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On 16.02.2004, at 14:34, Jérôme Sainton wrote:
> One might relate the name of Eru to the root ER(E) in V/356 & L/384;
> but this is not said openly in _Quendi & Eldar_ or elsewhere (or did
> I miss something?), so is the index of the _Silmarillion_ right? I
> mean: the root ER(E) clearly implies an idea of "loneliness"
It doesn't have to imply 'loneliness', I think. In fact, given the
account of the 'Music of the Ainur' I doubt that interpretation.
'Alone' may never have been intended by J.R.R. Tolkien. Still, it may
mean 'alone of his kind, unique, peerless'. Note that Modern English
_alone_ goes back to OE _all -âna_ "all (as) one". If J.R.R. Tolkien
actually used that word, I might well imagine it was with this
etymological background in mind. Also, One and Alone (the latter in the
sense outlined above), I think, very well conveys the idea of the
Hebrew _ehad_ 'one, only, unique'.
--- Jerome Colburn identified more adjectives used as nouns.
Similarly _Vanya_ is "...from an adjectival derivative _*wanja*_
from the stem _*WAN_...", and _Linda_ is "clearly a derivative of
the primitive stem _*LIN_ (showing ... adjectival _-á_)"
Presumably _Sinda_ and the early clan names _Minyar_ 'Firsts',
_Tatyar_ 'Seconds', and _Nelyar_ 'Thirds' (XI:380, 421) are formed in
the same way.
Another set of nominalized adjectives is, I think, the High-elven
names for the days of the week, from _Elenya_ to _Valanya_. If
they are thus in origin adjective attributes of an understood _ré_,
_Tárion_ (the alternative name for _Valanya_) would similarly be
a genitive attribute.
On page 71, under NOUNS, the sentence beginning "Those ending in _-i_,
_-u_" reads " ... adj. _kulúva_ > _kuluuva_" (with short/long
diacritic on the first _u_ and semi-vocalic diacritic on the second).
Should that not read "_kulúva_ < _kuluuva_" (_kulúva_ derives
[That does seem possible, but I can confirm that the manuscript
reading is as given in the published text. CFH]
I'd like to record here the existence of two items of linguistic interest in
recent Bonhams auctions of Tolkien-holograph items.
1) Sale No. 10889, Lot 601:
First edition _Lord of the Rings_, inscribed in Quenya to Elaine
Griffiths (Tolkien's friend and student), reading:
_Elainen tárin Periandion ar meldenya anyáran_
This is apparently intended to mean *'To Elaine, queen of Hobbits and my
very old /oldest friend'.
_Periandion_, gen. pl. of _Perian(d)_ *'Hobbit'. _anyáran_ seems to be
an adjective formed on _yár-_, here apparently meaning *'old' in the
sense of *'long-time' (cf. S _Iarwain_ 'oldest', _Iaur_ 'old', etc.)
with intensive prefix _an-_ (cf. Q _ancalima_ 'brightest, very bright';
also VT45:5 s.v A-, 36 s.v. N-). The termination _-n_ in _tarin_ *'queen'
and _anyáran_ is intriguing; dative in agreement with _Elainen_?
It appears that _meldenya_ *'my friend' was altered by Tolkien from
_meldonya_, probably to make it a specifically feminine form.
(Note: the reading of the inscription given in the catalogue is
slightly erroneous. Click on the linked image to zoom in and read it.)
2) Sale No. 11037, Lot 393:
Lines from the _Crist_, in Anglo-Saxon calligraphy.
(With thanks to Alan Reynolds for bringing this to the attention of the
Tolkien mailing list!)
Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
> _Periandion_, gen. pl. of _Perian(d)_ *'Hobbit'
Is a Q _Perian(d)_ attested? Otherwise, might not the Q cognate
of S _perian_ seen here be *_periande_ (cf. Q _quende_, cognate
of S _pen_, HM XI pp. 361-2)?
[To the best of my knowledge, attested only here. And quite right: I
should have written _Perian(d)-_ (i.e., as a stem-form) instead.
Thanks for pointing this out! CFH]
> It appears that _meldenya_ *'my friend' was altered by Tolkien from
> _meldonya_, probably to make it a specifically feminine form.
In view of this, perhaps _Periandion_ is plural genitive of
*_periande_ meaning 'female hobbit'?
In 'The Fellowship of the Ring', LR book II, chapter 2 'The Council of
Elrond' we learn the Sindarin name of Tom Bombadil from Elrond's mouth: "Iarwain
Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless".
"Ben-adar" is evidently "without-father", and the first element must be
related to the PQ stem *PEN "lack, be without" that Tolkien refers to in X:375.
Hence we have a prefix or a preposition _pen_ "without", and the whole phrase
_pen-adar_ is taken as an epithet adjective "fatherless", with usual lenition.
But _Iarwain_ is trickier.
Helge K. Fauskanger propounds in his article "Sindarin - the Noble Tongue" on
Ardalambion (http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/sindarin.htm) that it is a
superlative as Elrond's comment - which is plainly a gloss - suggests. I shall
a brief extract.
....... It so happens that we may also have the superlative form of _iaur_
"old"; during the Council of Elrond, the Sindarin name of Tom Bombadil was given
as _Iarwain_, meaning "Eldest". The ending _-wain_ would seem to be the
superlative suffix. Why not _*Iorwain_, with the normal monophthongization au >
(David Salo answers, "Because you are looking at the direct descendant of a
form like _*Yarwanya_ (perhaps, I am not sure of the exact form of the final
element) in which the vowel was in a closed syllable." I don't feel much wiser,
but then I am not so deep into Eldarin phonology as David is.) .......
Indeed, both Quenya and Old Noldorin show no long vowels before consonant
clusters, and this restriction may well go back to the earliest stages;
reconstructions of primitive words by Tolkien obey this rule, it is certainly
Q and must have been at an early stage of S: compare _nár_ "fire, flame"
(S:435, V:374) and _Nárie_ "June = sunny, fiery" with _Narquelie_ "October =
fire-fading" (LR App. D) and _Narsil_, the name of Elendil's sword (LR passim,
S/435, Letters:426 n° 347), and in S _naur_ "fire, flame" (LR book II ch. 4,
S:435, V:374) and _Nórui_ "June = sunny, fiery" (LR App. D) with _Narbeleth_
"October = fire-fading" (LR App. D), where the alternation au / ó vs. a reflects
earlier â vs. a.
In S however, a name like _Círdan_ shows this rule is no longer active, so
_Iarwain_ must be an old word, indeed almost a linguistic fossil. It is also
suggested by the alternation which displays a shift in quality as well as in
quantity, mirroring the change of â > open ô characteristic of the S branch and
that must have occurred early. In the conceptually earlier Noldorin, it was
generally completed already at the Old Noldorin stage as seen in the
For one thing, it implies that deriving a *living* superlative suffix _-wain_
from Iarwain is venturesome; we have no proof that it would be still
productive. But as a matter of fact I wonder if _Iarwain_ is a superlative at
Actually there is an exactly parallel situation in Narwain "new-fire = January"
vs. naur "flame", which suggest that _-wain_ is more a form of "new" than a
superlative suffix. We have what seems to be a perfect cognate of the S month
name in the Q _Narvinye_.
