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Some notes on Noldorin and Sindarin past-tense verbs

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    ... Since at least the publication of _The Lost Road_ in 1987, it has been widely recognized that the Eldarin tongues, at least as exhibited from the latter
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 11, 2003
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      Preliminaries:
      -------------

      I. Eldarin past-tense formation classes:
      ---------------------------------------

      Since at least the publication of _The Lost Road_ in 1987, it has been
      widely recognized that the Eldarin tongues, at least as exhibited from
      the latter half of the 1930s through the publication of _The Lord of
      the Rings_, had two primary classes of past-tense verb formation, which
      we can call (using Tolkien's own terminology in "Quendi and Eldar",
      itself borrowed from Indo-European linguistics): _strong_ (indicating
      internal modification) and _weak_ (indicating modification by affixes).
      The strong past tense, which class includes chiefly basic verbs (that
      is, verbs arising directly from simple bases with verbal meaning, such
      as KAT- 'shape', BAT- 'tread', SUK- 'drink', etc.), is characterized by
      lengthening or otherwise strengthening the root syllable and suffixion
      of original final *_-ê_ (I employ the circumflex to indicate a macron).
      Within the strong past tense there are, again, two chief means of root
      strengthening: a) lengthening or fortification of the root vowel, and
      b) nasal infixion. The weak past tense, which class includes chiefly
      derived verbs (e.g., verbs formed from a root by suffixion of some
      derivational element, such as *_-tâ_, *_-yâ_, *_-â_, etc.), is
      characterized by the lack of root syllable strengthening and the
      suffixion of some past-tense marker, very often *_-nê_ These two main
      classes are neatly exemplified by the two Qenya past-tense verbs
      arising from the base ONO- 'beget' in _Etymologies_, _óne_ (strong) and
      _ontane_ (weak), the former arising directly from the base and the
      latter from the derived verb _onta-_. For Quenya of _The Lord of the
      Rings_, the same mechanisms are exemplified by the past-tense verbs
      found in Galadriel's Lament, which includes, on the one hand,
      _unduláve_ 'down-licked', where _-láve_ '-licked' is a strong
      past-tense verb formed on LAB- 'lick'; and, on the other hand, _ortane_
      'uplifted', a weak past-tense verb (in _-ne_) based on the derived verb
      _orta-_ 'raise' (cf. ORO-).

      (It is interesting to note that, like the strong past tense, the
      Eldarin present tense is characterized by strengthening of the root
      syllable, but further with suffixion of *_-â_ rather than *_-ê_; thus
      Q. _sîla_ 'shines, is shining'; while the aorist is characterized by
      the absence of strengthening and the suffixion of *_-i_; thus Q _sile_
      'shines'.)

      II. Loss of original final long *_-ê_ in Noldorin and Sindarin:
      --------------------------------------------------------------

      In considering the reflexes of these past-tense formation mechanisms in
      Noldorin and Sindarin, it turns out that we can disregard the suffixion
      of original final long *_-ê_ that is found in the strong formation (all
      types) and as the last phoneme of the weak formation ending *_-nê_,
      since in the development of Noldorin and Sindarin this final vowel was
      uniformly lost without a trace. Indeed, we can only presume that it was
      part of the history of Noldorin and Sindarin past-tense verbs because
      of the evidence for them in the other Eldarin languages (chiefly
      Q(u)enya); from strictly the viewpoint of Noldorin and Sindarin, this
      original long vowel can be regarded as superfluous, and in what follows
      I have not bothered to indicate it, though for completeness it can be
      assumed.

      III. Metathesis of *_-tn-_ to _-nt_ in Noldorin and Sindarin:
      ------------------------------------------------------------

      As in Q(u)enya, it appears that the original contact *_tn_ (such as
      that formed by the suffixion of derivative elements beginning in _n_ to
      bases ending in _t_) in Noldorin and Sindarin underwent metathesis to
      _nt_ (and then often later simply to _nn_, especially medially); as,
      for example, N _pann_ 'wide' < *_patnâ_ < PAT- (q.v.). The upshot of
      this is that it is not always able to be said with certainty whether a
      Noldorin or Sindarin past-tense formation in _-nt_ (or other nasal +
      stop cons. contact) is due to nasal infixion or to suffixion of *_-nê_
      with subsequent methathesis (the same is true of Q(u)enya as well,
      actually). Nonetheless, noting the past-tense formations in the other
      Eldarin languages (particularly Q(u)enya), it appears that basic verbs
      with past-tense in final _-nt_ or other nasal + stop combinations most
      likely arose by nasal infixion (and thus are strong), not by suffixion
      of *_-nê_, and we so assume here. But the blurring by normal
      phonological development of the actual historical development of
      past-tense forms in _-nt_ has significant consequences for Noldorin and
      Sindarin, and will be remarked upon again below.

      IV. Eldarin personless verb forms:
      ---------------------------------

      From the various examples of sentences in the Eldarin tongues that
      Tolkien has supplied, it is evident that the Eldarin verb conjugations,
      at least as exhibited during the composition of _The Lord of the Rings_
      and beyond, could inflect for the person of the subject by suffixion of
      suitable pronominal endings (e.g., _hiruva-lye_ 'thou shalt find' in
      Galadriel's Lament, and _linnatho-n_ 'I will sing' in the Hymn to
      Elbereth); but it is equally clear that such personal inflection was
      not _required_, at least when an explicit subject noun or separate
      pronoun preceded the verb: thus we see _Nai elye hiruva_ 'Be it that
      even thou shalt find [it]' in Galadriel's Lament, where the emphatic
      form of the subject pronoun, _elye_ 'thou', precedes the verb; but _nai
      tiruva-nte-s i hárar_ *'be it that they will guard it, [those] who sit'
      in Cirion's Oath, with 3rd pl. subject inflexion _-nte_ preceding the
      plural subject _i hárar_. Nonetheless, personless verbs still inflect
      to agree with the number of their subjects: in Quenya, this takes the
      form of an endingless singular (_elye hiruva_ 'thou shalt find', or
      _elen síla_ 'a star shines' in Frodo's greeting to Gildor) and a plural
      in _-r_ (as, for example, in _lassi lantar_ 'leaves fall' or _yéni
      avánier_ 'years have passed away', both found in the version of
      Galadriel's Lament put into more normal word order, R:66-67).

      Because these personless forms of verbs are so frequently found in the
      corpus in conjunction with 3rd person subjects (sg. or pl.), it is
      (unfortunately) very common to find them described as: _-0_ (zero /
      endingless) 3rd pers. sg., and _-r_ 3rd pers. pl. However, strictly
      speaking, these are _not_ personal forms; they _only_ indicate
      _number_. This is demonstrated by the use of the personless forms with
      other than 3rd pers. subjects: for example, _elye hiruva_ 'thou shalt
      find" (where the subject is 2nd sg.), or _emme avatyarir_ 'we forgive'
      (where the subject is 1st. pl.; VT43:20). We can therefore refer to
      these as impersonal forms, or to avoid confusion with the term
      "impersonal" as applied to subjectless (often stative) verbs ("it is
      raining", "it is snowing", etc.), as simply personless.

