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Re: [Lambengolmor] Forgotten Words of Elvish: _Flend_

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  • David Kiltz
    ... Leaving aside the question whether rivers (or trees, v.i.) were classed as things in Elvish, _flind_ can go back e.g. to _*sp(i)lindi_, an adjectival
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 4, 2005
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      On 04.09.2005, at 05:03, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

      > But why didn't Tolkien simply name this river the _Flind_? A
      > conceptual change from _flind, flinn_ > *_flend, flenn_
      > seems unlikely in light of the fact that the name _Flinding_
      > also occurs in the "Quenta". The first gloss of _flind, flinn_,
      > 'fleet-footed', suggests that this adjective was perhaps
      > applied only to _persons_ (and perhaps animals), and it
      > may be that _flend_ was the form used in describing 'swift'
      > _things_, like rivers.

      Leaving aside the question whether rivers (or trees, v.i.)
      were classed as 'things' in Elvish, _flind_ can go back e.g.
      to _*sp(i)lindi_, an adjectival form; or _*sp(i)lindê_, a more
      concrete formation 'the swift thing'. _Flend_ should
      go back to _*sp(i)lindâ_ as Patrick has noted.

      An interesting parallel to this seems to be found in the name
      _Sindar_. The underlying adjective is given as _*thindi_ 'grey, pale,
      silvery grey' in both the Etymologies and e.g. XI:384. However, the
      name of the people is from an (apparent) _*-â_ adjective (meaning
      given as 'the Grey'). This latter adjectival formation could be used
      with persons, as also suggested by Tolkien's statement that
      _Celeborn_ contained _ornâ_ 'uprising, tall' as 2nd element. Whereas
      _ornê_ 'tree' discribes a tall/uprising "thing" (UT:266).

      It may be then, I think, that rivers were or could, at least when
      being given concrete names, be 'coded' as animated and hence an
      _-â_ adjective (as in _Sinda_) would be used. Or, it was at least not
      incompatible.

      A formation in _-ê_ wasn't used. However, that isn't necessarily due
      to semantic constraints.

      Rather, it seems quite possible that various strategies to form names
      were available. In Indo-European you find nouns derived from
      adjectives by means of internal or external derivation or, sometimes,
      simply in the form of the adjective. The latter can be explained by
      ellipsis. Cf. Modern Greek _neró_ 'water' which was originally just a
      qualifying adjective ('clear, cool') with Old Greek _hydôr_ 'water'.
      So, _Flend_ could stand for 'the swift' (scil. river). Of course,
      very often a direct, zero derivation, without ellipsis is possible as
      seemingly in _vanyar_ 'beautiful', 'the Beautiful/ Fair' etc. (The
      same occurs in IE, cf. e.g. OIndic _devá-_ 'divine/god').

      So maybe, _flend_ is simply an alternative adjectival form (i.e.
      *_sp(i)lindâ_ next to _*sp(i)lindi_), or one necessary because of
      'animacy' or similar coding. At any rate, I think it can not be
      assumed that a form in _-â_ was used in _Flend_ to denote a "thing".
      Indeed, the word _orerdh_ < _*ur-irda_ cited by Patrick might speak
      against that assumption as well. While things would indeed have no
      pity, it seems a bit pointless to accuse a stone or the like of being
      'pitiless' unless in a very 'poetic' diction, speaking with empathy
      and assigning at least a certain degree of animacy to a thing. Yet,
      that kind of use, I think, can justly be called ' very marked'.
      Normally, then, _orerdh_ would be used with incarnate beings. One
      could still maintain the idea that _orerdh_ although used with
      persons was deliberately coded as "thing" to say such a thing as "you
      have as much pity as a stone". However, the other examples adduced,
      albeit from a later period of the language, seem to suggest otherwise.

      Lastly, assuming an original abstract in _-â_ as in _galadâ_ 'great
      growth' > 'tree' (UT:266) doesn't look promising. Do we have to
      analyse GALA + DÂ ?

