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New _Tengwestië_ article: Early Ilkorin Phonology

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    I am pleased to announce the publication of a new article on _Tengwestië_:
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 9, 2008
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      I am pleased to announce the publication of a new article on
      _Tengwestië_:

      <http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/articles/DeRosarioMartinez/earlyilkorin.phtml>

      TITLE: Early Ilkorin Phonology

      AUTHOR: Helios De Rosario Martínez

      ABSTRACT:
      This article analyzes all the published data about Ilkorin in its
      earliest conceptual stages, during the composition of the _Book of
      Lost Tales_ and while Tolkien lived in Leeds. The first period was
      characterized by the obscurity of Ilkorin, which was almost unknown
      even by the sages of Tol Eressëa. In constrast, the second period
      provides relevant information on the history and nature of that
      language, and twenty-six Ilkorin words with cognates in other
      languages and prehistoric forms. The phonological analysis of these
      words reveals a consistent set of sound laws that resemble those of
      the earliest Germanic languages, especially Grimm's Law, and give a
      characteristic aspect to the language.

      _Tengwestië_ is the online journal of the Elvish Linguistic
      Fellowship, edited by myself and Patrick H. Wynne:

      <http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/>

      --
      Carl F. Hostetter
    • Roman Rausch
      Regarding Helios De Rosario Martínez s article, Early Ilkorin Phonology ( ):
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 12, 2008
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        Regarding Helios De Rosario Martínez's article, "Early Ilkorin Phonology" (<http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/articles/DeRosarioMartinez/earlyilkorin.phtml>):

        Being involved in the topic myself I have read the article with great
        interest and have some comments to make. The special characters are
        changed in the following post (macron to circumflex etc.) so that it
        will hopefully be readable.

        >Long vowels in prehistoric forms are normally marked in ND with a
        >macron (¯), but in the NW instances Tolkien also uses an acute
        >accent (´) or a colon (:) for long vowels, except in t'lê'pe,
        >where the acute accent means that long ê is stressed (cf. PE13:135).
        [...]
        >mîye

        There is no mention that the acute accent often represents stress (as
        is also written in PE13:135), even if not grouped with the macron or
        colon. And stress is very important in understanding the derived forms
        in the case of _y_. The data is explained remarkably well if one
        assumes different developments depending on whether _y_ comes before
        or after the stress. It can be summarized as following:

        _y_ before accent | _y_ after accent
        Quenya i|y | y
        Telerin i | r
        Noldorin i|j | dh
        Ilkorin ? | gg

        I cite relevant examples in parts III.3.2. and IV.1.2. of my article.
        One can compare the Noldorin changes with an almost identical
        stress-dependent development in Welsh as mentioned in Morris-Jones'
        _Welsh Grammar_. Therefore I believe that _míye_ has the stress, not
        the length marked by the accent with the development indicated in the
        second column: Q. _mie_ < _*miye_, T. _mire_, N. _midh_, Ilk. _migg_.

        >Under this model, the development of preh. pisye would be explained
        >as *pisje > *pisðe, which by assimilation > *pisze or *pisse (or one
        >after the other), and eventually > fiss through regular loss of
        >final vowel and Ilkorin Sound Shift.

        Following the previous idea: There is no stress marked in _pisye_, but
        looking at the resulting forms, Q. _pihye_, T. _pirie_, N. _hí_ it
        seems that it should be _*pisyé_, otherwise one would expect _dh_ in
        Noldorin (I cannot say what _*sdh_ would have evolved into).

        Therefore I believe that _pisye_ shows a development different from
        _míye_. Looking at the first column of the table above it appears that
        _y_ is kept in all the languages (but may become vocalic depending on
        its environment). Hence, I would expect that _sy_ was inherited by
        Ilkorin and later changed to _ss_ by a different mechanism.

        With the little amount of examples availible there is of course a
        chance that the change of _y_ is not dependent on stress in Ilkorin,
        but the bottom line is: Assuming _migg_ < _*miðe_ does not require the
        assumption of _*pisðe_.

        >the change from dentals to velars is not unknown in Elvish languages
        > — one example occurs in Gn. feigien worse < faiðn (PE13:114)

        I'm not convinced here. Both forms are written beside each other, but
        can one really be sure that _feigien_ is derived from _faiðn_ and not
        vice versa? The adjectival ending is _-(k)ka_ (_fêka_, _fekka_), so
        maybe _*feiX'n/*feigh'n_ > _faiðn_?

        Also, one has to assume a comparative ending involving _d_ which may
        be similar to N. _-iad_ < _*jat-_ (PE13:125), but looking at the
        counterpart _mawr_ 'good', adj. _maien_, _mairien_ 'better' one rather
        sees _-ien_ once appended to a form combined with the adjectival
        ending _-r_ and once not. So maybe we are even dealing with
        _*feik-ien_ > _faigien_ (with suffix _-k(a)_) and _*fei-j'n_ > _faiðn_
        (without suffix and _y_ > _dh_)?

        I find it difficult to believe that the interdental spirant _ð_,
        becoming intervocalic, suddenly changes to a velar stop, although
        intervocalic _ð_ is perfectly acceptable in Goldogrin/Noldorin phonology.

        >And in Old Norse (which is not a West Germanic language, however),
        >sometimes /j/ was lengthened to /jj/ according to Holtzmann's Law
        >(Prokosch, 1939: §33c), and eventually hardened to /gg/, as here
        >in mîye > migg.

