236Re: [elfscript] Tehta mode for sindarin
- Apr 23, 2001Okay, here's some of my reasoning. We know that there exists at least
one tehta mode used to represent Sindarin, and that it was used by the
Edain in Gondor, or at least in Minas Tirith. I believe that most of
Gondor probably used a full-writing mode, but Minas Tirith, being the
home of the Royal See, often employed an older mode for ceremonal use.
This older mode was the tehta mode. Historically speaking, consonantal
writing systems do not derive from full alphabetic scripts, but
consonantal systems (like the tehta modes) often evolve into
full-writing scripts. Tolkien himself alluded to the fact that the tehta
modes were older than the full-writing modes. That does not mean that
the 'mode of Minas Tirith' from KL, version III is older than the mode
of Beleriand, but it is most probably the ancestor of version I's mode.
So where does this tehta mode have its origin? Surely not in the mode of
Beleriand; its treatment of simple nasals and the 'rómen/óre'
situation seems to preclude that theory, plus, as stated before, tehta
modes do not derive from full-writing modes. My theory is that the mode
of Beleriand and the 'mode of Minas Tirith' both find their origins in
the hypothetical Sindarin tehta mode, but that the mode of Beleriand
evolved into a full-writing system much earlier than that of Gondor. I
believe that this hypothetical mode used Series III for the velars.
Måns pointed out to me in an elfscript post that if a choice for using
III or IV were to be made, III is more economical. I agree. The Edain
had the need for both a velar and a palatal series for Adûnaic, and
they used III for the palatals and IV for the velars, and transferred
this use to their Sindarin modes. The Grey Elves, however, had no need
for both series. Following the Quenya practice, III was used as their
I do NOT agree that the mode of Beleriand was the oldest tengwar mode
used to write Sindarin. I have seen no evidence to support this. And,
aside from the King's Letter, we have JRRT's assertion that Sindarin was
written in tehta modes in App. E when he explains the placement of
tehtar on the preceding or following tengwar. He also said that the
tengwar had evolved into full alphabetic writing, but that the older
tehta modes were still in use in some places. He didn't specifically
mention Sindarin in this context, but the possibility (and probability)
Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject!
Cuio mae, Danny.
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