Etymology of 1 pl. pronominal forms in 1960s
- [Suilad o Galadhorn am mellyn în phain! This is my first post to
The evolution of the pronominal forms in the papers of J.R.R. Tolkien is a
very interesting, though complicated story *. According to VT43:6 one of
Tolkien's last attempts in this matter was a revision of Quenya pronominal
markers of 1 pl. exclusive and inclusive in the Revised Edition of LR in
1965. In the texts from 1950s and early 1960s earlier markers are attested
in: (a) "Five Catholic Prayers in Quenya" (cf. VT43 and 44) and (b) First
Edition of LR and the texts like "Quendi and Eldar". These were:
(a) _-mm-_ 'we, but not you' 1 pl. exclusive (VT43:6, 36); _-ngw-_ 'we, me
and you' 1 pl. inclusive (VT43:36);
(b) _-mm-_ 1 pl. exclusive (XI:371); _-lm-_ 1 pl. inclusive (XI: 367, 417).
In the time of the Second Edition of LR the pronominal markers were changed
_-lm-_ 1 pl. exclusive (cf. VT43:6);
_-lw-_ (VT42:34) or _-lv-_ (cf. VT43:6) 1 pl. inclusive;
The endings in _-mm-_ became dual (cf. VT43:6).
It seems that these markers are etymologically related to the pronouns in
the period (a):
We can see that the common element of _-lm-_ and _-lw-_/_-lv-_ is plural
marker _-l-_ (cf. VT43:20, entry _avatyarir_). If this _-l_ is really a
plural element (seen also in early forms of 3 pl.: _kárielto_ in V:72;
_avatyarilta_ in VT:43:20) we can separate hypothetical stems of 1 pl.
exclusive & inclusive. They can be *ME- and *WE- respectively: Q _-lm-_ < CE
_*-l-m-_ and Q _-lw-_ , CE _*-l-w-_. On the other hand we have forms like
Telerin _vomentienguo_ (XI:407, Note 1), which predate by some years the
shift of inclusive _-lm-_ > _-lv-_, but can also be informative. They cannot
be explained by the stem *WE. In this case it is rather *GWE-, which would
be also a good explanation for the earlier form of 1 pl. inclusive, cf.
_etengwe_, _mingwe_ in VT43:36 (can it be in some degree related to WO-
'together' from XI:367?). Compare it also with the independent pronoun
_n(g)wen_ (or _n(g)win_?) *'for us' (? 1 pl. incl.) of the mid-50s (cf. VT
21, and see further comment in subsequent issues.
The shorter form of Quenya _-ngwe_ might have been _*we_ (like _-mme_ and
its short form _me_). Maybe the forms _-mme_ and _-ngwe_ were composed of:
plural marker _-m-_ (cf. XI:361) + respectively _-me_ and _-gwe_ (_*-m-gwe_
> _-ngwe_) in the earlier conceptual phase of Quenya? I hope you can help meto answer these questions.
Ryszard Derdzinski (Galadhorn)
* I have prepared a table with the attested pronominal forms in the
published texts of J.R.R. Tolkien; it contains both
Goldogrin/Noldorin/Sindarin and Eldarissa/Qenya/Quenya forms. It is very
interesting to compare the forms which were in Tolkien's mind since 1917 to
the end of his life. The final form of this table will be published on my
website, but if you want to see the up-to-date result of my work, send a
message to me.