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Latin (?) Tengwar

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  • Måns Björkman
    On June 23, J. Mach Wust wrote a long criticism of my description of the General Use at Amanye Tenceli. I am still working with many of his excellent
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 3 8:29 AM
      On June 23, J. "Mach" Wust wrote a long criticism of my description of
      the General Use at Amanye Tenceli. I am still working with many of his
      excellent suggestions, but in the meantime I would like to adress a
      particular subject that he raised:

      He wrote:
      > In DTS 41, I consider the word "klædiowl?s" to be English, not Latin.
      > It is only one word, but still, there are a three hints: The æ-sign is
      > only used in English language specimina, the ou-diphthong is only
      > expected in English, and the grave tehta at the end seems not to be a
      > transcription of the Latin u-sound, but rather of a schwa sound as in
      > English.

      I still think the word in question to be Latin by intention. But I am
      under the impression that Tolkien did not represent the classical
      pronounciation of Latin, but rather the pronounciation that he had
      learned in school or in his church.

      I believe a description of the source document is in place. DTS 41 is
      an envelope that is covered by several tengwar texts. All except one
      appear at a glance to be Latin. Hammond & Scull interpret them as
      "gladiolus", "fatarum", "scandens", and the phraze "ab incursu et
      daemonio meridiano" from Psalm 90 of the Vulgate. The word "gladiolus"
      actually begins with a <quesse>, not with the expected <ungwe> for
      /g/, but everyone seems to agree that this is a spelling error.

      The three isolated words are written one below the other in the same
      style (black ink outlines filled with red), while the other Tengwar
      texts of the envelope share another, distinct style. The three words
      thus bear a visual relationship.

      The strongest reason to believe that "gladiolus" is meant to be Latin
      is thus that it appears in a context that suggests it. "Gladiolus" is
      of course also an English word, being another name for "sword lily".
      English is notorious for borrowing from other languages, including
      Latin. What about "fatarum" and "scandens" - are they English words as
      well? No, not as such. But both have associations with plants.
      _Fatarum_ is the scientific name of a species of hoverflies (or
      "flowerflies"), while _scandens_ is a frequent scientific name for
      various climbing plants. _Gladiolus_ is of course likewise the
      scientific name of its genus. It is easy to imagine Tolkien sitting
      with a book on gardening in front of him when jotting down these words.

      So if we are to regard the three words as parts of taxonomic names,
      the only reasonable language to attach them to would be Latin. The
      objection to this is that the spelling of "gladiolus" appears to
      represent English pronounciation: [g]lædiowl@s.

      I think there is another Latin text on the envelope that does this,
      too: in the phraze "ab incursu et daemonio meridiano", the diphthong
      _ae_ is written <yanta + acute accent>, which suggests the
      pronounciation [ej]. This is not correct classic pronounciation, but
      it may very well be one heard in an English ecclesiastic or other
      non-academic environment. "Gladiolus" can be taken as an English word,
      but not this whole phraze.

      My conclusion is therefore that all the aforementioned Tengwar texts
      are meant to be Latin, but the spelling does not represent the classic
      pronounciation. But surely Tolkien would know the classic
      pronounciation of Latin? Certainly, but he would also be at home with
      the pronounciation used in the church -- and I am told that Latin as
      taught at the beginning of the 20th century often followed the native
      pronounciation of the speaker.

      Thoughts on this?

      --Måns
    • Arden R. Smith
      Excellent analysis, Måns! ... When I provided the readings of the words to Wayne and Christina, I was of course aware of _gladiolus_ as a plant name, but I
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 3 11:03 AM
        Excellent analysis, Måns!

        > The strongest reason to believe that "gladiolus" is meant to be Latin
        > is thus that it appears in a context that suggests it. "Gladiolus" is
        > of course also an English word, being another name for "sword lily".
        > English is notorious for borrowing from other languages, including
        > Latin. What about "fatarum" and "scandens" - are they English words as
        > well? No, not as such. But both have associations with plants.
        > _Fatarum_ is the scientific name of a species of hoverflies (or
        > "flowerflies"), while _scandens_ is a frequent scientific name for
        > various climbing plants. _Gladiolus_ is of course likewise the
        > scientific name of its genus. It is easy to imagine Tolkien sitting
        > with a book on gardening in front of him when jotting down these words.