      Noldorin past-tense verbs from _The Etymologies_:
      ------------------------------------------------

      With these preliminaries in mind, let's take a look at the exemplars of
      the strong past-tense formations in Noldorin of _The Etymologies_. A
      survey turns up the following:

      Strong past I: Root vowel lengthening or A-infixion:
      ---------------------------------------------------

      †_daul_ *'concealed' (s.v. DUL- 'hide, conceal'). This is listed as a
      poetic past tense, against two derived verbs: _doelio_ / _delio_
      (*_-yâ_-verb, _doelio_ < *_dulyâ-_) and _doltha_ (*_-tâ_-verb, _-ltha-
      < *_-ltâ_). The past-tense form itself, however, shows derivation
      directly from the base, presumably by A-infixion; thus < *_daul_ by
      A-infixion < DUL-.

      _trenor_ (also _trener_) *'told' (< NAR2- 'tell, relate'). The prefix
      _tre-_ 'through' (< TER-, q.v.) is unrelated to the past-tense
      formation, which concerns only the root _-nor_. In unstressed
      word-final syllables, N _o_ can result, _inter alia_, from original
      long *_â_, which given the base form is most likely the case here; the
      lengthening of the root vowel can here be due either to A-infixion or
      to simply lengthening, as they would both produce the same result; thus
      < *_nâr_ by root vowel strengthening < NAR2-.

      Note that we find only basic verbs in this category.

      Strong past II: Nasal infixion:
      ------------------------------

      _trevant_ *'traversed' (BAT- 'tread'). Again, the prefix _tre-_
      'through' (< TER-, q.v.) is unrelated to the past-tense formation,
      leaving us with the root _-vant_. The development appears to be by
      lenition from *_bant_ < *_ba-n-t_ by nasal infixion < BAT-.

      _echant_ *'fashioned' < *_et-kat-_ (KAT- 'shape'). Tolkien's own
      etymological note shows that formation contains an original prefix
      *_et-_ (< ET- 'out, forth', q.v.), leaving us with the root *_kant_ <
      *_ka-n-t_ by nasal infixion < KAT-.

      _hant_ *'hurled' (KHAT- 'hurl') < *_ha-n-t_ by nasal infixion < KHAT-.

      _nestanc_ *'inserted' (STAK- 'split, insert'). The prefix _ne-_ *'in'
      is perhaps related to the base NÉD 'middle, centre', and/or to the
      (admittedly later) N/S word _ned_ 'in' found in "The King's Letter";
      but the root form _-stanc_ can be isolated, and explained as <
      *_sta-n-k_ by nasal infixion < *_STAK-_.

      _sunc_ *'drank' (SUK- 'drink') < *_su-n-k_ by nasal infixion < SUK-.

      _gwend_ (also_gwenn_) *'bound' (WED- 'bind') < *_we-n-d_ by nasal
      infixion < WED-.

      Note that half of this (admittedly small, but in terms of _Etymologies_
      relatively populous) class of strong, basic past-tense verbs ends in
      the combination _-nt_.

      There is in addition a smaller class of strong nasal-infixion verbs,
      which however are formed from _derived_ verbs, including:

      _lhimmint_ *'moistened' (pa.t. of _lhimmid_ 'moisten') (LINKWI- *'wet')
      < *_linkwi-n-tâ_ < *_linkwi-tâ_ < LINKWI-.

      _nimmint_ *'whitened' (pa.t. of _nimmid_ 'to whiten') (NIK-W-) <
      *_ninkwi-n-tâ_ < *_ninkwi-tâ_ < NIK-W-.

      The prevalence (within this admittedly small sample space) of strong
      pa.t. verbs (both basic and derived) formed by nasal infixion and, as a
      result of Noldorin phonological development, coming to end in _-nt_, is
      significant in light of a class of pa.t. verbs ending in _-nt_ that
      cannot be similarly explained as due to regular development; namely:

      Weak past I: Suffixion of _-nt_:
      -------------------------------

      _orthant_ *'raised' (pa.t. of _ortho_ 'raise') (ORO- 'up; rise; high')
      _asogant_ (also _sunc_) *'drank' (pa.t. of _sogo_ *'drink') (SUK-
      'drink')*
      _tiriant_ *'watched, guarded' (pa.t. of _tiri_ or _tirio_) (TIR-
      'watch, guard')
      _gwedhant_ *'bound' (pa.t. of _gwedi_) (WED- 'bind')

      (* The apparent prefix _a-_ of _asogant_ is problematic, but for our
      purposes irrelevant, since we are concerned only with the root *_suk-_
      and its extension.)

      These past-tense verbs _appear_ to have been derived by nasal-infixion
      from earlier forms in *_-tâ_, _themselves_ formed on _already_
      derivative stems (sc., *_ortâ-n-tâ_, *_sukâ-n-tâ_, *_tiryâ-n-tâ_,
      *_wedâ-n-tâ_), and thus to be _doubly_ derivative; but there is aside
      from these forms no evidence whatsoever for such double-derivative verb
      forms in any of the Eldarin tongues. How to account for this?

      The answer appears to be that the _-nt_ ending of the past-tense of
      these verbs is _not_ historical, but instead was extended to this class
      of verbs by analogy with the (relatively) frequent strong KAT-type
      verbs and derived verbs in _-itâ_ exhibiting _-nt_ by regular
      phonological development.* A significant motivation for this analogical
      extension might have had to do with the results of the means of
      past-tense formation that, based on the parallel development in
      Q(u)enya, would be expected to have been applied to weak verbs, namely
      suffixion of *_-nê_; e.g., *_ortâ-nê_ > N *_orthon_, *_tiryâ-nê_ > N
      *_tirion_, etc., which look like 1st pers. sg. present-tense verbs (cf.
      N/S _linnon_ 'I sing', III:354). (It should be noted that _asogant_ and
      _gwedhant_ are not necessarily derivative verbs (i.e., historically
      formed from stems *_suk-â_, _wed-â_), but instead may be formed
      directly from basic stems, *_suk-_ and *_wed-_, with the past-tense
      ending _-ant_ arising, like simple _-nt_, by analogy with the _-ant_
      found in the past-tense of basic, KAT-type verbs.)

