DTS refers to the "Mellonath Daeron Index of Tengwar Specimina" which can be found on the Mellonath Daeron Website if I remember correctly. The numerals are simpply serial numbers. For example, DTS 8 (The Doors of Durin) would refer to the inscription on the Gates of Moria.
How many English modes: depends on your definition, I guess. One could go as far as to say that there are almost as many English modes as there are specimen of Tolkien writing English with Tengwar :). Major examples of "English" Tengwar writings by J.R.R. Tolkien himself include the three copies of the "King's Letter" (copy 1 and 3 published in "Sauron Defeated", copy 2 in "Tolkien as an Artist and Illustrator"), the second leaf from the Book of Mazarbul (as published in "Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien") and lines 3994-4027 from the Lay of Leithian ("So Luthien..") as published in the "Lays of Beleriand"). There are many others (such as Tengwar versions of the beginning of the poems "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" (in two different calligraphic styles) and "Errantry" (also in "Pictures"). As you said, to have a look at these copies of the original, you would have to go and buy the books... and there are more samples out there than I listed, quite a few of them not even published in book form.
You are also right that there isn't one "standard" English mode with simple rules to cover "everything." For many details, you may have to make a decision about spelling or style based on your preferences.
As for your question about how to spell the "NT" in winter: yes, you are right, the usual way to indicate a preceding nasal in an English mode (as in the Sindarin Tehta Mode or Mode of Gondor) is to place a bar (or a tilde, if you think that looks nicer) above the consonant in question. (Placed over t, d, th, dh[soft th] or n, the bar/tilde generall indicates a preceding "N", above p, b, f, v or m, a preceding "M" is implied. See also Appendix E (Writing and Spelling) of "The Lord of the Rings".
Hope this helps a bit,
----- Original Message -----
From: Gregson Vaux
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 8:26 AM
Subject: [elfscript] Re: Hi, new member
I have been given the advice to follow JRRT's original texts but I
have one small problem. I only have the Lord of The Rings and The
Hobbit. I don't know where to find the King's Letter and I don't
know what DTS followed by various numbers means. The Tengwar
Textbook talks about three English modes namely JRRT's CJRT's and
the Common mode which is a mixture of the two.
I'll bet that JRRT's various tengwar samples are spead over a number
of books and never clearly stated as simple rules. The nice thing
about the Tengwar Textbook is that it is all in one place and I
don't have to spend $250 to buy a stack of books.
So, how many English modes are there? Is it possible that JRRT was
just not being consistent between texts and this is treated as
separate modes? I can understand that one mode would use tehtar and
another mode would use tenwar for vowels but beyond this, maybe JRRT
did a lot of experimenting. What I am trying to do is follow some
simple rules so that when I write with tengwar, other people will
understand what I have written.
I am not trying to write in a sloppy fashion but it seems to me that
there does not exist a set of consistent rules which leaves room for
interpretation. However, in my tengwar phrase that I want to put on
a ring, I used the n-tengwa in the word "winter" and I would guess
that it is better to use an over bar because perhaps there is a
fairly consistent rule that the n-tengwa is used if there is a vowel
between consonants, and the over bar is used if the n is part of a
consonant cluster. Is this correct?
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