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187Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • gentlebeldin
    Aug 7, 2002
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      --- In lambengolmor@y..., "atarinke" <martin.blom@c...> wrote:

      > Secondly, I think I might have found a (admittedly single) possible
      > minimal pair distinguishing them, namely _heruion_ (IX, p291)
      > meaning "of lords" and an unattested but probably possible word
      > _heru-yon_, "lord-son". Now, _heru-yon_ is unattested and would
      > in all probability be seen as quite archaic (yondo being the standard
      > form) but I would still say it's a possible Quenya word. I here think
      > that the /i/ in _heruion_ is syllabic while the /y/ in _heru-yon_ is not
      > so the difference in meaning would come across.

      I have to agree: any example of syllabic /i/ before another vocal
      would be sufficient to rule out the hypothesis in question,
      because /y/ is possible in the same environment. If you don't trust
      your _heru-yon_, we could refer to _yúyo_ ("both") from Etymologies

      But... is _i_ after _u_ syllabic? I've never heard a diphthong /ui/ in
      Quenya explicitly mentioned, but it was one in Sindarin. The mere
      fact that /y/ in the beginning of syllables appears as /i/ in
      Sindarin (while /ky/ simply has turned into /k/) speaks in favor of
      the hypothesis of Ales Bican. Sindarin vocalic /y/ seems to come from
      a former diphtong /ui/, in any case it doesn't come from the old semi-
      vowel _y_.

      Can _i_ be syllabic after _u_? If the spelling in Tengwar can be a
      hint, we should doubt it. JRRT writes _ui_ in _luini_ with an u-tehta
      over _yanta_ (cf. _Namárie in _The Road Goes Ever On).

      Syllabic /i/ before a vocal in the beginning of a word would be
      another matter. At some point, JRRT definitely thought of words like
      _ia_, Ialosse_, _Iolosse_ (look at the entries EY- and GEY- in
      Etymologies, V:396 and V:398). But then, he struck them out,
      and "eternal" was derived from OY-, V:423, giving _Oiolosse_ with a

      So the question is still undecided, I'd say.


      [As for the remark " I've never heard a diphthong /ui/ in Quenya
      explicitly mentioned", Appendix E to _The Lord of the Rings_
      states: "In Quenya _ui_, _oi_, _ai_ and _iu_, _eu_, _au_ are
      diphthongs (that is, pronounced in one syllable)." (LR:1090)
      -- Patrick Wynne]
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