131Re: [LDB] Analysis of _Elen Síla..._
- Jul 24, 2002Aiya!
In this letter I mostly address Kai because he is the author of QH and
of the quoted analysis, but everyone is invited, especially to correct
my errors and add new aspects to analysis.
First, let me make myself clear: the purpose of this analysis is to
use an example to collect all the linguistic description we need from
a piece of text to: 1) compare it to any available LDB's (like Kai's
"Quettahostanie") abilities to determine its applicability to our task;
2) to help to create an outline of the architecture of linguistic data
to be included in a hypothetical ELDA (Elvish Linguistic DAtabase), if
it is to be created.
For that purpose we don't need to involve in details of the current
phrase. What we need is an outline of what data do we need to store
describing a phrase.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 12:27:58 AM, Kai MacTane wrote:
>> Let's use "Elen siila luumenn' omentielvo". I confess I may be shortKM> I'm only a would-be or wanna-be _lambengolmo_, but here's my analysis
>> of knowledge to undertake an all-encompassing analysis of it.
>> Perhaps the venerable lambengolmor would give us a valuable lesson?
KM> of the phrase.
KM> [A]: Not necessary (or possible) in Quenya; no indefinite article
KM> exists in Quenya. Necessary in translation into English to conform
KM> with English grammar, which requires articles.
That is why any noun as a syntactic object in ELDA should have as one
of its descriptions the indication of its definite/indefinite status,
linked to the word it is defined by (not necessarily and article), and
Q _i_ (when used as the article) should be linked to the noun it
describes; the same applies to virtually any word that defines
KM> _Elen_: "star", from the root EL-. This is related to _Elda_ and
KM> _ele/ela_ (see the Silmarillion appendix entry; the original first
KM> utterance of the Elves is given there as _ele_ but in Q&E as _ela_).
KM> [For a truly complete analysis, I'd add a note on the first appearance
KM> of _elen_ in the Quenya Corpus. I don't feel like looking it up now,
KM> since I get the impression that the style of this analysis is more
KM> important than the specifics for each word, for purposes of this
KM> discussion. I'll throw in similar notes about where there should be
KM> more complete references as this analysis continues.]
That's why any object (presently, a word-object) should not be stored
independently from its context (on which he obviously does depend),
and share a date-description with the text-object it is included in.
Thus one should be able to search for every case of the word "elen"
used with chronology and other contextual conditions for search.
Next, a lexical word-object should definitely have a vocabulary
description for referential purposes. That was outlined in your lines
three paragraphs above. Probably we'll need a dictionary module.
KM> The word is expressed in the nominative singular.
The case is a grammar category of a word with shows its syntactical
relations to other words in a phrase. That reveals a very important
element in the structure of description: the syntactical one. For
scholarly purposes it is not enough to indicate the case of a noun. It
should be presented in a syntactical context.
So first comes the sentence itself as a syntactical object. It has
certain characteristics to be described with. Like it is being a
declarative one, a simple one, etc.
Next come the members of the sentence. They too have their own
descriptions, like _elen_ being the subject of the phrase. It is its
role as the subject that places this noun in the nominative case.
A side note: this matter brings us one level deeper - to
morphological objects, like the zero ending in _Elen_ which shows
it being in the nominative. Such elements have their own
Next the members of the sentence are grouped in various syntagmas.
Each syntagma have its own description, like "elen siila" being an
external syntagma, and a predicative one. So depending on the syntagma
we are analyzing its members should be described as the definitive or
the defined element. The members of a syntagma can be related to each
other differently. For example, "siila luumenn[a]" has - well, I don't
know how it is called in English, in Russian it is "upravlenie", so in
English it could be "control" - a controlling relation. So syntagma
member-objects should be linked to their counterparts with which they
A member of a sentence usually comprises several syntagmas in which it
plays different parts. For example, "siila luumenn[a]" is an objective
syntagma, where the object "luumenn[a]" defines the verbal part which
is definable. While "luumenn[a] omentielvo" is an objective syntagma,
too, but here "luumenn[a]" is defined by "omentielvo". So members of
syntagmas define or are defined in several syntagmas, and only the
subject of a sentence comprises a single syntagma in which it is the
definitive. That's why it is called absolute definitive. Here "elen"
is not defined by anything.
And so on. I hope that gives you some idea of the nested structure we
need. Objects in objects in various hypostases with different
Kai, forgive me for skipping most of your own analysis, I've seen that
in some aspects I simply repeat your one, but I've tried to present it
in a more systematic and complex way.
Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]
: linde nar i oomar tolesse vanwa yaamala :
[In addition to all the _theoretical_ analytical information of the sort
that Boris outlines above, there should be a means of distinguishing
Tolkien's own statements about such matters from those that are non-
Tolkienian conjecture (however clever and/or well-informed). Carl]
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