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Proposed Phonemic Tehtar Mode for English

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  • Kyrmse
    My webpage http://www.geocities.com/otsoandor/FTMME.htm shows my proposal for _full_tengwar_ modes for Modern English. Below is a proposal on a phonemic
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 7 2:27 PM
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      My webpage http://www.geocities.com/otsoandor/FTMME.htm shows my
      proposal for _full_tengwar_ modes for Modern English. Below is a
      proposal on a phonemic _tehtar_ mode for English, on which I would
      like to receive critical feedback.

      Thank you all!

      - - - - -

      PROPOSED PHONEMIC TEHTAR MODE FOR ENGLISH
      -----------------------------------------
      by Ronald Kyrmse - certur@...
      April 2005


      J.R.R.Tolkien himself, and many of his followers, have devised
      varying methods for writing English phonemically using tengwar and
      tehtar. I propose yet another, trying to keep it as simple and logical
      as possible, while at the same time not deviating overmuch from JRRT's
      usage. I trust that the viewpoint of a non-native speaker of English
      will be sufficiently bias-free.

      In the following text I will sometimes refer to phonetic symbols by
      a description in square brackets [ ]. This will be done in order to
      avoid referring to glyphs that "normal" ASCII text cannot handle.
      Tengwar and tehtar will be designated either by their names or by
      descriptions, in pointed brackets < >.


      CONSONANTS
      ----------
      I do not think there is much controversy about how to represent
      most of the consonant phonemes of English. The following list is
      almost a consensus among authors writing English phonemically with
      tengwar. There also seems to exist a consensus to the effect that a
      vowel-tehta is written on the tengwa for the following consonant.

      STOPS:
      p <parma>, b <umbar>
      t <tinco>, d <ando>
      k <quesse>, g <ungwe>
      FRICATIVES:
      f <formen>, v <ampa>
      th <thúle>, dh <anto> - as in _THorn_, _THis_
      s <silme (nuquerna)>, z <esse (nuquerna)>
      sh <aha>, zh <anca> - as in _SHort_, _meaSure_
      h <hyarmen>
      NASALS:
      m <malta>, n <númen>, ng <nwalme> - as in _My_, _No_, _riNG_
      LIQUIDS:
      l <lambe>
      r <rómen> (Note 1)
      AFFRICATES:
      ch <calma>, j <anga> - as in _CHeck_, _Job_
      SEMIVOWELS:
      w <vilya>, y <anna> (Note 2), wh <hwesta sindarinwa> (Note 3)

      Note 1: This is the _r_ sound that all speakers of English
      pronounce, as in _Round_ (initial) or _bRight_ (medial). On that _r_
      which is not necessarily pronounced by all, as in _theRe_, _foR_,
      _toweR_, see below.
      Note 2: These are as in _Wet_, _You_; not the _-w_ and _-y_ as
      final elements of diphthongs. On these latter, see Note 6 below.
      Note 3: The _wh_ sound as in _WHich_, for those who pronounce this
      word differently from _witch_.


      VOWELS AND DIPHTHONGS
      ---------------------
      The real controversy arises when it comes to representing the
      vowels and diphthongs (and triphthongs, in some pronunciations) of
      English. David Crystal, on p. 237 of "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
      the English Language", uses the system by British phonetician
      A.C.Gimson ("An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English") and
      gives the words below to illustrate each sound. I propose the tengwar
      / tehtar uses at the end of each entry.
      _Amatehta_ and _unutehta_ stand for a tehta above and below the
      tengwa respectively; unless otherwise indicated, all the tehtar
      proposed are amatehtar.
      <O-curl> and <u-curl> denote curls open to the right and left
      respectively, as in normal Quenya mode, not as in the
      Ring-inscription, which is in Black Speech and inverts this use.
      While it is not strictly true (phonetically speaking) that the
      vowels in _sea_, _calm_, _all_, _soon_ are the respective "long"
      versions of those in _him_, _sat_, _dog_, _put_, writing those in the
      first group with a tehta on a <long carrier>, and those in the second
      group with a tehta on a consonant tengwa or a <short carrier>, is
      clear enough and will cause no confusion to any reader. From a
      phonetic viewpoint, for instance, normal Modern English pronunciation
      uses no "long _ae_" (the long version of the vowel in _sat_). JRRT did
      use an <inverted a-tehta> (three dots in a triangle pointing
      downwards) for Anglo-Saxon _ae_, but, as explained, we do not have to
      use it; furthermore it does not exist in all tengwar fonts.
      As an alternative, some tehtar given as "on long carrier" may be
      written double. This is possible with the <dot>, the <o-curl> and the
      <u-curl>; a double triangle of dots would be almost illegible, and
      impossible to write with most current tengwar fonts. The <circumflex>,
      in Quenya spelling an alternative to the <three dots>, has been
      adopted for the vowel in _sun_ due to a similarity between this sound
      and a short _a_, and the availability of this tehta in most tengwar
      fonts.

