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Two Questions

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  • Nathan Foreman
    Esteemed List Members, It has been most entertaining and enlightening to hear the posts of late. I am a student of Latin, amongst several other languages, and
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 3, 2005
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       Esteemed List Members,

       It has been most entertaining and enlightening to hear the posts of late. I am a student of Latin, amongst several other languages, and can therefore sympathize with the plight of those who work with dead languages. Even with the huge extant Latin corpus, becoming truly comfortable with it can be hard. I can hardly imagine how it must be for a hard core student of Quenya.

       I have just two small questions which will doubtless be easily answered. First, is there a comprehensive and authoritative source for Quenya pronouns and pronominal inclitics? I am especially interested in the first person plural, since this seems to be the one which Tolkien himself was the most uncertain about, and since this is the pronoun which is most needed and most lacking in all human languages.

       Second question: is there an accepted way to formulate an if - then sentence in Quenya?

       Thank you all,

       Ben


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    • quildarener
      ... of late. I am a student of Latin, amongst several other languages, and can therefore sympathize with the plight of those who work with dead languages. Even
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 5, 2005
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        --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > Esteemed List Members,
        >
        > It has been most entertaining and enlightening to hear the posts
        of late. I am a student of Latin, amongst several other languages,
        and can therefore sympathize with the plight of those who work with
        dead languages. Even with the huge extant Latin corpus, becoming
        truly comfortable with it can be hard. I can hardly imagine how it
        must be for a hard core student of Quenya.
        >
        > I have just two small questions which will doubtless be easily
        answered. First, is there a comprehensive and authoritative source
        for Quenya pronouns and pronominal inclitics? I am especially
        interested in the first person plural, since this seems to be the
        one which Tolkien himself was the most uncertain about, and since
        this is the pronoun which is most needed and most lacking in all
        human languages.

        >>>>See Ardalambion's Quenya Course for a full discussion of this.


        >
        > Second question: is there an accepted way to formulate an if -
        then sentence in Quenya?

        >>>There might be "if" you can get Quenyarists to "accept" a word
        for "if." Ardalambion's English-Quenya wordlist gives "mai" from
        Parma Eldalamberon #14's Qenya Grammar for "if" but this conflicts
        with a later mai = "well" (adv.). I personally use "ai" for "if"
        from "aiquen" = "if anyone" (quen = "a person") (distinguishable
        from ai "alas!" by the lack of a following explanation point and by
        context). For "then" probably tanen "therefore."
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
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        >
      • Nathan Foreman
        ... wrote: ... First, thank you for your response. However, I realize that the Ardalambion course covers the topic; I have read the course (several times), and
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 6, 2005
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          quildarener <quildarener@...> wrote:

          --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
          wrote:
          ...I am especially interested in the first person plural, since this seems to be the one which Tolkien himself was the most uncertain about, and since this is the pronoun which is most needed and most lacking in all human languages.

          >>>>See Ardalambion's Quenya Course for a full discussion of this. 

           

           First, thank you for your response. However, I realize that the Ardalambion course covers the topic; I have read the course (several times), and it is precisely from that course that my confusion stems.

           According to the course Tolkien's last known opinion was that -lv- should be 1st plural inclusive, and -lm- 1st plural exclusive. What I want to know is:

           A. Is that still Tolkien's last known opinion or have any new writings turned up?

           B. Is "Tolkien's last known opinion" the general standard for correctness and authority? Are there other considerations?

           C. Is there an authoritative or at least commonly accepted dual form and is that form exclusive or inclusive or both?

           

           I have taken the course, and I am just hoping that someone can help me take it from there. After all

          "Tolkien created something of a mess when trying to make up his mind where in the plural/dual and inclusive/exclusive grid these endings belong."

           

           


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        • quildarener
          ... ... this seems to be the one which Tolkien himself was the most uncertain about, and since this is the pronoun which is most needed
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 7, 2005
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            --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
            wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > quildarener <quildarener@y...> wrote:
            > --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman
            <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
            > wrote:
            > ...I am especially interested in the first person plural, since
            this seems to be the one which Tolkien himself was the most
            uncertain about, and since this is the pronoun which is most needed
            and most lacking in all human languages.
            >
            > >>>>See Ardalambion's Quenya Course for a full discussion of this.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > First, thank you for your response. However, I realize that the
            Ardalambion course covers the topic; I have read the course (several
            times), and it is precisely from that course that my confusion stems.
            >
            > According to the course Tolkien's last known opinion was that -lv-
            should be 1st plural inclusive, and -lm- 1st plural exclusive. What
            I want to know is:
            >
            > A. Is that still Tolkien's last known opinion?