(Side-note: For historical reasons this cannot be a true common inheritance
from CE: there were neither Sun nor Moon yet in Middle-Earth during the Great
March, so the Eldar cannot have reckoned time in days and months as they were
to do later. More probably the name was coined in parallel in the two languages
by the Noldor: they may have imagined a Q name, then reconstructed what its
CE ancestor would have been, and finally deduced the S form, a bit like what
they did for personal names. Thus, even if historically there was no CE ancestor
of the Q and S names of January, linguistically it is as if there had been
Hence, in my opinion, _Iarwain_ would rather come from an old copulative
compound _*jarwinjâ_ made of the primitive words _*jârâ_ "old" (Q _yára_, S
_iaur_; S:433, UT:384, V:358, 399) and _*winjâ_ "new" (Q _vinya_, S _#gwain_; LR
App. D, UT:176, X:67, see also V:399 for similar words with a different meaning
in earlier conceptions of Tolkien), with the vowel shortening I alluded to
above. What would be its meaning? Well, "old-new" could be a way to say
which is exactly what Bombadil is, and not too far from "oldest", a
side-sense that could have developed in Sindarin - unless Elrond's gloss was
(Side note: I used the treble # to mark that the S word is deduced, it does
not actually occur isolated)
Language has both strengthened imagination and been freed by it. Who shall
say whether the free adjective has created images bizarre and beautiful, or the
adjective been freed by strange and beautiful pictures in the mind ? - J.R.R.
Tolkien, A Secret Vice
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
I have published the beginnings of a Tolkienian Linguistics FAQ, at:
The purpose of this FAQ is to provide sorely needed answers, both to
questions frequently asked and to questions that ought to be far more
frequently asked and considered, concerning the invented art-languages
of J.R.R. Tolkien. It is obviously just a beginning, but I thought the
issues raised so far valuable enough to make public in the meantime.
Carl F. Hostetter
Has anyone tried to translate the version of Gandalf's spell to open
the gates of Moria that appears in _The Return of the Shadow_ p. 451
_Annon porennin diragas-venwed
diragath-telwen porannin nithrad_
the hyphens stand for dots in the original). Or does anyone know if
this has been discussed on the mailing lists or elsewhere?
[I seem to recall this verse being discussed in some detail once in
VT, though with little success at coming up with a likely translation
-- I haven't the time right now to search through my VT back-issues
and provide a citation. As for finding out if this has been discussed
on any of the Tolkien mailing lists, I would suggest Googling some
unique words from the verse, and also trying the "Search Archive"
feature on the various Yahoo groups devoted to Tolkien. -- PHW]
--- "Peter" <edelberg@g...> wrote:
> Has anyone tried to translate the version of Gandalf's spell to
> open the gates of Moria that appears in _The Return of the
> Shadow_ p. 451 (paperback ed.):
> _Annon porennin diragas-venwed
> diragath-telwen porannin nithrad_
> the hyphens stand for dots in the original). Or does anyone know if
> this has been discussed on the mailing lists or elsewhere?
To which Patrick Wynne added a note:
> I seem to recall this verse being discussed in some detail once in
> VT, though with little success at coming up with a likely
> translation [...]
Here is a summary of that discussion:
In VT 20 (p. 12) Tom Loback suggested that perhaps "_-ath-_ is a
lenition of _-as-_," and that "_diragas_ and _diragath_ are the same
word and are verbs," with the future tense suffix _-ath-_ as in
_linnathon_ `I will sing' in the Hymn to Elbereth. In
_diragas·venwed_ he said the second word is the lenited form of
*_menwed_. He also suggested that _porannin_ may contain _nin_ `me'
as in Sam's Invocation to Elbereth and the preposition _an_ of _ammen_
`for us' and _anim_ `for myself' (Gandalf's fire spell and Gilraen's
linnod); and that "_nithrad_ may indicate an underground passage or
tunnel" with _ni-_ cognate to the _di-_ `beneath' of the invocation
and the end of the word comparable to _athrad_ `crossing, ford' and
_ostrad_ `a street' (Etym. root RAT- `walk'). Tom also noted the one
certain fact about this spell, that _Annon_ = `gate'.
In VT 20 (pp. 5, 20) I suggested that the first component of _diragas_
and _diragath_ is a form of Noldorin _dîr_ from Etym. root DER- `adult
male, man (elf, mortal, or of other speaking race)' with second
components _gas_ `hole, gap' and _gath_ `cavern' and construction
comparable to _Nauglafring_ `Necklace of the Dwarves' and _Goldamir_
(II 346, Etym. 357-8, 377), thus _diragath_ `cavern of men'. I also
suggested that related to the GL verb _telu-_ `to close, end, finish'
a derivative "_telwen_ would be `closure' or `cover', and
_diragath·telwen_ essentially `cavern-door'." And as an alternative
possibility to *_menwed_ (perhaps from root MEN- `region, direction',
as in _Men-i-Naugrim_ `Dwarf-Road', Road Goes Ever On 64, UT 280), I
suggested that the form underlying lenited _·venwed_ might be
*_benwed_, derived from GL _benn_ `shape, cut, fashion'. "So
_diragas·venwed_ would mean `man-hole shaped', i.e. having the shape
of the cavern mouth, describing the _annon_ `gate', which of course
was cut to fit exactly into the opening."
In VT 22 (pp. 22-25) Tom elaborated his theory by proposing that in
_diragas·venwed_ lenition of *_menwed_ `way' marks it as the object of
the verb _diragas_, while in _diragath·telwen_ absence of lenition
marks _telwen_ as the subject of the (same) verb _diragath_. He also
suggested that _porennin_ may be structured comparably to _porannin_,
but with preposition _en_ `from yonder, over there', i.e. _porennin_ =
`_ before me' and _porannin_ = `_ for me'.
In VT 23 (pp. 10-12) I suggested an alternative interpretation of
_telwen_ as an adjective *`domed, roofed; covered, closed; ended,
finished' and _diragath·telwen_ = *`closed tunnel'; and an alternative
interpretation of _nithrad_ as _ni_ + _(a)thrad_, literally "something
like `me to cross' or `my crossing', referring to the intended purpose
of the spell, for the speaker to get past the gate." I also mentioned
a suggestion of Patrick Wynne's that the first syllables of _diragas·_
and _diragath·_ might relate to the preposition _dir_ in the "Secret
Vice" Noldorin poem: _dir avosaith_ `dark through gloomy places;
(shining) over the gloomy places', _dir hanach_ `through the vale'
(Monsters & Critics 217).
In VT 26 (pp. 10-11) Tom offered some further remarks, but added
nothing new to the discussion; and so it ended as far as I recall.
That was November 1992.
-- Christopher Gilson
On 30.03.2004, at 08:50, cgilson75 wrote:
> He also <Tom Loback>
> suggested that _porennin_ may be structured comparably to _porannin_,
> but with preposition _en_ `from yonder, over there', i.e. _porennin_
> =`_ before me' and _porannin_ == `_ for me'.
I know of no instance of 'nin' being suffixed to either a preposition
or a noun. Anybody ?
[There is _enni_ *'to me' in S. _guren bêd enni_ 'my heart tells me',
with _ni_ suffixed to a preposition, which is very close to what Tom
Loback proposed (VT41:11; for an etymological discussion of
_enni_ see editorial note 4, pp. 15-16). -- PHW]
The first element of _porennin_ may contain S. _paur, -bor_ [LR:366],
related to Quenya _quár(e)_ ibid. About the root KWAR- Tolkien writes:
"Common Eldarin had a base KWAR 'press together, squeeze, wring'. A
derivative was _*kwâra_ : Quenya _quár_, Telerin _pâr_, Sindarin
_paur_. This may be translated 'fist', though its chief use was in
reference to the tightly closed hand as in using an implement or a
craft-tool rather than to the 'fist' as used in punching. (...) In the
working of this [mithril] he [Celebrimbor] became a rival of the
Dwarves, or rather an equal, for there was great friendship between
the Dwarves of Moria and Celebrimbor, and they shared their skills and
craft-secrets. In the same way _Tegilbor_ was used for one skilled in
calligraphy [S. _tegil < Q. _tekil_ 'pen']" [XII:318].
