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Re: Past/perfect in Eldarin

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  • pa2rick
    Hans s post raises some interesting questions. I d like to note that ultimately Tolkien s own terminology for Eldarin parts of speech must be given primacy of
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 9, 2002
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      Hans's post raises some interesting questions. I'd like to note
      that ultimately Tolkien's own terminology for Eldarin parts of
      speech must be given primacy of place over anything devised
      by those of us who study his languages. Regarding Hans's reference
      to "resultative" participles, for example, it is worth noting that
      Tolkien often explicity labels some forms as "past participles",
      e.g., _rákina_ "past participle of _rák-_ 'break'" (MC:223) or
      the "past participle form _vanwa_" (XI:366). Similarly, Tolkien
      also seems quite comfortable with the terms "past" and "perfect"
      with regard to the Quenya tense system, e.g., in the discussion
      of _auta-_ in _Quendi and Eldar_ (ibid.) This is not meant as a
      specific rebuttal or rejoinder to the points raised in Hans's post --
      but it is worth reiterating at the commencement of this thread
      that _Tolkien's_ own grammatical terminology as applied to
      Elvish is the only terminology that truly matters. Studying his use of
      terms such as "past participle", "past tense", "perfect tense"
      etc. undoubtedly has much to teach us.

      -- Patrick Wynne
    • gentlebeldin
      ... That s true, and I didn t understand it as a rebuke, since my comments were aimed at the terminology used for ENGLISH participles like seen or killed
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 9, 2002
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        --- In lambengolmor@y..., "pa2rick" <pwynne@g...> wrote:

        > This is not meant as a specific rebuttal or rejoinder to the points
        > raised in Hans's post -- but it is worth reiterating at the commencement
        > of this thread that _Tolkien's_ own grammatical terminology as applied
        > to Elvish is the only terminology that truly matters.

        That's true, and I didn't understand it as a rebuke, since my comments
        were aimed at the terminology used for ENGLISH participles like "seen"
        or "killed" on the Ardalambion website.

        > Studying his use of terms such as "past participle", "past tense",
        > "perfect tense" etc. undoubtedly has much to teach us.

        I'm looking forward to read _Quendi and Eldar_, finally. I've ordered
        both WJ and SD through Amazon.

        I plan to post a few more thoughts about Elvish participles only after
        that: I don't trust the information I found at Ardalambion. Most forms
        are just reconstructed (and the really attested forms are not marked,
        let alone given references), so I have to check the original sources,
        first.

        Hans
      • Ivan A Derzhanski
        ... Unlike Pat, I can very well imagine situations where it may be advantageous to use categories, or names from them, different from the ones JRRT used, even
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 9, 2002
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          gentlebeldin wrote:

          > --- In lambengolmor@y..., "pa2rick" <pwynne@g...> wrote:

          > > [...] it is worth reiterating at the commencement of this
          > > thread that _Tolkien's_ own grammatical terminology as
          > > applied to Elvish is the only terminology that truly matters.
          >
          > [...] my comments were aimed at the terminology used for ENGLISH
          > participles like "seen" or "killed" on the Ardalambion website.

          Unlike Pat, I can very well imagine situations where it may be
          advantageous to use categories, or names from them, different
          from the ones JRRT used, even in a discussion of his languages.
          That said, anyone doing so must keep in mind that JRRT's terms
          and categories are the ones that the audience can reasonably be
          expected to be familiar with, so any departure from them carries
          the risk of misunderstanding. Great caution is therefore advised.
          Yet if the commonly accepted way of thinking and speaking about
          JRRT's languages is at all able to evolve beyond JRRT's own usage,
          it is in places such as this one, where they are the subject of
          informed discussion.

          By contrast, English is not our subject here, and while we may
          think that the established grammatical/linguistic terminology
          applied to English is suboptimal (as it often is), parting ways
          with it on this forum is probably never advisable. Ardalambion
          may be criticised for any number of things, but the fact that
          it uses standard English terms for the categories of English
          isn't one of them.

          Re participles: I don't see why a participle can't be past
          and/or passive just because it can be part of constructions
          that are themselves not past and/or not passive.

          --
          <fa-al-_haylu wa-al-laylu wa-al-baydA'u ta`rifunI
          wa-as-sayfu wa-ar-rum.hu wa-al-qir.tAsu wa-al-qalamu>
          (Abu t-Tayyib Ahmad Ibn Hussayn al-Mutanabbi)
          Ivan A Derzhanski <http://www.math.bas.bg/ml/iad/>
          H: cplx Iztok bl 91, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria <iad@...>
          W: Dept for Math Lx, Inst for Maths & CompSci, Bulg Acad of Sciences
        • gentlebeldin
          ... Indeed, we should avoid misunderstandings. But I thought I made clear I was speaking of the group of participles of strong verbs like been, seen, done,
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 11, 2002
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            --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ivan A Derzhanski <iad@m...> wrote:

            > By contrast, English is not our subject here, and while we may
            > think that the established grammatical/linguistic terminology
            > applied to English is suboptimal (as it often is), parting ways
            > with it on this forum is probably never advisable.

            Indeed, we should avoid misunderstandings. But I thought I made clear
            I was speaking of the group of participles of strong verbs like "been,
            seen, done, gone, fallen, spoken", having the suffix "(e)n(e)", like
            in one kind of Eldarin past tense (coincidence or not). If you tell me
            "passive participle" (and "irregular") is the standard term for that,
            so be it. As you said, English grammar isn't our main concern, here.

            > Re participles: I don't see why a participle can't be past
            > and/or passive just because it can be part of constructions
            > that are themselves not past and/or not passive.

            Maybe. Quite a few of the participles mentioned above are formed from
            intransitive verbs, however, so they can't possibly be used in ANY
            passive construction. "Suboptimal terminology" would be a mild way to
            put it, then.

            Concerning another point: If we want to compare Elvish languages and
            their tense structure with other languages, we won't be able to avoid
            the established terminology in this area entirely. And "resultative"
            is one of the possible meanings of perfect tense, others are called
            "experiential" or "extended now" (recent past/persistent situation).
            Naturally, I didn't invent those notions myself.

            Hans
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