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

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  • 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 1 of 18 , Apr 16, 2001
      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."

      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! :-)


      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 2 of 18 , Apr 16, 2001
        >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,
        >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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