Thus, as in the name _Celebrimbor_, _quár_ and S. _paur_ respectively
can apparently have the meaning 'skilled hand'. Perhaps then, "Annon
porennin" is to read 'Gate of those with skilled hands" sc. Celebrimbor
If _porannin_ is to be taken as a variant (developed in the process of
writing) of _porennin_ and, furthermore, _nithrad_ means 'entry', we
have a sort of chiasm here:
_Annon porennin ... porannin nithrad._
I am very pleased to announce the publication of a new article, "The
Goldogrin Past Tense" by Patrick H. Wynne, in _Tengwestië_, the online
journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship:
Pat's article is a descriptive and formal analysis of the extensive
evidence for the past-tense verb of Goldogrin, demonstrating the
richness and cohesiveness of the system and the principal aesthetic
themes that would appear throughout Tolkien's lifelong expression of
his linguistic taste in the development of his art-languages.
A few words about system requirements for the _Tengwestië_ site: First,
due to the exceptionally poor support for Web standards in Internet
Explorer for Windows, the site will not display at all properly in that
browser. Please use another, more standards-compliant browser for
Windows, such as Firefox (<http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/>)
or Netscape to view this site. Second, it is recommended that you
download and install the free Gentium font
upon which this site relies for the more uncommon linguistic glyphs. For
more information on system requirements for the site, see:
In addition to the Web version, this article is also offered in PDF
format, which you can download at:
Comments of a scholarly and linguistic nature on this and any other
_Tengwestië_ article are welcome at the Lambengolmor list:
Suitable submissions to _Tengwestië_ are always sought and welcome; for
complete submission guidelines, see:
| Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
| ho bios brachys, he de techne makre. |
| Ars longa, vita brevis. |
| The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
| "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take |
| such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." |
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
On 01.04.2004, at 09:27, Patrick H. Wynne wrote in response to my:
>> I know of no instance of 'nin' being suffixed to either a preposition
>> or a noun. Anybody ?
> [There is _enni_ *'to me' in S. _guren bêd enni_ 'my heart tells me',
> with _ni_ suffixed to a preposition, which is very close to what Tom
> Loback proposed (VT41:11; for an etymological discussion of
> _enni_ see editorial note 4, pp. 15-16). -- PHW]
Thanks for the note.
I'm aware of _enni_ and commented on it both on Tolklang
(http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/misc/local/TolkLang/Vol38/38.26) and Elfling
03659). The posts are identical. The gist of what I say there is that
_anim_ vs _enni_ is 'benefactive/beneficiary' vs 'indirect object
proper' and that the presence/absence of i-umlaut (affection) is most
likely due to historical reasons (that is, _enni_ represents an older
formation in the internal history of Sindarin than _anim_). A
comparable example from Modern Welsh is given in the post.
However, this doesn't bear much on the question of the suffixability of
In fact, it is precisely because we have _anim_, _enni_, and _nin_ but
*not* X-nin that I'm doubtful. Such a form is not, of course, a priori
to be declared impossible but _enni_ apparently <_*an-ni_ (?) and _nin_
= _*n-in_ or _ni-n_ don't show double markers (i.e. en (an) + n-/-n). A
form like _ammen_ doesn't really seem to help much in this context as
the status of the _-n_ in _men_ cannot, I think, be determined with a
reasonable degree of certainty. Especially as _ammen_ cf. LR:291, 299]
and [III:354] seems to correspond to _anim_ [LR:1036] and not
Corrigendum: I wrote:
> S. _paur, -bor_ [LR:366]
It should read [V:366]
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, David Kiltz wrote:
> [...] _anim_ vs _enni_ is 'benefactive/beneficiary' vs 'indirect
object proper' and that the presence/absence of i-umlaut (affection)
is most likely due to historical reasons (that is, _enni_ represents
an older formation in the internal history of Sindarin than _anim_).
> In fact, it is precisely because we have _anim_, _enni_, and _nin_
but *not* X-nin that I'm doubtful. Such a form is not, of course, a
priori to be declared impossible but _enni_ apparently <_*an-ni_ (?)
and _nin_ = _*n-in_ or _ni-n_ don't show double markers (i.e. en (an)
+ n-/-n). A form like _ammen_ doesn't really seem to help much in this
context as the status of the _-n_ in _men_ cannot, I think, be
determined with a reasonable degree of certainty. Especially as
_ammen_ cf. LR:291, 299] and [III:354] seems to correspond to _anim_
[LR:1036] and not +_annin/ennin_.
Though we may not be certain of the status of the _-n_ in _ammen_, we
can at least conclude that it is somehow redundant, since the
translated meaning 'for us' is conveyed by the components _am-_
('for', if indeed this is parallel to _anim_ 'for myself' as David
suggests) and _-me-_ (1st person plural root 'we, us').
Probably the _-n_ marks plural number or dative case. But either way
it undermines the rejection of *_an-ni-n_ solely on the grounds of a
presumed avoidance of double markers. And even if the etymological
form of 'for me' were *_anni_, the existence of forms _nin_ '(towards)
me' and _ammen_ 'for us' would be ample basis for an analogical
reshaped *_annin_ (especially if the historically occurring form had
become _enni_ by lenition, and thereby separated from the paradigm as
Not that I actually believe that _-nin_ is a 1st person singular
pronoun in _porennin_ and _porannin_, only that we cannot rule this
out because of what else we know about Sindarin pronouns. David gives
an interesting alternative explanation in the previous message:
> The first element of _porennin_ may contain S. _paur, -bor_
> Thus, as in the name _Celebrimbor_, _quár_ and S. _paur_
respectively can apparently have the meaning 'skilled hand'. Perhaps
then, "Annon porennin" is to read 'Gate of those with skilled hands"
sc. Celebrimbor and Narvi.
> If _porannin_ is to be taken as a variant (developed in the process
of writing) of _porennin_ and, furthermore, _nithrad_ means 'entry',
we have a sort of chiasm here:
> _Annon porennin ... porannin nithrad._
I would note that, whatever the external history of the development of
_porennin_ and _porannin_, the fact that Tolkien allowed the
distinction between them to stand here suggests that the difference
must stand for something. If we could argue that one is plural and
the other is singular, it might be convenient for my theory that
_nithrad_ = _ni_ + _(a)thrad_. Thus _Annon porennin_ = 'Gate (of)
those skilled at hand' and _porannin nithrad_ = something like '(I)
skilled at hand let me pass' or 'skilled at hand I (will) pass'.
Another possibility is that one (or both) of these words is the 1st
person singular verb, since they end in _-in_. The beginning _po-_
might be an adverbial prefix like those in Noldorin _tre-vedi_
'traverse' (Etym. BAT- 'tread') or _ath-rado_ 'to cross, traverse'
(Etym. RAT- 'walk'). It could be related to the preposition _bo_ 'on'
in the Sindarin Lord's Prayer. A verb *_po-rado_ or *_po-redi_ could
conceivably have a meaning either 'approach' or 'advance' developed
from an original sense 'walk on, go on'.
