- In VT nº43 on p. 29 was published a chart of prepositions and enclitic
pronouns. I was wondering how others do interpret the following:
ÓNI, ONYE "you (both) with me" or simply "(you) with me".
Furthermore, the pronoun _-ni, -nye_ should be declined in the
accusative case (since they are not subject).
[These forms both seem likely to mean simply *'(together) with
me' -- I'm not sure why the word 'you' is included in the glosses
above, unless it is assumed that _ó-_ here must have a dual
sense, as described in "Quendi and Eldar", referring to "the
meeting, junction, or union of two things or persons, or of
two groups thought of as units" (XI:367). But if so, this would
not preclude the use of _óni, onye_ with other words or
prepositions than 'you': "God is with me", "You are with me",
"He/she/it is with me", etc. In fact, pretty much any "A with B"
construction could be viewed as "dual" in the sense of
describing a "union of two things or persons, or of two
groups thought of as units".
And while we might indeed theoretically _expect_ that a
pronominal object of a preposition would be in the accusative
case, it is clear from the many forms cited in VT43 -- _onye_,
_olye_, _carelye_, aselye_, _canye_, _calye_, _etemme_,
_mimme_, etc. -- that Tolkien envisioned (at the time of the
writing of the various Q. Catholic prayers) that nominative
endings such as _-nye_, _-(e)lye_, etc. could in fact be attached
to prepositions to serve as objects. The chart in question
indicates that these forms coexisted with forms such as _óni_,
_óle_, in which the endings _-ni, -le_ actually are accusative
in form. -- PHW]
- On Montag, April 14, 2003, at 04:00 Uhr, laurifindil wrote:
> ÓNI, ONYE "you (both) with me" or simply "(you) with me".Why do you think they are not subjects ? "You go swimming with me".
> Furthermore, the pronoun _-ni, -nye_ should be declined in the
> accusative case (since they are not subject).
While _me_ is in the oblique case here, its thematic role is certainly
that of subject (agent) of the sentence. (I.e. == "you and I go
swimming"). I don't see what sense a direct object would make here.
[I don't think it is valid to restructure a sentence and then assume that
it has any _necessary_ bearing on the grammatical relationships of the
parts of the original sentence. Besides, how would you explain away the
fact that in _I Heru aselye_ 'the Lord is with thee', the subject is _Heru_,
leaving _-elye_ as the object? The fact that the object_-elye_ has the
same _form_ as an object as it does as a subject does _not_ mean that
it cannot fill two grammatical roles. Especially in a language that we
know lost the formal distinction between nominative and accusative
I also want to reiterate that there is absolutely no evidence to
show that _óni_, _onye_ mean *'_you_ with me', sg. or pl. That is an
assumption based on assumption (about the meaning of _ó-_). It is
fine to specualte about such things, _so long as the fact that it is
mere speculation is made explicit_. As, for example, by prefixing
a hypothetical "*" to speculative translation. CFH]
The dative in English is due to the particularity of Indo-European grammar.
It would seem that the Quenya is more literally "together - I". Maybe
an accusative would make sense when motion is involved, although I'm
not sure whether that was one of its functions in Quenya.
Note also that Sindarin _anim_ seems to exhibit the status rectus _im_
(==subject case) as well.
- Pat Wynne wrote:
> In fact, pretty much any "A with B" construction could be viewed as "dual"In my understanding, in "A with B" -- if used with _o-_/_ó-_ preposition --
> in the sense of describing a "union of two things or persons, or of two
> groups thought of as units".
A has to be either dual, which is why I wrote "you (both)"; or, if it did lose
its original dual meaning, _singular_, but A could not be plural using that
> The chart in question indicates that these forms coexisted with formsThat is a very interesting hypothesis: _-ni_, _-le_ accusative, and _-nye_,
> such as _óni_, _óle_, in which the endings _-ni, -le_ actually are accusative
> in form.
_-lye_ nominative. Up to now, I was taking these to be short and long
forms of the nominative forms ; as _En nitúviet_ *I have found it (cf. VT24:7).
The root of pronoun "I" is NI- in Ety and _ni-_ in _nitúviet_ is subject.
- On Dienstag, April 15, 2003, at 06:31 Uhr, Carl Hostetter wrote:
> I don't think it is valid to restructure a sentence and then assume1) Yes and no. There are two different aspects (of relationship) here.
> that it has any _necessary_ bearing on the grammatical relationships
> of the parts of the original sentence.
