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_Certh_

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  • David Kiltz
    Didier Willis diligent effort has given us the Hisweloke s Sindarin dictionary (chapeau). As the editor invites comments, I d like to sound off on the entry
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 26, 2004
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      Didier Willis' diligent effort has given us the 'Hisweloke's Sindarin
      dictionary' (chapeau). As the editor invites comments, I'd like to
      sound off on the entry _certh_.

      Version 0.98 has the entry (pronunciation omitted here):

      certh* pl. cirth* n. rune WJ/396, LotR/E
      Irreg. OS *kirtha, CE *kirtê "cutting" (KIR)

      I wonder where OS _*kirtha_ is taken from. In XI:396 Tolkien clearly
      says: "The Sindarin _certh_ is probably from _*kirtê_ 'cutting', a
      verbal derivative of a type not used in Quenya, the form of which
      would in any case have been _*kirte_ if inherited."

      So, there is _*kirtê_, pl. _*kirtî_ which, from what we know, would
      regularly develop into Sindarin as *_cirth_, pl. _cirth_. Most likely,
      in my view, _certh_ was created as an analogical singular following the
      e/i pattern so abundantly attested in Sindarin. Cf. also, e.g., the
      Etym. s.v. PHILIK- ("N _filig_ pl., analogical singular _fileg_") for
      a similar process.

      In any way, positing an 'irregular' _*kirtha_ doesn't seem to make
      sense, as Tolkien suggests there never was such a form. If, then,
      _certh_ is not the soundlaw-wise forward developed singular, one
      shouldn't reconstruct a form _kirtha_. It is very implausible that a sg.
      _*kirtâ_ was formed in analogy to _kirtî_, since the motivation for
      such a form isn't there (_*kirtê_ vs _*kirtî_ are sufficiently distinct).
      So, I think, both the reconstruction _**kirtha_ and (even more) the word
      'irreg.' are misleading. The form _certh_ is, if anything, analogical.
      It would go back 'virtually' to _*kirtha_ but that form, again, to all
      probability never existed.

      Secondly, I would like to ask, what CE _*kirtê_ is supposed to mean. Is
      CE here 'Common Elvish' or 'Common Eldarin' ? Both would be hard
      to maintain. Perhaps it is the archaic form of the word _*kirtê_ that
      lets the author(s) use the epithet 'CE'. However, Tolkien says that it
      is a verbal derivative not used in Quenya. Now, it might be that
      _*kirtê_ is indeed either Common Eldarin or Common Elvish, that is, a
      form ancestral both to Quenya and Sindarin. That would then mean that
      Quenya subsequently lost all instances of such formations (which, for
      anybody dealing with historical linguistics wouldn't seem likely).

      Alternatively, we have to read Tolkien's statement as meaning that such
      verbal derivatives were only formed in other branches of Eldarin, most
      notably, for our case, Telerin and hence Sindarin. If the latter is the
      case, 'PS' for 'Pre-Sindarin' would, in my opinion, have been a better
      denomination, because it implies old age, yet doesn't put the form into
      CE.

      If CE here is used in the same manner as e.g. 'Common Slavic' vs
      'Proto-Slavic' by Birnbaum [Common Slavic. Progress and Problems in its
      Reconstruction. Ann Arbor 1975] it might well be that _*kirtê_ goes
      back to that period. However, as it seems very much to be an
      not-all-encompassing formation, the denomination CE is wrong. In
      other words, normally, it is only justified to speak of CE (either
      Common Eldarin or Common Elvish) forms or formations, if they're
      indeed ancestral to all subdivisions.

      -David Kiltz

      [It seems to me that the proper label for _*kirtê_ is probably
      "Common Telerin", a term that also has the benefit of being
      used by Tolkien himself. In "Quendi and Eldar" he writes: "The
      derivatives of *KWEN were more sparingly represented in the
      Telerin dialects, of Aman or Beleriand. This was in part due
      to the Common Telerin change of _kw_ > _p_" (XI:375). -- PHW]
    • David Kiltz
      ... Quite possibly. I used Pre-Sindarin as the most cautious denomination, as I feel that this is what we can confidently say about the form. As a dictionary
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 5, 2004
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        On 26.06.2004, at 10:07, Patrick Wynne wrote:

        > It seems to me that the proper label for _*kirtê_ is probably
        > "Common Telerin", a term that also has the benefit of being
        > used by Tolkien himself. In "Quendi and Eldar" he writes: "The
        > derivatives of *KWEN were more sparingly represented in the
        > Telerin dialects, of Aman or Beleriand. This was in part due
        > to the Common Telerin change of _kw_ > _p_" (XI:375). -- PHW

        Quite possibly. I used 'Pre-Sindarin' as the most cautious
        denomination, as I feel that this is what we can confidently say about
        the form. As a dictionary label, Common Telerin (with a little note
        attached to it, perhaps) would be preferable. Or something like
        'Pre-Sindarin form (Common Telerin?)'.

        -David Kiltz
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