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Re: [Lambengolmor] The Noldorin pa.t. _mudas_

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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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