A. The formal level. On the formal level, e.g. _elye_ might as well be
[Note that I said "_necessary_ bearing". If one restructures a
sentence and then uses it to make grammatical arguments concerning
the functions of the parts of the sentence, the burden is on them to show
that it is valid to do so in each particular case. CFH]
B. Edouard, however, wrote "since they are not subject".
This I do not agree with. Languages may vary as to how they encode a
prepositional participant of a noun phrase (Semitic would use the
genitive) but in a sentence like _I Heru aselye_ "the Lord is with
thee", _asleye_ is, in my eyes, B. *functionally* the subject (namely
Mary). Just as in the preceding parts of the prayer. "...Full of grace"
"blessed thou art amongst women".
[Whereas I would say that _-elye_ is _functionally_ the object of the
preposition _as-_, but _formally_ indistinguishable from the nominative/
subject form. That being said, I would welcome a typological study of
attested Quenya to investigate whether and to what degree it varies
from a western-Indo-European type in this and other matters.
Moreover, it seems to me that asserting that _aselye_ 'with thee' is the
subject is equivalent to saying that, in the sentence: "The grass is green",
"green" is the subject (and, therefore, a noun). CFH]
> Besides, how would you explain away the fact that in _I Heru aselye_Functionally, the first phrase can be rephrased as "thou art one the
> 'the Lord is with thee', the subject is _Heru_, leaving _-elye_ as the
Lord is with". Here, I think it becomes clear that the case *encoding*
does by no means necessarily imply anything about the function in a
sentence. Or, with other words, I'm using "subject" and "object" as
functional (semantical) categories, not formal ones.
[You have yet to establish that your restructuring of the sentence has
any necessary bearing on the interpretation of either the form or the
function of the elements of the original sentence. CFH]
So there is nothing to "explain away". When you say "leaving _-elye_
as the object", you are referring to how an Indo-European language
would typically encode a prepositional participant. That doesn't,
however, change the fact (in my eyes) that it isn't the object of the
[Again, I would say that _functionally_ it is the object (not of the
sentence, but of the preposition), though _formally_ it is
indistinguishable from a nominative/subject form. CFH]
So, in short, I find that both you and Edouard fail to make a necessary
distiction between the formal and functional level of the language here.
[I don't feel that I have failed to make the necessary distinction; rather,
the distinction I make of form vs. function seems to be the opposite of the
one you make. CFH]
> The fact that the object_-elye_ has the same _form_ as an object asAbsolutely with you. Never doubted that for a second.
> it does as a subject does _not_ mean that it cannot fill two grammatical
> roles. Especially in a language that we know lost the formal distinction
> between nominative and accusative generally.
- Patrick Wynne wrote:
> In fact, pretty much any "A with B" construction could be viewed as "dual"While this is true, it seems to me that the specific dual character of
> in the sense of describing a "union of two things or persons, or of two
> groups thought of as units".
*WO > _ó_/_o_ was emphasized only later, in _Quendi and Eldar_. That
Q&E was written later than the chart containing _óni_, _onye_, etc.
(VT43:29), seems to be confirmed by the fact that we read there about
*WO that "This does not remain in Q as an independent word" (XI:367).
Indeed, in the latest version of _Aia María_, _olesse_ does no longer occur.
A preposition (even with an appended pronoun) would be an independent
[Indeed. Facts stated by Tolkien at one point in the conceptual history
of his languages have no _necessary_ bearing on any other stage of that
long history. The willingness to _force_ such facts to apply at all other
stages and in all attested examples is a phenomenon of a regularizing and
simplifying mind asserting its desires over both history and evidence, and
is thus anti-scholarly. The proper approach is to examine _all_ the evidence
bearing on a particular element or device, weighing each example and/or
statement against the others, and then making such observations and
claims as this evidence, as a whole, permits. CFH]
It's interesting that we find _o_ not as a preposition, but as a conjunction in
the Notion Club Papers, _O sauron túle_ (IX:246), replacing _Ar_ in an earlier
variant. It seems to be used in the sense "with (them)", which is close to "and".
This closeness in JRRT's understanding is confirmed by a preliminary version
of a sentence in _The Return of the King_: _Sinome nimaruva yo hildinyar tenn'
Ambar-metta!_ (XI:56), where _yo_ (the non-dual counterpart of *_wo_ according
to XI:367) was replaced by _ar_ in the final version: _Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar
tenn' Ambar-metta!_ (LR:946). VT43:33 mentions a root _ara_ "along side", and
the closely related _as-_ is used in the sense "with" (VT43:30), so it seems that
Quenya _ar_ has a more commitative sense than the English "and".
Patrick further wrote:
> nominative endings such as _-nye_, _-(e)lye_, etc. could in fact be attachedWhile I agree on the first part, I'd like to see some evidence why _-ni, -le_ are
> to prepositions to serve as objects. The chart in question indicates that these
> forms coexisted with forms such as _óni_, _óle_, in which the endings _-ni, -le_
> actually are accusative in form.
accusative in form. The sentence quoted above shows that _ni-_ was used as
nominative "I" in _nimaruva_, and the well-known _tye-meláne_ in _The Lost
Road_ (V:68 in my DelRey paperback) shows the long form _tye_ as accusative
"thee". _le_ seemed to coexist with a form *_lye_, as we know from a
communication by Helge Fauskanger in Elfling message #14958 (May 11, 2000):
_lyenna_ (obviously "upon you") is found in an JRRT autograph dating from 1968.
