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Aorist participle?

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    In an etymological note on the Quenya name _Itaril(lë)_ (S _Idril_) in the late (c. 1968-69, see XII:331) essay _The Shibboleth of Fëanor_, we find the
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 27, 2003
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      In an etymological note on the Quenya name _Itaril(lë)_ (S _Idril_) in
      the late (c. 1968-69, see XII:331) essay _The Shibboleth of Fëanor_, we
      find the following (XII:363):

      "_it_ in _itila_ 'twinkling, gleaming', and _íta_ 'a flash', _ita-_
      verb 'to sparkle'."

      The form _itila_ 'twinkling, gleaming' is somewhat enigmatic. The
      apparent ending _-la_ is frequently found in late Quenya in present
      participles, and the gloss Tolkien provides would be consistent with an
      interpretation of _itila_ as a present participle. We can compare
      _itila_ with the present participles found in the similarly late (c.
      1963-73) Quenya version of the poem _Oilima Markirya_ (MC:221-22; for
      the date see MC:221), which can be sorted into the following formal
      classification, in accordance with Tolkien's own etymological notes
      accompanying the poem (MC:222-23):

      I. Formed on derived verb stems:
      ---------------------------------

      a) _a_-stem verbs:

      _ilkala_ (in _ilkalasse_ *'gleaming-in', line 17, and _ilkalannar_
      *'gleaming-upon', line 36, cf. MC:215), stem _ilka-_ 'gleam (white)'
      (this assumes _ilka-_ arises from a base like *LIK- 'gleam'; other
      analyses are possible, such as _il-ka_)
      _píkala_ (in _píkalasse_ *'waning-in', line 18, cf. MC:215), stem
      _píka-_ 'lessen, dwindle'
      _lantala_ (in _lantalasse_ *'falling-in', line 19, cf. MC:215), stem
      *_lanta-_ 'fall' (assuming this is derived ultimately from the Etym.
      base DAT-, DANT-).
      _rúmala_ (line 22), stem _rúma-_ 'shift, move, heave (of large and
      heavy things)'
      _hákala_ (line 27), stem *_háka-_ 'yawn' (cf. MC:215; it is also quite
      possible that the stem is basic *_hak-_, but I'm placing it here for
      parsimony)

      b) _u_-stem verbs:

      _hlápula_ (line 11), stem _hlapu-_ 'fly or stream in the wind'

      c) _sa_-stem verbs:

      _ruxal[a] (line 25), stem *_ruksa-_ 'to crumble' (cf. MC:215; cf. also
      the apparently related past participle _rúkina_ 'confused, shattered,
      disordered', line 34)

      c) _ta_-stem verbs:

      _falastala_ (line 10), stem _falasta-_ 'to foam'
      _amortala_ (line 26), stem *_amorta-_ 'to heave' (cf. MC:215)

      d) _ru_-stem verbs:

      _nurrula_ (line 21), stem _nurru-_ 'murmur, grumble'

      II. Formed on frequentative stems:
      ----------------------------------

      _sisílala_ (line 12), frequentative stem _sisíla-_, itself formed on
      the basic stem _sil-_ 'shine (white)'
      _fifírula_ (line 13), frequentative stem _fifíru-_, itself formed on
      the basic stem _fir-_ 'die, fade'
      _talta-taltala_ (line 30), frequentative stem *_talta-talta_, itself
      formed on the derived stem _talta-_ 'slip, slide down, collapse'

      Note that all of these present participles are formed on what is
      (apparently or arguably) the present-tense stem of the verb, with
      _a_-stem verbs (and, if we include the stems underlying the
      frequentative stems and perhaps _hákala_, also basic verbs) having the
      lengthened root vowel (where permitted by the constraints of Quenya
      phonology, i.e, when not followed by two or more consonants) and _a_
      stem-vowel characteristic of the present-tense stem of such verbs.

      In contrast, if it is indeed a participle, _itila_ 'twinkling,
      glinting', with short root vowel and stem-vowel in _-i-_, looks for all
      the world like it is formed on an _aorist_ stem, despite the fact that
      verb-stem Tolkien cites with it, _ita-_, is an _a_-stem verb.

      My question for the group is: are there any Primary-world languages
      having an aorist vs. present tense verb-stem distinction that form
      participles on the aorist stem, either in addition to or instead of the
      present-tense stem?


      --
      =========================================================================================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."
    • David Kiltz
      ... While I m not aware of any language having a tense stem dichotomy, forming participles from aorist stems *instead* of from present stems, Old Greek and
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 28, 2003
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        On Mittwoch, August 27, 2003, at 04:57 Uhr, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

        > My question for the group is: are there any Primary-world languages
        > having an aorist vs. present tense verb-stem distinction that form
        > participles on the aorist stem, either in addition to or instead of the
        > present-tense stem?

        While I'm not aware of any language having a 'tense' stem dichotomy,
        forming participles from aorist stems *instead* of from present stems,
        Old Greek and the oldest Indic (Vedic) both form active participles from
        the present and aorist stem. Indeed, even from the 'future stem':
        (I will only give the active forms, as they suffice to make the case)

        Greek: 1) Neuter present participle active: _paidêu-on, -ontos_
        2) Neuter aorist participle active: _paidêu-sa-n, -ntos_
        3) Neuter future pariciple active: _paidêu-s-on, -ontos_

        Vedic: 1) _gacch-ant-_ (_gacch-/gam- 'to go')
        2) _gm-ant-_
        3) _gamisy-ant-_.

        Note that both the Greek and Indic aorist forms do not (neccessarily)
        indicate 'past'. The difference between aorist and present is rather
        aspectual.

