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_Not_ "exactly the same language" (was Re: Bizarro Universe)

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    In Efling 34934 ( ) Helge Fauskanger writes, well, a great deal of more of the same demonstrations of his
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 19, 2008
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      In Efling 34934 (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/
      34934>) Helge Fauskanger writes, well, a great deal of more of the
      same demonstrations of his inability to read things in context and
      report them accurately. I'll assume those reading this list have by
      now learned the drill with respect to Helge's rhetorical deficiencies.

      But I did want to comment regarding his three "Quenya" sentences:

      > _I Elda lende i ciryanna_ "the Elf went to the ship".
      >
      > _Andanéya i Naucor hirner malta i orontissen_ "long ago the Dwarves
      > found gold
      > in the mountains"
      >
      > _Cenuval nér nóra i taurello i ostonna_ "You will see a man run from
      > the forest
      > to the city"
      >
      > It is indeed my opinion that these sentences are written in exactly
      > the same
      > language as Namárie or the Markirya poem, even though these precise
      > combinations
      > of words were never recorded by Tolkien himself. We obviously cannot
      > ask Tolkien
      > whether he would have recognized them as correct Quenya, but we can
      > consult his
      > writings on Elvish (or at least some of them). If somebody wants to
      > argue that
      > the sentences above are NOT correct Quenya, I challenge them to
      > present evidence
      > from Tolkien's writings to demonstrate exactly what is wrong with
      > them.

      Challenge accepted:

      _I Elda lende i ciryanna_ "the Elf went to the ship" Here, and in each
      of these sentences, the use of the definite article is in precise lock-
      step with the English original. Tolkien's Quenya compositions quite
      obviously do not, and in fact use it rather less than does English. So
      right away these sentences stand out as employing English, not Quenya,
      syntax in this regard.

      _Andanéya i Naucor hirner malta i orontissen_ "long ago the Dwarves
      found gold in the mountains": First, _(i) Naucor_ means "(the) Dwarves
      (in general or under discussion)", not "the Dwarves as a people", as
      required by this context. So instead this should be the collective
      _Naukalie_, and the indiscriminate use of _Naucor_ here marks this
      sentence as derived from English. Second, so far as I can recall, the
      locative case always indicates "at" or "on" (even in Tolkien's
      translation where English idiom uses "in", the sense is not "inside",
      but "upon": e.g. _súmaryasse_ "in her (the ship's) bosom" does not
      mean _inside_ the ship, but _on_ it;* while _ear-kelumessen_ does not
      me _inside_, i.e. _immersed in_, the flowing sea, but _upon_ it).
      Instead, "inside" or "within" is always expressed prepositionally,
      most often with _mi_.** That's the sense here, and so by this alone
      this translation is indeed recognizable as most likely incorrect
      Quenya. (I would also ask why _hir-_ should form its past-tense with _-
      ne_, and not as a strong past (*_híre_)? KHIR- to all appearances is a
      basic verb. Further, why not _tuv-_, which in its actual attested use
      seems closer in meaning than the actual attested use of _hir-_?)

      * Note that this expression is very likely derived from _Beowulf_,
      line 35: "_on bearm scipes_", where the idiom is literally "_on_ (the)
      bosom of (the) ship". Even today, though modern English idiom now
      requires "_in_ one's bosom", when we say it we do not necessarily mean
      _inside_ one's bosom, or else every baby "in its mother's bosom" would
      be physically inside its mother's chest!.

      ** The one possible counterexample, _símaryassen_ 'in their
      imaginations' notably refers to a non-physical entity, not to a
      physical location, and so despite the fact that the English idiom
      requires 'in' for a natural gloss, this does not necessarily indicate
      that the Elvish idiom had the same physical interiority as the
      English; it might well be literally rendered as '(up)on' their
      imaginations. Note English "on my mind" of what is occupying (residing
      in) one's thoughts.

      _Cenuval nér nóra i taurello i ostonna_ "You will see a man run from
      the forest to the city". I note that with the exception of first
      person sg. _-n_ there are _no_ examples of shortened pronominal
      endings being attached to future-tense verbs (instead we have _-lye_,
      _-nte_); so _cenuval_ here sticks out as quite possibly incorrect.

      So in fact all of these sentences betray their inauthentic nature, and
      their actual origins in English idiom and syntax, rather than
      reflecting actual Quenya as actually attested and as actually
      conceived of by Tolkien.

      -- Carl F. Hostetter
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      In Elfling message 35090 , Helge Fauskanger at long last replies to my critique (from June) of his
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 17, 2008
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        In Elfling message 35090 <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/35090>, Helge
        Fauskanger at long last replies to my critique (from June) of his Neo-Quenya in the previous
        message in this thread <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling-d/message/701> -- or,
        more accurately, I should say that Helge replies to what he misrepresents the critique as
        being by saying: "Somewhere I believe I read a complaint to the effect that the Quenya
        locative denotes _on_ rather than _in_."

        Whereas what I in fact said was that:

        > the locative case always indicates "at" or "on" (even in Tolkien's
        > translation where English idiom uses "in", the sense is not "inside"...)

        That is, it was Helge's use of the locative to mean _inside_ (not simply "in") that I was
        critiquing.

        But hey, facts shmacts, right?

        Carl F. Hostetter
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