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Re: [Lambengolmor] Re: porennin/suffixed _nin_

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  • David Kiltz
    ... I m not sure. Redundancy can, I think, only be claimed if you assume the root to be sufficient . If not, only determining the status of _-n_ would allow
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 4, 2004
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      On 04.04.2004, at 00:17, cgilson75 wrote:

      >> --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz wrote:
      >> A form like _ammen_ doesn't really seem to help much in this
      >> context as the status of the _-n_ in _men_ cannot, I think, be
      >> determined with a reasonable degree of certainty. Especially as
      >> _ammen_ cf. LR:291, 299] and [III:354] seems to correspond to _anim_
      >> [LR:1036] and not +_annin/ennin_.
      >
      > Though we may not be certain of the status of the _-n_ in _ammen_, we
      > can at least conclude that it is somehow redundant, since the
      > translated meaning 'for us' is conveyed by the components _am-_
      > ('for', if indeed this is parallel to _anim_ 'for myself' as David
      > suggests) and _-me-_ (1st person plural root 'we, us').

      I'm not sure. Redundancy can, I think, only be claimed if you assume
      the root to be 'sufficient'. If not, only determining the status of
      _-n_ would allow us to speak of redundancy. In _an-im_, we seem to have
      _an_ construed with a nominative or casus rectus _im_. Whereas in
      _enni_ (if < _an-ni_) we seem to have an oblique form combining with
      _an-_.

      Alternatively, both _im_ and _ni_ may mean 'I' (nominative), the first
      being an emphatic form. (For _im_ cf. [LR1:402 and III:354]). _Nin_ on
      the other hand seems to be the 1st sg. accusative pronoun in Sindarin.
      At least, in my view, Tolkien's translation of Sam's invocation
      [LR2:425/399] in [R:72/64] seems to favour such an interpretation.
      Hence I would tend to view _ammen_ as having no redundant markings as
      _men_ is most likely: 1) Casus rectus (nominative) or 2) Casus obliquus
      (accusative), i.e. has no beneficiary connotation. In that, _nin_ seems
      to contrast Quenya where _nin_ is clearly 'for me' [R:67].
      To recap: S. _nin_ contrasts with _anim_ 'for me' (beneficiary) and
      _enni_ 'me/to me' (indirect object). It is thus most likely a direct
      object, i.e. accusative of the 1st sg. pronoun.

      By contrast, an abstracted _men_, while apparently exhibiting an ending
      _-n_, combines with _an-_ and thus parallels _im_ (and probably _-ni_).
      Hence, it is not implausible to see in _men_ the 1st plural nominative.
      Alternatively, it may stand for the accusative. In both cases, when
      combined with _an-_, there is no redundancy as _an-_ adds the
      beneficiary notion which _men_ alone, probably doesn't convey.

      > Probably the _-n_ marks plural number or dative case. But either way
      > it undermines the rejection of *_an-ni-n_ solely on the grounds of a
      > presumed avoidance of double markers.

      See above why I think there is no evidence for a dative case scenario
      (in Sindarin!).

      The idea that _-n_ denotes plurality looks very good (to me). That
      would not, however, undermine the conclusion that _ammen_ doesn't
      contain double markers, *as referring to case/or rather the notion of
      'beneficiary'. Number marking is something totally different.
      Indeed, I wrote:

      >> In fact, it is precisely because we have _anim_, _enni_, and _nin_
      > but *not* X-nin that I'm doubtful. Such a form is not, of course, a
      > priori to be declared impossible but _enni_ apparently <_*an-ni_ (?)
      > and _nin_ ==== _*n-in_ or _ni-n_ don't show double markers (i.e. en (an)
      > + n-/-n).

      Granted, this statement might not have been totally clear. What I meant
      was 'double marking of case'. Again, I'm not saying it's impossible, it
      just doesn't seem to be attested as such.