-- Christopher Gilson
On 04.04.2004, at 00:17, cgilson75 wrote:
>> --- In email@example.com, David Kiltz wrote:
>> A form like _ammen_ doesn't really seem to help much in this
>> context as the status of the _-n_ in _men_ cannot, I think, be
>> determined with a reasonable degree of certainty. Especially as
>> _ammen_ cf. LR:291, 299] and [III:354] seems to correspond to _anim_
>> [LR:1036] and not +_annin/ennin_.
> Though we may not be certain of the status of the _-n_ in _ammen_, we
> can at least conclude that it is somehow redundant, since the
> translated meaning 'for us' is conveyed by the components _am-_
> ('for', if indeed this is parallel to _anim_ 'for myself' as David
> suggests) and _-me-_ (1st person plural root 'we, us').
I'm not sure. Redundancy can, I think, only be claimed if you assume
the root to be 'sufficient'. If not, only determining the status of
_-n_ would allow us to speak of redundancy. In _an-im_, we seem to have
_an_ construed with a nominative or casus rectus _im_. Whereas in
_enni_ (if < _an-ni_) we seem to have an oblique form combining with
Alternatively, both _im_ and _ni_ may mean 'I' (nominative), the first
being an emphatic form. (For _im_ cf. [LR1:402 and III:354]). _Nin_ on
the other hand seems to be the 1st sg. accusative pronoun in Sindarin.
At least, in my view, Tolkien's translation of Sam's invocation
[LR2:425/399] in [R:72/64] seems to favour such an interpretation.
Hence I would tend to view _ammen_ as having no redundant markings as
_men_ is most likely: 1) Casus rectus (nominative) or 2) Casus obliquus
(accusative), i.e. has no beneficiary connotation. In that, _nin_ seems
to contrast Quenya where _nin_ is clearly 'for me' [R:67].
To recap: S. _nin_ contrasts with _anim_ 'for me' (beneficiary) and
_enni_ 'me/to me' (indirect object). It is thus most likely a direct
object, i.e. accusative of the 1st sg. pronoun.
By contrast, an abstracted _men_, while apparently exhibiting an ending
_-n_, combines with _an-_ and thus parallels _im_ (and probably _-ni_).
Hence, it is not implausible to see in _men_ the 1st plural nominative.
Alternatively, it may stand for the accusative. In both cases, when
combined with _an-_, there is no redundancy as _an-_ adds the
beneficiary notion which _men_ alone, probably doesn't convey.
> Probably the _-n_ marks plural number or dative case. But either way
> it undermines the rejection of *_an-ni-n_ solely on the grounds of a
> presumed avoidance of double markers.
See above why I think there is no evidence for a dative case scenario
The idea that _-n_ denotes plurality looks very good (to me). That
would not, however, undermine the conclusion that _ammen_ doesn't
contain double markers, *as referring to case/or rather the notion of
'beneficiary'. Number marking is something totally different.
Indeed, I wrote:
>> In fact, it is precisely because we have _anim_, _enni_, and _nin_
> but *not* X-nin that I'm doubtful. Such a form is not, of course, a
> priori to be declared impossible but _enni_ apparently <_*an-ni_ (?)
> and _nin_ == _*n-in_ or _ni-n_ don't show double markers (i.e. en (an)
> + n-/-n).
Granted, this statement might not have been totally clear. What I meant
was 'double marking of case'. Again, I'm not saying it's impossible, it
just doesn't seem to be attested as such.
> And even if the etymological
> form of 'for me' were *_anni_, the existence of forms _nin_ '(towards)
> me' and _ammen_ 'for us' would be ample basis for an analogical
> reshaped *_annin_.
I don't think *_anni_ means 'for me' but 'to me'. The meaning of _nIn_
is crucial here. I think it may be interpreted as accusative sg. or
(towards) me. Note, however, that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."
[loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ = 'look towards (watch over), _nin_ = 'me'. It
seems hard to drag over the 'towards' to _nin_. The only semantic
parallel construction to _ammen_ is _anim_.
> Not that I actually believe that _-nin_ is a 1st person singular
> pronoun in _porennin_ and _porannin_, only that we cannot rule this
> out because of what else we know about Sindarin pronouns.
I agree. Although I differ in my assessment of the attested forms. It
remains that preposition X + _nin_ would be a hapax legomenon, in an
>> If _porannin_ is to be taken as a variant (developed in the process
> of writing) of _porennin_ and, furthermore, _nithrad_ means 'entry',
> we have a sort of chiasm here:
>> _Annon porennin ... porannin nithrad._
To which Christopher responded:
> I would note that, whatever the external history of the development of
> _porennin_ and _porannin_, the fact that Tolkien allowed the
> distinction between them to stand here suggests that the difference
> must stand for something. If we could argue that one is plural and
> the other is singular, it might be convenient for my theory that
> _nithrad_ == _ni_ + _(a)thrad_. Thus _Annon porennin_ == 'Gate (of)
> those skilled at hand' and _porannin nithrad_ == something like '(I)
> skilled at hand let me pass' or 'skilled at hand I (will) pass'.
That's a very interesting thought. Clearly, assuming a misspelling
isn't very elegant.
However, as this version was discarded, how likely do you think would
such a 'variant' spelling be ?
> Another possibility is that one (or both) of these words is the 1st
> person singular verb, since they end in _-in_. The beginning _po-_
> might be an adverbial prefix like those in Noldorin _tre-vedi_
> 'traverse' (Etym. BAT- 'tread') or _ath-rado_ 'to cross, traverse'
> (Etym. RAT- 'walk'). It could be related to the preposition _bo_ 'on'
> in the Sindarin Lord's Prayer. A verb *_po-rado_ or *_po-redi_ could
> conceivably have a meaning either 'approach' or 'advance' developed
> from an original sense 'walk on, go on'.
Again, I think that is a very interesting idea. What would the 3rd sg.
be? *_porant_ as paralleling _echant_ (<ET-KAT)? That would nicely fit
the assimilation described by Tolkien in [VT42:27] "In the Southern
dialects _nt, ñk, mp_ remained when standing finally - or more probably
the spirant was re-stopped in this position; (...). Medially however,
_nth_ (...) became long voiceless _n_ (...)." The interpretation as
both _pora/ennin_ and _nithrad_ as 1st pers. sg. would be mutually
exclusive however, don't you think ?
David Kiltz skrev:
> The meaning of _nIn_ is crucial here. I think it may be
> interpreted as accusative sg. or (towards) me. Note, however,
> that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."[loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ == 'look
> towards (watch over), _nin_ == 'me'. It seems hard to drag over
> the 'towards' to _nin_.
While I agree with the last statement, I do not think it follows
that _nin_ is accusative in _tiro nin_. Is there not a benefactive
notion in 'watch over'? And could not, at least in some languages,
a direction verb 'look towards' easily govern dative -- I think
Patrick H. Wynne has written a new editorial for _Tengwestië_, entitled
"Are Goldogrin and Qenya 'primitive'?". This brief essay assesses the
significance of the oft-repeated representation of Tolkien's early
Qenya and Goldogrin languages as "primitive" and "unorganized" in light
of Tolkien's other characterizations of his invented languages, and of
the evidence of the languages themselves, now essentially fully
published in _Parma Eldalamberon_.
Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org
ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
"I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
On 04.04.2004, at 18:07, Beregond. Anders Stenström wrote:
> David Kiltz skrev:
>> Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."[loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ == 'look
>> towards (watch over), _nin_ == 'me'. It seems hard to drag over
>> the 'towards' to _nin_.
> While I agree with the last statement, I do not think it follows
> that _nin_ is accusative in _tiro nin_. Is there not a benefactive
> notion in 'watch over'?
