Re: Quenya aorist, and Quenya future
- Patrick Wynne responded to Petri Tikka:
> In the phrase _Eleni silir lúmesse omentiemman_This is one interpretation. Is not there another possible one, namely
> 'The stars shine on the hour of our meeting', the
> aorist _silir_ comes first in the sentence, and its
> context affects the interpretation of the next word
> _lúmesse_, not vice versa. Since the aorist indicates
> a general truth rather than a specific present event, the
> sense of the greeting in this case must be something
> like *'The stars shine whenever we meet'. No matter
> that the words are uttered by Frodo on his _first_
> meeting with Gildor -- this is, after all, meant to be a
> traditional greeting, not an expression coined by
> Frodo for that specific occasion.
that the aorist is used in a sense not excluding temporal determination,
but merely abstracting from it, not expressing it, leaving the job to
the "luumesse" - that would be just another example of the principle
that unnecessary grammatical determination is left out (like the "last
declinable word" rule or absence of verbal personal endings if the
subject is expressed)?
[Certainly this is a _possible_ alternative interpretation, though I
wouldn't say it's a _probable_ one, because -- again --it assumes
that _lúmesse_ 'on the hour' somehow inherently points to a single
incident in present time. -- Patrick.]
> This contrasts with the Elvish greeting as it finallyOr perhaps Tolkien decided that it sounds better to express the
> appears in _The Lord of the Rings_: _Elen síla
> lúmenn' omentielvo_ 'a star shines on the hour
> of our meeting' (LR:79). As you noted in message
> #307, this contains the present continuative _síla_,
> so that in the final text the Elvish greeting now (in
> contrast to the earlier aorist versions) refers only
> to the present, specific encounter: *'a star is
> shining (now) upon the hour of (this) our meeting'.
singularity of reference by means of the verbal tense as well? :-)
As to the matter of future tense, I have always been under the
impression that the "-uva" formation is originally rather optative
than purely future. I think that several things point to that: the use
of "future" in the "nai" formula, the difference of the future tense
from all the other tenses and the difference between Sindarin and
Quenya future, which jointly suggest that the future tenses are quite
young formations (and thus presumably derived from some other
formations), the possibility of Tolkien's taking his inspiration from
English (will="wish"), Greek (Greek furture seems to be an
elaboration of aorist optative) and perhaps also Latin (Latin future of
consonantal and -i stems is similar to present subjunctive, and future
perfect differs from perfect subjunctive only in 1st sg. form)...
For support Cirion's Oath may be cited as well - "Vanda sina termaruva..."
sounds rather "optative" to me (and such usage of the -uva form would
be archaism, which fits very well the occasion).
However, I don't see how this -uv- can be associated with the
"privative" stem "uu" - I cannot see how the optative meaning can
be gained by attaching a negative or privative particle to the end of
the verb. I could imagine that the "privative" meaning arose from the
"optative", but this seems not to be the case, both because -uva seems
to be a late formation and because the meaning of the "uu" stem in the
Etymologies is probably intended as the original, primitive one.
I would agree with Pavel in dividing the "uva" into "uv-" and "-a",
but I suggest that the "-a" is maybe rather the "-a" of imperative
(or perhaps the both a's can be traced to common meaning - certain
feel of intensity or anxiety, that marks the action described by the
verb as immediately concerning the situation?). A further step would
be to suppose a primitive verb "ub-" or "uba(a)-", in imperative
"uba(a)-" could perhaps give the desired meaning in connexion with
verbal stems? (Well, I don't in fact believe that - I rather suspect
that the elves simply liked the sound and made the ending up... ;-))
- Lukas Novak wrote:
> This is one interpretation. Is not there another possible one, namelyto which Patrick Wynne responded:
> that the aorist is used in a sense not excluding temporal determination,
> but merely abstracting from it, not expressing it, leaving the job to
> the "luumesse" [snip]
> Certainly this is a _possible_ alternative interpretation, though IWhile I agree that 'on the hour' may not necessarily point to a single
> wouldn't say it's a _probable_ one, because -- again --it assumes
> that _lúmesse_ 'on the hour' somehow inherently points to a single
> incident in present time.
incident in time, the hour we are talking about is specified by an
attribute ('the hour of our meeting') which seems quite exact to me.
And even disregarding that, Novak's point still holds, that the aorist
is maybe used not to exclude temporal determination, but merely to not
give any, something not unheard of in real languages (Chinese for
instance almost never has to).