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_Nai elen siluva lyenna_: Card signed, inscribed by Tolkien

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    A card signed and inscribed in Quenya by Tolkien was recently auctioned on eBay. You can view this item at:
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 21, 2004
      A card signed and inscribed in Quenya by Tolkien was recently auctioned
      on eBay. You can view this item at:


      The inscription reads:

      _nai elen siluva lyenna_

      which apparently means, 'May a star shine upon you (sg.)'.

      Helge Fauskanger refers to an identical inscription in Lesson 15 of his
      Quenya course (<www.uib.no/People/hnohf/less-d.rtf>), but it was
      apparently appended to a letter (dated Jan. 16, 1968), not to a note
      card (and this one bears no date that I know of), and so this item
      apparently represents a second attestation.

      Carl F. Hostetter

      P.S. Yes, that winning bidder is me! My first bit of Elvish from
      Tolkien's pen.

      Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
    • DiegoSeguí
      In Lambengolmor message #753: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/753 Sébastien Bertho comments on the use of characters for _æ_ (ae) and _œ_
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 21, 2004
        In Lambengolmor message #753:


        S�bastien Bertho comments on the use of characters for _�_ (ae)
        and _�_ (oe) in the published text of the _Etymologies_ as well as
        in the "Addenda & Corrigenda" (VT45 and VT46).

        Perhaps others have already realised, but there may be a pattern
        in the editorial treatment of these digraphs in Etym: all
        instances of _�_ (ae) noted by the original editor (Ch. Tolkien)
        appear as a single character, and they are confirmed by A&C:
        _g�sra_, _*g�l�_, _nd�r_ (macron above - the one below NDER-;
        see below for this particular case), _sn�s_ (with circumflex),
        _t�r_, _w�de_.

        This goes also for two instances not mentioned by S�bastien,
        namely _gl�r_ (V:359 s.v. GLIR-) and _h�w_ (V:364 s.v. KHIM-),
        corrected to _glaer_ (VT45:15) and _haew_ (VT45:22)
        respectively. According to A&C, Ch. Tolkien read them as _�_
        (ae) and used a digraph, so they fit the rule described above.

        On the other hand, all actual instances of _�_ (oe) are given as
        separate characters _oe_ in Etym; after reading both the A&C and
        S�bastien's post, it is clear that Ch. Tolkien gives _doelio_,
        _noedia_, _arnoediad_, _foeir_, _telloein_, _moerilind_, _oeil_
        when we should actually read _d�lio_, _n�dia_, _arn�diad_,
        _f�ir_, _tell�in_, _m�rilind_, _�il_.

        I shouldn't think it is a coincidence: rather I suppose that Ch.
        Tolkien clearly distinguished between _�_ (ae) and _�_ (oe) in
        his reading, and either he or the printer kept this distinction
        by using separate characters for _�_ (oe) for the sake of
        clarity. Given the extreme similarity of the characters they
        were using, it would not be illogical.

        A special case is that of _nd�r_ (ae) as the correct form of
        _nd�r_ (oe) (macron above each digraph, V:378 and VT46:4). After
        looking very closely at the word as published in Etym, it can be
        seen that the character is different from the other digraphs in
        the book (the shape being closer to _o_ than to _a_ - always
        italics), but the difference is subtle indeed. I tend to believe
        that this was more a slip of the printer than a reading _�_ (oe)
        by Ch. Tolkien; the more so when the cross-reference between
        NDER- and NI1- is so clear, and also in view of the general
        tendency I've put forward. To the editors: is the actual word in
        the manuscript likely to have been misread as _nd�r_ (oe)
        instead of _nd�r_ (ae)?

        [The form in the entry NDER- is clearly and unambinguously
        _nd�r_ (ae digraph with macron). That in NI1- is in isolation
        liable to misreading as _nd�r_ (oe), because there is a stray dot
        (apparently of ink, though I can't be sure from the photocopy
        I have) in, but clearly discontinuous with, what would otherwise
        be the normally open area of the left-bowing portion of the
        _�_ (ae), but in comparison with other examples of both _�_
        (ae) and _�_ (oe) in _Etym._, and with the form as written under
        NDER-, it is very clearly _nd�r_ (ae). CFH]

        Or, in a more general note, are all the instances of _�_ (ae)
        likely to have been constantly misread as _�_ (oe), and are all
        the instances of _�_ (oe) likely to have been misread as _oe_?

        [No. I think you are correct that the decision was made, either
        by Christopher Tolkien or by the printer, to represent all cases
        of _�_ (oe) with two characters in order to distinguish them
        from _�_ (ae), as in the italic typeface used for _Etym._ they
        would otherwise be very hard to distinguish. CFH]

        I'll be surprised if the answer is 'Yes'. In my opinion, the
        regularity weighs heavily for this theory: all in all, it would
        be strange that Ch. Tolkien consistently misread all instances
        of _�_ (oe) as _oe_, and the only occasion in which he might
        have read _�_ (oe) (i.e., in _nd�r_ under NI1-) the right
        reading was actually _�_ (ae)! We may reasonably accept that he
        got wrong two instances of _�_ (ae) (i.e., _gl�r_ and _h�w_
        instead of _ae_) out of eight, but surely not all _�_'s (oe).

