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The value of _ll_ in Sindarin - Comments on the _Tengwestië_ article

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  • Tchitrec@aol.com
    In the second article recently published on Tengwestië, Carl Hostetter gives reasons for seeing two distinct values assigned to the grapheme LL in the
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 9, 2003
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      In the second article recently published on Tengwestië, Carl Hostetter gives
      reasons for seeing two distinct values assigned to the grapheme LL in the
      Sindarin of _The Lord of the Rings_: geminate l, phonetically [l:], and long
      voiceless l, phonetically [L:]. The latter would be heard in _mallorn_ (cf.
      VT42:27).

      I am however rather unconvinced, and still think that externally speaking,
      the value of [L:] for <ll> is a late development. I doubt very much that Tolkien
      already saw things likewise when he wrote LR and its Appendices - without
      absolutely convincing arguments, but with some serious presumptions.

      [I don't think it takes much presumption to accept Tolkien's own account
      of the orthographic choice he made at face value, unless there are very
      strong reasons not to. CFH]

      Firstly, it is striking that no reference to a double pronunciation of ll is
      given in LR's Appendix E, or to a special pronunciation of the (important)
      word _mallorn_ in particular. True, absence of evidence is not evidence of
      absence, so this does not allow certitude, yet it is troubling. Although the data in
      Appendix E are quite compressed, they contain minute details (for instance
      the slight palatalization of L in some contexts, or the closer or more open
      nature of long E and O's in Quenya and Sindarin respectively) and mention
      exceptional cases (such as the stress of _Annûn_ and _Amrûn_ in Sindarin).

      [I don't find this striking or troubling at all. Tolkien likewise did not note in
      App. E that /d/ in certain phonetic environments in Sindarin words represents
      _dh_; yet we know that it does, and that Tolkien chose to use /d/ nonetheless
      because he found /dh/ uncouth for English readers. This precisely parallels the
      decision to use /ll/ instead of /lh/ or /lth/, and could be explained by
      precisely the same reasoning. Yet I don't recall anyone finding the use of /d/
      for /dh/ to be troubling, or the absence of an account of this in App. E
      striking. CFH]]

      Secondly, it is true that other graphemes have double values in Elvish
      languages, such as H in Quenya or F in Sindarin, but those cases are explained in
      Appendix E. Why would he not have done the same for LL if needed? I also doubt
      that it was a way to avoid an "uncouth" spelling, since Tolkien used LH from
      the very beginning, which is alien to English as well. Using the ambiguous
      spelling LL while LH was at hand, and already seen elsewhere, would be quite
      unfriendly to the reader, and slightly odd anyway. The analogy with the use of D for
      DH is interesting... but notice that this was revised later.

      [Tolkien's explanation of finding /dh/ uncouth was specifically applied to it
      use in _The Lord of the Rings_, and for the lay, English audience that would
      form its readership. But Tolkien used both /dh/ and edh in his _linguistic_
      writing from the very beginning. So his use of /lh/ and /lth/ in his linguistic
      writing is no evidence against what Tolkien says about /ll/ and its use in
      _LotR_. CFH]

      Thirdly, I do not think that the comparison with English spelling is
      relevant. It is well known how complex and sometimes inconsistent English orthography
      is, whereas Sindarin's romanized orthography, if admittedly not an entirely
      phonological representation, comes quite close to it. The example mentioned in
      the article ("It is rather as though it were regarded as contradictory to say
      that English S is pronounced /s/, but then to note that the plural marker -es
      is pronounced /?z/.") is plainly an instance where English favours
      morphological unity at the expense of phonetic accuracy. Moreover, the orthographic issue
      is not exactly the same in a living and a constructed language. For a living
      language, it is possible to depart from phonetic accuracy for other purposes
      (notably morphological unity or etymological preoccupations) without too much
      trouble: the competence of users will supply. For a constructed language
      presented to others, it cannot be counted on, and one first needs to give a clear
      picture of pronunciation, as Tolkien claimed to try doing in LR's Appendix E: "In
      transcribing the ancient scripts I have tried to represent the original
      sounds (so far as they can be determined) with fair accuracy, and as the same to
      produce words and names that do not look uncouth in modern letters".

