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36The "_Merin_ Sentence" (was Re: Helge's revised Quenya course)

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Mar 5 5:38 AM
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      On Wednesday, March 5, 2003, at 02:49 AM, Boris Shapiro wrote:

      > But there are numerous languages that do not [use a verb meaning
      > 'possess'] in case of sentient beings because they do not have it
      > altogether. The suggestion was that Quenya is the case.

      Whether or not that was Tolkien's intention at that specific time, it
      is inarguable that Quenya _did_ at other times have a means to express
      possession or ownership: there is Q _harya-_ 'possess' right there in
      _Etymologies_. Even in the contemporary material in _Morgoth's Ring_ we
      find this statement: "The chosen names were regarded by the Noldor as
      part of their personal property, likes (say) their rings, cups, or
      knives, or other possessions which they could lend, or share with
      kindred and friends, but which could not be taken without leave."
      (X:215). If one can possess a name, I don't see why one can't possess
      (have/hold) a measure a joy.

      > 1) _noo_ as temporal "before". While nothing was fixed in Tolkien's
      > mind, I tend to think that a second case of "yes/no" topsy-turvy
      > (quite a phenomenon itself) is unlikely.

      LOL! We've already seen how fluid the meanings ascribed to various
      prepositions is, in independent sources (e.g., VT43-44). It is not the
      _least_ bit surprising to find it here.

      > 2) _saa_[_sic_; read _sa_ CFH] "that". You once said that you had seen
      > no example of it in all the texts you prepare for publishing. That is
      > surprising, because given such a (very much) useful and plain
      > conjugation it is strange not to find it attested in authentic texts.
      > That adds some more suspicion.

      I don't recall what I said (or when), but if I did say anything like
      this, I'm sure I meant something different from how you've interpreted
      it. I would have meant that I _did not recall_ seeing _sa_ used this
      way in the contemporary papers I'd seen; but since I've never gone
      through the papers specifically looking for _sa_ used this way, it
      would not be in the least bit surprising to me to eventually find it
      amongst the contemporary papers, somewhere.

      In any event, this focus on the lexicon overlooks an even more telling
      fact about the sentence: the surprising and yet, when considered,
      perfectly Tolkienian sentiment imputed to the Elves by the codicil to
      the sentence, added when addressing mortals: "before you pass from the
      world". It would take someone intimately familiar both with the
      languages and with Tolkien's Elvish attitudes and metaphysics to
      concoct so note-perfect a touch. Of the few people I know who qualify,
      I would hope that none would have any interest in perpetrating such a

      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."
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