[Helge has of course chosen to respond to my recent post concerning,
_inter alia_, the first-person plural pronominal endings in Quenya on
the Elfling list, where he knows I am prohibited by David Salo from
participating, rather than in this open, uncensored forum. So, see:
for his post. Carl]
> But let us remember this: When CFH was still in the position to
> enlighten and encourage the Elflingers with his numerous epistles, one
> of his favorite topics was precisely the mutability of Tolkien's
Yes, please do remember that! It is precisely that mutability that you,
as a scholar, fail to remember and account for in your treatment of
Tolkien's languages, preferring instead to grasp at evidentiary straws
to try to make that mutability go away, and observe silently while
people make false assertions based on your falsified hypotheses.
> So when it comes to Quenya pronouns, there are hardly any hard
> Tolkienian "facts" to be uncovered by post-Tolkien research and
Nonsense. There are lots and lots of facts, even by your own
accounting. But you aren't really interested in the facts; what you
want, but will _not_ find, is a single, definitive, entirely consistent
paradigm of pronominal endings that explains all examples of Quenya
from _The Lord of the Rings_ onward. Instead, you will find only more
or less complete charts representing nothing more (and nothing less)
than Tolkien's conception at the particular point when the chart was
written. _Those _are_ the facts_ that concern Tolkienian linguistics,
not more or less torturous attempts to explain away these shifts in
conception and create an artificial "standard" paradigm. This, in a
nutshell, is _the_ problem and failing of your approach to Tolkien's
> ** So let us review the mutable "evidence" once again, and quite
> thoroughly (yes, this is a long posting). At least FOUR different
> endings seem to be relevant for the meaning "we". They are _-lme_,
> _-mme_, _-lwe_ (variant _-lve?_) and _-ngwe_. We will concentrate on
> the three first endings here.
Why? Is the _-ngwe-_ somehow less "important"? Why? You won't find
_-mme_ in your "canonical" source either (save in its drafting, when it
was _inclusive_); so why is it excluded from your consideration, while
_-mme_ isn't? What makes _-mme_ any more interesting or noteworthy,
from the viewpoint of linguistic scholarship, than _-ngwe_?
> ** Tolkien apparently changed his mind (incessantly) about what
> precise distinctions were to be reflected in the Elvish pronoun > tables.
Did he? That's not at all apparent to me. What is your evidence for
> The independent dual pronoun _met_ "us two" occurs in Namárie, duality
> in this case being indicated by the dual marker _-t_. If there are to
> be distinct plural endings for dual inclusive, plural inclusive, dual
> exclusive and dual inclusive "we", there would obviously have to be
> four endings in all,
You assume that the dual has the same status and preserves all the same
distinctions as the plural pronoun. This _may_ be correct, but it is by
no means _necessarily_ the case. The dual pronouns in Old English, for
instance, by the time of the flourishing of the literary language, had
already become something of an archaic relic.
> ** It now seems clear that when _The Lord of the Rings_ was first
> published and for at least a decade after that, the _lm_ forms were
> plural inclusive and the _mm_ forms were plural exclusive.
The "for at least a decade" part isn't at all clear to me. At some
point, probably in the mid to late '50s, the inclusive plural was
marked by _-ngwe_ (VT43:36). But oh, that's right, we're ignoring
> A somewhat obscure note inserted by Humphrey Carpenter in _The
> Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien_, p. 447, can only be
> read as implying that _-lv-_ is a DUAL form.
Oh? Can it really _only_ be read that way? Can you prove that?
> Of course, Carpenter himself would hardly feel competent to explain
> the subtleties of Quenya,
How do you know what Carpenter would feel himself competent to do, and
what he wouldn't?
> so this must be based on some Tolkien manuscript he had seen.
_Must_ it? I agree that whatever Carpenter meant to say was based on
what he had seen to Tolkien's papers; but if you mean to imply that his
statement _must_ have been a direct quote or paraphrase from Tolkien's
papers, you'll have to do better at justifying this assertion. There is
no particular reason to think that Carpenter mightn't have
misunderstood, conflated, and/or otherwise garbled what Tolkien wrote
in his account of the matter.
