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Re: [Lambengolmor] Re: porennin/suffixed _nin_

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  • 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 1 of 8 , Apr 5 2:18 AM
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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 2 of 8 , Apr 13 11:41 PM
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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 3 of 8 , Apr 16 8:55 PM
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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 4 of 8 , Apr 17 1:10 PM
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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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