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Re: [elfscript] Westron mode use of vilya

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  • Arden R. Smith
    ... This is a term from Greek grammar. Greek words that are written with an initial vowel begin with either a rough breathing (the [h] sound, represented by a
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 14, 2002
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      Alf Gandson wrote:

      >*I'm sorry I don't understand what you mean by _a
      >smooth breathing_, a voiced h-sound or a normal,
      >voiceless one?

      This is a term from Greek grammar. Greek words that are written with
      an initial vowel begin with either a rough breathing (the [h] sound,
      represented by a backwards apostrophe) or a smooth breathing,
      represented by a normal apostrophe, which has no real phonetic value
      other than "absence of [h]". This was just speculation on my part,
      and I don't really believe that this is what Tolkien meant by <'>.

      >*I always thought there was a "general agreement" on
      >Jim Allan's proposal that vilya represented a glottal
      >stop in the Westron mode. Is this thought of mine just
      >due to the fact that I'm based on _An Introduction to
      >Elvish_ (by Jim Allan)?

      I would agree that the glottal stop is the most likely value of
      Westron <'>, especially given the use of <'> to represent a glottal
      stop in Khuzdul, but there doesn't appear to be any explicit
      statement by Tolkien to that effect.

      I failed to mention in my last post that the value of Westron <'>
      could also be purely etymological, representing some consonantal
      sound that was no longer pronounced in Third Age Common Speech.
      Unfortunately, we don't know very much about the phonological
      development of Westron from Adûnaic.

      It seems unlikely, however, that it would represent the /3/ or /?/ of
      Adûnaic. Lowdham's report states that the /3/ of archaic Adunaic
      later disappeared in all positions, lengthening a preceding short
      vowel when it was lost at the end of a word. Archaic /?/ presumably
      disappeared very early, according to Lowdham, and furthermore "had no
      sign in Adunaic script" (_Sauron Defeated_, pp. 419-20). Thus these
      sounds would already have vanished before the Downfall, so it is
      unlikely that the mortal races of Middle-earth would have preserved
      them in orthography more than three millennia later.

      --
      ********************************************************************
      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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