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Re: yeah yeah, another translation request

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  • silverfingered_fling
    ... what the ... which is ... from ... Tolkien s ... any ... merely the ... only ... were to ... the ... we have ... I don t mean to sound impertinent, but I
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 3 8:22 AM
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      --- In elfscript@y..., "laurifindil" <ejk@f...> wrote:
      > --- In elfscript@y..., "Helge K. Fauskanger" <helge.fauskanger@n...>
      > wrote:
      > > > > > Yeats': "I have spread my dreams beneath your feet."
      > >
      > > Gildor Inglorion offered these Quenya and Sindarin renderings:
      > >
      > > > > Apaalien olorinyar nuu taalulyat
      > > > >
      > > > > Peliannen ely niin di-dail lin
      > >
      > > Laurifindil wrote:
      > >
      > > > This "translation" is by no mean a Quenya or Sindarin text but
      what the
      > > above sender thinks that it would be according to Helge's F. site
      which is
      > > about *his* views of the matter and is (in my opion) far removed
      from
      > > Middle-earth's Elvish as made up by J.R.R. Tolkien.
      > >
      > > Let us hope there are at least some tenuous connections between
      Tolkien's
      > > Elvish and our current reconstructions of it. But JRRT being dead,
      any
      > > present-day Quenya or Sindarin text by definition represents
      merely the
      > > writer's "views" or understanding. Non-Tolkien Eldarin texts could
      only
      > > attain the same level of "authority" as Tolkien's own texts if he
      were to
      > > look over them and say "yeah, this is correct Elvish"...and for
      the
      > > post-1973 part of eternity, that is not an option. So we use what
      we have
      > > and do the best we can.
      > >
      >
      > I reccomend a change to the last line to something like :
      >
      > I, Helge, use these languages as I see it fit to the best of what I
      > would like that these languages were.
      >
      > And forget the "we", will you...

      I don't mean to sound impertinent, but I will ask this again because I
      have read most of your postings and know you are very knowledgeable
      about JRRT's languages. However, my interest (outside of my very
      humble, very unoriginal project) is to learn, which I do best by
      picking brains. Your point is quite well taken; now, could you please
      advise what your translation, even an incomplete one (to avoid the
      possibility of impurity by invention)would be? I realise that if one
      adheres strictly to what has been written by JRRT himself there will
      be holes but at the same time either the words mean something or they
      don't and everybody here is wasting time that could be spent learning
      a "real" language. If the words do mean something I/we/you should be
      able to at least "translate" one word; if they don't it's merely
      gibberish and doesn't matter anyway. I suppose I just don't
      understand how your reply is anything other than a personal attack
      that doesn't really answer the question. I confess this disappoints
      me when I read some of your comments regarding other subjects.
      Opinions mean more to me when they are based on something more solid
      than mere "disagreement." Again, I am not trying to be rude; I have
      the utmost respect for your position. I am just trying as
      well as I can to understand...please advise.
    • Helge K. Fauskanger
      ... like that these languages were. Not quite. If I felt free to actually _change_ the languages beyond the range of variation found in Tolkien s writings, I
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 7 12:23 PM
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        Laurifindil wrote:

        > I reccomend a change to the last line to something like :
        > I, Helge, use these languages as I see it fit to the best of what I would
        like that these languages were.

        Not quite. If I felt free to actually _change_ the languages beyond the
        range of variation found in Tolkien's writings, I would certainly have
        suggested certain "improvements" long ago. For instance, for the sake of
        clarity I would have changed the Quenya ending for dual allative from
        _-nta_ to **_-nnat_, since the ending _-nta_ can have other meanings as
        well (past participle as in _envinyanta_ "renewed"; there may also be an
        ending *_-nta_ "their"). But I do not feel free to "improve" the basic
        structure of the languages with no support in Tolkien's own writings. At
        most I will suggest which ideas _within the range of variation found in the
        primary sources_ that would fit best together in a unified system. It is of
        course a major problem that so much material is still unpublished, so all
        too often we have to fall back on conjecture and extrapolation. Yet even
        now the main outlines of the grammar are clear, despite minor or even major
        fluctuations in Tolkien's conception.

        > And forget the "we", will you...

