- Aug 7, 2002--- In lambengolmor@y..., Fredrik <gwaihir@s...> wrote in response
to Carl Hostetter's comment (re the form _úcarer_ 'do ill, trespass'
in At. V, VI) that "If what you say is true of the aorist interpretation,
it is every bit as true of your past-tense interpretation":
> In the post that Carl is responding to, I said that where PatrickLater in this same message, Fredrik wrote:
> Wynne in his _VT_ analysis assumes an _i_ to be present, I
> see an exclamation mark. I did not say this in support of a
> past-tense interpretation.
> However, I do not think it reasonable to support the hypothesisCertainly one of the most irritating aspects of online discourse
> that there is an aorist form present in _i úcarer emmen_ by
> turning the postcard upside down and pointing out that Tolkien's
> marks could be interpreted as an _i_.
is the tendency people have to restate someone's opinion in
a distorted form, then to argue against the distorted version
rather than against what was originally said. This is what Fredrik
is doing here.
I have never said, and do not believe, that the faint pencilled
markings above the _e_ of _úcarer_ represent the letter _i_.
This is what was stated regarding this form in VT: "Faint
pencilled markings over the _e_ suggest that Tolkien intended
to emend _úcarer_ > _úcarir_ (though the form remains _úcarer_
in At. VI)." (VT43:12)
Please note that the mark or marks in question are described
here only as "faint pencilled markings" -- precisely because what
they represent is unclear. Also note that it is only said that these
markings "suggest" Tolkien's _intent_ to emend _úcarer_ to
_úcarir_. Nowhere in these remarks is there an assertion
that an _i_ is explicitly present. The same thinking underlies
my comment in message #176 that "_úcarer_ in At. V was
apparently marked for correction > _úcarir_"
The reason that I have supposed these "markings" were
intended to indicate that _úcarer_ should be changed to
_úcarir_ is this -- _úcarer_ in and of itself appears to be
an anomalous form; if it is a pa.t., then we should expect
_úcárer_, and if it is aorist then we should expect _úcarir_.
Given these two possibilities, it is probably significant that
in emending At. V, Tolkien made markings of some sort
above the _e_ in this form -- "as if to draw attention to
it", as Fredrik himself stated in message #177. Why would
Tolkien draw attention to the _e_ in _úcarer_? The likeliest
explanation is that he felt it should be emended to the
expected aorist form _úcarir_.
As for the retention of _úcarer_ in At. VI, this might indicate
that the _e_ in both occurrences of this form was deliberate
rather than (as I have previously posited) an error. It may
be that in writing At. V Tolkien was considering changing
the aorist pl. ending to _-er_. When emending At. V he
was undecided on this point, and so marked the _e_ in
_úcarer_ "to draw attention to it", i.e. he was contemplating
changing this ending back to _-ir_. Then when writing At. VI
he decided to stick with the "new" aorist pl. ending _-er_.
If this was the case, the change was probably short-lived; cf.
_i karir quettar ómainen_ 'those who form words with voices'
(XI:391) in _Quendi and Eldar_.
To reiterate: I do _not_ think the markings over the _e_ are
themselves a letter _i_, upside-down or right-side up. The
mark or markings (whatever it or they may be) were meant
to call attention to the _e_, probably indicating that Tolkien
was uncertain about it and considering its emendation, in
which case the likeliest candidate for the emended form
would be _úcarir_, the normal aorist pl. form.
-- Patrick Wynne
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