      [Tolkien found the comparison with English spelling relevant, so I don't see
      how your personal disagreement with his judgment can count as a relevant
      argument against the veracity of Tolkien's account. You don't have to agree
      with his judgment, but you do have to accept that it was, as he claims, the
      basis upon which he made his decision. As for the analogy I drew with
      pronunciation of _s_ vs. _-es_, that was intended to show that two linguistic
      statements can be seemingly contradictory, _if_ misinterpreted, but yet remain
      both true, when understood appropriately and in context. In this specific case,
      the contrast is between a general statement of typical valuation of a grapheme,
      _s_, and a more specific statement about its value in a particular historical and
      phonetic environment. Which is precisely the case with Tolkien's description
      of the value of _ll_ in the particular historical and phonetic environment
      where /-L-/ < /-lth-/ < *_-lt-_. And finally, I disagree fundamentally with
      your claim regarding the difference between living languages and Tolkien's
      art-languages, which were _intended_ by their creator to _appear_ to be and
      behave just as actual, historical languages do. As for App. E, the very words
      you quote undermine your claims: Tolkien writes of representing sounds
      with _fair_ accuracy, not complete accuracy; and to _avoid_ what he judged
      to be "uncouth" appearance. We know that he avoided _dh_ for this reason;
      and there is no reason to think he would not avoid _lh_, which looks extremely
      similar to _dh_, for precisely the same reason. CFH]

      Fourthly, it is not the only discrepancy between Sindarin in LR and in VT42.
      There are at least two other irreconcilable points:

      - former mp, nt, ñk are said here to give mf, nþ, ñx and later the long
      unvoiced nasals mh, nh, ñh in the southern dialects of Sindarin including what Men
      learnt. Yet in LR and the published S they rather seem to give mm, nn, ng. In
      the appendix C of his article "Reconstructing the Sindarin verb system",
      http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/sverb-rec.htm, Helge Fauskanger discusses this
      question - in a prescriptive approach, but it does not affect the relevance of
      examples. He notes that in LR Appendix E, it is said that "Grade 6 (21-24) should
      then have represented the voiceless nasals; but since such sounds were of very
      rare occurrence in the languages concerned...", which would not have been
      true of Sindarin as presented in VT:42.

      [Even if this really were a discrepancy with _LotR_, that has no bearing on the
      specific claim Tolkien's account of _ll_ must be revisionist. But in fact I see no
      _necessary_ discrepancy. First, the examples that Helge gives are mostly from
      the Noldorin of the _Etymologies_, which Tolkien was not describing in this
      late essay. Second, Helge's discussion takes no account of the possibility of
      analogical levelling in these forms, even though we know that analogy played
      a major role in Sindarin grammar. Third, those examples Helge gives from
      _The Lord of the Rings_ are only _assumed_ to have developed from the
      specific combinations Tolkien is discussing here, and only _assumed_ to
      belong to the specific dialects Tolkien is describing. These assumptions are
      made for the sake of argument, which is fair enough -- Helge himself points
      the uncertainties he is navigating with the _LotR_ forms; but you can't treat these
      assumptions as fact and then use them to "prove" that Tolkien was making a
      contradictory statement. In fact, when contradictions are arrived at, it is the
      _assumptions_ that must be discarded. CFH]

      - the correspondence Telerin _glania-_ / Sindarin _gleina-_ shows that in
      VT42 the development of a medial sequence VCiV in Sindarin is thought to be
      DiphthongCV with the diphthong arising from a mutated vowel + epenthetic i. This is
      not uncommon: compare Ancient Greed _bainô / Latin _veniô_ "I come" from an
      reconstructed prototype *gwmyô (gw == labiovelar), Latin _ratiône(m)_ / French
      _raison_ "reason", _gloria(m)_ / _gloire_ "glory" (the oi diphthong
      subsequently > oe > we > wa today). It certainly stands beyond Sindarin plural patterns
      like _aran_ "king", pl. _erain_. Yet in the Sindarin seen in LR and S it is
      seen finally, and not medially; otherwise we would get things like **Gilthoenel
      and not _Gilthoniel_, **peiran and not _perian_, **egleiro and not _eglerio_,
      all three well_known from LR; **geneidad and not _genediad_ (King's Letter,
      IX:126-9); **arnoeidad and not _arnoediad_ (where clearly oe==fronted o, not a
      diphthong) in S, etc. I remember only two similar cases, probably: _Einior_
      "Elder" XII:358, and _Eirien_ "Daisy" IX:129-31.

