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phonemic english tengwar

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  • jonathan wust
    Im not really happy with most of the tengwar modes for the english language Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its sample 6b -if Im not
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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      Im not really happy with most of the tengwar modes for the english language Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its sample 6b -if Im not wrong- in 'an introduction to elvish'.)

      In some aspects, almost everybody who uses the tengwar to write english still sticks to the english standard orthography. Specially with vowels. I mean, e.g. in almost all the modes I know, the vowels you hear in 'late' are represented with signs derived from an a-tehta like the three dots (or an a-tengwa as vilya or the single curl, depending on the mode), even though in the word 'late' theres no a-sound at all, but a glide from e to i. In the same way, people use to represent the vowels you hear in 'like' with signs related to an i-tehta (or, again, tengwa), even though these vowels dont have more to do with an i than those you hear in 'late': in both cases, the i-sound is nothing but the ending.

      I think theres no need for further examples. I just wonder if there are people who have made up their own all-phonemic tengwar mode.

      yours

      choni

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    • cduran@harscotrack.com
      ... language Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its sample 6b -if Im not wrong- in an introduction to elvish .) ... english still sticks
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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        --- In elfscript@y..., jonathan wust <choni@h...> wrote:
        > Im not really happy with most of the tengwar modes for the english
        language Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its
        sample 6b -if Im not wrong- in 'an introduction to elvish'.)
        >
        > In some aspects, almost everybody who uses the tengwar to write
        english still sticks to the english standard orthography. Specially
        with vowels. I mean, e.g. in almost all the modes I know, the vowels
        you hear in 'late' are represented with signs derived from an a-tehta
        like the three dots (or an a-tengwa as vilya or the single curl,
        depending on the mode), even though in the word 'late' theres no a-
        sound at all, but a glide from e to i. In the same way, people use to
        represent the vowels you hear in 'like' with signs related to an i-
        tehta (or, again, tengwa), even though these vowels dont have more to
        do with an i than those you hear in 'late': in both cases, the i-
        sound is nothing but the ending.
        >
        > I think theres no need for further examples. I just wonder if there
        are people who have made up their own all-phonemic tengwar mode.
        >
        > yours
        >
        > choni
        >
        > _____________________________________________________________
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        An interesting mode that may or may not meet your needs is at:

        http://www2.thefuture.net/travis/Ancient-Tengwar.htm

        In the upper right there are links to mode definitions for vowels and
        such. I'm not sure it covers all of the sounds you are looking for,
        but it is a lot more detailed than some that I have seen.

        Carey Duran
      • Mans Bjorkman
        ... I m afraid the good Professor was quite inconsistent in this matter himself. In the title-page inscription of LR, he writes is {iz}, war {wor} and as
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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          jonathan wust wrote:
          >
          > Im not really happy with most of the tengwar modes for the english language Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its sample 6b -if Im not wrong- in 'an introduction to elvish'.)
          >
          > In some aspects, almost everybody who uses the tengwar to write english still sticks to the english standard orthography. Specially with vowels. I mean, e.g. in almost all the modes I know, the vowels you hear in 'late' are represented with signs derived from an a-tehta like the three dots (or an a-tengwa as vilya or the single curl, depending on the mode), even though in the word 'late' theres no a-sound at all, but a glide from e to i. In the same way, people use to represent the vowels you hear in 'like' with signs related to an i-tehta (or, again, tengwa), even though these vowels dont have more to do with an i than those you hear in 'late': in both cases, the i-sound is nothing but the ending.


          I'm afraid the good Professor was quite inconsistent in this matter
          himself. In the title-page inscription of LR, he writes "is" {iz}, "war"
          {wor} and "as" {az}, but his own name is spelled {jhon ronald reuel
          tolkien}, where one could expect {jon ronld rúel tolkín}. In the Brogan
          Tengwa Greetings, "dear" and "is" are written {dea} and {iz}, but many
          words like "christmas", "styles" and "explanations" follow standard
          English orthography.

          There are some examples of more phonetic writing, to be sure. The
          "Doodled Headlines" (_Artist and Illustrator_ ill.184) for instance
          render "Spanish praise for Britain" into {spænish preyz fr brit@n}
          (actually {sæpænish}, but this is clearly an error); and the "Elvish
          Script Samples" in _Pictures_ employ a regular phonematic orthography.