        Whether it was a good practice or not is a matter of opinion: if
        I guessed correctly, we can take for granted that all instances
        of an ambiguous digraph stand in principle for _�_ (ae); on the
        other hand, in separating all instances of _�_ (oe) as _oe_ the
        editor would have hindered us from knowing whether Tolkien
        wrote, e.g., _n�dia_ or _noedia_. It may not have mattered much,
        as probably in all cases we may easily guess what sound(s) _oe_
        refers to. On the other hand, the editors of A&C were careful to
        let us know that Tolkien had written _n�dia_, _f�ir_, etc.
        instead of _noedia_, foeir_, etc.

        The issue, as stated by S�bastien, implies a more general
        question, i.e., how the distinction between _�_ (ae) and _�_
        (oe) was kept (or not) in the whole of the book in question (_The
        Lost Road_) and in the rest of the published corpus; and how the
        (very few) appearances of a digraph must be understood. I
        haven't looked for them thoroughly, but here are some instances
        I've come accross:

        - The same edition of The Lost Road has a couple of cases in
        pages 80 and 84, where e.g. _�t_, _W�ced_, _h��ne_, etc. surely
        stand for _aet_, _Waeced_, _hae�ne_, as Old English does not use
        _�_ (oe).

        - In _The Shaping of Middle-earth_ we have _M�gdros_, _M�gderos_
        when the Noldorin name _Maidros_ is adapted into Old English
        (sorry not to provide references, I'm using the Spanish
        edition); they appear in both romans and italics, and obviously
        stand for _Maegdros_, Maegedros_.

        - In "Quendi and Eldar" (_The War of the Jewels_) we have _arom�_
        (macron above the _o_ and 'open' diacritic below) and _n�x�rra_
        (_x_ stands for a Greek chi) (again, sorry not to give the
        references, maybe the moderators will assist?), when discussing
        the Valarin origin of names _Orom�_ and _Nahar_. In the latter
        cases at least, I guess _�_ (ae) was intended (_Naexaerra_).

        [I'm afraid I can't provide any information on this, as I don't have
        photocopies of the texts in question (only of the drafts of _Quendi
        and Eldar_, in which the discussion of _Orom�_ and _Nahar_ do not
        occur). CFH]

        (On a side note, the Spanish editions do use separate characters
        for _�_ (ae) and _�_ (oe) in italics which can be distinguished
        more or less easily, but I'm afraid they are not used correctly
        or consistently. The cases I've mentioned above appear as _�t_
        (oe), _W�ced_ (oe), _h��ne_ (oe), _M�gdros_ (ae), _M�gderos_
        (ae), _arom�_ (oe) and _n�x�rra_ (ae). Both instances of _nd�r_
        in Etym are identical (both of them, as well as the rest of
        digraphs in Etym, with _�_ (oe)). We may regret that the Spanish
        editors didn't take advantage of the two characters, although it
        would have necessitated some research beyond the bare text of
        the English edition to do so, and maybe it would not have been
        in accordance with the original editor's wishes.)

        As I said above, if the policy of transforming cases of _�_ (oe)
        into _oe_ was carried through other English editions as it
        apparently was in Etym, we are probably missing other
        occurrences of the digraph in the original texts.

        The next step would be to wonder what happened with texts
        published later, especially in VT and PE. A close look shows
        that different (although always similar) characters were used in
        A&C, and that these were consistent with the editors' replies to
        S�bastien; but I at least would have missed the point if the
        issue hadn't been raised, or if I had overlooked the example of
        _nd�r_ (oe) being replaced with _nd�r_ (ae); the latter is the
        only place where you can see both characters next to each other
        and compare.

        In VT39:10 we have _�_ (ae) twice, which are easy to tell, even
        if we can't compare them with the ones in A&C, since they are
        explicitly said to come from _ae_ (an arch above the two
        characters). Maybe other digraphs in VT, if any, are not so

        Finally, the only instance I've found in PE is in the Gnomish
        Lexicon, where we have _Orom�_ or _Orom�_ (a short diacritic
        over each _o_ and a macron over the digraph - PE:11:63 s.v.
        _Orma_). Funny that it is the same case as the one from Q&E,
        written more than four decades later; to my eye it looks like
        _�_ (ae), but maybe the editors will clarify it?


        Diego Segu�


        PD: Just in case, the editions I've mentioned here are:

        The Lost Road - Unwin Hyman 1987
        La Formaci�n de la Tierra Media - Minotauro 1998 (tr. of The
        Shaping of Middle-earth)
        El Camino Perdido - Minotauro 1999 (tr. of The Lost Road)
        La Guerra de las Joyas - Minotauro 2002 (tr. of The War of the Jewels)

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