      [Again, whether or not this is a real discrepancy with _LotR_is irrelevant to the
      issue of the value of _ll_. But any claim of revisionism on the basis of this
      case founders utterly on the fact that the very essay in question also shows
      what you seem to think is the development required in terms of Sindarin
      as exhibited in _LotR_, as, for example, in S _seidia-_ < _satya-_ (VT42:20).
      Since both developments are exemplified within this essay, it cannot be said
      that Sindarin as Tolkien conceived of it when _LotR_ was published did not
      also have this alternation, but simply by circumstance happened only to
      use forms exhibiting the one but not the other. The proper scholarly response
      to this situation ought to be to examine what might account for the
      apparent variation of development (if indeed it is not only apparent)
      within Sindarin, not to simply dismiss the phenomenon as an inconsistency
      with what was previously, and wrongly, thought to be an established,
      "canonical" fact about Sindarin of _LotR_. CFH]

      All this inclines me to the opinion that Tolkien did change his mind about
      several points of his Sindarin in writing _The Rivers and Beacon-hills of
      Gondor_. It is even possible that he was beginning a throughout revision of the
      language - that he never had the time to complete.

      [I certainly do not dispute that Tolkien's conception of Sindarin changed
      between the time that _The Lord of the Rings_ was published in 1954-55 and
      the time that he wrote _The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor_ in 1969. But
      a) I see no _necessary_ change in the specific cases you highlight; and b)
      that is not the issue: the issue is whether his account of the two values of
      _ll_ in Elvish Sindarin in _LotR_ represents a revision, as David Salo claims
      and Helge suggests. I see no reason whatsoever to think it is, as Tolkien's
      specific statements regarding _ll_ are not in any way contradicted by the
      actual evidence in _The Lord of the Rings_. CFH]

      In the post n°551, December 8th, Carl Hostetter also observed:

      > While on the subject of long voiceless resonants, and more generally on the
      dialectal variations Tolkien describes in the passage quoted in my
      _Tengwestië_ article, I would like to point out that these developments and dialectal
      variations are clearly modelled on very similar themes in Welsh and Welsh
      dialectal variances.

      Certainly. I notice that by the changes I alluded to above, Sindarin
      evolution as seen in VT:42 seems to parallel Welsh's even more closely. Currently I
      have with me only notes from _Language and History in Early Britain_ by Kenneth
      Jackson, Edinburgh University Press, 1953, especially his chronology of
      phonetic changes in the three Brittonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) till the
      twelfth century, pp. 694 and following. Some are interesting with regard to
      the discussion:
      - the several waves of i-affection have differences between Welsh on the one
      hand, Cornish and Breton on the other hand
      - in Welsh mp, nt, nc > mh, nh, ngh medially (in Modern Welsh the h has
      disappeared in non-initial unstressed syllables), whereas Cornish and Breton
      preserve the stops
      - in Welsh specifically, lt > ll.

      Bertrand Bellet


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    • Carl F. Hostetter
      ... A further thought on this point: The correct value of _h_ in Quenya and _f_ in Sindarin can be readily discerned by the reader strictly on the basis of
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 9, 2003
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        On Dec 9, 2003, at 7:33 AM, Tchitrec@... wrote:

        > it is true that other graphemes have double values in Elvish
        > languages, such as H in Quenya or F in Sindarin, but those cases are
        > explained in Appendix E. Why would he not have done the same for LL if
        > needed?

        A further thought on this point: The correct value of _h_ in Quenya and
        _f_ in Sindarin can be readily discerned by the reader strictly on the
        basis of phonetic environment in the various forms involved. This is
        not the case with the multiple values of _ll_ and _d_, where the
        correct value can only be determined through a knowledge of the
        etymology of the forms exhibiting them. Since the reader of _The Lord
        of the Rings_ would have no ready means of knowing the etymologies of
        the forms involved, information regarding the dual values of _ll_ and
        _d_, unlike that for discerning the values of _h_ and _f_, would have
        been essentially useless for the target audience of App. E, the
        interested lay reader.