            AFAIK yes.

            or have any new writings turned up?

            AFAIK no.

            >
            > B. Is "Tolkien's last known opinion" the general standard for
            correctness and authority?

            Usually, yes, for lack of a better standard. But:


            Are there other considerations?

            Yes, mainly the context in which that "opinion" (or usage) occurs.
            The Catholic Prayers translations were written after the Lord of the
            Rings, whose Elvish language selections, according to Fauskanger,
            Tolkien considered the set standard for his Elvish languages; but,
            as HF also points out, the Catholic prayers translations, though
            written later than LotR, were not written for publication; they may
            have been experimental rather than intended to set a new standard.
            (Hence I myself follow HF's "final" conclusion in his course that -
            mm- is dual instead of assuming that the -mm- of the Catholic
            Prayer's "Ataremma" (exclusive there) obsoletes this.) And new words
            published in Vinyar Tengwar are generally isolated lexical items
            taken out of context. So I personally do not feel that new material
            produced by Tolkien after LotR automatically "obsoletes" conflicting
            earlier material, though others might disagree. In general LotR
            material is considered the standard, with admission of later
            material at least permissible. There is considerable disagreement as
            to whether words from the Qenya Lexicon should be used in Quenya
            compositions along with later material; I follow Fauskanger, who
            sees no reason not to use QL words if they don't clash with later
            material or not to update them if there's only a slight discrepancy,
            e.g. palukta "table" > paluhta.


            >
            > C. Is there an authoritative or at least commonly accepted dual
            form

            No. I follow HF's Quenya Course.


            and is that form exclusive or inclusive or both?

            As HF says, we don't know.

            >
            >
            >
            > I have taken the course, and I am just hoping that someone can
            help me take it from there.

            Try the Elfling group if you haven't already. But you may get
            different answers. The best and most widely accepted source of
            information is Ardalambion, in which HF attempts to be up to date
            and to explain ambiguities. Don't be misled by anyone else who
            claims (s)he has the final or best answer on Elvish grammar, however
            authoritative their tone.
          • Peter
            ... correctness and authority? Are there other considerations? This is a very complicated question. Toliens linguistic writings are not a coherent whole at
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 8, 2005
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              --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
              wrote:
              > B. Is "Tolkien's last known opinion" the general standard for
              correctness and authority? Are there other considerations?

              This is a very complicated question. Toliens linguistic writings are
              not a coherent whole at all, but rather a constant flow of ideas and
              structures. Tolkien delighted much more in changing his conception
              of the Elvish languages than reaching a coherent structure.
              Tolkien himself felt bound by what had appeared in print (The
              Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings etc.) but found ways even around that
              by changing the interpretation of the Elvish phrases that had
              appeared in print.
              If we should stick to Tolkien's own principle we could not (if we
              wanted to compose in Elvish) do much more than copy the linguistic
              forms of The Lord of the Rings and The Road Goes Ever On, since that
              is where we find most of the Elvish that Tolkien ever published.
              That would severely limit the possibilities for composing anything
              interesting. Many people stick to the principle of not using any
              forms that conflict with the Elvish grammar as found in The Lord of
              the Rings. However, we must remember that Tolkien changed his mind
              about Elvish grammar in several aspects later in life, and then we
              have cut ourselves off from using those features. Also, how do we
              know whether a grammatical feature that does not appear in The Lord
              of the Rings or The Road Goes Ever On conflicts with or supplements
              the grammar found in these?
              Furthermore it is one thing for Tolkien not to publish conflicting
              ideas of the Elvish languages, but is that what is at issue for
              later composers in Elvish? Is it not rather to see the whole picture
              of Tolkien's linguistic vision and not limit ourselves to some
              constructed idea of "authority and correctness" by sticking to Lord
              of the Rings plus material we feel to be in tune with it?
              "Tolkien's last known written statement" is also a rather arbitrary
              standard, since the flow of idea was stopped by his passing away,
              but that does not mean that he felt that his ideas had reached the
              ultimate goal. And if a word appears in Qenya Lexicon, and nowhere
              else, is that then obsolete or "Tolkien's last known statement" on
              that particular word?
              Any writer can construct his or her own idea of what grammatical
              features and words to use. The best thing to do is stating clearly
              what the principle of selection is i.e. "Qenya as it appears in the
              Qenya Lexicon and Grammar", "Qenya from The Etymologies plus The
              Lord of the Rings", "anything after The Etymologies", or
              indeed "Tolkien's last known opinion". Instead of sticking to
              some "What would Tolkien do"-attitude, we should develop our own
              attitude, and be honest about it.
              What I feel writer should refrain from is stating that they
              write "Genuine Elvish", "Correct Elvish" or any other authoritarian
              statement. Let's be honest: whatever we write is a mish-mash of
              Tolkien's ideas spanning decades, and even Tolkien rarely had the
              final answer to our questions, but kept on changing his ideas.
              Much controversy spring from the question of what Real Elvish is,
              but let's face it, there is no real Elvish, but many different ideas
              of Real Elvish in Tolkien's writing.
              Maybe we should even cultivate our own linguistic taste and try to
              find words in Elvish that sound beautiful as well as sticking to the
              general scheme of Elvish phonology etc. Wouldn't that be more in
              Tolkien's spirit and indeed in honour of the elves who supposedly
              spoke those languages that we find beautiful?