          On the other hand, there is reason to believe that Westron was not
          written precisely as it was pronounced in the Third Age. In "Of Dwarves
          and Men" (The Peoples of Middle-earth, p.298) it is noted that the
          Dwarves, who had an imperfect grasp of the Tengwar orthography for
          Westron, erroneously wrote with "numerous cases of words spelt
          phonetically (according to the pronounciation of the Dwarves) -- for
          instance, letters that had in the colloquial pronounciation of the late
          Third Age ceased to have any function were sometimes omitted."

          This should indicate that more educated writers of Westron would use an
          archaic and many times *unphonetic* orthography, not unlike the
          situation in English today. So those who adhere to standard English
          orthography (like Tolkien) are, at least, historically correct.


          Yours,
          Måns

          --
          Måns Björkman "Mun þu mik!
          Störtloppsvägen 8, III Man þik.
          SE-129 46 Hägersten Un þu mer!
          Sweden http://hem.passagen.se/mansb An þer."
        • Stephen Ross
          Me and a friend, who are both learning the uses of tengwar together, came up with a phonetic (phonemic, sorry, don t know what the differnce is) mode for
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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            Me and a friend, who are both learning the uses of tengwar together, came up
            with a phonetic (phonemic, sorry, don't know what the differnce is) mode for
            english use. Becuz we live in different parts of the country, much of our
            practice comes from writing eachother letters. Often we use Dan Smith's
            fonts and just write it out on the computer, but we found the same problem
            your having in that english spelling and pronunciation are very differnt.
            We decided to go the phonetic route, using Dan's extended tehtar selection
            to build on the typical 5 (which we use for the sounds they make, not as the
            letters they are translated into english as).

            Heres what we do: the triple dots are the /ah/ sound (father), while the
            dots over a long carrier make an /aa/ sound (cat). The accent mark is the
            /eh/ sound (were), a double accent for an extended sound (make), which I
            spose could also be written as an accent over an anna. The single dot is
            the /ee/ sound, double dots the /ih/ sound (this). For what in english is a
            long i sound (write), we use the chevron (this was used by JRRT in the RotK
            title page). The over- and under- curls are the traditional use, a single
            over- for a short /oh/ sound (for), double for a longer (more), a single
            under- for /oo/ (brute), a double for a longer (cool). For dipthongs and
            other sounds we use tehta over anna, yanta, and ure as necessary.

            One sound we found ourselves needing a lot is the schwa, kind of an /uh/
            sound (the a in about, the u in under, etc). For this we use the reverse
            triple dots (two over one). Presumably this sound didn't occur in elvish,
            which is why JRRT never needed a tehta for it, but its one of the most
            common sounds in the english language, and we definetly needed sumthin for
            it.

            Anyways, thats what me and my friend do. I'm sure all you phoneticists and
            etc will have lots of reasons why we shouldn't do it that way, but hey, it
            works well for us! And if the Elves could go around making up modes for new
            languages, why can't we? hee hee

            have fun!

            Stephen
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          • Lisa Star
            ... [snip] ... **I use a more or less phonetic transcription when writing English, but then I almost never write English in tengwar anymore--I use the tengwar
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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              >From: jonathan wust <choni@...>

              >Im not really happy with most of the tengwar modes for the english language
              >Ive seen so far. (The best I knew is a very strange one, its sample 6b -if
              >Im not wrong- in 'an introduction to elvish'.)

              [snip]

              >I think theres no need for further examples. I just wonder if there are
              >people who have made up their own all-phonemic tengwar mode.

              **I use a more or less phonetic transcription when writing English, but then
              I almost never write English in tengwar anymore--I use the tengwar for
              Elvish languages now.

