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  • Updated 20 February 2012
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A variation on ‘Blotmath

The eleventh month of the Shire Calendar was properly known as 'Blotmath' (actually from Anglo-Saxon: 'sacrifice month' or 'blood month', since this was the time of year when livestock was slaughtered in preparation for winter). When pronouncing the name, the Shire-hobbits omitted the t sound, calling the month either 'Blodmath' or 'Blommath'.1 Some of colloquial variations in Shire month names like this found their way into writing as well as speech, but we have no direct evidence of that in the case of 'Blommath'.



Tolkien is quite explicit about this varied pronunciation of 'Blotmath' by the Hobbits, but this seems peculiar, because the word 'Blotmath' did not actually exist in the Shire: rather, it's an Old English term meant to represent the Hobbits' actual month name, which is not recorded. When mentioning this shift in pronunciation, Tolkien is presumably representing some change in the actual speech of the Hobbits by describing an equivalent alteration of the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation.

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