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Re: origin of tehtar-Sindarin mode

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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