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Re: Prepositions and nominal suffixes attested in Elvish

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    In message 438, David Kiltz discusses the so-called _Entu_, _Ensi_, _Enta_ Declension , first presented and analyzed by Christopher Gilson ... This last is a
    Message 1 of 11 , May 22 7:32 AM
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      In message 438, David Kiltz discusses the so-called "_Entu_, _Ensi_,
      _Enta_ Declension", first presented and analyzed by Christopher Gilson
      in _Vinyar Tengwar 36. A few comments:

      > The authors of VT36 take the first line to represent the nominative on
      > the ground of general considerations. I.e., conventionally, the nom.
      > is written first in any chart. The second row, then, is taken to
      > represent the forms of the acc.

      This last is a very flat statement, concealing a considerable amount of
      the actual process of arriving at the proposal that the second row
      reflects the accusative inflection, which in fact involves (VT36:18-19)
      a detailed formal and structural comparison between the two halves of
      the chart in question; i.e. between the inflection of _entu_, _ensi_,
      _enta_, _en_, and that of the apparently dual forms of a stem _as-_
      (perhaps from demonstrative *_sa-_ 'that' or 'it'; cf. N _ha_ 'it'
      (V:385), Q _san_ 'then', i.e. *'at that (time)' (MC:216), and, perhaps,
      the conjunction _sa_ 'that' in the so-called "_Merin_ Sentence", for
      which see: <http://www.elvish.org/elm/merin.html>).

      > Lastly, the assumption of an "uninflected" genitive for Quenya seems a
      > little flawed to me. Things such as _airetári-lírinen_ or
      > _ambar-metta_ should rather be treated as compounds.

      Were those the only examples of an uninflected genitive cited by Chris
      in forming his argument, I might agree with you. However, Chris also
      cited two other, very clear, examples (VT36:20): _Valinóre Yénie_ 'the
      Annals of Valinor' (X:200), and _Coron Oiolaire_ 'Mound (of)
      Ever-Summer' (S:357).


      |======================================================================|
      | 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." |
      |======================================================================|


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Hans
      ... No, this refers to the page I quoted, where we further read that the ancient adverbial element occurred also as enclitic, as attached to noun stems (the
      Message 2 of 11 , May 23 4:10 PM
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        --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:

        > On Freitag, Mai 16, 2003, at 10:39 Uhr, Hans wrote:
        >
        >> *HO: "ancient adverbial element, occurring principially as a proclitic
        >> or enclitic", it was the origin of a verbal prefix or a case-marker _-o_
        >> (XI:368).
        >
        > This refers probably to the genitive in _-o_, pl _-on_ and probably
        > also the "ablative" _-Vllo_.

        No, this refers to the page I quoted, where we further read that the ancient
        adverbial element occurred also as "enclitic, as attached to noun stems (the
        usual place for the simpler 'prepositional' elements in PQ)." (XI:368) Since
        medial _h_ was lost, this became _-ô_, a genitive inflexion, properly a
        partitive genitive. I didn't have in mind the ablative.

        > In the latter case, _3o_ or _ho_ is assimilated to the shorter form _-Vl_
        > (cf. Entu, Ensi, Enta Declension VT36:8).

        VT36 doesn't say so, and I doubt it, honestly speaking. The shorter
        form with _Vl_ is more likely the result of loss of a final vowel, imho.

        > _-o(n)_ is attached to the noun either in singular or plural respectively.
        > But is it attached to a specific case ?

        In the sentence quoted above, JRRT spoke of "noun stems", not nouns
        having an inflectional suffix already.

        > 1) entu ensi enta en
        > 2) ento ente enta en
        > 3) ento ente etta enda.
        >
        > The authors of VT36 take the first line to represent the nominative on
        > the ground of general considerations.

        That's not entirely true: Chris Gilson compared the chart against others,
        like the Bodleian Declensions and the Plotz Letter, and made a rather
        convincing observation concerning the first row of the lower, obviously
        dual part. By the way, the conclusion was that the first row is a subjective
        case, that is not necessarily the unmarked case, the one which is the base
        for inflexions. It was not unmarked in the Bodleian Declensions, but had a
        suffix _-n_ in the singular.

