Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

spelling of diphthongs (again)

Expand Messages
  • hisilome
    Last year, J. Mach Wust wrote (elfscript # 4273), in reply to Florian Dombach s speculation that in Quenya, diphthongs might originally have all been spelt
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 2, 2005
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      Last year, J. 'Mach' Wust wrote (elfscript # 4273), in reply to
      Florian Dombach's speculation that in Quenya, diphthongs might
      originally have all been spelt without reversing the "normal" reading
      direction (for which _nainie_ and _caita_ from the Namaarie
      inscription were quoted), but that this might (story-internally) have
      changed in the later ages under the influence of "mannish"
      orthography:

      >The modes where the letters bear the preceding tehtar use the same
      >letters for the second elements of diphthongs as for the initial
      >approximants /j/ and /w/. This could hardly initiate a system that
      >splits them up.

      With the exception of Sindarin as attested in KL, version 3, as you
      also note in your essay "What is General Use?".

      In fact, for the Sindarin mode where "tengwar bear the preceding
      tehtar" (often called "Standard" or "Mode of Gondor"), we seem to
      have no examples for /w/ at all, be it initial or as second part of a
      diphthong.

      As for /j/, as you also point out, yanta is used for the initial
      sound, but anna for the second part of diphthongs (in marked contrast
      to English, where anna is used in both positions, just as any /w/ is
      always represented by vala)--so here we do in fact see the same kind
      of split for initial and diphthong representation as in modes in
      which tengwar bear the following tehtar (such as the "classical"
      Quenya mode).
      So your entire argument against Florian's speculation seems to rest
      largely on the English modes, which strictly speaking would seem (to
      me) rather irrelevant for story-internal conjectures.

      With regard to this whole /j/, /w/ issue, you write in your essay's
      summary:

      >For English I have found the following: If the tehtar are placed on
      the
      >following tengwar, then any w is represented by vala, and any y by
      anna,
      >no matter if it is syllable-initial or second part of a diphtong.
      But if
      >the tehtar are generally placed on the preceding tengwar, then -w as
      a
      >second part of a diphtong is represented by uure, and -y as a second
      >part of a diphtong by yanta, and both tengwar bear the preceding
      tehta,
      >breaking thus with the normal tengwar-tehtar order. A <u> in a proper
      >name may be represented by the u-tehta on a short carrier.
      >
      >For Sindarin, I assume that it's the same but for syllable-initial y-
      ,
      >which is represented by yanta, not by anna. It might be that any w
      would
      >be represented by uure, not by vala, but this wouldn't be based on
      >anything but on an assumed analogy to yanta.

      When you say that you assume "for Sindarin it's the same", I assume
      (in accordance with your essay) you mean that where tehtar are placed
      on the preceding tengwar, initial /j/, /w/ are spelled with vala and
      anna, while diphthong glide /j/, /w/ are spelled with uure and yanta?
      Would there be any attestations at all for this? Or is this pure
      speculation? As far as I can tell, the only examples for Sindarin
      spelt with tehtar on the preceding tengwar are DTS 43, 44 and 58, and
      in none of them the sounds in question occur.
      (BTW, maybe one should use a shorter convention for the
      cumbersome "tehtar placed on..." stuff, how about BT (bottom-top
      [reading direction]) for modes where tehtar are placed on the
      preceding tengwar, and TB for the other kind.)

      To resume my argument, it seems thus that for BT Sindarin modes we
      have nothing but pure conjecture, while for TB modes (as in KL) we do
      see a dichotomy of initial vs. diphthong glide representation _where
      we have attested examples_, which admittedly is only for BT initial
      and diphthong glide /j/. So again, your statement that BT modes "use
      the same
      letters for the second elements of diphthongs as for the initial
      approximants /j/ and /w/" would seem too broad.

      You acknowledge this idiosyncrasy in your essay, and speculate
      that "Sindarin texts that use yanta for the consonantal y-sound are
      spelt according to Westron use". This would seem to contradict what
      you write in # 4273 about probable Westron spelling, "DTS 52 gives
      vala and anna the names wí and yé, whereas yanta and úre are given
      the names ai and au", which would seem to point to yanta for
      diphthong-glide /j/ rather than initial /j/, and anna for initial /j/
      instead--the exact opposite of Sindarin usage. (Again, for -w/w- we
      lack attestation AFAIK.)

