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Re: [LDB] "Canonical" Quenya and Quettahostanie

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  • Beregond. Anders Stenström
    [Another plea for people to please take a little extra time and prettify posts, including text quoted from other posts. In particular, please 1) pay attention
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 24, 2002
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      [Another plea for people to please take a little extra time and prettify
      posts, including text quoted from other posts. In particular, please 1)
      pay attention to line-wraps: make them break somewhere before 80
      characters; and 2) put some blank lines between block quotes and
      paragraphs (i.e., where there is no indentation in the first line of
      paragraphs). Thanks, Carl]

      Kai MacTane wrote:

      > To paraphrase one of Mr. Welden's points, he notes the distinction
      > between "things Tolkien wrote [in Quenya]", and what he calls "canonical
      > Quenya", [. . .] For those who have been evaluating _Quettahostanie_,
      > I'd like to point out that the concept of "Attestation Levels" encoded
      > in the system does make a fairly similar distinction, though it draws
      > its boundary lines in slightly different places. [. . .] I'd like to see
      > if people here think they're reasonable -- in short, should the
      > Silmarillion (and its appendix) be considered a source for "canonical"
      > Quenya (what Quettahostanie lists in the "Published" level), or should
      > its offerings be demoted to "Unpublished"?

      My opinion is that considerations like these need and should not
      be made at all in the database, which should as far as possible
      give *data* free of theories/views/judgments. In other words,
      scrap the "Attestation Levels". What I would like to find in an
      Elvish database are attestation *details*: references to all loci
      where a looked-up form is attested. I agree about the importance
      of the distinction Bill Welden pointed out, but if I am given the
      attestation details for a word I can see for myself to what extent
      it occurs in canonical sources.
      Some forms, like _Gondor_, are used hundreds of times in
      Tolkien's texts, but ideally I think they should all be listed.
      The only attestation level distinction that is needed is that
      between attested and unattested forms. I suppose it is
      reasonable to include certain unattested forms, like singulars
      reconstructed from attested plurals? (I obviously think non-Tolkien
      compounds and coinages do not belong in the database; does
      not Boris Shapiro's useful PPQ adequately take care of those?)

      Meneg suilaid,

      Beregond

      [As will come as a surprise to no one, I vehemently oppose any notion of
      allowing non-Tolkienian coinages into any serious database of Tolkien's
      languages. Things have gotten confused enough already, with rampant
      failure to distinguish data and fact from theory and invention. Carl]
    • eluchil404
      ... As long as they are clearly marked as newly coined words, I think it is a limited concern. Indeed, with the current design of the database , it is
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 24, 2002
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        Carl Hostetter wrote:

        > [As will come as a surprise to no one, I vehemently oppose any notion of
        > allowing non-Tolkienian coinages into any serious database of Tolkien's
        > languages. Things have gotten confused enough already, with rampant
        > failure to distinguish data and fact from theory and invention. Carl]

        As long as they are clearly marked as newly coined words, I think it is a
        limited concern. Indeed, with the current design of the 'database', it is
        possible to ignore all such forms completely. Whether such coinages should
        be considered Quenya at all, is a thorny theoretical problem that I do not
        wish to delve into. Suffice it to say that a dictionary, which is what
        this database certainly looks like to me, designed for a wide variety of
        both scholarly and non-scholarly uses can, in my opinion, fairly include
        them as long as they are clearly marked out.

        Cirk R. Bejnar

        [See my comments appended to Bill Welden's post, just approved. If
        inauthentic forms are permitted at all, then you simply cannot avoid
        the "thorny theoretical problem" of "whether such coinages should be
        considered Quenya", unless you want to allow anyone to add anything
        they please to the database (and are prepared to trust that they will
        mark inauthentic forms as such). Carl]
      • Beregond. Anders Stenström
        ... This sense of canonical is an accident of modern critical jargon. It is not listed in the American Heritage Dictionary. There, canonical is said to
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 25, 2002
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          Carl Hostetter replied to Bill Welden:


          > [First: I find nowhere a definition of "canonical" that distinguishes
          > between published and unpublished state. The usual use of the term in
          > the general literary context is synonymous with "authentic", i.e., coming
          > from the author's pen.

          This sense of "canonical" is an accident of modern critical
          jargon. It is not listed in the American Heritage Dictionary. There,
          "canonical" is said to mean: "1. Pertaining to, required by, or
          abiding by canon law. 2. Of or appearing in the Biblical canon.
          3. Authoritative; officially approved; orthodox." Sense 3 is the one
          Bill relied on (if I did not misunderstand), and it seemed a good
          word-choice to me.

          > If you mean "published" (sc., during the author's
          > lifetime, and thus with his approval), why not say that, . . . ?

          Because that long _scilicet_ is not obvious from the bare word.

          > Second: inclusion of inauthentic forms will require a vetting process far
          > more complicated than that needed if only authentic forms are permitted.

          I agree totally: it would be to invite complications. Keeping the
          project as uncomplicated as possible makes it more likely to actually
          come off.

