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Re: [Lambengolmor] "Quenya of _Namaarie_"

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    ... I ve asked Bill Welden (who s been thinking and writing about just this topic lately) to reply to this, and he has agreed to do so, when he gets a little
    Message 1 of 12 , May 31, 2002
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      On 5/31/02 1:48 PM, "Boris Shapiro" <elenhil@...> wrote:

      > I think it would be quite useful if Carl or Bill or any of the venerable ELF
      > members give a small talk on that subject. To what extent one could regard the
      > gradual perfection of Quenya (or any of Tolkien's languages) as producing
      > clearly distinguishable stages of Quenya?

      I've asked Bill Welden (who's been thinking and writing about just this
      topic lately) to reply to this, and he has agreed to do so, when he gets a
      little time.

      Of course, if anyone else wants to chime in on this interesting and
      important question, please do!


      |======================================================================|
      | Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
      | |
      | ho bios brachys, he de techne makre. |
      | Ars longa, vita brevis. |
      | The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
      | "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take |
      | such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." |
      |======================================================================|
    • Arden R. Smith
      ... Even in the case of Namárie we re dealing with two different Quenyas: the first edition version in which _vánier_ was presumably grammatically correct,
      Message 2 of 12 , May 31, 2002
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        Boris Shapiro wrote:

        > In a message on Elfling Pavel has argued that there could be no
        > general "Namaarie-style Quenya", for that particular phase of Quenya
        > begins and ends with "Namaarie" and in any other sole piece of
        > Quenya text there is already a somehow different Quenya.

        Even in the case of "Namárie" we're dealing with two different
        Quenyas: the first edition version in which _vánier_ was presumably
        grammatically correct, and the second edition version in which
        _avánier_ is "the more correct (perfect) form" (see R 1st ed. 58, 2nd
        ed. 66).

        --
        *********************************************************************
        Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

        Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
        --Elvish proverb
        *********************************************************************
      • Pavel Iosad
        Hello, ... As a matter of fact, we are dealing with at least _three_ _Namárië_ s, as there s also the draft version in _The Treason of Isengard_. Pavel --
        Message 3 of 12 , May 31, 2002
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          Hello,
          Arden Smith wrote:

          > Even in the case of "Namárie" we're dealing with two different
          > Quenyas: [...]

          As a matter of fact, we are dealing with at least _three_
          _Namárië_'s, as there's also the draft version in _The Treason
          of Isengard_.

          Pavel
          --
          Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

          'I am a philologist, and thus a misunderstood man'
          --JRR Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_

          ------------------

          [Arden was of course referring to versions published by Tolkien, i.e.
          within Tolkien's lifetime. But if we expand his distinction to include
          draft versions, there is in addition to the early draft Pavel is
          referring to the variant pre-publication version on the Caedmon recordings
          (now published on CD by HarperCollins). And there are a number as yet
          unpublished draft versions in the Marquette archives. Carl]
        • Arden R. Smith
          ... Yes, indeed! In fact, there are *two* recordings of Galadriel s Lament on Caedmon LP #TC1478, _J. R. R. Tolkien Reads and Sings His The Lord of the
          Message 4 of 12 , May 31, 2002
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            Carl wrote:

            >[Arden was of course referring to versions published by Tolkien, i.e.
            >within Tolkien's lifetime. But if we expand his distinction to include
            >draft versions, there is in addition to the early draft Pavel is
            >referring to the variant pre-publication version on the Caedmon recordings
            >(now published on CD by HarperCollins). And there are a number as yet
            >unpublished draft versions in the Marquette archives. Carl]

            Yes, indeed! In fact, there are *two* recordings of Galadriel's
            Lament on Caedmon LP #TC1478, _J. R. R. Tolkien Reads and Sings His
            The Lord of the Rings_: one spoken and one sung. Phonetic
            transcriptions of both renditions appear in _An Introduction to
            Elvish_, ed. Jim Allan (Frome: Bran's Head, 1978), p. 158. These
            might be regarded as the same version with regard to the underlying
            text, but there are a number of differences in pronunciation between
            the two recordings.

            --
            ********************************************************************
            Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

            "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
            "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
            "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

            --Lewis Carroll,
            _Through the Looking-glass_
            ********************************************************************
          • williamwelden
            ... I don t know about comprehensive and Creed , but the question is one close to my heart. I can certainly contribute to a thread which might then be mined
            Message 5 of 12 , Jun 1, 2002
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              Boris Shapiro wrote:

              > In a message on Elfling Pavel has argued that there could
              > be no general "Namaarie-style Quenya", for that particular
              > phase of Quenya begins and ends with "Namaarie"...

              and then:

              > ... comprehensive ... Creed ...

