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origin of tehtar-Sindarin mode

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  • Lakis Lalakis
    I was reading also Thorsten Renk s article on whether the tehtar-Sindarin mode was a mannish invention or not. His points are that considering LOTR, Tolkien
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 29, 2007
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      I was reading also Thorsten Renk's article on whether the
      tehtar-Sindarin mode was a mannish invention or not. His points are that
      considering LOTR, Tolkien intended that this mode was of Elvish origin.
      However later revisions point that it was a mannish invention. The
      article isn't taking a position, however I would like to comment on a
      certain interpretation of Tolkien's words.

      In a section, he discusses the possibility of it being an Elvish origin,
      from LOTR-only material. The article quotes from App. E:

      /The scripts and letters used in the Third Age were all ultimately of
      Eldarin origin, and already at the time of great antiquity. They had
      reached the stage of full alphabetic development, but older modes in
      which only the consonants were denoted by full letters were still in use

      /The article considers that Tolkien implied this: "Tehtar modes are
      ancient - full modes are more recent. Therefore the Sindarin tehtar-mode
      is more ancient than the Mode of Beleriand". It then says that Tolkien
      (post-LOTR) changed his mind and revised the story.

      'Revised' is where I disagree. Personally, I don't think that this
      statement necessarily proves that he intended the tehtar-Sindarin mode
      to be Elvish, and didn't necessarily /revise /his story later, when he
      was more inclined that it was a mannish invention; I rather think that
      he always intended so.

      The article seems to imply that Tolkien meant 'all of full modes derived
      from (or are evolutions of) tehtar modes. No tehtar mode is more recent
      than a full mode', which is quite stange. Mode of Beleriand didn't need
      a Sindarin tehtar-mode to evolve from. It could as well be evolved
      directly from the original tehtar Feanorian Tengwar (or even the Quanta
      Sarme mentioned in App. D of Q&E). Also, the existence of the full Mode
      of Beleriand in the First Age, did not mean that there could be no 'step
      backs'; a later Sindarin tehtar-mode could be well invented after the
      Mode of Beleriand.

      To summarize. Tolkien's statement therefore doesn't exclude that some
      full modes, although more recent, could also be 'original', not derived
      from an earlier tehtar-mode. He doesn't either exclude the possibility
      of a tehtar mode could be retro-invented, well after the more recent
      invention of the full modes. Therefore, we are not obliged to interpret
      it as that he intended the tehtar-Sindarin mode to be an ancient Elvish
      script while writing those lines of App. E, and therefore there is not
      necessarily a 'revision' to later concepts
    • Måns Björkman
      ... tehtar-mode ... I agree that the arguments for a revision about the origins of the Sindarin tehta-mode are weak. In my opinion there is nothing in Appendix
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 30, 2007
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        --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, Lakis Lalakis <avalon@...> wrote:
        >
        > I was reading also Thorsten Renk's article on whether the
        > tehtar-Sindarin mode was a mannish invention or not. [...]
        >
        > /The article considers that Tolkien implied this: "Tehtar modes are
        > ancient - full modes are more recent. Therefore the Sindarin
        tehtar-mode
        > is more ancient than the Mode of Beleriand". It then says that Tolkien
        > (post-LOTR) changed his mind and revised the story.
        >
        > 'Revised' is where I disagree. Personally, I don't think that this
        > statement necessarily proves that he intended the tehtar-Sindarin mode
        > to be Elvish, and didn't necessarily /revise /his story later, when he
        > was more inclined that it was a mannish invention; I rather think that
        > he always intended so.


        I agree that the arguments for a revision about the origins of the
        Sindarin tehta-mode are weak. In my opinion there is nothing in
        Appendix E that rules out the invention of ómatehta-modes later than
        the mode of Beleriand. The case is stronger for the "general use"
        having been invented with human languages in mind (and used for
        Sindarin by Men only), but we can't be certain even of that. Even if
        that was certain, the "general use" might have come into existence
        anywhere in the time between Finrod meeting the first Edain in
        Beleriand, and Sauron using this mode on the One Ring in the Second
        Age. It might thus be either earlier or later than the mode of
        Beleriand, but not necessarily significantly so.

        One point at which Torsten clearly is correct, however, is the
        revision of just how old "full writing" was. The description in
        Appendix E, where the writing is said to have reached the stage of
        "full alphabetic development", is hard to reconcile with that in
        _Quendi and Eldar_, where Feanor himself constructed a mode of "full
        writing".

        As for Frodo not being able to read the inscription on the doors of
        Moria, it seems reasonable to assume that the modes Frodo would be
        familiar with were those used in the King's Letter: the Sindarin
        tehta-mode -- AKA the "general use" -- and the "Later or Westron
        Convention" (as it is called in _Pictures_). With those two modes in
        mind, it is not surprising that the mode of Beleriand would be hard to
        read.