              **I'd like to point out that if you use a phonetic mode for writing English
              it will represent your accent very clearly and so may be even more difficult
              to read for your correspondent (who may be restricted to an understanding of
              English as it is spoken with *his* accent). This is something of a problem
              since much correspondence takes place among interested people in different
              countries with a variety of accents. For this reason, it probably makes
              better sense to stick to a more or less orthographic transcription of
              English, keeping in mind that English pronounciation isn't close to its
              spelling anyway and in addition, the spelling of words often gives some
              information about their meaning. By this I mean, such important homophones
              as to, two and too are distinguished in spelling but not pronounciation.
              This would be extremely confusing to non-native speakers.

              **I have absolutely never seen the same mode of representation used by any
              two writers in all the time I have studied the tengwar, and I once made a
              study of this particular subject. I also observe that it doesn't have the
              slightest effect on my ability to read it, though being a native speaker, I
              have a great advantage there.

              ** Lisa Star
              ** LisaStar@...
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            • Lisa Star
              ... [snipping much] ... **something which is used for a schwa sometimes is an underdot , a single dot under a consonant. You might find it less trouble to
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 28, 2001
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                >From: "Stephen Ross" <Monkeyboy007@...>

                [snipping much]

                >One sound we found ourselves needing a lot is the schwa, kind of an /uh/
                >sound (the a in about, the u in under, etc). For this we use the reverse
                >triple dots (two over one). Presumably this sound didn't occur in elvish,
                >which is why JRRT never needed a tehta for it, but its one of the most
                >common sounds in the english language, and we definetly needed sumthin for
                >it.

                **something which is used for a schwa sometimes is an "underdot", a single
                dot under a consonant. You might find it less trouble to write than the
                three dots.

                >Anyways, thats what me and my friend do. I'm sure all you phoneticists and
                >etc will have lots of reasons why we shouldn't do it that way, but hey, it
                >works well for us! And if the Elves could go around making up modes for
                >new
                >languages, why can't we? hee hee

                **I think you are doing exactly what you should be doing--having fun. The
                languages and alphabets were Tolkien's plaything, I don't see why they
                shouldn't be ours.

                ** (one of the phoneticists)
                ** Lisa Star
                ** LisaStar@...

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              • Mans Bjorkman
                ... Doesn t the underdot rather represent an _e_ that has been lost in modern pronounciation? That is how Tolkien uses it in the title-page inscription
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 29, 2001
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                  Lisa Star wrote:
                  >
                  > >From: "Stephen Ross" <Monkeyboy007@...>
                  >
                  > [snipping much]
                  >
                  > >One sound we found ourselves needing a lot is the schwa, kind of an /uh/
                  > >sound (the a in about, the u in under, etc). For this we use the reverse
                  > >triple dots (two over one). Presumably this sound didn't occur in elvish,
                  > >which is why JRRT never needed a tehta for it, but its one of the most
                  > >common sounds in the english language, and we definetly needed sumthin for
                  > >it.
                  >
                  > **something which is used for a schwa sometimes is an "underdot", a single
                  > dot under a consonant. You might find it less trouble to write than the
                  > three dots.

                  Doesn't the underdot rather represent an _e_ that has been lost in
                  modern pronounciation? That is how Tolkien uses it in the title-page
                  inscription {her(e)in} and in the letter to Hugh Brogan {som(e)},
                  {hop(e)}.

                  On the other hand, if we look at the early English "full mode" of the
                  Errantry and Tom Bombadil inscriptions, we find a tengwa used
                  specifically for schwa (written [@] phonetically): a single bow with a
                  horizontal line at the top, like a <vilya> without the stem. The
                  horizontal line is seemingly always attached to the following tengwa,
                  even when it belongs to a separate word (as in {@meri} "a merry").


                  > >Anyways, thats what me and my friend do. I'm sure all you phoneticists and
                  > >etc will have lots of reasons why we shouldn't do it that way, but hey, it
                  > >works well for us! And if the Elves could go around making up modes for
                  > >new
                  > >languages, why can't we? hee hee
                  >
                  > **I think you are doing exactly what you should be doing--having fun. The
                  > languages and alphabets were Tolkien's plaything, I don't see why they
                  > shouldn't be ours.

                  I most heartily agree!