        > demonstratives _su/so_. _si/se_ (cf. Et:385 sub S-). The entry in the
        > Etymologies indicates that the distinction between _su/so_ is not one
        > of case

        It doesn't indicate that in my copy. Instead, there are listed three N
        forms _ho_, _hon_, _hono_ for "he", three _he_, _hen_, _hene_ for "she"
        and two _ha_, _han_ for "it". Alternative forms or cases? They are followed
        by three plurals _huin_, _hîn_, _hein_. Are they alternative forms of "they"?
        Are they the respective plurals of masculine, feminine, neuter gender? Or
        are they cases of "they"? The last two forms, _hîn_ and _hein_, look familiar:
        _Narvin hain echant_, "Narvi made them", _teithant i thiw hin_ "drew these
        signs" (LR: 297) and here _hain_ is certainly accusative, "them", and I
        wouldn't be too much surprised if it's literally "the signs their", genitive.
        Now if the last three forms can be different cases, why not _su_/_so_ or
        _si_/_se_? Which cases, that would be the question. Certainly the first one
        would be a specifically subjective one, denoting a subject, i.e. an animate.

        > Lastly, the assumption of an "uninflected" genitive for Quenya seems a
        > little flawed to me.

        Of course, there's an uninflected (without quotation marks!) genitive in
        Quenya. The same page XI:368 says "though 'possession was indicated by
        the adjectival suffix -va, or (especially in general descriptions) by a 'loose
        compound'... Orome róma would mean 'an Orome horn', sc. one of Orome's
        horns". The flaw in the argument in VT36 is: if genitive is expressed by
        word order here, it doesn't need an inflexion, i.e. it isn't a case at all, much
        as accusative vanished from spoken Quenya. Now that doesn't mean that
        the genitive was always uninflected and expressed by word order alone,
        and it would be reasonable if the remains of those inflexions would show
        up in pronouns, not in nouns. So the suggestion in VT36:20 is a
        possibility... one of several. My guess would be, that the first two lines, much
        as in the Bodleian Declensions, denote subjective and normal cases, which are
        not exactly like nominative and accusative: subjective case was marked only
        when needed. Quenya became a language of nominative/accusative type only
        later, and the subjective/normal case reappeared in Adunaic.

        > So it would seem likely, that also _-o_ was not attached to the accusative.

        Of course, it wasn't, see above. Those enclitics attached to noun stems, much
        as in Adunaic the normal (uninflected) case was (among other things) "the base
        to which certain adverbial 'prepositional' affixes are added; such as _ô_ 'from',
        _ad_, _ada_ 'to, towards', _mâ_ 'with', _zê_ 'at'." (IX:429) It's very interesting
        how many of the early concepts of Quenya entered into Adunaic, and how
        many of them resurfaced after its abandoning.

        Hans
      • David Kiltz
        ... S- demonstrative stem _su, so_ he ; _si, se_ she . What else would _he_ and _she_ be than nominatives ? In Sindarin, _hain_ and _hin_ (_i thiw hin_ is
        Message 3 of 11 , May 26 1:19 AM
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          On Samstag, Mai 24, 2003, at 01:10 Uhr, Hans wrote:

          >> demonstratives _su/so_. _si/se_ (cf. Et:385 sub S-). The entry in the
          >> Etymologies indicates that the distinction between _su/so_ is not one
          >> of case
          >
          > It doesn't indicate that in my copy.

          "S- demonstrative stem _su, so_ "he"; _si, se_ "she". What else would
          _he_ and _she_ be than nominatives ?

          In Sindarin, _hain_ and _hin_ (_i thiw hin_ is certainly "the signs
          these") can be used for the accusative. But one shouldn't adduce
          Sindarin forms as if they were Quenya, I think.

          > Of course, there's an uninflected (without quotation marks!) genitive
          > in Quenya. The same page XI:368 says "though 'possession' was
          > indicated by the adjectival suffix _-va_, or (especially in general
          > descriptions) by a 'loose compound'... _Orome róma_ would mean
          > 'an Orome horn', sc. one of Orome's horns".

          Of course there isn't. And you just gave the line where Tolkien says
          so: 'Loose compound'. That's exactly it. So there is no *case*. The
          nominative can be used and the function is indicated by word order.
          That means, there are no *formal* markings in such constructions, hence
          it is not a case. Unlike the accusative, it was never marked in such
          constructions. Please, make a distinction between form and function, I
          think it's vital here.

          > My guess would be, that the first two lines, much
          > as in the Bodleian Declensions, denote subjective and normal cases,
          > which are not exactly like nominative and accusative: subjective
          > case was marked only when needed. Quenya became a language
          > of nominative/accusative type only later, and the subjective/normal
          > case reappeared in Adunaic.

          I think that is a very good guess. This would chime in with my
          assumption that only row 3 represents the accusative. In the inner
          history of Quenya, then, the accusative would get the _-t_ only later.