      (* Historically, strong past-tense verbs were probably even more
      frequent in the Eldarin tongues than they came to be by the period
      present to _The Etymologies_, just as strong verbs in English, such as
      "stride / strode", "think / thought", "buy / bought", etc., are
      remnants of a once much more populous class of past-tense verb
      formation, and shrinking remnants at that (again, just as in English),
      as indicated by the poetic status of _daul_, and the several coexistent
      (and most likely later) strong and weak past-tense forms of verbs, such
      as weak _gwedhant_ (which Tolkien notes was a later form) against
      (original) strong _gwend_ / _gwenn_ (cf. English present tense "shine"
      vs. coexistent pa.t. "shone" and "shined", where "shone" is the older
      and historically correct form, but is now considered quaint-sounding).

      So much for Noldorin of _The Etymologies_, save for a small number of
      other past-tense verbs that possibly or apparently employ other
      mechanisms, differing in detail if not in spirit: namely _drammen_
      (also †_dramp_), pa.t. of _dravo_ 'to hew' < DARÁM- 'beat, hew';
      _hennin_, pa.t. of _hedi_ < KHAT- 'hurl'; _dammint_, pa.t. of _damna-_
      'to hammer' < NDAM- 'hammer, beat'; and _mudas_, pa.t. of _mudo_
      *'labour, toil' < MÔ-. (It should be noted that if _drammen_ is in fact
      a 1st pers. sg. form, _dramme-n_ 'I hewed', as has been suggested by,
      e.g., Helge Fauskanger, the apparent stem *_dramme-_ would in fact be a
      typical strong, nasal-infix formation, i.e., < *_dra-m-m-ê-_.)

      But it is interesting to note that even the small corpus of Sindarin
      verbs found in _The Lord of the Rings_ exhibits of all three of the
      chief mechanisms of past-tense formation that we have identified for
      Noldorin; thus:

      Strong past I: Root vowel lengthening or A-infixion:
      ---------------------------------------------------

      _óne-n_ 'I gave' < *_ân-ê_ (LR:1036, probably derived from ANA1-
      *'give'; note that the long initial _ó_ of the verb is in accordance
      with the earliest editions and printings of _The Lord of the Rings; in
      later printings, the accent was dropped -- according to Douglas
      Anderson, most likely inadvertently).

      Strong past II: Nasal infixion:
      ------------------------------

      _echant_ 'made' (in the phrase "_Im, Narvi, echant_", 'I, Narvi, made',
      LR:298), presumably like the Noldorin verb < *_et-kant_ < *_et-ka-n-t_
      by nasal infixion < KAT-.

      Weak past I: Suffixion of _-nt_:
      -------------------------------

      _teithant_ 'drew' (in the phrase "_Celebrimbor ... teithant_"
      'Celebrimbor ... drew', LR:298), as though < *_tek-tâ-n-tâ_, but
      actually an analogical past-tense in _-nt_.


      I conclude this survey with a few resultant observations on the
      treatment and analysis of Noldorin and Sindarin past-tense verbs by
      Helge Fauskanger, in his articles "Sindarin - the Noble Tongue"
      <http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/sindarin.htm> and "Reconstructing the
      Sindarin Verb Conjugation"
      <http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/sverb-rec.htm> on his "Ardalambion" web
      site.

      A. The use and status of evidence:
      ---------------------------------

      It is to be remarked that Fauskanger's treatment of the Sindarin verb
      (by which he evidently means, Sindarin as exemplified in and after _The
      Lord of the Rings_, and those parts of the evidence for Noldorin verbs
      that he judges to be consistent with his notions of Sindarin) makes _no
      mention_ of fully one fourth of the actual Noldorin past-tense forms
      given in _The Etymologies_; and moreover provides two lists of
      "Sindarin" past-tense verb forms -- one of basic verbs that he calls
      "3rd person singular" (without support, see below); and another which
      he calls "mixed conjugation", extrapolated on the basis of a _single_
      past-tense form *_dram_, which _itself_ is an unattested hypothetical
      form -- in which there is only _one_ actual, authentic, attested
      past-tense verb-form listed, the rest being entirely hypothetical forms
      constructed by Fauskanger himself.

      B. So-called "3rd pers. sg." past-tense verbs:
      ---------------------------------------------

      Throughout these two articles, Fauskanger repeatedly refers to
      past-tense verbs in _-nt_ as "3rd pers. sg." (in some cases
      "transparently" so). In light of this, it is noteworthy that _none_ of
      the Noldorin verbs of this form found in _Etymologies" is translated
      with specifically 3rd-person sg. glosses; short of an explicit
      statement by Tolkien that all Noldorin past-tense verbs in _-nt_ are
      specifically 3rd pers. sg., there is in fact no way to prove what
      Fauskanger silently asserts. In fact, given what we know about
      personless verb forms in the Eldarin tongues (see the Preliminaries
      above), and based on the evidence we actually have, it is far more
      likely that these forms are singular personless forms, and therefore
      would be used in any case where an explicit, singular subject precedes
      the verb. Indeed, the same holds true of the Sindarin past-tense verbs
      in _-nt_, for although _teithant_ is indeed used by Tolkien with a 3rd
      pers. sg. subject (_Celebrimbor ... teithant_ 'Celebrimbor ... drew'),
      this does not _in itself_ necessarily preclude its possible usage as a
      personless verb with 1st and 2nd person subjects, any more than the use
      of endingless present-tense verbs in Quenya with 3rd pers. sg. subjects
      precludes their use with other singular persons, such as in _elye
      hiruva_ 'thou shalt find" (where the subject is 2nd sg.). Indeed,
      another such verb, _echant_, is used by Tolkien with a 1st pers. sg.
      subject, and translated as such: _Im, Narvi, ... echant_ 'I, Narvi, ...
      made'. (This assumes, of course, that _im_ is in fact a 1st pers. sg.
      pronoun, and not, say, a reflexive form ('myself') that acts
      grammatically as 3rd pers. sg. -- and its use in "Lúthien's Song" with
      an explicitly 1st pers. sg. present tense verb: _le linnon im Tinúviel_
      *'to thee I sing, I, the Nightingale' (III:354) may argue against its
      being 3rd pers. But again, even if it is regarded as 3rd pers., the
      mere fact that the two examples we have of Sindarin past-tense verbs in
      _-nt_ happen to occur with 3rd pers. sg. subjects does _not_
      necessarily preclude its usage with other singular persons.)

      C. Coexistence vs. "replacement":
      --------------------------------

      In his article "Sindarin - the Noble Tongue", Fauskanger asserts that
      the strong past-tense form _gwend_ / _gwenn_ "was later replaced by
      _gwedhant_", and that _gwend_ / _gwenn_ "had come to be regarded as
      archaic or poetic". There is nothing in Tolkien's statement about these
      verb forms to suggest any such "replacement" or "archaism". It is not
      uncommon for strong and weak forms of past-tense verbs to coexist (see
      the Eldarin and English examples above), and the unsupported assertion
      that one form "replaced" the other seems an unjustifiable attempt to
      remove a feature shared by "real" languages from Tolkien's
      art-languages.

