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274Re: [Lambengolmor] The adjectival case and number agreement

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  • Tchitrec@aol.com
    Oct 6, 2002
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      On September 29th, Emanuele Vicentini wrote :

      >in _Namaarie_ the adjectival case seems to be
      invariable and _lisse-miruvooreva_ doesn't agree with _yuldar_; this is
      well known, but the really puzzling thing is: why? (...)

      >1) in _Namaarie_ (194X, LotR1/II chap. 8) the adjectival case seems to be

      >2) in "Quendi and Eldar" (1959-1960, XI:369 and XI:407) the adjectival case
      agrees in number with the object it describes and we see that plural
      nouns are declinable with this case

      >3) again in _Namaarie_ (1966, RGEO:66) the adjectival case seems to be

      >4) in the Plotz Letter (1966-1967, VT6) we don't have anything that could
      tell us if the adjectival case agrees in number or not, but we learn
      that in "`Classical' or Book Quenya" it cannot be applied to a plural
      noun (or so I understand the long line next to _ciryava_)

      > Did Tolkien change his mind again about number agreement of the
      adjectival case? Did he simply forget to change an _-a_ into _-e_? Wasn't he
      willing to change _Namaarie_ text again? Is there any reason, perhaps a very
      particular use of the adjectival case, behind the invariability of

      It would not be very surprising if he changed his mind back and forth : just
      remember how his opinion changed as ebb and flow to decide if the Sindarin
      word for sea would be "aear" or "gaear"...

      It is clear from "Quendi and Eldar" (XI:368-369 and 407) than the -va suffix
      is originally a derivational and more specifically adjectival ending. Quite
      naturally such adjectives could often be used to show possession (does
      Russian not display a similar method ?). Consequently the -va ending slowly
      came to be considered as a case suffix, a change shown by the fact that
      Quenya speakers introduced a singular/plural distinction : _Eldava_ vs.
      _Eldaiva_ (XI:407). I am not aware of other adjectival suffixes that can be
      added to specifically *plural* stems like Eldai-. Invariability of the suffix
      is the further step in this transformation of a derivational into a regular
      case ending.

      Hence I think that the discrepancy between "Quendi and Eldar" and "Namárië"
      may lie only in the stage reached by Quenya ; i.e. Tolkien knew what the
      general direction of linguistic change was, but found it hard to decide if
      the transformation was or was not complete. That's, of course, fully

      There is an example of a similar phenomenon in the development of Old
      Noldorin sm- to hm- or m-. Hm- looks like an intermediary stage. Some
      Noldorin words have m-, which was changed later to hm-, but not consistently
      : see V:386-387 entries SMAG and SMAL.. At the time of that change Tolkien
      evidently thought that the development had reached hm- only. But in later
      Sindarin Tolkien chose m- again, otherwise the _mallorn_ would be presumably
      a _**hmallorn_.

      Nai Anar caluva tielmanna !

      Bertrand Bellet

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