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Re: [Lambengolmor] The adjectival case and number agreement

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  • Tchitrec@aol.com
    ... invariable and _lisse-miruvooreva_ doesn t agree with _yuldar_; this is well known, but the really puzzling thing is: why? (...) ... indeclinable ...
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 6, 2002
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      On September 29th, Emanuele Vicentini wrote :

      >in _Namaarie_ the adjectival case seems to be
      invariable and _lisse-miruvooreva_ doesn't agree with _yuldar_; this is
      well known, but the really puzzling thing is: why? (...)

      >1) in _Namaarie_ (194X, LotR1/II chap. 8) the adjectival case seems to be
      indeclinable

      >2) in "Quendi and Eldar" (1959-1960, XI:369 and XI:407) the adjectival case
      agrees in number with the object it describes and we see that plural
      nouns are declinable with this case

      >3) again in _Namaarie_ (1966, RGEO:66) the adjectival case seems to be
      indeclinable

      >4) in the Plotz Letter (1966-1967, VT6) we don't have anything that could
      tell us if the adjectival case agrees in number or not, but we learn
      that in "`Classical' or Book Quenya" it cannot be applied to a plural
      noun (or so I understand the long line next to _ciryava_)

      > Did Tolkien change his mind again about number agreement of the
      adjectival case? Did he simply forget to change an _-a_ into _-e_? Wasn't he
      willing to change _Namaarie_ text again? Is there any reason, perhaps a very
      particular use of the adjectival case, behind the invariability of
      _lisse-miruvooreva_?


      It would not be very surprising if he changed his mind back and forth : just
      remember how his opinion changed as ebb and flow to decide if the Sindarin
      word for sea would be "aear" or "gaear"...

      It is clear from "Quendi and Eldar" (XI:368-369 and 407) than the -va suffix
      is originally a derivational and more specifically adjectival ending. Quite
      naturally such adjectives could often be used to show possession (does
      Russian not display a similar method ?). Consequently the -va ending slowly
      came to be considered as a case suffix, a change shown by the fact that
      Quenya speakers introduced a singular/plural distinction : _Eldava_ vs.
      _Eldaiva_ (XI:407). I am not aware of other adjectival suffixes that can be
      added to specifically *plural* stems like Eldai-. Invariability of the suffix
      is the further step in this transformation of a derivational into a regular
      case ending.

      Hence I think that the discrepancy between "Quendi and Eldar" and "Namárië"
      may lie only in the stage reached by Quenya ; i.e. Tolkien knew what the
      general direction of linguistic change was, but found it hard to decide if
      the transformation was or was not complete. That's, of course, fully
      hypothetical.

      There is an example of a similar phenomenon in the development of Old
      Noldorin sm- to hm- or m-. Hm- looks like an intermediary stage. Some
      Noldorin words have m-, which was changed later to hm-, but not consistently
      : see V:386-387 entries SMAG and SMAL.. At the time of that change Tolkien
      evidently thought that the development had reached hm- only. But in later
      Sindarin Tolkien chose m- again, otherwise the _mallorn_ would be presumably
      a _**hmallorn_.

      Nai Anar caluva tielmanna !

      Bertrand Bellet


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Carl F. Hostetter
      This is another reminder to be judicious when quoting a post to which you are responding. Please keep quoting to the minimum necessary to establish the context
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 6, 2002
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        This is another reminder to be judicious when quoting a post to which
        you are responding. Please keep quoting to the minimum necessary to
        establish the context for a reply, or portion of a reply. Paraphrase
        where possible, or even simply refer to the message with a link to the
        message in the Lambengolmor archives:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor

        In the message that sparked this reminder:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/274

        the lengthy opening quote (representing nearly the whole of the
        original message!) could have been eliminated entirely and replaced
        with the words:

        "In his post of Sep. 28, Emanuele Vicentini
        (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/251) listed
        examples showing both the presence and lack of number agreement in the
        adjectival case in Quenya."

        The URL could even have been left out, if necessary, with no loss of
        relevant context.

        Please, folks, take the time to keep this list reader friendly.

        Thanks
      • Hans
        ... Actually, that would contradict JRRT s words (XI:407) Similarly with -va; but this was and remained an adjective, and had the plural form -ve in plural
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 6, 2002
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          --- In lambengolmor@y..., Tchitrec@a... wrote:

          > Consequently the -va ending slowly
          > came to be considered as a case suffix, a change shown by the fact that
          > Quenya speakers introduced a singular/plural distinction : _Eldava_ vs.
          > _Eldaiva_ (XI:407).

          Actually, that would contradict JRRT's words (XI:407) "Similarly with
          -va; but this was and remained an adjective, and had the plural form
          -ve in plural attribution". According to that, the adjectival
          character did not change later.

          JRRT usually was reluctant to change words he had written, especially
          those published already, when he could re-interpret them. Remember the
          name _Ungoliante_ or _Ungweliante: in Etymologies, it's derived from
          UÑG- (V:443) "gloom, shadow" and SLIG- (V:431) "spider, spider's web,
          cobweb". Among the derivations of the latter root, there is _líne_,
          and some may wonder whether it could be used for the WWW... Don't even
          dream! If you look at the names of the tengwar in Quenya, you'll find
          the name of tengwa 8, _ungwe_ "spider's web" (LR:1096).

          Could he re-interpret the sentence to be close enough to his (not
          literal) translation and circumvent the problem with agreement? That
          would be easy, in fact. Remember that _miruvóre_ is not exactly mead,
          but the drink of the Valar, "nectar". So _miruvóreva_ (sg.) would be
          an attribute, "nectarous". Mead is a beverage made of honey, and
          that's the gloss you find in the entry LIS- in Etymologies (V:411).
          _lisse_ could be "mead", and we have "nectarous mead", close enough to
          "sweet mead" in the translation. The words for the beverage would be
          simply in apposition with _yuldar_, draughts, without any genitive
          here ("swift draughts of the sweet mead" in the translation, LR:368).
          That's not possible in English or some other languages, but it may be
          possible in Quenya. It's costumary in German, where you say "ein
          Schluck Wein" (a draught of wine) or "ein Glass Bier" (a glass of
          beer), without any copula or case inflection.

          Necessary warning: that's just to show that a later re-interpretation
          would be possible. There is no doubt that _lisse_ meant "sweet" when
          JRRT wrote the poem, there's such a root LISI- meaning sweetness (and
          grace) already in QL (cf. VT43:29). But at that time, _-va_ had very
          likely another meaning than in Quendi and Eldar! And I'm not sure
          about _-ie_ being seen as a plural of _-ea_, at that time, or
          agreement in numbers...

          Hans
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