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Re: Is _enge_ "irregular"?

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  • lambendil
    ... Of course, from these statements it appears that the pa.t. _enge_ of _ea_ is regular, as is pa.t. _tenge_ for _tea_, _for this class of verb_. But two
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 2, 2004
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      In Lambengolmor message #729 Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

      > [...] _ea_ 'exists' originally contained an intervocalic _ñ_
      > [...] 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
      > respectively).

      Of course, from these statements it appears that the pa.t. _enge_ of
      _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]

      Sébastien
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