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349Re: [quenya] Help, please !

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  • Helge K. Fauskanger
    Jun 2, 2002
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      Kai MacTane wrote:

      > When conjugating derived verbs (ones that end in -a, -ya, -ta or -na) the
      rule gets a teensy bit more complex. You affix -ea to the verb, and you
      lengthen (accent) the vowel, *unless* the vowel is followed by a "consonant
      cluster" (two or more consonants, including y).

      Carl F. Hostetter responded:

      > All of this is pure conjecture on Helge's part, based on a single,
      unglossed (by Tolkien) example (_órea_) of (as yet) uncertain status (even
      to me). It is misleading to present this as factual, and the "examples" you
      provide as anything other than unattested fabrications.

      (Ah, there is the F word again...one favorite of CFH's, along with
      "counterproductive", "dishonorable" and of course "copyright".) No, this
      info is in no way confirmed or certain, and I think I make that quite clear
      in the relevant section of my Quenya course.

      > mapa- > mápea ("are/is seizing")

      [CFH:] *Unattested.

      Unattested, yes. But then the nominative plural of (say) _norsa_ "a giant"
      is not attested either. However, if anyone were to assert that Tolkien
      didn't mean the plural form to be _norsar_, they should probably invest in
      a new Ouija board.

      If _ora-_ "to urge" appears as _órea_ in one particular tense, it seems to
      be a VERY fair assumption that _mapa-_ "to seize" would appear as _mápea_
      in the same tense. Of course, the suggestion that _órea_ represents a
      "present" or continative form comes from CFH himself. If he has discovered
      something new about this form that has made him doubt his own
      identification, we would all be glad to hear about it.

      As for forms like _cendea_ "is reading" from _cenda-_ "to read", it does
      represent an extrapolation based on our general understanding of Quenya
      phonology. Before a consonant cluster, the stem-vowel cannot be lengthened
      and would therefore remain short (attested parallels exist for the perfect
      tense). I do think that if _ora-_ appears as _órea_ in one tense, it is
      entirely plausible to assume that _cenda-_ would appear as _cendea_ in the
      same tense. The main question is what tense or form _órea_ really
      represents. I guess this could easily remain as conjectural as the precise
      meaning of Sindarin _aen_.

      CFH's colleague Bill Welden recently observed that regarding details of
      Quenya grammar, "answers will never be clear" and would often depend on the
      interpretation of a single form. This could well be one such case. Yet I
      would expect A-stem verbs to be able to make the same distinction between
      aorist and continuative forms as the primary verbs can make (e.g. _quete_
      "says" vs. _quéta_ "is saying"). Especially in a constructed language I
      would expect considerable structural symmetry. Maybe CFH is aware of
      _another_, more certain way of maintaining this distinction in the case of
      A-stem verbs? We would of course be glad to hear about that as well.

      - HF
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