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[elfscript] úr (e) and yanta (was: Re: úr >> úre )

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  • Arden R. Smith
    When viewed in relation to the familiar 1960s application of the tengwar to Quenya, the names _úr(e)_ and _yanta_ are certainly anomalous. These names are
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 3, 2002
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      When viewed in relation to the familiar 1960s application of the
      tengwar to Quenya, the names _úr(e)_ and _yanta_ are certainly
      anomalous. These names are best explained as relics.

      When _úr_ was first used as a tengwa-name (in the late 1930s, as far
      as I can tell), the tengwa to which it was applied in fact
      represented a vowel, as it does in such full modes as the Mode of
      Beleriand.

      When the name _yanta_ was given to that particular tengwa, the letter
      was used to represent /y/. Thus the word _yanta_ was spelt with the
      tengwa _yanta_ rather than with _anna_ and a subscript double-dot
      y-tehta.

      Of course, these explanations refer to the development of the tengwar
      during Tolkien's lifetime. The manuscripts don't really give any
      answers to these questions with respect to the mythological timeline.
      We have to rely on our own theories to explain why letters used for
      diphthongal off-glides were called _yanta_ and _úre_ in the Third
      Age. This is my theory:

      In the fictional history (as in the real one), the spelling _anna_ +
      y-tehta was a late addition to the Feanorian system. A hypothesis
      that _yanta_ originally represented /y/ in all positions (and _wilya_
      /w/ in all positions) is supported by the analogy of the forms of
      _yanta_:_hyarmen_::_wilya_:_hwesta_. After the introduction of the
      _anna_ + y-tehta spelling, the letter _yanta_ came to be used for the
      off-glide alone, though the old name was retained. The letter _úre_
      was then created (as a modification of _wilya_) to be its labiovelar
      counterpart.

      To explain why this letter was called _úre_, I'll go along with the
      theory that Danny mentioned:

      >I once proposed that perhaps the word/name 'úre' was originally
      >written as 'u' curl over úre, a 'uw' diphthong representing 'ú',
      >based on similar usage in the sarati.

      Danny's not the first to propose this theory. Jim Allan presented it
      in _An Introduction to Elvish_ (p. 243), but I like Danny's addition
      about the Rúmilian basis.

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

      "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
      "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
      "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

      --Lewis Carroll,
      _Through the Looking-glass_
      ********************************************************************
    • laurifindil
      ... can tell).As you probably know, Tolkien changed the meaning of stem *UR- in Etymologies from be hot and derivative _œr_ fire to *UR- wide,
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 4, 2002
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        --- In elfscript@y..., "Arden R. Smith" <erilaz@e...> wrote:

        >When _œr_ was first used as a tengwa-name (in the late 1930s, as far >as I=
        can tell).

        As you probably know, Tolkien changed the meaning of stem *UR- in
        "Etymologies" from "be hot" and derivative _œr_ "fire" to *UR- "wide,
        large, great" (p. 396).
        Is there any chance that ms. might help to date when the stem UR- took
        up _again_ the meaning "be hot"?
        Did the meaning "heat" always applied to the tengwa œr >> œre? Never
        "large" or "fire"?

        > the tengwa to which it was applied in fact represented a vowel, as it >do=
        es in such full modes as the Mode of Beleriand.

        Then it is awkward that Tolkien chose that name, beginning with a
        long-u, instead of a short one _u_, since œr was the _tengwa_ for the
        sound /u/, not /u:/. Or am I wrong?

        There are Q. Words which start with a short u : ulunde, usque, etc.

        Was that "discrepancy" ever explained?
        Or maybe it was chosen because it was felt (by the Eldar, not Tolkien)
        to be from the stem *uwr-?

        So since Tolkien wrote the name yanta starting with the tengwa yanta.
        Did he write the word œre in tengwar as <œr>+<—re>, with a sign under
        <œr> or <œr><wilya><—re> ?
      • Arden R. Smith
        ... Not as far as I know. None of the manuscripts that contain lists of tengwar names are explicitly dated, and the textual clues in them cannot provide more
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 6, 2002
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          Laurifindil wrote:

          >As you probably know, Tolkien changed the meaning of stem *UR- in
          >"Etymologies" from "be hot" and derivative _œr_ "fire" to *UR- "wide,
          >large, great" (p. 396).
          >Is there any chance that ms. might help to date when the stem UR- took
          >up _again_ the meaning "be hot"?

          Not as far as I know. None of the manuscripts that contain lists of
          tengwar names are explicitly dated, and the textual clues in them
          cannot provide more than a very vague dating. It seems to me,
          however, that the use of *UR- with the meaning "wide, large, great"
          was probably no more than a passing fancy.

          >Did the meaning "heat" always applied to the tengwa œr >> œre? Never
          >"large" or "fire"?

          The gloss "fire" appears in the 1930s material. I can find no
          evidence that the tengwa name ever had the meaning "wide, large,
          great".

          >Then it is awkward that Tolkien chose that name, beginning with a
          >long-u, instead of a short one _u_, since œr was the _tengwa_ for the
          >sound /u/, not /u:/. Or am I wrong?

          Add an andatehta, and it's also the tengwa for /u:/!

          >So since Tolkien wrote the name yanta starting with the tengwa yanta.

          I should clarify this. I've never seen an actual example of the word
          _yanta_ in tengwar written by Tolkien. I have seen the tengwa
          _yanta_ used to represent word-initial /y/ in Q(u)enya, but only in
          other words, e.g. _Yavanna_. When I said that "the word _yanta_ was
          spelt with the tengwa _yanta_," I meant that that was the only
          possible way to spell the word in that mode at that time, even though
          I had not seen that specific word written out. I apologize for my
          poor choice of words.

          >Did he write the word œre in tengwar as <œr>+<—re>, with a sign under
          ><œr> or <œr><wilya><—re> ?

          This, alas, must remain a mystery. I'm unaware of any example of the
          word _úr(e)_ written by Tolkien in tengwar.

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

          "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
          "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
          "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

          --Lewis Carroll,
          _Through the Looking-glass_
          ********************************************************************
        • laurifindil
          ... ... The andatehta (a big accent to show long vowel) was actually used in Quenya as well? So far, not a single published text in Quenya in tengwar
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 7, 2002
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            --- In elfscript@y..., "Arden R. Smith" <erilaz@e...> wrote:

            <snip>

            > >Then it is awkward that Tolkien chose that name, beginning with a
            > >long-u, instead of a short one _u_, since œr was the _tengwa_ for the
            > >sound /u/, not /u:/. Or am I wrong?
            >
            > Add an andatehta, and it's also the tengwa for /u:/!

            The "andatehta" (a big accent to show long vowel) was actually used in
            Quenya as well?
            So far, not a single published text in Quenya in tengwar uses it, if
            I'm not mistaken.
          • Arden R. Smith
            ... Quite right, but not a single published text in Quenya uses a mode in which vowels are represented by full letters, apart from those anomalous initials in
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 8, 2002
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              Laurifindil wrote:

              >The "andatehta" (a big accent to show long vowel) was actually used in
              >Quenya as well?
              >So far, not a single published text in Quenya in tengwar uses it, if
              >I'm not mistaken.

              Quite right, but not a single published text in Quenya uses a mode in
              which vowels are represented by full letters, apart from those
              anomalous initials in the "alda orne" inscription.

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

              "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
              "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
              "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

              --Lewis Carroll,
              _Through the Looking-glass_
              ********************************************************************
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