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Re: [elfling-d] [S] _dant-_ question

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    In Elfling message 29149 , Helge Fauskanger ... Indeed. And so once again, we see the Salo/Fauskanger
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 13, 2004
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      In Elfling message 29149
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/29149>, Helge Fauskanger
      writes:

      > The corresponding Quenya verb is _lanta-_, evidently < *_dantâ-_.
      > Phonologically, the corresponding Noldorin/Sindarin form would be
      > expected to be *_danna-_, with *_danna_ also as its 3rd person sg. (or
      > "personless form", by an alternative terminology passionately defended
      > in some quarters). Maybe its past tense should be *_dant_, formed
      > directly from the root DAT-. This could be what Tolkien is hinting at
      > with his strange annotation; this is the view taken in my "Suggested
      > Conjugation" of Sindarin verbs.

      Indeed. And so once again, we see the Salo/Fauskanger propensity for
      "correcting" and "improving upon" Tolkien, supplanting attested forms
      with forms Tolkien never wrote, and obscuring Tolkien's own artistic
      choices, aesthetic, and associations, giving expression to which was
      Tolkien's entire purpose for creating these languages in the first
      place.

      The fact is that Tolkien wrote the Noldorin _non-past-tense_ verb
      _dant-_ 'to fall' _twice_, first in the ink version (where the base is
      simply DAT-, see VT45:8), and then again in the pencil version (where
      the base has been given an alternate, strengthened form DANT-; this
      type of strengthening, and other systematic modifications of root/base
      consonants, is by the way a fundamental characteristic of the Eldarin
      languages, and was from the very beginnings of Tolkien's creation of
      them; see for example the account of systematic modifications given in
      the "Early Qenya Grammar" in _Parma Eldalamberon_ 14, pp. 63-66).

      It is interesting to note that the root of the verb meaning 'to fall'
      in the "Qenya Lexicon" also has a marked form: LANTAN (PE12:51), quite
      different from the CVCV structure of the vast majority of QL roots. And
      the citation there of the derived Q verb-stem, _lant-_, seems to show
      that the Q verb was _not_ a typical, _a-_stem sort. It seems clear that
      Tolkien had a particular, and fixed, aesthetic association of this
      meaning with roots and stems in _lant-_ (later also N _dant-_), and
      worked to achieve such forms throughout his conceptions of the
      underlying, basic system.


      --
      =============================================
      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."
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      ... Pat Wynne has pointed out to me that LANTAN is probably an alternate representation of a root with vocalic N, i.e. for *LNTN, which would in fact be a CVCV
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 13, 2004
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        On Mar 13, 2004, at 8:46 PM, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

        > It is interesting to note that the root of the verb meaning 'to fall'
        > in the "Qenya Lexicon" also has a marked form: LANTAN (PE12:51), quite
        > different from the CVCV structure of the vast majority of QL roots.

        Pat Wynne has pointed out to me that LANTAN is probably an alternate
        representation of a root with vocalic N, i.e. for *LNTN, which would in
        fact be a CVCV root. So the root at least is not in fact marked. So:

        <Doing be Gilda Radner> Never mind.
      • calwen76
        ... (Etym:354)? ... to ... Oh, yes, I didn t realize that. If I understand it well this verb if kind of _irregular_ and if I m not mistaken no such a verb is
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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          --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
          wrote:
          >
          > On Mar 10, 2004, at 6:24 AM, Calwen Rudh wrote:
          >
          > > What is the form of a 3 person sg present tense of _dant-_
          (Etym:354)?
          > > Would it be *_daunt_ '(he, she, it) falls'?
          >
          > No, I wouldn't expect that. I don't think we ever see root vowel
          > lengthening before consonant combinations (which would be required
          to
          > yield _au_ < *_â_). If strictly "regular", I would expect the 3 sg.
          > form to be *_dant_.

          Oh, yes, I didn't realize that. If I understand it well this verb if
          kind of _irregular_ and if I'm not mistaken no such a verb is seen
          anywhere in the published text so we actually don't know what the
          pa.t. would be, right?