          David Kiltz
        • David Kiltz
          ... Based on what ? My suggestion seems to be phonetically plausible. Whereas loss of long -ô seems not. David Kiltz
          Message 4 of 11 , May 26 1:50 AM
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            On Samstag, Mai 24, 2003, at 01:10 Uhr, Hans wrote:

            >> In the latter case, _3o_ or _ho_ is assimilated to the shorter form
            >> _-Vl_
            >> (cf. Entu, Ensi, Enta Declension VT36:8).
            >
            > VT36 doesn't say so, and I doubt it, honestly speaking. The shorter
            > form with _Vl_ is more likely the result of loss of a final vowel,
            > imho.

            Based on what ? My suggestion seems to be phonetically plausible.
            Whereas loss of long -ô seems not.

            David Kiltz
          • David Kiltz
            ... As Hans notes, _Orome_ here has genitival function without (overt) case markings. Such constructions also occur in English: _Mount Doom_ = Mount of doom
            Message 5 of 11 , May 26 5:27 PM
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              On Donnerstag, Mai 22, 2003, at 04:32 Uhr, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

              >> Lastly, the assumption of an "uninflected" genitive for Quenya seems a
              >> little flawed to me. Things such as _airetári-lírinen_ or
              >> _ambar-metta_ should rather be treated as compounds.
              >
              > Were those the only examples of an uninflected genitive cited by Chris
              > in forming his argument, I might agree with you. However, Chris also
              > cited two other, very clear, examples (VT36:20): _Valinóre Yénie_ 'the
              > Annals of Valinor' (X:200), and _Coron Oiolaire_ 'Mound (of)
              > Ever-Summer' (S:357).

              I think the answer is found in Hans post:

              > "though 'possession was indicated by the adjectival suffix -va, or
              > (especially in general descriptions) by a 'loose compound'... Orome
              > róma would mean 'an Orome horn', sc. one of Orome's horns.

              As Hans notes, _Orome_ here has genitival function without (overt) case
              markings. Such constructions also occur in English: _Mount Doom_ ==
              "Mount of doom" Hence, we do not have another genitive case here but
              probably something that is formally == nominative but functionally a
              genitive of possession or association.

              David Kiltz

              [I agree with your statement regarding functionality, but I would myself be
              more expansive than to write that the uninflected genitive "== nominative", as
              that seems to imply more than I would commit to. Rather, I would simply
              note that uninflected forms in Quenya are used for genitive and nomnative
              functions (as well as accusative). Further, I do not agree that we cannot
              speak of an uninflected genitive "case"; it seems to me that by your argument,
              we can speak neither of nominative nor accusative _cases_ in Quenya, either;
              which is clearly not the case (no pun intended). CFH]
            • Hans
              ... I don t think this is _the_ answer: simply case is used in different meanings. This is not a mistake, but general practice, as the following quote from
              Message 6 of 11 , May 27 8:14 AM
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                --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:

                > As Hans notes, _Orome_ here has genitival function without (overt)
                > case markings. Such constructions also occur in English:
                > _Mount Doom_ == "Mount of doom" Hence, we do not have another
                > genitive case here but probably something that is formally ==
                > nominative but functionally a genitive of possession or association.

                I don't think this is _the_ answer: simply "case" is used in
                different meanings. This is not a mistake, but general practice, as
                the following quote from the entry "case" in the _American Heritage
                Dictionary_ may show:

                "11 b. Case In some varieties of generative grammar, the thematic or
                semantic role of a noun phrase as represented abstractly but not
                necessarily indicated overtly in surface structure. In such
                frameworks, nouns in English have Case even in the absence of
                inflectional case endings."

                Consequently, "nominative" is sometimes used to denote a function,
                namely being the subject (JRRT calls that "subjective" in Adunaic,
                and it is inflected in that language), and sometimes it may denote
                the absence of infectional endings, that's called "normal case" in
                Adunaic (and may be used for subjects and direct objects).

                The logical flaw in VT36, imho, is the conclusion that since an
                *uninflected* genitive exists, the only slightly inflected (but
                *inflected*!) third row in the chart could be a genitive. It's
                possible, but I don't see sufficient evidence.

                [Since as you say it _is_ possible, then it cannot be a logical flaw to
                propose it. It would however be a fallacy to say that it was _proven_
                to be so, but of course Christopher Gilson never said that. CFH]

                As I wrote already, I think Quenya made a subjective/normal
                distinction at that time (since even the later "Bodleian Declensions"
                do so). This means marking of the subject in cases of ambiguity, so
                the marking of direct objects would be superfluous, an accusative
                inflexion simply wasn't needed.

                The distinction _su_/_so_ may have been one of subjective/normal case
                earlier, but at the time of the _Etymologies_, it may have been
                reinterpreted already, and the final _-u_ was considered an older
                form, replaced by _-o_ later. Cf. the entry ÓROK-: "*_órku_ goblin:
                Q _orko_, pl. _orqi_."

                Hans
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