              That my opinion, in short, state your principle of selection and
              please, make it beautiful and a delight to read or indeed hear!


              Sincerely,
              Peter
            • quildarener
              ... ... are ... and ... that ... that ... of ... Lord ... supplements ... picture ... Lord ... arbitrary ... the ... authoritarian ...
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 12, 2005
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                --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, "Peter" <pedelberg@h...> wrote:
                >
                > --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, Nathan Foreman
                <benjaminkatzphd@y...>
                > wrote:
                > > B. Is "Tolkien's last known opinion" the general standard for
                > correctness and authority? Are there other considerations?
                >
                > This is a very complicated question. Toliens linguistic writings
                are
                > not a coherent whole at all, but rather a constant flow of ideas
                and
                > structures. Tolkien delighted much more in changing his conception
                > of the Elvish languages than reaching a coherent structure.
                > Tolkien himself felt bound by what had appeared in print (The
                > Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings etc.) but found ways even around
                that
                > by changing the interpretation of the Elvish phrases that had
                > appeared in print.
                > If we should stick to Tolkien's own principle we could not (if we
                > wanted to compose in Elvish) do much more than copy the linguistic
                > forms of The Lord of the Rings and The Road Goes Ever On, since
                that
                > is where we find most of the Elvish that Tolkien ever published.
                > That would severely limit the possibilities for composing anything
                > interesting. Many people stick to the principle of not using any
                > forms that conflict with the Elvish grammar as found in The Lord
                of
                > the Rings. However, we must remember that Tolkien changed his mind
                > about Elvish grammar in several aspects later in life, and then we
                > have cut ourselves off from using those features. Also, how do we
                > know whether a grammatical feature that does not appear in The
                Lord
                > of the Rings or The Road Goes Ever On conflicts with or
                supplements
                > the grammar found in these?
                > Furthermore it is one thing for Tolkien not to publish conflicting
                > ideas of the Elvish languages, but is that what is at issue for
                > later composers in Elvish? Is it not rather to see the whole
                picture
                > of Tolkien's linguistic vision and not limit ourselves to some
                > constructed idea of "authority and correctness" by sticking to
                Lord
                > of the Rings plus material we feel to be in tune with it?
                > "Tolkien's last known written statement" is also a rather
                arbitrary
                > standard, since the flow of idea was stopped by his passing away,
                > but that does not mean that he felt that his ideas had reached the
                > ultimate goal. And if a word appears in Qenya Lexicon, and nowhere
                > else, is that then obsolete or "Tolkien's last known statement" on
                > that particular word?
                > Any writer can construct his or her own idea of what grammatical
                > features and words to use. The best thing to do is stating clearly
                > what the principle of selection is i.e. "Qenya as it appears in
                the
                > Qenya Lexicon and Grammar", "Qenya from The Etymologies plus The
                > Lord of the Rings", "anything after The Etymologies", or
                > indeed "Tolkien's last known opinion". Instead of sticking to
                > some "What would Tolkien do"-attitude, we should develop our own
                > attitude, and be honest about it.
                > What I feel writer should refrain from is stating that they
                > write "Genuine Elvish", "Correct Elvish" or any other
                authoritarian
                > statement. Let's be honest: whatever we write is a mish-mash of
                > Tolkien's ideas spanning decades, and even Tolkien rarely had the
                > final answer to our questions, but kept on changing his ideas.
                > Much controversy spring from the question of what Real Elvish is,
                > but let's face it, there is no real Elvish, but many different
                ideas
                > of Real Elvish in Tolkien's writing.
                > Maybe we should even cultivate our own linguistic taste and try to
                > find words in Elvish that sound beautiful as well as sticking to
                the
                > general scheme of Elvish phonology etc.