      VOWELS:
      sea, feet, me, field = i: [lowercase i with colon] <dot on long
      carrier>
      him, big, vIllage, wOmen = I [small-cap i] <dot>
      get, fetch, head, Thames = e [lowercase e] <acute accent>
      sat, hand, ban, plait = ae [a+e-ligature] <three dots in triangle
      pointing up>
      sun, son, blood, does = ^ [inverted v] <circumflex accent>
      calm, are, fAther, car = a: [manuscript a with colon] <three dots in
      triangle pointing up on long carrier>
      dog, lock, swan, cough = [inverted manuscript a] <o-curl>
      all, saw, cord, more = [inverted c with colon] <o-curl on long
      carrier>
      put, wolf, good, look = U [inverted capital omega] <u-curl>
      soon, do, soup, shoe = u: [lowercase u with colon] <u-curl on long
      carrier>
      bird, her, turn, learn = 3: [inverted epsilon with colon] <long
      carrier + óre> (Note 4)
      the, buttER, sofA, About = [schwa, or inverted e] <unutehta dot or
      short carrier> (Note 5)

      DIPHTHONGS: (Note 6)
      ape, waist, they, say = eI [lowercase e + small-cap i] <yanta + acute
      accent>
      time, cry, die, high = aI [a + small-cap i] <yanta + three dots in
      triangle pointing up>
      boy, toy, noise, voice = [inverted c + small-cap i] <yanta + o-curl>
      so, road, toe, know = [schwa + inverted capital omega] <úre +
      o-curl>
      out, how, house, found = aU [a or manuscript a + inverted capital
      omega] <úre + three dots in triangle pointing up>
      deer, here, fierce, near = [small-cap i + schwa] <óre + dot>
      care, air, bare, bear = [e + schwa] <óre + acute accent>
      poor, sure, tour, lure = [inverted capital omega + schwa] <óre +
      u-curl>

      Note 4: This is a long vowel (reason for the <long carrier>) that
      does not occur in any other context, followed - in some pronunciations
      - by an _r_ sound (reason for <óre>).
      Note 5: The <unutehta dot>, also called _unuticse_ (wrongly spelled
      _nuntixë_ in the published "Etymologies") signifies the
      "colourless"
      vowel denoted by schwa, and may also be used under syllabic
      consonants, as in _voweL_, _commoN_, _bottoM_. A <short carrier>
      should be used in word-initial position, as in _About_.
      Note 6: This supposes - not too accurately, but closely enough for
      practical purposes - that English diphthongs are composed of a vowel
      plus a final element equivalent to one of the semivowels _w_ or _y_;
      these latter are therefore written as <úre> and <yanta>
      respectively.

      Triphthongs formed by adding schwa to the _-w_ or _-y_ diphthongs
      (such as in _plAYER_, _fIRE_, lOWER_, tOWER_) are spelled with a final
      <óre>.


      I would appreciate criticism on this proposal.

      - - - - -
    • j_mach_wust
      Hi Ronald Kyrmse I like your proposal. It s almost the same as what I d have chosen. That is to say, I chose it a few weeks ago for a transcription of the poem
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 7 3:54 PM
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        Hi Ronald Kyrmse

        I like your proposal. It's almost the same as what I'd have chosen.
        That is to say, I chose it a few weeks ago for a transcription of the
        poem Errantry on which I started a recent thread in #4689. You may
        have a look at it since in this thread, Dave and me have discussed
        some of the most controversial points of such a mode. Anyway, I'm
        going to write down my position again (so it becomes a little bit
        "realer" ;).

        ...
        > normal Modern English pronunciation
        > uses no "long _ae_" (the long version of the vowel in _sat_). JRRT
        > did use an <inverted a-tehta> (three dots in a triangle pointing
        > downwards) for Anglo-Saxon _ae_, but, as explained, we do not have
        > to use it; furthermore it does not exist in all tengwar fonts.

        To me, this is too unambiguously attested as to drop it (and I don't
        care about your latter point).

        ...
        > The <circumflex>,
        > in Quenya spelling an alternative to the <three dots>, has been
        > adopted for the vowel in _sun_ due to a similarity between this
        > sound and a short _a_,

        The three dots version and the circumflex version are said to be a
        mere variant, so I dislike to make this difference distinctive. The
        representation of this sound is the main problem of a phonemic tehtar
        mode for English. I prefer the grave accent, even though it's only
        attested for a schwa in DTS 41.

        ...
        > bird, her, turn, learn = 3: [inverted epsilon with colon] <long
        > carrier + óre>

        The attested spelling in DTS 47 (which I prefer) is óre + dot below.

        ...
        > the, buttER, sofA, About = [schwa, or inverted e] <unutehta dot or
        > short carrier> (Note 5)
        ...
        > Note 5: The <unutehta dot>, also called _unuticse_ (wrongly
        > spelled _nuntixë_ in the published "Etymologies") signifies the
        > "colourless" vowel denoted by schwa, and may also be used under
        > syllabic consonants, as in _voweL_, _commoN_, _bottoM_.

        To me, syllabicity and schwa shouldn't be represented in the same way.
        In the attested phonemic modes, they are distinguished. I think that
        words such as _gondola_ /gond@l@/, _marjoram_ /mardZ@r@m/ with two
        subsequent schwa syllables must not have a mark that could be mistaken
        for a syllabic consonant mark.

        I prefer to use the dot only as syllabicity marker, as attested in DTS
        39 (in the word _Britain_ that has the right tehtar-tengwar order) and
        in the similar use for the vowel of _turn_ seen in DTS 47. I'd
        represent the schwa, on the other hand, with the grave accent, the
        same tehtar I'd use as well for the vowel of _nut_.


        > A <short
        > carrier> should be used in word-initial position, as in _About_.
        ...

        Why so? (I've come to a similar solution, but I'm not sure about it.)


        ---------------------------
        j. 'mach' wust
        http://machhezan.tripod.com
        ---------------------------
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