              I don't know about "comprehensive" and "Creed", but the
              question is one close to my heart. I can certainly contribute to a
              thread which might then be mined for a creed (or at least a FAQ).

              The statement is bold (as you say), and true as far as it goes; but
              it fails to take into account the most important transformation in
              all of the (external) history of Quenya: a transformation in which
              _Namárie_ played a pivotal role.

              This will be a _compare and contrast_ exercise. _Quenya_ and
              _natural language_.

              Almost all of our energy has been directed toward the
              similarities. I don't think I will get any argument when I say that
              Quenya is extraordinary in this regard: what fictional language is
              more realistic? Lewis' Old Solar is just a scattering of nouns.
              Klingon is purely synchronic. I am particularly touched by
              LeGuin's Kesh, but it is a sketch compared to the tapestry of
              Quenya. Quenya will always be for me the bright window through
              which I first glimpsed the vivid reality of Middle-earth. I
              acknowledge this at the outset so that I can let it go, because it
              obscures the point I want to make.

              Which is this: that Quenya is also different from natural
              language, and the way in which it is different changed on the day
              that the first copy of _Fellowship_ hit the newsstands.

              Prior to publication, Quenya was a sort of workshop in which
              Tolkien could try out his _lámatyáve_, his sense of what was
              pleasing in language. I will call this "workshop Quenya".
              Tolkien's development of Quenya has often been characterized
              as a progression from primitive to polished, but it seems to me
              rather to be a series of sketches, with experimental features
              more often discarded than making an immediate and lasting
              contribution to the language. One day subject inflections precede
              the verb, but before long follow again with no proclitic legacy
              (other than a clarification in Tolkien's mind of word-order in
              Common Eldarin). Features appear and are rejected only to
              appear and be rejected again many years later (e.g., _lá_ = `no').
              What is constant in Quenya was mostly there to begin with.

              Note that Tolkien's essays and compositions do not document
              distinct stages of the development of the language, as might at
              first be expected. They are, instead, the driving force behind the
              development, so that almost all of the change in the language
              happens between some first draft and some final draft. This,
              together with the fact that most drafts are incomplete and that
              subsequent drafts tend to become progressively sketchier and
              less complete, accounts for quite a bit of the difficulty in
              preparing this material for clear presentation.

              Whether this wandering Quenya would have converged (or
              "matured") in the absence of publication is academic. What
              happened instead was that the nature of Quenya changed, and it
              changed overnight. It became a literary illusion, no different than
              the History of the Third Age or the Geography of Gondor.

              A skillful author (and Tolkien was among the best in this regard)
              will give us glimpses of a greater reality: exactly the sort of
              glimpses we would get if we had really been there. Of course, if
              we really _were_ there, we could explore what intrigued us
              (counting the layers of rock in the weathered outcrops of the
              White Mountains or cornering an Elf and demanding the word for
              `if'), but this is fancy. The glimpse is well constructed, but it is
              only our own minds that fill in the details (or rather assume their
              existence).

              Actually, the transformation in Quenya was subtler. Tolkien held
              the principle of "canonical Quenya" (as I will call this literary
              illusion, in order to maintain consistency with my earlier posts on
              the subject) in high respect, and was reluctant to change it; but
              workshop Quenya was still a passion for him, and the tension
              between the two fractured the language: Quenya became
              _partitioned_. The word _ar_ `and' is canonical (and therefore
              fixed); words for `if' came and went: they still belong to the
              workshop.

              Note that these are the _only_ two aspects of Quenya. At least
              there is no "mature" Quenya which we could query as if the Elves
              were still with us.

              We know that the fixed portion of Quenya chafed ("The history of
              the Eldar is fixed and the adoption of Sindarin by the Exiled
              Noldor cannot now be altered." XII:331 – many more examples
              remain unpublished). Tolkien took advantage of the second
              edition revisions to change bits of it. It was clear to him that every
              bit of information that he published (or sent to correspondents in
              letters) passed out of his hands into canonical Quenya where he
              could no longer change it; and he was very deliberate and
              careful about doing so. For example, the workshop partition of
              Quenya continued to change after publication, perhaps as much
              and as fast as it had beforehand; but letters written in the last
              years of Tolkien's life (see, e.g. Letters, number 347 to Richard
              Jeffery from December of 1972, p. 426 in particular) give only the
              most conservative glimpses, consistent with the 1955 version of
              the language, of the grammar and history underlying what was
              published. It now makes perfect sense to me why Dick Plotz
              never received his verb conjugation. I am rather surprised that he
              got the nouns.

