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The Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Carl F. Hostetter wrote, regarding Helge Fauskanger s statement that the Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_ (
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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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