That idea, that a special dialect of Quenya was spoken in T.A., is in my
Tolkien never wrote "Third Age Quenya" in Appendix E (or F).
What he wrote is this :
"in the Third Age usually pronounced"
"according to the pronunciation of the Third Age."
That is something completely different from a "Third Age Quenya". Appendix E
says something about Quenya as spoken during that Age. The changes depicted
in Appendix E do not describe changes affecting Quenya in Third Age, but
deal with the pronunciation of Quenya during the Third Age (by Elves, Men or
The changes in the names of the _tengwar_ describe what happened before the
Exile of the Noldor, not after it. It is true that one change in the name of
the tengwar took place in Exile : "_hwesta sindarinwa_". _Sindarinwa_ is a
post-Exilic adjective. But Fëanor died soon after the Exile.
From the names of the _tengwar_ we know that in Q. :
1 ch/kh/x > h (harma > aha) ;
2 th > s (thúle/súle) ;
3 z > r (áze/áre) ;
4 w- > v- (wilya/vilya) ;
5 ñ- > n- (ñoldo/noldo ; ñwalme/nwalme).
These changes, except 5, can all be dated before the Exile.
Only _ñ-_ > _n-_ cannot be dated precisely (before or after the Exile) from our
1 Is said in VT nº 41 that the change of x- > h- belongs to all Eldarin
Tongues (p. 9) ; e.g. before even the Vanyar Noldor and the Teleri were
separated in Beleriand! So here we see that it took a heck of a time for the
Amanian Eldar to simply accept that the change took place in their writing
And Tolkien adds : "In Q. and T. medial /x/ eventually became h also in most
cases (ibid.). " When did it happene? Not in Exile apparently, but probably
when the Noldor and Teleri became closer allies in Eldamar.
2 _th_ > _s_ is clearly dated before the Exile see "Shibboleth of Fëanor" in
3 _z_ > _r_ happens also well before the Exile see "Quendi and Eldar".
Noldorin _Oarel_ (as opposed to Vanyarin_ Oazel_) is a word used and made up
before the Exile.
4 When did this happen? In Beleriand? I don't think so.
In XII:340 the word _wéra_ is labelled Old Quenya and _véra_ Quenya, not
Exilic or specifically Noldorin. The change _w-_ > _v-_, took place for the
Noldor and the Vanyar alike, before their separation in Aman.
Now there is _hr_ and _hl_.
"In (archaic) Quenya this is written hl, but was in the Third Age usually
pronounced as l." (Appendix E)
In the Third Age does not mean necessary that the pronunciation of _hl_ as _l_
began during the Third Age, but that is was the common one at that time; it
could have developed well before that among the Noldor.
For _hr_ we have : "It was written hr in Quenya." (Appendix E).
So _hr_ was still a voiceless _r_ in Quenya of the Exile. No changes.
Writing _r_ for _hr_ might be the same kind of "mistake" as a _númen_ for
_ñoldo_ or _silme_ instead of _thúle_. A very common mistake if you don't
know Elven etymology. :-)
About _óre_ as being a special letter for a special_r_ sound distinct from the
_r_ of _rómen_, I still disagree.
From what we gather in Elfin, or early Qenya, there was only one _r_ as a
"_mere_ variant of l" PE12:15 in Eldarin (e.g. Common Eldarin).
In the Rúmilian alphabet we have only one _sarat_ _r_ for use in Qenya. See
"Qenya usage" PE13:62 and 70-71.
So clearly up to the early 30's (as the external history of Quenya goes) we
have only one letter _r_ in Qenya, and so probably one sound too.
I beleive that sound of _r_ was "weak" in Common Eldarin. In etymological
writing the _tengwa_ _óre_ was used for it in Aman, just as _anna_ was used
for _gh_ or for any vanished sign (like in French ^ mostly standing for a lost Latin
_s_, but not always). Later the "weak" _r_ of CE developed into a trilled _r_ in
all Eldarin tongues.
Anway, the changes 1 to 5 (above) as belonging to "normal" Q(u)enya was a
very late idea of Tolkien (late according to the External history of Quenya, e.g.
in the 50's).
The _sarati_ for _th_, _ñ-_ and _w-_ or _z_ are absent from PE13:70. This
clearly means that at that time (in 20's and 30's) only the Lindar used
Qenya; the Noldoli/Noldor spoke Goldogrin/Kornoldorin (e.g. what later was
to be Sindarin), and so *_th_ > _s_ or *_w-_ > _v-_ were pre-historic changes
i.e. not recorded in writings, and so even if a _sarat_ for _z_ did exist it was
not used in Qenya as concieved at that time by Tolkien.
From the letter to D. Plotz we know that final Classical Quenya _-ai#_ > _æ:_ >
_-ê_ > _-e_.
When did this happen? In Beleriand? I don't think so.
There Tolkien explains that _-ê_ > _-e_ and also _-ô_ > _-o_ (except in
monosyllabic words) belongs to Spoken Quenya as opposed to Classical Quenya.
"Spoken Quenya" has a broad meaning and could hardly fit the short period of
time of the Quenya as "spoken" in Beleriand after the Exile, before it
ceased to be learned at birth because of Thingol's ban. SQ encompass the time
after the separation of the Vanyar and Noldor in Aman up to the time of the
Exile. Spoken Quenya is not the same as Exilic Quenya at all.
When did Thingol ban Quenya? According to the Grey Annals it was in the year
67 after the coming of the Noldor. I don't think that any major change could
have taken place in the Quenya language spoken by the Exiles in such a short
period on time and furthermore it was a period of War, hardly a good time.
And in Exile: "[Spoken Quenya] was preserved from further change since it
was learned anew from writing by each generation [of Noldor.] (Tolkien to
Dick Plotz, VT6:14).
Quenya as spoken by the Exiles and their Elf-children born in Me was probably
only a mater of "small accent" if compared to the Amanian Eldar. Exilic
Quenya innovated with some loan-words (like _Rú_) mostly.