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564Quenya rhotacism

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  • Helios De Rosario Martinez
    Dec 29 3:30 PM
      It is noted in LR:1097 that "[the tengwa] _áre_ was originally _áze_,
      but when this _z_ became merged with 21 [_óre_], the sign was in
      Quenya used for the very frequent _ss_ of that language».

      That statement apparently means that there was an original sound [z]
      that was changed into [r] by rhotacism and therefore lost in Quenya.
      Some research on this issue reveals that it is far more complex than
      just a single evolution [z] > [r]. I have attempted to study it, and
      have some doubts on which I hope that some of you may help.

      I have noticed that, while [z] is common in Archaic Quenya (as seen
      in some words of _Quendi and Eldar_ or in the _Átaremma_), it is not
      so in the Common Eldarin tongues. The best resource for researching
      the phonology of Quenya is, of course, the _Qenya Phonology_ (QPh):
      it is a very early text, not revised after 1919 or 1920 (PE12:xvii),
      but it seems clear to me that the phonology was a very stable element
      (far more than the lexicon), since much of the information given in QPh
      coincides with what is -- scantly -- told in LR Appendixes and later
      linguistic texts.

      Regarding the rhotacism, in QPh it is said that:

      - Eldarin had the sound [z] as variant of [ð], but in Cor-Eldarin it
      gave [r] or [s] (see tables in PE12:15, 16).

      - After _þ_ > _s_ "_s_ gave _z_ and then _r_ before _l_, _r_, _n_, _m_,
      _w_, _y_, _bh_, _3_ [approximated transcription; _bh_ is the labial spirant,
      a crossed _b_ in the text, and _3_ is yogh] giving _ll_, _´r_, _rn_, _rm_,
      _rw_, _ry_, _rb_ [or] _rw_, _rg_ [or] _´r_" (PE12:19).

      - "Finally all the voiced spirants were weakened and voiced: ... _s_ >
      _z_ > _r_" (PE12:20).

      - "_ð_ > _z_ > _r_ everywhere", with some exceptions (PE12:24).

      - "_ð_ dialectal _rð_ >_rz_ > _rr_ or _´r_" (PE12:24).

      So, it seems that the oldest stage of the tongues of the Eldar did
      have the sound [z], but it was lost _before_ Quenya split from the
      other Eldarin tongues. This was apparently by rhotacism or unvoicing,
      but we have no details of this early change, since (alas!) Tolkien did
      not reach a revision in ink of the section for liquids and sibilants
      (and the pencil layer was deleted, it seems).

      Other texts which indirectly deal with phonology point to this also.
      The "Qenya Lexicon" has no root with Z. In the later _Etymologies_ (Etym.)
      there are only two primitive words with _z_, _mazgâ_ and _mazgê_
      (V:371), which are obviously a voicing (maybe in some stage of
      Quenya, after it split from other tongues) of _s_, since they come
      from the root MASAG-. And also in Etym. we find three roots with _z_:
      EZDE-, EZGE- (both in V:357) and MIZD- (V:373); but though in some
      stage of the composition of Etym. Tolkien thought of primitive roots
      with _z_, he seems later to have changed some of them for alternative, or
      maybe older ones from which they were derived. To EZDE- there is the
      related root SED-, later mentioned in XI:403 as the origin of the name
      _Este_< _ezdê_ < _esdê_, so it is apparent that EZDE- may be regarded as
      a derivation from SED-; EZGE- was struck out for ESEK-, and although
      there is no alternative for MIZD-, we can find MISK- and MITH- that
      are semantically related, and show no _z_.

      I think that this scarcity of roots with _z_ for Quenya and other
      Eldarin tongues clearly shows that it was not a feature of the
      primitive language, or whether it was, it was lost in a very early
      stage. But I do not have all the linguistic resources that I should,
      and I would like to know if anyone found some evidence of the opposite
      (or the like, maybe).

      On the other hand, I want to share with you some inkling derived from
      this, in order to know whether you think it reasonable or not. Looking
      in _Quendi and Eldar_ I noticed that Valarin is a language in which _z_
      is actually characteristic, and that the Vanyarin dialect of Quenya
      did not developed rhotacism, as seen in Vanyarin _auzel_ and _oäzel_,
      besides usual Quenya _aurel_ and _oärel_ (XI:363), or in _ezella_
      (borrowed from Valarin), used among Vanyar but not among Noldor
      (XI:399). So I wonder whether it may be that:

      1) the Eldarin tongues developed the sound [z] again by influence of
      Valarin?
      2) the Noldorin dialect of Quenya (what usually we tell just Quenya)
      developed the rhotacism as a rejection of Valarin features?

      The question 1) may be easily laid down if some evidence is found of
      Alamanyarin (Eldarin, but not Amanyarin) words in which the raising of
      [z] is present; for instance, in Sindarin (but in words not borrowed
      from Quenya).

      And the question 2) is more conjectural (it is difficult to find
      evidence to accept or reject it), but I find it very in the line of
      the matter of þ/s (see _The Shibboleth of Fëanor_), and I like it.

      Finally, I would also ask something about rhotacism patterns other
      than those cited from QPh. As I told before, I find the ideas of that
      text very stable throughout all the stages of Quenya, but the document
      is incomplete, and other cases of rhotacism may be found. I would like
      to have a comprehensive relation of the typical cases of Quenya
      rhotacism, and I would be very grateful if you could help.

