Finnish and Quenya future
- There's a formation in Finnish to express future time: a conjugated
(person, time) form of the verb _olla_ 'to be' and the present
participle of a verb, e.g. _olen oleva_ 'I will be'. (Present
participles are formed from a verb stem + _-va_ adjectival
ending.) It is quite a formal and archaic construction. It is used
in the Finnish translation of the Bible (_Raamattu_), and people
often remember it thence.
Now, in Qenya the future tense is marked with an ending _-va_,
e.g. in _antáva_ 'will give' (V:72) < _anta-_ 'give' (V:348). (This
persisted to later Quenya in _-uva_.) It is possible that this future
construction was inspired by Finnish, since it also uses an ending
_-va_ to mark the future. Cf. "my 'own language' ... became heavily
Finnicized in phonetic pattern and _structure_" (L:214; emphasis mine).
Quenya is probably not overmuch influenced by Finnish in
vocabulary or syntax, but it has some similar or identical grammatical
endings, e.g. Quenya _-sse_ locative case (VT6:14) vs. Finnish
_-ssa/-ssä_ inessive case ending; and Quenya _-ra_ adjectival ending
(e.g. in _tára_ 'lofty' < TA3-, V:389) vs. Finnish _-ra_ adjectival
ending (e.g. in _avara_ 'expansive' < *_ava_ 'open'). Tolkien seems
to have borrowed old or obsolete grammatical features, e.g. Quenya
_-nna_ allative case ending vs. Finnish _-nne_ lative case ending.
This future formation could be another such a loan.
Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
>There's a formation in Finnish to express future time: a conjugatedIf that is a participle, the more literal translation will be 'I will be
>(person, time) form of the verb _olla_ 'to be' and the present
>participle of a verb, e.g. _olen oleva_ 'I will be'.
being', won't it?
>Now, in Qenya the future tense is marked with an ending _-va_,To my senses as a non-native speaker, that doesn't sound as if it
>e.g. in _antáva_ 'will give' (V:72) < _anta-_ 'give' (V:348). (This
>persisted to later Quenya in _-uva_.) It is possible that this future
>construction was inspired by Finnish, since it also uses an ending
>_-va_ to mark the future. Cf. "my 'own language' ... became heavily
>Finnicized in phonetic pattern and _structure_" (L:214; emphasis mine).
implied wholesale borrowings of formants. Of course, it doesn't preclude
these, and indeed several affixes are clearly influences from other
languages, not only Finnish - one can't help thinking of Latin on seeing
the 3pl. affix _-nte_.
Which after all raises the question of the etymology of the Quenya (and
Eldarin) future formation.
The Sindarin future in -thV- and the Quenya one in _-uv(a)-_ do not seem
to be immediately related (if there is a phonological possibility, I'd
be happy to consider it). Their ultimate origin remains obscure (even
though one can consider the possibility of the Sindarin _-th-_-future
being somehow connected with THAR- 'across, beyond' (V:392; though it is
a 'scribbled additional entry', which creates all kinds of textual
complications) - primitive CV- roots yielding several CVC- ones are not
unknown in Eldarin).
The Quenya future formant _-uv(a)-_ points to a primitive form in
*_-ub-_ or *_-uw-_. A connection with UB- 'abound' (V:396) seems
possible, but all too strained. _-uw-_ is difficult to etymologize. One
possibility is of course an unpublished/uninvented element (especially
if Petri's suggestion is true). It is also possible to suggest a
derivation from long *-ú-. Such a development is to my knowledge
unattested in Quenya, but it finds typological evidence. Cf. Old Church
Nom. _kry_ *_krú_
Acc. _krUvI_ *_kruwI_ < *_krúis_
(the oblique cases stem was in most modern Slavic languages generalized
to the nominative as well)]
Which would lead us to suppose that *-ú- is a (theoretically) possible
predecessor of the Quenya future. Thus we could stretch our imagination
even further, and suggest that the -a of _-uva-_ is the same -a seen in
the continuative tense (in fact, such a supposition is valid even if
_-uv-_ is of another origin)
Then we can conjure the following structure of the Quenya verbal stems.
A Quenya verb possesses a number of different stems (cf. the several
stems of a Slavic verb) - the basic stem (which can apparently be
consonant-final or u-final as in _hlapula_, *_turuna_), the aorist *-i
stem, the present *-a stem. Thus the past tense could be formed from the
basic stem, and the present tense stem gives rise to the continuative
(with lengthening of vowel where possible) and to the future (with
insertion/suffixion of _-uv-_) - this makes sense as the lack of
distinction between present and future is a phenomenon not unknown to
Indo-European languages, Germanic included. The perfect could then be
derived either from the basic stem or from the continuative (the latter
would also make sense, as it'd include the perfect into the present
This question stands in close relation to the classification of verbal
stems in Quenya with regard to their morphological features, as the
established division between 'basic' and 'derived' stems is clearly
insufficient to present a full picture of Quenya morphology (it cannot
account for many things, such as the presence/absence of nasal infixion
in the perfect etc.)
Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...
Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a bheachdaicheas