        When I provided the readings of the words to Wayne and Christina, I was
        of course aware of _gladiolus_ as a plant name, but I had no idea that
        _fatarum_ and _scandens_ had any connection with plants, nor did I
        until I read your recent post. Thank you for providing a link between
        the words; the doodles make (somewhat) more sense now!

        > So if we are to regard the three words as parts of taxonomic names,
        > the only reasonable language to attach them to would be Latin. The
        > objection to this is that the spelling of "gladiolus" appears to
        > represent English pronounciation: [g]lædiowl@s.

        Incidentally, what I actually wrote in my (neatly handwritten) notes to
        Wayne and Christina here was:

        clædiou(l@s (?) ('gladiolus'?)

        [where <æ> was written as a digraph, <u(> was <u> with an inverted
        subscript breve, and <@> was schwa]

        > I think there is another Latin text on the envelope that does this,
        > too: in the phraze "ab incursu et daemonio meridiano", the diphthong
        > _ae_ is written <yanta + acute accent>, which suggests the
        > pronounciation [ej]. This is not correct classic pronounciation, but
        > it may very well be one heard in an English ecclesiastic or other
        > non-academic environment.

        My thoughts exactly.

        > My conclusion is therefore that all the aforementioned Tengwar texts
        > are meant to be Latin, but the spelling does not represent the classic
        > pronounciation. But surely Tolkien would know the classic
        > pronounciation of Latin? Certainly, but he would also be at home with
        > the pronounciation used in the church -- and I am told that Latin as
        > taught at the beginning of the 20th century often followed the native
        > pronounciation of the speaker.

        Tolkien's tengwar texts in Latin vary somewhat in this regard.
        Classical pronunciation is the most common in the unpublished
        manuscripts, but there are deviations. In one text, which will be
        published in the next issue of _Parma Eldalamberon_, consonantal <v> is
        represented twice as [v] and once as [w].


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

        Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
        --Elvish proverb

        ***************************************************
      • j_mach_wust
        ... In Letters 306 he wrote: So I grew up in a two-front state, symbolizable by the Oratorian Italian pronunciation of Latin, and the strictly philological
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 3 5:38 PM
          --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, Måns Björkman <mansb@h...> wrote:
          ...
          > But surely Tolkien would know the classic
          > pronounciation of Latin? Certainly, but he would also be at home
          > with the pronounciation used in the church -- and I am told that
          > Latin as taught at the beginning of the 20th century often followed
          > the native pronounciation of the speaker.

          In Letters 306 he wrote: "So I grew up in a two-front state,
          symbolizable by the Oratorian Italian pronunciation of Latin, and the
          strictly 'philological' pronunciation at that time introduced into our
          Cambridge dominated school."

          The former refers to the catholic pronunciation, the latter to the
          protestant pronunciation at King Edward's School.

          I don't know what the Oratorian Italian pronunciation is, though as to
          the "Italian" part of it, I imagine _ce ge_ to be pronounced [tSe dZe].

          ---------------------------
          j. 'mach' wust
          http://machhezan.tripod.com
          ---------------------------
        • Melroch 'Aestan
          ... The official Latin pronunciation of the RC church is simply the Italian one, with _c_ and _g_ as [tS] and [dZ] before front vowels, with _ti_ + vowel as
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 4 4:52 AM
            j_mach_wust skrev:


            > I don't know what the Oratorian Italian pronunciation is, though as to
            > the "Italian" part of it, I imagine _ce ge_ to be pronounced [tSe dZe].

            The official Latin pronunciation of the RC church is simply
            the Italian one, with _c_ and _g_ as [tS] and [dZ] before front
            vowels, with _ti_ + vowel as [ts] + vowel and disregarding
            quantity except for purposes of stress placement. I'm not
            sure what they do to initial consonantal _i_ though.

