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The "following Y" tehta: above or below?

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  • Helge K. Fauskanger
    Today, two days into the beautiful AUTUMN month of August, I received my copy of VT46. Now that we can finally peruse all the available information about the
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 2 4:01 PM
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      Today, two days into the beautiful AUTUMN month of August, I received my
      copy of VT46. Now that we can finally peruse all the available information
      about the pre-classical Tengwar system presupposed in the Etymologies, I
      would like to re-examine one detail: the placement of the two dots
      indicating palatal consonants. This diacritic should occur throughout the
      _tyelpetéma_.

      As is evident from Arden R. Smith's long-awaited summary of the new
      material, Tolkien in Etym consistently placed the twin dots _above_ the
      relevant Tengwa. (The letters tyelpe, istyar, ehtyar, indyo and nyelle, as
      they are called in Etym, are listed together by Smith in VT46:31.) In
      addition there is the letter _arya_, which possibly has the "inherent"
      palatal value _ry_ and does not require the diacritic, but this also makes
      it irrelevant for our present study. (No such letter seems to exist in the
      classical system outlined in Appendix E; its name reverted back to _arda_
      and its value to _rd_, which was also the original name in the
      Etymologies.) Incidentally, I can't quite see why Smith so emphatically
      rejects the notion that _arya_ belongs to the tyelpetéma ("all the letters
      in the palatal series...that appear in the Etymologies make use of the
      following-Y tehta", VT46:34). Cannot _arya_ be a lone exception from the
      normal rule?

      Be that as it may, there remains the question of where the "following-Y"
      diacritic is to go: over or below the Tengwa itself. In Appendix E, Tolkien
      stated that the palatals are "represented by a Fëanorian diacritic denoting
      'following Y' (usually two underposed dots)." So now we may seem to have
      entered a new conceptual phase where the twin dots are to go BELOW the
      Tengwa, not above it. In a tehta mode, this is surely the superior system
      even apart from the "canonical" status of this information (since it was
      published by Tolkien himself in his lifetime). By placing the Y-dots below
      the Tengwa, they will not clash with any vowel-tehtar above it. If _ty_
      were to be expressed as in the Etymologies, with the Y-dots above rather
      than below tinco, a word like _tyalie_ would have no less than FIVE dots
      above the first letter: two dots to indicate a palatal sound _plus_ the
      three dots of the A-tehta! It would be possible, I guess, but hardly
      calligraphic.

      Interestingly, Tolkien in the Etymologies listed several separate Tengwar
      which are assigned the value of vowels; it may be that a full-vowel mode
      even for Quenya is here presupposed. If so, the Y-dots could comfortably be
      placed above the letters without conflicting with any vowel-tehtar. May
      Tolkien have changed the position of the Y-dots as a direct consequence of
      his decision that the regular Quenya mode does not use separate vowels?

      The story is not quite over, though. I note that according to some
      secondary sources, the Y-dots should be placed _above_ some letters, but
      _below_ others, namely the ones that extend above the line (as if to
      maintain some kind of balance by not adding even more stuff there?) For
      instance, Helmut W. Pesch in his (German) book _Elbisch_, p. 193, presents
      a vision of the tyelpetéma that goes like this: the letters tinco, ando,
      númen and óre appear with dots ABOVE them to form the palatal letters
      tyelpe, indyo, nyelle, and arya (yes, arya again!), whereas súle and anto,
      the stems of which extend above the line, have the dots placed below the
      letter to form the palatals istyar and intya. (In the case of lambe, the
      dots are placed inside the bow to form the symbol alya.)

      I don't know where Pesch got this from (I have every reason to assume that
      he got it from other sources, since I am myself an involuntary contributor
      to his book). I believe some relevant information appeared in the fanzine
      Quettar some years ago? But even if Tolkien does say something like this in
      some manuscript, it must be balanced against the canonical statement in
      Appendix E, to the effect that the following-Y diacritic is "usually two
      underposed dots". There may be some room for exegesis, though. What does
      "usually" mean in this context? I think most people would take Tolkien's
      statement to mean, "this diacritic appears as two underposed dots in the
      usual mode, though in more obscure modes which we won't bother to discuss
      here, some other doodle may be used with the same meaning, or the dots may
      not necessarily be underposed". This, indeed, is how I tend to interpret
      it.