[So says Helge. I wonder whether the word in question could instead be
_tyenna_? Tolkien's _t_s and _l_s are sometimes difficult to distinguish, as he
had a habit of placing the cross-bar of his _t_s far to the right of the vertical
member, and also of "blending" it with the start of a following consonant. CFH]
So it seems to me that _-ni, -le_ are just short forms, which (as the long forms)
can be both nominative and accusative. This would be in accordance with the
Plotz Letter, saying that accusative vanished from spoken Quenya, and the
difference to nominative "was adequately expressed by word order" (VT6:14).
Indeed, attaching a pronoun to a preposition clearly marks it as an object!
Still, there should have been a formal difference in Book Quenya, and it's curious
that it didn't survive. In languages like German, English, Italian,... the difference
between acc. and nom. is no longer expressed in nouns, but still visible in
pronouns. Given the fact that JRRT much hesitated even with the nominative forms
of the pronouns, it seems unlikely that he had a clear vision of hypothetical
accusative forms in Book Quenya, though.
- Hans wrote, in response to my statement that in _óni, óle_ "the
endings _-ni, -le_ actually are accusative in form":
> While I agree on the first part, I'd like to see some evidenceOne reason for assuming _óni_ contains acc. _-ni_ is phonological,
> why _-ni, -le_ are accusative in form. The sentence quoted
> above shows that _ni-_ was used as nominative "I" in _nimaruva_,
> and the well-known _tye-meláne_ in _The Lost Road_ (V:68 in
> my DelRey paperback) shows the long form _tye_ as accusative
and a key piece of evidence occurs in the very sentence Hans cites:
_tye-meláne_ 'I love thee' (V:61). The Etymologies gives the base
of 'I' as NI- (2), and a consistent phonological rule throughout the
external history of Q(u)enya is that original short final _*-i_
becomes _-e_, e.g. *_liñwi_ 'fish' > Q _lingwe_ (V:369 s.v. LIW-).
Thus it is likely that the subject pronoun _-ne_ 'I' in _tye-
meláne_is from earlier *_-ni_. Original short *_i_ was retained
medially, and so we see the subject prefix _ni-_ 'I' in
_nimaruva_ 'I will abide' and _nilendie_ 'I have come' (IX:56).
In _óni_, however, this subject pronoun *_ni_ cannot be present,
because *_ô-ni_ would regularly yield **_óne_. We must assume
therefore that _-ni_ in _óni_ is from earlier *_-nî_, and it is
very likely this lengthened _-î_ indicates *_-nî_ is accusative.
According to the Plotz declension, Quenya originally possessed
a distinct accusative marked by lengthening of the final vowel:
nom. _cirya_ / acc. _ciryâ_; nom. _lasse_ / acc. _lassê_. This
was retained in the written form of the language (Book
Quenya), but was lost in the spoken tongue, the difference
between nom. and acc. being "adequately expressed by
word order" (PE10:27). Evidently the nom./acc. distinction
was not _entirely_ lost in Quenya, being retained in the
pronouns -- just as in English, in which the nom./acc.
distinction has been lost in nouns but is retained in
pronouns: he/him, she/her, they/them (as Hans notes).
Note that the various versions of the Átaremma consistently
maintain the distinction between nom. _emme_ 'we' and
acc. _me_ 'us', e.g. _emme avatyarir_ 'we forgive' versus _úa
mittanya me_ 'do not lead us' in At. I (VT43:8). Acc. _me_
'us' occurs in the dual form _met_ 'us two' in _Namárie_ as
the object of a preposition: _imbe met_ 'between us (two)'.
And I would propose that it is this same acc. _me_ that
appears in _óme_ *'with us' in the chart cited in VT43:29.
Similarly, the pl. pron. _-te_ in _óte_ on the chart appears
to be masculine, and can probably be identified with acc.
_te_ 'them' in _a laite te_ 'praise them!' (LR:932), referring
to Frodo and Samwise.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- While Patrick Wynne presents reasons for his description of _-ni_
as "accusative in form", distinct from the "nominative ending . . .
_-nye_" and from the subject prefix _ni-_ (the corresponding suffix
form of this being rather _-ne_).