No, I too think it is not 100% safe to take _nin_ here as an
accusative. However, given that we can identify _enni_ as dative and
_anim_ as 'for me' (benefactive), taking formally distinct _nin_ as
denoting something different, doesn't seem unnatural. Rather, it
looks like the most likely scenario.
As for the 'benefactive': I use the term in a more restricted,
syntactical way, not in its broadest semantical way. Naturally, such
things as 'I praise, support, guard him' do carry a 'beneficiary'
notion. That's not what I mean by it. 'Benefactive' means that in a
sentence, a 3rd or 4th 'object' is involved, which does not function as
direct of indirect object proper. In English, such objects are usually
marked by 'for': Peter (subject) gives Mary (indirect object) a book
(direct object) for John (beneficiary/indirect object). In classical
grammar it's called 'dativus commodi'.
So in a sentence like:
1) I wrote him a letter, I would speak of 'addressee' function, or
indirect object proper, whereas in a sentence
2) I killed him an animal (i.e. I killed an animal for him) I'd speak
of 'beneficiary' function.
> And could not, at least in some languages,
> a direction verb 'look towards' easily govern dative -- I think
> _entgegenblicken_ does?
Maybe. But compound verbs (preverb/preposition + primary verb) have
always to be treated with caution when it comes to governing. It would
seem that S. _tir-_ means 'to guard, watch' [Etym sub TIR-] cf. also
_minas tirith_ 'tower of guard' [LR:passim]. An indirect object proper
would require a direct object, I think. But yes, it may stand for a
kind of 'prepositional' object in other languages but I cannot right
now think of an example. Considering what we have in other languages,
a direct object would seem more natural.
Also, at least in Quenya, _tir-_ governs the accusative, cf. _man
tiruva rákina kirya_ [MC:222].
Conversely (I know you're not saying that but) If indeed, _nin_ would
be a beneficiary in the phrase _a tiro nin Fanuilos_, I think an
obligatory direct object would be missing.
In the entry MIZD- of the "Addenda and Corrigenda to _The Etymologies_"
(VT45:35) there is a reference to "the glosses of N _mídh_ 'dew' and
Dor. _mêd_ 'moisture'.
However, Dor. _mêd_ 'moisture' is not among the words in that entry:
the Doriathrin term glossed 'moisture' is rather _mi~d_ (the tilde is
intended to represent a macron on the _i_); though there is also the
adjective _me~d_ 'wet' (but this also with a macron).
Is there an erratum, or the Dor. form _mêd_ was ommited from the main
text of the entry?
[This is indeed an error, and one thatI am at a complete loss to account for. It
looks like it's time to start the "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Addenda and
Corrigenda to the _Etymologies_! For "Dor. _mêd_" in our notes, read "Dor.
_mi~d_" (where the tilde represents a macron over the preceding "i". Thank you
very much, Helios, for point this out. CFH]
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Boris Shapiro <elenhil@u...>
> Should we analyze the texts as a unique piece of
> Seventh Age Quenya (probably as spoken in Valinor) and are we
> to get anything interesting from that?
The question Boris had raised long ago is very interesting. Quenya
is a language being the expression of the Quendian-culture and
Quendian-mythology in whatever context we use it. The words _Eru_,
_menel_, the expression _i ëa han Ëa_ belong to the mythology
of Tolkien's sub-creation, his _mythopoeia_. In fact every act of
Tolkien's _logopoeia_ is the exploration of his myth. It is the way
every "real" language works (and Tolkien's languages having their
own mythology, their "sub-creative" context are like real langages,
and very unlike the languages of the Esperanto-type).
The prayers (presented in VT 43 and 44) come from the period of the
1950s, when the mediator between the real history and the mythical
history of the Elves and Men was Aelfwine/Elendil (cf. "Dangweth
Pengolodh" in XII:395 from c. 1951-1959). Cannot the Quenya
prayers be the translation made by Elendil (who was to live in 10th-
11th C.) himself? Yes and no. Yes, because on that time there were in
existence already: "Pater Noster", "Gloria Patri (Doxologia
Minor)", "Sub Tuum Praesidium". No, because "Ave Maria" and "Litany
of Loreto" are much younger (their final form was achieved in 16th C.).
In "Qenya Lexicon" we find many words which show that the Elves
(in the conceptual phase of the "Book of the Lost Tales") knew some
elements of the Christian faith. There are terms for Holy Spirit,
Trinity, monks, nuns and monastery. I wonder if Tolkien, translating
the prayers into Quenya (and into the language of the Quendian
mythology - I would call it Christian inculturation into the
mythopoeic context) - had in mind such a possibility that these
prayers could play any role in his fictitious history. Anyway even
if it was "only" a linguistic exercise it is worth an analysis of
how the Quenya terms work incorporated into the Christian context.
--- In email@example.com, David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:
> On 04.04.2004, at 00:17, cgilson75 wrote:
> > Though we may not be certain of the status of the _-n_ in
> > _ammen_, we can at least conclude that it is somehow redundant,
> > since the translated meaning 'for us' is conveyed by the components
> > _am-_ ('for', if indeed this is parallel to _anim_ 'for myself' as David
> > suggests) and _-me-_ (1st person plural root 'we, us').
> I'm not sure. Redundancy can, I think, only be claimed if you assume
> the root to be 'sufficient'. If not, only determining the status of
> _-n_ would allow us to speak of redundancy. In _an-im_, we seem to have
> _an_ construed with a nominative or casus rectus _im_. Whereas in
> _enni_ (if < _an-ni_) we seem to have an oblique form combining with
By "redundant" I was referring to a distinctive form or formal feature
that the language could theoretically do without because there is no
context in which that distinction alone serves to convey a difference
in meaning. An example of what I am talking about is the distinction
in English between _we_ and _us_. This does convey a difference in
meaning when taken out of context, but in any syntactic construction
where either form is used the difference is also conveyed by word
order -- thus _the man saw us_ vs. _we saw the man_. In fact in
modern English the case distinctions among pronominal forms are
largely superfluous, though naturally very useful, as can be
illustrated by an example of nearly identical contexts: _mother gave
me socks_ vs. _mother gave my socks_ (to someone, away, etc.)
There is also a degree of redundancy for certain preposition + pronoun
combinations, like _to me_ and _for me_. Thus in _he bought the book
for me_ vs. _he gave the book to me_ the difference in force between
'for' and 'to' is already sufficiently conveyed by the difference in
verbs, such that either can be expressed by the so-called "indirect
object" construction: _he bought me the book_, _he gave me the book_.
The alternative **_he bought the book to me_ is ungrammatical in
English, while _he gave the book for me_ (meaning 'on my behalf')
would normally have an additional context like 'to someone else'
either expressed or implied, and this use of _for me_ cannot be
conveyed by the indirect object in English.
Given that Sindarin is a language that, within the mythology, human
beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie the
interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its syntax,
though our insights must depend largely on a much better understanding
of the inner workings of our own native languages. Indeed such an
hypothesis is evident (sometimes explicitly but usually implicitly) in most
discussions of Elvish. Ironically, the very analytical or pattern-seeking
process, by which we can extrapolate information from a limited corpus
of data, inherently favors theories that involve fewer redundancies and
ambiguities over theories that involve more. Not that I see any way
to avoid this pitfall other than to be aware of it when attempting to
draw inferences about likelihood.
While Sindarin retains a more extensive inflexional component than
English, at a morpheme level the situation of its pronouns seems to be
similar. In so far as we can tell, the forms _im_ in _anim_ and _im
Narvi_, _nin_ in _tiro nin_, and _ni_ in _bêd enni_ are in
complementary distribution. And in this sense the final consonant of
_nin_ would be redundant, unless there is a contrasting construction
*_tiro ni_ which means something different from 'guard me!' (Which of
course there might be...)
