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664are Q voiced?

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  • machhezan
    Apr 28, 2004
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      In message #10 of elfling, Benct Philip Jonsson alias 'Melroch'
      proposes that Quenya stops aren't divided into three categories:
      voiced (only after /l, r, n/), unvoiced, and long unvoiced (only after
      vowels); but only into two categories: weak and strong (that is, lenis
      and fortis).

      That is, not like this:
      | after vowels | after /l, r, n/
      --------------|--------------|------------------
      voiced | - | <b, d, g>
      unvoiced | <p, t, c> | <p, t, c/q>
      long unvoiced | <pp, tt, cc> | -

      but like this:
      | after vowels | after /l, r, n/
      -------|--------------|------------------
      weak | <p, t, c/q> | <b, d, g>
      strong | <pp, tt, cc> | <p, t, c/q>

      Benct specifies that the difference between the weak and the strong
      stops is their length, but that additionally (if I've understood him
      correctly), the weak stops are voiced after /l, r, n/. So he suggests
      two pronunciations of the weak stops: either voiced or voiceless.

      I'd rather suggest that there's but one pronunciation of the weak
      stops: voiceless. Like this, Quenya stops would be the same as Finnish
      stops (only that standard Finnish has /d/ from original /D/, according
      to Harri Perälä and John Cowan in elfscript #1963 and 1968).

      It's not uncommon that <b, d, g> represent unvoiced stops. This is
      found in many languages, e.g. Icelandic, Danish, Chinese, or southern
      German. But do we have any evidence on the pronunciation of <b, d, g>
      in Quenya? I've only found one possible evidence: Appendix E of The
      Lord of the Rings which says that "NG represents _ng_ in _finger_".
      However, this indication is not specific to Quenya, but concerns both
      Quenya and Sindarin, and actually most of the pronunciation samples of
      app. E are for Sindarin. Is there more evidence?


      If there's only two kinds of stops, why are there three kinds of
      spellings (<b, d, g> vs. <p, t, c/q> vs. <pp, tt, cc>)?

      Theoretically, all weak stops could be spelled with <p, t, c/q> and
      all strong stops with <pp, tt, cc>. However, as Benct's pointed out,
      this would lead to very odd spellings after /l, r, n/, whereas Tolkien
      explicitly wanted to make Elvish spelling "not look uncouth in modern
      letters" (app. E).

      Theoretically, all weak stops could be spelled with <b, d, g> and all
      strong stops with <p, t, c>. However, English people would naturally
      voice the <b, d, g>, so this would lead to mispronunciation, whereas
      Tolkien explicitly wanted to "represent the original sounds (so far as
      they can be determined) with fair accuracy" (immediately before the
      above quote).

      So I think that in spite of the three kinds of spellings there are
      only two kinds of stops, the three kinds of spelling being but a
      consequence of Tolkien's will to have an accurate and not uncouth
      spelling.

      grüess
      j. 'mach' wust
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