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591RE: [Lambengolmor] Digest Number 229

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  • Eddin Najetovic
    Jan 6, 2004
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      >**Appendix E is a problematic text. When reading it, we must
      >remember that Tolkien was writing it primarily for English
      >readers that could not be supposed to have deep linguistic
      >knowledge. Also, he must have been limited by space. And
      >he was not or could not be always accurate.
      >For instance he says that _h_ in Quenya _eht_, _iht_ had the
      >same sound as heard in English 'hew' or 'huge', and that _ht_
      >had the sound of _cht_, as in German _echt_ (i.e. ich-Laut),
      >_acht_ (i.e. ach-Laut). However, the sound in German _echt_
      >is a voiceless palatal fricative but the sound in English
      >'hew' is a voiceless palatal approximant (though the difference
      >is subtle, of course).

      So subtle even that the IPA does not use different symbols to spell them...
      though of course you are right.

      >Another similar case is when Tolkien says that _h_ has the
      >sound of English _h_ in 'house' or 'behold'. The problem is
      >that the _h_ in 'house' is voiceless but voiced in 'behold'.

      As a matter of fact I am quite certain that in the English spoken in Britain
      the _h_'es are voiceless in every position, including those between vowels.
      The voicing of the glottal fricative seems to be an invention of the
      Americans. Thus, Tolkien's example would be quite adequate, which would be
      only fair, because mixing up voiced glottal fricatives with unvoiced ones
      does not seem like an error Tolkien would make because this is no
      simplification but an actual error.

      [As noted before in my comment added to message 585,
      the OED indicates the pronunciation of the _h_ in both 'house'
      and 'behold' with the same symbol 'h', which the "Key to the
      Pronunciation" indicates is pronounced as in 'ho!". -- PHW]

      I am however not sure of this because I am no native speaker of anything but
      dutch. Then continuing on the plausible idea that tolkien wouldn't make such
      errors, this could mean that the _h_ in for example _aha_ would be voiced,
      but I will not open an unattested can of worms.

      -Eddin Najetovic

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