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Re: [elfscript] precise rules for writing quenya with tengwar

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  • Jeremie Knusel
    ... To take Tolkien as his word, he didn t talk about initial aha but about initial breath h ... I give the quote again: Thus No. 11 was called harma when
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 15, 2001
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      > So we are to disregard Professor Tolkien when he said that initial 'aha'
      > (= 'harma')
      > has the sound of simple [h]? I tend to take Tolkien as his word, and
      > nowhere did he say that all words beginning with 'harma' should change
      > their spelling to 'hyarmen'.
      > What he did say is that when words beginning with 'harma' began to be
      > pronounced with a breath 'h', the name of the tengwa was changed to
      > 'aha' to reflect the difference in pronunciation. If 'harma'/'aha' can
      > be pronounced as [h]... and JRRT stated that it could... why would one
      > need to change the spelling?

      To take Tolkien as his word, he didn't talk about "initial aha" but about
      "initial breath h"... I give the quote again:
      "Thus No. 11 was called harma when it represented the spirant ch in all
      positions, but when this sound became breath h initially (though remaining
      medially) the name aha was devised"

      I agree that it's not clear. If there were only the first sentence (before
      the coma), I would understand that there was a time where harma represented
      [x] in all positions, then logicaly a time where it represented [x] in some
      positions and an other sound in another position. But with just this
      sentence, it could also be understood that first harma was used in all
      position (to represent [x]) and then that it was no longer used in all
      position, because a tengwa would have replaced harma in some special
      position (e.g. initially). That is what I understand, because of the other
      sentences:

      First, why would it be necessary to change the name of the tengwa, if it was
      used to represend both [x] and breath h? Keeping the name 'harma' would as
      well represent the breath-h function of the tengwa 'harma' as the name 'aha'
      would represent the [x] function of the same tengwa...
      So it seems logical to me that if the elves decided to use the name 'aha',
      whose 'h' is still pronunced [x], it was because
      tengwa harma=[x] and not breath h.

      Now the only remaining problem is: "if harma, or rather aha, could no longer
      be used to write initial 'h', how was it written?"
      And this problem is solved by the footnote:
      "Later 33 was used for independent h,
      and the value of hy (its older value) was represented by adding the tehta
      for following y"

      So hyarmen was used to replace harma. Why would it have been necessary to
      add a new function to hyarmen (e.g. breath-h), if harma was still used for
      every 'h' it was used for before? (mmm I feel it's not perfect English,
      sorry)

      I hope this text is not too confused...


      Jeremie
    • Jeremie Knusel
      ... Right, about that I was given the example ñolmo - lambengolmo Jeremie
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 15, 2001
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        > > Angasule deithant:
        > >
        > > Does he say that? Can you
        > > quote? . The sound ñ by itself
        > > doesn't occur medially in
        > > Quenya outside of clusters,
        > > AFAIK
        > >
        > > I wish I remembered where I read it. But anyway initial 'noldo' of any
        > > verb beginning with that letter becomes a medial 'ñ' when preceded by
        > > a perfect verbal augment. That's simple logic.
        > Since words that begin with noldo come from original ng-, with an
        > augment they would go from ñ- to augment-ng-. In case original ñ-
        > remained so and didn't change to h- (see the mail I answered to Ales
        > Bican about this) there still wouldn't be initial ñ, since medial ñ
        > dissapeared lengthening the previous vowel.

        Right, about that I was given the example "ñolmo -> lambengolmo"


        Jeremie
      • Mans Bjorkman
        Hello people! Sorry I m late. ... Since _hr_ must always be followed by a vowel I think _r_ would always be written with , if the system of the
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 16, 2001
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          Hello people! Sorry I'm late.

          Jeremie Knusel wrote:
          >
          > Halla:
          > -before 'l' or 'r' ('hr' and 'hl' occur virtually always word-initially)
          > -'r' could be rómen as well as óre

          Since _hr_ must always be followed by a vowel I think _r_ would always
          be written with <rómen>, if the system of the Namárie inscription is
          followed.


          > -a tilde above a tengwa preceded by 'n', 'm' or 'ñ' (and so no tengwa for
          > the 'n', 'm' or 'ñ')

          This actually occurs in some Quenya inscriptions, but they generally
          seem to be influenced by Westron or Sindarin conventions.


          --
          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."
        • Mans Bjorkman
          ... Quite true. However, I strongly believe was, at least, a valid alternative still in the Third Age. The footnote says: ... [halla] could be placed
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 16, 2001
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            DDanielA@... wrote:
            >
            > Well, there are bound to be differences of opinion until more of JRRT's
            > tengwar specimens surface. Here's where my opinions differ from the ones
            > Jeremie presented.
            >
            > Halla: We have no clear-cut rule. Professor Tolkien's only reference to
            > the 'halla' suggests that it might not have survived into later Quenya
            > in any rôle. His use of the word 'original' is vague. It's possible
            > that 'hr' and 'hl' were written 'hyarmen rómen' and 'hyarmen lambe' in
            > the Third Age. It's possible that there were other alternatives. We
            > don't know.

