Is _enge_ "irregular"?
- In Elfling message #30283 Thomas Ferencz wrote:
> For all appearances _ea-_ seems to be a normal verb,Sébastien Bertho agreed in Elfling message #30284:
> it also has a (albeit irregular) past tense _enge_.
> It is likely that this verb may be irregular (atI disagree with Thomas's and Sébastien's characterization
> least its pa.t. is), as are verbs for "to be, exist"
> or "to have" in many real languages.
of _enge_ as an "irregular" past tense. We know from
the portion of Appendix D to "Quendi and Eldar" published
in VT 39 that _ea_ 'exists' originally contained an
intervocalic _ñ_, i.e. the original form was probably
*_eña_, with intervocalic _ñ_ vanishing in later Quenya
(VT39:6-7). In this same passage Tolkien also notes that
the "former presence of intervocalic _ñ_" accounts for
Q. _tea_ 'indicates', with pa.t. _tenge_ 'indicated'.
_enge_ is not cited in "Quendi and Eldar" but appears
instead in Tolkien's uncompleted Quenya translation of
the "Gloria Patri" (see VT 43:38). Still, it appears that
_ea_ (pa.t. _enge_) is perfectly parallel to _tea_ (pa.t.
_tenge_), suggesting that these past tenses are, in fact,
the _regular_ past tenses of a class of verbs derived
from bases originally ending in _ñ_ (*EÑ and *TEÑ
In our commentary on _enge_ in VT 43, Carl Hostetter and
I proposed that "the past-tense form _enge_ arose from
earlier *_eññe_, a past-tense stem derived from *_eña_ by
the common past-tense derivational technique of infixion
of the homorganic nasal" (VT:43:38). It now strikes me
as also possible that _enge_ was formed from suffixion of
_-ne_ instead of by nasal infixion. In the _Etymologies_
there is one clear example of a past tense formed by
suffixion of _-ne_ to a stem ending in a nasal: Q. _tamin_
'I tap', pa.t. _tamne_ (V:390). So maybe the past tense of
_ea_ was similarly formed, with *_eñ-ne_ > _enge_ (perhaps
via an intermediate form *_eññe_), though I cannot think of
a corroborating example of original *_ñ-n_ becoming
_ng_ in Quenya.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- --- "Patrick H. Wynne" <pwynne@...> wrote,
re statements by me and by S�bastien Bertho in Elfling
messages #30283 and #30284, respectively, that _enge_,
pa.t. of _ea_ 'exists', is "irregular":
> I disagree with Thomas's and S�bastien'sI stand corrected in my opinion, the past tense of
> characterization of _enge_ as an "irregular"
> past tense.
_ea-_ is regular to its kind. To support our
characterisation a little bit, although the pa.t. of
this verb is regular, it may be that the verb itself
is irregular in the sense that its paradigm is not
whole, for instance it might lack a perfect form (on a
sidenote: what would be the perfect of _tea-_?)
-- love is the shadow that ripens the wine --
[I am puzzled by your final statement -- on what
evidence do you assume that the paradigm of _ea_
'exists' might not be whole or lack a perfect form?
There are very few Quenya verbs indeed for which
all tenses -- aorist, present, past, perfect, future --
are attested, and yet it is generally supposed (correctly,
I think) by Tolkienian linguists that this is simply
due to our fragmentary evidence, not to rampant
irregularity in the Quenya verbal system.
As for the perfect tense of _tea_ 'indicates', is there
any reason to suppose it might not have been
*_etengie_, after pa.t. _tenge_? In "Quendi and
Eldar" Tolkien notes that _av�nie_, perfect tense
of _auta-_ 'go away, leave', had "intrusion of _n_
from the past [_v�ne_] (the forms of past and perfect
became progressively more closely associated in
Quenya)" (XI:366). -- Patrick H. Wynne]
- In Lambengolmor message #729 Patrick H. Wynne wrote:
> [...] _ea_ 'exists' originally contained an intervocalic _ñ_Of course, from these statements it appears that the pa.t. _enge_ of
> [...] with intervocalic _ñ_ vanishing in later Quenya (VT39:6-7).
> In this same passage Tolkien also notes that the "former
> presence of intervocalic _ñ_" accounts for Q. _tea_ 'indicates',
> with pa.t. _tenge_ 'indicated'. [...] it appears that
> _ea_ (pa.t. _enge_) is perfectly parallel to _tea_ (pa.t.
> _tenge_), suggesting that these past tenses are, in fact,
> the _regular_ past tenses of a class of verbs derived
> from bases originally ending in _ñ_ (*EÑ and *TEÑ
_ea_ is regular, as is pa.t. _tenge_ for _tea_, _for this class of
verb_. But two occurences is a small number to draw conclusion and
build a class of verb (but we have to work on small paradigms because
of the relative smallness of the whole Elvish corpus)
[Given the small size of the Elvish corpus, it is dangerous to assume
some form is "irregular" simply because it does not occur frequently
in the fragmentary corpus available to us. And since the corpus is
small and fragmentary, it is all the more compelling and suggestive
of regularity when two verbs such as _ea_ (pa.t. _enge_) and _tea_
(pa.t. _tenge_) have perfectly parallel conjugations that can be
accounted for by known rules of regular phonological development.
The verb class of _ea_ and _tea_ was probably small to begin with,
bases ending in _Ñ_ being infrequent (at least in the _Etymologies_)
But "small" is not synonymous with "irregular". -- PHW]
It is very likely that the Eldar, being well aware of the structure
and history of their language as a whole might have considered these
forms as regular, on a diachronic point of view.
But it could not be the same for the Atanion Lambengolmor of the
later ages, having not the same understanding of the evolution of
Eldarin tongues. For them, these forms could have appeared as
irregular, on a synchronic point of view, when compared to the
majority of regular pa.t. formation _-ne_.
[The paragraph above consists entirely of unsupported assertions.
What is your evidence for the amount of Eldarin historical phonology
known or unknown to Mortal students of Quenya within Tolkien's
sub-created world? It seems equally likely that sufficient information
was known by Mortals about the historical development of Quenya
for _ea_ (_enge_) and _tea_ (_tenge_) to seem as regular to them as
it does to us. And if _we in the modern world_, with only fragmentary
evidence to go on, are able to discern that these forms are regular,
isn't it likely that Tolkien would imagine that Mortals _within his
sub-creation_ would be capable of doing so as well? -- PHW]
So, if _enge_ can be considered as regular on a diachronic point of
view, it appears as irregular synchronically speaking.
[No, for the reasons given above. -- PHW]