            --

            /BP 8^)>
            --
            Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__
            A h-ammen ledin i phith! \ \
            __ ____ ____ _____________ ____ __ __ __ / /
            \ \/___ \\__ \ /___ _____/\ \\__ \\ \ \ \\ \ / /
            / / / / / \ / /Melroch\ \_/ // / / // / / /
            / /___/ /_ / /\ \ / /Roccondil\_ // /__/ // /__/ /
            /_________//_/ \_\/ /Eowine __ / / \___/\_\\___/\_\
            Gwaedhvenn Angeliniel\ \______/ /a/ /_h-adar Merthol naun
            ~~~~~~~~~Kuinondil~~~\________/~~\__/~~~Noolendur~~~~~~
            || Lenda lenda pellalenda pellatellenda kuivie aiya! ||
            "A coincidence, as we say in Middle-Earth" (JRR Tolkien)
          • Måns Björkman
            Mellyn, Based on Wust s comments, I have now extensively revised the overview and General Use Tengwar descriptions on Amanye Tenceli
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 5 3:38 AM
              Mellyn,

              Based on Wust's comments, I have now extensively revised the overview
              and General Use Tengwar descriptions on Amanye Tenceli
              (http://at.mansbjorkman.net/tengwar.htm and
              http://at.mansbjorkman.net/teng_general.htm). I just want to remark on
              a few minor details.


              --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@y...> wrote:
              > ...
              >
              > TENGWAR - GENERAL USE
              >
              > English samples:
              >
              > DTS 11 is also "general use", and so presumably is Tolkien's name in
              > DTS 56 (though I don't know that latter sample).

              Indeed they are! DTS 56 is another example of phonemic spelling: the
              Roman letter digraph "ie" in Tolkien's name is transcribed as a tehta
              on a long carrier. The tehta looks like a grave accent, but the
              inscription is made in such shaky handwriting that I strongly suspect
              it is meant to stand for something else, probably a regular acute accent.


              > In DTS 41, I consider the word "klædiowl?s" to be English, not Latin.

              I guess we have covered this subject in the "Latin (?) Tengwar" thread.


              > ---------
              >
              > Remark on the inclusion of the Old English samples:
              >
              > You have included the Old English specimina of DTS 50 and 51. However,
              > you only describe the tehtar of DTS 50, but neither the tehtar of DTS
              > 51 nor the special tengwar uses of either sample: The representation
              > of "w" by rómen, "wh" by the halla-rómen ligature (if you allow this
              > interpretation) and the use of vilya and vala as independent vowel
              > tengwar (vilya is attested many times in this use, vala in the last
              > word of DTS 50 II, line 24).

              Yes, the Old English samples are in many ways special cases. I have
              admittedly chosen a rather broad definition of the term "General Use".
              The value /w/ for <rómen> has now been included but I have not added
              the Old English /hw/ tengwa, simply because more exotic "additional
              tengwar" will be adressed in the descriptions of each respective language.


              > In the description of the diaeresis tehta, the DTS 50 value is
              > indicated as equally common as the "y"-value, whereas all other DTS 50
              > values are marked as rarer values.

              The wording is now altered so as to make no assessment of which values
              are more common.


              > a. Orthographic Spelling:
              >
              > ...
              >
              > You've forgotten to mention the prenasalization bar.

              No, but the division into different subheadings might be confusing. I
              hope the added note makes it more clear.


              > b. Phonemic Spelling:
              >
              > ...
              >
              > In the chart, vilya is marked as if it were not necessary even though
              > it is attested in the (enigmatic) transcription of "lie" in DTS 36.

              I am not sure how to treat this. To me, the use of <vilya> for [j] is
              quite clearly a mistake. I base this on three facts:
              1) Given the points of articulation for the témar in this mode, we
              would expect <vilya> to represent a velar, not a palatal.
              2) The preceding tengwa in the text is a <lambe>, and it is possible
              to see the closing line of <vilya> as an extension of the top line in
              the <lambe>.
              3) DTS 36 is a draft of the Two Towers cover, and the spelling was
              corrected to <anna> in the final version (DTS 37).


