Gollum - Physical Appearance and Characteristics - Speech


Gollum speaks in an idiosyncratic manner, often referring to himself in the third person, and frequently talks to himself — "through having no one else to speak to," as Tolkien put it in The Hobbit. He also uses his own versions of words similar to the original words. He usually adds -es to the end of a plural, resulting in words such as "hobbitses" instead of hobbits, "Bagginses" instead of Baggins, or "birdses" instead of birds. When forming the present tense of verbs, he frequently extends the 3rd person singular ending -s to other persons and numbers, resulting in constructions like "we hates it" (by analogy with "he hates it"). In general, Gollum is represented as very fond of sibilants, often drawing them out ("dussst"). Within Tolkien's larger scheme, English in the books "represents" the Westron or Common Tongue of Middle-earth. Gollum is thus understood to have spoken Westron in a non-standard way, which is then "translated" as non-standard English. Since he is often described as hissing, the fondness for sibilants was apparently an actual feature of his idiosyncratic Westron.

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