Re: The grapheme _w_ in Finnish
- Pavel Iosad <edricson@...> wrote:
> As far as I know, it is a purely orthographic convention. I'd imagine EarlyActually, in books printed in Gothic (Blackletter) style, 'w' was the norm in Swedish,
> Modern Finnish would have a vacillation between 'w' and 'v' for [v]. Contemporary
> Swedish did, as far as remember."
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]
- 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
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,
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
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.