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Re: [elfscript] And yet another translation request...

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  • DDanielA@webtv.net
    Long post to follow ... ... Okay, to use the word phonemic was to oversimplify the situation. The consonantal tengwar are rather phonemic; the vocalic tehtar
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 28, 2002
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      Long post to follow ...
      Teithant Alf Gandson:
      >I admire that you help people with tengwar spelling
      >who don't know about it (and who maybe can't even imagine
      >the problems). But make clear your own interpretations.
      >There's no possibility to have a phonemic TPIM,
      >1) because the very few words written in this mode don't
      >allow us to use this mode for other words, 2) because
      >a mode which uses a single sign for many different sounds
      >(e.g. the acute accent in _herein_, _set_, _return_, even
      >doubled in _seen_ - and I'm not even mentioning the
      >names' spelling) is not to be called phonemic. Actually,
      >every acute accent in the TPI corresponds to an _e_ in the standard
      >latin mode for English (i.e. in traditional spelling).

      Okay, to use the word 'phonemic' was to oversimplify the situation.
      The consonantal tengwar are rather phonemic; the vocalic tehtar are not.
      (Even that is debatable; 'phonemic' does not mean 'phonetic'.)
      It's true that the Title Page Inscription is small, but to say "the
      very few words written in this mode don't allow us to use this mode for
      other words" is untrue. Let's examine what we can glean from the
      Inscription. The English consonantal phonemes [b], [t], [d], [k], [tsh],
      [dzh], [f], [v], [þ], [ð], [s], [z], [h], [m], [n], [ñ], [l], [r],
      are all attested in this one small sample. (Obviously, some of these
      were provisional representations due to IPA symbols not being
      supported.) That basically leaves out [p], [g], [sh], [zh] and [j]. By
      comparison with other English modes devised by JRRT and by knowledge of
      the relationships between related consonants in the same témar, I
      doubt that anyone would argue that [p], [g], [sh] and [zh] are not to be
      spelt as parma, ungwe, harma and anca, respectively. And that leaves
      [j]. Just as the tengwa for 'w' is the biggest as-yet-unanswered
      question about Sindarin tengwar, [j] (written 'y') is most uncertain
      feature of tengwar for English. The most likely candidates are anna,
      yanta and the long carrier, but none is the clear-cut winner. So we have
      a consonant/semivowel that we are unsure of. However, the three words
      that Toni asked about didn't contain any unattested consonantal phonemes
      with one exception: the palatalised 'm' in music. The only examples of
      palatalised consonants written in a tehta mode that I am aware of are
      Quenya, so the double under-dots = following [j] is indeed theoretical.
      However 'myuzik' seems preferable to 'musik' when trying to represent
      pronunciation. As for the vowels -- yeah, Tolkien did give greater
      consideration to traditional spelling than to pronunciation in the Title
      Page Innscription. However, we can make reasonable inferences concerning
      vowels with what little information is available. He consistently
      represented 'e' with the acute accent, except for silent 'e'. Also
      consistent were the uses 'i' = single over-dot and 'o' and 'u' = the
      curls. 'A' was represented by the triple dots except in two instances:
      'war' is spelt 'wor' and the 'a' in 'and' is written as the single
      under-dot = the neutral vowel. Tolkien did not distinguish vowel length
      in the Title Page Inscription. Indeed, the only use of the long carrier
      is to represent the diphthong [ai] (+ the chevron tehta) represented by
      the written 'y' in the word 'by'. The Title page inscription gives us
      examples of tehtar other than vowels. We can see the nasal tehta, the
      doubling tehta and the following 's' hook used.

      >Call your suggestions _my phonemic mode_ or anything,
      > but don't call it Title Page Inscription Mode - that would
      >mislead the people you try to help.

      When I gave my transliteration suggestions to Toni, I didn't post some
      spur of the moment deductions. I have 'researched' English modes used by
      JRRT as much as the available evidence allows. When I have encountered a
      gap, I try to fill it in as best I can based on what clues Tolkien may
      have provided in other modes or on what seems logical. I avoid
      consonantal 'y' in the English tehta precisely because JRRT has not
      supplied us with any evidence. I firmly believe that Tokien himself
      would have transliterated 'forever' and 'Toni' exactly as I did, and it
      would not surprise me in the least if he would have supplied the same
      suggestion for 'music'. To call what I put forth _my phonemic mode_,
      implying that it's my own 'fabrication' without a firm basis in
      Tolkien's own example, would be equally misleading.
      But it's a moot point; Toni chose the King's Letter mode for the
      words she wanted. Based as closely to English orthography as it is, it's
      much harder to doubt its validity.