But all this really implies is that the differences among these forms
are relicts of an earlier stage of the language where they may have
had more extensive paradigmatic parallels or occurred in contexts
where they contrasted minimally with each other. Such residual formal
distinctions could very well retain a correlation with the basic
syntactic roles they had at an earlier stage, though the fact that the
system is essentially redundant (or largely so -- the evidence is
admittedly sketchy) would render it easily susceptible to analogical
Nothing David proposes is incompatible with these observations. But
neither do the data seem incompatible with (or even unfavorable to)
the possibility that _nin_ 'me' could combine with a preposition. The
form _im_ can be used both with and without preposition, and perhaps
_ni_ also if it occurs in the sentence (a "password") _Gir..
edlothiand na ngalad melon i ni [?sevo] ni [?edran]_ (VIII:293).
> Alternatively, both _im_ and _ni_ may mean 'I' (nominative), the first
> being an emphatic form. (For _im_ cf. [LR1:402 and III:354]). _Nin_ on
> the other hand seems to be the 1st sg. accusative pronoun in Sindarin.
> _men_ is most likely: 1) Casus rectus (nominative) or 2) Casus obliquus
> (accusative), i.e. has no beneficiary connotation. In that, _nin_ seems
> to contrast Quenya where _nin_ is clearly 'for me' [R:67].
In contrast with _ammen_ ('for us' VI:413, 'of us' VII:175) part of
the context of the form _anim_ ('for myself' Appendix A I (v)) is its
co-reference with the subject ('I' in _ú-chebin_ 'I have kept
no'). In the other two occurrences of the pronoun _im_ it accompanies
the name of the subject (_im Narvi hain echant_; _le linnon im
Lúthien_ III:354). In English the subject can be emphasized this way
using the nominative, as in "I, Christopher, made them", or the
reflexive pronoun can be used (in essence meaning 'by oneself'), as
"John himself bought the book" or "I myself, Christopher, sing this
So there are two possibilities, either (1) _im_ is nominative, used
emphatically with a named subject and combining with a preposition to
indicate the object is the same as the subject, or (2) _im_ is
specifically reflexive, combinable with a preposition to indicate
reflexive object and usable with the subject for emphasis. Whichever
theory one picks there is little to suggest that _-men_ 'us' in
_ammen_ is the same case as _im_. In its sentences the subjects are
_naur_ 'fire' and _annon_ 'gate', unconnected with 'us'. So _ammen_
is neither reflexive nor nominative, judging by the contexts and the
translations. This leaves "objective'"cases.
Between the pronouns in _tiro nin_ 'look towards me, guard me' and
_guren bêd enni_ 'my heart tells me', it is difficult to say which
is semantically closer to _-men_ in _edraith ammen_ 'saving of us' and
_edro hi ammen_ 'open now for us'. We also have _ammen_ 'us' as
indirect object of _anno_ 'give!' and _díheno_ 'forgive!' and even
in the sense 'against us' in _gerir úgerth ammen_ '(who) trespass
against us', all in the Sindarin Lord's Prayer (VT44:21).
Considering the semantic range of _ammen_ and especially how close
_anno ammen_ comes to _bêd enni_ (both would use 'to' in English if
the indirect object were expanded to a prepositional phrase), it seems
quite reasonable to suggest that we could say *_anno enni_ 'give me!'
and *_bedir ammen_ '(our hearts) tell us'.
Alternatively, we may consider that _enni_ and _ammen_, though
etymologically connected by the historical derivation of _en-_ < _an-_
by affection, actually have different syntax, with the historically
later _ammen_ using a distinct case of the pronoun. If so, I would be
inclined to tie together two ideas suggested by David as
> By contrast, an abstracted _men_, while apparently exhibiting an ending
> _-n_, combines with _an-_ and thus parallels _im_ (and probably _-ni_).
> Alternatively, it may stand for the accusative. In both cases, when
> combined with _an-_, there is no redundancy as _an-_ adds the
> beneficiary notion which _men_ alone, probably doesn't convey. [...]
> I don't think *_anni_ means 'for me' but 'to me'. The meaning of _nIn_
> is crucial here. I think it may be interpreted as accusative sg. or
> (towards) me. Note, however, that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."
> [loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ = 'look towards (watch over), _nin_ = 'me'.
If we assume that _nin_ 'me' is syntactically detached from its
(perhaps etymological) dative, allative, or benefactive sense in the
context of _tiro_ 'look towards, watch over, guard' and is simply the
"accusative" form of the pronoun used as the direct object of a verb;
and if we assume that the dative, benefactive, or even adversative
sense of _ammen_ is conveyed by the semantic range of the preposition
_an-/am-_ and the attached pronoun is simply marked as the object,
using this same "accusative" case-form -- then we could by implication
say *_anno annin_ 'give me!'
This is comparable to the situation in English where the same forms
(me, us, him, etc.) are used for both direct object of a verb and
object of a preposition. There is even an exceptional idiom (like
_enni_ would have to be under this theory), which uses a different
case of the pronoun. This is the possessive construction with the
preposition _of_, as in _I read that book of his_, which contrasts
with a usage like _I was speaking of him_. This is I think the only
relict in English of the older situation where different prepositions
may govern distinct cases -- a situation familiar in more highly
inflected languages, such as Latin (e.g. _ad infinitum_ vs. _de
facto_) or Quenya (e.g. _mí oromardi_ vs. _et Earello_).
-- Christopher Gilson
I've noticed that some messages reported as being posted to the Lambengolmor
list via its
web interface have nonetheless not shown up for approval by Pat and myself. They
simply to have vanished. Also, a message that I approved late last night has
still not shown
up in the archives or in e-mail.
Anyone sending messages to this list, please be sure to copy the text of any
compose via the web interface and save a copy locally, until this issue is
resolved, so that
if the ether swallows them you can repost the message by e-mail and/or at a
If anyone here manages a Yahoo group and can give me insight into what is
and why, please e-mail me privately (Aelfwine at elvish dot org).
I should probably note that there are currently no messages pending in the
queue. So if you sent a message that has not been either posted to the list or
you, then it has been lost in cyberspace. Please send it again, if you still
have a copy.
The following (edited?) paragraph was included in a post from me
>Given that Sindarin is a language that, in the mythology, human
beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie
the interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its
syntax, though our insights must depend largely on a much better
understanding of the inner workings of our own native languages.
The paragraph I actually intended to be posted began as follows:
> Given that Sindarin is a language human beings are capable of
learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems reasonable to hypothesize
The difference is subtle, but I think important to the point I was
trying to make. So I would like to offer some clarifation and
further thoughts on the matter.
Tolkien invented a language which he (eventually) called Sindarin.
Certain things are (demonstrably) true about the language either from
assertions made by Tolkien, or logical inferences from those
assertions. There are also (of course) a virtually limitless number
of things that are untrue about Sindarin and a (large?) grey area of
those that might be true, some perhaps in mutually exclusive sets and
some either more or less likely than each other.
Tolkien used Sindarin as a part of the background detail in his
fictional stories. In a sense these constitute a sort of extended
"thought experiment" involving a premise: If the invented language
were actually spoken by people, what would that be like? As a
consequence of this the demonstrable facts about Sindarin fall into
two categories. (1) Some are 'circumstantially' true about the
language as used in the fictional world of the story, e.g. there is a
person whose name is _Legolas_ which means 'green-leaves' in Sindarin.
