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.