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Re: [Lambengolmor] Meaning of _umne_

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  • Rich Alderson
    In response to a message from Thorsten Renk on Wed, 08 Feb 2006 09:41:28 -0500, Patrick Wynne wrote ... I would like to amplify on that
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 8 11:36 AM
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      In response to a message from "Thorsten Renk" <trenk@...> on
      Wed, 08 Feb 2006 09:41:28 -0500, Patrick Wynne wrote

      > I would only note, with regard to the final paragraph in your post, that
      > there is no reason to think that a verb need have one and only one pa.t.
      > form -- and so no reason to assume that Tolkien had or was unable to
      > "settle" on one or the other. Verbs in real languages can and do have both
      > strong and weak past-tense forms happily coexisting: consider English
      > "shine", str. pa.t. "shone", wk. pa.t. "shined". The same is true of Quenya
      > and the other Elvish languages, in all their conceptual stages.

      I would like to amplify on that for a moment, in agreement with Patrick's
      conclusion.

      There are two English homophonous verbs _shine_, an intransitive/stative with
      strong past _shone_ and a transitive/causative with weak past _shined_, which
      are distinct historically but which have fallen together in the present (which
      acts as the citation form), leading to the appearance of a single verb with
      both weak and strong past tense formations differentiated semantically in the
      synchronic description of Modern English.

      There is room in the essentially synchronic description of Quenya provided in
      the lexica for the same kind of merger, the more so as we have no exhaustive
      diachronic description to affirm or to gainsay the possibility.

      Rich Alderson
    • Thorsten Renk
      ... It was not my intention to imply that _karin_ must necessarily have only one past tense. However, it strikes me as significant that * In the QL, verbs
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 9 10:03 AM
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        > I would only note, with regard to the final paragraph in your post, that
        > there is no reason to think that a verb need have one and only one pa.t.
        > form -- and so no reason to assume that Tolkien had or was unable to
        > "settle" on one or the other.

        It was not my intention to imply that _karin_ must necessarily have only
        one past tense. However, it strikes me as significant that

        * In the QL, verbs frequently are listed with more than one past tense.
        For example, the subgroup of verbs derived from roots with R-hacek
        shows often nasal infixion as alternative to vowel lengthening, cf.:

        _siri-_ 'to flow' pa.t. _sinde, s�re_ (PE12:84) (macron in original)
        _liri-_ 'to sing' pa.t. linde, l�re (PE12:54) (macron in original)

        No alternative past tense is indicated for _karin_, pa.t. _k�re_ (PE12:45)

        * The list of past tenses in the Early Qenya Grammar shows verbs with
        up to three alternative past tenses, cf.

        _tantila-_ 'hop' pa.t. _tantilane, tantille, tantilante_ (PE14:58)

        No alternative past tense is given for

        _kar-_ 'to make' pa.t. _karne_ pr.t. _kare_ (PE14:58)

        * The Etymologies show (rarely) alternative past tenses for verbs, cf.

        _onta-_ to 'beget, create, pa.t. _ontane, �ne_ (V:379)

        If it is a past tense, no alternative is indicated for _karin, karne_

        * All occurrances of _ohtak�re_ are of course in actual texts, out of
        which we can't infer if an alternative past tense exists unless the verb
        occurs twice.

        It is certainly difficult to prove the absence of e.g. an alternative past
        tense form for _karin_ in the QL, it is entirely possible that it exists,
        but if so, the fact remains that in spite of the fact that we have evidence
        that Tolkien indicated alternative past tenses for some verbs in the QL,
        in the EQG and (with less certainty) in the Etymologies, he didn't actually
        do so once for _karin_. So I think while the available evidence is far
        from being conclusive, based on the facts available to me there is
        some merit to the idea that Tolkien did not consider both variants
        valid at the same time.

        * Thorsten Renk
      • David Kiltz
        ... That s certainly a strong point. Just to clarify, there are two assumptions that led me to this reconstruction: 1) The infixed past tense forms derive from
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 21 1:50 AM
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          On 08.02.2006, at 11:23, Patrick Wynne wrote (off-list):

          > What we do NOT ever see is a pa.t. formed by insertion of a nasal
          > infix between a verb stem and a pronominal ending, as you propose
          > in **_ub + n + ni_.

          That's certainly a strong point. Just to clarify, there are two
          assumptions that led me to this reconstruction:

          1) The infixed past tense forms derive from original suffixed forms
          by regular sound change, as in Q. _lemba_ < _*lebnâ_ (Etym s.v.LEB-).

          2) that the apparent past tense marker *_-ê_ was originally a marker
          of the 3. sg.

          Ad 1) It's true that Tolkien's own wording suggests that there was an
          original distinction between nasal infixion and suffixation of _-ne_
          with subsequent metathesis.

          [One such passage making this distinction occurs in the Early Qenya
          Grammar (ms.), where Tolkien writes that the past stem was formed
          by addition of the suffixes _-ye_, _-ie_, or _-ne_, but that the most
          common of these, _-ie_, "is normally accompanied by stem strengthening
          consisting of (1) a-infixion, (2) n-infixion, (3) vowel lengthening"
          (PE14:56). -- PHW]

          I could, and probably should have written **_umb-ni_. Which brings
          us to:

          Ad 2) That, I'll admit is a very weak point, as Tolkien's writings
          suggest otherwise. It was an entirely ad hoc assumption, in order to
          explain one particular form. It seemed to me (somewhat) admissable
          because Tolkien's languages (unlike 'real-world' ones) are subject to
          re-formation/ interpretation without further notice. Also, re-
          formation of case endings (especially in past tense) based on the 3.
          sg. are frequent in the world's languages.

          Yet *_ê_ or (or, at some stage *_ie_, cf. Helios' post) is indeed
          indicative of past tense in particular and so throughout the corpus.

          David Kiltz
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