      Could "usually" mean that the dots are underposed in the case of MOST of
      the letters, but that some letters should have the dots above them instead?
      According to the system outlined by Pesch, most of the letters in the
      tyelpetéma should actually have the dots above them, so I don't think we
      can redefine "usually" like this: the underposed dots would be exceptional
      rather than "usual"!

      There is also the evidence from Tolkien's Tengwar transcription of Namárie
      in RGEO. In the word _fanyar_, Tolkien transcribed the _ny_ as númen with
      underposed dots, though in Pesch' "nyelle" the dots are placed above the
      letter instead.

      Sometimes the Namárie transcript lacks any indication of palatalized sounds
      where we might have expected it. A particularly peculiar case is the word
      _ómaryo_. On the inscription as it appears on the front page, this is spelt
      "ómaro", but in the inscription as reproduced inside the book, Tolkien has
      added to the letter rómen the two underposed dots required to make it spell
      "ómaryo" (RGEO:65, 70). If it were possible to place the dots above the
      letters instead, the letter rómen would be the perfect place to practice
      this system, since it extends below the line and actually leaves little
      space for the Y-dots (most Tengwar fonts I have seen don't handle this very
      well at all; at least one of the Y-dots tends to merge into the letter
      rómen itself). I think, then, there is good reason to assume that Tolkien
      had now decided that the Y-dots should in the usual mode go BELOW the
      letter -- as he also stated in Appendix E.

      - HKF
    • Carl F.Hostetter
      ... Two points: A) August is in fact a SUMMER month. B) You are an ass.
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 2 8:23 PM
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        On Aug 2, 2004, at 7:01 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger wrote:

        > Today, two days into the beautiful AUTUMN month of August,

        Two points:

        A) August is in fact a SUMMER month.

        B) You are an ass.
      • j_mach_wust
        I believe the placement of the y-dots depends mainly on the way the vowels are represented: In full writing modes, they are above the letters, in tehtar modes,
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 3 3:36 AM
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          I believe the placement of the y-dots depends mainly on the way the
          vowels are represented: In full writing modes, they are above the
          letters, in tehtar modes, they are below.

          I don't think, however, that we'd have to assume that the samples of
          isolated tyelpetéma letters with the dots above belong to a full
          writing Quenya mode. I rather think that the representation of
          isolated letters doesn't need to conform with the standard modes. If
          there aren't but isolated letters, then there are no vowel tehtar, so
          the place above the letters may be used for the placement of those
          tehtar that are usually placed below.

          In my opinion, the statement on the 'usual' placement from app. E
          doesn't concern but the specific tyelpetéma of the classical Quenya
          mode which is of course a tehtar mode. I hesitate to consider the
          numerous instances of the two dots placed above the letters to be but
          exceptions (I haven't counted, but I guess that these samples are
          _far_ more numerous than the samples of the two dots below).


          I know of one hint that the tehtar placement may depend on the shape
          of the letters: The instances of hyarmen with the vowel tehta placed
          below. These occur after all in the two Anglosaxon modes, but there
          are some other samples as well. Unfortunately, there are quite few
          samples of hyarmen + vowel tehta. If I remember correctly, the only
          instance of hyarmen with vowel tehtar above are in the Namárie
          transcription, and it's but a single dot.


          It's interesting to compare the placement of the y-tehta with the
          placement of the w-tehta. Curiously, that tehta seems to be placed
          always above! This is shown in the third version of the King's
          Letter, and also in the Manney Inscription. This use is mysterious to
          me, after all since curls below the letters are attested, see DTS 51.

          ---------------------------
          j. 'mach' wust
          http://machhezan.tripod.com
          ---------------------------
        • Arden R.Smith
          ... For two reasons: (1) It is not logical that _ry_ should be represented by a tengwa without a following-y tehta when every other letter of the tyelpetéma
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 4 8:42 AM
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            On Aug 2, 2004, at 4:01 PM, Helge K. Fauskanger wrote:

            > Incidentally, I can't quite see why Smith so emphatically
            > rejects the notion that _arya_ belongs to the tyelpetéma ("all the
            > letters
            > in the palatal series...that appear in the Etymologies make use of the
            > following-Y tehta", VT46:34).

            For two reasons:

            (1) It is not logical that _ry_ should be represented by a tengwa
            without a following-y tehta when every other letter of the tyelpetéma
            makes use of the following-y tehta.

            (2) It is a fact that whenever _arda_ is used as a tengwa-name (in both
            published and unpublished sources), it is always applied to tengwa #26.
            Similarly, every occurrence of the tengwa-name _arya_ outside of _The
            Etymologies_ is applied to a tengwa (either #21 or #25) with a
            following-y tehta either above or below it.