But how is _-le_ distinct in form (as opposed to usage) from the
subject prefix _le-_ (found in the discarded _le.ana_ in line 1 of
Tolkien's unfinished Quenya version of the litany of Loreto,
[As previously discussed, while acc. _-ni_ in _�ni_ appears
identical in form to nom. _ni-_ in _nimaruva, nilendie_, the
acc. form must actually derive from *_-n�_, while the nom.
form must derive from *_ni_ (> _-ne_ in _tye-mel�ne_ 'I
love thee'). Note also that as a nom. prefix we see _ni-_
with a short _i_, not **_n�maruva, n�lendie_.
Similarly, while _-le_ in _�le_ appears identical in form to
_le-_ in _le-ana_, it would be reasonable to suppose (after
the model of nom. *_ni_, acc. *_n�_) that in the earlier
language there was a formal distinction between nom.
*_le_ and acc. *_l�_. And just as we see nom. _ni-_, not
**_n�-_, in _nimaruva, nilendie_, so we see nom. _le-_ in
_le-ana_, not **_l�-_.
Also note Q _m�ne_ 'on-us' (IX:310), which might be
analyzed as acc. *_m�_ 'us' + enclitic postposition *_-ne_
'on' (perhaps cognate with ON, EN _ne-_ *'in', as in ON
_nestak-_ 'insert, stick in', EN _nestegi_ < STAK- 'split,
-- Patrick H. Wynne]
- I wrote and Patrick Wynne answered:
> But how is _-le_ distinct in form (as opposed to usage) from theWould not _é_ in **_lé-ana_ have been reduced, as is usual
> subject prefix _le-_ (found in the discarded _le.ana_ . . .)
> [. . . we see nom. _le-_ in _le-ana_, not **_lé-_. . . .]
in hiatus position? That is, can we tell from this single example
whether subject and object form were not identically _lé_, both
taking the form _le_ in the contexts under discussion?
I do find Patrick's interpretation more attractive, though.
[I would say that yes, **_lé-ana_ would have been an allowable
form at the time the pronoun chart was written, given the
occurrance of _úa_ and _úalye_ in Átaremma I and IIa, which
are contemporary with the chart. And while assuming con-
sistency in pronominal forms taken from different compositional
periods is an iffy proposition at best, we might suppose that
the nom. prefix _ni-_ with short vowel in _nimaruva, nilendie_
also argues that nom. prefix _le-_ in _le-ana_ was inherently
short, rather than being long but shortened in hiatus position.
It is _not_, however, an iffy proposition to suppose consistency
in pronominal forms appearing in the same text. I have shown
that _-ni_ in _óni_ must derive from *_-nî_, the lengthened
vowel strongly suggesting that it is accusative; I have shown
that _-me_ in _óme_ is identical in form with accusative _me_
'us' in the Átaremma and elsewhere, and that _te_ in _óte_
appears to be identical to accusative _te_ 'them' in _a laita
te_ 'praise them'. It is not unreasonable then to suppose that
the other forms in this same chart, _óle_ et al., are based on
accusative forms as well, with of course the exception of
_onye, olye_, in which the endings _-nye, -lye_ are attested
-- Patrick H. Wynne]
- On Samstag, April 26, 2003, at 12:06 Uhr, Hans wrote:
> Indeed, attaching a pronoun to a preposition clearly marks it as anWhat, then, is your definition of "object" in this context?
> In languages like German, English, Italian,... the differenceIn German? What about e.g. nom. _der Ochse_, acc. _den Ochsen_?
> between acc. and nom. is no longer expressed in nouns
- On Mittwoch, April 16, 2003, at 10:20 Uhr, Carl Hostetter wrote:
> Moreover, it seems to me that asserting that _aselye_ 'with thee' isI don't understand the connection you make between "green" and "with
> the subject is equivalent to saying that, in the sentence: "The grass is
> green", "green" is the subject (and, therefore, a noun).
thee". The first is an adjective, "with thee" is not. Indeed "with
thee" has no characteristics of an adjective but "thee" clearly is a
noun, just as in a phrase "with the dog" "dog" is a noun. I'd be
curious to know what you mean.
[My point is that the (predicate) prepositional phrase "with thee" is no
more the "subject" of the sentence than is the (predicate) adjective
"green". Yet you have called "with thee" the subject of the sentence.
