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8Initial _ly-_ and enclitics

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  • Petri Tikka
    May 30, 2002
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      In message 14958 of the Elfling list Helge K. Fauskanger tells us of a a
      signature by Tolkien below which reads the words _nai elen siluva lyenna_.
      To this date, there has been no attested example of initial palatalized L in
      Quenya. This consonant has been known to occur elsewhere inside a word, e.g.
      _alya_ "prosperous, rich, abundant, blessed" (V:357), _felya_ "cave"
      (V:381) and _ilya_ "all" (IX:310), as have been other palatalized
      consonants, e.g. _inya_ "female" (V:361), _intyale_ "imagination" (V:361)
      and cirya "ship" (MC:221). _ny_ and _ty_ are also known to occur initially,
      e.g. _nyelle_ "bell" (V:379) and (V:72) tyelma "ending". The first reaction
      to the word _lyenna_ would be that initial palatalized Ls would be allowed
      in Quenya. But I am not quite sure. It may be that it is an enclitic of
      _elyenna_, the initial vowel disappearing because of the final vowel in the
      preceding word. _elye_ is attested as emphatic 2. person sg. Pronoun in
      LR:398 and R:67. It would make sense for the initial vowel to disappear,
      since its only function is for the strengthening of the 2. person sg.

      Another case of this can also perhaps be found in the sentences _yonya inyë
      tye-méla_ (V:61) and _Mára mesta an ni véla tye ento, ya rato nea_ in the
      word _tye_ (The Father Christmas Letters). Maybe its original form is
      _*etye_, but the initial _e_ is elided because of the preceding vowel? Some
      might point to _Nai elye hiruva!_ (LR:398) and say that the _e_ isn't
      removed there. But long vowels and diphthongs aren't allowed in front of
      consonant clusters, so the removal would hardly ease the pronunciation, as
      enclitics do: _**Nai lye hiruva!_. I'm not sure...

      But one may wonder why initial palatalized L wouldn't be allowed. Other
      initial palatalized consonants are allowed. Maybe _ly_ is to be considered a
      consonant cluster of _l_ and _y_, not a palatalized consonant, for in
      IX:417-418 it is reported that "Adunaic, like Avallonian [= Quenya], does
      not tolerate more than a single basic consonant initially in any word". Yet
      this is just wild speculation. But if we do not get any certain evidence of
      an initial _ly_, I would say that it only occurs as enclitic.

      Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland

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