319Re: Tyelpetema and phonetics vs. phonology in Quenya
- Feb 15, 2003[Sorry for such a belated responce: I meant to react to this letter,
but was occupied by other things. -- ab]
Pavel Iosad wrote:
> One long-standing problem in Quenya phonology has been the anomal**First of all, I think there is no published writing of Tolkien's
> behaviour of the _tyelpetéma_ consonants with regard to syllable weight,
> which is in turn connected with the permission/prohibition of long
> vowels in non-final syllables and stress. That is, since Quenya does not
> allow extra-heavy non-final syllables and at the same time a heavy
> penult bears the stress, we are facing a problem of how to interpret the
> (both well-attested) heavy weight of a syllable where a short vowel is
> followed by a _tyelpetéma_ consonant (as in _hiruválye_, the acute
> accent indicates stress) and the permitted long vowel in _máryat_ (this
> time it is length that is indicated by the acute accent).
where he would state Quenya does not permit, to simplify it, long
vowels before consonant clusters. Or course, I may be wrong, so
It is true that we do not practically find any example of this,
there might be indications that it is possible, nevertheless. First,
it might be just _máryat_ if _ry_ stands for a consonant cluster (which
is possible). Then there is the form _Hrísto_ in a version of The
Litany of Loreto (VT44:12). Yes, it might be a slip or we may argue it
was changed to _Hristo_, but the striking fact is that Tolkien allowed
it to stand at least for a while! Another important thing to mention
is the presence of diphthongs before consonant clusters, at least _ai_
in _aista-_. Diphthongs, at least for purposes of the stress, are
treated like long vowels and are bimoraic.
[_aista-_ 'to dread' (V:358) -- PHW]
It must also be realized that what is written as Cy does not have to
stand for a palatal(ized) sound. Surely _my_ in _lamya-_ "to sound"
(Etym s.v. LAM) cannot stand for a palatal _m_, as no palatal _m_
exists (as far as I know it is impossible). It might be a palatalized
_m_ (which is not unusual). The question is whether the _y_ in _lamya_
stands for [j] or whether _my_ is a digraph for [m'] (palatalized _m_,
I will use the apostophe for palatalization). And the same can be
applied to other Cy combinations: it is hard to say whether _ry_ in
_máryat_ stands for [R] (palatal _r_, I will use capitals for palatals)
or [r'] or [rj] (resp. [r'j]). How did Tolkien pronounce it in
I wonder how is this dealt with in the tengwar, though I am not sure
if we have enough examples. Combinations Cy (i.e. consonant + y) are
written with the tehta "following y" in Namárie (the same way the
tyelpetéma was written according to App. E). This is a little bit
problematic, since I think _my_ then might also be written as <malta>
With this are connected what I would call primary and secondary Cy
combinations. Primary Cy combinations are those that existed from
Primitive Quendian (resp. Common Eldarin). They occur exclusively
word-initially. For instance _ny_ in _nyello_ which is derived from
the base NYEL. Or _ty_ in _tyelpe_ which is from KYELEP. Probably
even at the PQ/CE stage these Cy combinations stood for palatals
(KY being a palato-velar). Then there are secondary Cy combinations
which arose from the contact of C and y, mostly if a y-mopheme was
suffixed: _van + ya_, _tul + ya_, _quend + ya_ etc.. What we do not
know is whether e.g. _n + y_ in _vanya_ produced [N] or [n'j]/[nj].
The same holds for _máryat_ and _hiruvalye_. There are some
indications that (some) secondary Cy combinations stand for two sounds.
I think I mentioned it in earlier posts: (a) in VT42:27 Tolkien
mentioned that "_atatya_ remained [unreduced] because the second _a_
was not syncopated, being in a long syllable"; (b) in a table in
VT43:29, suffixes _-nye_ and _-lye_ seem to cause reduction of the
length of the preceding vowel: _onye_ and _olye_ vs. _óni_ and _óle_.
