Post Tfdo4xEcTmv

Александр Запрягаев Jul 28, 2018 (09:12)

Notes on LE

The hymn to Elbereth, as sung in Rivendell, contains a peculiar form that is often under-estimated in its puzzling nature:

Fanuilos, le linnathon…

This is poetically rendered as

_and now to thee, Fanuilos,
bright spirit clothed in ever-white,
I here will sing beyond the Sea…_

in WPP [PE17: 021] and prosaically

Fanuilos_ to thee will I chant_

[ibid.]. But let us ponder: what exactly is le here? A similar form is ‘here overwhelmed in dread of death I cry’, that is,

le nallon…

is Sam’s invocation. For utterances occurring in the ‘canonical’ corpus of published LotR and nothing but an abundance of Tolkien’s own comment, there is next to no explanation of the form. ‘No explanation’ meaning why exactly the form is le and not the expected oblique case **len.

[Renk] p. 59 etc. makes a strong case out of the concept developed in [PE17: 026] that ‘This was a Quenya borrowing in the Sindarin used by the Noldor or mixed peoples, replacing the pure Sindarin form de, dhe which remained in use in Doriath and in the Havens’, assuming the borrowing was uninflected. Thus, all forms of le are given as le in various paradigms.

Though imaginative, this idea seems to be in contradiction with the way borrowings were handled in Eldarin, especially due to the fact that through the ancient D / L alteration, le is as Common Eldarin and fit to exist and inflect in Sindarin as de.

Meanwhile, the comment at [ibid.: 27] that ‘The gloss of le '(to) thee/you' indicates that the dative case is implicit’ also seems to miss the point by failing to explore the appearance of seemingly nominative form. The correct reference to EQG in ‘For the conception that in Quenya the unemphatic 'accusative' forms (the bare pronominal stems) are often employed for the unemphatic dative, “especially when there is no direct object expressed”’ is barely relevant to Sindarin, which has ‘accusative’ stems explicitly opposed to ‘bare’. Even if *allen or similar form is allowed to be replaced, then it’s by oblique, which should be len.

Recently, in [Jallings] p. 199 etc. a fresh and interesting idea was introduced: consider le linnathon as the result of nasal mutation of len against the verb. Though the mutation of n > l is not out of the question (in fact, Fauskanger-Salo-Renk reconstruction favours it), as is the mutation acting from the dependent form at the main (such as Carn Dûm, [Salo] p. 102), it leaves the question of Tolkien neglecting to write **lel linnathon, and, even worse, **len nallon if it were the case.

However, one should note a remarkable fact: Tolkien’s gloss of both occurrences is clearly ‘to thee’. Furthermore, we should re-consider the meanings of the verbs. Being explicitly transitive, linna- ‘to chant’ and nalla- ‘to cry’, they both possess the ability to take much more obvious direct object. Something like **’linn linnathon ‘I’ll sing a song’ better corresponds to using the accusative than putting le or evrn len, even if we assume that the dative meaning was here (poetically, perhaps? Though formulating something similar to **Fanuilos, sí linnathon // Im allen nevin Aearon was not extremely hard) expressed by oblique form, in that position.

Hence, it is worth an attempt to study the possibility of explicitly dative le in this position. And we gain exactly such a structure in Quenya Verbal Strucure, in [PE22].

I attract the attention to the fact that the final formulation of these poetic texts refers to late 1940s, quite close to composition of QVS (though later than its change from nominative prefixation to suffixation: the altering of ni•túlie to utúlien was made in essentially complete Coronation text while the Sindarin poems, still Noldorin, were created in their final forms) and thus QVS can shed light on Tolkien’s particular ideas during the final stage of Quenya and Noldorin in LotR composition.

While developing word-order ideas (not altered by the subjective change), Tolkien expresses the following (emphasis mine):

_The unemphatic subject pronoun always, if present, immediately preceded the verb and did not in Common Eldarin become agglutinated to it or inflexional, though this happened in Telerin. _In Quenya and Noldorin the subject pronoun was proclitic and only tolerated the intrusion of an indirect object pronoun (nothing else).


Its _[dative’s] normal place was between subject and verb+object (or object if no verb was expressed)._

Thus, Tolkien seems to favour the idea that:

1. A dative element’s (indirect object, I) standard position was IV, before the verb;
2. Though its position is quite free, the pre-verbal is devoid of emphasis.

[ibid.: 094] gives example ga•ni•antā•t(e) ‘one-to me-gives-it’ in Common Eldarin, demonstrating the usage of form not marked for dative in any way but position. Comparing this to [PE21: 075], which, on the matter of datives following the accusatives, mentions that ‘Eldarin originally expressed the (direct) object of a verb, expressed or understood, by the mere uninflected stem or 'absolute' form. This primitive method survived largely in the older strata of inflectible words: e.g. pronouns, and the basic consonantal nouns, which had special forms denoting the subject. It also survived in cases where two objects of the same verb occurred: the direct object of the verb was then usually placed first (nearer to the verb) and not inflected’, we can reconstruct a usage where, while almost any position (except, per [PE22: 094], immediately following transitive verb) when attached to dative markers explicitly given, the pre-verbal position is standard and thus the pronoun re-sets i to its absolute form, without anything but word order required to show its grammatical role. After all, accusatives are expressed explicitly and, though Sindarin shifted them pronominally, at least as seems, to before the verb, the very oblique ending distinguished those. Thus, one can expect *anthon gin or *gin anthon for ‘I gave you (dir.)’, but *gi anthon for ‘I gave to you’, *hen gi anthon for ‘I gave her to you’. Such a reasoning can explain what Tolkien was meaning at the moment these phrases were composed. Of course, we cannot be sure this explanation holds exactly in his later understanding, but, unlike previously existing, it does not require neither suspecting Tolkien in manipulating with orthography (note Tolkien writes le and not len in the word-for-word breakdown, though all words are there given in their exact forms, further supporting these le are not underlying *len) nor assuming un-Tolkienian devoid of inflections pronouns.

James Coish Jul 28, 2018 (15:23)

Thank you, sir!

Tië eldaliéva, the Elven Spiritual Path Aug 03, 2018 (00:00)

Wonderful and worthy point, thank you! <3