      > And even if the etymological
      > form of 'for me' were *_anni_, the existence of forms _nin_ '(towards)
      > me' and _ammen_ 'for us' would be ample basis for an analogical
      > reshaped *_annin_.

      I don't think *_anni_ means 'for me' but 'to me'. The meaning of _nIn_
      is crucial here. I think it may be interpreted as accusative sg. or
      (towards) me. Note, however, that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."
      [loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ == 'look towards (watch over), _nin_ == 'me'. It
      seems hard to drag over the 'towards' to _nin_. The only semantic
      parallel construction to _ammen_ is _anim_.

      > Not that I actually believe that _-nin_ is a 1st person singular
      > pronoun in _porennin_ and _porannin_, only that we cannot rule this
      > out because of what else we know about Sindarin pronouns.

      I agree. Although I differ in my assessment of the attested forms. It
      remains that preposition X + _nin_ would be a hapax legomenon, in an
      opaque phrase.

      I wrote:

      >> If _porannin_ is to be taken as a variant (developed in the process
      > of writing) of _porennin_ and, furthermore, _nithrad_ means 'entry',
      > we have a sort of chiasm here:
      >
      >> _Annon porennin ... porannin nithrad._

      To which Christopher responded:

      > I would note that, whatever the external history of the development of
      > _porennin_ and _porannin_, the fact that Tolkien allowed the
      > distinction between them to stand here suggests that the difference
      > must stand for something. If we could argue that one is plural and
      > the other is singular, it might be convenient for my theory that
      > _nithrad_ ==== _ni_ + _(a)thrad_. Thus _Annon porennin_ ==== 'Gate (of)
      > those skilled at hand' and _porannin nithrad_ ==== something like '(I)
      > skilled at hand let me pass' or 'skilled at hand I (will) pass'.

      That's a very interesting thought. Clearly, assuming a misspelling
      isn't very elegant.

      However, as this version was discarded, how likely do you think would
      such a 'variant' spelling be ?

      > Another possibility is that one (or both) of these words is the 1st
      > person singular verb, since they end in _-in_. The beginning _po-_
      > might be an adverbial prefix like those in Noldorin _tre-vedi_
      > 'traverse' (Etym. BAT- 'tread') or _ath-rado_ 'to cross, traverse'
      > (Etym. RAT- 'walk'). It could be related to the preposition _bo_ 'on'
      > in the Sindarin Lord's Prayer. A verb *_po-rado_ or *_po-redi_ could
      > conceivably have a meaning either 'approach' or 'advance' developed
      > from an original sense 'walk on, go on'.

      Again, I think that is a very interesting idea. What would the 3rd sg.
      be? *_porant_ as paralleling _echant_ (<ET-KAT)? That would nicely fit
      the assimilation described by Tolkien in [VT42:27] "In the Southern
      dialects _nt, ñk, mp_ remained when standing finally - or more probably
      the spirant was re-stopped in this position; (...). Medially however,
      _nth_ (...) became long voiceless _n_ (...)." The interpretation as
      both _pora/ennin_ and _nithrad_ as 1st pers. sg. would be mutually
      exclusive however, don't you think ?

      -David Kiltz
    • Beregond. Anders Stenstr�m
      ... While I agree with the last statement, I do not think it follows that _nin_ is accusative in _tiro nin_. Is there not a benefactive notion in watch over ?
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 4, 2004
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        David Kiltz skrev:

        > The meaning of _nIn_ is crucial here. I think it may be
        > interpreted as accusative sg. or (towards) me. Note, however,
        > that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."[loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ == 'look
        > towards (watch over), _nin_ == 'me'. It seems hard to drag over
        > the 'towards' to _nin_.

        While I agree with the last statement, I do not think it follows
        that _nin_ is accusative in _tiro nin_. Is there not a benefactive
        notion in 'watch over'? And could not, at least in some languages,
        a direction verb 'look towards' easily govern dative -- I think
        _entgegenblicken_ does?

