259Numerals as Adjectives in Quenya
- Oct 3, 2002In Germanic languages numerals that are plural in sense pluralize the noun
they describe, e.g. _one book_ and _two books_. In Finnish numerals that
are plural in sense do not pluralize the noun they describe, they render
the noun partitive, e.g. _yksi kirja_ "one book" and _kaksi kirjaa_ "two
books". But what is the case in Quenya? Do numerals pluralize nouns in
A compound word _Otselen_ is glossed as "Seven Stars" in the Etymologies
(V:379). It is listed under a root for the number "seven OT- (OTOS, OTOK),
and it has the Quenya derivative of _otso_ "seven". _otselen_ is not plural
in form; it does not have any apparent Quenya plural markers, neither _i_
nor _r_. It can not possibly be conceived to mean "Seven Star", a single
star marked by seven points for example, for it is associated with the
constellation of Great Bear. Thus we have an example of a number word
behaving as any other adjective does in Quenya when it is used as an
The cases in the published corpus with numeral words and nouns together
are rare; this is the only example of such in Quenya that I know of.
The behaviour of numerals as adjectives is similar in Sindarin, cf.
_edegil_ "Seven Stars" (V:369) and _Menegroth_ (XI:415). To me, it seems
pretty obvious that numerals do not pluralize their noun in Quenya. That
has been silently asumed before, but without real basis.
Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
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