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Re: Morn vs morna- and more

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    ... It appears that in Tolkien s later conception of Sindarin, _all three_ initial voiced stops -- B as well as D and G -- were retained in composition when
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 28, 2005
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      --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz
      <derdron@g...> wrote:

      > Anders Stenström pointed out that Tolkien wrote in
      >
      > > Letter 347, paragraph 7: "In S. initial _g_ was retained in
      > > composition, where a contact _n_ + _g_ occurred. So _born_
      > > 'hot, red' + _gil_ to _borñgil_; _morn_ 'black' + _dor_ to
      > > _morñdor_; the triconsonantal group then being reduced
      > > to _rg_, _rd_."
      >
      > So, voiced stops or, at least, _g_ and _d_ were retained in
      > such position.

      It appears that in Tolkien's later conception of Sindarin, _all
      three_ initial voiced stops -- B as well as D and G -- were
      retained in composition when the contact N + Voiced Stop
      occurred. An example of B may be found in Tolkien's late
      notes analyzing all fragments of foreign languages found in
      _The Lord of the Rings_. Christopher Tolkien writes, citing
      from these notes:

      "The passage concerning the Dome [of Varda] arises from the
      statement that _Elbereth_ has _el-_ 'star' prefixed (with the
      note 'But since _b_ is not mutated the name is probably to be
      referred to *_elen-barathi_ > _elmbereth_')." (X:387)

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
    • David Kiltz
      ... Very well. Yet discrepancies relative to _morn-_/ morna-_ remain. As far as I can see, the only exceptions to soft mutation after _mor-_ (whatever its
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 29, 2005
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        On 28.07.2005, at 14:48, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

        > It appears that in Tolkien's later conception of Sindarin, _all
        > three_ initial voiced stops -- B as well as D and G -- were
        > retained in composition when the contact N + Voiced Stop
        > occurred.

        Very well. Yet discrepancies relative to _morn-_/ morna-_ remain. As
        far as I can see, the only exceptions to 'soft mutation' after _mor-_
        (whatever its ultimate origin) are found in words not with original
        anlauting voiced stop, but nasalized (voiced) stop. That is, if we
        accept that S _gil_ is from a root NGIL- rather than GIL-. The only —
        apparent — case of 'nasal mutation' after the element _mor-_ before a
        voiceless stop can be found in _morchaint_. However, that form, I
        think, can just as well be reconstructed as < _*mor-cantî_. A first
        element _mor-_ (without final vowel) is also found in Q, e.g.
        _mormacil_.

        Maybe Tolkien later revised his idea of what form a first element
        _mor-_ originally had, and he really shifted to _morn-_. That,
        however, would leave us with very many forms with 'wrong mutation'.

        David Kiltz
      • Beregond. Anders Stenstr�
        ... In any case, _Moria_ seems to require a Sindarin _mor-_. [Also _Morannon_, and no doubt other forms. CFH] Suilad, Beregond [I feel that I should interject
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 29, 2005
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          David Kiltz wrote:

          > A first element _mor-_ (without final vowel) is also
          > found in Q, e.g. _mormacil_.
          >
          > Maybe Tolkien later revised his idea of what form a first
          > element _mor-_ originally had, and he really shifted to
          > _morn-_.

          In any case, _Moria_ seems to require a Sindarin _mor-_.

          [Also _Morannon_, and no doubt other forms. CFH]

          Suilad,

          Beregond


          [I feel that I should interject here that we have to be careful not to treat even just all strictly Sindarin forms bearing on this matter as necessarily subject to the same phonological or morphological rules; far less so should we imagine Noldorin of the _Etymologies_ (or any other era) to be uniform with all Sindarin forms. There is, of course, the obvious fact that Tolkien coined these words at different times in his life, and thus at different points in his ever-shifting aesthetic and artistic conception of his languages, so there's no reason to think that his preferences in this matter were unchanged over even the later decades of his life. But the "internal" situation was also most likely variable as well, in at least two dimensions:

          First, in the matter of compounding, it should be noted that compounds in "real" languages exhibit different phonological behaviors at the contact depending on the period of development in which they were formed. That is, compounds formed at a later period in the historical development of a language can and do behave differently than those formed at an earlier period; and there's no reason to think that Tolkien's languages -- which, after all, Tolkien was concerned to give the appearance of actual historical development -- differ from "real" languages in this regard.

          Second, in the matter of consonant mutation (incl. lenition) or the lack thereof, it must again be reiterated that while these have phonologically-conditioned origins, once a pattern has been established as associated with a particular grammatical function (and the absence of mutation is as much a pattern for these purposes as is the presence), it could and did spread to other, grammatically-related forms in which historically the mutation would not otherwise have occurred. That is, we shouldn't necessarily be surprised to find mutation where the phonological situation doesn't support it, or its absence where we would expect it on phonological grounds.

          Two examples spring to mind:

          1) Tolkien notes of Gnomish _sithagong_ 'dragonfly' that it is a "new [compound] hence _-g-_" (PE11:68): that is, being a late composition, its second element _gong_ did not undergo lenition (to zero) as it would have in an historically old compound of (the ancestral forms of) the same elements.

          2) Tolkien wrote in explaining N. _Eglador_ that "In old compounds the genetival element preceded (as in Quenya)" -- that is, obviously, in contrast with the situation in newer compounds (VT42:4).

          It is clear that Tolkien himself did not imagine (or desire) that there be one and only one invariant rule for compound formation and consequent mutation throughout the history of his languages. We should be careful not to gloss over this feature of his languages in our studies. CFH]
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