Overlap between periods? (was: "Mature" and "perfected")
- But what if the stages overlap? For example: Tolkien wrote Elessar's
Coronation Oath (LR:946) in the late 40s. It was publised in the mid-
50s. In the mid-60s he wrote an almost identical version of it (VT44:36).
How is one to refer to this type of Quenya that was identical in several
Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
[There is _not_ a single, unified "type" of Quenya spanning the 40s and
later, at least not in the sense of being grammatically invariant. This
much should already be clear from the published materials. The fact that
a particular text (and a short one at that) could and did remain unchanged
from the 40s through the 60s is not particularly relevant to the real
question, which is: how do we refer to broader groups of stages? For such,
I should think that there are several ways: For one, we can distinguish
"Quenya" from "Qenya", using a convenient orthographic distinction that
separates earlier from later Quenya, and "Gnomish" from "Noldorin" from
"Sindarin". For another, we can talk about "pre-LotR" vs. "post-LotR"
forms of the languages. For yet another, we can talk about "earlier" vs.
"later" forms of the languages. Any of these terms is much more precise,
scholarly, and informative than "mature" or "perfected". Carl]
- --- In lambengolmor@y..., "Petri Tikka" <kari.j.tikka@w...> wrote:
> But what if the stages overlap? For example: Tolkien wrote Elessar's(VT44:36).
> Coronation Oath (LR:946) in the late 40s. It was publised in the mid-
> 50s. In the mid-60s he wrote an almost identical version of it
> How is one to refer to this type of Quenya that was identical in severalI'd suggest to call it just "Quenya", then. OF COURSE, there is some
element of continuity included! In fact, Quenya is (no matter whether we
look at it from an external or internal point of view) rather
conservative. At least, that's the impression you get from meaningful
sentences written in Qenya and Quenya, no matter whether they were
meant for publication. Look at the lines published in Carpenter's
well-known biography (p. 83):
"Ai lintulinda Lasselanta
Pilingeve suyer nalla ganta
Kuluvi ya karnevalinar
V'ematte singi Eldamar"
This is Quenya phonology, already, and even part of the vocabulary
looks very familiar... and it's 1915 or 1916.
The "Lost Road" and the "Notion Club Papers" hint at the truth: those
words and sentences came to JRRT because they sounded and felt right.
Another example of relative invariance: Alboin's fragments (V:51) are
almost identical to Lowdham's fragments (IX:246), and the latter
aren't really earlier than "Lord of the Rings"! So they'd certainly be
"mature" enough, but the inclusion/exclusion of texts into/from
"mature Quenya" doesn't seem to be based on objective criteria,
anyways. It's arbitrary and thus inherently inaccurate, meaningless
for scholarly discussion.
All of his life, JRRT tried to understand those fragments, i.e. to
interpret their etymology and grammatical structure. The latter part
was REALLY variable, but that's true for every language. German
grammar is changing during my lifetime, and I'm not even fifty.
But JRRT didn't change words or sentences more than he absolutely had
to, not only because they were published (most weren't!), but because
they contained truth (yes, I agree: harmony and euphony are a sort of
So if we feel like naming stages, we don't need very many for
phonology: Qenya and Quenya (and the difference isn't big). There's a
late stage (re-introducing _z_ even intervocalic, for instance, cf.
VT43:8--12), but it's easily internalized (Vanyarin).
Vocabulary was relatively stable, first based on QL, from the late
thirties based on Etymologies, still later (at need) some additions
(but sometimes returning to QL, as it seems).
There were more changes in grammar, of course. Some were internalized:
ancient past tense (XI:415), past tense and perfect getting closer,
ancient allative suffix _-da_>_-d_>_-r_ (XI:366), ancient plural
marker _-m_ (cf. V:401, root 3O- in Etymologies), but still leaving
Quenya very conservative internally. German dialects are more variable
(not all being mutually intelligible).
The case system changed, and so did the system of pronouns (including
the change prefix->postfix). But still, I could name only three or
four major phases. I'll have a look into some earlier declensions now,
maybe they'll help to make this more precise. And maybe they help to
understand the specifics of the grammar of earlier writings like
Fíriel's song. I mean, if somebody thinks he HAS TO write in Quenya,
why not a love poem to Fíriel in her own style?! Elendil said "Fíriel
was fair" (V:69), and I believe him! :-)
[The phonological similarity between Qenya as evidenced in the early
poem "Narqelion" and the Quenya of Tolkien's later writings is even
more striking when one eliminates Carpenter's errors in transcription:
Ai lintuilind(ov)a Lasselanta
Piliningwe súyer nalla qanta
Kuluvai ya karnevalinar
V'ematte sinqi Eldamar.
The full poem was reprinted (in both transcript and holograph)
in VT 40, with an analysis by Christopher Gilson.
-- Patrick Wynne]