                I wholeheartedly agree and wish that more people did (or at least
                were willing to resist the authoritarians). The one qualifying
                consideration is that some kind of standard for common communication
                should emerge for those writing in Quenya. But if that is to emerge
                at all it should be from those actually using Quenya and not from a
                Royal Tolkien Academy of (real or imagined) elitist scholars
                imposing its standards from on high in Tolkien's name.
              • Peter
                ... the ... is, ... to ... I am not sure what you mean. I did not mean that writing in Elvish was resisting anything in itself. What I do find authoritorian is
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 14, 2005
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                  --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, "quildarener" <quildarener@y...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In quenya@yahoogroups.com, "Peter" <pedelberg@h...> wrote:
                  > > What I feel writer should refrain from is stating that they
                  > > write "Genuine Elvish", "Correct Elvish" or any other
                  > authoritarian
                  > > statement. Let's be honest: whatever we write is a mish-mash of
                  > > Tolkien's ideas spanning decades, and even Tolkien rarely had
                  the
                  > > final answer to our questions, but kept on changing his ideas.
                  > > Much controversy spring from the question of what Real Elvish
                  is,
                  > > but let's face it, there is no real Elvish, but many different
                  > ideas
                  > > of Real Elvish in Tolkien's writing.
                  > > Maybe we should even cultivate our own linguistic taste and try
                  to
                  > > find words in Elvish that sound beautiful as well as sticking to
                  > the
                  > > general scheme of Elvish phonology etc.
                  >
                  >
                  > I wholeheartedly agree and wish that more people did (or at least
                  > were willing to resist the authoritarians).

                  I am not sure what you mean. I did not mean that writing in Elvish
                  was resisting anything in itself. What I do find authoritorian is
                  when people claim that they are wtiting "genuine Elvish" when not
                  such thing exists - at least not in the singular.


                  > The one qualifying
                  > consideration is that some kind of standard for common
                  communication
                  > should emerge for those writing in Quenya.

                  Why? As I see it we don't need any one standard for writing Elvish,
                  and the idea is contrary to the nature of Tolkien's writings which
                  were in constant flux. Why can't a writer just state his/her
                  principles, and then write on. I don't believe in the idea of a
                  genuine neo-Quenya or neo-Sindarin since they can never be "genuine"
                  or "correct" as Tolkien never made his mind about the final form of
                  Quenya or Sindarin grammar.

                  > But if that is to emerge
                  > at all it should be from those actually using Quenya and not from
                  a
                  > Royal Tolkien Academy of (real or imagined) elitist scholars
                  > imposing its standards from on high in Tolkien's name.
                  >

                  These user will do so whatever anyone does and peace be with them.
                  All I ask (if they want to be taken seriously) is that they state
                  their principles and try to make it beautiful instead of conforming
                  to some neo-Quenya or neo-Sindarin canonic grammar.

                  I am in the dark as to who this Royal Elvish Academy is who wants to
                  define neo-Quenya or neo-Sindarin grammar from on high. Let's
                  discuss issues instead of people. I have read quite a bit of your
                  Elvish translations. What is your principle of selection and your
                  thoughts on the esthetics of Quenya? I must admit I have only
                  written one short poem in Elvish during the last many years, so
                  maybe I am not the most qualified to discuss this, but please join
                  in, all you people out there.

                  Sincerely,
                  Peter
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