        The oldest form of the (present) active participle in Indo-European was
        *_-ont/-nt_. It is of nominal origin. The same seems to be true for
        Proto-Quenya *_-lâ_, which, in its uncharatcterized or 'sex indicative'
        forms shows up in Q. _tecil_ 'pen' < *_tek-la_ or _hekile, hekilo_
        'she/he outcast' < *_heklê, *heklô_ (XI:365).

        An ending probably of the same ultimate origin can be seen in Early
        Noldorin, e.g. present pariciple _madol_ 'eating', _madannel_ 'having
        eaten' etc. (PEXIII:131) which can also be attached to various stems.
        Later adjectival forms show up in _The Etymologies_ (passim) etc..

        A system similar to the Noldorin one seen in PE XIII can be found in
        Baltic which has, e.g. in the active three participles (leaving out the
        _-damas_ participle found only in Lithuanian and Latvian). The present
        and preterite participle active are derived from the tense stem.
        The future participle (<*_-siant_) too is only found in Lithuanian and
        Latvian.

        Last note: The distinction active/passive may not always be indicated
        by the suffix. E.g. in Hittite _-ant_ attached to a transitive verb has
        passive meaning (_kunant-_ 'killed', cf. _kwenzi_ 'kills' but _asant-_
        'being', cf. _eszi_ 'is'). In Old Greek and Old Indic too, _to/ta_
        participles have active meaning when attached to intransitive verbal
        stems.

        Similar things might be found in Elvish.

        David Kiltz

        [Thanks! CFH]
      • Pavel Iosad
        Hello, ... A somewhat similar situation obtains in Russian. Even though Russian does not possess the necessary distinction, still a correlation between the
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 29, 2003
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          Hello,

          Carl F. Hostetter asked:

          > My question for the group is: are there any Primary-world languages
          > having an aorist vs. present tense verb-stem distinction that form
          > participles on the aorist stem, either in addition to or
          > instead of the present-tense stem?

          A somewhat similar situation obtains in Russian. Even though Russian
          does not possess the necessary distinction, still a correlation between
          the tense of the finite forms and participles derived from a particular
          stem is observable.

          Generally, the Russian verb system revolves around two basic stems,
          traditionally termed the 'infinitive stem', i. e. the infinitive minus
          the suffix -t', and the present tense stem, i. e. the present tense
          minus the personal endings. The first stem is the basis of, inter alia,
          the past tense and the past participles, while the second one yields the
          present-future tense and the present participles:

          delat', 'to do'
          Infinitive stem dela-, present tense stem delaj-

          delaj-u DO-1SG 'I do'
          delaj-usch-ij DO-PrAP-NOM:SG (one who is doing)
          delaj-em-yj DO-PrPP-NOM:SG (something that is being done)

          but

          dela-l DO-PAST (I did)
          dela-vsh-ij DO-PaAP (one who did)

          et cetera.

          I believe that participles can also be formed from different stems in
          Bulgarian, and there is a correlation between the aspectual properties
          of the finite forms and participles (which is even closer to the Quenya
          situation), but perhaps Ivan will enlighten us on this better than I
          can.

          Pavel
          --
          Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

          Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth
          --Welsh saying


          [Thanks, Pavel, that is interesting! I feel I should offer a gentle
          nudge though to make sure we don't drift too far afield. What I'm
          trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that a language
          that has a clear present participle vs. past participle distinction,
          the former formed (so far as we can judge from the available
          evidence) at least nearly exclusively on the present-tense stem,
          but also separate aorist, present, and past tenses, would in fact
          also be able to form participles on the aorist stem, either as a third,
          independent class of participles, or as a variant form of the
          present participle. CFH]
        • Hans Georg Lundahl
          Wrote CHF in Pavel Iosad s post: What I m trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that a language that has a clear present participle vs. past
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 29, 2003
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            Wrote CHF in Pavel Iosad's post:

            "What I'm trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that
            a language that has a clear present participle vs. past participle
            distinction, the former formed (so far as we can judge from the
            available evidence) at least nearly exclusively on the present-tense
            stem, but also separate aorist, present, and past tenses, would in
            fact also be able to form participles on the aorist stem, either as a
            third, independent class of participles, or as a variant form of the
            present participle. CFH"

            Likelihood? I severely doubt that JRRT thought in terms of "how likely
            is it that a language with postpositions has a PSO basic word order?"
            which if he did not means such considerations would hardly limit his
            choice of grammatical structures. As Pavel Iosad indicated, however,
            one can in Slavonic languages form present participles of imperfective
            and perfective verbs alike. Where the distinction would be like Q
            aorist and present tense.

            Hans Georg Lundahl

            [Of course there was no question of likelihood in _Tolkien's_ mind:
            the language either had this feature or it didn't. But that's looking
            at the matter from the wrong end: what _we_ have to hand is not
            Tolkien's mind, but the evidence of his writings. And in these
            writings we have a handful of present participles and a _single_
            (potential) example of an aorist participle. Since we know that
            Tolkien's Eldarin languages generally follow Indo-European and
            Finno-Ugric grammatical patterns -- those being, not coincidentally,
            the languages Tolkien was most knowledgable about -- it is natural
            to look to those languages (in particular) for possible examples and
            even clarification of phonological, morphological, and syntactic
            phenomena or patterns that we see, or think we may see, in
            Tolkien's languages. And in areas of uncertainty like the present
            case, corroboration of putative phenomena or patterns in Primary-
            world languages _does_ speak to the _likelihood_ of the correctness
            of an analysis and that the phenomenon or pattern under
            investigation pertains in Tolkien's languages.
            As for my "nudge", it was not meant as a comment on
            Pavel's post, but as clarification based on comments on the
            matter I have received in messages not posted to the list. CFH]
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