Post KEWBxpCw3RA

James Coish Aug 22, 2017 (22:18)

Could it be possible that +#kyerme "prayer" be a misreading of *hyamie "a praying"?

Paul Strack Aug 23, 2017 (07:44)

It is unlikely to be a misreading. However, it is quite possible that they are conceptual variations on the same (unwritten) root. Tolkien changed his mind a lot for this kind of thing.

Personally I'd pick hyamie, since ky is a very unusual consonant cluster in Quenya, appearing only in this word. Normally primitive ky became ty in Quenya.

James Coish Aug 23, 2017 (14:32)

Thank you, it was one thing that bothered me since the Professors writing wasn't always legible. :-)

Александр Запрягаев Aug 27, 2017 (14:13)

+James Coish I don't expect the initial ky- to be an impossibility; late Quenya allows that. Perhaps in this word a derivation from some *KER was felt obviously.

Paul Strack Aug 27, 2017 (15:01)

+Александр Запрягаев The ky > ty development occurs even in Late Quenya, for example kyelepē > tyelpe "silver" (Let:426) or kyaw- > tyav- (PE22:152).

Александр Запрягаев Oct 18, 2017 (19:39)

+Paul Strack +James Coish Hm. A better idea, combination of those above. In kyerme only the first letter might be incorrect, and the word is hyerme derived from hyem-re. PE19:97 'But after nasals certain metatheses were anciently more frequent than after stops, and were repeated again at later periods far more often. The 'favoured' metatheses were:- ml > lm; mr > rm; nr > rn; less frequent nl > ln > ld.'
Thus re is a form of gerund/nominalizer used to obtain a favoured sequence. The stem is SYEM (or KYEM as a very late alteration of some KEM [earth?!]; after all, ky remains in very late formations, such as y in possessives, and Y-alteration can produce stems historically, cf. the impossible TYAL where it alters dental).

Damien Bador Jan 23, 2018 (20:42)

Hi James,

I came independently to the same conclusion that +#kyerme was impossible, even as a component of Erukyerme. No phonological change gives ky in Quenya, and primitive *ky > ty, both for initial (PE 19, p. 75) and medial (ibid., p. 86) combinations. In fact, the combination +#ky does not belong to Parmaquesta, contrary to what Alexandre mentions: all known examples belong to CE.

Besides, Y-alteration does not seem to work contrary to the general Quenya phonology. Even if TY is not mentioned as the beginning a primitive root in PE 19, it most probably comes from Tolkien overlooking the specific case of the root TYAL–. Indeed, in Medial combinations of consonants, ty is said to remain unchanged (p. 86); this behaviour could be extrapolated for initial combinations.

So what would be the Quenya word for “prayer”? Regarding the ending —me, Alexandre's explanation seems sound, and the reading is probably correct.

Remains the « ky » question. I believe that the most likely explanation comes from Christopher Tolkien misreading the notoriously difficult writing of his father. Based on the tolkienian manuscript sheets published in VT and elsewhere, a confusion between a k and a h seems possible. This would link the postulated +#Eruhyerme to verb +#hyam– “pray” (attested as hyamë in VT43).

As initial consonant group, hy– comes either from primitive *sy– or *khy– (PE 19, p. 80). In the same way, primitive *khy > χy > hy in medial combinations (ibid., p. 83, 100). On the other hand, primitive *sy > zy > ry in medial combinations (ibid., p. 102).

This would then suggest a root KHYEM– or KHYAM–, which is not actually attested, as far as I know (but we do have KHYEL(ES), KHYĀ, KHYAR, and a rejected KHYAD). The two variants could coexist as related stems or one could have replaced the other. However, as +#Eruhyerme is the name of a Númenórean festival, it is likely that the compound does not date from the CE period. Tolkien could had considered it as a late combination of two independent words, irrespective of their ultimate etymology. Hence the root SYEM– or SYAM– cannot fully been ruled out at this stage, though neither of these roots is attested.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting if somebody had access to the original manuscript of “A Description of Númenor” and could check whether there was indeed a typo in the spelling of “Erukyerme” in Unfinished Tales.

Best regards,
Damien Bador