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24598Parma Eldalamberon Issue 21

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  • cgilson75
    Sep 20, 2013
      QENYA NOUN STRUCTURE by J. R. R. Tolkien
      Edited by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith
      Published September 11, 2013.

      In _Parma Eldalamberon_ no. 21 we continue presenting J. R. R. Tolkien's historical-comparative descriptions of the Eldarin languages written in the years just before he began to write _The Lord of the Rings_ and revised in the years just after its completion.  In this issue titled _Qenya Noun Structure_ the focus is on the etymological origins of the noun declensions.

      In the _Tengwesta Qenderinwa_ where Tolkien described the root-formations and modifications of Primitive Quendian and Eldarin he touched briefly on the sounds that could occur word-finally.  In "Primitive Quendian: Final Consonants" he describes these in more detail, with particular emphasis on the suffixed elements that eventually yielded the inflexional endings of Qenya.  This piece dates from 1936.

      Sometime before this, but after the "Secret Vice" poems of 1931, Tolkien had composed a Qenya Grammar called _Tengwesta Qenyava_, of which the only substantial portion to survive is the "Declension of Nouns."  This details the different categories of noun-stems according to phonetic shape, insofar as these determined the variations in the inflexions for number and case.  The resulting declensional types are exemplified by charts of their main paradigms and listings of the inflected forms of exceptional subtypes and historical variants, in much of which Tolkien cites forms in both tengwar and roman transcriptions.

      In the 1940s Tolkien changed certain details of the Qenya declensions, and the etymological motives for this are found in reworkings of the material in "Primitive Quendian: Final Consonants."  These revisions culminated in a piece from the early 1950s called "Common Eldarin: Noun Structure."  This is the first of three parts of a treatment of CE syntax (later parts of which will treat Verb Structure and Pronouns), which describes the shapes that noun-stems could take in Common Eldarin, the root-modifications and affixes that marked the earliest cases, the origin of other elements that came to mark number and case in Quenya, and the semantic associations of different noun-stem types.  There is also a final section on the traditions of name-giving among the Eldar.

      You can order this issue at our webpage:

      Or contact me:

      Christopher Gilson
      1240 Dale Avenue, No. 40
      Mountain View, CA  94040

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