                  Yours,
                  Måns


                  --
                  Måns Björkman "Mun þu mik!
                  Störtloppsvägen 8, III Man þik.
                  SE-129 46 Hägersten Un þu mer!
                  Sweden http://hem.passagen.se/mansb An þer."
                • jonathan wust
                  ... Well, my point or my opinion is that -while speaking- people with any english accent understand each other (more or less). So this should also be possible
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 30, 2001
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                    Lisa wrote:

                    >**I'd like to point out that if you use a phonetic mode for writing English
                    >it will represent your accent very clearly and so may be even more difficult
                    >to read for your correspondent (who may be restricted to an understanding of
                    >English as it is spoken with *his* accent). This is something of a problem
                    >since much correspondence takes place among interested people in different
                    >countries with a variety of accents. For this reason, it probably makes
                    >better sense to stick to a more or less orthographic transcription of
                    >English, keeping in mind that English pronounciation isn't close to its
                    >spelling anyway and in addition, the spelling of words often gives some
                    >information about their meaning. By this I mean, such important homophones
                    >as to, two and too are distinguished in spelling but not pronounciation.
                    >This would be extremely confusing to non-native speakers.

                    Well, my point or my opinion is that -while speaking- people with any english accent understand each other (more or less). So this should also be possible while writing. And the same thing with the homophones: In spoken language, you dont differenciate them at all, but still, theres no problem about it.

                    Arent there kind of standardized pronounciation for english? When I write english phonemically, I try to do stay as close as I can to the so called 'Oxford english'. Perhaps this is easier for me, because Im not a native speaker.

                    People stick very close to the orthography they learnt at school. As Mans wrote (if Im right), Tolkien mainly staid with the traditional orthography. I didnt even know there were examples where he doesnt.

                    Ive heard about a 'new english alphabet' created by Tolkien. Does anybody know if you can find it somewhere in the net?

                    >**I have absolutely never seen the same mode of representation used by any
                    >two writers in all the time I have studied the tengwar, and I once made a
                    >study of this particular subject.

                    It would be intresting to know these studies.

                    Yours

                    choni

                    (Sorry, Im not sure if this message has already been sent, I do it again.)

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                  • jonathan wust
                    ... If youd like to know it: phonemic means you concentrate on having all the sounds you need to distinguish words (e.g. the short and the long o-sound in
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 30, 2001
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                      >with a phonetic (phonemic, sorry, don't know what the differnce is) mode

                      If youd like to know it: phonemic means you concentrate on having all the sounds you need to distinguish words (e.g. the short and the long o-sound in 'cot' and in 'caught'); phonetic means you concentrate on all the sounds. But this distinction is really rather theoretical.

                      >Anyways, thats what me and my friend do. I'm sure all you phoneticists and
                      >etc will have lots of reasons why we shouldn't do it that way, but hey, it
                      >works well for us! And if the Elves could go around making up modes for new
                      >languages, why can't we? hee hee

                      Go for it!

                      And perhaps, I should also communicate the phonemic mode I use to use:

                      short vowels:

                      e.g. in, ring: single dot
                      e.g. end, let: acute �
                      e.g. fat, land: three dots (or a ^) looking downwards
                      e.g. book, to (sometimes): curl open on the left
                      e.g. cut, love: three dots (or a ^)
                      e.g. not, cot: curl open on the right

                      long vowels (always on the long carrier):

                      e.g. eat, see: single dot
                      e.g. father, far (which I pronounce without r): three dots (or a ^)
                      e.g. pearl, sir: here I use roomen as a tehta (or a simplified version of it, like a standing tilde ~)
                      e.g. soon, two: curl open on the left
                      e.g. caught, saw: curl open on the right

                      composed vowels (diphtongs):
                      diphtongs which glide into y (always placed on yanta):

                      e.g. late, way: acute �
                      e.g. light, why: three dots (or a ^)
                      e.g. boil, boy: curl open on the right

                      diphtongs which glide into w (always placed on uure):

                      e.g. loud, now: three dots (or a ^)
                      e.g. coat, note, so: curl open on the right

                      diphtongs which glide into r, which I pronounce like a vowel, i.e. like a kind of [a] (always placed on oore):

                      e.g. dear: single dot
                      e.g. fair, where: acute �
                      e.g. sure: curl open on the left

                      notes:

                      Id really like to hear your critics.

