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Re: [Lambengolmor] Quenya pl. _-r_

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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