Re: The Greatest Fantasy Literary Accomplishment
I'm afraid that, though I am a strong admirer of Tolkien and his work -- and that includes the languages he created -- I voted no. Though this achievement is indeed quite possibly the best such which has ever been done... it has had a very detrimental effect on fantasy in general, in my view, as have several other aspects of Prof. Tolkien's work. This is not, I would say, his fault, but that of his imitators, and of lazy writers who aren't willing to put in the time and effort to do the kind of work he himself did with his creation, or who simply lack the talent or inclination to do so. Some of his imitators have written some very good work, so I am not saying here to be influenced by Tolkien is entirely bad; but (as with so many who have attempted to imitate Lovecraft, Ellison, Dunsany, or Heinlein) there is a fatal attraction for many writers which causes them to subsume their own visions in their admiration for one of their greatest literary mentors.
I also think that, despite the achievement of creating -- and even that term is worthy of debate, as I understand it there are some close affinities between some of his Elvish tongues and Suomi (Finnish) -- the aspect of "world-building" is a tool, not an achievement or accomplishment (in the sense used in the thread's title) in and of itself, save insofar as it shows an ability to craft a rather abstract thing. What makes any such item an artistic achievement in literary terms is how well (or seamlessly, if you prefer) it fits in with not only the overall "plan" of the fantastic world, but the "living" aspects of the characters, adding to their believability and credibility; but that achievement is only valid within that context; taken out of it, it becomes simply an abstract, nonfunctioning bit of trivia without reference to the real world or to deeper human concerns. That Prof. Tolkien managed to breathe the life he did into his languages, and make them notable aspects of that universe he created, is indeed one of the unique aspects of his work; but it is, essentially, trivia; minutiae; not a literary achievement per se. And so, no, I don't think it deserves anything near the title of "Greatest Fantasy Literary Accomplishment"; by its very nature, I don't think it possibly can.