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131Re: [LDB] Analysis of _Elen Síla..._

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  • Boris Shapiro
    Jul 24, 2002

      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 short
      >> of knowledge to undertake an all-encompassing analysis of it.
      >> Perhaps the venerable lambengolmor would give us a valuable lesson?
      KM> I'm only a would-be or wanna-be _lambengolmo_, but here's my analysis
      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
      are related.

      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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