Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Internal or external history? (was: Bilabial V in Quenya)

Expand Messages
  • Petri Tikka
    ... I was speaking both of the internal and external devopment. Mature Quenya is a term based on Tolkien s assesment s that his early Qenya of the 1910s
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 9, 2002
      --- In lambengolmor@y..., "gentlebeldin" <gentlebeldin@h...> wrote:

      > Are you speaking of internal or external history of Quenya? An ill-
      > defined (and undefinable, in my humble opinion) term like "mature
      > Quenya" makes it easy to confuse the two very different matters.

      I was speaking both of the internal and external devopment. "Mature
      Quenya" is a term based on Tolkien's assesment's that his early Qenya
      of the 1910s (from which the QL dates) was "very primitive", cf. XII:379.

      > The development EKTE > _ehte_ reflected in Etymologies was internal,
      > obviously.

      The development of KT to HT in Quenya was both an internal and external.

      > What does the acronym "Q" mean?

      The (Q) was intended to mean "Qenya Lexicon" published in PE#12. I can't
      quote from it, because I don't own it and it is out of print. I had to
      use Helge Fauskanger's "Index to the Qenya Lexicon" as my source:

      > > [...]
      > > I can not currently think of any other firm examples of change
      > > in the external history of the Quenya phonology
      > Why "other"? You're explicitly speaking of external history only now.
      > Hans

      Because Carl F. Hostetter's question concerned external history, the
      reference to internal history was only a sidetrack, but still illuminating.

      > [ ... Petri's point stands: the combination KT was allowed in the Qenya
      > of the Lost Tales era (as in the three examples cited), but was not
      > retained in Quenya of the LotR era and later, where it "became" (in both
      > internal and external senses) HT. -- Patrick Wynne]

      It is funny to note that modern Finnish doesen't consider the combination
      KT contrary to its phonology, as is explicit in such loan words as
      _laktoosi_ "lactose" and _kaktus_ "cactus" used by common people. This
      strange development is quite new in Finnish. A hundred years ago those
      words would have been unpronouncable to lay people.

      Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      Like Hans, I too find the term mature when applied to Tolkien s languages inadequate and best avoided. Even if it in fact reflects the opposite of Tolkien s
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 9, 2002
        Like Hans, I too find the term "mature" when applied to Tolkien's
        languages inadequate and best avoided. Even if it in fact reflects the
        opposite of Tolkien's later opinion about his earlier languages (and I
        do not grant that as given), and if in fact that judgment was about the
        internals of the languages (and not about their external presentation
        in the _Lost Tales_ notebooks and associated loose papers and jottings,
        organized on the one hand by internal roots (Qenya) and on the other by
        internal lexical items (Goldogrin), rather than grouped etymologically
        by primitive base), it is an _aesthetic_ judgment, one that Tolkien is
        certainly entitled to, as is everyone else; but as such it is _not_ a
        scientific judgment, and has no value as a term of linguistic

        The term "perfected" suffers from the same deficiency. There was
        nothing lacking in the Qenya and Goldogrin of the Lexicons _as
        languages_ (certainly, no more so than the later stages of the
        languages): they have a phonology, a grammar, and (if we are to
        consider Helge's pronouncement that Tolkien ultimately "rejected" them
        as accurate) in many ways a richer, fuller, and far more modern
        vocabulary than the later stages. I fail to see therefore how they
        count as any less "perfected" than the later stages. What changed over
        time was not some nebulous level of Platonic perfection, but rather
        Tolkien's own aesthetic (as reflected in the changing phonology,
        grammar, and lexicon), as well as the fictive situations of the
        languages (becoming more and more remote in time from the present), and
        Tolkien's mode and manner of describing the languages and their

        The problem that arises in linguistic discourse is finding terms that
        distinguish between the internal development of Tolkien's languages,
        and their external development by Tolkien, without being unwieldy. For
        the former, we have Tolkien's own terms: Primitive, Common, Old,
        Middle, Modern (usually unmarked), Exilic, "of the Third Age", etc.,
        all of which are linguistically precise. To be similarly precise when
        discussing the external development, we can (and on this list should)
        associate stages of the language with 1) the documents in which they're
        found or described (e.g., "the Qenya of the Lexicons", "the Noldorin of
        the 'Lays'," etc.) or 2) the time in which they're found or described
        (e.g., "the Quenya of the late '60s", "the Noldorin of the early '30s",

        I will note that my colleagues and I have been writing on Tolkien's
        languages, including editing his papers and describing their history
        and development, for many years now, without once having or wanting to
        use the terms "mature" and "perfected" to do so. And I daresay our work
        is hardly the poorer for it.

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.