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486Re: [Lambengolmor] The Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_

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  • David Kiltz
    Sep 20, 2003
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      On Samstag, Juli 12, 2003, at 06:07 Uhr, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

      > That Tolkien envisioned irregularities
      > in the Elvish languages is well attested, whether it be the
      > "irregular vocalism" of Q. _málo_ 'friend' < base MEL- (V:372),
      > the "irreg. pret." _(e)halle_ of Q _halta-_ 'to leap' (PE12:39), the
      > "quite irregular" Gn. verb _na-_ 'is', or the "irregular pret."
      > _tîli_ of Gn. _teltha-_ 'cover in' (PE11:70), to cite but a few
      > examples.

      In full knowledge that such 'irregularities' derive from earlier
      regularities (a point not in dispute, I know), which only reinforces
      the point made on _mudas_, namely to take the form seriously.

      A few comments on the above forms:
      1) Q. _málo_ may well be a Telerin form, from MEL- with 'a'- infixion
      cf. VT39:10.
      2) Q. _halta_, pret. _(e)halle_. Leaving aside the anlauting 'e',
      _halle_ is a regular past tense form, but not for a _-ta_ verb (be it <
      sundóme+t or _-tâ_). Possibly a new present stem was formed in _-t_ but
      the old past tense retained. It would seem harder to explain it the
      other way round. Maybe the present was reformed to avoid homophony with
      Q. _halla_ 'tall' [LR3:507].
      3) The 'irregularity' of _na_ is, of course, in line with what is known
      from many real languages. In the case of Q(u)enya, we're dealing mostly
      with suppletivism.
      4) The preterite of Gn. _teltha_ seems to be in the same line as #2.

      Example 2 and 4 apparently show that past tense forms could end up 'in
      the wrong category' or rather, that present tense stems exhibit a
      tendency to 'renovate' (something which is beautifully mirrored by
      Indo-European languages, especially at earlier stages, abounding in
      (often concurrent) present stem formations)(1).
      So maybe the pa.t. _mudas_ was actually formed from an (earlier)
      present stem
      _mó-_. Thus the 'd' could be interpreted as corresponding to the 'th'
      seen in Early
      Noldorin verbs (cf., e.g. PE13:131).
      Neither th > s nor th > d are trivial in Sindarin/Noldorin be it
      internally or externally. So, the interpretation of pa.t. mudas <
      mú-da-s as a gender specific past tense form like N. _madathas_
      (PE13:131) is just an alternative hypothesis.
      We may still be dealing with a writing error, as the forms _mudo-_ and
      _mudas_ [V:373] seem to lack the vowel length seen in N. _mûl_
      (<_*mól-_) [ibidem] but this is always an awkward assumption.
      Lastly it might be considered that we have here a transitory concept
      (externally) for a Noldorin/Sindarin past tense, as the _-(a)th_ was
      taken by the future/prospective at the time of the Lord of the Rings
      (cf. _linnathon [LR1:114]).

      David Kiltz

      (1) Innovation in the field of the present stem/tense can also be seen
      in other language families, e.g. Uralic, Altaic etc.)
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