        Meneg suilaid,

        Beregond
      • David Kiltz
        ... No, I too think it is not 100% safe to take _nin_ here as an accusative. However, given that we can identify _enni_ as dative and _anim_ as for me
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 5, 2004
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          On 04.04.2004, at 18:07, Beregond. Anders Stenström wrote:

          > David Kiltz skrev:
          >
          >> Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."[loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ ==== 'look
          >> towards (watch over), _nin_ ==== 'me'. It seems hard to drag over
          >> the 'towards' to _nin_.
          >
          > While I agree with the last statement, I do not think it follows
          > that _nin_ is accusative in _tiro nin_. Is there not a benefactive
          > notion in 'watch over'?

          No, I too think it is not 100% safe to take _nin_ here as an
          accusative. However, given that we can identify _enni_ as dative and
          _anim_ as 'for me' (benefactive), taking formally distinct _nin_ as
          denoting something different, doesn't seem unnatural. Rather, it
          looks like the most likely scenario.

          As for the 'benefactive': I use the term in a more restricted,
          syntactical way, not in its broadest semantical way. Naturally, such
          things as 'I praise, support, guard him' do carry a 'beneficiary'
          notion. That's not what I mean by it. 'Benefactive' means that in a
          sentence, a 3rd or 4th 'object' is involved, which does not function as
          direct of indirect object proper. In English, such objects are usually
          marked by 'for': Peter (subject) gives Mary (indirect object) a book
          (direct object) for John (beneficiary/indirect object). In classical
          grammar it's called 'dativus commodi'.

          So in a sentence like:

          1) I wrote him a letter, I would speak of 'addressee' function, or
          indirect object proper, whereas in a sentence

          2) I killed him an animal (i.e. I killed an animal for him) I'd speak
          of 'beneficiary' function.

          > And could not, at least in some languages,
          > a direction verb 'look towards' easily govern dative -- I think
          > _entgegenblicken_ does?

          Maybe. But compound verbs (preverb/preposition + primary verb) have
          always to be treated with caution when it comes to governing. It would
          seem that S. _tir-_ means 'to guard, watch' [Etym sub TIR-] cf. also
          _minas tirith_ 'tower of guard' [LR:passim]. An indirect object proper
          would require a direct object, I think. But yes, it may stand for a
          kind of 'prepositional' object in other languages but I cannot right
          now think of an example. Considering what we have in other languages,
          a direct object would seem more natural.

          Also, at least in Quenya, _tir-_ governs the accusative, cf. _man
          tiruva rákina kirya_ [MC:222].

          Conversely (I know you're not saying that but) If indeed, _nin_ would
          be a beneficiary in the phrase _a tiro nin Fanuilos_, I think an
          obligatory direct object would be missing.

          -David Kiltz
        • cgilson75
          ... By redundant I was referring to a distinctive form or formal feature that the language could theoretically do without because there is no context in
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 13, 2004
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            --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:
            > On 04.04.2004, at 00:17, cgilson75 wrote:
            >
            > > Though we may not be certain of the status of the _-n_ in
            > > _ammen_, we can at least conclude that it is somehow redundant,
            > > since the translated meaning 'for us' is conveyed by the components
            > > _am-_ ('for', if indeed this is parallel to _anim_ 'for myself' as David
            > > suggests) and _-me-_ (1st person plural root 'we, us').
            >
            > I'm not sure. Redundancy can, I think, only be claimed if you assume
            > the root to be 'sufficient'. If not, only determining the status of
            > _-n_ would allow us to speak of redundancy. In _an-im_, we seem to have
            > _an_ construed with a nominative or casus rectus _im_. Whereas in
            > _enni_ (if < _an-ni_) we seem to have an oblique form combining with
            > _an-_.

