Tengwar for Chinese: sh(i), r(i), x(i), s(i)
- In the previous mail I wrote:
>The other big problem when assigning tengwar to Chinese sound values are.these to calma and anca,
>the numerous affricates in Mandarin (many more than in English or most
>European languages, I think), incl. what in Hanyu Pinyin is represented
>as "zh(i), ch(i), j(i), q(i), z(i), c(i)" :). And even the fricatives
>that occur are different from those in English (what's "sh" in Hanyu
>Pinyin, for example, is not the English sound in "shell", but rather a
>retroflex ["rolled tongue"] fricative--although it comes pretty close to
>the English "sh" in many Southern Chinese variants of Mandarin).
>Maybe use harma and anca for q(i) and j(i), since these are palatalized
>sounds and would thus fit in this téma, but what about the others?
>Thúle and anto would be available, since Chinese has neither a soft nor
>a hard "th", and since this is a dental téma, one could assign the
>apico-dental c(i) and z(i). This way, we would have these four
>consonants (q[i], j[i], c[i], z[i]) in roughly (!) the right spots on
>the grid of method/point of articulation (well, if we assume that
>putting affricates instead of fricatives in tyeller 3 and 4 doesn't
>already go to far.
>We are left with the retroflex ch(i) and zh(i). I think we could assign
[sorry, this should be anga]
>since in the orthographic English Tehta Mode[This may have been slightly confusing (or at least ambiguous): in the
>that is kind of my blueprint for this, these two stand for "ch" (church)
>and "j" (John), and neither sound occurs in Chinese, anyway. This means
>putting retroflex sounds in a palatal téma, but since it seems there are
>no retroflex sounds in any of the languages Tolkien intended the Tengwar
>for (mainly Sindarin, Quenya and English), we need to make compromises I
>guess. At least ch(i) and zh(i) would be in somewhat "befitting"
>tyeller, since like English "ch" and "j", they are affricates (and since
>Tolkien himself "put" the affricates "ch" (church) and "j" (John) in the
>"generally" plosive tyeller 1 and 2, I guess we are free to do the same
>with ch[i] and zh[i]).
>A last consideration with the above sounds is how to spell them when
>they do not occur in combination with other sounds (as in zhuang,
>chuang, chan, jian, qian etc.).
quoted examples the affricates _do_ obviously occur in combination with
other sounds :)]
>They do often occur "on their own", if[So when they form a syllable/character of their own, in Hanyu Pinyin
>you like, as syllabic consonants (that's why in Pinyin an "i" is added,
>which I've given in brackets: this "i" is only used in romanization when
>no other sounds follow. It represents the "sound" you have to make to
>make the consonant "sound" at all :)). Like all other syllables, they
>represent one syllable/character.
they are spelled
zhi, chi, ji, qi, zi, ci, plus some others such as shi, ri, xi, si.]
>I would propose to simply use an under-dot, even though in the[sh(i), r(i), the two retroflex fricatives, and x(i), an alveolo-palatal
>orthographic English tehta mode I'm generally basing this mode on, the
>under-dot indicates a silent "e" rather than a syllabic consonant.
>Still, I think we can "borrow" this feature from the "Bombadil mode",
>since it a) doesn't conflict with any other sounds/spellings and b)
>comes in really handy here.
fricative (and NOT the velar fricative that "x" represents in the
International Phonetic Alphabet), and s(i), an apico-alveolar fricative,
were overlooked by me in the previous mail...they DO pose a bit of a
Occuring alone, one would use the under-dot again to indicate their
But which tengwar to use? Maybe noldo for x(i), but only because this is
the last tengwar still "available" from the
"palatal" (in this mode) calmatéma?
For sh(i), r(i) maybe hwesta and unque, before these two go to waste? Of
course I don't like the idea of putting two retroflex consonants in the
velar series, but at the very least they would be in the right tyeller,
3 and 4, which we have reserved for affricates and fricatives ("f", by
the way, would of course be spelled with formen, as in most modes, there
is no "v" in Mandarin).
As for s(i), it would probably fit best into the dental series, and
since we do not need óre for "r" (there is no "r" in Chinese that would
correspond to the English "r", only the retroflex fricative spelled with
"ri" when syllabic and "r" with other sounds (e.g. ran, rui, reng), and
óre also happens to be the last available dental in this series, I guess
this is plausible (though it might be confusing to have a sound that is
transcribed in Pinyin with "s" represented by the tengwar most commonly
used for (English/Elvish) "r".
Then again...why not simply use silme, right?
Other sounds that I forgot to mention are easily assigned:
h = hyarmen
m = umber
n = nuumen
l = lambe
w = wilya (since vala is already used for vowels)
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