        I did speak of "our current reconstructions" of Tolkien's Elvish -- and
        this is not a royal "our" really meaning "my". Many people have been
        working for decades to reconstruct the unstated (or at least unpublished!)
        grammatical ideas underlying Tolkien's Elvish languages as we know them
        from various samples, and I have read much of what others have written on
        this subject. True, I have tried to make my own contributions; I do not
        always agree with the conclusions of others and others don't always agree
        with my conclusions, and in any case I take full responsibility for the
        ideas expressed on my web-page. However, it would be quite improper of me
        to imply that I owe nothing to the work of others. For instance, "my"
        presentation of Sindarin reflects David Salo's research rather than my own;
        David allowed me to draw on his unpublished work.

        If others totally disagree with the reconstructions of Tolkien's Elvish
        that appear on Ardalambion, there is plenty of room on the web for other
        ideas and other reconstructions.

        - HF
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        On 7/7/02 3:23 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger ... First, of course no one has to do any such thing; you choose to do so. Second,
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 7 3:51 PM
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          On 7/7/02 3:23 PM, "Helge K. Fauskanger" <helge.fauskanger@...>
          wrote:

          > It is of course a major problem that so much material is still unpublished, so
          > all too often we have to fall back on conjecture and extrapolation.
          >
          First, "of course" no one "has" to do any such thing; you choose to
          do so.

          Second, your assertion assumes that there is one clear, unequivocal
          answer to all your questions in the unpublished papers. This is almost never
          the case, as has been now demonstrated repeatedly. The more that is
          published, the _less_ certain you will be about what you (think) you know
          about Quenya and Sindarin (the moreso because you determine your "knowledge"
          on a more-or-less arbitrarily selected portion of all the available data
          that conforms to your preconceived notions and extrapolations. Thus, for
          example, before the latest _VT_, you and many others would have said that
          "of course" the Sindarin word for "name" is *_ess-_: even though the (or, at
          any rate, _a_) _correct_ answer to that particular question was published
          years ago in the Gnomish Lexicon.)


          |======================================================================|
          | 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." |
          |======================================================================|
        • Helge K. Fauskanger
          ... unpublished, so all too often we have to fall back on conjecture and extrapolation. CFH possibly felt that some kind of accusation was implied here, so he
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 12 4:59 PM
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            I wrote:

            > > It is of course a major problem that so much material is still
            unpublished, so all too often we have to fall back on conjecture and
            extrapolation.

            CFH possibly felt that some kind of accusation was implied here, so he
            responded:

            > First, "of course" no one "has" to do any such thing; you choose to do
            so.

            No one "has" to do any kind of work on Tolkien's languages, or study them
            for any purpose or from any angle (including the one preferred by CFH
            himself). The survival of the human race is not at stake here. But I try
            not to be completely nonchalant about what most people actually _enjoy_
            about Tolkien's languages, and that goes beyond the potentially dry
            academic study which CFH often seems to imply is the only proper angle.

            > Second, your assertion assumes that there is one clear, unequivocal
            answer to all your questions in the unpublished papers.

            If I ever assumed such a thing, it was a long time ago. Yet there must be
            _some_ answers to _some_ of the remaining questions, and I (and many
            others!) would often be happy to have just _one_ genuinely Tolkienian
            answer -- preferably an answer that seems to represent a long-lasting idea
            or feature.

            > Thus, for example, before the latest _VT_, you and many others would have
            said that "of course" the Sindarin word for "name" is *_ess-_ [whereas
            Tolkien actually used _eneth_]

            I would never say that any unattested word must "of course" be whatever
            reconstruction I or others could offer. Before the latest VT, my _best
            guess_ would have been that the Sindarin word for "name" is *_ess_,
            especially since the closely related verb _esta-_ "to name, call" is
            attested in the King's Letter. For Neo-Sindarin purposes, *_ess_ would be
            an entirely plausible word even now, especially if we presuppose a
            Quenya-influenced form of Sindarin. Now that a Tolkienian word is
            available, I would certainly use that if I wanted to compose in Sindarin.
            However, not even Tolkien himself ever put together a definite, universal
            Eldarin dictionary. When translating a text, it is obvious that he
            developed much of the required vocabulary as he went along. I think he saw
            the individual languages primarily as a certain diachronic development, a
            kind of phonological _story_; details of grammar and vocabulary were less
            important and could be filled in (i.e., made up) as the occasion required.
            To the extent we understand the phonological development of the individual
            languages, we can also expand the vocabulary by starting from Tolkien's own
            roots. In most cases we would probably be filling genuine gaps, though we
            must of course see all of Tolkien's manuscripts before we can be certain.

            > even though the (or, at any rate, _a_) _correct_ answer to that
            particular question was published years ago in the Gnomish Lexicon.)

