Post WFAi4tFyh18

Александр Запрягаев Jul 09, 2016 (13:52)

There is a process, when you take the basic material and let your thoughts go astray, not even attempting to recreate Tolkien's trail of thought somehow, until some hidden pattern emerges. I've been looking for some particular cases of alterations the further changes in grammar could inflict to the QVS source materials. The (CE) apparently indefinite subject prefix ga, given as, for example, ga•ni•antā•t(e) 'one gives me it, I am given it' on PE22:094. It was explained as: 'In natural language, unless emphatic and in elaborated form, in which case it could be placed at will, the unemphatic dative pronoun was placed immediately before the verb-stem. In consequence, if there is only a dative pronoun and the subject is not expressed, the indefinite subject [CE ga, Q a] was used.' (ibid.) The further examples of its usage include, in syntax, however, i·ner ne raiqa ar sí aphastat "the man was angry, but now is in good humour (lit. it pleases him)." (ibid.:124), not exactly following the given direction (if fasta takes dative, rather **atephasta would be implied?). This one is barely distinct from the i personals of the type malta launen "gold abounded to me" = "I had lots of gold" (ibid.:103), subjectless nemin "seems to me" (ibid.:099)
[perhaps the opposition is in the fact that, as Tolkien implies (99), the 'intransitive' impersonal verbs are actually taking accusative and not dative in Eldarin, while 'to please' takes a real dative? However, all the impersonal verbs definitely take dative in post-LotR sources: ore nin karitas, ekuva nin kare sa noa etc.]

What will happen to this form in post-LotR sources? Alas, Tolkien never reached this point in his re-editing of QVS when he decided to make subjects postpositive instead of prefixal, and this ga is awkward when suffixated (g > zero, vowels in hiatus). However, if not merely abandoned, it perhaps could still be treated by Tolkien as a prefix, adding a virtual subject to actions not performed by their formal nouns but inflicted upon them instead. The question is: whether Tolkien ever used something like that?

He did. Man cenuva lumbor ahosta? etc. If we untangle this sentence, following QVS, as 'Who shall-see cloud-s one-collects', it would be exactly the intended meaning of 'Who shall see the clouds gather', that is 'as they are collected'; as Tolkien writes, 'a- is prefixed if the noun is the object not the subject', that is, when the associated noun is the passive participant while the subject is impersonally absent. Hence, a passive marker is needed, and this a < ga? works as a substitute subject, exactly as in the aphastat example.

As Helge Fauskanger wrote, 'perhaps we shall never know which of these two interpretations is correct'. Now I believe we know it, and trace it some decade back to something Tolkien definitely invented before.

Tamas Ferencz Jul 10, 2016 (16:27)

I think that's a very insightful and logical analysis. Aniphasta.

Remy Corbin Aug 09, 2016 (22:10)

+Александр Запрягаев​​​​​​​ Could you explain why it's aphasta and not afasta? And doesn't atephasta mean pleases them? I would rather expect afastas for pleases him. Btw, can I say merinye [sb's name]-n afasta?