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551Long voiceless resonants in Sindarin (was Re: New _Tengwestie_ article: "The Two Phonetic Values of _ll_ in Elvish Sindarin in _The Lord of the Rings_")

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  • jonathan_avidan
    Dec 8, 2003
      I have a question concerning the passage from Tolkien's essay on
      _The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor_ (VT42:27), quoted in
      Carl Hostetter's article "The Two Phonetic Values of _ll_ in Elvish
      Sindarin in _The Lord of the Rings_" in _Tengwestië_:

      "Medially however _nth_ (_nþ_), _nch_ (_ñx_), _mf_ (_mp_ with bilabial
      _f_), and _lth_ (_lþ_) became long voiceless _n_, _ñ_, _m_, _l_, though
      the old spelling was mostly retained (beside _nh_, _ñh_, _mh_, _lh_)"

      Does this mean that the voiceless _n_, _ng_, _m_ and _l_ were spelt
      /nth/, /nch/, /mf/ and /lth/ medially and initially they were spelt as
      noted in parentheses, to distinguish them as evolving from older initial
      clusters _sn-_, _sm-_ and _sl-_? If so, how does initial _ñh_ evolve?

      Jonathan Avidan
      Israeli Tolkino-Linguistics Community.

      [No, I don't think that Tolkien is saying that. He is speaking
      specifically about the development of _medial_ combinations to long
      voiceless resonants, and noting that despite this development these
      new medial long voiceless resonants retained an etymological
      spelling, in addition to the new spellings noted (those in _-h_).

      While on the subject of long voiceless resonants, and more
      generally on the dialectal variations Tolkien describes in the
      passage quoted in my _Tengwestië_ article, I would like to point
      out that these developments and dialectal variations are clearly
      modelled on very similar themes in Welsh and Welsh dialectal
      variances. Perhaps one of our Welsh-speaking and/or Celticist
      members could enlighten us more on this point. CFH]
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