      D. A so-called "totally abnormal", "unjustifiable" past-tense verb:
      ------------------------------------------------------------------

      In his article titled "Reconstructing the Sindarin Verb Conjugation",
      Fauskanger calls the Noldorin past-tense verb _mudas_ *'laboured,
      toiled' (pa.t. of _mudo_, < MÔ-) "totally abnormal" and asserts that
      "Nowhere in the entire published Tolkien-linguistic corpus is there any
      past tense formation even resembling this, nor any hint of how such a
      past tense form could possibly be historically justified." I would
      direct Fauskanger's attention to the information on the Noldorin verb
      found in the "Early Noldorin Grammar" published in _Parma Eldalamberon_
      13 (in particular, pp. 126-32), wherein we find numerous examples of
      past-tense verbs in _-th-_; this is not so very far removed from the
      _-s_ of _mudas_. In any event, simply because most derived verbs found
      in the Noldorin of _The Etymologies_ came by phonology or analogy to
      form their past tense in _-nt_ in no way precludes the use and survival
      of other past-tense formants, such as _-s_, besides (analogical) _-nt_
      or (historical) suffixion of *_-nê_. Again, Fauskanger's
      characterization of other, less prevalent means of derivation as
      aberrations that should be ignored is an assertion of his own notions
      of the shape, mechanisms, "regularity", and history of Tolkien's
      languages over the actual evidence of the corpus, and thus of Tolkien's
      own notions.


      --
      =========================================================================================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."
    • Patrick H. Wynne
      Carl F. Hostetter wrote, regarding Helge Fauskanger s statement that the Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_ (
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 12, 2003
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        Carl F. Hostetter wrote, regarding Helge Fauskanger's statement
        that the Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_ (< _mudo_ 'labour, toil', < MÔ-)
        is "totally abnormal" and that "Nowhere in the entire published
        Tolkien-linguistic corpus is there any past tense formation even
        resembling this, nor any hint of how such a past tense form could
        possibly be historically justified":

        > I would direct Fauskanger's attention to the information on the
        > Noldorin verb found in the "Early Noldorin Grammar" published in
        > _Parma Eldalamberon_ 13 (in particular, pp. 126-32), wherein we
        > find numerous examples of past-tense verbs in _-th-_; this is not
        > so very far removed from the _-s_ of _mudas_.

        Moreover, such pa.t. Noldorin verbs in _-th_ (e.g. _mad- 'to eat',
        past indicative singular _madath_, PE13:131) also date back to
        Goldogrin. In the Gnomish Lexicon there are a large number of
        verbs that form a weak pa.t. by addition of a suffix _-thi_. The
        following list, only a small sample, demonstrates the addition of
        this pa.t. ending to a wide variety of verbal stems:

        _belu-_ 'runroll, unfurl', pret. _beluthi_.
        _haw-, hau_ 'to lie', pret. _hui_ or _hauthi_.
        _ilta-_ 'to stick in, prod, prick', pret. _iltathi_.
        _îr-_ 'am willing', pret. _airi_ or _irthi_.
        _ol-_ 'appear, seem', pret. _ûli_ or _olthi_.
        _pâ-_ 'put', pret. _pôthi_ or _pâthi_.
        _rô-_ 'remain, stay; stand', pret. _rûthi_ or _rôthi_.
        _sana-_ 'can, know how to', pret. _sôni_ or _santhi_.

        Etymologically, this weak pa.t. ending _-thi_ is probably
        identical to _thi_, pret. of the verb _na(1)-_ 'is' (described
        as "quite irregular", as further demonstrated by its
        participle _ol-_ (PE11:58).

        This would make the Goldogrin weak pa.t. forms in _-thi_ quite
        similar in etymology to the Latin imperfect tense, marked by an
        element _-ba-_ (e.g., _amabam_ 'I was loving, I used to love')
        that is thought to derive from the Indo-European root BHEU@-,
        BHEU- 'to be, exist, grow', which is also the source of English
        _be_.

        This parallel with the formation of the Latin imperfect also
        appears in the early Noldorin material published in Parma 13.
        In the "Noldorin Dictionary", various Noldorin pa.t. forms in
        _-th_ are labeled as "past imperfect": _amró_ *'rise' - "p. impf."
        _amro(a)th_; _mad_ 'eats' - _madath_ "past imperfect, was
        eating"; _dadnú_ *'sink' - "impf." _dadnovath_ (PE13:159, 163,
        164). This early Noldorin pa.t. ending _-th_ might be cognate
        with _tha-_ 'to make, cause to be' (< *_s'ta-_), given in the
        "Noldorin Word-lists", a verb that is also said to be the source
        of the causative suffix _-tha_ (PE13:153).

        The forms cited above amply demonstrate that Fauskanger's
        assertion that the Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_ is "totally abnormal"
        and does not resemble any past tense formation found "in the
        entire published Tolkien-linguistic corpus" is simply wrong, as
        is his claim that there is no "hint of how such a past tense form
        could possibly be historically justified". Exactly how the etymol-
        ogies of Gn. _-thi_ and N. _-th_ proposed above relate to the
        etymology Tolkien envisioned for N. _-s_ in _mudas_ is unclear,
        to say the least -- but it _is_ clear that N. _mudas_ cannot
        be simply dismissed as an isolated anomaly.

        Two further points should be made. In "Reconstructing the Sindarin
        Verb System", Fauskanger writes: "If the verb _mudo_ '[to] labour,
        toil' is the source of a form _mudas_, the latter would therefore be
        expected to mean 'labour, toil' as a noun. It seems entirely possible
        that Tolkien distractedly wrote 'pa.t.' intending 'noun'." Possible,
        perhaps -- but not probable, given that _mudas_ appears simply
        to be part of a conceptual continuum of Goldogrin/Noldorin
        pa.t. forms in _-thi_, _-th_, _-s_. That Tolkien envisioned irregu-
        larities in the Elvish languages is well attested, whether it be the
        "irregular vocalism" of Q. _málo_ 'friend' < base MEL- (V:372),
        the "irreg. pret." _(e)halle_ of Q _halta-_ 'to leap' (PE12:39), the
        "quite irregular" Gn. verb _na-_ 'is', or the "irregular pret."
        _tîli_ of Gn. _teltha-_ 'cover in' (PE11:70), to cite but a few
        examples. Such deliberate irregularities were a conscious part
        of Tolkien's linguistic artistry, adding an element of realism to
        his languages that would otherwise be lacking were they perfectly
        regular. To attempt to dismiss _mudas_ as a pa.t. simply
        because it is irregular or "abnormal" fails to recognize this
        aspect of Tolkien's creative process.

