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February 12, 2013

Mercian Studies

"Hump, well! I wonder (if we survive this war) if there will be any niche, even of sufferance, left for reactionary back numbers like me (and you). The bigger things get the smaller and duller or flatter the globe gets. It is getting to be all one blasted little provincial suburb. When they have introduced American sanitation, morale-pep, feminism, and mass production throughout the Near East, Middle East, Far East, U.S.S.R., Hither Further and Inner Mumbo-land, Gondhwanaland, Lhasa, and the villages of darkest Berkshire, how happy we shall be. At any rate it ought to cut down on travel. There will be nowhere to go. So people will (I opine) go all the faster. Collie Knox says 1/8 of the world’s population speaks ‘English’, and that is the biggest language group. If true, damn shame—say I. May the curse of Babel strike all their tongues till they can only say ‘baa baa’. It would mean much the same. I think I shall have to refuse to speak anything but Old Mercian."

- J.R.R. Tolkien: from a letter to Christopher Tolkien, 9 December 1943, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 12, 2013 07:43 AM