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Re: origin of tehtar-Sindarin mode

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  • Måns Björkman
    ... (IIRC, ... This _quanta sarme_ or full writing was indeed mainly used by the Loremasters for special purposes, until later in Middle-earth the
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 2, 2007
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      --- In elfscript2@yahoogroups.com, Lakis Lalakis <avalon@...> wrote:
      >
      > Måns Björkman wrote:
      > > 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.
      > >
      > You can understand the phrase "had reached the stage of full alphabetic
      > development" as indicating they were not exceptions any more, but now
      > had a wider use. We had the Sarati, and then the Tengwar of which
      (IIRC,
      > but I don't remember the exact source) the tehtar mode was far more
      > widely used for Quenya than Quanta Sarme, resulted to be used
      > exclusively by the loremasters if not Feanor alone.

      "This _quanta sarme_ or "full writing" was indeed mainly used by the
      Loremasters for special purposes, until later in Middle-earth the
      Fëanorian letters were applied to other languages, such as Sindarin,
      in which the diacritic method of indicating vowels was inconvenient."
      _Quendi and Eldar_ (VT 39:8)


      > The Cirth perhaps
      > could not be accounted since they were used mainly for decoration or
      > labels, not lore. The tengwar therefore did not reach the 'final' stage
      > of alphabetic development with QS: they just started the long
      journey to
      > it, until the Third Age.
      >
      > What happened in the Third Age? Full writing is no exception any more:
      > we have both Mode of Beleriand already and the full mode of Westron.
      the
      > many modes of Cirth, used not only by Sindar, but by Avari, Men and
      > Dwarves as well.
      >
      > On the other hand, this must have occurred anytime, but we don't care
      > when; We see it from the Fourth Age point of view and we know the
      > 'final' stage of maturation (even if it was as early as the Mode of
      > Beleriand) has 'already' been reached, period.
      >
      > But anyway, the concept that the alphabetic stage was reached as
      late as
      > in the TA is just wrong: we have already the Mode of Beleriand in LOTR.
      > The above reasoning I gave is an alternative way to understand
      Tolkien's
      > statement and reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable


      Yes, I concede that is a possible interpretation, though I don't think
      it's the most plausible one... And from your last statement, I guess
      neither do you.


      Yours,
      Måns
    • j_mach_wust
      ... As the two of you already pointed out, these two passages are not irreconciliable. There is yet another thing we have to keep in mind when trying to
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 6, 2007
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        Måns Björkman wrote:
        > One point at which Thorsten 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 the two of you already pointed out, these two passages are not
        irreconciliable. There is yet another thing we have to keep in mind
        when trying to understand the passage from app. E: It cannot mean that
        every "full writing" was developed from a previous ómatehtar mode,
        since the cirth were not developed from a previous ómatehtar mode.
        Therefore, I think we should not put too much emphasis on a litteral
        understanding of a "development" that had been "reached".

        > 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.

        But Frodo was not able to read the tehtar mode from the ring
        inscription either. That's why I think the hobbits knew only the
        Westron "full writing".

        grüess
        mach
      • Måns Björkman
        ... Very true. Suffice to say that we know less about what Tolkien thought of the origins of _quanta sarme_ when he wrote Appendix E than when he wrote
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 6, 2007
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          --- In elfscript2@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@...> wrote:
          >
          > Måns Björkman wrote:
          > > One point at which Thorsten 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 the two of you already pointed out, these two passages are not
          > irreconciliable. There is yet another thing we have to keep in mind
          > when trying to understand the passage from app. E: It cannot mean that
          > every "full writing" was developed from a previous ómatehtar mode,
          > since the cirth were not developed from a previous ómatehtar mode.
          > Therefore, I think we should not put too much emphasis on a litteral
          > understanding of a "development" that had been "reached".

          Very true. Suffice to say that we know less about what Tolkien thought
          of the origins of _quanta sarme_ when he wrote "Appendix E" than when
          he wrote _Quendi and Eldar_. Hopefully with future publications this
          will become clearer.



          > > 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.
          >
          > But Frodo was not able to read the tehtar mode from the ring
          > inscription either. That's why I think the hobbits knew only the
          > Westron "full writing".

