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2794Re: Sindarin past-tense from TIR-

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Oct 18, 2003
      I accept Helge's correction regarding my use of "_tiri-_" as a
      stem-form, and thank him for it (as I have previously noted, I was
      clearly writing too late and too hastily that night). Fortunately, the
      status of *_tiri-_ has no bearing on my conclusions regarding his
      proposed past-tense forms, *_tirnin_ and *_idiren_, and above all no
      bearing on the main point: that given the (sole) attested pa.t. form
      _tiriant_, which Tolkien gives as the pa.t. of both alternates _tiri_
      and _tirio_, it makes no sense to invent a different pa.t. form based
      on conjecture concerning a putative past participle. Even if Helge's
      contentions regarding *_tirnen_ are accepted -- despite being
      unprovable -- *_tirnen_ in no way proves that any such pa.t. form as
      *_tirnin_ ever existed in Noldorin or Sindarin.

      I reject, however, Helge's small-minded and opportunistic response to
      an error I made in my first post, and myself corrected within hours,
      despite the fact that now three days later he has read my own
      correction (as he responds to a different part of my corrective post).
      Such petty behavior _ought_ to be beneath him.

      On to specific points:

      On Oct 18, 2003, at 2:48 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger wrote:

      > The past tense _tiriant_ connects with the immediately preceding
      > infinitive form _tirio_; it is not necessarily intended as the pa.t.
      > of the synonym _tiri_ as well.

      I disagree. Tolkien's wording makes it quite clear that _tiri_ and
      _tirio_ are alternate forms, for which the past tense is _tiriant_: "N
      _tiri_ or _tirio_, pa.t. _tiriant_".

      > As for the final vowel before the pronominal ending, CFH surely
      > recalls the Turin Wrapper form _agorech_ instead of **_agorach_

      I dealt with Helge's unwarrented assumptions and assertions about
      _agor_ and _agorech_ and their relationship in a post I made to the
      Lambengolmor list two days ago, and to which I refer the interested
      reader: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/496>

      > If the stem TIR formed its past tense by the same pattern, maybe we
      > would see *_itîri_ as the primitive form?

      Perhaps, yes, as I have already implied in my Lambengolmor post.

      > Just like the long vowel of _akâra_ has been shortened in _agor_
      > (where _â_ became _au_ and then _o_), it may be assumed that *_itîr-_
      > would produce *_idir_ rather than *_idír_,

      But the long vowel of *_akâra_ was _not_ shortened: as your own figure
      indicates, it was diphthongized and then monophthongized. No such
      process would occur in *_itîra-_ / *_itîri-_, so I see no reason why
      the vowel would not remain long, esp. in stressed position.

      > at the stage sometimes called Middle Sindarin (a post-Tolkien term).

      Which is to say, a non-Tolkien term.

      > CFH returns to _tirnen_ in a later letter:
      >> On further reflection, I think it is better to instead view N
      >> *_tirnen_ as simply an analogical formation based on the very
      >> frequent occurrence of p.ps. in _-nen_ among both basic and derived
      >> verbs in Noldorin, e.g. N. _dant-_ 'to fall', _dannen_ 'fallen' <
      >> DAT-, DANT-; N _presto_ 'to affect, trouble, disturb', _prestannen_
      >> 'affected' < PERES-; etc.
      > On still further reflection, CFH may reach the insight that
      > _prestannen_ is the past tense *_prestant_ "disturbed, affected" + the
      > actual past participle marker _-en_ (the longer form -nen only occurs
      > incidentally, so to speak, where there happens to be or arise an -n-
      > before this shorter ending). In_prestannen_, we have intervocalic _nt_
      > becoming _nn_, a regular development.

      Despite Helge's false implication, I am of course quite fully aware of
      the actual historical processes underlying such past participles as N
      _prestannen_. That is precisely why I said that N *_tirnen_ is perhaps
      an _analogical_ formation, not a regular phonological development. I
      did not say -- as can plainly be seen from Helge's own quotation of my
      post -- that there is or ever was a past-participial ending _-nen_; I
      said only that past participles _in_ _-nen_ are very frequent. It is
      the frequency of such sequences that lead to analogical formations,
      just as we see with the pervasively analogical N/S pa.t. in _-nt_.

      > The past participle marker _-en_ historically evolves from _-e_ (the
      > vowel all past tense-forms originally seem to have ended in, still so
      > in Quenya) + the participial ending _-nâ_, worn down to _-n_ in
      > Noldorin/Sindarin.

      I disagree with this unqualified assertion. This _-en_ may also have
      arisen from *_-inâ_, and thus be cognate with the Quenya past
      participial ending _-ina_ exhibited by such relatively late Quenya
      forms as _rákina_ 'broken', etc.

      > Well, this is getting off topic: nothing about the scripts. By all
      > means, since we do happen to have the past tense of a verb meaning
      > "watch" directly attested, we may just as well use it:

      No, not "just as well": _better_. And what a novel idea. I wish I'd
      come up with it. Oh wait....

      > Otherwise CFH and I should continue this discussion on Elfling.
      > Ooops...a practical problem in his end.

      Again, this sort of petty behavior _ought_ to be beneath Helge. And as
      Helge is fully aware, we can carry out this and any other scholarly
      discussion of Tolkien's languages he would care to engage in on the
      Lambengolmor list, where no one hides behind the shield of censorship.

      > Well, I think we have pretty much exhausted this topic anyway.


      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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