        Fauskanger also proposes an alternative means of explaining away
        the troublesome form _mudas_ as a pa.t. verb: "Alternatively, what
        Christopher Tolkien transcribed as 'pa.t.' may well be a highly
        tentative reading of an illegible scrawl in the original manuscript;
        he describes the M-stems of his father's manuscript as 'faint and
        difficult to interpret, and some are very confused' (LR:370)." This
        is, fortunately, not the case with this particular entry -- I can
        confirm, having examined my photocopy of the entry for the
        base MÔ-, that the reading "N _mudo_ (pa.t. _mudas_)" is clear
        and unambiguous.

        -- Patrick H. Wynne
      • Hans
        ... Certainly not, especially since there is some evidence that a Noldorin word with suffix _-s_ actually may be the cognate of a Quenya word with suffix
        Message 3 of 14 , Jul 19, 2003
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          Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

          >This early Noldorin pa.t. ending _-th_ might be cognate
          >with _tha-_ 'to make, cause to be' (< *_s'ta-_), given in the
          >"Noldorin Word-lists", a verb that is also said to be the source
          >of the causative suffix _-tha_ (PE13:153).
          ...
          >Exactly how the etymologies
          >of Gn. _-thi_ and N. _-th_ proposed above relate to the
          >etymology Tolkien envisioned for N. _-s_ in _mudas_ is unclear,
          >to say the least -- but it _is_ clear that N. _mudas_ cannot
          >be simply dismissed as an isolated anomaly.

          Certainly not, especially since there is some evidence that a Noldorin
          word with suffix _-s_ actually may be the cognate of a Quenya word
          with suffix _-sta_: That would be _pennas_ , "history" (cf. KWET- in
          Etymologies). The Quenya cognate is _quentasta_, obviously, cf.
          VT39:16. The explanations given there show that _-sta_ means
          some collection or particular grouping of records (_quenta_). That
          _pennas_ is indeed the Noldorin cognate is confirmed by the variant
          _gobennas_: the prefix _go-_ means "together" (cf. WO- in
          Etymologies), apparently followed by a lenited form of _pennas_. So
          this is a collection, too. This shows that the Noldorin reflex of _-sta_
          may be not only _-th_ (as was suggested in VT 39:20), but also _-s_.
          The difference seems to be merely phonological: in the
          same entry in Etymologies, there's also a word _gobennathren_
          "historical". By the way, it seems likely that _certhas_ has the same
          origin, it's a particular grouping or collection of runes.

          The fact that most Noldorin words ending in _-as_ are nouns isn't
          very conclusive: it doesn't mean they were nouns always. German
          nouns like "Hieb, Tat, Schliff, Stand" are identical with pa.t.sg. of the
          verbs "hauen, tun, schleifen, stehen". Indeed, a blow/stroke is the
          result of hewing, a deed is the result of doing, etc. As I pointed out
          in message #197, some Quenya nouns are formed from verbal roots
          in the same way as what Carl called "Strong past I" in his recent
          post. Those nouns have the same semantics as the results of the
          corresponding actions. Of course, both the German and the
          (speculative) Quenya examples would be strong past tense forms.
          Whether a Noldorin noun _caras_ (KAR- in Etym) really just
          meant "built", originally, is another question and would need
          much more evidence. The gloss is "a city (built above ground)".
          As I said, that's just speculation without more evidence, because
          paradigms changed: if an early weak past tense of the verb _gala-_
          "thrive, prosper" (GALA- in Etym) was _galas_, that could become
          the word for "plant, growth". At the time of Etymologies, the
          interpretation could have changed, already: _faras_ "hunt" is said
          to derive from ON _(s)pharasse_ (cf. SPAR-).

          Hans
        • David Kiltz
          ... In full knowledge that such irregularities derive from earlier regularities (a point not in dispute, I know), which only reinforces the point made on
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 20, 2003
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            On Samstag, Juli 12, 2003, at 06:07 Uhr, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

            > That Tolkien envisioned irregularities
            > in the Elvish languages is well attested, whether it be the
            > "irregular vocalism" of Q. _málo_ 'friend' < base MEL- (V:372),
            > the "irreg. pret." _(e)halle_ of Q _halta-_ 'to leap' (PE12:39), the
            > "quite irregular" Gn. verb _na-_ 'is', or the "irregular pret."
            > _tîli_ of Gn. _teltha-_ 'cover in' (PE11:70), to cite but a few
            > examples.

            In full knowledge that such 'irregularities' derive from earlier
            regularities (a point not in dispute, I know), which only reinforces
            the point made on _mudas_, namely to take the form seriously.

            A few comments on the above forms:
            1) Q. _málo_ may well be a Telerin form, from MEL- with 'a'- infixion
            cf. VT39:10.
            2) Q. _halta_, pret. _(e)halle_. Leaving aside the anlauting 'e',
            _halle_ is a regular past tense form, but not for a _-ta_ verb (be it <
            sundóme+t or _-tâ_). Possibly a new present stem was formed in _-t_ but
            the old past tense retained. It would seem harder to explain it the
            other way round. Maybe the present was reformed to avoid homophony with
            Q. _halla_ 'tall' [LR3:507].
            3) The 'irregularity' of _na_ is, of course, in line with what is known
            from many real languages. In the case of Q(u)enya, we're dealing mostly
            with suppletivism.
            4) The preterite of Gn. _teltha_ seems to be in the same line as #2.

            Example 2 and 4 apparently show that past tense forms could end up 'in
            the wrong category' or rather, that present tense stems exhibit a
            tendency to 'renovate' (something which is beautifully mirrored by
            Indo-European languages, especially at earlier stages, abounding in
            (often concurrent) present stem formations)(1).
            So maybe the pa.t. _mudas_ was actually formed from an (earlier)
            present stem
            _mó-_. Thus the 'd' could be interpreted as corresponding to the 'th'
            seen in Early
            Noldorin verbs (cf., e.g. PE13:131).
            Neither th > s nor th > d are trivial in Sindarin/Noldorin be it
            internally or externally. So, the interpretation of pa.t. mudas <
            mú-da-s as a gender specific past tense form like N. _madathas_
            (PE13:131) is just an alternative hypothesis.
            We may still be dealing with a writing error, as the forms _mudo-_ and
            _mudas_ [V:373] seem to lack the vowel length seen in N. _mûl_
            (<_*mól-_) [ibidem] but this is always an awkward assumption.
            Lastly it might be considered that we have here a transitory concept
            (externally) for a Noldorin/Sindarin past tense, as the _-(a)th_ was
            taken by the future/prospective at the time of the Lord of the Rings
            (cf. _linnathon [LR1:114]).