(2) Others are facts about Sindarin per se, e.g. that _laeg_ is a
word for 'green', and _lass_ for 'leaf' (Letter #211).
Of course these categories are intimately connected, since all of the
non-circumstantial facts about Sindarin per se are by implication true
of it as the fictional "language" spoken by people in Tolkien's
stories. But this is only *by implication*, and certainly nothing
prevented Tolkien from devising *circumstantial* facts about Sindarin
as a langage that were not supposed to be realized in the fictional
world. For instance the fact that the beginning of the Lord's Prayer
has been translated into Sindarin as _Ae adar nín i vi Menel_ is
not necessarily true within Tolkien's mythology. And Tolkien's own
recorded pronunciations of Sindarin words and names are facts about
the invented language but not facts inside the fiction.
For these and other various reasons I prefer to discuss Sindarin
primarily as an invented language, and only allude to its use as
background in the stories where the circumstances of that usage are
relevant to the argument. Consequently my original assertion (or
rather really a hypothetical stipulation) "that Sindarin is a language
human beings are capable of learning to speak" was intended to be
about Sindarin per se.
This did not seem *to me* to be in any way controversial -- Tolkien is
a human being and he invented Sindarin, and he gave a great deal of
care toward the verisimilitude of the language by closely modeling the
components of the phonology, morpohology, syntax and much of the
semantics on actual languages of human beings. In other words
Sindarin contains an abundance of features in each of its linguistic
components that human beings are capable of (and in many cases have
All of this has been long known and thoroughly discussed. The only
possible way in which Sindarin could be beyond the mental or physical
capabilities of human beings to learn would be if Tolkien imagined
some difference between human beings and his imaginary elves that was
essential to the ability to learn to speak the language. Appendix F
shows that he imagined no such thing -- hence my reference to it.
Possibly there was some confusion between the human *capability* to
learn Sindarin and the existence of sufficient evidence about the
details of Sindarin to provide an *opportunity* for present-day humans
to learn to speak Sindarin. Two very different matters, about the
latter of which I haven't seen any convincing linguistic argument one
way or the other, and so offered no opinion.
-- Christopher Gilson
[Chris and I clearly have differing opinions about how such a claim as
"Sindarin is a language that human beings are capable of learning to
speak" is likely to be interpreted without further clarification. In a time
and medium where the false notion that Quenya and Sindarin are
languages that people can learn to speak, like French or Spanish, is
rampant, I feel it is important to avoid anything that might be used by
others to give credence to the notion. Moreover, if we can take a
statement by Tolkien about the capability of (certain) humans in the
mythology to speak Sindarin as implying that it was his intention that
we non-mythological humans could do so as well (if, as you further
note, given the opportunity) -- as indeed I think we can, although it
is to be noted that Tolkien also tells us that there are characteristic
mistakes that Men make, and that the Sindarin as spoken by Men did
differ in some respects from that spoken by the Elves* -- without the
need even to acknowledge the existence of the underlying assumption,
then I don't see how conveying the fact that the reference to Appendix
F is to specifically to Tolkien stating that Sindarin was known and spoken
by (certain) Men within the mythology detracts in any way from an
argument based on the cognitive and linguistic faculties and capacties of
humans in general: even left unspecified, the underlying assumption that
the Men of Middle-earth were in all respects pertaining to the cognitive
and linguistic faculties and capacties equivalent to us remains. CFH]
[*Nor are we necessarily to assume that Tolkien saw linguistic capacities
as the same across a race, at least not within the mythology. In one text
(XI:26) we are given a good indication to the contrary: "the Noldor learned
the Sindarin tongue far more readily than the Sindar could learn the
I just noticed the _Etymologies'_ entry NUT-, where we find:
"N _nud-_; _nûd_ bond; _naud_ bound."
Isn't this _naud_ clearly another possible case of a-infix past
tense, having a similar phonological environment as does _daul_.
pa.t. of _doelio/doltha_ < DUL-?
Florian "Lothenon" Dombach
We speak as is right, and as King Finwe himself did before he was led
astray. Let them sa-si, if they can speak no better.
[In isolation, it would indeed be quite plausible to see N
_naud_ 'bound' as a Strong-I past-tense verb (according to the
classification laid out in my _Tengwestië_ article "The Past-Tense
Verb in the Noldorin of the _Etymologies_"; see
However, the entry in which this form occurs demonstrates to
my satisfaction that _naud_ is in fact a direct cognate of the Qenya
adj. _nauta_, and so it thus itself an adjective:
"NUT- tie, bind. Q _nutin_ I tie; _núte_ bond, knot; _nauta_
bound, obliged. N _nud-_; _nûd_ bond; _naud_ bound."
Note the parallel cognates: noun Q _núte_ 'bond, knot' = N
_nûd_ 'bond'; adj. Q _nauta_ 'bound, obliged' = N _naud_ 'bound'.
A good reminder that context and Tolkien's own presentation often are
crucial to the correct interpretation of forms. CFH]
In the post 655 (13/04/2004) Ryzard Derdzinski, replying to Boris Shapiro,
questions if the catholic prayers presented in VT 43 and 44 could have been
translations made by Aelfwine/Elendil (who was to live in 10th-11th C.). The
reply was yes and no, because some prayers were already in existence on that
time (Pater Noster, Gloria Patri, Sub Tuum Praesidium), but the others are much
younger (the final form of Ave Maria and Litany of Loreto was achieved in 16th
As Ryzard notes, the question of authorship of the different parts of
the Quendian mythology, on the internal point of view, is always and
interesting but a complicated matter. Internal authorship shifted during
the external evolution of some tales and he sometimes merged the real
and fictional world (like in the LR Appendix where he appears as the
translator of the red Book, not as the author of the novel).
The place of the Catholic prayers in the main work is of course very
special since they do not, _a priori_, belong to the Quendian
mythology. But, as Ryszard remarks pertinently, "Quenya is a language
being the expression of the Quendian-culture and Quendian-mythology in
whatever context we use it" and "every act of Tolkien's _logopoeia_ is the
exploration of his myth". So, the only fact that the prayers were written in
Elvish connects them with the Quendian mythology, even if it creates a kind
But I think this paradox might perhaps be removed or at least find
In his post, Ryzard notes that we find many words in the "Qenya Lexicon"
which show that the Elves (in the conceptual phase of the "Book of the
Lost Tales") knew some elements of the Christian faith (terms for Holy
Spirit, Trinity, monks, nuns and monastery).
In a first version of the present post post (which was returned for
revision !), I remarked that there are several words in the Lexicons
that referred to our 'real, modern, world' and I quoted _Andesalke_,
Salkinôre_ 'Africa' (QL/31, 84), _kalimba(n)_ '"Barbary", Germany',
_kalimabardi_ 'the Germans' (QL/44), _Îverind-_ 'Ireland' (QL/43),
_i•Ponôrir_ 'the Northlands (Scandinavia)' and _ponôre_ 'Norway' (QL/74).
I tought that these names could give some clues about the authorship of the
Lexicons, but as Carl Hostetter has pointed out in his private reply to my
first post, "there's nothing in there that necessarily refers to our 'real,
modern world'. None of the nations mentioned there were unknown in
even Classical times, and all have their equivalents in classical
Greek and Latin. That Tolkien translates them with modern country
names instead of their Greek, Latin, or even Anglo-Saxon names
is completely in accord with every other gloss in the Lexicons".
This made me think of something else : if the Lexicons are the work of
Aelfwine/Elendil during his sojourn in Tol Eressea, the original
manuscript would have been written in Old English. Hence, the actual
version of the Lexicons must have been translated in modern English
(excatly the same way as the LR is presented as the translation of the
Red Book in English, merging real and fictional world).
