Christopher Gilson wrote:
> Of course the difference could have contributed to Tolkien's
> conception of early Q. with words beginning in _w_ and in
> _v_, whether or not it reflects a distinction in the actual
> history of Finnish.
Which it does not. The use of both _w_ and _v_ to represent the
same sound is only from cofusion of orthographies. Old Finnish
spelling (before the regularization in the 19th century) usually
employed the grapheme _w_ to represent the labio-dental fricative
(see e.g. <http://www.pp.clinet.fi/~pkr01/historia/agricola.html
It was still often used in the 19th century, but gradually fell
away as the regularized spelling came more and more adopted.
The use of both _w_ and _v_ in the orthography of your examples
cannot reflect a distinction in the development of Finnish.
For instance, all the words related to _walkea_, the nomin. sing.
of the pl. iness. example you cite _walkeissa_, in Baltic-Finnic
languages have _v_ in their orthography (e.g. Karelian _valkie_,
Vepsian _vauged_ and Estonian _valge_). There is also a possible
cognate in the far more distantly related Hungarian: _villám_
'lightning', which also has the labio-dental fricative.
Petri Samuel Tikka