        --
        =============================================
        Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

        ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
        Ars longa, vita brevis.
        The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
        "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
        a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
      • Hans Georg Lundahl
        ... Also lh in Portuguese, like ll in Castilian, has the value of l mouillé. Hence it is unclear (as indeed any Latin spelling of any non-Latin sound, except
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 10, 2003
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          Carl wrote:

          > [...We know that he avoided _dh_ for this reason; and there is no reason to
          > think he would not avoid _lh_, which looks extremely similar to _dh_, for
          > precisely the same reason. CFH]

          Also lh in Portuguese, like ll in Castilian, has the value of l mouillé. Hence it is unclear (as indeed any Latin spelling of any non-Latin sound, except for those familiar with the conventions: sh is a Schin in English but an h in Gaelic, th Thorn or Edh in English but h in Gaelic, final a is Latin a in Castilian but Sch'wa in Catalan, sz is Schin in Polish but s in Hungarian - were Schin is spelled s! - and so on). No doubt Tolkien used Tengwar to circumvent the difficulty, and he specifically states that the Tengwa alda - ld in Quenya - is used for voiceless l (whatever be the Welsh name for that sound) in Sindarin.

          > [...These assumptions are made for the sake of argument, which is fair enough
          > -- Helge himself points the uncertainties he is navigating with the _LotR_ forms;
          > but you can't treat these assumptions as fact and then use them to "prove" that
          > Tolkien was making a contradictory statement. In fact, when contradictions are
          > arrived at, it is the _assumptions_ that must be discarded. CFH]

          A good point in _any_ branch of science, whether grammar (Tolkienian or non-Tolkienian) or astronomy or whatever.

          Hans Georg Lundahl


          Höstrusk och grå moln - köp en resa till solen på Yahoo! Resor

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David Kiltz
          ... Useless only as a way of indicating the correct pronunciation of every single word. But isn t it useful to the interested lay reader to know that they
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 10, 2003
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            On 10.12.2003, at 04:50, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

            > Since the reader of _The Lord of the Rings_ would have no ready
            > means of knowing the etymologies of the forms involved, information
            > regarding the dual values of _ll_ and _d_, unlike that for discerning the
            > values of _h_ and _f_, would have been essentially useless for the target
            > audience of App. E, the interested lay reader.

            Useless only as a way of indicating the correct pronunciation of every
            single word. But isn't it useful to the 'interested lay reader' to know
            that they _d_ and _ll_ etc. could have such value ? Or indeed simply the
            statement on etymology as such. Tolkien does furnish the
            reader with etymological details although they're not strictly
            necessary for pronouncing the words correctly.

            [Apparently, in Tolkien's judgement, no, the information was not
            useful _enough_ to be included. Quite reasonably so: with no way
            to determine the etymology of most Sindarin words in _ll_, so as
            to distinguish the correct pronunciation, what would the reader
            do with the information? In the event, the number of words in
            _LotR_ that seem at all likely to have the pronunciation /L:/ of _ll_
            are small; so the errors of pronunciation would likewise be small,
            small enough to satisfy Tolkien's stated goals of describing the
            pronunciation with "fair" (not scientific) accuracy, while avoiding
            what he judged to be spellings uncouth to his English readers. CFH]

            In fact, while Tolkien gives the reason for excluding _dh_ originally
            (a point on which he later changed his mind), he doesn't say anything
            about _ll_. The exclusion of _dh_, in my view, precisely doesn't
            parallel the writing _ll_ as _lh_ is indeed used in the Lord of the
            Rings.

            [You're entitled to your view, but in my opinion the visual parallel
            between uncouth _dh_ and _lh_ could hardly be more striking.
            And note that Tolkien did not merely "exclude" _dh_, he altered its
            _representation_ to _d_, which thus, like _ll_, represents two
            different values depending on etymology. CFH]

            Tolkien writes: In the transcription of Elvish Sindarin in _The Lord of
            the Rings_ _ll_ is used in the manner of modern Welsh for the medial
            voiceless _l_; as in _mallorn_ < _malhorn_ < _mal�orn_ < _malt_
            �gold� and _orn_ �tree�. So apparently we have the following scenario:
            S. _lh_ == _ll_ when < *_-lC-_.

