330A few notes on the new Hobbit tengwar samples
- Dec 16, 2011Hi all
Some notes about the new tengwar samples of "The History of
the Hobbit" and "The Art of the Hobbit".
I hope none of you have bought the 2007 edition of "The
History of the Hobbit" yet, since the 2011 edition includes
more material ...
The most obvious new character is the looped z-hook which
according to both "The Tengwar (Dwarven Mode)" and
"Feanorian applied to English" is a different character from
the loop-less s-hook, a distinction that can be observed in
DTS 71. The question is, why didn't we notice that before?
It is not very surprising, because the only known specimen
so far that shows this distinction has been DTS 71. On one
hand, there have not been many specimina that include both
the s-ending and the z-ending. On the other hand, we know
several samples that clearly do not distinguish between a
loop-less s-hook and a looped z-hook. DTS 17 and 23, for
instance, use only loop-less hooks for either purpose, while
DTS 18 uses only looped hooks for either purpose.
What about the tengwar for [ae] (LATIN SMALL LETTER AE), [y]
and [oe] (LATIN SMALL LETTER OE) in "Feanorian applied to
English"? I am not talking about Vilya, Uure and Osse with
the dots above, but about the alternative tengwar slashed
Vilya, slashed Uure and Osse with hook. My proposal would be
that we consider them to be allographs of Vilya, Uure and
Osse with what we have called TENGWAR SIGN DOT INSIDE. It
appears to be the very same mark on vilya that we have
already seen in DTS 71. We shouldn't call it a dot, perhaps.
Of course, on Osse, the mark is not even inside. In fact,
that osse looks exactly like the hooked form we have known
to be a mere allograph of Osse in other specimina (final
Osse in DTS 45, 48). Also, from DTS 78 we know an instance
of Osse that really has a dot inside (and an andaith above).
Yet I still consider the hook on Osse in "Feanorian applied
to English" to be the same sort of mark like the slashes in
Vilya and Uure, because in the same sample, the signs for
[ae] [y] and [oe] are derivations of the signs for [a] [y]
and [o] that are formed by the same derivation mechanism.
The alternative way of encoding the "Feanorian applied to
English" [oe] tengwa seems much less favourable to me: If we
encode the hooked osse as a seperate character or if we
encode the 'osse hook' as a seperate tehta, we create
characters that are only attested in this single spot and
that bear no relation to the correspondent signs for [ae]
In "The Tengwar (Dwarven Mode)" we see for the first time
tengwar numeral systems as J. R. R. Tolkien devised them
(and not as Christopher Tolkien summed them up). The systems
are quite different from the tengwar numerals we know so
far. Both appear to be decimal systems because they include
a zero numeral. The first is based on the tengwar. The
numerals 1-8 are from the first two rows of the tengwar
table. However, they are not in the usual order, but in the
order Parma, Tinco, Calma, Quesse, Umbar, Ando, etc. The
numeral 9 is Unque, and zero is a stemless vilya with a dot
inside. The second numeral system is even more surprising:
It is a system of RUumilian numerals. My first guess is that
it is similar, but not identical to the other RUumilian
numeral systems we have known so far.
There is an andaith allograph that looks like a left-curl
(in the book style version of DTS 71).
The half-length carrier is identified as an allograph of the
short carrier in "Feanorian applied to English". I think
that is strange since this mode really distinguishes between
short carrier and long carrier, but then, this is only a
There is a transcription of "the" that has not been
abbreviated in "Feanorian applied to English". It features a
final "connected carrier".
The extended Ando (the usual abbreviation for "the") appears
in a transcription of the word "that", transcribed with
nothing but: extended Ando, Tinco (book style version of DTS
I would say that the strange Osse with a middle stroke like
a Latin uncial "E" from the recto of "Death of Smaug" does
not mean anything and is nothing but an influence from
uncial Latin calligraphy: Tolkien started off writing a
Latin uncial "E" and then decided to go on writing in
Tengwar, not in Latin script. I am basing this
interpretation on the immediately following instance that
shows plain Osse.
"Feanorian applied to English" shows a tehta for [V] (the
English STRUT vowel): It is the TENGWAR SIGN BREVE. It is
remarkable that the same tehta is mentioned as an
alternative for representing [a] (besides the usual a-tehta)
and serves as a base for deriving a tehta for [ae]! Do you
think that Tolkien really identifies [V] with [a]? I would
have thought that such an identification was just
peculiarity of the poor foreign accent of non-native English
speakers like me.
The exiting thing for us speakers of languages with front
rounded vowels is that for the first time, we have actual
tengwar signs for [y] and [oe] (LATIN SMALL LETTER OE)! The
tehtar are based on the plain u-tehta and o-tehta, but with
an additional dot. That was to be expected after such a
tehta has been described with DTS 50/51 and has been
attested in "Pre-Feanorian" scripts. The tengwar are also
based on the tengwar for [u] and [o], and are derived either
by adding a dot above or by adding some kind of slash or dot
inside (see above). The derivation of the [y] and [oe] signs
is the same as the derivation of the [ae] signs, so we can
understand it as a regular fronting derivation well suited
for Germanic umlaut.
Note on PE 19 extended tengwar
In the summer, we were debating whether the extended tengwar
should be called "extended tinco" etc. or "extended sUule"
etc. I think that the "extended tinco" view is backed up
(not only by Appendix E, but also) by PE 19, where the
extended forms represent variations of [pt] and [kt] and
sounds that have originated from these combinations.