> So _omentielmo_ contained a plural inclusive "our", but Tolkien
> decided that this is just Frodo talking to Gildor, so a dual inclusive
> "our" is more appropriate:
That _may_ be what Carpenter's statement is intended to mean.
> Moreover, the relatively well-attested endings -lm- (plural
> inclusive), -lv- (dual inclusive), and
Nowhere is _-lv-_ _attested_ to be "dual inclusive". That's your
> -mm- (plural exclusive) could be ordered into a single, coherent
Nor is there any _attested_ example of _-mm-_ standing as plural
exclusive in relationship with _-lm-_ and _-lv-_, or whatever meanings
you want to assign those endings.
> It is this interpretation that is currently reflected in my
> Ardalambion Quenya article and in my Quenya course.
And hence your account is out of date, incomplete, and misleading.
> (Incidentally, I can vividly imagine CFH's reaction if _I_ had
> referred to any concept of Tolkien's linguistic work as "ill thought
> out", which to my ear sounds rather worse than "immature".)
Your imagination fails you, then, since my reaction in fact is that
Tolkien was fully capable of making "ill thought out" attempts at
change in his both his legendarium and his languages, only to
eventually think better and abandon the change, as we've already seen
in the published material.
> ** Recently, material published in _Vinyar Tengwar_ has indeed
> complicated the issue of the first person pl. endings. In VT42, the
> verb _navilwe_ "we judge/deem" was quoted in an article by Bill
> Welden. Here the ending -lwe is apparently plural inclusive "we",
> though the context (what little there is) does not allow for any
> definite conclusion.
Doesn't it? The sentence in question: _alasaila ná lá kare tai mo nave_
(or _navilwe_) _mára_ 'it is unwise not to do what one judges (or we
judge) good', is described there by Tolkien as a "general 'aorist'"
expression. The verb _navilwe_ 'we judge' thus stands as a general
aorist expression in alternative to the equally general aorist _mo
nave_ 'one judges'. It would be very strange to describe an admonition
to another to always do what _we_ think wise, not what _they_ think
wise, as a "general 'aorist'" expression (and it would be a very
un-Elvish thing to say in general: "Go not to the Elves for counsel,
for they will say both no and yes"). I think it is perfectly clear that
the expression is equivalent to saying, "we should always do what we
judge to be wise", not "_you_ should always do what _we_ judge to be
wise". _-lwe_ is therefore plural inclusive (in this example).
> if _lv_ now became plural inclusive, why does _lw_, not _lv_, appear
> in Welden's article?
That would be because Tolkien wrote _navilwe_, not *_navilve_. Should
Bill have altered the form to fit your expectation?
> The LotR appendices seem to indicate that _lv_ and _lw_ were and
> remained distinct combinations;
Even if we accept this as true, and always true, can you think of no
reason why _navilwe_ might be preferred to *_naVilVe_? Do we _never_
see dissimilation in Tolkien's languages? To offer just one possible
> And if _mm_ is now "purely dual", is it inclusive or exclusive?
(Sorry, couldn't resist!)
But seriously, your question assumes that the dual endings preserved
the inclusive/exclusive distinction. That _may_ be so, but it is _not
necessarily_ the case.
> ** In various fora I have repeatedly asked the Transcription Team or
> members thereof to clarify these matters, so that if I am to revise my
> articles and courses, I can present certain information. So far, they
> have adamantly refused to provide any clarification,
That is not true. We _are_ providing such clarification as exists, by
publishing Tolkien's papers in a scholarly (and legal) manner.
> and we are left to guess how the incomplete and in some respects
> seemingly contradictory information presented in their publications
> should be interpreted.
I'm unaware of any contradictory information. Certainly you haven't
presented any here. What contradictions you see are the result of your
assumptions and expectations, not of anything we have said or
presented. There is nothing contradictory in the evidence; Tolkien
simply changed his mind about things over time. The only contradiction
to arise is that between the facts of the languages and your hypotheses.