Further, to what follows, while it is true that the copula has no
grammatical object in these sentences -- so far as I know that was
never in question, and certainly I never claimed that "with thee" is
the object of the copula -- nonetheless the preposition "with" does
have an object, namely "thee". CFH]
A functional object, as I understand it, is the second participant of a
verbal sentence. Cf. "I (subj.) see you (obj.)". In a nominal sentence
there is no object (functionally or logically). "The lord is with thee"
is functionally the same as "Thou art with the Lord" or "The Lord and
thou art together" (with semantic nuances, but that's irrelevant at
this point). The fact that in most I.-E. languages nouns, taking
prepositions, take the same *form* as objects of a verbal sentence do
does not, in any way, make them functionally the same. While I agree
that _elye_ may well be an oblique case (although the form isn't
clear), there is no question that it isn't an object. "To be" has a
valence of 1, it can never take an object. "With thee" is part of the
nominal phrase, it is an adnominal addition, not one to the verb. In
German the sentence reads "der Herr ist mit Dir". _Dir_ is the form of
the indirect object (dative) of _Du_ ("You"). Just as _Thee_. To call
_mit Dir_ an indirect object would, with all respect, in my eyes, be
absurd. Imagine a sentence: "Ich warte dich ihm" vs "Ich warte mit dir
auf ihn". In the latter sentence ("I wait for him with you") _auf ihn_
is indeed a prepositional object, however, _mit dir_ is *not* a
prepositional indirect object.
Maybe, it boils all down to a question of terminology. Just as in a
sentence "the window was hit by a bullet" "bullet" is the logical
subject, so is "with the" in the sentence in question. Again, the
*formal* identity of e.g. in German the indirect object (dative) with a
(pro)noun after the preposition "mit" has nothing to do with their
respective functions in these two, very different, cases.
[Yes, indeed, it has everything to do with terminology, as I thought
we'd already established. When you used "subject" as a shorthand for
the "logical subject" of the sentence, others (quite naturally, I think)
took it to mean the _grammatical_ subject of the sentence. This was
not really a matter of form, but of grammatical vs. (your view of)
logical function. But I still haven't been persuaded that the predicate
prepositional phrases in the sentences under discussion are in any
way a subject, logical or otherwise. CFH]
- On Mittwoch, Mai 14, 2003, at 06:03 Uhr, Carl Hostetter wrote:
> When you used "subject" as a shorthand for the "logical subject" ofThe distinction logical vs grammatical subject is, IMHO, in general
> the sentence, others (quite naturally, I think) took it to mean the
> _grammatical_ subject of the sentence. This was not really a matter
> of form, but of grammatical vs. (your view of) logical function. But I
> still haven't been persuaded that the predicate prepositional phrases
> in the sentences under discussion are in any way a subject, logical or
> otherwise. CFH]
The definition of "grammatical subject" is apparently based solely on
[Not at all. I think of the grammatical subject of a sentence as that
part of the sentence filling the role or function of the subject,
regardless of its form. You are quite right to have noted that form and
function must be kept separate (no matter how much they might coincide
at times); but that is not the failure of distinction here. As I see it,
you are taking a predicate prepositional phrase == prep. + grammatical obj.
of prep., and calling this the "subject" of the sentence, by which you mean
"logical subject". I have yet to be convinced that this has any validity,
but even if it does, it was your use of "subject" for (whatever you mean by)
"logical subject" that caused the confusion. CFH]
I think this view doesn't do the language justice. If, syntactically,
the subject is the first participant of a verb (or the only one of the
copula) then it is most prominently encoded as nominative but it
doesn't have to be. As you accepted, "to be" doesn't take an object.
What then is "thee", the object of a preposition ? I never heard
anybody call it that.
[Oh, but I have, many, many times, from many different sources,
spoken and written. I daresay anyone educated in grammar in an
English-speaking school will have learned to call such the "object of
the preposition". CFH]
The term object is ambiguous here since it is applied to two
syntactically (not formally) completely different phenomena. What I'm
aiming it, is establishing a relation between the syntactical terms subject
and object vis-à-vis case endings. Unlike Ivan Derzhanski I don't think
this obscures anything because there is no one-to-one relation between
those categories. I still don't see how it could make sense to say a
preposition takes the accusative and dative, hence we give it the same
name as a syntactical relation to a verb.
[And yet we do, and for very long now have. CFH]
Why bother with syntax anyway, if we don't make a distinction? I'm not
trying to obscure an equation that doesn't exist but to illustrate a
Out of curiosity: How would you define the function of subject and
object in a sentence?
[I don't think I would attempt to; I'm not that kind of linguist. But I
knows 'em when I sees 'em. CFH]
- [This discussion is drifting far afield from Tolkien's languages -- whatever
the linguistic merits of the discussion, we can be pretty certain that Tolkien
never concerned himself with "pivots" or "binding theory prominence" while
practising his language-making Art. If anyone wishes to continue this
discussion, it will have to be brought 'round to Tolkien again. CFH]
Please pardon me if I crash this thread.
Yehuda Falk of the Hebrew University has written a very nice (short,
clear, to the point) paper on the distinction between different notions
of "subject." He summarizes varies threads of research going back to at
least the early 1970's, and motivates a basic distinction between the
Pivot (grammatical subject, discourse-functional subject), and Logical
Subject (most 'salient' thematic participant). The distinction is
backed up by a battery of criteria drawing on a wide range of
languages. It's available online as a PDF:
Distinguishing between the Pivot and Logical Subject might go a long
way toward clearing up some of the terminological issues addressed in
the preceding posts. Whether or not one chooses to adopt the
terminology, the evidence clearly supports the distinction between a
grammatical subject and a semantic subject.