The latter example is expecially interesting, because the forms
_onye_ and _olye_ are comparable with _máryat_ in structure.
However, there is another fundamental thing to remember: published
sources are from different stages of the development of Quenya and
they do not have to compatible.
Another thing must also be mentioned. Quenya does not like sequences
of consonants much and if there is a sequence, it does not consist
of more than two members. In other words, we do not see combinations
of three and more consonants in Quenya. Nevertheless, we see
combinations CCy: _nty_, _ndy_, _rty_ (_lty_ not attested), _sty_,
and _hty_. This suggests that combinations Cy (at least _ty_ and
_dy_) stand for single consonants.
* * *
The theory about morphemic boundary from _Introduction to Elvish_ was
snipped, Pavel rejects it himself. Then he suggests that _á_ could be
interpreted as biphomenatic, though he is not sure with this. However,
I think it is not such impossible a theory, given that _á_ could be
interpreted as bimoraic, as a succession of two identical vowels
(i.e. _aa_). He then writes:
> Besides, such an explanation fails to account for the _hiruvalye_ case.**It certainly is. _lyenna_ seems to be our sole example of this.
> Since the _a_ is short, we expect the penult to be closed. Thus, _ly_ is
> bimoraic - whether a geminate or [l] + a glide (to which we will return
> anon) - but if it is, it wouldn't be permitted initially, since Quenya
> does not tolerate initial clusters. True, _lyenna_ - the only example of
> initial _ly_ - is somewhat doubtful,
However, I spoke about the word-initial _ly_ with Helge Fauskanger
long before the _lyenna_ phrase appeared and he said that he seemed
to remember he had seen an example of a word-initial _ly_ somewhere,
presumably it was a Qenya example, but he was not sure where he had
seen it; he suggested some Vinyar Tengwar. Maybe the editors of VT
and PE could help us?
[Fauskanger's "Quenya-English wordlist" (downloadable at
"_lyá_ ??? (_Narqelion_)". No page citation is provided, but
Fauskanger is apparently referring to the analysis of _Narqelion_
in _Parma Eldalamberon_ No. 9 (by Christopher Gilson and
myself), which gives line 15 as _N-alalmino lyá lanta lasse_
(PE9:14). However, _lyá_ in the PE9 transcription is in error,
the analysis having been written before the complete con-
tents of the Qenya Lexicon were available to us. In Christopher
Gilson's post-QL presentation and analysis of _Narqelion_
in VT40 (which scholars should consider the standard edition
of this text) line 15 is corrected to _N-alalmino hyá lanta
lasse_, with _hyá_ 'here by us' as in QL (PE12:41). -- PHW]
Anyway, _lyenna_ is clearly a grammatical word. It was suggested that
it might be an elided form of *_elyenna_, which is utterly possible.
It also might be a product of analogy of forms like _tye_ (perhaps
even *_nye_ which was also suggested). These forms would not bring
any problem, since we normally see word-initial _ty_ and _ny_.
As I said _lyenna_ is a grammatical word. By this I mean that it
bears certain grammatical marks (it is therefore marked) and such
forms may behave otherwise than other, unmarked, forms. An example
of this may be _ciryant_ which appears in the Plotz Letter. In Letters
no. 347 Tolkien stated that Quenya did not tolerate final consonants
other than dentals; he repeated the same idea in VT42:7, mentioning
_t, n, l, r_ (he forgot _s_). Hence _ciryant_ contradicts this
statement, but as it is a grammatical (inflected) word, it is
allowed to exist.
> but the other _tyelpetéma_**In other words, an intial _d_ is not found (though _Aldudénie_ might
> consonant are perfectly allowed: _nyelle_, _tyelpe_ (I know it's not
> quite pure Quenya, but it's an example all right), save _ry_, which
> can't be there for historical reasons, and not because of an abhorrence
> of initial _tyelpetéma_ liquids (there wouldn't be anyway a lot of
> places for _ly_ to go if _tyelpetéma_ liquids were avoided, since _ry_
> would also be impermissible and initial _d_ is forbidden).
be an example of this under certain assuptions), which does not
necessarily mean it is forbidden. One would be inclined to say that
a medial _ky_ is not permitted if _Erukyerme_ (UT) and _Ekyanáro_
(VT41:14) were not attested.