          Lucy
        • Carl F. Hostetter
          ... Actually, we don t know even that for sure. All we do know is that Tolkien lists the Noldorin verb twice as _dant-_, as though it were a stem, and that at
          Message 4 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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            On Mar 16, 2004, at 4:50 AM, calwen76 wrote:

            > If I understand it well this verb if kind of _irregular_

            Actually, we don't know even that for sure. All we do know is that
            Tolkien lists the Noldorin verb twice as _dant-_, as though it were a
            stem, and that at least in the second version of the entry it appears
            to arise directly from a strengthened base DANT, itself a variant of
            the simpler base DAT. We can hypothesize about what Tolkien intended by
            this, but we don't _know_ what the oblique forms and other tenses would
            be.


            --
            =============================================
            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."
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            Lucy, your post today to Elfling on this topic was spot on. A very good response to the sort of assertions we see far too much of on a list supposedly devoted
            Message 5 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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              Lucy, your post today to Elfling on this topic was spot on. A very good
              response to the sort of assertions we see far too much of on a list
              supposedly devoted to the "scholarly study of the languages invented by
              J.R.R. Tolkien".

              Here's hoping you don't get banned for it! ;)

              Carl
            • calwen76
              ... good ... invented by ... I m reddening. :) Thank you. You know, my favorite song is I Will Survive , and I will. :) Lucy
              Message 6 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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                --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
                wrote:
                > Lucy, your post today to Elfling on this topic was spot on. A very
                good
                > response to the sort of assertions we see far too much of on a list
                > supposedly devoted to the "scholarly study of the languages
                invented by
                > J.R.R. Tolkien".
                >
                > Here's hoping you don't get banned for it! ;)
                >
                > Carl

                I'm reddening. :) Thank you. You know, my favorite song is 'I Will
                Survive', and I will. :)

                Lucy
              • Carl F. Hostetter
                This is primarily for Lucy, in response to Arthur Boccaccio s reply to her post on Elfling: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/29182 This sort of
                Message 7 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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                  This is primarily for Lucy, in response to Arthur Boccaccio's reply to
                  her post on Elfling:

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/29182

                  This sort of response, and particularly the response of his that
                  preceded it:

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/29125

                  are perfect examples of the sort of "truth by assertion" that has so
                  deeply infected Tolkienian "linguistics" as practiced on Elfling and
                  much of the web, all a direct result of the eschewing of Tolkien own
                  writings in favor of Helge Fauskanger and David Salo's "expertise" and
                  "authority".

                  What Arthur's assertions fail to note are: a) that almost _none_ of the
                  oblique forms of N _dant-_ that he gives as though they were certain
                  (cited, of course, directly and only from Helge's work) are actually
                  attested; b) that it is _not_ known that N _dant-_ is a derived verb;
                  and that c) Tolkien provided the alternate base form DANT in the
                  second, pencil version of the _Etymologies_ entry for a reason.

                  The fact that Q _lanta_ is (apparently) a derived verb from DAT- in no
                  way proves that N _dant-_ is too. The very fact that Tolkien provided
                  the alternative base form DANT, of which _none_ of the other forms
                  given in the entry can be a derivative, must almost certainly indicate
                  that Tolkien viewed N _dant-_ as derived directly from this form of the
                  base. Why else would he have indicated the variant base at all?

                  Such details are _critical_ to understanding Tolkien's intent, and thus
                  the actual features of his languages. The failure to convey, perhaps
                  even to _recognize_, such details is a critical failing of all efforts
                  to artificially simplify and homogenize Tolkien's languages, of which
                  the work of Helge and David -- now universally the object of study and
                  the measure of fact on Elfling as in so many other forums on the
                  Internet, wholly obscuring Tolkien's own writings and languages -- is
                  the eclipsing example.

                  AT NO STAGE were Tolkien's languages so simple and mechanical as Helge
                  and David present them and wish to make others believe.

