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Nasal infixion in Indo-European languages and in Quenya

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  • Hans-Juergen Fischer
    There s a question connected with ablaut in past tense related to nasal infixion: gehen (go) - er ging . The other direction would be denken (think) -
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 8 3:53 AM
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      There's a question connected with ablaut in past tense related to
      nasal infixion: "gehen" (go) -> "er ging". The other direction would
      be "denken" (think) -> "er dachte", cf. "Gedanke" (thought), or "bringen"
      (bring) -> "er brachte".

      Since one would only expect another vowel here, this is an indication
      for ancient nasal vowels, changing into "in/en/an" later. Such nasal
      vowels remained in some other Indo-European languages (Polish), they
      aren't a mere hypothesis.

      Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
      hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?
      (this was my first, never answered question in the Elfling list).

      Hans

      PS: Am I supposed to be somewhere else? I don't think so, but I'm open for
      other opinions... if they are stated openly.

      [Are you asking whether you "belong" on this list? If you are interested
      in its contents, then yes, of course you do. Moreover, you've posed a
      interesting question in a thoughtful, informed manner. 'Nuff said. Carl]

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    • pavel_iosad
      Hello, ... The Polish nasals are a remainder of the Proto-Slavic nasal vowels, in which respect Slavic is, to the best of my knowledge, unique. The Slavic
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 8 6:44 AM
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        Hello,

        Hans wrote:
        > Since one would only expect another vowel here, this is an
        > indication for ancient nasal vowels, changing into "in/en/an"
        > later. Such nasal vowels remained in some other Indo-European
        > languages (Polish), they aren't a mere hypothesis.

        The Polish nasals are a remainder of the Proto-Slavic nasal vowels,
        in which respect Slavic is, to the best of my knowledge, unique. The
        Slavic nasal vowels have appeared as a result of the open syllable
        law, which did not permit closed sylables, and so all -Vn(-) and -Vm-
        groups changed into either o~ or e~ (also the appearance of
        syllabic liquids and the reduced vowels). I do not recall reading of
        PIE nasal vowels anywhere.

        > Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
        > hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?

        I'd say no. We have lots of PQ/CE forms, but nowhere is a nasal
        vowel indicated by Tolkien. And anyway is there such a kind of
        ablaut anywhere? The more knowledgeable people will doubtless
        clarify!

        The Quenya nasal infixion, it would seem, arose by analogy with the
        behaviour of basic verbs, where the nasal slipped inside the root by
        metathesis.

        Pavel
        --
        Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

        'I am a philologist, and thus a misunderstood man'
        --JRR Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_
      • Arden R. Smith
        ... For the later versions of the languages, I would agree with Pavel s statement that there s no evidence of nasal vowels in Quendian/Eldarin. In the earliest
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 8 12:05 PM
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          Hans-Juergen Fischer wrote:

          >Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
          >hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?

          For the later versions of the languages, I would agree with Pavel's
          statement that there's no evidence of nasal vowels in
          Quendian/Eldarin.

          In the earliest version, however, it's another story. According to
          the Qenya phonology that accompanied the Qenya Lexicon (circa 1915),
          primitive Eldarin had long and short syllabic versions of _l_, _r_,
          and _n_, "and _n_ perhaps represented a nasal to each of the five
          positions" [i.e. points of articulation] (_Parma Eldalamberon_ 12, p.
          10). In the Qenya Lexicon we find a considerable number of roots
          with forms like LNQN (with dots below the n's), whence _lanqa_ 'lot.
          luck, piece of fortune, happening'.

          --
          ********************************************************************
          Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

          "Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?"
          "Fiddle-de-dee's not English," Alice replied gravely.
          "Who ever said it was?" said the Red Queen.

          --Lewis Carroll,
          _Through the Looking-glass_
          ********************************************************************
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