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894Re: [Lambengolmor] Meaning of _umne_

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  • David Kiltz
    Feb 21, 2006
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      On 08.02.2006, at 11:23, Patrick Wynne wrote (off-list):

      > What we do NOT ever see is a pa.t. formed by insertion of a nasal
      > infix between a verb stem and a pronominal ending, as you propose
      > in **_ub + n + ni_.

      That's certainly a strong point. Just to clarify, there are two
      assumptions that led me to this reconstruction:

      1) The infixed past tense forms derive from original suffixed forms
      by regular sound change, as in Q. _lemba_ < _*lebnâ_ (Etym s.v.LEB-).

      2) that the apparent past tense marker *_-ê_ was originally a marker
      of the 3. sg.

      Ad 1) It's true that Tolkien's own wording suggests that there was an
      original distinction between nasal infixion and suffixation of _-ne_
      with subsequent metathesis.

      [One such passage making this distinction occurs in the Early Qenya
      Grammar (ms.), where Tolkien writes that the past stem was formed
      by addition of the suffixes _-ye_, _-ie_, or _-ne_, but that the most
      common of these, _-ie_, "is normally accompanied by stem strengthening
      consisting of (1) a-infixion, (2) n-infixion, (3) vowel lengthening"
      (PE14:56). -- PHW]

      I could, and probably should have written **_umb-ni_. Which brings
      us to:

      Ad 2) That, I'll admit is a very weak point, as Tolkien's writings
      suggest otherwise. It was an entirely ad hoc assumption, in order to
      explain one particular form. It seemed to me (somewhat) admissable
      because Tolkien's languages (unlike 'real-world' ones) are subject to
      re-formation/ interpretation without further notice. Also, re-
      formation of case endings (especially in past tense) based on the 3.
      sg. are frequent in the world's languages.

      Yet *_ê_ or (or, at some stage *_ie_, cf. Helios' post) is indeed
      indicative of past tense in particular and so throughout the corpus.

      David Kiltz
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