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It’s a bit funny. In English, the word is wolf and the LotR creatures are called wargs, based on Old Norse or Old English. In the Swedish translation it’s reversed, so the normal word is varg and the LotR creatures are instead called ulvar which is the same word as ’wolf’ in English, but is archaic in Swedish.
There are two words in Old Norse, The varg variant is almost exclusively used for wicked/evil beasts and insults: 'vargraekr' is an adjective meaning 'one who is to be hunted down like a wolf'; ulfr on the other hand is often a perfectly good personal name and does not have the same negative connotations. Hence Tolkien went for the former...
It's more like "speak of the devil, and he shall appear" - if you said the name of a thing there was a superstition that you would summon it. That's why there are so many names for the norse gods, as well - Odin was called grey beard, and one eye, etc.
Ulf is the old word for wolf, but people avoided saying it, as that might summon it, so they said other things instead - gråben (grey legs), and varg. Varg originally meant something like perpetrator, or one that does misdeeds.
The names went back and forth for a while, as, eventually, a word would stop sounding like a euphemism for wolf, and instead simply be the word for wolf, and they would move on to another one (or back to an old one).
When the language was standardized, we were in a period where the word Varg was used, and so here we are.
Yes. It's pronounced 'VARG', with the 'g' like the 'y' in 'yolk'. They say it at 00:09 :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70GGwGU52xo=8=PLD7oHB1NRm4AQw84FYJrdM6IM911aflFo
I've found the etymology of the word on project runeberg. A good read! But it doesn't answer your question: runeberg.org/svetym/1183.html But then I looked up in Ali Nourai's etymological dictionary and found "Gurô" which is related to "ğorridan" to growl, hence the words "crow", "crack", "cur" and "crane".