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,
> 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-).
**However, it must be noted that development of monosyllabic
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-
> meláne_is from earlier *_-ni_.
**That is certainly possible (though the subject pronoun for
"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 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).
In a reply to Beregond Patrick wrote:
> I have shown that _-ni_ in _óni_ must derive from *_-nî_, the
> 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.
However, _me_ seems to be a nominative form as well, cf. _men_
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
> the object of a preposition: _imbe met_ 'between us (two)'.
**If _me_ is an accusative form, we should ask why the long vowel was
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
> _óme_ *'with us' in the chart cited in VT43:29. Similarly, the pl. pron.
_-te_ in _óte_ on the chart appears to be masculine, [...].
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?