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[elfscript] Thoughts on Swedish (Scandinavian) vowels and tehtar.

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  • Johan Winge
    Hello everyone! Inspired by Angasules posting about a tengwar mode for Norwegian I think I ll share some thoughts on how to write vowels in Swedish. Maybe this
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 22, 2000
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      Hello everyone!

      Inspired by Angasules posting about a tengwar mode for Norwegian I think
      I'll share some thoughts on how to write vowels in Swedish. Maybe this is
      also applicable to Norwegian and Danish -- I unfortunately don't know much
      about the finer details of Scandinavian pronounciation. Comments from other
      speakers of Scandinavian languages are very much welcome.

      The vowels used in Swedish are written: a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä and ö. (In
      Norway they use æ and ø instead of ä and ö.)
      What I began asking myself though was what vowel _sounds_ there are in
      Swedish, and I got up with this list:

      These vowels have the same quality regardless if they are long or short (in
      terms of time):
      rIda, rInna i: , i
      grYta, hYlla y: , y
      hÖra, dÖrr ö: , ö
      bÄra, vÄrre ä: , ä
      rOpa, hOn o: , o

      ...while these are pronounced _differently_ -- a is eg. _not_ the same
      sound as a short a:.
      fAr; kAtt a: ; a
      hUs; kUlle u: ; u
      bÅt; lÅng, lOppa å: ; å
      lEta; dEtta, (mÄtt) e: ; e

      (The phonetic symbols used here is just my own, made up for this mail.)

      The first five lines is easy; each sound shall have its own tehta. The last
      eight sounds should ideally also have its own tehta I think, making a total
      of 13 different tehtar! A bit cumbersome maybe...

      A simpler approach may be to "only" use nine tehtar, as Angasule did; and
      that is also the way I would advocate. There is no _problem_ with that,
      apart from the loss of a truly phonemical tengwar mode. (Or, of course it
      can be seen as one, if the long carrier is seen as a modifier of the
      _quality_, not just the length of certain vowels. That, however, is not as
      far as I know the way the Eldar used it.)


      Regarding the question what tehtar shall be used for the different sounds,
      I think that almost everyone can agree on some things: a single dot for "i"
      and an acute accent for "e", (unless someone would like to switch them,
      something for which I see no reason); for the two "a" sounds the
      three-dot-tehta pointing upwards should be used, or a ^ in hasty writing.

      In the mode I've used for myself I have for "y" used the hook _/ or \_/
      seen in LOTR (b_y_ the hobbits) and Letters 118 (ver_y_ happ_y_). I
      wouldn't use the two under-dots, as Angasule suggested, since (1), I
      personally dislike tehtar below the tengwar (silly reason, I know), and
      (2), it is used for the consonant y in Quenya, i.e. I would read it as "j"
      in Swedish.
      _ _
      For "o" I have used / (curl open to the right) and for "u" / (open to the
      left), that is "common"(?) Quenya usage.

      Hitherto I have used a three-dot-tehta pointing downwards (a-nuquerna so to
      say) or a v-like tehta for the "ä" sound, being inspired by An Introduction
      to Elvish, but I have absolutely no problems with two overdots (¨). (That's
      what Tolkien used in Lowdham's manuscript found in Sauron Defeated.)

      Then there are "å" and "ö". Previously I have sometimes substituted "å:"
      with "a:" and "å" with "o", if you see what I mean. For "ö" I have used "o"
      with a dot below the tengwa, sort of umlaut. I don't like any of these
      attempts though...
      There are plenty of unused curl-variants, eg. \_ , that can be used for
      them. A problem with so many curls may be that it's troublesome to remember
      them or to distinguish between them; but with a little practise it
      shouldn't be that difficult.

      To summarise:

      a : Three dots pointing upwards or ^

      e : Acute accent /

      i : One dot .
      _
      o : Curl up open right /
      _ _
      u : Curl up open left / or \

      y : Curl down open left _/

      å : Not sure. Maybe curl down open right /_ or \_ ?