            David Kiltz

            (1) Innovation in the field of the present stem/tense can also be seen
            in other language families, e.g. Uralic, Altaic etc.)
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            There has been further discussion of the Noldorin past-tense verb _mudas_ * laboured, toiled , continuing topics first broached on this list, on the Elfling
            Message 5 of 14 , Nov 14, 2003
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              There has been further discussion of the Noldorin past-tense verb
              _mudas_ *'laboured, toiled', continuing topics first broached on this
              list, on the Elfling discussion list (with a further contribution from
              myself made on the Elfling-d discussion list, since David Salo banned
              me from Elfling). Here is a list of links to the relevant posts, in the
              order they appeared:

              From Patrick H. Wynne:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27382

              From Helge K. Fauskanger:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27425

              From Patrick H. Wynne:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27429

              From David Salo:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27459

              From Patrick H. Wynne:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27463

              From Carl F. Hostetter:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling-d/message/88

              From Helge K. Fauskanger:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27487

              From Patrick H. Wynne:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27491
            • Andreas Johansson
              Carl F. Hostetter posted a slew of links to posts from an Elfling thread about _mudas_ as the somewhat unexpected past tense of _mudo-_ in Etym. I do not at
              Message 6 of 14 , Nov 14, 2003
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                Carl F. Hostetter posted a slew of links to posts from an Elfling thread about
                _mudas_ as the somewhat unexpected past tense of _mudo-_ in Etym. I do not
                at the moment have anything relevant to say on that topic, but I'd like to
                comment on one of Carl's tangential comments in said thread, namely:

                > For that matter, what "historical explanation" can David offer for the plural
                > ending in _-r_ in Quenya? None, in fact, because it is a Quenya innovation.

                I assume Carl is talking about the nominal pl. ending _-r_, because as Carl is
                perfectly aware the verbal pl. _-r_ is well attested in both Quenya and
                Sindarin, strongly suggesting that is inherited from Common Eldarin.

                I have repeatedly suggested that the Q nominal -r is not an innovation "out of
                thin air", but simply the verbal ending applied also to nouns. Whether JRRT
                actually imagined this way is now, as far as I am aware, impossible to say,
                but one might well think it represents an "historical explanation".

                Andreas


                [Andreas is right that I was referring to the Quenya nominal general plural ending
                _-r_. And his suggestion that this _-r_ might have arisen from the verbal
                personless plural ending is indeed a strong possibility (and has in fact been
                bandied about by Tolkienian linguists for decades now). But in the specific context
                in which I wrote my comment, even this hypothesis does not seem to represent
                sufficient "historical explanation" for this _-r_ of the sort David Salo requires for
                the Noldorin pa.t. ending _-as_; for if it did then he could, for example, similarly
                suppose that _-as_ arose as a verbal application of the ending *_-ssê_ evidenced
                in Eldarin abstract nouns, or that it represents a remnant of a long form in *_-ss-_
                of the apparent 3rd sg. ending *_-s_ seen in ON _persôs_ 'it affects, concerns'
                (< PERES-). No such verbal application of *_-ssê_ or application or long-form 3rd sg.
                pronominal ending is evidenced in Quenya or elsewhere in Noldorin (at least, not
                that I can think of at the moment, please correct me if I'm wrong), but that in no way
                exlcudes the possibility that such existed in Eldarin or arose independently in
                Noldorin. The point being, and remaining, that mere absence of an obvious or secure
                "historical explanation" evidenced by more than one language does not render a
                grammatical form or feature anomalous, and certainly not erroneous, despite David's
                apparent argument that it does. CFH]
              • Andreas Johansson
                ... That s interesting to know - when I first brought up the topic on Elfling a few years ago, I did, as far as I can recall, not get any indication the idea
                Message 7 of 14 , Nov 14, 2003
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                  Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

                  > [Andreas's] suggestion that this _-r_ might have arisen from the verbal
                  > personless plural ending is indeed a strong possibility (and has in fact been
                  > bandied about by Tolkienian linguists for decades now).

                  That's interesting to know - when I first brought up the topic on Elfling a
                  few years ago, I did, as far as I can recall, not get any indication the idea
                  wasn't new. (The original context, BTW, was what ending Amanya Telerin may
                  use on verbs - Helge's Ardalambion article at the time suggested _-i_, which I
                  found unlikely given that Q and S both have _-r_. Has any evidence on this
                  come to light in the years since?)

                  [You'll have to remember that there have been at least three distinct
                  generational "waves" of Tolkienian linguists, starting with those centered
                  around _Parma Eldalamberon_, Robert Foster's _Guide to Middle-earth_,
                  and Jim Allan's _An Introduction to Elvish_ back in the '70s, including such
                  still-active scholars as Christopher Gilson and Bill Welden; then joined by
                  those participating in _Quettar_ and (later) _Vinyar Tengwar_ in the '80s
                  and '90s, including myself, Arden Smith, and Patrick Wynne; and finally
                  those participating primarily on the Internet in the latter half of the '90s
                  until the present, including Helge Fauskanger and (to a much lesser extent,
                  at least overtly) David Salo. Most of those who joined the endeavor only with
                  the rise of the Internet seem quite unaware of their predecessors, the true
                  pioneers of the field; a blindered view unfortunately fostered by the most
                  vocal participants and founders of the main Internet fora. CFH]

                  Regarding possible "historical explanations" of _-as_: Since no explanation
                  not coming from JRRT can be regarded as certain, the issue is, or ought to be,
                  whether we can offer a probable historical explanation. While nominal _-r_ <
                  verbal _-r_ seems a convincing enough explanation to me, I can't think of any
                  convincing one for a past ending _-as_. Now I, unlike David apparently, do
                  not see this as much of a problem - as you've mentioned there's quite enough
                  Sindarin endings of whose origins we can say very little - but I do think there's
                  a difference.

                  [Agreed on all counts. I ought to have noted that I didn't offer those ideas as
                  real proposals, only as illustrative examples of the sorts of explanations one
                  might offer for consideration. CFH]

                  > The point being, and remaining, that mere absence of an obvious or secure
                  > "historical explanation" evidenced by more than one language does not render
                  > a grammatical form or feature anomalous, and certainly not erroneous, despite
                  > David's apparent argument that it does.

                  I certainly agree on that. I'd still consider _mudas_ rather 'anomalous' -
                  despite Patrick's listing of more-or-less similar forms, it remains an isolate
                  within the Noldorin of _The Etymologies_.

                  [I think it is generally unwarranted to assume that sparsely or even uniquely
                  attested formations _in languages that are themselves sparsely attested_, of
                  which the Noldorin of _Etymologies_ is one (and Sindarin of _The Lord of the
                  Rings_ even more so), are necessarily isolates. They may only appear to be
                  such due to the selective vagaries of records preservation (and, in the case of
                  invented art-languages, of records _production_). Moreover, the idea that such
                  things as linguistic isolation need to be decided and declared, one way or
                  another, arises only when one departs from language description, and begins
                  to construct rules purporting to prescribe what is "normal": itself a comically
                  absurd thing to do for any sparsely-attested language. CFH]

                  Andreas
                • David Kiltz
                  ... Typologically that would, AFAIK, be unique. Glottogonically speaking the reverse would be more likely. In many languages verbal inflection is basically a
                  Message 8 of 14 , Nov 18, 2003
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                    On 14.11.2003, at 20:30, Andreas Johansson wrote:

                    > I have repeatedly suggested that the Q nominal -r is not an innovation
                    > "out of thin air", but simply the verbal ending applied also to nouns.