            By "redundant" I was referring to a distinctive form or formal feature
            that the language could theoretically do without because there is no
            context in which that distinction alone serves to convey a difference
            in meaning. An example of what I am talking about is the distinction
            in English between _we_ and _us_. This does convey a difference in
            meaning when taken out of context, but in any syntactic construction
            where either form is used the difference is also conveyed by word
            order -- thus _the man saw us_ vs. _we saw the man_. In fact in
            modern English the case distinctions among pronominal forms are
            largely superfluous, though naturally very useful, as can be
            illustrated by an example of nearly identical contexts: _mother gave
            me socks_ vs. _mother gave my socks_ (to someone, away, etc.)

            There is also a degree of redundancy for certain preposition + pronoun
            combinations, like _to me_ and _for me_. Thus in _he bought the book
            for me_ vs. _he gave the book to me_ the difference in force between
            'for' and 'to' is already sufficiently conveyed by the difference in
            verbs, such that either can be expressed by the so-called "indirect
            object" construction: _he bought me the book_, _he gave me the book_.
            The alternative **_he bought the book to me_ is ungrammatical in
            English, while _he gave the book for me_ (meaning 'on my behalf')
            would normally have an additional context like 'to someone else'
            either expressed or implied, and this use of _for me_ cannot be
            conveyed by the indirect object in English.

            Given that Sindarin is a language that, within the mythology, human
            beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
            reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie the
            interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its syntax,
            though our insights must depend largely on a much better understanding
            of the inner workings of our own native languages. Indeed such an
            hypothesis is evident (sometimes explicitly but usually implicitly) in most
            discussions of Elvish. Ironically, the very analytical or pattern-seeking
            process, by which we can extrapolate information from a limited corpus
            of data, inherently favors theories that involve fewer redundancies and
            ambiguities over theories that involve more. Not that I see any way
            to avoid this pitfall other than to be aware of it when attempting to
            draw inferences about likelihood.

            While Sindarin retains a more extensive inflexional component than
            English, at a morpheme level the situation of its pronouns seems to be
            similar. In so far as we can tell, the forms _im_ in _anim_ and _im
            Narvi_, _nin_ in _tiro nin_, and _ni_ in _bêd enni_ are in
            complementary distribution. And in this sense the final consonant of
            _nin_ would be redundant, unless there is a contrasting construction
            *_tiro ni_ which means something different from 'guard me!' (Which of
            course there might be...)

            But all this really implies is that the differences among these forms
            are relicts of an earlier stage of the language where they may have
            had more extensive paradigmatic parallels or occurred in contexts
            where they contrasted minimally with each other. Such residual formal
            distinctions could very well retain a correlation with the basic
            syntactic roles they had at an earlier stage, though the fact that the
            system is essentially redundant (or largely so -- the evidence is
            admittedly sketchy) would render it easily susceptible to analogical
            shifts.

            Nothing David proposes is incompatible with these observations. But
            neither do the data seem incompatible with (or even unfavorable to)
            the possibility that _nin_ 'me' could combine with a preposition. The
            form _im_ can be used both with and without preposition, and perhaps
            _ni_ also if it occurs in the sentence (a "password") _Gir..
            edlothiand na ngalad melon i ni [?sevo] ni [?edran]_ (VIII:293).

            > Alternatively, both _im_ and _ni_ may mean 'I' (nominative), the first
            > being an emphatic form. (For _im_ cf. [LR1:402 and III:354]). _Nin_ on
            > the other hand seems to be the 1st sg. accusative pronoun in Sindarin.
            > [...]
            > _men_ is most likely: 1) Casus rectus (nominative) or 2) Casus obliquus
            > (accusative), i.e. has no beneficiary connotation. In that, _nin_ seems
            > to contrast Quenya where _nin_ is clearly 'for me' [R:67].
            > [...]