Frederick M. Hoyt
University of Texas at Austin
LIN 312 - The Linguistics of Middle-earth website:
- David Kiltz wrote:
> A functional object, as I understand it, is the second participant of aPlease excuse me to intrude on your learned discourse, but it seems
> verbal sentence. Cf. "I (subj.) see you (obj.)". In a nominal sentence
> there is no object (functionally or logically). "The lord is with thee"
> is functionally the same as "Thou art with the Lord" or "The Lord and
> thou art together" (with semantic nuances, but that's irrelevant at
> this point).
to me that the differences are more than "slight". It seems to me that
arguing that these three sentences are "logically the same" is to make
the same mistake as many logicians do when they claim that since a
proposition A1 is equivalent to A2, they are one and the same (and
according to the logician's preferences, either A1 is claimed to be
only an inadequate expression of which the true logical form is A2,
or vice versa).
In my opinion, at least on the logical level there is a clear distinction
between the proposed three sentences. In "The Lord is with thee",
"The Lord" is the logical subject, of which "being with thee" is
predicated. In "You are with the Lord", the subject is "You",
and in the last one the subject is "The Lord and thou".
Although these sentences are _logically_ equivalent, i.e. they imply
from each other mutually, they are in fact essentially different:
they have different subjects and predicates. In the first you say
about the Lord that he has some relation of proximity to "thee", in
the second you say that "thou" have some relation of proximity to the
Lord. As theologians would claim, these relations are not the same and
differ radically in their ontological nature.
I am not exactly aware of what you mean by "functional", so I will
refrain from arguing whether they can be said to be "functionally" the
same. However, my belief is that grammar serves to express in some way
the logical structure of thought (or language, if you will). Therefore
it seems to me that if there is a logical distinction between two
sentences, and if there is some distinction in their grammatical structure,
that can be seen as corresponding to this logical distinction, then it
is unsubstantiated to deny that the grammatical structure reflects directly
the actual logical strucxture of these sentences, and can therefore
not be dismissed as mere surface variation in expressing one and the
same thing (thought or proposition).
> Maybe, it boils all down to a question of terminology. Just as in aI think I have to disagree from the (philosophical-)logician's point of
> sentence "the window was hit by a bullet" "bullet" is the logical
> subject, so is "with the" in the sentence in question.
view. In this sentence the subject indeed is "the window". It is
the window that is the object of the mental act of characterizing,
known as judgement, therefore it is the window what is the subject of
the judgement from the logical point of view; and the characteristic
ascribed to the window is certain passion it suffers from the bullet,
i.e. it is the characteristic "that which has been hit by a bullet" is
the predicate of the judgement. Of course, this proposition or
judgement implies a _distinct_ judgement about the bullet, ascribing
it an _action_, namely that of having hit the window. And it also
implies many other distinct judgements, e.g. a judgement about the
existence of the action of the bullet's hitting the window, etc. They
are logically equivalent, but that does not mean identical.
I think I can trace why it seems that the "logical" subject of passive
sentences is the agent. It is because the real agent is the
ontological subject of the action. But the real patient is also
the ontological subject - of its passion. And regardless of all that, the
question of what the _logical_ subject of a judgement or proposition is
does not in any way depend on what the ontological subject is and what
the ontological property is. Nothing hinders you from making an
ontological property, such as action or passion (see the abovementioned
example) the logical subject of your proposition, since as long as
anything is capable of becoming an (ontological) object of human thought,
it is capable of becoming the logical subject of the judgements made
by humans, since to think about something means to ascribe it some
characteristics in judgements, in which it is the subject and the
characteristics the predicate.
Lukas, a would-be philosopher, but not a linguist,
who is nevertheless deeply enjoying this extremely
- David Kiltz wrote:
> Why bother with syntax anyway, if we don't make a distinction? I'm notThere was a rule in scholasticians' disputations that it was the task
> trying to obscure an equation that doesn't exist but to illustrate a
of the one who denied a distinction to prove the identity, not vice
versa. The reason is that a false distinction does not produce
any false implications (it only hinders from inferring some true ones);
whereas false identity does.
- Patrick Wynne wrote in response to Hans' wish "to see some evidence
why _-ni, -le_ are accusative in form":
> One reason for assuming _óni_ contains acc. _-ni_ is phonological,**However, it must be noted that development of monosyllabic
> and a key piece of evidence occurs in the very sentence Hans cites:
> _tye-meláne_ 'I love thee' (V:61). The Etymologies gives the base
> of 'I' as NI- (2), and a consistent phonological rule throughout the
> external history of Q(u)enya is that original short final _*-i_
> becomes _-e_, e.g. *_liñwi_ 'fish' > Q _lingwe_ (V:369 s.v. LIW-).
words (MWs) differed from development of polysyllabic ones.