                    Typologically that would, AFAIK, be unique. Glottogonically speaking
                    the reverse would be more likely. In many languages verbal inflection
                    is basically a nominal part + pronominal, or personal endings. Thusly,
                    _síla_ would originally mean *'shining one, a shiner' to which personal
                    forms are added: *'Shining-I', *'shining-you' etc... At least in the 3rd
                    persons we only have a specific (originally) pronominal ending when no
                    subject precedes the verb (cf. UT:317). That, of course, makes sense
                    when _síla/sílar_ are originally nominal forms: *'the star, a shiner',
                    *'the stars, shiners' but *'may be guarders', who? they! == _tiruva-nte_.
                    Conversely, there would be no apparent motivation for two sets of
                    endings if both were purely 'verbal'.

                    So, whatever its ultimate origin, the Q. plural marker _-r_ seems to be
                    entirely nominal in origin.

                    David Kiltz
                  • Andreas Johansson
                    ... [snip] ... I m not about to question your superior expertise in these matters, but early Quenya was apparently happy to use verbs as nouns; Quendi and
                    Message 9 of 14 , Nov 19, 2003
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                      Quoting David Kiltz <dkiltz@...>:

                      > On 14.11.2003, at 20:30, Andreas Johansson wrote:
                      >
                      > > I have repeatedly suggested that the Q nominal -r is not an innovation
                      > > "out of thin air", but simply the verbal ending applied also to nouns.
                      >
                      > Typologically that would, AFAIK, be unique.
                      [snip]
                      > So, whatever its ultimate origin, the Q. plural marker _-r_ seems to be
                      > entirely nominal in origin.

                      I'm not about to question your superior expertise in these matters, but early
                      Quenya was apparently happy to use verbs as nouns; "Quendi and Eldar" informs
                      us that _Vala_ was originally a verb _vala-_ "has power", and offers the
                      translation "they have power" for _valar_ (XI:403). Could this not represent a
                      way in which a verbal ending might have sneaked into nominal inflection?

                      Andreas

                      [Perceived "superior expertise" should never be an issue on this list. The
                      only one with superior expertise is J.R.R. Tolkien, and arguments should
                      stand or fall based on the evidence in Tolkien's writings, not on the
                      authority of the scholar proposing a particular theory.

                      The passage Andreas refers to above also cites _eques_ as a Q. verb
                      form that also came to be used as a noun. Earlier in Q&E Tolkien writes:
                      "In Quenya the form _eques_ originally meaning 'said he, said someone'
                      (see Note 29) was also used as a noun _eques_, with the analogical
                      plural _equessi_, 'a saying, dictum, a quotation from someone's
                      uttered words', hence also 'a saying, a current or proverbial dictum'."
                      (XI:392) -- PHW]
                    • Andreas Johansson
                      ... [snip] ... [snip] ... Clarification: I meant superior expertise as regards what is and what is not found in primary-world languages, not Tolkienian ones.
                      Message 10 of 14 , Nov 20, 2003
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                        Quoting Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>:

                        > Quoting David Kiltz <dkiltz@...>:
                        >
                        > > On 14.11.2003, at 20:30, Andreas Johansson wrote:
                        > >
                        > > > I have repeatedly suggested that the Q nominal -r is not an innovation
                        > > > "out of thin air", but simply the verbal ending applied also to nouns.
                        > >
                        > > Typologically that would, AFAIK, be unique.
                        > [snip]
                        > > So, whatever its ultimate origin, the Q. plural marker _-r_ seems to be
                        > > entirely nominal in origin.
                        >
                        > I'm not about to question your superior expertise in these matters
                        [snip]
                        >
                        > [Perceived "superior expertise" should never be an issue on this list. The
                        > only one with superior expertise is J.R.R. Tolkien, and arguments should
                        > stand or fall based on the evidence in Tolkien's writings, not on the
                        > authority of the scholar proposing a particular theory.
                        [snip]
                        > -- PHW]

                        Clarification: I meant superior expertise as regards what is and what is not
                        found in primary-world languages, not Tolkienian ones.

                        I, however, see that my snipping above made Patrick's misinterpretation pretty
                        much inevitable, for which I apologize.

                        Andreas

                        [No apology is necessary -- my comments regarding "superior expertise"
                        were not meant to _admonish_ you, but to _encourage_ you to not indimidate
                        yourself into abandoning a theory purely on the assumption that others have
                        a broader knowledge. And this is as true regarding references to primary-
                        world languages on this list as it is to Tolkien's languages. -- PHW]
                      • Hans
                        It will be best to refer to JRRT himself for an answer... even though there will be more than one. Unfortunately, I don t own PE 11, so I have to quote after a
                        Message 11 of 14 , Nov 22, 2003
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                          It will be best to refer to JRRT himself for an answer... even though
                          there will be more than one. Unfortunately, I don't own PE 11, so I
                          have to quote after a secondary source, VT40, which used the early
                          lexicons to analyse Narqelion. Here's a comparision of case endings
                          (genitive-ablative) in Qenya and Goldogrin, singular and plural: "with
                          -ion cp. Q -ion, both being double plural -i + ô + n; with -a cp. Q
                          -o, [from] ô; with -thon cp. Q -ron, where -r- is from the
                          nom[inatives,] for -son; with -n cp Q -n" (VT40:9/10).

                          This is supposed to mean that both -i and -n were plural markers, and
                          that -r is a nominative (plural, obviously) coming from rhotacism and
                          compares to Goldogrin -th. So it isn't an innovation at all: "-th is
                          original and [the] same as Q -r".

                          Obviously, JRRT hesitated whether this is was the right way, and
                          explained:

                          "The existence in G. of an -r plural sign in verbs has given rise to
                          the conjecture (coupled with [the] Q. form gen.pl. -ron) that G -th
                          does not represent Q -r[,] but that -r is a true plural ending (i.e. r
                          liquid) and -tt == Q -t dual". (both VT40:22, from PE11:10)

                          This would mean three original plural markers -i, -n (from former -m,
                          as the entry 3O- in Etymologies suggests) and -r. We are told it is
                          also a plural marker in G verbs, but that seems to be secondary.
                          At that time, -r was not always a plural marker in Q verbs, as
                          examples in the Secret Vice poems show: "i lunte linganer... i súru
                          laustaner" (MC:216), the subjects (boat and wind) being singular.
                          The above quote seems to indicate that G -th was originally dual. It
                          may be that Noldorin -ath was interpreted as dual in origin, too, but
                          we know that this notion was dismissed, later. "ath: Though it cd. be
                          an S. form of Q. atta '2', it is not in fact related, nor a sign of
                          dual". (Letters: 427)

                          So, externally speaking, we have -r as a noun plural in Q (even in
                          Qenya) before it became a plural marker in Q verbs. There's also no
                          hint at an internal derivation devised later.