      Even so, I still fail to see why an "orthographical adaptation"
      _might_ not have occured with the diphthong glide /j/ in Quenya (i.e.
      reversal of _possible_ original BT direction in diphthongs to TB
      spelling under the influence of Sindarin, which also shows dichotomy
      in the case of initial vs. diphthong /j/), even though it was "a
      language of the learned", especially since it wasn't the mother
      tongue of most Elves (and certainly not Men) in the later ages.
      Orthography might not be quite that resistent to change.
      Of course this wouldn't explain why Quenya has initial /j/ = anna and
      diphthong /j/ = yanta, and Sindarin the exact reverse. Maybe we would
      see the same symmetry for w- and -w, so that we could speculate that
      Sindarin would see uure for w- and vala for -w?

      I don't quite follow why an assumption for Sindarin that "any /w/
      would be represented by uure, not by vala" could be based on "an
      assumed analogy to yanta", when you do establish in your essay that
      there is a dichotomy for TB initial and diphthong glide /j/.
      Shouldn't we then "by analogy" also expect that TB initial /w/ be
      uure, but diphthong glide /w/ be vala, as my above (pure) conjecture
      has it?

      Greetings,

      Hisilome
    • j_mach_wust
      ... Well, no, in Sindarin, yanta is used initially and for second parts of diphthongs. What messes things up is the transcription into Latin letters that
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Dave Hisilome wrote:
        > Last year, J. 'Mach' Wust wrote (elfscript # 4273), in reply to
        > Florian Dombach's speculation that in Quenya, diphthongs might
        > originally have all been spelt without reversing the "normal"
        > reading direction (for which _nainie_ and _caita_ from the Namaarie
        > inscription were quoted), but that this might (story-internally)
        > have changed in the later ages under the influence of "mannish"
        > orthography:
        >
        > >The modes where the letters bear the preceding tehtar use the same
        > >letters for the second elements of diphthongs as for the initial
        > >approximants /j/ and /w/. This could hardly initiate a system that
        > >splits them up.
        >
        > With the exception of Sindarin as attested in KL, version 3, as you
        > also note in your essay "What is General Use?".
        >
        > In fact, for the Sindarin mode where "tengwar bear the preceding
        > tehtar" (often called "Standard" or "Mode of Gondor"), we seem to
        > have no examples for /w/ at all, be it initial or as second part of
        > a diphthong.
        >
        > As for /j/, as you also point out, yanta is used for the initial
        > sound, but anna for the second part of diphthongs (in marked
        > contrast to English, where anna is used in both positions, just as
        > any /w/ is always represented by vala)--so here we do in fact see
        > the same kind of split for initial and diphthong representation as
        > in modes in which tengwar bear the following tehtar (such as the
        > "classical" Quenya mode).

        Well, no, in Sindarin, yanta is used initially and for second parts of
        diphthongs. What messes things up is the transcription into Latin
        letters that doesn't represent all the yanta letters in the same way:
        Initial yanta is represented by i, but second-part-of-diphthong yanta
        is represented by e. Don't tell me these are different sounds. The /j/
        in the word yes isn't identical to the /j/ in the word boy either.

        ...
        > You
        ...
        > speculate
        > that "Sindarin texts that use yanta for the consonantal y-sound are
        > spelt according to Westron use". This would seem to contradict what
        > you write in # 4273 about probable Westron spelling, "DTS 52 gives
        > vala and anna the names wí and yé, whereas yanta and úre are given
        > the names ai and au", which would seem to point to yanta for
        > diphthong-glide /j/ rather than initial /j/, and anna for initial
        > /j/ instead--the exact opposite of Sindarin usage.
        ...

        This doesn't rule out the possibility that the difference between
        Westron initial y and Sindarin initial i was so pronounced that
        general use writers used different letters for these sounds, just like
        Roman writers thought the difference between Greek y and Roman u to be
        so pronounced that they used different letters.

        Anyway, that hypothesis about Westron pronunciation is very speculative.

        I see and admit that this essay's wording about Sindarin is confusing,
        especially in the resume.

