Q _kiryassea_ adj?
- In _Parma Eldalamberon_ 14, p. 79 Tolkien writes that _kiryassea_ is an
adjectival form and translates it as "that is on board ship".
I can hardly understand "that" ;) since on page 47 we
read "_kiryassea_ 'what is on board ship'". So: That or what or both?
I'm a bit lost...
Could somebody construct an English sentence with "that/what is on
board ship" as an adjective? Looks more to me like a noun; what/that
is on board ship = the content of a ship = shipment ?
[While I agree that the wording of the gloss in the manuscript version
is a bit unusual, I would say that in both versions the gloss of _kiryassea_
is intended to convey that the adjective can be used to define and specify
a noun's location. Thus in Early Qenya we might say _n·Elda kiryassea_
'the Elf that is on board ship'. CFH]
- On 10.02.2004, at 13:39, Edouard Kloczko wrote:
> In _Parma Eldalamberon_ 14, p. 79 Tolkien writes that _kiryassea_ is an1) The construction 'what' vs 'that' seems to be resolvable if we take
> adjectival form and translates it as "that is on board ship".
> Could somebody construct an English sentence with "that/what is on
> board ship" as an adjective? Looks more to me like a noun; what/that
> is on board ship == the content of a ship == shipment ?
> [... I would say that in both versions the gloss of _kiryassea_is intended
> to convey that the adjective can be used to define and specify
> a noun's location. Thus in Early Qenya we might say _n·Elda kiryassea_
> 'the Elf that is on board ship'. CFH]
the 2nd ('that') to be a shortened relative clause. So both mean the
2) I think Carl's example sentence shows the usage of _kiryassea_. It
is clearly _kirya_ 'ship' + loc. _-sse_ + adj. marker _-a_. While such
constructions are usually, in European languages, rendered by relative
clauses, the Quenya word is nevertheless an adjective.
The sentence _n·Elda kiryassea_ may perhaps be more closely rendered
as 'the on-board-ship-y Elf'. (The Elf is on board ship...) or, as Carl's
example suggests with the copula not written: 'The Elf is one that is
on board ship'. 'The Elf is an on-board-ship-y one' The -y sentences
aren't grammatical in English but, I think, show the underlying
- Relative sentences specify the noun that they refer to, and so do
adjectives. The English word _what_, however, isn't a proper
relative pronoun in English, since it can only be used in relative
sentences that don't specify any (pro)noun. Examples:
Relative sentences that refer to a noun:
I see the barrel _that_ is on board ship.
I see a thing _that_ I like.
**I see the barrel _what_ is on board ship.
**I see a thing _what_ I like.
Relative sentences that don't refer to a noun
**I see (it) _that_ is on board ship.
**I see (it) _that_ I like.
I see _what_ is on board ship.
I see _what_ I like.
It seems to be a characteristic of the English language that
relative sentences (and adjectives) can't be used without the (pro)
noun they specify, since other languages, Latin for instance, use
the same word for both kinds of relative sentences:
Video (dolium) quod in naui est.
Video (negotium) quod me placet.
Based on Tolkien's use of the words _what_ and _that_, I'd guess he
intended at least the adjectives to be usable without a specified noun,
and maybe the relative sentences as well, just as in Latin.
j. 'mach' wust
- On 11.02.2004, at 13:38, machhezan wrote:
> Video (dolium) quod in naui est.j. wust is right in pointing out that "what is on board ship" and "that
> Video (negotium) quod me placet.
> Based on Tolkien's use of the words _what_ and _that_, I'd guess he
> intended at least the adjectives to be usable without a specified noun,
> and maybe the relative sentences as well, just as in Latin.
is on board ship" aren't identical. When I said "they are the same", I
meant to say "for the question of noun vs adjective".
Tolkien might well have intended to mark the differences pointed out by
j. wust, namely 'video quod in navi est' == *_cénan kiryassea_
vs 'video hominem qui in navi est' == *_cénan kiryassea nér_. Lit. == +
'video innavitum hominem' ('innavitum having, of course, been made up
I wonder, however, whether Tolkien didn't mean a) "what is on board
ship" in the sense of 'whatever, anything that is on board ship' and b)
by "that is on board ship" simply meant 'used restrictively,
specifying'; that is, as an adjective/relative clause.
I would lean towards this second interpretation, that is, that Tolkien
wrote "what is on board ship" to note that _kiryassea_ could be used in
reference to people, goods etc.
That is because I don't think a use as in *_cénan kiryassea_ == 'video
quod in navi est' without a specified noun is possible, as _kiryassea_
would, in that case, be a noun, not an adjective.