            The word _eneth_ does not appear in the Gnomish Lexicon. Certainly the
            Gnomish verb _entha-_ "to call, name" is a conceptual predecessor involving
            a similar stem, but no one could have deduced a Sindarin form like _eneth_
            from Gnomish _entha-_. In most cases, extrapolating Sindarin words from
            (the more developed forms of) Quenya is certainly much safer than trying to
            base Sindarin words on the Gnomish Lexicon.

            Yes, this is of course getting OT for this list.

            - HF
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            On 7/12/02 7:59 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger ... Precisely my point. No one has to use Quenya; it is a choice. If people engage
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 12 6:44 PM
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              On 7/12/02 7:59 PM, "Helge K. Fauskanger" <helge.fauskanger@...>
              wrote:

              > I wrote:
              >
              >>> It is of course a major problem that so much material is still unpublished,
              >>> so all too often we have to fall back on conjecture and extrapolation.
              >>>
              > CFH possibly felt that some kind of accusation was implied here, so he
              > responded:
              >
              >> First, "of course" no one "has" to do any such thing; you choose to do so.
              >>
              > No one "has" to do any kind of work on Tolkien's languages,
              >
              Precisely my point. No one "has" to "use" Quenya; it is a choice. If people
              engage in conjecture and extrapolation, that is a choice, not a necessity.

              > that goes beyond the potentially dry academic study which CFH often seems to
              > imply is the only proper angle.
              >
              I may "often seem to imply" such a thing to you, but that is due to your
              prejudices, not to my words. I have never said that there is an "only
              proper angle". What I _am_ saying is that one should not confuse choice with
              necessity, or conjecture with fact, or Quenya with *Quenya.

              >> Second, your assertion assumes that there is one clear, unequivocal answer to
              >> all your questions in the unpublished papers.
              >>
              > If I ever assumed such a thing, it was a long time ago. Yet there must be
              > _some_ answers to _some_ of the remaining questions,
              >
              Yes, of course there are. (Really, you seem not to be reading my posts with
              much care or thought. Perhaps all that squeaking in your head is too
              distracting?) That's my point: many (most) of the questions you'd like
              answered have _many_ answers; which means that there really is no canonical
              or platonic "answer" for most questions, only processes.

              > and I (and many others!) would often be happy to have just _one_ genuinely
              > Tolkienian answer -- preferably an answer that seems to represent a
              > long-lasting idea or feature.
              >
              I am certainly not responsible for producing answers to your questions, and
              most especially not responsible for the manner in which Tolkien worked, his
              choices and reconsiderations, or the nature of the work he left behind
              unpublished.

              > For Neo-Sindarin purposes, *_ess_ would be an entirely plausible word even
              > now, especially if we presuppose a Quenya-influenced form of Sindarin.
              >
              But the _Adar Nín_ seems to be composed in a "Quenya-influenced form of
              Sindarin", as can be seen from Tolkien's remarks about _le_ and _menel_ in
              _The Road Goes Ever On_, and the occurrence of these specific forms (_lín_
              being an oblique form of _le_) in the prayer.

              No matter how "plausible", *_ess_ is only conjecture; _eneth_ is fact.

              > When translating a text, it is obvious that he developed much of the required
              > vocabulary as he went along. I think he saw the individual languages primarily
              > as a certain diachronic development, a kind of phonological _story_; details
              > of grammar and vocabulary were less important and could be filled in (i.e.,
              > made up) as the occasion required.
              >
              I'm inclined to agree; and would further add that those elements could be
              (and often were) reinvented when the next occasion arose. So again, you are
              making my very point.

              > To the extent we understand the phonological development of the individual
              > languages, we can also expand the vocabulary by starting from Tolkien's own
              > roots.
              >
              You cannot expand the vocabulary of Quenya; only Tolkien could do that. What
              you can do is create and use words that follow (what you think to be)
              Tolkien's patterns, and then claim that they are consistent with what we
              know of Quenya phonology, morphology, etc. And I have no problem with that
              whatsoever. But the resulting vocabulary is _not_ Quenya; it is at best
              *Quenya. Useful, yes, for certain purposes, and not without interest or
              appeal; but also _not nearly_ as interesting or appealing (to me, and if you
              are honest about all this, to you either) as Tolkien's inventions.

              > Yes, this is of course getting OT for this list.
              >
              Ah, but see, now we've come back on topic!


              |======================================================================|
              | 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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