                      This is meant for oxford english, but I think, it should also be useful for other varieties. (?)

                      There is no sign for the schwa. I know this is a problem. At least in many cases, the schwa can just be dropped, in words as 'hotel', 'double', 'golden', 'conform' - you dont write it either in all the words ending with '-ism' as 'sindarinism' or so. I even use to drop it in words like 'better', which I end end with oore, although I dont pronounce any r.

                      (Which means, I use oore like a vowel tengwa, even though the mode I use normally uses tehtar for the vowels - perhaps, it could be named a 'mixed mode'. (I do the same thing with words ending on short -i as 'holy': I end them with a yanta.)

                      But coming back to the schwa-problem: I know I could use a single dot under the preceding tengwa, but I dont like to use vowel tehta over the tengwa AND under them. So Ive come up not to use any schwa sign at all, thus in words like 'again' I use the same tehta as for 'bad'. But this is not really a good solution.

                      yours

                      choni

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                    • Lisa Star
                      ... **you are right, (in addition to its use to indicate no following /a/ in the Numenorean mode) but people have been using it for schwa anyway (and for the
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 30, 2001
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                        >From: Mans Bjorkman <mansb@...>

                        >Lisa Star wrote:

                        > > **something which is used for a schwa sometimes is an "underdot", a
                        >single
                        > > dot under a consonant. You might find it less trouble to write than the
                        > > three dots.
                        >
                        >Doesn't the underdot rather represent an _e_ that has been lost in
                        >modern pronounciation? That is how Tolkien uses it in the title-page
                        >inscription {her(e)in} and in the letter to Hugh Brogan {som(e)},
                        >{hop(e)}.

                        **you are right, (in addition to its use to indicate no following /a/ in the
                        Numenorean mode) but people have been using it for schwa anyway (and for the
                        unstressed e, i, in shirt, were.) That's why I suggested it.

                        ** Lisa Star
                        ** LisaStar@...

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                      • Lisa Star
                        ... **There is a broad effect in that peole can be much more loose with their language in speaking than they can in writing because if their message is not
                        Message 11 of 11 , Mar 30, 2001
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                          >From: jonathan wust <choni@...>

                          >Lisa wrote:

                          >Well, my point or my opinion is that -while speaking- people with any
                          >english accent understand each other (more or less). So this should also be
                          >possible while writing. And the same thing with the homophones: In spoken
                          >language, you dont differenciate them at all, but still, theres no problem
                          >about it.

                          **There is a broad effect in that peole can be much more loose with their
                          language in speaking than they can in writing because if their message is
                          not clear when speaking, their listeners can ask for clarification on the
                          spot. This is the reason that written speech is expected or required to be
                          a little more precise than spoken speech, in both the use of grammar and in
                          pronunciation/spelling. It is also the reason for the difference in
                          spelling of some homophones--there isn't any historical reason for the
                          difference between son and sun, for example.

                          >Arent there kind of standardized pronounciation for english?

                          **Um, no. There is a standard British English and a standard American
                          English, but not many Brits or Americans use them, not to mention all the
                          Jamaicans, Irish, etc, who have their own accents. But my concern was more
                          with people who don't speak English well (as well as you do, apparently).
                          It is difficult for me to struggle through English spelled with a heavy
                          Russian or French accent, and I don't think non-natives would appreciate my
                          colloquial pronunciation of English if they had to try to read it in
                          tengwar.

                          **I suppose we could all amuse ourselves by trying to write English in
                          tengwar, using various accents.

                          >Ive heard about a 'new english alphabet' created by Tolkien. Does anybody
                          >know if you can find it somewhere in the net?

                          **As far as I know, only a few words were published in Tolkien: Artist and
                          Illustrator, not enough to provide a complete alphabet.

                          >It would be interesting to know these studies.

                          **They weren't very interesting. I'm kind of sorry I wasted as much time as
                          I did studying other people's tengwar modes. It was just surprising to see
                          that no two people agreed, though they all seemed to have fairly good
                          reasons for what they did. I personally would stick to the mode that
                          Tolkien used on the title page of LotR, because it is the most widely
                          available, and is actually for English.

                          ** Lisa Star
                          ** LisaStar@...

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