            In contrast with _ammen_ ('for us' VI:413, 'of us' VII:175) part of
            the context of the form _anim_ ('for myself' Appendix A I (v)) is its
            co-reference with the subject ('I' in _ú-chebin_ 'I have kept
            no'). In the other two occurrences of the pronoun _im_ it accompanies
            the name of the subject (_im Narvi hain echant_; _le linnon im
            Lúthien_ III:354). In English the subject can be emphasized this way
            using the nominative, as in "I, Christopher, made them", or the
            reflexive pronoun can be used (in essence meaning 'by oneself'), as
            "John himself bought the book" or "I myself, Christopher, sing this
            song".

            So there are two possibilities, either (1) _im_ is nominative, used
            emphatically with a named subject and combining with a preposition to
            indicate the object is the same as the subject, or (2) _im_ is
            specifically reflexive, combinable with a preposition to indicate
            reflexive object and usable with the subject for emphasis. Whichever
            theory one picks there is little to suggest that _-men_ 'us' in
            _ammen_ is the same case as _im_. In its sentences the subjects are
            _naur_ 'fire' and _annon_ 'gate', unconnected with 'us'. So _ammen_
            is neither reflexive nor nominative, judging by the contexts and the
            translations. This leaves "objective'"cases.

            Between the pronouns in _tiro nin_ 'look towards me, guard me' and
            _guren bêd enni_ 'my heart tells me', it is difficult to say which
            is semantically closer to _-men_ in _edraith ammen_ 'saving of us' and
            _edro hi ammen_ 'open now for us'. We also have _ammen_ 'us' as
            indirect object of _anno_ 'give!' and _díheno_ 'forgive!' and even
            in the sense 'against us' in _gerir úgerth ammen_ '(who) trespass
            against us', all in the Sindarin Lord's Prayer (VT44:21).
            Considering the semantic range of _ammen_ and especially how close
            _anno ammen_ comes to _bêd enni_ (both would use 'to' in English if
            the indirect object were expanded to a prepositional phrase), it seems
            quite reasonable to suggest that we could say *_anno enni_ 'give me!'
            and *_bedir ammen_ '(our hearts) tell us'.

            Alternatively, we may consider that _enni_ and _ammen_, though
            etymologically connected by the historical derivation of _en-_ < _an-_
            by affection, actually have different syntax, with the historically
            later _ammen_ using a distinct case of the pronoun. If so, I would be
            inclined to tie together two ideas suggested by David as
            possibilities:

            > By contrast, an abstracted _men_, while apparently exhibiting an ending
            > _-n_, combines with _an-_ and thus parallels _im_ (and probably _-ni_).
            > [...]
            > Alternatively, it may stand for the accusative. In both cases, when
            > combined with _an-_, there is no redundancy as _an-_ adds the
            > beneficiary notion which _men_ alone, probably doesn't convey. [...]

            > I don't think *_anni_ means 'for me' but 'to me'. The meaning of _nIn_
            > is crucial here. I think it may be interpreted as accusative sg. or
            > (towards) me. Note, however, that Tolkien glosses "...tiro nin..."
            > [loc. cit.] as '_tiro_ == 'look towards (watch over), _nin_ == 'me'.

            If we assume that _nin_ 'me' is syntactically detached from its
            (perhaps etymological) dative, allative, or benefactive sense in the
            context of _tiro_ 'look towards, watch over, guard' and is simply the
            "accusative" form of the pronoun used as the direct object of a verb;
            and if we assume that the dative, benefactive, or even adversative
            sense of _ammen_ is conveyed by the semantic range of the preposition
            _an-/am-_ and the attached pronoun is simply marked as the object,
            using this same "accusative" case-form -- then we could by implication
            say *_anno annin_ 'give me!'

            This is comparable to the situation in English where the same forms
            (me, us, him, etc.) are used for both direct object of a verb and
            object of a preposition. There is even an exceptional idiom (like
            _enni_ would have to be under this theory), which uses a different
            case of the pronoun. This is the possessive construction with the
            preposition _of_, as in _I read that book of his_, which contrasts
            with a usage like _I was speaking of him_. This is I think the only
            relict in English of the older situation where different prepositions
            may govern distinct cases -- a situation familiar in more highly
            inflected languages, such as Latin (e.g. _ad infinitum_ vs. _de
            facto_) or Quenya (e.g. _mí oromardi_ vs. _et Earello_).