              _Namárie_, of course, was a linchpin of canonical Quenya, and
              contained more grammar than all other bits of Elvish combined,
              and quite a bit of vocabulary. It constrained everything which
              followed, including workshop Quenya, but only and exactly in
              those aspects fixed by the published text. To say, then, that "there
              could be no general `_Namárie_-style Quenya'", while true
              enough when speculating about the workshop partition of
              Quenya (which is, of course, where all of the speculation takes
              place), does not take account of the fact that there is (by
              definition) no overlap between _Namárie_ and workshop
              Quenya. That Quenya is SVO (and many other facts of vocabulary
              and grammar) was established once and for all, and honored
              even behind the scenes.

              But it was only the Elvish text and a (loose) gloss which were
              published. These admitted, naturally, of a range of interpretation.
              It is unlikely that Tolkien's "clearer and more normal style" of
              word-order would have been the same when the published
              version of _Namárie_ was finished as it was in 1966 when the
              commentary for RGEO was being written. The gloss "beyond
              (the borders of)" for _pella_, from that commentary, looks to me
              like an attempt to change the derivation of this word to be from
              the root PEL (V:380), which never exactly meant "border" before.

              The distinction "canonical Quenya" has not really caught on:
              when I have seen it used, it most often refers simply to anything
              that Tolkien wrote. Such a distinction ("anything Tolkien wrote") is
              important, but not as powerful a tool as "canonical" as I have
              used it here.

              For example, for many years we had two stories about
              _omentielvo_: Plotz' story that it was simply a correction (along
              with the "inclusive/exclusive" bit), and Carpenter's more fanciful
              tale of Frodo's mistake and its subsequent correction by a scribe
              (and something not quite interpretable about the dual). Many
              factors were weighed (both were second-hand reports), but
              nobody asked about canonicity: Plotz' explanation was released
              deliberately by Tolkien into the realm of canon; but Carpenter's
              was lifted from Tolkien's notes without his cooperation. We
              would have done better to hold it in this light.

              One more example: I have made vague reference to _Cirion's
              Oath_ (UT:305) in this regard. It is often taken to have the force of
              canon, because it is, in grammar and vocabulary, utterly
              consistent with _Namárie_. But if you have followed my
              argument you will see that this is a consequence, not of both
              being drawn from an unattested grammar of Mature Quenya, but
              simply of its having been composed subsequent to and under
              the influence of the published canonical _Namárie_. It can add
              nothing to our knowledge of canonical Quenya, because it is not
              canonical. Note in particular, the third-person plural ending
              _-nte_, one of my favorites in the whole declension (because of
              its natural connection both with Eldarin and Indo-European
              structure), is still only workshop. Tolkien would have felt perfectly
              free to change it (and remember that he was moving away from
              primary-world influence at this time). He would have been very
              aware of the freedom he would have sacrificed in publishing it or
              sending it to a correspondent.

              The distinction of canon has not been brought into the current
              discussion, further clouding the issue of the relationship
              between _Namárie_ and _Quenya_. The earliest version of
              _Namárie_ is definitely in a class by itself and also (most
              important) it is not canon. The published version is also in a
              class by itself, _and_ as the most important text of canonical
              Quenya has had a profound impact on all subsequent
              development of the language.

              Perhaps the term _canon_ was not the best for what I want to
              convey. I would welcome other suggestions, but I would like to
              see the concept kept in the forefront of discussions.

              I hope this gets the ball rolling.

              --Bill
            • And Rosta
              As something of an aside in a longer message making a different ... As I occasionally do, I here feel the need to interpose a corrective to our own local
              Message 6 of 12 , Jun 1, 2002
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                As something of an aside in a longer message making a different
                overall point, Bill Welden says:
                > This will be a _compare and contrast_ exercise. _Quenya_ and
                > _natural language_.
                >
                > Almost all of our energy has been directed toward the
                > similarities. I don't think I will get any argument when I say that
                > Quenya is extraordinary in this regard: what fictional language is
                > more realistic? Lewis' Old Solar is just a scattering of nouns.
                > Klingon is purely synchronic. I am particularly touched by
                > LeGuin's Kesh, but it is a sketch compared to the tapestry of
                > Quenya. Quenya will always be for me the bright window through
                > which I first glimpsed the vivid reality of Middle-earth.

                As I occasionally do, I here feel the need to interpose a
                corrective to our own local version of bardolatry....

                If by 'fictional language' you mean 'invented language that appears
                in a work of literary fiction', you won't get any argument, but
                this in itself is no great testimony to the extraordinariness
                of Quenya; rather it reflects the rarity of those skilled and
                motivated enough to produce publishable fiction multiplied by the
                rarity of those skilled and motivated enough to invent a language.
                The very paucity of rivals to Quenya reveals this, with Tsolyani
                being the only worthy contender.