For instance, it seems that certain short vowels were lost finally
(cf. _abaro_ > CE _abar_, WJ/XI:371). This could not happen in MW,
because the very word would be lost then. Also, we know that long
vowels were reduced to short ones finally. However, MWs seem not
to reduce them, cf. _ní_ "woman" < NÍ (Etym) or _vá_, apparently
from _bá_ (WJ/XI:370). The Plotz Letter informs us that "all long
vowels were reduced to short vowels finally" in Spoken Quenya.
Again MWs seem not follow the rule, because we have _sí_ "now"
in "_Namárie_", for instance.
> Thus it is likely that the subject pronoun _-ne_ 'I' in _tye-**That is certainly possible (though the subject pronoun for
> meláne_is from earlier *_-ni_.
"I" could have been simply *_-ne_ then (i.e. with the original
_e_, not from _i_)).
I think we do not have explicit examples of development of final
short _-i_ in MWs, but it is possible that even in them the _-i_
turned to _-e_. Or at least in the Etym (and _Lost Road_) era.
We may also note that Etym gives _no_ "under", apparently from
*_nu_. This would then show change of final _-u_ to _-o_
(parallel to change of _-i_ to _-e_) in a MW. Nevetheless, "_Namárie_"
gives _nu_ "under" instead. If we suppose that the "_Namárie_"
version of the preposition has the same origin, i.e. *_nu_, then it
might be that Tolkien changed his mind and decided that vowels
(or at least _u_ and _i_) did not undergo any change. Of course, the
origin of _nu_ might have been *_nó_, but we should then ask why
the long vowel was shortened if another long vowel in _sí_ was not.
> Note that the various versions of the Átaremma consistentlyIn a reply to Beregond Patrick wrote:
> maintain the distinction between nom. _emme_ 'we' and
> acc. _me_ 'us', e.g. _emme avatyarir_ 'we forgive' versus _úa
> mittanya me_ 'do not lead us' in At. I (VT43:8).
> I have shown that _-ni_ in _óni_ must derive from *_-nî_, theHowever, _me_ seems to be a nominative form as well, cf. _men_
> lengthened vowel strongly suggesting that it is accusative
> ["because *_ô-ni_ would regularly yield **_óne_"]; I have shown
> that _-me_ in _óme_ is identical in form with accusative _me_
> 'us' in the Átaremma and elsewhere, and that _te_ in _óte_
> appears to be identical to accusative _te_ 'them' in _a laita
> te_ 'praise them'. It is not unreasonable then to suppose that
> the other forms in this same chart, _óle_ et al., are based on
> accusative forms as well, with of course the exception of
> _onye, olye_, in which the endings _-nye, -lye_ are attested
> as nominative.
in the same text. The form is not *_mén_, so it points rather to
nominative. I have mentioned that the form _sí_ "now" did not
undergo the shortening. Now consider _sín_ in SD/IX:310: the
vowel is not shortened when an ending _-n_ is added (whatever
its function). In Etym such a shortening is seen, because the base
SI- lists _sin_ besides _sí_. This is therefore another piece that
suggests that Tolkien changed his mind as regards the development
and behavior of MWs, because the form _sin_ appears in an
earlier version of the _Atalante_ Fragments (see LR/V:46).
Moreover, it is usually nominative (the least marked form) that
acquires case ending (more precisely, it is the least marked form
serves as nominative).
The fact that the reflex of final short CE _-i_ in _-e_ in Quenya is
not, in my view, sufficient for assuming that _-ni_ in an accusative
form, because as I have tried to show the behavior of CE
monosyllabic words is slightly different to the behavior of CE
The question is whether_-ni_, _-le_ etc. in the _ó-_ chart (VT43:29)
are suffixes or whether the _ó-_ is a prefix. What I want to say is
which of the segments could stand alone, that is, which of them is
a separate word -- if any of them.
If _-ni, -le_ etc. are only suffixes and cannot stands as separate words,
I would not speak of them as of nominative or accusative forms but
rather as subject and object forms. Nominative does not necessarily
means subject and accusative does not necessarily mean object. Now
the question is of course whether they are subject or object forms.
It may be they are both (with _nye_ and _lye_ as alternatives).
However, if _ni, le_ etc. are separate words, then we can speak
about nominative and accusative, because the least marked forms
would be nominative from which accusative could be formed.