      [You will find some additional information in Tolkien's "Early Qenya
      Grammar" in _Parma Eldlamberon_ 14, which should be published
      any day now. CFH]

      But of course, first my two cents. The only case I have found (apart from
      the already commented cases explicited in QPh), is final _-d_ > _-r_, as
      stated in XI:388 about the name _Kasar_, adapted from _Khazad_. From
      other sources it may be guessed that it is not only final _-d_, but
      every post-vocalic _-d_: see _aw(a)delo_ > _aurel_ and _awâdelo_ >
      _oärel_ (XI:363), and earlier cases (in Etym.) as _nidwô_ > _nirwa_
      (s.v. NID-), _tad_ > _tar_ (s.v. TA-). The examples of
      _aw(a)delo_/_awâdelo_, through the Vanyarin forms with _z_, show that
      the evolution was _d_ > _z_ > _r_. (Helge Fauskanger posits, in his
      article "The Evolution from Primitive Elvish to Quenya",
      <http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/qevolution.pdf>, that there
      was a intermediate _ð_, thus: _d_ > _ð_ > _z_ > _r_.)

      And I have found also some cases of rhotacism (or absence of it) about
      which Tolkien did change his mind. One of the most noticeable is the
      rhotacism of intervocalic _s_. Although the section about the _s_ is
      lost in QPh, we luckily have the comments on _þ_, which yielded _s_,
      and there it is explicitly told that "_-þ_- > _s_ did not suffer medial
      voicing, as the other _s_". In the Lexicon we clearly see that no medial
      _s_ goes to _r_ (there are some cases in which seemingly to goes, but
      only seemingly; see below). But in Etym. and later texts wee see that
      it changed: for instance, _thausa_ > _thaura_ (V:393 s.v. THUS-);
      _besû_ > _veru_ (V:352 s.v. BES-); *_olosi_ > _olozi_ > _olori
      (UT:396), as probably *_lôsê_ > _lóre_ (from LOS-, in V:370); and the
      paradigmatic case of _áze_ > _áre_, which perhaps arises ultimately from
      *_âsê_, if related to the root AS- 'warmth' mentioned in VT43:18.

      There is also noticeable the retention of _rr_, that in the early
      conception seems to yield _´r_ (see the citations of QPh above). This
      is clearly seen in the combination of _s_ + _r_. This combination is not
      explicitly regarded in QPh (it should be in the "lost" sections), but
      its effect is indirectly seen in some entries of the Lexicon: in
      PE12:79 we see _rêrô_ < _rerro_ < _res-ru_, from RESE, and in PE12:40
      _herendô_ ('brother'), from HESE, which is likely to be _hes_
      ('brother' or 'sister') + _rendo_ (== _rendo_, 'kinsman, cousin').
      These are the two words which seem to undergo rhotacism of medial _s_,
      but we see that it actually is rhotacism in a combination with another
      _r_ (or it is assimilation?), plus unvoicing of the first _s_.
      However, in later texts we see that this last step does not occur, as
      _mi-srawanwe_ > *_mirroanwe_ (deducted from pl. _mirroanwi_; X:350);
      or _cas-raya > _carrea_ (VT42:12). I must also note that _initial_ _s_ +
      _r_ is a different case, as it is clearly told in LR:1088 that _sr_- is
      the usual origin of unvoiced _r_ (in Quenya _hr_).

      But the same may be said of other combinations of consonant + _r_,
      specifically of _n_ + _r_. The name _Eler(r)ína_ is a clear example: The
      entries to EL- (V:355) and RIG- (V:383) show that it must be a
      compound of _elen_ + _rína_. Such a combination in Sindarin gave _-ðr-_
      (see _caran_ + _rass_ > _caradhras_ in LR:1087, or _elen_ + _rim_ >
      _Eledhrim_ in XI:363); I guess that this is not unique to Sindarin,
      but that it may be a common Eldarin change, that in Quenya would go
      further: _nr_ > _ðr_ > _zr_ > _rr_. _Elerína_ was spelled with single _r_
      since its first occurrence about 1938 (see V:200); this shows, I
      think, the same _rr_ > _´r_ told above. But in X:154 we see in a text of
      1951 the explicit change _Elerína_ > _Elerrína_, again to show that
      Tolkien had changed his mind on this.

      There is one more case where this might have occurred, but it is
      unclear: In his cited article, Helge Fauskanger says that, probably,
      _nyano_ in Etym. (from _nyadrô_, V:379 under NYAD-) should be read
      *_nyarro_, and that this would show a development similar to those
      that I have suggested, but with the consonant _d_: _dr_ > _ðr_ > _zr_ >
      _rr_. It looks likely, but it is also odd that in this case the _rr_ was
      retained (since Etym. is about 1937, and the idea of retaining _rr_
      in _Elerrína_ is of 1951). Is there something for casting light on it
      in the recently published "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies"?

      [I will have to defer comment until the second part of the "A&C" is
      published in _VT_ 46; but of course the reading *_nyarro_ proposed
      by Helge and others is a reasonable proposal for an apparently
      problematic form. CFH]

      Well, that's all I could gather. In spite of the amount of text I have
      written, I feel that there are many gaps of information that I don't
      know. I'll be very grateful if you are so kind to provide more
      information, and discuss my hypotheses.

      Regards.
      Helios.
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