        Yours,
        Måns
      • Lakis Lalakis
        ... But the phrase doesn t exclude the existence of ancient alphabetic systems either. We have the Mode of Beleriand, implying First Age, in LOTR. The
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 30, 2007
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          Måns Björkman wrote:
          > One point at which Torsten clearly is correct, however, is the
          > revision of just how old "full writing" was. The description in
          > Appendix E, where the writing is said to have reached the stage of
          > "full alphabetic development", is hard to reconcile with that in
          > _Quendi and Eldar_, where Feanor himself constructed a mode of "full
          > writing".
          >
          But 'the phrase' doesn't exclude the existence of ancient alphabetic
          systems either. We have the Mode of Beleriand, implying First Age, in
          LOTR. The evolution to alphabetic systems could have happened any time
          earlier and we can see that, 'now' in the Third Age (where indeed more
          newer alphabetic modes have also been invented)
          > As for Frodo not being able to read the inscription on the doors of
          > Moria, it seems reasonable to assume that the modes Frodo would be
          > familiar with were those used in the King's Letter: the Sindarin
          > tehta-mode -- AKA the "general use" -- and the "Later or Westron
          > Convention" (as it is called in _Pictures_). With those two modes in
          > mind, it is not surprising that the mode of Beleriand would be hard to
          > read.
          >
          There was a tengwar webpage years ago, about 1998 or something. It
          belonged to someone 'Masi'. It explored the possibilities of how Frodo
          could have read the Gate. Anyone remembers it?
        • Måns Björkman
          ... Yes, but the wording reached the stage of full alphabetic development seems to me to exclude the possibility that full writing was part of Feanor s
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 30, 2007
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            --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, Lakis Lalakis <avalon@...> wrote:
            >
            > Måns Björkman wrote:
            > > One point at which Torsten clearly is correct, however, is the
            > > revision of just how old "full writing" was. The description in
            > > Appendix E, where the writing is said to have reached the stage of
            > > "full alphabetic development", is hard to reconcile with that in
            > > _Quendi and Eldar_, where Feanor himself constructed a mode of "full
            > > writing".
            > >
            > But 'the phrase' doesn't exclude the existence of ancient alphabetic
            > systems either. We have the Mode of Beleriand, implying First Age, in
            > LOTR. The evolution to alphabetic systems could have happened any time
            > earlier and we can see that, 'now' in the Third Age (where indeed more
            > newer alphabetic modes have also been invented)

            Yes, but the wording "reached the stage of full alphabetic
            development" seems to me to exclude the possibility that "full
            writing" was part of Feanor's original design -- as _Quendi and Eldar_
            suggests.



            > > As for Frodo not being able to read the inscription on the doors of
            > > Moria, it seems reasonable to assume that the modes Frodo would be
            > > familiar with were those used in the King's Letter: the Sindarin
            > > tehta-mode -- AKA the "general use" -- and the "Later or Westron
            > > Convention" (as it is called in _Pictures_). With those two modes in
            > > mind, it is not surprising that the mode of Beleriand would be hard to
            > > read.
            > >
            > There was a tengwar webpage years ago, about 1998 or something. It
            > belonged to someone 'Masi'. It explored the possibilities of how Frodo
            > could have read the Gate. Anyone remembers it?

            Yes, I remember that; it was quite funny, actually. The letters were
            transcribed with the sound values of the "Westron convention". Of
            course, the result was unintelligible.

            Yours,
            Måns
          • Måns Björkman
            ... I guess this is really a question of what you think is meant by The scripts and letters used in the Third Age , which is the subject of the relevant
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 31, 2007
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              --- In elfscript2@yahoogroups.com, Lakis Lalakis <avalon@...> wrote:
              >
              > Måns Björkman wrote:
              > > Yes, but the wording "reached the stage of full alphabetic
              > > development" seems to me to exclude the possibility that "full
              > > writing" was part of Feanor's original design -- as _Quendi and Eldar_
              > > suggests.
              > >
              > I still don't see why. First of all we have the Sarati, the original
              > writing system, which is a 'tehtar mode'. Quanta Sarme was a later
              > invention , therefore we can see it as the first full-mode 'derivative'
              > from a 'tehtar' one.

              I guess this is really a question of what you think is meant by "The
              scripts and letters used in the Third Age", which is the subject of
              the relevant sentence in Appendix E. If we regard the development of
              these scripts as _including_ the Sarati, then your point makes sense.
              You could say that the stage of full alphabetic development had been
              reached when Feanor created the Tengwar, including _quanta sarme_, as
              an improvement of the Rúmilian script.

              On the other hand, to me it seems Tolkien meant the description in
              Appendix E to refer to the Tengwar and Cirth exclusively. Two
              paragraphs later he mentions the "Tengwar of Rúmil", but only to note
              that they were not used in Middle-earth, and that the Tengwar of
              Feanor "owed something" to them. I almost get the feeling Tolkien
              wanted to stress the fact that Rúmilian was not among the "scripts and
              letters used in the Third Age", which "had reached the stage of full
              alphabetic development".


              > Furthermore, we know nothing about how QS was. It
              > could be quite alien to the tengwar, or obsolete by the time the Noldor
              > brought Tengwar to Middle-earth and therefore Tolkien not a part of the
              > process history.

              I very much doubt that the _quanta sarme_ would be "alien" to the
              Tengwar. The wording strongly suggests that this orthography was
              designed as a component of the writing system.



              > There is some possibility though (as said in
              > http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/History_of_Elven_writing_systems), that
              the
              > Mode of Beleriand borrowed some elements from QS, most significantly
              the
              > tengwa for 'a'

              That seems likely enough, yes. Now we even know that this tengwa had a
              Quenya name (at least in Tolkien's mind in the late 1930s): _osse_.



              > > Yes, I remember that; it was quite funny, actually. The letters were
              > > transcribed with the sound values of the "Westron convention". Of
              > > course, the result was unintelligible.
              > >
              > This IMHO shows the weaknesses of the adaptability of the Tengwar.
              Their
              > diverse uses were far more unintelligible than the various modern uses
              > of the Roman alphabet :(

              That is very true.


              Yours,
              Måns
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