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Re: [Lambengolmor] The value of _ll_ in Sinda rin - Comments on the _Tengwestië_ article

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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