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Thorsten Renk, "The Q(u)enya Past Tense"

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    I would like to draw attention to the announcement of an important new work by Thorsten Renk on the Q(u)enya Past Tense :
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10, 2006
      I would like to draw attention to the announcement of an important
      new work by Thorsten Renk on the "Q(u)enya Past Tense":


      From the announcement:

      "[This work] contains a list of all (well, probably most to be honest) attested
      past tenses from the early Qenya Lexicon (QL) to forms published recently in
      'Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals' and illustrates how Tolkien's ideas
      about the past tenses changed in time, but also how remarkably stable many
      features of the system outlined in the QL remain over the years - there is
      no evidence for a substantial revision of the system, although there are
      many changes in detail."

      The full announcement is at:

    • Helios De Rosario Martinez
      There are a couple of points which I find interesting to add to Thorsten Renk s The Q(u)enya Past Tense at:
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 19, 2006
        There are a couple of points which I find interesting to add to
        Thorsten Renk's "The Q(u)enya Past Tense" at:


        About the _-ie_ past tense:

        Its presence in suffixed pa.t. forms of "The Lost Road" (e.g.
        _kárielto_ 'they made' vs. _káre_ '[he] made'), is comparable to the
        development of the pa.t. explained at "The Qenya Verb Forms". There, pa.t.
        of "regular verbs" is normally marked by _-ie_ plus the suffixes which
        denote gender, number and voice; but impersonal singular active past
        tense has _-e_ < _-ie_ (PE14:31, _i_ glide and breve over the _e_ in
        the primitive form). Thus, _tul-_ 'to bring, come' is _tûle_ 'came'
        (imp. sing.), but _tûlien_ or _tûliendo_ 'he came', etc. (PE14:28,
        macron over the _u_ in all cases).

        Additionally, though it is not a great finding at all, it may be worth
        noting that the _-ie_ past tense did not really disappear, but became
        a perfect tense (cp. _tûlien_ 'he came' cited above vs. _utúlien_ 'I
        am come' in _Eärello Endorenna utúlien..._, LR:967).

        On the other hand, in the last paragraph just before the
        acknowledgements, Thorsten says:

        "In the QL, all such verbs [with stem in _-r-_] form past tense by
        vowel lengthening, best examplified by #_kar-_ 'to make, do' pa.t.
        _káre_ (PE12:45). But already in the EQG, this has been changed to a
        suffix _-ne_, cf. _kar-_ 'to make' pa.t. _karne_ pr.t. _kare_
        (PE14:58). In the Qenya of 'The Lost Road', the past tense form
        _ohtakáre_ (LR:47) appears, suggesting a change of mind back to vowel

        I think, however, that the scenario of these facts may not be Tolkien
        trying to settle whether pa.t. of _kar-_ should be _káre_ or _karne_,
        but something closer to what Thorsten said previously, in the
        introduction about cases from _Etym._:

        "verbs are not limited to one past tense, we find an example in which
        alternative past tenses exist without apparent differences in meaning,
        cf. _onta-_ 'to beget, create', pa.t. _óne_, _ontane_ (LR:379)..."

        In relation to this, it may be interesting to look at the
        "English-Qenya Dictionary", where there is a handful of verbs
        conjugated in present and pa.t. (there labelled "preterite"), and
        among them:

        "Do. '_kara_': _kare_, pret. _kârie_, but pret. is also frequently
        _karne_" (PE15:71).
        [All Qenya forms are in Valmaric script and then transliterated, with
        the exception of the base _kara_, which is untransliterated by
        Tolkien; _kârie_ with macron over the _a_.]

        There we see the pa.t. form _karne_ already found in EQG, PE14:58 (EQG
        being closely related to that dictionary, cf. PE15:65-66), as an
        alternative to _kârie_, which conforms the conjugation of "regular
        verbs" like _tul-_ (pa.t. _túlie_) in EQG (PE14:57). This proves that
        distinct pa.t. forms were possible, though the text of EQG only showed
        _karne_. In addition, though the pa.t. _kârie_ of the English-Qenya
        Dictionarly does not occur in 'The Lost Road' as such, it does occur
        in the suffixed form _kárielto_, which is apparently in complement to
        unsuffixed _káre_, _ohtakáre_, etc. (see above).

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