      ä (æ) : Two over dots ¨ (or maybe three dots pointing downwards or v)

      ö (ø) : Not sure. Maybe sort of a tilde '-, ex Angasule, or some curl, or
      three dots or...


      One issue not being adressed is whether to place the tehta above the
      preceding or following tengwa. I have always placed them above the
      preceding one -- that's what I find most logical. Are you accustomed to
      write in the other way?

      Well, enough for now. I'll write about the consonants and tengwar later.

      Sincerely,
      Johan Winge
    • estgaido@ba.net
      ... But it sure helps to avoid having many tehtar, at least for å it can be claimed to be historical :) ... That s were I saw it, too :) ... a: (I guess you
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 22, 2000
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        > A simpler approach may be to "only" use nine tehtar, as Angasule did; and
        > that is also the way I would advocate. There is no _problem_ with that,
        > apart from the loss of a truly phonemical tengwar mode. (Or, of course it
        > can be seen as one, if the long carrier is seen as a modifier of the
        > _quality_, not just the length of certain vowels. That, however, is not as
        > far as I know the way the Eldar used it.)
        But it sure helps to avoid having many tehtar, at least for å it can be
        claimed to be historical :)

        > Hitherto I have used a three-dot-tehta pointing downwards (a-nuquerna so to
        > say) or a v-like tehta for the "ä" sound, being inspired by An Introduction
        > to Elvish, but I have absolutely no problems with two overdots (¨). (That's
        > what Tolkien used in Lowdham's manuscript found in Sauron Defeated.)
        That's were I saw it, too :)

        > Then there are "å" and "ö". Previously I have sometimes substituted "å:"
        > with "a:" and "å" with "o", if you see what I mean. For "ö" I have used "o"
        > with a dot below the tengwa, sort of umlaut. I don't like any of these
        > attempts though...
        "a:" (I guess you mean a-tehta over long carrier) makes sense, and may
        be a good way of getting rid of one extra tehta. The combination of two
        tehtar (above and below) seems a bit impractical.

        > There are plenty of unused curl-variants, eg. \_ , that can be used for
        > them. A problem with so many curls may be that it's troublesome to remember
        > them or to distinguish between them; but with a little practise it
        > shouldn't be that difficult.
        It'd make reading even harder than it already is, and fast writing too,
        for that matter.

        > One issue not being adressed is whether to place the tehta above the
        > preceding or following tengwa. I have always placed them above the
        > preceding one -- that's what I find most logical. Are you accustomed to
        > write in the other way?
        Above the preceding tengwa, yes, that's why I mentioned the under dot
        as a possible short for final "e" that is so common in norwegian.
        Angasule
      • Mans Bjorkman
        ... No, it s still a phonemic mode -- no Swede would have difficulties comprehending far with the vowel having the same quality as the one in katt . What we
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 23, 2000
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          Johan Winge wrote:

          > ...while these are pronounced _differently_ -- a is eg. _not_ the same
          > sound as a short a:.
          > fAr; kAtt a: ; a
          > hUs; kUlle u: ; u
          > bÅt; lÅng, lOppa å: ; å
          > lEta; dEtta, (mÄtt) e: ; e
          >
          > [ . . . ]
          >
          > A simpler approach may be to "only" use nine tehtar, as Angasule did; and
          > that is also the way I would advocate. There is no _problem_ with that,
          > apart from the loss of a truly phonemical tengwar mode.

          No, it's still a phonemic mode -- no Swede would have difficulties
          comprehending "far" with the vowel having the same quality as the one in
          "katt". What we loose is a truly *phonetic* mode, but we have few
          examples of that overall.


          > In the mode I've used for myself I have for "y" used the hook _/ or \_/
          > seen in LOTR (b_y_ the hobbits) and Letters 118 (ver_y_ happ_y_). I
          > wouldn't use the two under-dots, as Angasule suggested, since (1), I
          > personally dislike tehtar below the tengwar (silly reason, I know), and
          > (2), it is used for the consonant y in Quenya, i.e. I would read it as "j"
          > in Swedish.