        If someone wanted to read the whole essay, it's in the files section:

        http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/elfscript/files/j_mach_wust/general_use.txt

        ---------------------------
        j. 'mach' wust
        http://machhezan.tripod.com
        ---------------------------
      • hisilome
        ... Namaarie ... same ... that ... you ... of ... of ... yanta ... The /j/ ...
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@y...>
          wrote:
          > Dave Hisilome wrote:
          > > Last year, J. 'Mach' Wust wrote (elfscript # 4273), in reply to
          > > Florian Dombach's speculation that in Quenya, diphthongs might
          > > originally have all been spelt without reversing the "normal"
          > > reading direction (for which _nainie_ and _caita_ from the
          Namaarie
          > > inscription were quoted), but that this might (story-internally)
          > > have changed in the later ages under the influence of "mannish"
          > > orthography:
          > >
          > > >The modes where the letters bear the preceding tehtar use the
          same
          > > >letters for the second elements of diphthongs as for the initial
          > > >approximants /j/ and /w/. This could hardly initiate a system
          that
          > > >splits them up.
          > >
          > > With the exception of Sindarin as attested in KL, version 3, as
          you
          > > also note in your essay "What is General Use?".
          > >
          > > In fact, for the Sindarin mode where "tengwar bear the preceding
          > > tehtar" (often called "Standard" or "Mode of Gondor"), we seem to
          > > have no examples for /w/ at all, be it initial or as second part
          of
          > > a diphthong.
          > >
          > > As for /j/, as you also point out, yanta is used for the initial
          > > sound, but anna for the second part of diphthongs (in marked
          > > contrast to English, where anna is used in both positions, just as
          > > any /w/ is always represented by vala)--so here we do in fact see
          > > the same kind of split for initial and diphthong representation as
          > > in modes in which tengwar bear the following tehtar (such as the
          > > "classical" Quenya mode).
          >
          > Well, no, in Sindarin, yanta is used initially and for second parts
          of
          > diphthongs. What messes things up is the transcription into Latin
          > letters that doesn't represent all the yanta letters in the same
          way:
          > Initial yanta is represented by i, but second-part-of-diphthong
          yanta
          > is represented by e. Don't tell me these are different sounds.
          The /j/
          > in the word yes isn't identical to the /j/ in the word boy either.

          <<<<<No, of course they are different.>>>>>
          <<<<<Yes, but _ai_ and _ui_ are spelled with anna. And I don't know
          if the second part of _ae_ and _ai_ are indeed identical to initial
          yanta as in _iorhael_ etc. Aren't the second sounds, the "glides", in
          all the four above diphthongs all rather similar to the sound
          represented by "y" in "boy", since you bring up that example? Tolkien
          himself somewhere stated, I think, that the difference between _ae_
          and _ai_ in Sindarin was rather small. So why use anna in _ai_ and
          _ui_ and not yanta as well? I don't think the second parts of _ai,
          ui_ correspond anymore to the "j" in "yes" (and thus the initial
          sound of _iorhael_) than the second parts of _ae, oe_, so Sindarin
          spelling is inconsistent in itself, not only in its Romanization.
          So: if "boY" is different from "Yes" (which it is), and _Iorhael_ is
          identical to "Yes" (which it is), then I think _oE, aE_ cannot be the
          same as "Iorhael".

          Your write yourself that
          ">For Sindarin, I assume that it's the same but for syllable-initial
          y-
          ,which is represented by yanta, not by anna."

          From this, one would gather that one might expect to see anna for
          initial y-, but doesn't (which was why I said your statement that"The
          modes where the letters bear the preceding tehtar use the same
          >letters for the second elements of diphthongs as for the initial
          >approximants /j/ and /w/" is too broad, and you admit that the
          phrasing might be confusting :)). And one might expect that since
          anna would correspond to the sound in _ui, ai_ (second part of
          diphthongs)--at least that's how I read it, maybe I'm wrong. I agree
          then, that y- and _uI, aI_ are different (and the latter more
          like "boY", but would you really pronounce, say, the _i_ in _Iorhael_
          exactly like the _e_ in _Iorhael_? And how does the _e_ in _Iorhael_
          differ from the _i_ in, say, _drannail_? There should be a slight
          difference, agreed, or they wouldn't be spelled and identified as
          different diphthongs by the Professor, but I'd say neither of them
          corresponds exactly to the "y" in "yes."

