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2783Sindarin past-tense from TIR- (was Re: [elfscript] December 16th Movie Trilogy (Help!))

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Oct 14, 2003
      On Oct 14, 2003, at 8:18 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger wrote:

      > Possibly, "I watched" should be *_tirnin_ rather than *_tirnen_ (and
      > conceivably there are yet other possibilities...*_idiren_, anyone?)

      There is no evidence supporting any of these three proposed past-tense
      formations for Sindarin.

      The Noldorin singular past tense form of the verb _tiri-_/_tiria-_ is
      given as the weak formation _tiriant_ (_Etymologies_ s.v. TIR-). From
      this we can see that the Noldorin pa.t. form was built directly on the
      stem _tiri-_/_tiria-_. So, if Noldorin forms are to be taken as
      supplying otherwise unattested Sindarin forms, the first-person
      singular pa.t. form of this verb in Sindarin would presumably be
      *_tirin_ or *_tirion_ (cf. _linnon_ 'I sing', III:354; _linnathon_ 'I
      will sing' and _nallon_ 'I cry', R:72; where the element _-on_ of these
      1st sg. forms is presumably derived from earlier *_â-n-_, with S _o_ <
      earlier long *_â_).

      Helge's proposal *_tirnin_ appears to assume a weak pa.t. stem
      *_tirn-_, which he presumably has isolated from the Noldorin name
      _Dalath Dirnen_ 'Guarded Plain' (_Etymologies_ s.v. TIR-). But note
      that this Noldorin name appears in the same source, indeed in the same
      entry, as the only attested Noldorin pa.t. form of the verb, _tiriant_.
      Thus, contrary to supporting a theory that the pa.t. stem of the verb
      derived from TIR- is the unattested *_tirn_, the underlying pp.
      *_tirnen_ 'guarded' must be explained in relation to the attested,
      coexistent stems _tiri-__tiria-_ and pa.t. form _tiriant_. The pp.
      *_tirnen_ is thus perhaps to be understood as derived by syncope from
      *_tiri-nen_, again suggesting a Noldorin 1st sg. pa.t. form *_tirin_.

      Helge's other proposal, *_idiren_, presumably is formed on analogy with
      S _agor_ (XI:415), which Tolkien derives from primitive *_akâra_ (the
      circumflex here represents a macron in the published text) and
      describes as characterized by "the 'augment', or reduplicated
      base-vowel, and the long stem-vowel" (thus explaining the appearance of
      S _o_ for earlier long *_â_; note too the apparent stem-vowel *_-a_,
      _not_ *_-e_). There is, of course, no evidence that any Sindarin verb
      derived from TIR- employs this pa.t. formation; but I would point out
      that if this formation mechanism is to be applied, the result is not
      Helge's *_idire-_, but instead *_idíra-_ < *_itîra_.

      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."
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