This latter situation seems to be part of what Edouard Kloczko was
- David Kiltz wrote:
> I wonder, however, whether Tolkien didn't mean a) "what isThis semantical difference corresponds exactly to the distributional
> on board ship" in the sense of 'whatever, anything that is
> on board ship' and b) by "that is on board ship" simply
> meant 'used restrictively, specifying'; that is, as an
> adjective/relative clause.
difference that (b) is always accompanied by the noun or pronoun it
specifies while (a) isn't ever, that is, (a) forms the head of a noun
phrase while (b) is only a specifier. However, that difference doesn't
correspond to any difference in spelling. I even believe that the
semantical difference isn't but a reflect of the distributional one,
that is, the more specific meaning of (b) is only a reflect of it's
use as a specifier.
> That is because I don't think a use as in *_cénanIs there any evidence that Quenya noun phrases can't be formed by
> kiryassea_ = 'video quod in navi est' without a specified
> noun is possible, as _kiryassea_ would, in that case, be a
> noun, not an adjective.
adjectives? If not, then I'd say that the confusion of "that is on
board" (b) and "what is on board" (a) indicates that Quenya adjectives
aren't only used as specifiers of noun phrases but also as their
heads, like e.g. in Latin or in German, not like in English.
j. 'mach' wust
- On 13.02.2004, at 01:25, machhezan wrote:
> This semantical difference corresponds exactly to the distributionalI agree. Of course _what_ is used that way and by virtue of its
function ('indefinitum') can refer to anything/everything. Still, my
point was that I think it was used by Tolkien not to say anything about
the use of _kiryassea_ as the head of a noun phrase (or as a noun,
formed by zero-derivation from an adjective). Rather, that it simply
indicated that _kiryassea_ can refer to any, well, semantic field, if
you will. That is, e.g. people, cattle, goods etc.. But see below.
> Is there any evidence that Quenya noun phrases can't be formed byWell, it depends on whether you want to keep the term 'adjective' even
> adjectives? <snip>
> That Quenya adjectives
> aren't only used as specifiers of noun phrases but also as their
> heads, like e.g. in Latin or in German, not like in English.
in a case like German "das Gute siegt" or "Evil evil mars" like Olssen
[1988: Das 'substantivierte' Adjektiv im Deutschen und Englischen. In:
FoL 22, S.337-372]. Where he describes 'das Gute' or 'Evil' as elliptic
(ellipsis of N). This follows cases such as German "zieh' das Grüne an"
'put on the green one (sc. dress)'. In the latter case, German indeed
differs from English in that 'das Grüne' can be the head of a NP.
However, a phrase like "das Gute siegt" is entirely different. 'Das
Gute' here needs no complement and there is no ellipsis. Rather, it
serves as an abstract (hence it is neuter, things like 'der Gute/die
Gute' would, again, be elliptic, as 'man/woman' aut sim. are to be
understood). So, I think it's right, as it's normally done, to treat
'das Gute' as a noun (which it syntactically and semantically is). In
such cases, of course, English works similarly, that is, it can use
adjectives as nouns (header of a NP) without formal derivation. Cf.
"Oft evil evil mars".
Cases like a) "das ist ein Guter (e.g. Kaffee)" vs b) "that's a good one"
(/coffee) are different. (That fact that Modern English can, in such
cases, use adjectives only as specifiers (i.e. has to insert some kind
of 'prop noun') is probably due to pragmatic reasons, i.e. because
English has lost grammatical gender distinction.)
Now for Quenya. I solely based my assessment on Tolkien's statement
that _kiryassea_ is an adjective. Case b ('an evil one') then might be
possible in Quenya if we take the word 'adjective' in a very broad
sense. Envisage a situation where you tell someone "do you see the Elf
over there? He's my friend." "Which one? I see two, one on the quay and
one on board ship". "_Kiryassea meldonya_ (sc. 'the one on board ship
is my friend'). If we take _kiryassea_ here to be the head, then I
would tend to say yes, it is permissible, because the term 'adjective'
could be extended to such a use, although _kiryassea_ is functionally a
noun here. Still, it's a conditioned function in ellipsis.
Now case a ('evil...') is what Edouard Kloczko touched upon
> (Looks more to me like a noun; what/thatCase a, I'd venture to say, is not possible in Quenya. For two reasons:
> is on board ship == the content of a ship == shipment ?)
1) _Kiryassea_ in that case would be truly a noun (unconditioned), and
hence, Tolkien wouldn't have called it an adjective (not without a
further remark, however).