          Maybe Sindarin doesn't fit into any nice patterns (as English modes
          do on this particular point). ;)>>>>>

          Hisilome
        • hisilome
          Before I forget it: J. Mach Wust, how _would_ you explain the unusual spellings of _nainie_ and _caita_ in Namaarie? Just boring spelling errors? Just
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            Before I forget it: J. 'Mach' Wust, how _would_ you explain the unusual
            spellings of _nainie_ and _caita_ in Namaarie? Just "boring" spelling
            errors? Just curious if you have another theory...;-)

            Hisilome
          • j_mach_wust
            ... However small these differences are or not, they are significative. Sindarin /ae/ and /ai/ are different phonemes, since a minimal pair of words may differ
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              Dave Hisilome wrote:
              > --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@y...>
              ...
              > > What messes things up is the transcription into Latin
              > > letters that doesn't represent all the yanta letters in the same
              > > way: Initial yanta is represented by i, but
              > > second-part-of-diphthong yanta is represented by e. Don't tell me
              > > these are different sounds. The /j/ in the word yes isn't
              > > identical to the /j/ in the word boy either.
              >
              > <<<<<No, of course they are different.>>>>>
              > <<<<<Yes, but _ai_ and _ui_ are spelled with anna. And I don't know
              > if the second part of _ae_ and _ai_ are indeed identical to initial
              > yanta as in _iorhael_ etc. Aren't the second sounds, the "glides",
              > in all the four above diphthongs all rather similar to the sound
              > represented by "y" in "boy", since you bring up that example?
              > Tolkien himself somewhere stated, I think, that the difference
              > between _ae_ and _ai_ in Sindarin was rather small. So why use anna
              > in _ai_ and _ui_ and not yanta as well?

              However small these differences are or not, they are significative.
              Sindarin /ae/ and /ai/ are different phonemes, since a minimal pair of
              words may differ only in this sound (I don't know whether we know
              acual minimal pairs).

              > I don't think the second
              > parts of _ai, ui_ correspond anymore to the "j" in "yes" (and thus
              > the initial sound of _iorhael_) than the second parts of _ae, oe_,
              > so Sindarin spelling is inconsistent in itself, not only in its
              > Romanization.
              > So: if "boY" is different from "Yes" (which it is), and _Iorhael_ is
              > identical to "Yes" (which it is), then I think _oE, aE_ cannot be
              > the same as "Iorhael".

              However, they actually are the same in DTS 49.

              In "top-bottom" modes, any letter that is used for initial glides is
              also used as a second element of diphthong.

              ---------------------------
              j. 'mach' wust
              http://machhezan.tripod.com
              ---------------------------
            • hisilome
              ...
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                j 'mach' wust wrote:
                > > So: if "boY" is different from "Yes" (which it is), and _Iorhael_
                >>is
                > > identical to "Yes" (which it is), then I think _oE, aE_ cannot be
                > > the same as "Iorhael".
                > >
                > However, they actually are the same in DTS 49.

                <<<<<_Spelled_ the same way, yes...but _maybe_ in Sindarin (as in all
                living languages), not _everything_ that's spelled identically is
                necessarily pronounced exactly the same way? I can only ask you
                again: would you really pronounce the _i_ in _Iorhael_ exactly like
                the _e_ in _Iorhael_? Personally, I find that hard to do. I also seem
                to recall (sorry that I can't think of the exact source) that Tolkien
                himself wrote something to the effect that diphthongs in -e are
                pronounced similar to those in -i, only that instead of pronouncing a
                quick "i" after the initial sound (as in "ai"), one should try to
                pronounce a quick "e"--doesn't sound like the /j/ of "yes" (a
                palatal) to me. :)>>>>>

                >In "top-bottom" modes, any letter that is used for initial glides is
                >also used as a second element of diphthong.

                <<<<<Hm. That sounds slightly but significantly different from your
                previous wording, which left me with the impression that any letter
                that is used for initial glides in TB modes is used for the _exact
                same_ (or corresponding) sound as a second element of a diphthong.
                The way you put it now, I have no problem with the statement.>>>>>

                Greetings,

                Hisilome
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.