                But if by 'fictional language' is meant 'invented language', which
                thereby locates Quenya among a much larger pool of rivals, to
                Quenya's potential greater glory-by-comparison, then we must
                realize that realism is proportional to, among other things,
                derivativeness and functional incompleteness.

                To take the latter first, if a grammar of Quenya were written
                as though it were natural language, the description would clearly
                be drastically incomplete; Quenya's realism would lie in its
                resemblance not to fully-fledged living languages, but rather
                to a dead language, of which only fragments are known, imperfectly,
                gleaned from highly fragmentary evidence. In this sense, then,
                realism is somewhat a reflection of a lack of ambition or
                achievement, vis a vis creating a fully fledged (simulacrum
                of a) living language.

                As for derivativeness, the more derivative (from Real World
                natural languages) the materials worked with, the more realistic
                the product. Since the grammatical devices of Quenya and the
                sound changes it underwent are pretty much all drawn from
                European languages and their histories, it is not surprising
                that Quenya should seem realistic. But a more derivative
                invented language might be still more realistic (e.g. an
                invented Romance language created by someone with a decent
                knowledge of Romance diachrony).

                Given the specific properties of Quenya -- its degree of
                derivativeness, and Tolkien's concentration on exactly those
                things that give the patina of realism -- the elaborate
                history & its synchronic traces in half submerged patternings
                and irregularities, Quenya is indeed extraordinary and
                without equal. But move the goalposts, change the criteria
                for what counts as realistic, and add in other criteria for
                extraordinariness (such as functional completeness), and
                his achievement is, though still inspirational, less
                extraordinary.

                I realize that these remarks are not germane to the main thrust
                of your post, but I think it's important to recognize that
                Tolkien's greatness lies in his work when taken collectively,
                as a totality, or perhaps also specifically in _The Lord of
                the Rings_, though this cannot be separated from the mythopoeia
                that underlies it so profoundly. If we isolate Quenya from
                the rest of the oeuvre it remains a delight and the epicentre
                of the conlang canon, but not so ineluctably sans pareil.

                --And.
              • Carl F. Hostetter
                One purpose I would like to put this list to is a forum for feedback on _Vinyar Tengwar_. Given the irregular nature of its publication, and further given the
                Message 7 of 12 , Jun 4, 2002
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                  One purpose I would like to put this list to is a forum for feedback on
                  _Vinyar Tengwar_. Given the irregular nature of its publication, and further
                  given the fact that there has for years now usually been too much new,
                  primary material in each issue to allow for a lengthy or active letters
                  section (not that anyone's complained, mind you!), I think a mailing list
                  such as this may be the most practical way for readers of _VT_ to
                  communicate with one another about its contents.

                  There is something in particular that I would like to solicit input on from
                  any readers of _VT_ that are on this list: namely, errata. If you've noticed
                  typos of any sort (spelling, punctuation, grammar, citation error,
                  misquotation, etc.) in any issue of _VT_ (well, 10 and up, since issues
                  earlier than that can only be "reprinted" by photocopying), I want to know
                  about them so that I can correct them in future reprintings.

                  If you'll provide me with errata (_off list_, that is, to:
                  Aelfwine@...) I'll compile a list of them and put them on a Web page
                  at:
                  http://www.elvish.org/VT/errata.html
                  and update it periodically with new errata as they are found.

                  As an added incentive (beyond the satisfaction of invaluable service to
                  future humanity, that is), the first person to alert me of a genuine but
                  previously unnoticed erratum for any issue will receive a complimentary copy
                  of the corrected issue when it is next reprinted.

                  Oh, please help me out by prefixing VT ERRATUM: to the subject line of any
                  erratum report e-mail.

                  Thanks!


                  |======================================================================|
                  | Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
                  | |
                  | ho bios brachys, he de techne makre. |
                  | Ars longa, vita brevis. |
                  | The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
                  | "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take |
                  | such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." |
                  |======================================================================|
                • Arden R. Smith
                  ... If future reprintings are going to be revised, I suggest that this fact be stated clearly on the reprints, otherwise confusion will most definitely ensue
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 7, 2002
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                    Carl F. Hostetter wrote on 4 June 2002:

                    >There is something in particular that I would like to solicit input on from
                    >any readers of _VT_ that are on this list: namely, errata. If you've noticed
                    >typos of any sort (spelling, punctuation, grammar, citation error,
                    >misquotation, etc.) in any issue of _VT_ (well, 10 and up, since issues
                    >earlier than that can only be "reprinted" by photocopying), I want to know
                    >about them so that I can correct them in future reprintings.