          I prefer to represent _y_ by two dots written above the tengwar, just as
          they are used in the Sindarin mode of the final King's Letter. Swedish
          /y/ is more similar to Sindarin /y/ than its English counterpart (does
          it exist at all in English?).


          > Hitherto I have used a three-dot-tehta pointing downwards (a-nuquerna so to
          > say) or a v-like tehta for the "ä" sound, being inspired by An Introduction
          > to Elvish, but I have absolutely no problems with two overdots (¨). (That's
          > what Tolkien used in Lowdham's manuscript found in Sauron Defeated.)

          I too use the overturned a-tehta, because its usage for _ä_ (or _æ_) is
          fairly well attested in some Tengwar inscriptions published in _J.R.R.
          Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator_. Another reason not to use the English
          _y_ "hook" (or its chevron-like allograph) is its close similarity to
          the overturned a-tehta written rapidly.


          > Then there are "å" and "ö". Previously I have sometimes substituted "å:"
          > with "a:" and "å" with "o", if you see what I mean. For "ö" I have used "o"
          > with a dot below the tengwa, sort of umlaut. I don't like any of these
          > attempts though...

          I must admit I usually write _å_ with the _o_-curl, but this is just
          because I prefer to avoid non-attested usage. (Both /å/ and /o/ is
          pronounced [å] occasionally.) I know that many write _å_ as a doubled
          _a_, i.e. as two circumflexes connected to resemble an "M". This usage
          rymes well with how _å_ developed from long _a_ in the Nordic languages
          (the little circle in "å" is actually an "a" in origin).

          A friend of mine noted, not too long ago, that if _å_ is written as
          double _a_, and _y_ is written as double _i_ (as it were), then doubling
          of a tehta can be taken to represent *rounding* of a vowel in Swedish,
          and consequently _ö_ could be written as double _e_. Personally, though,
          I use the flipped tilde, just as Angasule.


          > One issue not being adressed is whether to place the tehta above the
          > preceding or following tengwa. I have always placed them above the
          > preceding one -- that's what I find most logical. Are you accustomed to
          > write in the other way?

          I always write them above the following tengwa, but it may not be the
          most logical choice. I think when I started writing with Tengwar in
          Swedish it felt more natural to follow the English custom, since the
          tengwar assignments mostly follow those of the English system.

          Suilaid,
          Måns


          --
          Måns Björkman "A grim morn,
          Törnby and a glad day,
          SE-179 75 Skå and a golden sunset!"
          Sweden ~Theoden
        • Mark A Miles
          johan winge wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/elfscript/?start=8 ... v) ... curl, or ... Interesting... This would
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 27, 2000
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            johan winge <johan.wing-@...> wrote:
            original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/elfscript/?start=8
            > To summarise:
            > a : Three dots pointing upwards or ^
            > e : Acute accent /
            > i : One dot .
            > o : Curl up open right /
            > u : Curl up open left / or \
            > y : Curl down open left _/
            > å : Not sure. Maybe curl down open right /_ or \_ ?
            > ä (æ) : Two over dots ¨ (or maybe three dots pointing downwards or
            v)
            > ö (ø) : Not sure. Maybe sort of a tilde '-, ex Angasule, or some
            curl, or
            > three dots or...

            Interesting... This would work for Danish too...!

            > One issue not being adressed is whether to place the tehta above the
            > preceding or following tengwa. I have always placed them above the
            > preceding one -- that's what I find most logical. Are you accustomed
            to
            > write in the other way?

            I'm a die-hard Quenya-speaker, so I actually have *always* (and
            sometimes to my detriment) written the other way round... ;)

            Mark A Miles
            Dept. of Scandinvian Studies
            University of Edinburgh
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