            [No, that is not at all apparent, nor is that at all what Tolkien is saying.
            He is speaking specifically and _only_ of _-ll-_ < _-lh-_ < _-lth-_
            < *_-lt-_. Neither the etymological figure nor Tolkien's statement makes
            any claims whatsoever about the value of _ll_ developed from other
            combinations (e.g., *_-ld-_). This was _precisely_ the point of my article.
            CFH]

            Phonetically that is; they both represent a *short* voiceless _l_.

            [No. Tolkien states specifically that "Medially ... _lth_ (_l�_) became _long_
            voiceless ... _l_, though the old spelling [_lth_] was mostly retained (beside
            ... _lh_)" (emphasis mine), and that he used _ll_ in _The Lord of the Rings_
            to represent the sound arising from this specific source. Now, we don't know
            for certain -- because Tolkien doesn't say, nor does his statement prevent
            the possibility -- that the long voiceless /L:/ that developed from medial
            _-lth-_, and was spelt as both _lth_ and _lh_, didn't eventually shorten to
            simple /L/ by the Third Age, in which case _ll_ could indeed represent short
            /L/; but we would need other evidence to show or support this development.
            Nor, of course, does this conjecture of possible simplifcation beyond the
            stage of development that Tolkien describes have any bearing on the point
            of my article, or on the point of Tolkien's statement, which concerns the fact
            (previously unknown, and thus now disruptive of certain "canonical" notions,
            and therefore eagerly desired to be set aside) that _ll_ was used in _The Lord
            of the Rings_ to represent two different values, depending on etymology. CFH]

            So, the phonetic value (voiceless l) is represented in _The Lord of the
            Rings_ by both _lh_ and _ll_. Thus neither orthography can be considered
            uncouth (especially as _lh_ doesn't figure in English but didn't give
            rise to worry).

            Interestingly Tolkien says that he uses _ll_ *medially* as in Welsh.
            Briefly, the differentiation _-lh-_ and _-ll-_ could be an
            etymological one but would still not be exactly in the manner of Welsh,
            which uses _ll_ for a simple voiceless _l_ in all places.

            [That is because Tolkien is specifically describing a development that
            only occurs medially: _-lh-_ < _-lth-_ < *_-lt-_. He is not addressing
            at all the development of initial _lh-_ < initial *_sl-_. CFH]

            Or else, we take Tolkien's above cited statement [VT42:27] as meaning
            "...medial [long] voiceless _l_". In that case there is a good
            phonetic reason for the orthographic differentiation of _lh_ and
            _ll_. This would be in tune with Tolkien saying that: "Medially however
            _lth_ ... became long voiceless _l_ .... Still, the usage wouldn't
            exactly be in the manner of Welsh either.

            At any rate, if _ll_ in _The Lord of the Rings_ is to represent voiceless
            _l_ in the manner of Welsh (that is short) what about _nn_, _mm_, and
            ng ? (Modern Welsh only has one more voiceless resonant written _rh_ at
            all times although in Middle Welsh, _rr_ too occurs). Do they also at
            times represent voiceless sounds in the manner of... Tolkien (?)
            altough he never says so (the Elves, when not retaining the old
            orthography, that is _lth_ etc., wrote _lh, _nh_ etc.) ?

            Are we to assume that these doubly written consonants were at some
            point meant to primarily represent double consonants rather than
            voiceless ones?

            Whatever the answer, I don't think the 'revision' theory can be easily
            discounted.

            [I don't think the "revision theory" is a theory at all, as it does not explain
            all the available evidence. Again, precisely the point of my article. CFH]

            David Kiltz

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Kiltz
            ... Know the truth. [There are very many facts about his languages that Tolkien could have included in the Appendices had his purpose in writing them been to
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 11, 2003
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              On 10.12.2003, at 20:46, Carl Hostetter wrote:

              > with no way to determine the etymology of most Sindarin words in _ll_,
              > so as to distinguish the correct pronunciation, what would the reader
              > do with the information?

              Know the truth.