            Quite true. However, I strongly believe <halla> was, at least, a valid
            alternative still in the Third Age. The footnote says: "... [halla]
            could be placed before a consonant to indicate that it was unvoiced and
            breathed; voiceless _r_ and _l_ were usually so expressed and are
            transcribed _hr_, _hl_." I can only interpret this as saying that some
            of Tolkien's sources actually used <halla> + r/l, which in The Lord of
            the Rings is transcribed _hr_, _hl_.


            > Personally, I doubt the validity of using 'rómen nuquerna'
            > and 'lambe nuquerna' as I've seen some do to represent 'hr' and 'hl'.

            I agree. There is no support for this whatsoever in the sources.


            > Hyarmen: For any word initially? Not so! We have Professor Tolkien's own
            > statement that 'harma' sometimes represented an 'h' initially and was
            > then called 'aha'. The initial 'h' in the word 'harma' was, in fact, a
            > 'harma' (or, rather 'aha', but of course it's the same tengwa!), not
            > 'hyarmen'.

            "No. 11 was called _harma_ when it represented the spirant _ch_ in all
            positions, but when this sound became breath _h_ initially (though
            remaining medially) the name _aha_ was devised."

            So:
            1) <harma> first represented [x] in all positions. The letter was
            pronunced [xarma].
            2) [x] became [h] initially. From this follows that the pronounciation
            became [harma].
            3) <harma> was renamed <aha>, pronounced [axa]. The name change was
            obviously made to retain the pronounciation [x] of the letter.


            > Thúle: For 'th'? In Quenya? Mature Quenya did not possess the 'th'
            > phoneme.

            "TH ... had become _s_ in spoken Quenya, though still written with a
            different letter". QED.


            > Noldo: Professor Tolkien himself tells us that 'ñoldo' can occur
            > medially.

            As far as I know, all he says is that the letter combination NG occurs
            medially, and that the sound of _sing_ "also occurred initally in
            Quenya, but has been transcribed _n_ (as in _Noldo_), according to the
            pronounciation of the Third Age."


            > A tilde over a tengwa: I was under the impression that the nasal sign
            > was originally used in Sindarin because all 'nasal + consonant'
            > combinations possible in Quenya were written with single tengwar. Does
            > anyone know of a Quenya word that would use a nasal sign?

            No, all nasals are covered in the conventional Quenya mode.


            > There is one final vagary: 'anna'. We know that 'anna' must be
            > accompanied by two under-imposed dots to represent the sound 'y' ( or
            > IPA [j]), and that 'anna' alone must have a rôle of a carrier of
            > sorts. Måns uses 'anna' + accent tehta as the first letter of the word
            > 'ëar' in his calligraphy rendition of the Markirya Boat Poem (btw, a
            > beautifully rendered manuscript, Måns!), but is this attested, or
            > simply used to avoid writing two short carriers together? Do we have any
            > information about the use of 'anna' without the dots? Apparently the
            > word 'anna' begins with the tengwa of that name.

            In the short text "Noldorin words for Language" (Vinyar Tengwar #39) p.
            17, we learn that <anna> originally represented [3], i.e. a spirant _g_
            -- a sound that had, in fact, vanished from the language in Feanor's
            time. Although this is entirely unattested, one could therefore
            theoretically use <anna> in positions where this sound occurred earlier.
            That is the way I use it in my _Markirya_ rendition: _ear_ derives from
            earlier *_gayar_ (Tolkien changed his mind several times about the
            etymology of this word, but see The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The
            Shibboleth of Fëanor" note 45). Having said this, it *is* nice to be
            able to avoid consecutive vowel-carriers! :-)


            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."
          • Lisa Star
            ... ... **I think you are right, and I have never felt that Tolkien s explanation made sense. For one thing, when a
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 16, 2001
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              >From: "Jeremie Knusel" <elendur@...>

              <snip long, reasonably clear explanation>

              >So hyarmen was used to replace harma. Why would it have been necessary to
              >add a new function to hyarmen (e.g. breath-h), if harma was still used for
              >every 'h' it was used for before? (mmm I feel it's not perfect English,
              >sorry)
              >
              >I hope this text is not too confused...

              **I think you are right, and I have never felt that Tolkien's explanation
              made sense. For one thing, when a sound change occurs in a language, the
              spelling usually remains the same for a long time. Ex., the Latin word
              circus was originally pronounced with both the c's as k's. Over time, there
              was a sound change that caused c to be pronounced as s before a front vowel,
              but we still spell it with two c's, even though it is ridiculous and
              confusing. Some languages are normally spelled accurately, and the elves
              were presumably more linguistically aware than most people, but writing is
              never as accurate as native speakers think it is, except right after a major
              spelling reform.

              **I thought the explanation of the switch of harma to aha was so strange
              that I invented a new explanation for it. I decided that the elves altered
              the name of the letter from a word meaning 'treasure' to a word meaning
              'rage' in acknowledgement of the devastation caused by Feanor's attempts to
              regain the Silmarils--i.e., the Wars of the Jewels. This is a fantasy of
              course, but it makes better sense then Tolkien's explantion. I wonder what
              his real reason was? Often when he gives some very strange convoluted
              reason for something, it's because he (seems to) want to avoid a simpler
              explanation that everyone would recognize the source for. I don't know what
              that would be here, though.

              ** Lisa Star
              ** LisaStar@...

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