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276Re: The adjectival case and number agreement

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  • Hans
    Oct 6, 2002
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      --- In lambengolmor@y..., Tchitrec@a... wrote:

      > 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).

      Actually, that would contradict JRRT's words (XI:407) "Similarly with
      -va; but this was and remained an adjective, and had the plural form
      -ve in plural attribution". According to that, the adjectival
      character did not change later.

      JRRT usually was reluctant to change words he had written, especially
      those published already, when he could re-interpret them. Remember the
      name _Ungoliante_ or _Ungweliante: in Etymologies, it's derived from
      UÑG- (V:443) "gloom, shadow" and SLIG- (V:431) "spider, spider's web,
      cobweb". Among the derivations of the latter root, there is _líne_,
      and some may wonder whether it could be used for the WWW... Don't even
      dream! If you look at the names of the tengwar in Quenya, you'll find
      the name of tengwa 8, _ungwe_ "spider's web" (LR:1096).

      Could he re-interpret the sentence to be close enough to his (not
      literal) translation and circumvent the problem with agreement? That
      would be easy, in fact. Remember that _miruvóre_ is not exactly mead,
      but the drink of the Valar, "nectar". So _miruvóreva_ (sg.) would be
      an attribute, "nectarous". Mead is a beverage made of honey, and
      that's the gloss you find in the entry LIS- in Etymologies (V:411).
      _lisse_ could be "mead", and we have "nectarous mead", close enough to
      "sweet mead" in the translation. The words for the beverage would be
      simply in apposition with _yuldar_, draughts, without any genitive
      here ("swift draughts of the sweet mead" in the translation, LR:368).
      That's not possible in English or some other languages, but it may be
      possible in Quenya. It's costumary in German, where you say "ein
      Schluck Wein" (a draught of wine) or "ein Glass Bier" (a glass of
      beer), without any copula or case inflection.

      Necessary warning: that's just to show that a later re-interpretation
      would be possible. There is no doubt that _lisse_ meant "sweet" when
      JRRT wrote the poem, there's such a root LISI- meaning sweetness (and
      grace) already in QL (cf. VT43:29). But at that time, _-va_ had very
      likely another meaning than in Quendi and Eldar! And I'm not sure
      about _-ie_ being seen as a plural of _-ea_, at that time, or
      agreement in numbers...

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