[Initial Q. _d-_ does occur rarely in QL in such forms as _die_
'yesterday', _diéra_ (adj.) 'yesterday's; bygone, over, passed'
< DYÊ- 'behind, back (before of time)' (PE12:105). The note
"Inwelin forms such as _gw_, _dy_ also given" appearing at the
head of the Y-entries in QL (PE12:104) suggests that these
forms in _d-_ are from the Inwelin dialect -- interestingly,
it has often been proposed that _Aldudénie_ is from the
Vanyarin dialect of Quenya (the Vanyar replacing the Inwir
in the later versions of Tolkien's mythology). -- PHW]
> It would be**That would, but it is not certain whether _ry_ is a member of
> strange if part of the series was allowed initially and part not (_ry_
> is a special case apparently).
the tyelpetéma, see below.
> In the above discussion I have carefully avoided using the words**I think members of the tyelpetéma are palatal consonants.
> 'palatal' or 'palatalized' with reference to _tyelpetéma_ consonants,
> since we should first determine whether they are the former or the
> latter. I suggest they are palatalized.
Tolkien himself said that Quenya had a palatal series (tyelpetéma,
LotR, Ap. E). In PE13:63, _ty_ is said to be "a very forward
palatal stop foll[owed] by a distict _y_ off-glide". Also, the
grouping of sounds in _The Qenya Phonology_ suggest that the
_ty_-series was a palatal one (PE12:15).
> One obvious reason is that we would then have problems with interpreting**That is an importand fact, but actually it may mean nothing. The fact
> _r_. A *palatal* _r_ (as opposed to palatalized) is simply nonexistent
> in the world's languages, and even if it is, the nearest _I_ can come to
> a palatal trill or flap is a retroflex approximant [...]
that a palatal _r_ seems to be nonexistent does not mean that it does
not exist in Quenya. Although I am not familiar with any language
possessing a palatal _r_, I read it occurred in a language called
Malayalam (I read this in _Trends in Phonological Theory_ by Eli
Fischer-Jorgensen p. 65). It is also supposed to have existed in old
Czech (as a reflex of _rj_), but this does not mean anything.
The existence of a palatal _r_ is, however, suggested in _The Alphabet
of Rúmil_ in PE13. Tables R12 and R14 have signs for "front r or rj".
However, first, it is not said whether these signs were used in Q(u)enya
and secondly, other tables do not have these signs, though they have
signs for _ly_ (R13, R17b, R18). On the other hand, the table R15
(Qenya Grammar Excerpt) does not show any sign for either of them.
Even _The Qenya Phonology_ (PE12) does not also seem to hint _ly_
and _ry_ existed in Qenya. Of course, it is still Qenya and not Quenya,
so the situation may be (and actually is) a little bit different in the
A short discussion on [tS] snipped. Then follows:
> _hy_ is somewhat a problem, since it apparently _is_ palatal.**This sound worries a little bit, since I am not very skilled in
phonetics. I wonder whether is the same thing as [TH], that is,
the palatal counterpart of [th], because all the tincotéma
consonants (t, d, n + r, l) seem to have tyelpetéma counterparts
(ty, dy, ny + ry, ly). Theoretically, there could be a combination
_thy_ in a derivative of a root with coda _th_ (such as KHITH).
If such a combination existed, what happened with it when
_th_ was changed to _s_? Did _thy_ > _sy_? As I am not a
phonetician, I cannot say whether there is a difference between
_thy_ and _sy_ (whether the distinction strident/not-strident might
exist even among palatals).
(By the way, if combinations Cy stand for palatals, then there
must have existed /S/ (i.e. a palatal _s_), realized as [Z] between
vowels -- this was the source of _ry_ [R].)
