Post 7NYHEiZiawT

Александр Запрягаев May 04, 2015 (12:11)

PE17:131: in non-Northern dialects of Sindarin and late Beleriandic speech, medial lt, mp, nt, nc 'became long voiceless lh, mh, nh, ñh', and finally 'became voiced ll, mm, nn, ng unless followed still by a stressed syllable'.
VT42:27: 'Medially however nth, nch, mf, and lth became long voiceless n, ñ, m, l, though the old spelling was mostly retained (beside nh, ñh, mh, lh), and among those to whom Sindarin became a language of lore, as the men of Gondor who were or claimed to be of Númenórean race, the spirant was reintroduced from the spelling'; 'In the transcription of Elvish Sindarin in The Lord of the Rings ll is used in the manner of modern Welsh for the medial voiceless l; as in mallorn < malhorn < malþorn < malt ‘gold’ and orn ‘tree’'.
How are these ideas supposed to be reconciled? Considering lt, for Tolkien himself provided and example: we learn that (a) in the branch of Sindarin which survived the First Age, such a medial cluster was rendered long and voiceless lh, though the orthography did not represent it and remained lth, which in Gondorian and similar non-native speech was rendered back into [lþ] from the spelling; hence, no matter how spelled in Latin letters, with lth (oltha-), ll (mallorn) or lh, it is supposed to be read long and voiceless if we are to pronounce the way the Elves themselves did, but as a combination liquid + spirant to represent Mannish use: dolthannen is [do`ɬ:an̥:en] in actual Elvish use — but [dol`þanþen] or, possibly, [dol`þan:en] if we are to suggest that Latin spelling somehow represents the orthographical traditions already established in Fëanorian tengwar.
It's nice and clear, but enter (b): these long and voiceless clusters are voiced again unless followed still by a stressed syllable, and that happens specifically in Elvish post-War of Wrath usage. Now, mallorn is supposed to be just [`mal:orn] and nothing else, for the vowel is unstressed; then which use does Tolkien mean when saying 'In the transcription of Elvish Sindarin in The Lord of the Rings ll is used in the manner of modern Welsh for the medial voiceless l', if the Elves read it with ll and Men with lth (or ll as well, if the spelling changed)?

Paul Strack May 05, 2015 (07:19)

I don't think there is a definitive way of reconciling these, but here is my current theory.

I believe that voiceless medial nasals probably voiced sooner than medial lh, probably aided by the voicing of initial voiceless nasals that develop (for example) from sn-, sm-, while the voiceless medial lh lingered longer, aided by the retention of initial voiceless lh-.

Because they voiced earlier, the spelling for the resulting double nasals was more likely to be changed, and thus they were less likely to be reformed back to nth, mph, whereas the spelling for voiceless lh was retained longer making their reformation to lth more likely.

It may be that in those rarer cases where the spelling of lh became "ll", then the combination was usually fully voiced, but where the original "lth" spelling was retained, it was pronounced as a voiceless lh among the Elves, and reformed back to lth among Men. I think mallorn falls into the category, and was so spelled by Tolkien because the word was usually spoke by Elves in the Lord of the Rings.

Conversely, anna- "to give" was so pronounced by both Elves and Men.