              [There are very many facts about his languages that Tolkien could have
              included in the Appendices had his purpose in writing them been to allow
              the reader to know every linguistic truth. But that was not his purpose;
              instead, his purpose was, as he stated in the Appendices, "to represent
              the original sounds (so far as they can be determined) with _fair_ accuracy,
              and at the same to produce words and names that do not look uncouth in
              modern letters" (emphasis mine). CFH]

              > [You're entitled to your view, but in my opinion the visual parallel
              > between uncouth _dh_ and _lh_ could hardly be more striking.
              > And note that Tolkien did not merely "exclude" _dh_, he altered its
              > _representation_ to _d_, which thus, like _ll_, represents two
              > different values depending on etymology.

              1) Let me get this straight: Was there no _#lh-_ in the first edition
              of the LotR?

              If there was, why wouldn't it be used medially ? That's my point.

              [I can think of only one instance: _Amon Lhaw_. This might be an isolated
              case where Tolkien forgot his own decision. On the other hand, how else
              could he have represented it? _Ll_ would be out of the question, because
              _in initial position_ _Ll_ would be even more uncouth and foreign to
              English readers than _Lh_ (or so feels this English reader). Tolkien could
              instead have used _L_, but for whatever reason did not. In the particular,
              rare (if not unique) case, Tolkien may have weighed the balance of accuracy
              and uncouthness in favor of _Lh_ because it was in initial position; medially,
              _lh_ would tend to be pronounced by English readers as _l_ + _h_ -- as,
              indeed, it is _sometimes_ to be pronounced; so again, one would have to
              know the underlying etymology in order to decide on the correct
              pronunciation; and thus it would be no improvement, in addition to
              being uncouth. CFH]

              2) Let's not play with words! By using _d_ instead of _dh_ the spelling
              _dh_ is excluded from the text. Your point about the double value is
              valid but note that I never doubted the fact that _ll_ is meant to
              represent two different values in strict accordance with Tolkien's
              statement cited in VT42.

              I wrote:

              > So apparently we have the following scenario:
              > S. _lh_ ==== _ll_ when < *_-lC-_

              That's a typo. It should of course read <*_lt_.

              Regarding the issue of whether _ll_ is single or double voiceless _l_,
              the big point, which you seem to miss, is that Tolkien does say that
              _ll_ represents short voiceless _l_. He implies it when saying (VT42:27):

              "In the transcription of Elvish Sindarin in _The Lord of the Rings_ _ll_
              is used in the manner of modern Welsh for the medial voiceless _l_;
              as in _mallorn_ < _malhorn_ < _malþorn_ < _malt_
              ‘gold’ and _orn_ ‘tree’."

              Clearly, there is no 'conjecture' as Welsh _ll_ represents short
              voiceless _l_ (1). Also Tolkien writes "... voiceless _l_" not
              **"...voiceless _ll_". So the passage you cite must refer to a
              transitional stage, not the one reflected in the LotR and its spelling.

              [I certainly recognize this as a possible _implication_ of what Tolkien
              writes, as I have already said; but I do not consider this an explicit
              statement or proof. To my mind, Tolkien may only be referring to an
              orthographic convention in Welsh, not intending thereby to make a
              precise claim as to phonetic length. Alternatively, he _may_ have had
              such in mind, but I don't see this as a _necessary_ implication of his
              wording. CFH]

              Thus, if we take what Tolkien himself says seriously, we have a double
              representation of one and the same sound (unless _#lh-_ doesn't figure
              in the original version of the LotR, which I don't know).

              [I do take Tolkien's words "seriously"; seriously enough to consider the
              context in which statements are made, and to distinguish possible
              implication from established fact. CFH]

              If _lh_ figures the reason for not using _lh_ medially is etymology not
              aesthetics.

              [I maintain that the reason Tolkien _ll_ instead of _lh_ _may_ have
              been for visual aesthetic reasons, as explained further above. CFH]

              (Or does initial _lh_ look less uncouth to English speaking eyes that
              medial _lh_ ? Seriously.).

              [Again, see above. And thank you for giving my article serious attention,
              and for sharing your thoughts on it, and giving me an opportunity to
              further consider, explore, and clarify my own thoughts on the matter. CFH]

              David Kiltz

              (1) In Modern Welsh, that is. In Middle Welsh _ll_ could represent both
              long voiced _l_ or short voiceless _l_.
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