                  Could Helge's "suggested conjugation" be correct, at least at some
                  stage of Tolkien's conceptual development of Sindarin? Sure. Do we
                  _know_ that they are correct, as his assertion implies? Most definitely
                  not. But, most importantly: does the conjugation agree with the
                  available data? No, it does not.



                  --
                  =============================================
                  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."
                • Bill Welden
                  ... Here is a relevant quote from Tolkien himself: Not all words or names can be `explained : i.e. regularly referred to older foms of known meaning. In living
                  Message 8 of 18 , Mar 16, 2004
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                    Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

                    > Such details are _critical_ to understanding Tolkien's intent,
                    > and thus the actual features of his languages.

                    > AT NO STAGE were Tolkien's languages so simple and mechanical
                    > as Helge and David present them and wish to make others
                    > believe.

                    Here is a relevant quote from Tolkien himself:

                    Not all words or names can be `explained': i.e. regularly referred to
                    older foms of known meaning. In living languages (including Elvish
                    langs.!) new words could be invented without any precise origin, or
                    made up of existing elements in compounds that did not follow older
                    phonetic habits (Letters, no.347 to Richard Jeffery, p.428).

                    The reference to 'living languages' is particularly telling, and
                    suggests that any feature of a primary world language will be a
                    candidate for having some reflex in Elvish.

                    In particular, the auxilliary verb _must_ in English is a fossilized
                    past tense, reinterpreted as present (but defective now in not having
                    a past tense, for which we must fall back on some alternate construct
                    such as 'needed to'). Why not the same for N. _dant-_? The root DANT-
                    can then be taken as an artifact of Elvish linguistic scholarship
                    (reconstructing from Q. _lanta-_ and N. _dant-_ when they are both
                    products of separate grammatical development). Compare the root OTOK,
                    best explained as an Elvish reconstruction from N. _odog_ (and other
                    uncited languages); when the more likely explanation is that the
                    historical form is only to be referred to OTOS- (e.g. _*otoso_ hence
                    Q. _otso_), which led first to _odoo_ in N, reformed to the more
                    phonetically normal _odog_ (not many final vowels in N at that stage)
                    by contamination from the adjacent _eneg_ 'six'.

                    This amenability to deep analysis is a characteristic of real-world
                    languages (and of real-world histories -- in fact, of the entire real
                    world). It is a characteristic of Elvish (and Middle-earth!). And it
                    is _not_ a characteristic of the system of two or three rules for
                    making past tenses of Sindarin verbs that seems to have gotten in the
                    way of appreciating the true beauty of what Tolkien has created here.

                    --Bill
                  • calwen76
                    ... Helge ... I think that Tolkien s languages don t seem to be simple and mechanical although Tolkien himself was just a man (I hope you know what I mean).
                    Message 9 of 18 , Mar 17, 2004
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                      --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
                      wrote:
                      > AT NO STAGE were Tolkien's languages so simple and mechanical as
                      Helge
                      > and David present them and wish to make others believe.

                      I think that Tolkien's languages don't seem to be simple and
                      mechanical although Tolkien himself was 'just a man' (I hope you know
                      what I mean). Every language I speak (and though I can refer to) has
                      its irregularities since it is a very nature of the language itself
                      and I don't have to be a linguist-expert to learn this. It is maybe a
                      bit odd that _dant-_ 'fall' would be such a verb in Sindarin since it
                      is not quite so 'usual' a verb - I would expect modal, emotive or
                      more frequent verbs to be kind of irregular - but on the other hand
                      Silmarillion was full of *falling* so it could be just.

                      Lucy

                      P.S. It was actually you, Carl, who answered to Arthur's post. Thanks.
                    • Carl F. Hostetter
                      Another good reply on Elfling, Lucy. I hope you re preparing yourself for the inevitable 6000-word, straw-man laden response from Helge, misrepresenting and
                      Message 10 of 18 , Mar 17, 2004
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                        Another good reply on Elfling, Lucy. I hope you're preparing yourself
                        for the inevitable 6000-word, straw-man laden response from Helge,
                        misrepresenting and mocking your position and accusing you of stomping
                        on puppies. Trust me, it's fun!

