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Was (Not Was) : Fauskanger's Quenya article revised

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Helge Fauskanger announced today on Elfling (message #34144) that he has rewritten his Ardalambion article on Quenya to take into account newly published
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2007
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      Helge Fauskanger announced today on Elfling (message #34144)
      that he has rewritten his Ardalambion article on Quenya to take
      into account newly published material from VT 49, including adding
      new information about the verb 'to be'. Given Helge's habit of ignoring
      or altering attested Quenya forms that don't suit his personal linguistic
      aesthetic, I was curious to see what forms of 'to be' had made the cut.
      I found the following statement particularly telling:

      "With pronominal endings this verb may appear as _násë_ 'he/she is',
      _nás_ 'it is'; otherwise the regular pronominal endings are added to
      _na-_ (_nanyë_ 'I am', _nalyë_ 'you are' etc.; see full list of pronominal
      suffixes below). The past tense 'was, were' would be similar, only with
      the vowels _e, é_ where the present tense has _a, á_: hence _nenyë_
      'I was', _nelyë_ 'you were' etc."

      And so the only authentic recorded 1 sg. and 2 sg. past tense forms
      of 'to be' that we are probably ever going to find in Tolkien's own late
      writings on Quenya -- 1 sg. _anen_, 2 sg. polite _anel_ (VT49:28) --
      are apparently destined to be tossed down the memory hole in Neo-
      Quenya and replaced by regularized forms of Helge's own devising:
      1 sg. *_nenyë_, 2 sg. *_nelyë_, attested _nowhere_. You know, because
      'to be' is typically such a regular verb, except when Helge doesn't want
      it to be, as in his review of VT 49, Elfling message #34131: "But the
      form _né_ 'was' that had been guessed at by many writers is finally
      confirmed, though _náne_ may also be used (the latter seems incredibly
      regular as a form of 'to be'!)"

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
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