      Cuio mae, Danny.
    • Alf Gandson
      ... [snip] ... [snip] ... [snip] ... * Yes, I ve only been talking about vowels. But still, I wouldn t even call the consonants rather phonemic , but also
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 1, 2002
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        DDanielA@w... Teithant:


        > Teithant Alf Gandson:



        [snip]

        > > a mode which uses a single sign for many different sounds

        [snip]

        > > is not to be called phonemic.

        [snip]



        > Okay, to use the word 'phonemic' was to oversimplify the situation. The consonantal tengwar are rather phonemic; the vocalic tehtar are not.



        * Yes, I've only been talking about vowels. But still, I wouldn't even call the consonants "rather phonemic", but also corresponding to traditional English consonant spelling. Of course, they are "rather phonemic", but only because traditional English spelling is. (Important: Only while considering combinations such as _th_, _wh_, _sh_ as unities!) Only in differentiating between [th] and [dh] (using Tolkien's transcription), the Title Page Inscription is more phonemic. But this single example doesn't allow us to sustain that it's all phonemic, because there's another example which shows very clearly its dependence from traditional spelling: in the doubling of [b] in the word _hobbits_. There's absolutely NO phonemical or phonetical reason for doing so. I wouldn't be surprised to have the word _knight_ spelled in Title Page Inscription mode as "quesse - nuumen - unque with an i-dot on it - tinco", i.e as k-n-i-gh-t, even though nobody ever pronounces either _k_ or _gh_.



        [snip]

        > However, we can make reasonable inferences concerning vowels with what little information is available.



        * How to spell _dead, sea, idea, boy, coin, shoe, does, boat, lie, thieve, loud, ..._?



        [snip]

        > However 'myuzik' seems preferable to 'musik' when trying to represent pronunciation.



        * But when trying to represent orthography - and that's what to my point of view the writer mainly does - 'musik' is preferable. Anyway, the /iu/ can also be considered vocalic.



        > As for the vowels -- yeah, Tolkien did give greater consideration to traditional spelling than to pronunciation in the Title Page Innscription.

        [snip]



        * OK, so for the vowels, we have rather "orthographic" spelling. As the consonants stay half-way between orthographic (doubled _b_ in _hobbits_) and phonemic ([th] - [dh] distinction) spelling, "orthographicity" prevails: The Title Page Inscription is nearer to traditional spelling than to pronouncing.



        > and the 'a' in 'and' is written as the single under-dot = the neutral vowel.



        * ? An _e_ which isn't pronounced any more? A schwa?



        > Tolkien did not distinguish vowel length in the Title Page Inscription.



        * Modern English doesn't have such a distinction. Quenya has, Sindarin has, Finnish has, German has, many other languages have, but English doesn't. I know people use to make that distinction between word pairs such as _bit - bite_ or _at - ate_. Please avoid it, because it's particularly misleading for persons who're not native English speakers. I'm not, and it took me a hard time to figure out that English speaker who were talking about short and long vowels didn't mean that the vowels were short or long, but rather simple and compound. (I think that error is also due to traditional English spelling.)



        > Indeed, the only use of the long carrier is to represent the diphthong [ai] (+ the chevron tehta) represented by the written 'y' in the word 'by'.



        * Don't forget about the long carrier in _history_. The long carrier could also be seen as a variant of the short one at word endings, just as in traditional spelling, where _i_ (which has the same shape as the short carrier) is avoided at word endings and replaced by _y_.



        > >Call your suggestions _my phonemic mode_ or anything,but don't call it Title Page Inscription Mode - that would mislead the people you try to help.

        [snip]

        > To call what I put forth _my phonemic mode_, implying that it's my own 'fabrication' without a firm basis in Tolkien's own example, would be equally misleading.

        [snip]

        * You're right. What about "my mode built upon the Title Page Inscription"? Well, that's awful. "My completion of the Title Page Inscription mode"?



        * btw, what's bad about using anna for consonantal y? I've always used it according to vala for w.



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