                        Carl

                        (P.S. Actually, it wasn't me who replied to Arthur on Elfling. I can't
                        post to Elfling, remember: silenced by Salo.)
                      • Kenneth Chaij
                        ... past tense, reinterpreted as present (but defective now in not having a past tense, for which we must fall back on some alternate construct such as needed
                        Message 11 of 18 , Mar 17, 2004
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                          Bill Welden wrote:


                          >In particular, the auxilliary verb _must_ in English is a fossilized
                          past tense, reinterpreted as present (but defective now in not having
                          a past tense, for which we must fall back on some alternate construct
                          such as 'needed to')....

                          Why not say something like "I must have" or some such for the past tense?

                          Ken Chaij

                          >From: "Bill Welden" <BillWelden@...>
                          >Reply-To: elfling-d@yahoogroups.com
                          >To: elfling-d@yahoogroups.com
                          >Subject: [elfling-d] Re: [S] _dant-_ question
                          >Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 05:42:58 -0000
                          >
                          >Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
                          >
                          > > Such details are _critical_ to understanding Tolkien's intent,
                          > > and thus the actual features of his languages.
                          >
                          > > AT NO STAGE were Tolkien's languages so simple and mechanical
                          > > as Helge and David present them and wish to make others
                          > > believe.
                          >
                          >Here is a relevant quote from Tolkien himself:
                          >
                          >Not all words or names can be `explained': i.e. regularly referred to
                          >older foms of known meaning. In living languages (including Elvish
                          >langs.!) new words could be invented without any precise origin, or
                          >made up of existing elements in compounds that did not follow older
                          >phonetic habits (Letters, no.347 to Richard Jeffery, p.428).
                          >
                          >The reference to 'living languages' is particularly telling, and
                          >suggests that any feature of a primary world language will be a
                          >candidate for having some reflex in Elvish.
                          >
                          >In particular, the auxilliary verb _must_ in English is a fossilized
                          >past tense, reinterpreted as present (but defective now in not having
                          >a past tense, for which we must fall back on some alternate construct
                          >such as 'needed to'). Why not the same for N. _dant-_? The root DANT-
                          >can then be taken as an artifact of Elvish linguistic scholarship
                          >(reconstructing from Q. _lanta-_ and N. _dant-_ when they are both
                          >products of separate grammatical development). Compare the root OTOK,
                          >best explained as an Elvish reconstruction from N. _odog_ (and other
                          >uncited languages); when the more likely explanation is that the
                          >historical form is only to be referred to OTOS- (e.g. _*otoso_ hence
                          >Q. _otso_), which led first to _odoo_ in N, reformed to the more
                          >phonetically normal _odog_ (not many final vowels in N at that stage)
                          >by contamination from the adjacent _eneg_ 'six'.
                          >
                          >This amenability to deep analysis is a characteristic of real-world
                          >languages (and of real-world histories -- in fact, of the entire real
                          >world). It is a characteristic of Elvish (and Middle-earth!). And it
                          >is _not_ a characteristic of the system of two or three rules for
                          >making past tenses of Sindarin verbs that seems to have gotten in the
                          >way of appreciating the true beauty of what Tolkien has created here.
                          >
                          >--Bill
                          >

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                        • Bill Welden
                          ... Today I say I must eat. Tomorrow, in describing the same situation (the situation today), I will say something like I had to eat. or I needed to eat.
                          Message 12 of 18 , Mar 17, 2004
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                            Kenneth wrote:

                            > Why not say something like "I must have" or some such for
                            > the past tense?

                            Today I say "I must eat."

                            Tomorrow, in describing the same situation (the situation today), I
                            will say something like "I had to eat." or "I needed to eat."

                            "I must have eaten", if that is what you are suggesting, is an
                            entirely different claim; describing an action that surely took
                            place, and saying nothing about my need to have done it.