              Yours,
              Måns
            • i_degilbor
              ... In ecclestiastical Latin pronunciation, initial consonantal _i_ is peronounced /j/. It is often spelt _j_ as well (e.g. _Jesu_ rather than _Iesu_, _jam_
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 5 10:08 AM
                Teithant Melroch 'Aestan:
                > The official Latin pronunciation of the RC church is simply
                > the Italian one, with _c_ and _g_ as [tS] and [dZ] before front
                > vowels, with _ti_ + vowel as [ts] + vowel and disregarding
                > quantity except for purposes of stress placement. I'm not
                > sure what they do to initial consonantal _i_ though.

                In ecclestiastical Latin pronunciation, initial consonantal _i_ is
                peronounced /j/. It is often spelt _j_ as well (e.g. _Jesu_ rather
                than _Iesu_, _jam_ rather than _iam_, etc.). For the most part, the
                pronunciation of the Latin words is based on the pronunciation of
                their Latin descendants. A notable exception is the pronunciation of
                intervocalic _h_ in the words _mihi_ and _nihil_: the _h_ is
                pronounced /k/.

                Cuio mae, Danny.
              • j_mach_wust
                Måns Björkman wrote: ... English phonology, Latin language. Fair enough. ... As I ve said in message #4456, I imagine there might be an interdependence
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 5 5:07 PM
                  Måns Björkman wrote:
                  ...
                  > --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@y...>
                  > wrote:
                  > > ...
                  > >
                  > > TENGWAR - GENERAL USE
                  > >
                  > > English samples:
                  > >
                  > > DTS 11 is also "general use", and so presumably is Tolkien's name
                  > > in DTS 56 (though I don't know that latter sample).
                  >
                  > Indeed they are! DTS 56 is another example of phonemic spelling: the
                  > Roman letter digraph "ie" in Tolkien's name is transcribed as a
                  > tehta on a long carrier. The tehta looks like a grave accent, but
                  > the inscription is made in such shaky handwriting that I strongly
                  > suspect it is meant to stand for something else, probably a regular
                  > acute accent.
                  >
                  >
                  > > In DTS 41, I consider the word "klædiowl?s" to be English, not
                  > > Latin.
                  >
                  > I guess we have covered this subject in the "Latin (?) Tengwar"
                  > thread.

                  English phonology, Latin language. Fair enough.


                  ...
                  > The value /w/ for <rómen> has now been included but I have not added
                  > the Old English /hw/ tengwa, simply because more exotic "additional
                  > tengwar" will be adressed in the descriptions of each respective
                  > language.

                  As I've said in message #4456, I imagine there might be an
                  interdependence between the use of rómen for W and of the halla-rómen
                  ligature for HW. The only published texts that use rómen for W and at
                  the same time show instances of HW are the Anglosaxon texts, so
                  there's not much evidence for that interdependence. The idea that the
                  values of certain signs interdepend with the value of similar signs,
                  however, is very characteristic to the tengwar. In any case, you're
                  right that the halla-rómen ligature is exotic. But isn't the use of
                  rómen for W as well?

                  ...
                  > > b. Phonemic Spelling:
                  > >
                  > > ...
                  > >
                  > > In the chart, vilya is marked as if it were not necessary even
                  > > though it is attested in the (enigmatic) transcription of "lie" in
                  > > DTS 36.
                  >
                  > I am not sure how to treat this. To me, the use of <vilya> for [j]
                  > is quite clearly a mistake. I base this on three facts:

                  I think we can't even be sure that it is intended to represent [j]. It
                  might also be a representation of <e>, since the original text of that
                  line has "lie", so that use of vilya for <e> could be equivalent to
                  the use of yanta for <e> in DTS 62, if we assume it were intended to
                  be an orthographic transcription. If it really were an orthographic
                  transcription, then we'd expect the silent <e> of the word 'where' to
                  be transcribed with a dot below, yet there is none. However, the
                  nasalization bar in the word 'land' is also missing. Except for that
                  'e' in "where" and for the transcription of "lie", we can't decide
                  whether it is a phonemic or an orthographic transcription. What
                  puzzles me most is the diaeresis tehta in the transcription of "lie"
                  which is not found in any other English tehtar mode (if I'm not wrong)
                  and which makes the word look as if it were transcribed in the full
                  mode of DTS 16 etc.

                  > 1) Given the points of articulation for the témar in this mode, we
                  > would expect <vilya> to represent a velar, not a palatal.