            > The story is not quite over, though. I note that according to some
            > secondary sources, the Y-dots should be placed _above_ some letters,
            > but
            > _below_ others, namely the ones that extend above the line (as if to
            > maintain some kind of balance by not adding even more stuff there?) For
            > instance, Helmut W. Pesch in his (German) book _Elbisch_, p. 193,
            > presents
            > a vision of the tyelpetéma that goes like this: the letters tinco,
            > ando,
            > númen and óre appear with dots ABOVE them to form the palatal letters
            > tyelpe, indyo, nyelle, and arya (yes, arya again!), whereas súle and
            > anto,
            > the stems of which extend above the line, have the dots placed below
            > the
            > letter to form the palatals istyar and intya. (In the case of lambe,
            > the
            > dots are placed inside the bow to form the symbol alya.)
            >
            > I don't know where Pesch got this from (I have every reason to assume
            > that
            > he got it from other sources, since I am myself an involuntary
            > contributor
            > to his book). I believe some relevant information appeared in the
            > fanzine
            > Quettar some years ago?

            Pesch's source (directly or indirectly) is almost undoubtedly Edouard
            Kloczko's tengwar chart on the cover of _Vinyar Tengwar_ #8 (Nov.
            1989), which I mention in my Appendix on "The _Tengwar_ in the
            _Etymologies_" (VT46:34, notes 5 and 6).

            > But even if Tolkien does say something like this in
            > some manuscript,

            He does. Kloczko's information, provided by Christopher Tolkien,
            ultimately derives from "The Feanorian Alphabet," an unpublished text
            from the mid to late 1930s; see VT46:34, note 6.

            > it must be balanced against the canonical statement in
            > Appendix E, to the effect that the following-Y diacritic is "usually
            > two
            > underposed dots". There may be some room for exegesis, though. What
            > does
            > "usually" mean in this context? I think most people would take
            > Tolkien's
            > statement to mean, "this diacritic appears as two underposed dots in
            > the
            > usual mode, though in more obscure modes which we won't bother to
            > discuss
            > here, some other doodle may be used with the same meaning, or the dots
            > may
            > not necessarily be underposed". This, indeed, is how I tend to
            > interpret
            > it.

            That's a valid assessment. Underposed dots are indeed more common,
            especially in later writings, but tengwar with the following-y tehta
            above them occur even in post-LotR manuscripts.

            ***************************************************
            Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

            Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
            --Elvish proverb

            ***************************************************
          • laurifindil
            ... Edouard ... text ... In 1985, when C. Tolkien wrote to me his letter, he said that he could not find a chart of the tyelpetéma post-LOTR. Have you been
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 26 7:31 AM
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              --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, Arden R.Smith <erilaz@e...> wrote:

              >
              > Pesch's source (directly or indirectly) is almost undoubtedly
              Edouard
              > Kloczko's tengwar chart on the cover of _Vinyar Tengwar_ #8 (Nov.
              > 1989), which I mention in my Appendix on "The _Tengwar_ in the
              > _Etymologies_" (VT46:34, notes 5 and 6).
              >
              > > But even if Tolkien does say something like this in
              > > some manuscript,
              >
              > He does. Kloczko's information, provided by Christopher Tolkien,
              > ultimately derives from "The Feanorian Alphabet," an unpublished
              text
              > from the mid to late 1930s; see VT46:34, note 6.
              >


              In 1985, when C. Tolkien wrote to me his letter, he said that he
              could not find a chart of the tyelpetéma post-LOTR. Have you been
              able to pintpoint such a list ?

              E. Kloczko
            • Arden R. Smith
              ... Nope. Every post-LotR presentation of the Quenya full-names of the tengwar that I have seen either (a) shows letters of the tyelpetéma with their values
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 26 6:50 PM
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                On Aug 26, 2004, at 7:31 AM, laurifindil (Edouard Kloczko) wrote:

                > In 1985, when C. Tolkien wrote to me his letter, he said that he
                > could not find a chart of the tyelpetéma post-LOTR. Have you been
                > able to pintpoint such a list ?

                Nope. Every post-LotR presentation of the Quenya full-names of the
                tengwar that I have seen either (a) shows letters of the tyelpetéma
                with their values but does not mention any of their names, or (b) omits
                the letters of the tyelpetéma entirely.

                ***************************************************
                Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

                Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
                --Elvish proverb

                ***************************************************
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