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366Re: ómentie

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Mar 19, 2003
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      Edouard asks about a Tolkien autograph letter, offered by Sotheby's as
      part of Lot 550 of Sale L01321 (auctioned on Dec. 13, 2001), at this
      writing still visible on the Sotheby's web site at:

      http://search.sothebys.com/jsps/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=4NDL

      I would first like to note that, even if anyone on this list has seen
      the entire contents of the letter in question, quoting from the
      unpublished portions of it without the permission of the Tolkien Estate
      is not permitted. However, the linguistically-relevant portion of that
      part of the letter that was published in the Sotheby's catalog reads
      (with uncertain readings and my guesses as to the wording of obscured
      parts indicated in brackets by ?):

      [con]tinuative of root _�il_, Q _sil_ "shine white" == "is now
      [shin]ing".
      _l�me_ "(period of) time" with the allative
      [?suffix] or case-ending _-nna_ : _l�menna_
      [?"toward the] time" -- no definite "article" : _the_ being
      [? understood] when a noun is defined by a genitive.
      [?_o]mentie-lma_ _�_ prefix ([?later]
      [...]) == together : _�mentie_ coming
      [?together,] meeting. _-lma_ suffixed possessive
      [... ?incl]usive _we_" (you and I/we), here
      [?in genitive] _-lmo_. "Of the meeting of
      [?you and me]/us".

      Some comments:

      1) The date of the letter is not given, but it can be inferred from
      the description on the auction site that it was written after
      14 Jan. 1956 and before 2 April 1958.

      2) The part of the letter from which this extract comes apparently
      consists of a brief list and discussion of the the words of Frodo's
      greeting to Gildor as it stood in the first edition of _The Lord of
      the Rings_: _Elen s�la l�menn' omentielmo_.

      3) The extract begins, at the top of the portion of the page that
      is reproduced on the auction site, with Tolkien evidently
      continuing a discussion of the verb _s�la_.

      4) Note that the suffix _-lmo_ is here clearly an inclusive suffix
      (replaced in the 2nd ed. with _-lvo_, following a shift in the
      Quenya pronominal system).

      5) If the word after "_�_ prefix" is indeed "later" (it might be "like"),
      then perhaps Tolkien continued with "unstressed _o_"?

      =====================================================================================Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
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