Some words in the Lexicons are given with Anglo-Saxon, Latin or Greek
glosses. This suggests, either that these non-English references were
left intentionally by the translator or that the Lexicons are much
latter, dating from the XXth century, and are the work of a man with
very good linguistic knowledge that had some knowledge of the Quendian
world and mythology.
We can find in Tolkien's work some characters that fit this portrait,
characters that lived in our modern age and who had dreams or visions
of the mythical world of the Elves: Audoin and Alboin Errol of "The
Lost Road" (V/36-106, c. 1936-37) and Arundel Lowdham of the Notion
Club (IX/145-330, c. 1945-46). Even if he never finished none of his
time-travel stories, the fact that Tolkien began two stories of this
kind seem to show that Tolkien took this narrative process to heart.
Of course, the mediators cited before are older than the prayers,
externally speaking (30s and 40s vs. 50s), but a philologist like
Lowdham might have been fully qualified to try a translation in
"Avallonian" of some known catholic prayers (and even several attempts
for some of these prayers !).
Finally, we have a third possibility. We could think of some Elves who
would have chosen to stay in the mortal lands and who would have
withered to become spirits (a very old conception dating from the
_Lost Tales_). Theses spirits may have contacted some open-minded
humans and instructed them about the matter of the Elves, their
history and their languages. Theses spirit-Elves could even have
taught their tongues to a well-known English philologist of the XXth
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "cgilson75" <cgilson75@h...> wrote:
> Given that Sindarin is a language that, in the mythology, human
> beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
> reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie
> the interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its
> syntax, though our insights must depend largely on a much better
> understanding of the inner workings of our own native languages.
It is also of importance to indicate that Tolkien did have an
opinion on the human ability to learn the Elvish tongues -within-
his invented world. A good example from _The Lord of the Rings_ would
be the Gondorians: we are told throughout the story and in the
appendices that they spoke Sindarin (<< Noldorin). The famous example
is the name _Rochand_ which in their speech became _Rohan_.
Now, if we hypothize that they could only speak Elvish as a second
language, we learn that their pronunciation (and supposedly also
parts of grammar) were affected by their own speech (in the
aforementioned example - the lack of /x/ in their speech lead to the
shift of S. /ch/ > /h/).
However, if we hypothize that Sindarin was a living language amongst
Men in Gondor, we inevitably learn that the rules of nature applied
once more and in time, Sindarin began to change ceaselessly among
Men and in time would become a different dialect and later a
Therefore, we must conclude that only the Sindar (and the Noldor of
Middle Earth) could speak what is to be, internally, considered
as "true" Sindarin for they would only change the language according
to their taste and love for sounds and it would forever remain their
own, while Men would change it to be theirs.
[It is indeed clear that the Men of Gondor spoke a dialect of Sindarin,
with distinct phonological and lexical developments. See, for example,
Tolkien's essay on _The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor_ (_VT_ 42).
However, I don't think this is really the sort of "ability to learn
languages" that Chris has in mind, which instead goes to more
fundamental typological and cross-language features, such as the
presence and role of formally redundant markers that are nonetheless
quite happily tolerated in many human languages. CFH]
Today I have published on-line my essay from the last "Gwaihir" (#7,
2003). The text is entitled: "Consonant Mutations in Conceptual
Evolution of Noldorin/Sindarin Phonology". It is the summary of the
information from the last issues of "Parma Eldalamberon" plus some
info from the late sources. I hope I haven't made to many mistakes.
I would like to hear your comments.
The article in PDF can be downloaded from here:
In message #10 of elfling, Benct Philip Jonsson alias 'Melroch'
proposes that Quenya stops aren't divided into three categories:
voiced (only after /l, r, n/), unvoiced, and long unvoiced (only after
vowels); but only into two categories: weak and strong (that is, lenis
That is, not like this:
| after vowels | after /l, r, n/
voiced | - | <b, d, g>
unvoiced | <p, t, c> | <p, t, c/q>
long unvoiced | <pp, tt, cc> | -
but like this:
| after vowels | after /l, r, n/
weak | <p, t, c/q> | <b, d, g>
strong | <pp, tt, cc> | <p, t, c/q>
Benct specifies that the difference between the weak and the strong
stops is their length, but that additionally (if I've understood him
correctly), the weak stops are voiced after /l, r, n/. So he suggests
two pronunciations of the weak stops: either voiced or voiceless.
I'd rather suggest that there's but one pronunciation of the weak
stops: voiceless. Like this, Quenya stops would be the same as Finnish
stops (only that standard Finnish has /d/ from original /D/, according
to Harri Perälä and John Cowan in elfscript #1963 and 1968).
It's not uncommon that <b, d, g> represent unvoiced stops. This is
found in many languages, e.g. Icelandic, Danish, Chinese, or southern
German. But do we have any evidence on the pronunciation of <b, d, g>
in Quenya? I've only found one possible evidence: Appendix E of The
Lord of the Rings which says that "NG represents _ng_ in _finger_".
However, this indication is not specific to Quenya, but concerns both
Quenya and Sindarin, and actually most of the pronunciation samples of
app. E are for Sindarin. Is there more evidence?
If there's only two kinds of stops, why are there three kinds of
spellings (<b, d, g> vs. <p, t, c/q> vs. <pp, tt, cc>)?
Theoretically, all weak stops could be spelled with <p, t, c/q> and
all strong stops with <pp, tt, cc>. However, as Benct's pointed out,
this would lead to very odd spellings after /l, r, n/, whereas Tolkien
explicitly wanted to make Elvish spelling "not look uncouth in modern
letters" (app. E).
Theoretically, all weak stops could be spelled with <b, d, g> and all
strong stops with <p, t, c>. However, English people would naturally
voice the <b, d, g>, so this would lead to mispronunciation, whereas
Tolkien explicitly wanted to "represent the original sounds (so far as
they can be determined) with fair accuracy" (immediately before the
So I think that in spite of the three kinds of spellings there are
only two kinds of stops, the three kinds of spelling being but a
consequence of Tolkien's will to have an accurate and not uncouth
j. 'mach' wust
Tolkien's own pronunciation of Quenya may be helpful. I will use Laurence J.
Krieg's short but insightful article "Tolkien's Pronunciation: Some
Observations" in "An Introduction to Elvish" edited by Jim Allan, pp. 152-159 .
reproduces among others a phonetic analysis of Namárië (spoken and sung) made at
the Phonetics Laboratory at the University of Michigan, presented in the IPA (or
rather a variant: notably [y] is used where IPA usually has [j]) in a rather
We must account with some influence of English on Tolkien's pronunciation of
Quenya, but it does not affects the distinction between voiced and unvoiced
stops. In fact he regularly pronounces words like _andúne_, _Varda_, _unduláve_,
_sindanóriello_ with [d] and _lumbule_ and _imbe_ with [b].
So his spelling on that point reflects the phonetic realisation rather than
the underlying phonology in the theory of Benct Philip Jonsson.
In addition, it is also interesting to note that unvoiced stops are generally
unaspirated, with only three exceptions which are perhaps to regard as slips:
_únótinar_ with [th] and _caita_ with [kh] in the spoken version, untúpa with
[ph] in the sung version.
Language has both strengthened imagination and been freed by it. Who shall
say whether the free adjective has created images bizarre and beautiful, or the
adjective been freed by strange and beautiful pictures in the mind ? - J.R.R.
Tolkien, A Secret Vice
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