            -- Christopher Gilson
          • cgilson75
            The following (edited?) paragraph was included in a post from me ... beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems reasonable to
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 16, 2004
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              The following (edited?) paragraph was included in a post from me
              (#656):

              >Given that Sindarin is a language that, in the mythology, human
              beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
              reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie
              the interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its
              syntax, though our insights must depend largely on a much better
              understanding of the inner workings of our own native languages.

              The paragraph I actually intended to be posted began as follows:

              > Given that Sindarin is a language human beings are capable of
              learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems reasonable to hypothesize
              that [...]

              The difference is subtle, but I think important to the point I was
              trying to make. So I would like to offer some clarifation and
              further thoughts on the matter.

              Tolkien invented a language which he (eventually) called Sindarin.
              Certain things are (demonstrably) true about the language either from
              assertions made by Tolkien, or logical inferences from those
              assertions. There are also (of course) a virtually limitless number
              of things that are untrue about Sindarin and a (large?) grey area of
              those that might be true, some perhaps in mutually exclusive sets and
              some either more or less likely than each other.

              Tolkien used Sindarin as a part of the background detail in his
              fictional stories. In a sense these constitute a sort of extended
              "thought experiment" involving a premise: If the invented language
              were actually spoken by people, what would that be like? As a
              consequence of this the demonstrable facts about Sindarin fall into
              two categories. (1) Some are 'circumstantially' true about the
              language as used in the fictional world of the story, e.g. there is a
              person whose name is _Legolas_ which means 'green-leaves' in Sindarin.
              (2) Others are facts about Sindarin per se, e.g. that _laeg_ is a
              word for 'green', and _lass_ for 'leaf' (Letter #211).

              Of course these categories are intimately connected, since all of the
              non-circumstantial facts about Sindarin per se are by implication true
              of it as the fictional "language" spoken by people in Tolkien's
              stories. But this is only *by implication*, and certainly nothing
              prevented Tolkien from devising *circumstantial* facts about Sindarin
              as a langage that were not supposed to be realized in the fictional
              world. For instance the fact that the beginning of the Lord's Prayer
              has been translated into Sindarin as _Ae adar nín i vi Menel_ is
              not necessarily true within Tolkien's mythology. And Tolkien's own
              recorded pronunciations of Sindarin words and names are facts about
              the invented language but not facts inside the fiction.

              For these and other various reasons I prefer to discuss Sindarin
              primarily as an invented language, and only allude to its use as
              background in the stories where the circumstances of that usage are
              relevant to the argument. Consequently my original assertion (or
              rather really a hypothetical stipulation) "that Sindarin is a language
              human beings are capable of learning to speak" was intended to be
              about Sindarin per se.

              This did not seem *to me* to be in any way controversial -- Tolkien is
              a human being and he invented Sindarin, and he gave a great deal of
              care toward the verisimilitude of the language by closely modeling the
              components of the phonology, morpohology, syntax and much of the
              semantics on actual languages of human beings. In other words
              Sindarin contains an abundance of features in each of its linguistic
              components that human beings are capable of (and in many cases have
              already) learned.

              All of this has been long known and thoroughly discussed. The only
              possible way in which Sindarin could be beyond the mental or physical
              capabilities of human beings to learn would be if Tolkien imagined
              some difference between human beings and his imaginary elves that was
              essential to the ability to learn to speak the language. Appendix F
              shows that he imagined no such thing -- hence my reference to it.

              Possibly there was some confusion between the human *capability* to
              learn Sindarin and the existence of sufficient evidence about the
              details of Sindarin to provide an *opportunity* for present-day humans
              to learn to speak Sindarin. Two very different matters, about the
              latter of which I haven't seen any convincing linguistic argument one
              way or the other, and so offered no opinion.