                            --Bill
                          • calwen76
                            ... yourself ... stomping ... At least I ll practise my English and at last I will hopefully learn why is the _dant-_ transformed to *_danna-_. ... can t ...
                            Message 13 of 18 , Mar 17, 2004
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                              --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
                              wrote:
                              > Another good reply on Elfling, Lucy. I hope you're preparing
                              yourself
                              > for the inevitable 6000-word, straw-man laden response from Helge,
                              > misrepresenting and mocking your position and accusing you of
                              stomping
                              > on puppies. Trust me, it's fun!

                              At least I'll practise my English and at last I will hopefully learn
                              why is the _dant-_ transformed to *_danna-_.

                              > (P.S. Actually, it wasn't me who replied to Arthur on Elfling. I
                              can't
                              > post to Elfling, remember: silenced by Salo.)

                              Hm, but without your explanation I wouldn't be so sure about it. I'm
                              just a beginner and being a beginner means no self-confidence, at
                              least for my part.

                              Lucy
                            • Carl F. Hostetter
                              In Elfling message 29264 ( ), Arthur ... This is false. (Well, strictly speaking, it s true, in that Arthur
                              Message 14 of 18 , Mar 23, 2004
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                                In Elfling message 29264
                                (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/29264>), Arthur
                                Boccaccio takes Lucy Hola to task, writing:

                                > You seem intent on insisting that _dant-_ is the root verb, yet there
                                > is no other Sindarin verb with that form as a root.

                                This is false. (Well, strictly speaking, it's true, in that Arthur here
                                silently asserts that _dant-_ is a Sindarin form, but in fact it is
                                Noldorin.) There are at least two other Noldorin verb-stems of similar
                                form cited in _The Etymologies_ -- both basic verbs -- namely:

                                N _haf-_, pa.t. _hemmin_ (_hamp_) < KHAM-
                                N _hadh-_, pa.t. [?_hannen_ (_hant_) or _hadhant_] < KHAD-

                                (both at VT45:20 s.v. KHAM-)

                                > _Dant_ is clearly the 3d person past tense of the verb, whatever it's
                                > root form.

                                Whatever _dant-_ is, it is clearly _not_ a preterite verb. Tolkien
                                wrote this form, with following hyphen, _twice_. It is very clearly and
                                deliberately a stem-form, and as it is translated as 'to fall', it is
                                further very clearly present.

                                > The Etymologies (including the Addenda in VT4[5]) show the root as
                                > being _DAT_.

                                Also false. _The Etymologies_ gives the base as DAT-, DANT-, i.e., with
                                alternative nasal-infixed form.

                                N _dant-_ 'to fall' is thus quite clearly and deliberately a
                                _present_-tense stem of a _basic_ verb, derived from the alternative
                                form DANT- of the base.

                                As inconvenient as these facts are to certain false "theories", they
                                nonetheless are _the facts_. Theory is _supposed_ to be adapted to
                                explain facts, not the facts to accommodate theory. Wouldn't it be
                                something if Elfling lived up to its stated scholarly goals and
                                methods?

                                Carl
                              • calwen76
                                ... alternative ... Do you think that the form _dad-_ Arthur gave *could be* a S form? ... I (still) agree. Lucy
                                Message 15 of 18 , Mar 25, 2004
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                                  --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
                                  wrote:
                                  > N _dant-_ 'to fall' is thus quite clearly and deliberately a
                                  > _present_-tense stem of a _basic_ verb, derived from the
                                  alternative
                                  > form DANT- of the base.

                                  Do you think that the form _dad-_ Arthur gave *could be* a S form?

                                  > Theory is _supposed_ to be adapted to
                                  > explain facts, not the facts to accommodate theory.

                                  I (still) agree.

                                  Lucy
                                • Carl F. Hostetter
                                  ... Could be, yes.
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Mar 26, 2004
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                                    On Mar 26, 2004, at 2:52 AM, calwen76 wrote:

                                    > Do you think that the form _dad-_ Arthur gave *could be* a S form?

                                    Could be, yes.
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