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RE: [Lambengolmor] "Quenya of _Namaarie_"

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  • 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 1 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unpublished draft versions in the Marquette archives.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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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