        This is very interesting and seems to be a likely development for
        Ilkorin, given that some fairly complex sound changes of Welsh are
        closely imitated in Noldorin of that time.

        Being self-educated in linguistics I assumed that /gg/ from a single
        /j/ would be unlikely and therefore tentatively suggested /ž/ or /dZ/
        for Ilk. _gg_ by pure speculation (cf. the pronounciation of initial
        _j-_ in English and French).

        >Roman Rausch interprets in his article that Ilk. þerr comes from
        >tésare, the primitive form of the N cognate teiar, instead of
        >from terar (whence Q. telar). In fact all these words are given
        >in the same entry of NWL, and it is likely that terar < tésare.
        >But preh. terar seems to be closer to the Ilkorin form, both by
        >phonology and by their relative position in the entry of NWL.

        As I interpet the entry, _tésare_ is the primitive form of all the
        three words mentioned. Noldorin vocalizes _s_ > _i_ (or > _j_ as part
        of a diphthong), the Qenya form _telar_ looks strange at the first
        glance, so Tolkien explains that it is from _terar_, i.e. with
        rhotacism and vowel loss followed by dissimilation. That would make
        _terar_ an old Qenya form.

        If rhotacism occurs in Ilkorin as well (it's Germanic in style after
        all), Ilk. _þerr_ might have evolved from a parallel _terar_ as well;
        otherwise I would assume _*þesr_ > _þerr_. In any case I believe that
        _tésare_ is the older form.

        >Other vowel mutations [...]
        >mîgg < smeigê

        typo: _smíg_

        Of course, I will link 'Early Ilkorin Phonology' in my work and add
        some references to it in the text.

        Roman Rausch
      • Helios De Rosario Martínez
        I thank Roman for his valuable commentaries on the article of Early Ilkorin Phonology . I have modified it to reflect some of his ideas, which improve my
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 21, 2008
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          I thank Roman for his valuable commentaries on the article of "Early
          Ilkorin Phonology". I have modified it to reflect some of his ideas,
          which improve my original hypothesis on the origin of Ilk. _migg_.

          > There is no mention that the acute accent often represents stress (as
          > is also written in PE13:135), even if not grouped with the macron or
          > colon. And stress is very important in understanding the derived forms
          > in the case of _y_.

          After a more careful examination of the sources, I think that you are
          certainly right in the case of preh. _míye_. In the cited introduction
          to the Noldorin Word-lists, its editors tell that

          "in ENF 3, 4, 8 and 10 Tolkien used the acute accent in place of the
          macron to mark vowel length when he typed reconstructed forms".

          I had applied this interpretation to all the prehistoric forms involved
          in Ilkorin phonology, except for _t'lépe_ (with the accent over a macron
          on the first _e_), because this case was explicitly marked as an exception.

          However, now I notice that _míye_ is not in any of the pages cited by
          the editors, but in ENF 13. And _dâ_, one of the prehistoric forms
          related to Ilk. _þah_, which is in ENF 13 too, has a macron to mark
          vowel length. Therefore, Roman is probably right when he says that
          _míye_ features a stressed _i_, so marked in order to explain a distinct
          development of _y_ after a stressed syllable.

          All the other Ilkorin terms for which the prehistoric forms bear an
          acute accent are in ENF 3, 4, 8 or 10. Therefore, _míye_ seems to be the
          only case, together with _t'lépe_, in which that sign should be read as
          a mark of stress.

          >> the change from dentals to velars is not unknown in Elvish languages
          >> — one example occurs in Gn. feigien worse < faiðn (PE13:114)
          >
          > I'm not convinced here. Both forms are written beside each other, but
          > can one really be sure that _feigien_ is derived from _faiðn_ and not
          > vice versa?
          [...]
          > I find it difficult to believe that the interdental spirant _ð_,
          > becoming intervocalic, suddenly changes to a velar stop, although
          > intervocalic _ð_ is perfectly acceptable in Goldogrin/Noldorin phonology.

          The change from dental to velar is rare, but not impossible. It is
          explicitly mentioned in PE11:31 s.v. _edh_, which is said to be _eg_
          before _l_, as in _egla_. I have replaced the original example for this
          one, because your hypothetical reconstructions of the development of
          _faiðn_ and _feigien_ are convincing, and therefore they do not seem to
          be a good argument for the case.

          Anyway, I acknowledge that even this new example depends on a
          phonological context different from that of *_miðe_, and that the
          hypothetical origin of _migg_ as a development of that form is one of
          the weakest ideas in the article. In fact, it is only suggested in a
          secondary place, as a possible alternative to the likelier West-Germanic
          or Old Norse-like development.

          In order to understand why the "mîðe" hypothesis was suggested
          originally in the article, perhaps I should clarify that it was the only
          idea that I was able to conceive. But one of the advantages of
          publishing in a peer-reviewed journal like _Tengwestië_ is that your
          articles can be improved by the suggestions of the editor and the
          reviewers, and in this case they gave me the idea of Holtzmann's Law, as
          explained in the "Acknowledgements". Thus I enhanced the section of
          "Development of _y_" with their suggestions, and moved the original idea
          to a secondary position, although I did not remove it. Now you give me a
          new opportunity to improve it, for which I thank you again.

          >> Other vowel mutations [...]
          >> mîgg < smeigê
          >
          > typo: _smíg_

          Yes, you are right again! It has been corrected, too.

          Helios
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