Let me note that the idea of _thy_ entered my mind when I saw
VT8. It contains "Full Chart of the _Tengwar_" by Edouard
Kloczko. I ordered the issue, because the item was marked as
"contain[ing] previously unpublished primary material from the
Tolkien archives" on the VT site. The chart is actually the one
we know from LotR expanded by the tyelpetéma and the grade
for aspirates. The names for the tyelpetéma are as follows: _tyelpe_,
_indyo_, _ithtyar_, -- (aspirates do not have names), _intya_,
_nyelle_ and _arya_. The tyelpetéma counterpart of _th_ is
therefore not _thy_ but _thty_!
I was (and still am) quite puzzled by this chart, because if it
contains some previously unpublished information, I want(ed) to
know more. I contacted Edouard therefore, but he did not appear
to be very willing to talk about it with me, he only wrote to me
that it had been him who had made the chart with his own brain.
I wanted to ask Carl Hostetter about this but forgot to do it,
so maybe I can ask now?
[In Elfling message # 11088, Anders Stenström stated: "In his
_Dictionnaire Quenya-Francais-Anglais_ Edouard Kloczko cites
names given to him by Christopher Tolkien for the six tengwar of
the tyelpetéma: _tyelpa_, _indyo_, _ithtyar_, _intya_, _nyelle_ and
_arya_. In addition, there is a special name for _lambe_ with y-dots:
_alya_." In reply, Carl pointed out that: "Edouard was _not_ given
the name **_ithtyar_; instead, he altered the actual name, _istyar_,
in accordance with his (false) belief that the _s_ in the name came
from original _th_." -- PHW]
[The part about palatalization in Russian snipped. -ab]
> My suggestion is the following. The stress in _hiruvalye_ is to be**I think it is a palatal, being distinct to a palatalized _l_, which
> explained by the fact that Quenya stress, not being phonological, is
> determined by purely phonetic environs, unlike the (phonemically
> relevant) length.
> I would suggest that _ly_, being palatalized,
occured between _e, i_ and a consonant, cf. App. E s.v. L: "[_l_] was,
however, to some degree 'palatalized' between _e, i_ and a consonant,
or finally after _e, i_".
> was articulated with a very audible [j] off-glide,**Which is utterly possible, cf. the citation about _ty_ from PE13
> which had at some time become an additional**Well, this may be possible. Yet it does not seem to me as a
> mora. So _ly_ is bimoraic, the first mora being the rhyme of the
> preceding syllable and the second the onset of the next one.
> *Phonologically* this _ly_ is single, as it *is* allowed initially.
satisfying explanation, but then I have a lot to learn.
[The part about Archi and Polish snipped. -- ab]
> Now with regard to length, there is a different situation. Stress,**I do not think it is obvious.
> phonologically irrelevant in Quenya, can be determined by the purely
> phonetic environs. Length, being phonologically important, should be
> judged on the phonological level. Now if _ry_ is a single consonant (it
> apparently is *phonologically*),
> then the syllable division in _máryat_**Morphological criterion might also have played its role, because
> is _má+ryat_. There is the question of unattested syllable- (=word-)
> initial _ry_, but the tendency for open syllables must be much stronger
> than the tendency for maximum onsets.
there is a morpheme boundary between _má_ and _rya(t)_. The same
morpheme boundary is, however, between _ma_ and _nna(r)_ in
_mannar_ (FS, LR:72). Here the geminated (or long) _n_ may also
be phonologically a single consonant, though phonetically a succession
of two identical consonants. For that matter there would be the same
> Thus, my suggestion is the following: a CV[Cy]V sequence is phonetically**While this may be possible, I think there are many uncertainties.
> (for purposes of stress) divided into syllables as CV[C+y]V and
> phonemically (relevant to length) as CV+[Cy]V.
kurvannapi vyalíkáni yah. priyah. priya eva sah.
anekadós.adus.t.ó 'pi káyah. kasya na vallabhah.
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>