as powerful as God, since we are not trying to create a whole world!)

Words of power, especially when in the form of chants or spells, must also be spoken rhythmically, with a heavy, sonorous beat. This can have a hypnotic effect and can lead to ekstasis, the necessary rising state of excitement and "getting out of oneself."

Egyptian texts report that the priest magicians of ancient Egypt used foreign words for their magical workings. Herodotus, the earliest Greek historian whose words have come down to us, says that magical chanting by the Egyptian magicians is what enabled them to lift the great blocks of stone with which they built the pyramids.

In magic, the words themselves must be spoken in a particular way. They must be spoken with authority and familiarity, which is one of the reasons why modern-day magicians have little success using ancient Latin, Greek, and other mystical texts that they do not fully understand. It is useless to repeat magical words of power parrotfashion, or phonetically, in the hopes that they will be as effective as they were for the mighty magicians of the past. If you do not know what the words mean, you cannot put the necessary feeling into them, and the magic will not work. Yet the very opposite is true when dealing with writing words of power. In order to use written magic words of power, it is most effective if you are not familiar with them.

When making magical tools, they must be marked or engraved at the time of consecrating them with a word or words of power to make them potent. The very act of making the tool (wand, athamé, sword, for example) puts something of yourself into the object. The Melanesian word for this "power" is mana. But to increase mana, it is common to inscribe the instrument with specific words of power, and these are usually in one of the alphabets of ceremonial magic.

In the Middle Ages, ceremonial magicians would spend years perfecting the art of conjuring spirits or entities who would, when conjured, do their bidding. The magicians kept notes of their experiments in books known as grimoires. These books would have been written in Latin, Greek, Hebrew or whatever was most familiar to the particular magician. Some sections would be carefully written in one of the so-called "magical alphabets," such as Theban, Malachim, Angelic, Passing the River, Robatian, or Enochian. The reason was two-fold: first was secrecy. The magician did not want his many years of hard work to be available to anyone who gained access to the book. But the second and more important reason was the power of these words when written in those alphabets. They made the book itself powerful and were the letters used when making such things as talismans and the various instruments of his art. The less familiar the magician was with the alphabet he used, the more powerful it was, for it meant that he had to concentrate on every stroke of every letter. In this way, his energy, his mana, was going into what he wrote.

So in speaking the words of power used in magical operations, it was necessary to be familiar with them, and to be able to place the necessary emphasis where needed. But in writing the words of power, it was equally important to be unfamiliar with the construction of the letters.

Melkor
Melkor
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@Ephtariat I see language as a consequence and result of the marring of Arda. Before language, people could communicate in thought (osanwe-kenta). Telepathy seems a much more efficient and complete way to communicate. But with the marring of Arda came the invention of language. Thus the Great Enemy has the ability to use language as a weapon more destructively due to language being marred just like Arda

Orc
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@Rivvy Elf - Does that mean all languages are marred, including that of of Elves, Men and Dwarves? Or just the Black Speech?

Newborn of Lothlorien
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@Rivvy Elf Tolkien says textually that "the incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval" (OFS), so I would rule that out. Language is part of the original design of Eru for his Children.

Melkor
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@Ephtariat I would not rule it out as the Marring of Arda is part of the design of Eru and that the marring is essential to Eru’s designs, as implied by Eru themselves to Melkor.

Furthermore the essay in Osanwe-Kenta noted that it became harder to use telepathy with the invention of language.

@Fenrir I see it that way, otherwise Osanwe-kenta would still be widely used in Middle-Earth.

Melkor
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Furthermore “our world” is a marred world which we can see through entropy and radioactive decay

Newborn of Lothlorien
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@Rivvy Elf Certainly the Marring is not part of Eru's design, otherwise why would it be a marring? What is it that is marred? It is Eru's original plan for Arda that has been marred.

Melkor
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@Ephtariat because our sources don’t come from Eru. They come from elves and humans. We’re seeing everything from their point of view, and not Eru’s. To elves and humans (including Tolkien, who is a human) the design becomes marred. To Eru (and to the hope of most elves) it’s part of a grander plan

Newborn of Lothlorien
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@Rivvy Elf You don't take into account free will. Certainly Eru as all-knowing knows about the choices of free beings before they are made, but that doesn't mean that his design is the same as those choices, because they are not his choices.

Melkor
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@Ephtariat Hmm. There’s a response to that which will use the Ainulindale section of The Silmarillion that seems to contradict your argument as it sounds similar to the illusion of power to change things Melkor thought he had until Eru countered that idea with their own remarks.

Give me time though to re-analyze, though. I have my own novel and world to work on and develop.

Newborn of Lothlorien
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@Rivvy Elf I think I see why you think that Eru's design includes Melkor's Marring. Imo, you're confusing design with tolerance. Eru's general plan may tolerate diversions such as those implemented by Melkor, both in the sense that those diversions are possible and in the sense that they are allotted their own role within the general course of the unfolding of creation. To put it otherwise, when Eru says that everything concurs to his plan, he both means that everything that actually takes place concurs to his plan, and that things that would actually diverge from his plans are not possible. For example, the Music can have Melkor's dissonance, but it is not possible for the Music to be entirely dissonant. Sauron can forge the One Ring, but it is not possible that he should keep it, and eventually it must be destroyed. And so on... This way, we have:
1) impossible things that never take place because they contraddict Eru's plan (impossibility)
2) possible things that simply do not take place even if they don't contraddict Eru's plan (possibility)
3) actual things that are tolerated within Eru's plan even if they don't coincide with it because they do not contraddict it (tolerance)
4) actual things that are fully in accord with Eru's plan (fate)
5) Eru's plan as it unfolds in the actual world, including those things we labeled as 3) that are only tolerated (actuality)
6) Eru's original plan as it would have been without those things we labeled as 3) that are only tolerated (original intention)

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