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Re: The grapheme _w_ in Finnish

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  • Hans Georg Lundahl
    ... Actually, in books printed in Gothic (Blackletter) style, w was the norm in Swedish, like it still is in German and Polish. In books printed in Antiqua
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 15, 2003
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      Pavel Iosad <edricson@...> wrote:

      > As far as I know, it is a purely orthographic convention. I'd imagine Early
      > Modern Finnish would have a vacillation between 'w' and 'v' for [v]. Contemporary
      > Swedish did, as far as remember."

      Actually, in books printed in Gothic (Blackletter) style, 'w' was the norm in Swedish,
      like it still is in German and Polish. In books printed in Antiqua (Round letter) style,
      as well as loan words from French, Latin, English, 'v' was the norm.

      Now, back to Qenya, the sooner the better.

      Hans Georg Lundahl

      Höstrusk och grå moln - köp en resa till solen på Yahoo! Resor

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • cgilson75
      Pavel Iosad wrote: A further twist is added by the fact that the Finnish word [_kulta_ gold ] is one of the numerous loans into Finnish from very early
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 18, 2003
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        Pavel Iosad wrote:

        "A further twist is added by the fact that the Finnish word
        [_kulta_ 'gold'] is one of the numerous loans into Finnish from very
        early Germanic, such as _rengas_ < *_xrengaz_ 'ring' and _kuningas_ <
        *_kuningaz_ 'king', the latter not infrequently also occurring in the
        Kalevala. Tolkien would certainly have known this, and he might have
        encountered this particular word even before the _Kalevala_, as I
        imagine these Finnish loans would be mentioned in Germanic philology
        courses."

        This does seem like something Tolkien would have learned about while
        at Oxford; so the sequence of events is worth bearing in mind. His
        original course of study was in the Classics, and what he was
        learning as a pupil of Joseph Wright in 1912 were "the elements of
        Greek philology" (Biography, chap. 5). After taking his Honour
        Moderations exam in 1913, he was advised to switch his studies to the
        English school, where he took up Old Norse as his special subject
        (Bio. chap. 6). So the instruction Tolkien received in Germanic
        philology would have been primarily between 1913 and 1915.

        Tolkien had read Kirby's translation of the Kalevala probably during
        his last year at King Edward's. He may still have been hoping to
        find a Finnish edition of the poem when he discovered that the
        library at Exeter College had a copy of C. N. E. Eliot's _Finnish
        Grammar_, soon after arriving at Oxford in 1911 (see
        http://www.elvish.org/resources.html#TolkienInfluence_anchor ). He
        clearly studied this grammar in great detail, and presumably worked
        through the longer excerpts from the Kalevala that are included at
        the end of the book (Runo XXXVI, lines 319-346; XVI, 151-384; and XL,
        113-244).

        Incidentally, the first of these excerpts is the account of
        Kullervo's death, and includes the words _terävä_ 'sharp' and
        _lapsi_ 'child', the proposed inspiration for Q _tereva_ 'piercing,
        acute, shrill, sharp' (QL) and _lapse_ ' babe' (Etym.). The third
        excerpt is about the invention of the harp, and includes
        the word _kantelo_ (a variant of _kantele_ 'harp'), clearly
        contributing to QL _kantl 'a large harp' (<< _kantil_ 'a small harp')
        and _kantele_ 'harping, (repetition)'; though I think the partial
        homophony with Latin _cantare_ 'to sing, chant' and its cognates may
        have contributed to Tolkien's adaptation of this Finnish word.

        [Pavel:] "By the way, we might hazard a very, very, very cautious
        guess that _rengas_, which is also a standard example of this
        Germanic-Finnic interaction, could be an influence (I am wary of the
        word 'source') for some Qenya words, which are to be found in PE12:80
        s.v. RINI-. While _rin (nd-)_ 'year, circle', has a rather distant
        relationship to _rengas_ in form, it certainly has a similar meaning.
        The words _rinkalenda_ 'anniversary', _rinko (o)_ 'disc, circle,
        orb'_, and the erased _rinku (û)_ 'Orb of the Moon', also
        mentioned in PME in a different form, show a closer affinity."

        The other side of this Germanic-Finnish connection is also worth
        considering. The Old English cognate is _hring_ 'ring, circle,
        cycle, orb' and the Old Norse _hringr_ 'ring, circle', words Tolkien
        would have encountered when first learning and reading in these
        languages while still at King Edward's. A cognate is not attested in
        Gothic, a lack that would have attracted Tolkien's attention, during
        the period when he was filling in the gaps in the Gothic lexicon through
        comparative extrapolation, using what he had learned from reading
        Wright's _Primer of the Gothic Language_ around 1908 or 1909. From
        the OE & ON cognates Primitive Germanic *_xringaz_ could be inferred,
        and Gothic *_hriggs_.

        But I also agree with Pavel that in this case we should be cautious.
        If the ultimate motive behind an external influence on Qenya is the
        appeal of a particular association of sound and sense embodied in the
        form that inspires it, then we may not need to look further than
        modern English _ring_ for Tolkien's source, since this is just as
        close in sound to the Qenya forms _rin_, _rinko_, etc., as OE
        _hring_, ON _hringr_ or Finnish _rengas_.

        Of course this group does display other influences. Thus the second
        component of _rinkalenda_ is _kalenda_ 'of the day; daily', which
        occurs under the root KALA 'shine golden' alongside _kalende_ 'a
        special day, festival'. The last seems clearly inspired by Latin
        _kalendae_, the term for the first day of the month, though the KALA
        words may also have been influenced by Latin _calere_ 'be warm or
        hot, glow', and its relatives. The second element of _rinku_ is
        _kuu_ (uu == u-macron) 'Crescent Moon', presumably inspired by Finnish
        _kuu_ 'moon'. This is another word Tolkien could have learned from
        Kirby's translation of the Kalevala, since _Kuutar_ 'the Daughter of
        the Moon' is translated there in a list of proper names at the end of
        the poem.

        This rather nicely illustrates just a few of the multiple layers of
        inspiration that were integrated in Qenya already when it was
        documented in QL. It is fascinating to peel back some of those
        layers and possibly glimpse what affected Tolkien during the years
        before this, when we know he was already continually inventing based
        on the many languages he encountered.

        Christopher Gilson
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