                          People seem to be surprised because this gives 3 original plural
                          markers in Quenya. The surprise may be provoked by the fact that most
                          modern European languages have only one (English has one and a half,
                          remember "geese" and "mice"). German has -e, -er, -(e)n, -s, depending
                          on the noun, and the occasional Umlaut, so why should Quenya have only
                          one or two?

                          Hans
                        • David Kiltz
                          ... Good point. Yet the question is, in my opinion, how frequent are this kind of derivations ? Of course, from a *synchronic* point of view _vala_ and _valar_
                          Message 12 of 14 , Nov 22, 2003
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                            On 20.11.2003, at 07:40, Andreas Johansson wrote:

                            > <snip>
                            > early Quenya was apparently happy to use verbs as nouns; "Quendi and
                            > Eldar" informs us that _Vala_ was originally a verb _vala-_ "has
                            > power", and offers the
                            > translation "they have power" for _valar_ (XI:403). Could this not
                            > represent a
                            > way in which a verbal ending might have sneaked into nominal
                            > inflection?

                            Good point. Yet the question is, in my opinion, how frequent are this
                            kind of derivations ? Of course, from a *synchronic* point of view
                            _vala_ and _valar_ are verbal forms (whatever their ultimate origin).
                            Note, however, that Tolkien says "...these words are from the point of
                            *Q* structure verbal in origin..." (emphasis mine). This doesn't, IMHO,
                            say anything about their *Eldarin* origin. And yes, in some cases a
                            'zero derivation' seems possible. _Ea_ is another such case and,
                            slightly different _eques_ cited by Patrick H. Wynne. Such direct
                            nominalizations do also, e.g. occur in English, cf. something like _a
                            caveat_. However, as far as I can see, such derivations are rare at
                            best in Quenya. Other agental construction show derivational morphology
                            and are attested much more amply (e.g. sundóma +r(o), -ô, -mo etc.).
                            The words _Vala_ and by all probability _Ea_ are translations of
                            Valarin words. I wouldn't be surprised if that played a role in their
                            peculiar derivation. _Eques_, on the other hand, was deliberately
                            re-interpreted with an analogical plural _equessi_ which exactly shows
                            *no* verbal morphology. So, at least in the case of _eques_ it is not
                            really correct to say that "Quenya uses verbs as nouns".It is
                            interesting in this context to ask why the plural of _Vala_ isn't
                            +_valante_. Possibly, in the case of _vala/Vala_ the same is true.
                            So, while your point on _valar/Valar_ is a very acute and enticing
                            observation, I still doubt that these, apparently few, forms could have
                            caused the creation of an entire plural paradigm. Moreover, if indeed,
                            the plural of the verbs would have been taken over by nouns, I wonder
                            why they didn't in the case of nouns in _-e_ as there must have been
                            lots of instances of past tense plurals in _-er_. ( _Tyeller_ [LR3:502]
                            might be interpreted in that way, but it is, as far as frequency is
                            concerned, an exception).

                            David Kiltz
                          • Andreas Johansson
                            ... I m not clear why you assume the verbal -r in G to be secondary? The passage you quote does not appear to say either way. ... Well, multiple pl formations
                            Message 13 of 14 , Nov 23, 2003
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                              Quoting Hans <gentlebeldin@...>:

                              > "The existence in G. of an -r plural sign in verbs has given rise to
                              > the conjecture (coupled with [the] Q. form gen.pl. -ron) that G -th
                              > does not represent Q -r[,] but that -r is a true plural ending (i.e. r
                              > liquid) and -tt == Q -t dual". (both VT40:22, from PE11:10)
                              >
                              > This would mean three original plural markers -i, -n (from former -m,
                              > as the entry 3O- in Etymologies suggests) and -r. We are told it is
                              > also a plural marker in G verbs, but that seems to be secondary.

                              I'm not clear why you assume the verbal -r in G to be secondary? The passage
                              you quote does not appear to say either way.

                              > People seem to be surprised because this gives 3 original plural
                              > markers in Quenya. The surprise may be provoked by the fact that most
                              > modern European languages have only one (English has one and a half,
                              > remember "geese" and "mice"). German has -e, -er, -(e)n, -s, depending
                              > on the noun, and the occasional Umlaut, so why should Quenya have only
                              > one or two?

                              Well, multiple pl formations are common enough in modern Europe, aren't they?
                              Besides German, we've got the rest of Germanic family; Dutch has -en and -s,
                              Swedish has -ar, -er, -or, -n and -0 (zero), and so on. Italian has a couple,
                              as has Rumanian, if I remember correctly. And if you count 1.5 for English,
                              I figure you'd get something similar for French. I've heard Welsh has nineteen.

                              More on topic, there's of course no reason Quenya could not have had three or
                              more inherited nominal pl markers. It's just that that we know that in the
                              scenario as JRRT imagined it in later years, -r was a Quenya innovation, at
                              least as a pl marker on nominatives; we've for instance got _Banyai_ as an
                              early nom pl of _Vanya_ in PM:402.

                              I guess it's always possible that nominal pl -r is an innovation _only in
                              nominatives_ - there's to my knowledge no evidence to say whether the -r in
                              allative pl _-nnar_ and ablative pl _-llor_ is "original" or not. But since
                              these case forms are relatively infrequent, we'd rather expected the
                              nominative pl to spread to them rather than vice versa.

                              Andreas
                            • Rich Alderson
                              ... Of course, you have cited *three* English formations (-s, umlaut, and zero ending). There is also the -en plural formation (ox-oxen, brother-brethren,
                              Message 14 of 14 , Nov 23, 2003
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                                > People seem to be surprised because this gives 3 original plural markers in
                                > Quenya. The surprise may be provoked by the fact that most modern European
                                > languages have only one (English has one and a half, remember "geese" and
                                > "mice"). German has -e, -er, -(e)n, -s, depending on the noun, and the
                                > occasional Umlaut, so why should Quenya have only one or two?

                                Of course, you have cited *three* English formations (-s, umlaut, and zero
                                ending). There is also the -en plural formation (ox-oxen, brother-brethren,
                                extended analogically to computers in VAX-VAXen), and the borrowed Latin -i or
                                -ii which is more often misused than used correctly. The -s formant has been
                                spreading through the vocabulary at the expense of the others for centuries,
                                but enough remnants exist for naive native speakers to have a feel for their
                                usage.

                                Why would you expect JRRT, a Germanic philologist, to stint on plurals in his
                                languages?

                                Rich Alderson | /"\ ASCII ribbon |
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