301Finnish and Quenya future
- Jan 29, 2003There's a formation in Finnish to express future time: a conjugated
(person, time) form of the verb _olla_ 'to be' and the present
participle of a verb, e.g. _olen oleva_ 'I will be'. (Present
participles are formed from a verb stem + _-va_ adjectival
ending.) It is quite a formal and archaic construction. It is used
in the Finnish translation of the Bible (_Raamattu_), and people
often remember it thence.
Now, in Qenya the future tense is marked with an ending _-va_,
e.g. in _antáva_ 'will give' (V:72) < _anta-_ 'give' (V:348). (This
persisted to later Quenya in _-uva_.) It is possible that this future
construction was inspired by Finnish, since it also uses an ending
_-va_ to mark the future. Cf. "my 'own language' ... became heavily
Finnicized in phonetic pattern and _structure_" (L:214; emphasis mine).
Quenya is probably not overmuch influenced by Finnish in
vocabulary or syntax, but it has some similar or identical grammatical
endings, e.g. Quenya _-sse_ locative case (VT6:14) vs. Finnish
_-ssa/-ssä_ inessive case ending; and Quenya _-ra_ adjectival ending
(e.g. in _tára_ 'lofty' < TA3-, V:389) vs. Finnish _-ra_ adjectival
ending (e.g. in _avara_ 'expansive' < *_ava_ 'open'). Tolkien seems
to have borrowed old or obsolete grammatical features, e.g. Quenya
_-nna_ allative case ending vs. Finnish _-nne_ lative case ending.
This future formation could be another such a loan.
Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
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