2) As far as I know, there are no attestation of zero-derivation
conversion of adjectives to nouns in Quenya. Unless, you take words
like _Vala_ 'angelic Power' and _Vása_ 'the Consumer' as original
adjectives. But I think they are rather originally verbal 'has power',
'consumes'. (These forms are in themselves remarkable, being old
formations, they seem to be modelled after Valarin formations. That,
however, is another matter).
So, to sum up, I think adjectives (if taken in the broadest or, X-bar
sense) can be headers of a noun phrase (no evidence to the contrary is
known to me) but only in case b (of course, as they are no adjectives
in case a).
That, I hope, might also be an answer to E. Kloczko's first post. That
is, something like "salut mon cher" would be possible but something
like + "le cher" == 'what is dear/expensive == e.g. 'a precious stone', I
think is not.
Note that all these assertions are based on Tolkien's wording. Therefore
all statements regarding Quenya usage are (at times highly) putative.
Remarks on general grammatical phenomena are not, unless explicitly
marked as such.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- David Kiltz wrote:
> So, I think it's right, as it's normally done, to treat 'das Gute' as aI prefer morphology to semantics or syntax for the decision whether
> noun (which it syntactically and semantically is).
it's noun or adjective. Since there are cases like _Gutes mit Bösem
vergelten_ 'to repay good with evil' which show the adjectival endings
_-s_ and _-m_, I consider these words adjectives, in a "broad sense",
if you will, yet I prefer broad senses to petty discriminations (if I have
[I would consider these distinctions to be far from "petty". As linguists,
we should _always_ bear in mind that there is not a one-to-one
correspondence between form and function, only stronger or weaker
correlations. Indeed, the failure to recognize that Tolkien's languages
behave just like "real" languages in this regard contributes mightily to
the mistaken but all too common belief that they are far more artificial
than they are, and than Tolkien intended them to appear. CFH]
Of course, the meaning of _das Gute_ is highly abstract, I'd say this
word is a theological-philosophical term, perhaps even more than
the English word _the good_. It wouldn't surprise me if most languages
formed such abstract words by derivation.
However, I think we can neither exclude nor confirm the possibility that
certain adjectives could express abstract concepts by themselves, that is,
when they're not used as specifiers of another word. At least the two
mentioned occurences of _kiryassea_ don't provide any evidence for this
[We do however have an explicit statement from Tolkien regarding this
phenomenon in general in "Early Qenya": "Adjective may be freely used as
nouns; their declension then is, of course, identical with that of ordinary
nouns, according to the KALMA, SINQE, PILIN classes" (with some distinction
in the plural): PE14:77. From a much later period, we also see the apparent
adjectival form *_ñavëa_ used as a noun menaing 'consonant', in the plural
form _ñávëar_, VT39:8. CFH]
j. 'mach' wust
- Carl commented -
>Compare the (?late) Quenya example in XI:367 "... the adj.
> We do however have an explicit statement from Tolkien regarding
> this phenomenon in general in "Early Qenya": "Adjective[s] may be
> freely used as nouns..."
_onóna_ 'twin-born', also used as a noun 'one of a pair of
- At 11:44 PM 2/16/04 +0000, pkmarmor wrote:
>Carl commented -And _Apanónar_ "Afterborn," _Firyar_ "Mortals", _Fírimar_ "those apt to
> > We do however have an explicit statement from Tolkien regarding
> > this phenomenon in general in "Early Qenya": "Adjective[s] may be
> > freely used as nouns..."
>Compare the (?late) Quenya example in XI:367 "... the adj.
>_onóna_ 'twin-born', also used as a noun 'one of a pair of
die" WJ:387. Much earlier, _Engwar_ "the Sickly" LR:245.
+ Airesseo Kolvorno +
+ Jerome Colburn +
+ jcolburn@... +
"Do you not be happy with me as the translator of the books of you?" -- New
- --- Jerome Colburn identified more adjectives used as nouns.
Similarly _Vanya_ is "...from an adjectival derivative _*wanja*_
from the stem _*WAN_...", and _Linda_ is "clearly a derivative of
the primitive stem _*LIN_ (showing ... adjectival _-á_)"
Presumably _Sinda_ and the early clan names _Minyar_ 'Firsts',
_Tatyar_ 'Seconds', and _Nelyar_ 'Thirds' (XI:380, 421) are formed in
the same way.
- Another set of nominalized adjectives is, I think, the High-elven
names for the days of the week, from _Elenya_ to _Valanya_. If
they are thus in origin adjective attributes of an understood _ré_,
_Tárion_ (the alternative name for _Valanya_) would similarly be
a genitive attribute.