          That is certainly a possibility. However, there are several aspects of
          the Ring inscription which may have caused Frodo's statement "I cannot
          read the fiery letters". He may have been confused by the use of the
          slanting ("italic") style, the extended stems, the absence of space
          between words, the unusual execution of the tehtar, and the alien
          language. When it comes to the Tengwar, I think there is a tendency
          towards too great a focus on modes, and disregard of the fact that
          many of us would have difficulties reading a hand-written text from
          just a few centuries ago -- even in our own alphabet and language.
          (See for instance this 16th century letter in English from Henry VIII
          to Ann Boleyn:
          http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/vatican.exhibit/exhibit/a-vatican_lib/images/vlib06.jpg)



          Yours,
          Måns
        • j_mach_wust
          ... http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/vatican.exhibit/exhibit/a-vatican_lib/images/vlib06.jpg) What you re saying about different styles doesn t convince me, since
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 9, 2007
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            Måns Björkman wrote:

            > > > 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.
            > >
            > > But Frodo was not able to read the tehtar mode from the ring
            > > inscription either. That's why I think the hobbits knew only the
            > > Westron "full writing".
            >
            > That is certainly a possibility. However, there are several aspects
            > of the Ring inscription which may have caused Frodo's statement "I
            > cannot read the fiery letters". He may have been confused by the use
            > of the slanting ("italic") style, the extended stems, the absence of
            > space between words, the unusual execution of the tehtar, and the
            > alien language. When it comes to the Tengwar, I think there is a
            > tendency towards too great a focus on modes, and disregard of the
            > fact that many of us would have difficulties reading a hand-written
            > text from just a few centuries ago -- even in our own alphabet and
            > language. (See for instance this 16th century letter in English from
            > Henry VIII to Ann Boleyn:
            >
            http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/vatican.exhibit/exhibit/a-vatican_lib/images/vlib06.jpg)

            What you're saying about different styles doesn't convince me, since
            the differences between the "formal book-hand shape" of DTS 9 and the
            "fiery letters" of DTS 7 seems very small to me, rather like the
            difference between the hand of two persons from the same school, and
            by far not as huge as the difference between our present usual
            handwriting and Henry VIII's (which I find rather easier to read than
            the old German handwriting based on blackletter). All the basic letter
            shapes remain unaltered, so there's for instance nothing like Henry
            VIII's "r" that looks exactly like a "z" to us. And the extension of
            the stems was common, cf. App. E: "They were not needed in the
            languages of the Third Age that used this script; but the extended
            forms were much used as variants".

            We might understand Frodo's statement about the letters as a statement
            that is not about the script, but about the language. He'd be using
            the word "letters" in a more colloquial sense then. Like this, it
            would still be possible to believe that hobbits knew ómatehtar. But a
            more litteral interpretation of the passage is at least as plausible
            to me, so that hobbits wouldn't know ómatehtar.

            grüess
            mach
          • Arden R. Smith
            It is worthwhile to look at Gandalf s reply to Frodo s statement: The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 9, 2007
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              It is worthwhile to look at Gandalf's reply to Frodo's statement: "The
              letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of
              Mordor, which I will not utter here." The implication of this is that
              Gandalf thought that Frodo's inability to read the Ring-inscription
              stemmed from unfamiliarity with both the mode and the language. If the
              mode had been one that Frodo would be expected to know, Gandalf could
              simply have said, "The language is that of Mordor, which I will not
              utter here."

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

              Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
              --Elvish proverb

              ***************************************************




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mans Bjorkman
              ... On the other hand, if Frodo was at all familiar with the Tengwar he must have realized that the letters were Elvish . Also, I think Gandalf might have
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 10, 2007
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                --- In elfscript2@yahoogroups.com, Arden R. Smith <erilaz@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > It is worthwhile to look at Gandalf's reply to Frodo's statement: "The
                > letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of
                > Mordor, which I will not utter here." The implication of this is that
                > Gandalf thought that Frodo's inability to read the Ring-inscription
                > stemmed from unfamiliarity with both the mode and the language. If the
                > mode had been one that Frodo would be expected to know, Gandalf could
                > simply have said, "The language is that of Mordor, which I will not
                > utter here."


                On the other hand, if Frodo was at all familiar with the Tengwar he
                must have realized that the letters were "Elvish". Also, I think
                Gandalf might have used the word "mode" in a more specific sense than
                we do when we talk of the "general use" as a mode. Although Frodo
                might be familiar with the general use in its contemporary
                Westron/Elvish form, the version used on the Ring may have been so
                unusual as to prompt Gandalf's clarification.

                Yours,
                Måns
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