Nominatives would act as subjects and accusative as (direct) objects
in most cases. Yet here again I do not think we can say whether
they are the former or the latter, since the accusative as a case did
not exist in Spoken Quenya. Now as regards the forms _-s_ and
_-t_ (in _ós_ and _ót_, being variants of _ósa_ and _óta_), they
are hardly separate words. They may be reduced forms of _-sa_
and _-ta_ or plain suffixes, perhaps like _-nye_ and _-lye_, but
these could also perhaps stand alone, cf. _tye_ and _lye_ in _lyenna_.
> Acc. _me_ 'us' occurs in the dual form _met_ 'us two' in _Namárie_ as**If _me_ is an accusative form, we should ask why the long vowel was
> the object of a preposition: _imbe met_ 'between us (two)'.
here shortened if long vowels seem not to be shortened in MWs. The
same with _met_ -- why is it not *_mét_?
> And I would propose that it is this same acc. _me_ that appears in_-te_ in _óte_ on the chart appears to be masculine, [...].
> _óme_ *'with us' in the chart cited in VT43:29. Similarly, the pl. pron.
Does it? I think you meant "personal" (_-ta_ being impersonal), at least
this is what is implied from what is said on p. 20 of VT43. But if you really
meant masculine, what would be the corresponding feminine form?
- --- In email@example.com, Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:
> The Plotz Letter informs us that "all longIn fact, the Plotz Letter says so explicitly, the sentence you quoted
> vowels were reduced to short vowels finally" in Spoken Quenya.
> Again MWs seem not follow the rule, because we have _sí_ "now"
> in "_Namárie_", for instance.
continues: "... and before final cons. in words of two or more
syllables". This is obviously connected with stress, remember
that the prefix _ó-_ becomes _o-_ when unstressed (XI:367).
With the retraction of stress, final vowels became unstressed
always, and shortened. This did not necessarily (or never?)
happen in monosyllabic words.
> **That is certainly possible (though the subject pronoun forI can't see any reason to assume that. The _-ne_ in _meláne_ has a
> "I" could have been simply *_-ne_ then (i.e. with the original
> _e_, not from _i_)).
natural explanation, and in any other case I know of, the form is
_ni_ or derived from it. Let's analyze a few occurrences of the 1.
person sg. pronoun in the corpus:
_ni_ "I" (Arctic Sentence)
_Atarinya_ "my father" (V:61)
_meláne_ "I love" (same page)
_inye_ "I" (same page)
_indo-ninya_ "my heart" (V:72)
_nin_ "me" (same page)
_NI_2 "I" (V:378)
This shows a consistent picture up to Etymologies: _ni_ or _inye_ as
"I", _-nya_ or even _ni-nya_ as possessive suffix, _ni-n_ as dative.
The change *_-ni_ >_-ne_ in final position was purely phonological.
A short pronominal suffix _-n_ is found in numerous entries in
Etymologies, too. Again, this fits into the general picture: short final
vowels (since unstressed) were lost often. So we can see two
alternative developments: *_-ni_ > _-ne_ > _-n_, or instead
strengthening of the suffix _-ne_ > _-nye_. It seems likely that
the possessive suffix was formed by combining _ni_ with the adjectival
suffix _-ya_, *_-niya_ > _-nya_. The pronoun remained through all
stages of Quenya. It appeared as a prefix shortly:
_nilendie_ "I have come" (IX:56)
_nimaruvan_ "I shall dwell" (same page)
The dative form _nin_ "for me" appears in Namárie (LR:368) and in the
late notes on _óre_ (VT41:11). Some time between them, we have the
forms _ónye_ and _óni_. As I said already, the argument that the pronouns
are not nominative (or subjective) in form makes sense, in my opinion.
They shouldn't be, because a subject doesn't need prepositions.
> The fact that the reflex of final short CE _-i_ in _-e_ in Quenya isSure, but _-ni_ attached to anything are two syllables at least. Of
> not, in my view, sufficient for assuming that _-ni_ in an accusative
> form, because as I have tried to show the behavior of CE
> monosyllabic words is slightly different to the behavior of CE
> polysyllabic words.
course, Patrick's argument relies on the assumption that the
custom of attaching pronominal suffixes to prepositions (which
obviously did not exist in CE) occurred earlier than the change
of final short -i > -e.
It seems that _ni_ did not occur as a stand-alone word in the corpus
after the Arctic Sentence. _inye_ seems to be derived form an
augmented form *_i-ni_. At least, that would explain the difference
to _elye_ "you" (LR:368).
I'll return to "you" (and other pronouns) in other posts.
- On Freitag, Mai 23, 2003, at 09:00 Uhr, Ales Bican wrote:
> **If _me_ is an accusative form, we should ask why the long vowel wasOrthotone vs enclitic variants ?
> here shortened if long vowels seem not to be shortened in MWs. The
> same with _met_ -- why is it not *_mét_?