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Re[2]: [elfling-d] Helge's revised Quenya course

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  • Boris Shapiro
    Aiya! ... CFH No. What has avoiding a connotation of possessing sentient CFH beings to do with the idea of possessing happiness? Unfortunately I do not
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 4, 2003
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      Aiya!

      Tuesday, March 4, 2003, 5:38:18 PM, Carl F . Hostetter wrote:

      >> Haven't you find the use of _harya-_ "to possess" for "to have" a bit
      >> strange, in the light of Tolkien's idea about expressing Elven, err,
      >> lexical attitude towards the question of having/possessing children in
      >> MR?
      CFH> No. What has avoiding a connotation of "possessing" sentient
      CFH> beings to do with the idea of possessing happiness?
      Unfortunately I do not know languages that do have the verb "to
      possess", but do not use it in case of sentient beings. But there are
      numerous languages that do not it in case of sentient beings because
      they do not have it altogether. The suggestion was that Quenya is the
      case.

      Apart from the external history of the letter in question (it came
      at third hand with neither its owner nor the original available), two
      more lexical points add a bit of doubtfulness:

      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. We have _noo_ with the temporal
      "after" settled in "Quenya Lexicon" on the one hand and presumably a
      similar meaning in PM:135 _Nootuile_ etc on the other hand (at least
      there can be no "before" meaning in the latter). It seems to me
      unlikely that Tolkien turned its meaning upside down after being
      seemingly faithful to it. Though that is not a weighty argument _per
      se_, there is no 100% authentic example of him using _noo_ as
      "before" in the known corpus.

      2) _saa_ "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.

      The only thing to advocate that Dorothy letter's authenticity is as
      follows: IMHO most forgers would have avoided that _noo_ irregularity.
      At that time the "yes"/"no" phenomenon was still unknown, and I doubt
      anybody could have come up with such a crazy idea.

      The spelling of "n"/"u" is widely known, it is not a proof.



      Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo


      : ulco ume i mine eldassen ar i neuna firimassen :
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 5, 2003
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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
        hoax.

        --
        =============================================
        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."
      • Pavel Iosad
        Hello, [Boris:] ... [Carl:] ... A language can have a verb meaning possess and still not use it to express possesion routinely. Our own (mine and Boris )
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 6, 2003
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          Hello,

          [Boris:]
          >> 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.

          [Carl:]
          > 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_.

          A language can have a verb meaning 'possess' and still not use it to
          express possesion routinely. Our own (mine and Boris') native Russian is
          an example - we have _imet'_ "to have", _obladat'_ "possess", but an "I
          have" construction is expressed by a periphrastic construction.

          Pavel
          --
          Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

          Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a bheachdaicheas
          --Scottish proverb
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