A woc in Erewhon

— Mark T. Hooker

13 October 2021 | Beyond Bree, October, 2021, 6

A correspondent wrote that my identification of Tolkien’s use of drow‑s (words spoken or spelled backward) to expand his Elvish vocabulary would be more believable if there was documentation of a similar linguistic process in English with an academic pedigree. This is, in hindsight, a reasonable request from someone whose specialty is not the history of language. I had taken it for a given.

Drow‑s are a part of the rich fabric of English. There is academic linguistic research on the oral variety, as well as examples of the written kind in literature. Drow‑s are a part of the oral cant of costermongers (street-venders).…

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date recorded 📅2021-12-31
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