                    If future reprintings are going to be revised, I suggest that this
                    fact be stated clearly on the reprints, otherwise confusion will most
                    definitely ensue when differing citations from revised and unrevised
                    versions start showing up.

                    [That's a good suggestion, and one I'll give some thought to how best to
                    indicate the fact. Some revisions have, of course, already been silently
                    incorporated in various reprintings. Reprintings, by the way, are usually
                    able to be distinguished from original printings by the fact that their
                    covers are plain paper (i.e., the same paper as the conents); whereas
                    original printings used a heavier, textured papers for the cover (only).
                    Carl]

                    I also suggest that, in addition to posting a complete list of errata
                    on the _VT_ website, you should also periodically publish lists of
                    newly observed errata in _VT_ itself, for the benefit of those few
                    subscribers who do not (or choose not to) have Internet access.

                    [Another good suggestion. The problem there is going to be a usual lack of
                    space in the printed issues. Carl]

                    It would also be a good idea to announce which issues are being
                    reissued with a revised text, for the benefit of the die-hard
                    completists who would want to have both the old and new versions.

                    [At this point, I doubt that I could produce such a list. In any event,
                    none of the revisions made to date have been substantive, being limited
                    to typos and the like. Corrections of argument or linguistic detail have
                    always been made in letters or articles in subsequent issues. Carl]

                    This would be an ideal place to note that the second printing of
                    _Parma Eldalmaberon_ #11 incorporated a few corrections, and though
                    it is clearly labelled as a "second impression", I don't recall that
                    the fact that it is a *corrected* edition was announced anywhere. To
                    the best of my knowledge, three errors were corrected in the second
                    impression:

                    p. 23, col. 2, l. 2: "mutatation" > "mutation";
                    p. 53, col. 1, l. 13: "_lattta_" > "_latta_";
                    back cover: "haprwire" > "harpwire".

                    The second impression also included a change in the phone and fax
                    information on the back cover, as well as (of course) new printing
                    information on the inside of the back cover.

                    --
                    ********************************************************************
                    Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

                    "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
                    "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
                    "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

                    --Lewis Carroll,
                    _Through the Looking-glass_
                    ********************************************************************
                  • fr3dr1k_s
                    Arden, In VT44, p. 37 n. 3 you write: Another Quenya preposition with a similar form and meaning is _epe_ after (VT42:32), seen also in _epesse_
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 8, 2002
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                      Arden,

                      In VT44, p. 37 n. 3 you write:

                      "Another Quenya preposition with a similar form and meaning is
                      _epe_ 'after' (VT42:32), seen also in _epesse_ 'after-name'
                      (UT:266, XII:339)."

                      And on the next page Bill Welden corrects his VT42 article:
                      "_epe_ 'after'. The gloss should be 'before'."

                      Are both meanings, 'before' and 'after', attested for _epe_ in
                      Tolkien's papers?

                      /Fredrik

                      [Yes. Arden's cross-reference to _VT_ 42 was an editorial oversight, due
                      to his article being written and prepared for publication before Bill's
                      letter was submitted. The cross-reference to UT and XII, of course, remain
                      valid. Carl]
                    • Fredrik
                      ... I see. May I ask, then, what was Bill s motivation to correct/change the gloss of _epe_? (Note that my question concerns the attested meaning(s) of the
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jul 8, 2002
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                        >"_epe_ 'after'. The gloss should be 'before'."

                        I see. May I ask, then, what was Bill's motivation to correct/change the
                        gloss of _epe_?

                        (Note that my question concerns the attested meaning(s) of the word _epe_,
                        regardless of what may be guessed from the word _epessi_.)

                        /Fredrik

                        [Short answer: Bill discovered that he'd given the wrong translation for
                        _epe_ from the source document in question. Carl]
                      • williamwelden
                        ... In the document I cited, _epe_ is clearly glossed before . As a novice to this sort of work, I glossed the word based on my (incorrect) confidence that it
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jul 8, 2002
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                          --- In lambengolmor@y..., Fredrik <gwaihir@s...> wrote:

                          > >"_epe_ 'after'. The gloss should be 'before'."
                          >
                          > I see. May I ask, then, what was Bill's motivation to correct/change the
                          > gloss of _epe_?

                          In the document I cited, _epe_ is clearly glossed 'before'. As a
                          novice to this sort of work, I glossed the word based on my
                          (incorrect) confidence that it meant 'after', without bothering to
                          check the reference. I have learned my lesson, and spent quite a few
                          hours looking up the references for the work I did in the latest VT.

                          --Bill
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