              -- Christopher Gilson


              [Chris and I clearly have differing opinions about how such a claim as
              "Sindarin is a language that human beings are capable of learning to
              speak" is likely to be interpreted without further clarification. In a time
              and medium where the false notion that Quenya and Sindarin are
              languages that people can learn to speak, like French or Spanish, is
              rampant, I feel it is important to avoid anything that might be used by
              others to give credence to the notion. Moreover, if we can take a
              statement by Tolkien about the capability of (certain) humans in the
              mythology to speak Sindarin as implying that it was his intention that
              we non-mythological humans could do so as well (if, as you further
              note, given the opportunity) -- as indeed I think we can, although it
              is to be noted that Tolkien also tells us that there are characteristic
              mistakes that Men make, and that the Sindarin as spoken by Men did
              differ in some respects from that spoken by the Elves* -- without the
              need even to acknowledge the existence of the underlying assumption,
              then I don't see how conveying the fact that the reference to Appendix
              F is to specifically to Tolkien stating that Sindarin was known and spoken
              by (certain) Men within the mythology detracts in any way from an
              argument based on the cognitive and linguistic faculties and capacties of
              humans in general: even left unspecified, the underlying assumption that
              the Men of Middle-earth were in all respects pertaining to the cognitive
              and linguistic faculties and capacties equivalent to us remains. CFH]

              [*Nor are we necessarily to assume that Tolkien saw linguistic capacities
              as the same across a race, at least not within the mythology. In one text
              (XI:26) we are given a good indication to the contrary: "the Noldor learned
              the Sindarin tongue far more readily than the Sindar could learn the
              ancient speech".]
            • jonathan_avidan
              ... It is also of importance to indicate that Tolkien did have an opinion on the human ability to learn the Elvish tongues -within- his invented world. A good
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 17, 2004
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                --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, "cgilson75" <cgilson75@h...> wrote:

                > Given that Sindarin is a language that, in the mythology, human
                > beings are capable of learning to speak (see Appendix F), it seems
                > reasonable to hypothesize that similar cognitive strategies underlie
                > the interplay of redundancy and ambiguity that seems evident in its
                > syntax, though our insights must depend largely on a much better
                > understanding of the inner workings of our own native languages.

                It is also of importance to indicate that Tolkien did have an
                opinion on the human ability to learn the Elvish tongues -within-
                his invented world. A good example from _The Lord of the Rings_ would
                be the Gondorians: we are told throughout the story and in the
                appendices that they spoke Sindarin (<< Noldorin). The famous example
                is the name _Rochand_ which in their speech became _Rohan_.

                Now, if we hypothize that they could only speak Elvish as a second
                language, we learn that their pronunciation (and supposedly also
                parts of grammar) were affected by their own speech (in the
                aforementioned example - the lack of /x/ in their speech lead to the
                shift of S. /ch/ > /h/).

                However, if we hypothize that Sindarin was a living language amongst
                Men in Gondor, we inevitably learn that the rules of nature applied
                once more and in time, Sindarin began to change ceaselessly among
                Men and in time would become a different dialect and later a
                different language.

                Therefore, we must conclude that only the Sindar (and the Noldor of
                Middle Earth) could speak what is to be, internally, considered
                as "true" Sindarin for they would only change the language according
                to their taste and love for sounds and it would forever remain their
                own, while Men would change it to be theirs.

                Jonathan Avidan

                [It is indeed clear that the Men of Gondor spoke a dialect of Sindarin,
                with distinct phonological and lexical developments. See, for example,
                Tolkien's essay on _The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor_ (_VT_ 42).
                However, I don't think this is really the sort of "ability to learn
                languages" that Chris has in mind, which instead goes to more
                fundamental typological and cross-language features, such as the
                presence and role of formally redundant markers that are nonetheless
                quite happily tolerated in many human languages. CFH]
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