          Meneg suilaid,

          Beregond
        • Petri Tikka
          ... Not adding inauthentic forms would make it easier, but so would not adding inauthentic analysis, inauthentic singular forms, inauthentic undeclined
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 25, 2002
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            --- In lambengolmor@y..., Beregond. Anders Stenström <beregond@u...> wrote:

            > Carl Hostetter replied to Bill Welden:

            >> Second: inclusion of inauthentic forms will require a vetting process
            >> far more complicated than that needed if only authentic forms are
            >> permitted.
            >
            > I agree totally: it would be to invite complications. Keeping the
            > project as uncomplicated as possible makes it more likely to actually
            > come off.
            >
            > Meneg suilaid,
            >
            > Beregond

            Not adding "inauthentic" forms would make it easier, but so would not
            adding "inauthentic" analysis, "inauthentic" singular forms, "inauthentic"
            undeclined forms, "inauthentic" synonyms, "inauthentic" antonyms, etc..
            It would enlarge the possibility of this project ever coming to fruit,
            but it would also make it much poorer. The "vetting process" would
            be difficult, but the making of linguistical databases is, by definition,
            _extremely hard_. The vetting process would be eased by adding,
            to all non-Tolkienian forms, complete analysis and basis for the "new
            words" from attested writings.

            Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
            kari.j.tikka@...
            http://www.geocities.com/petristikka/
          • John Garth
            ... That is why, as an initial stage (which would itself take a very long time), no such analysis or forms ought to be included in a Tolkienian linguistic
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 25, 2002
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              on 25/7/02 1:22 pm, Petri Tikka at kari.j.tikka@... wrote:

              > Not adding "inauthentic" forms would make it easier, but so would not
              > adding "inauthentic" analysis, "inauthentic" singular forms, "inauthentic"
              > undeclined forms, "inauthentic" synonyms, "inauthentic" antonyms, etc..
              > It would enlarge the possibility of this project ever coming to fruit,
              > but it would also make it much poorer.

              That is why, as an initial stage (which would itself take a very long time),
              no such analysis or forms ought to be included in a Tolkienian linguistic
              database. Surely the best methodology is to gather as much data as possible
              before extrapolating from it.

              Anyone so inclined could provide analysis and extrapolation elsewhere. That
              way, you would have the most reliable catalogue of the Tolkienian languages
              possible; and elsewhere you would have commentaries plainly distinguishable
              from it, whose authors could take responsibility for their own work.

              In my abortive database I included, at the most, an indication that a word
              was, for example, a plural form or a noun when it was (to my mind)
              indisputable from the context but would be unclear out of context. (This was
              relatively easy, in the vast majority of cases, because the context was
              generally English rather than, say, Quenya.)

              The process of creating a thesaurus, which _Quettahostanie_ appears
              encompass, seems to me quite alien to the aims of a linguistic catalogue,
              and should also be kept separate.

              John Garth
            • Kai MacTane
              ... It s certainly possible for us to simply start loading attested Tolkienian forms into QH as it stands, and not bother with compounded/coined
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 26, 2002
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                At 7/25/02 10:07 AM , John Garth wrote:

                >That is why, as an initial stage (which would itself take a very long time),
                >no such analysis or forms ought to be included in a Tolkienian linguistic
                >database. Surely the best methodology is to gather as much data as possible
                >before extrapolating from it.

                It's certainly possible for us to simply start loading attested Tolkienian
                forms into QH as it stands, and not bother with compounded/coined
                (post-Tolkienian) material until later (if at all). Just because the
                capability is there doesn't mean we have to use it immediately. However:

                >Anyone so inclined could provide analysis and extrapolation elsewhere. That
                >way, you would have the most reliable catalogue of the Tolkienian languages
                >possible; and elsewhere you would have commentaries plainly distinguishable
                >from it, whose authors could take responsibility for their own work.

                There is a certain level of utility in having things centralized, and hence
                easily searchable through one interface. Granted, this is of no particular
                use for the academic community. But for the Quenya-composition folks, it
                would be nice to be able to search for attested Tolkienian words *and*
                newer coinages all at once. (Also note that QH will display Tolkien's forms
                higher up in the results than the non-Tolkien forms, all other things being
                equal -- for more details, see the guide to search results in the
                documentation. Essentially, it depends on just what the user enters as
                search terms, but attestation level is the second-level sort criterion.)

                >The process of creating a thesaurus, which _Quettahostanie_ appears
                >encompass, seems to me quite alien to the aims of a linguistic catalogue,
                >and should also be kept separate.

                I'm a bit confused by how QH acts as a thesaurus -- do you mean the listing
                of synonyms? I had actually intended that to be a bit more of a research
                tool; there are places where it can be useful to compare and contrast
                different words that refer to similar or identical things.

                --Kai MacTane
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                "Wind in wings,/Two angels falling
                To die like this/With a last kiss..."
                --Siouxsie and the
                Banshees,
                "Face to Face"
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