      David Kiltz
    • Patrick H. Wynne
      ... I would be more inclined to reconstruct the full primitive form of N. _flind, flinn_ as *_sp(i)linde_, with short _-e_. I can t find any examples in the
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 5, 2005
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        --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, David Kiltz <derdron@g...> wrote:

        > Leaving aside the question whether rivers (or trees, v.i.)
        > were classed as 'things' in Elvish, _flind_ can go back e.g.
        > to _*sp(i)lindi_, an adjectival form; or _*sp(i)lindê_, a more
        > concrete formation 'the swift thing'. _Flend_ should
        > go back to _*sp(i)lindâ_ as Patrick has noted.

        I would be more inclined to reconstruct the full primitive form of N.
        _flind, flinn_ as *_sp(i)linde_, with short _-e_. I can't find any
        examples in the ENF word-lists of a primitive adjective ending in
        _-i_, but there are at least three examples there of primitive adjs.
        in short _-e_:

        *_ekse_ > N. _ech_ 'far away' (PE13:142)
        *_pingwé_ > N. _hiw_ 'rich' (PE13:147)
        *_t:loise_ > N. _tlui_ 'slender' (PE13:154)

        [The acute accent in *_pingwé_ indicates stress rather than length
        -- many primitive adjs. in ENF are marked as being stressed on the
        final vowel, e.g., *_mburyá: > N. _boir, boer_ 'hot, raging' --
        cp. the noun *_mbúrya:_ > N. _bordh_ 'heat, rage' (PE13:139).]

        There is thus no suggestion in ENF that *_sp(i)linde_ (or *_-ê_)
        would be a "more concrete formation". At any rate, N. _flind,
        flinn_ is clearly translated as an adjective, 'fleet-footed, swift'.

        Also please note that the primitive form I proposed as underlying
        _Flend_ was *_sp(i)linda_ with short final _-a_, not *_sp(i)lindâ_.
        There are many primitive adjectives in ENF ending in long *_-â_,
        but there are also many that end in short *_-a_, such as *_ur'-irda_
        > _orerdh_ 'without bowels, pitiless' (PE13:144), which I cited as an
        example of final A-affection. Others include *_sleiwa_ > N. _lhui_
        'pale', *_tegna_ > N. _tain_ 'straight', and *_stalga_ > N. _thala_
        'valiant' (PE13:149,153). If Yahoo groups allowed us to use more
        sophisticated typography, I would transcribe the final _-a_ in my
        reconstructed form with both a macron and breve.

        > So maybe, _flend_ is simply an alternative adjectival form (i.e.
        > *_sp(i)lindâ_ next to _*sp(i)lindi_), or one necessary because
        > of 'animacy' or similar coding. At any rate, I think it can not be
        > assumed that a form in _-â_ was used in _Flend_ to denote a
        > "thing". Indeed, the word _orerdh_ < _*ur-irda_ cited by Patrick
        > might speak against that assumption as well. While things would
        > indeed have no pity, it seems a bit pointless to accuse a stone
        > or the like of being 'pitiless' unless in a very 'poetic' diction,
        > speaking with empathy and assigning at least a certain degree
        > of animacy to a thing.

        I would definitely not assert that at the time the ENF word-lists
        were written the primitive adj. ending *_-a_, _-â_ was regularly
        and consistently used across the board as a marker indicating
        things rather than animates -- as you note, *_ur'-irda_ >
        N. _orerdh_ 'without bowels, pitiless' argues against this!
        However, it still strikes me as possible, even probable, that
        *_sp(i)linde_ was used of persons and *_sp(i)linda_ of things,
        i.e., that the difference in final vowel was used to make the
        animate/inanimate distinction _in this particular pair of adjs._,
        even though this semantic distinction of *_-e_ vs. *_-a_ was
        not universal throughout the language.

        For this seems to be the case with Gn. _dairog_ 'merry (of persons)'
        and _dairiol_ 'merry (of things)'. _In this particular pair of adjs._,
        the ending _-og_ is used to mark the adjective referring to people,
        while _-iol_ marks that referring to things. But this distinction
        between the use of _-og_ and _-iol_ does NOT appear in Goldogrin
        as a whole -- in GL there are adjectives in _-og_ which seem most
        logically to apply to things, e.g., _âlog_ 'of wood, wooden' and
        _crithog_ 'circular', and there are adjectives in _-iol_ which seem
        most logically to apply to persons, e.g., _cauthiol_ 'tasteful,
        endowed with good taste -- discreet, circumspect' and _gwenniniol_
        'maidenly, girlish'.

        -- Patrick H. Wynne
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