                  Definitly not palatal, but perhaps a vowel or a glottal stop.

                  > 2) The preceding tengwa in the text is a <lambe>, and it is possible
                  > to see the closing line of <vilya> as an extension of the top line
                  > in the <lambe>.

                  I'm not sure about that one. Calligraphically, the text looks quite
                  carefully written. And is there any other evidence for a lambe closing
                  line extending onto a following calmatéma tengwa?

                  > 3) DTS 36 is a draft of the Two Towers cover, and the spelling was
                  > corrected to <anna> in the final version (DTS 37).

                  And the two dot tehta was corrected to a three dot tehta. I agree that
                  this sample is not important in a description of the general use.

                  ---------------------------
                  j. 'mach' wust
                  http://machhezan.tripod.com
                  ---------------------------
                • Måns Björkman
                  ... It certainly is, though not as exotic as the halla-rómen ligature . And as regards my article, I figured I should try to include every known value of the
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 5 11:20 PM
                    --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@y...> wrote:
                    > ...
                    > As I've said in message #4456, I imagine there might be an
                    > interdependence between the use of rómen for W and of the halla-rómen
                    > ligature for HW. The only published texts that use rómen for W and at
                    > the same time show instances of HW are the Anglosaxon texts, so
                    > there's not much evidence for that interdependence. The idea that the
                    > values of certain signs interdepend with the value of similar signs,
                    > however, is very characteristic to the tengwar. In any case, you're
                    > right that the halla-rómen ligature is exotic. But isn't the use of
                    > rómen for W as well?

                    It certainly is, though not as exotic as the "halla-rómen ligature".
                    And as regards my article, I figured I should try to include every
                    known value of the tengwar that I do list.


                    > ...
                    > > > b. Phonemic Spelling:
                    > > >
                    > > > ...
                    > > >
                    > > > In the chart, vilya is marked as if it were not necessary even
                    > > > though it is attested in the (enigmatic) transcription of "lie" in
                    > > > DTS 36.
                    > >
                    > > I am not sure how to treat this. To me, the use of <vilya> for [j]
                    > > is quite clearly a mistake. I base this on three facts:
                    >
                    > I think we can't even be sure that it is intended to represent [j]. It
                    > might also be a representation of <e>, since the original text of that
                    > line has "lie", so that use of vilya for <e> could be equivalent to
                    > the use of yanta for <e> in DTS 62, if we assume it were intended to
                    > be an orthographic transcription.

                    That would be the only attested use of <vilya> for /e/, wouldn't it?
                    (I'm not saying that it would be impossible for that reason, of course.)


                    > If it really were an orthographic
                    > transcription, then we'd expect the silent <e> of the word 'where' to
                    > be transcribed with a dot below, yet there is none. However, the
                    > nasalization bar in the word 'land' is also missing.

                    "The lad of Mordor". Isn't that Sauron? :)


                    > Except for that
                    > 'e' in "where" and for the transcription of "lie", we can't decide
                    > whether it is a phonemic or an orthographic transcription. What
                    > puzzles me most is the diaeresis tehta in the transcription of "lie"
                    > which is not found in any other English tehtar mode (if I'm not wrong)
                    > and which makes the word look as if it were transcribed in the full
                    > mode of DTS 16 etc.

                    Yes, now that you mention it, it looks to me as though Tolkien
                    accidently switched into a different mode.


                    > > 1) Given the points of articulation for the témar in this mode, we
                    > > would expect <vilya> to represent a velar, not a palatal.
                    >
                    > Definitly not palatal, but perhaps a vowel or a glottal stop.

                    Yes, that is possible.


                    > > 2) The preceding tengwa in the text is a <lambe>, and it is possible
                    > > to see the closing line of <vilya> as an extension of the top line
                    > > in the <lambe>.
                    >
                    > I'm not sure about that one. Calligraphically, the text looks quite
                    > carefully written. And is there any other evidence for a lambe closing
                    > line extending onto a following calmatéma tengwa?

                    None that I can think of at the top of my head. On the other hand,
                    there is little other evidence for <vilya> representing /e/ or /j/ either.


                    Yours,
                    Måns
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