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511Present or Perfect ?

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  • David Kiltz
    Oct 30, 2003
      I'm coming back to a question already discussed earlier.
      In his article on the Sindarin verb, H. Fauskanger notes:

      > "garo "[to] have, hold" is said to have the 1st person present tense
      > gerin".

      I cannot find this attested, as the entry in The Etymologies [V:360]
      sub 3AR- simply translates _gerin_ 'I hold, have' but doesn't qualify
      it further. Now, the few Late Noldorin and Sindarin forms in 1st sg.
      _-in_ are mostly interpreted as present tense and likened to Quenya
      aorist forms in _-in_. While an ON 3rd sg. present _trenare_ 'he
      recounts, tells to an end' [V:374] sub NAR2- is actually attested,
      _gerin_ and _ú-chebin_ [LRIII:423] may both be interpreted as perfects.
      _ú-chebin_ is translated 'I have kept no' and this fits (resultative
      state) perfectly (no pun). As for _gerin_, it has to be said that verbs
      of the meaning 'to have, hold' often (in I.-E.) derive from 'perfects'
      or, in Germanic, so called preterito-presents. Cf. Goth., ONorse,
      OEnglish _áih, á, ág_ 'I have' (<_*Heik'-h2a_) with perfect morphology,
      or indeed Modern English 'I have got'. The 'i' in the ending would then
      < _*ie_ found also in Quenya perfects.

      Note that _gerir_ (_cerir_) in line 8 of the Sindarin 'Pater Noster'
      [VT44:21] may well mean 'have done [sins]', 'have sinned' rather than
      simply '[who] sin'.

      Comments are welcome.

      David Kiltz

      [I'm inclined to interpret N. _gerin_ 'I hold, have' as an aorist, since
      this fits both the gloss and the apparent derivation < aorist stem
      *_kari- + 1 sg. _-n_. Likewise I would stick with Bill Welden's interpre-
      tation of _gerir_ (lenited < *_cerir_) in the Sindarin Paternoster as the
      "third person plural aorist form of the verb _caro_ 'to do', seen also in
      line 4" (VT44:30). Note that S. _gerir_ is apparently the direct cognate
      of Q. aorist _karir_ in _i karir quettar ómainen_ 'those who form words
      with voices' (XI:391. Interpretation of _ú-chebin_ 'I have kept no' as
      an aorist 'I do not keep' in Gilraen's _linnod_ might also be a viable
      interpretation, since this verb describes Gilraen's habitual or ongoing
      state of hopelessness (past, present, and future). -- PHW]