> I am in no way above revising my articles and courses, but if CFH
> really wants me to do this, I should be grateful if he could at least
> clearly indicate what he should like to see instead of my current
What I should like to see is an honest and full accounting of all the
available evidence, without bias and distortion, and acknowledging that
Quenya is not a single, static entity that was ever _at any moment or
stage_ complete and self-consistent in its grammar or phonology.
Fact: At one point during the drafting of _The Lord of the Rings_,
_-mm-_ was a 1st inclusive (whether plural or dual is uncertain)
Fact: In later texts, but before c. 1965, _-mm-_ was a 1st pl.
exclusive ending. (Tolkien)
Fact: Sometime c. 1965, _-mm- became a dual ending. (Tolkien)
Misleading assertion: _-mm-_ is the Quenya 1st pl. exclusive ending.
Fact: In the mid to late '50s, _-ngwe_ was a 1st. pl. inclusive ending.
<Sound of crickets chirping>. (Ardalambion, Elfling)
Fact: Sometime c. 1965, _-lv- became the 1st. pl. inclusive ending.
Hypothesis ignoring this fact in favor of pet theory: _-lv-_ is a 1st
_dual_ inclusive ending. (Ardalambion, Elfling)
Do you see any patterns here?
> ** As I said above, when we are dealing with Quenya pronouns there are
> few hard "facts" to be uncovered, only shifting conceptions.
And as I have said, those shifts _are_ the hard facts about Quenya;
your dichotomy is false, and it is at the root of the failings of your
account of the matter.
> : -lm- = plural exclusive, -lv- = plural inclusive, -mm- = dual
> exclusive (and then perhaps -ngw- = dual inclusive, to have a complete
> system). _Andave laituvalmet_ "long shall we praise them" in the
> Cormallen Praise must then be re-interpreted as an exclusive form:
> "We, the people of Gondor, speaking to the universe in general,
> declare that we will
> long praise the Ring-bearers."
Or: "We, the people of Gondor, speaking to the Ring-bearers (but not
inclusively), will praise them".
Moreover, it is possible that group exhortations like this default to
one form (in this case, in the Revised Edition, _-lm-) without heeding
or conveying the inclusive/exclusive distinction. To offer just one
> Alternatively, *_navilve_ "we deem" could become _navilwe_ by some
> kind of dissimilation because of the preceding _v_, but I don't really
> believe in it.
That's it?| That's your explanation for rejecting this possibility: "I
don't really believe in it"?! Well, why not? Because it would make your
dual hypothesis vanish?
> Of course, it remains unclear whether he means "REALLY unattested"
> (not found in Tolkien's papers at all) or simply "not attested in
> published material.
It _of course_ means the latter. If I do not specifically state
otherwise, I am _never_ speaking of unpublished material. As you well
> ** As I have pointed out elsewhere, I don't feel that CFH has the
> right to call Ardalambion "outdated" as long as he continues, in every
> issue of VT, to hail the pre-Silmarillion book _Introduction to
> Elvish_ as an "indispensable" work in the field of > Tolkien-linguistics.
The one has nothing to do with the other. _Everyone_ has the "right" to
call Ardalambion outdated, because _it is_! So is _ItE_ (and far, far
moreso than Ardalambion)! So what? "Outdated" does not mean
"worthless". _You're_ the one who's always complaining that new
material isn't appearing fast enough; so it is _you_ who has made the
issue of timeliness of your updates to Ardalambion relevant. (Bill, of
course, is in no position to update or revise _ItE_: it is a print
publication of which he is neither the editor nor the copyright owner.
But he _is_ updating the _information_ in _ItE_ by helping to get
Tolkien's papers published.)
> So what is it, -lw- or -lv-?
Both are attested, as you yourself noted, as 1st pl. inclusive endings.
> If -mm- is by 1965 a dual form, is it inclusive or exclusive?
There is no "if" about it.