Post WzPKedJ1cmX

Tamas Ferencz Jul 18, 2014 (16:48)

Conditional and Subjunctive in (Neo)Quenya

Tolkien's highly fascinating Early Qenya Grammar in Manuscript in PE14 devotes a page to The 'conditional' or subjunctive, in which he says:

"This is not expressed inflectionally but by particles, nai and ki, of which nai represents remoter possibility ('might'), ki (nearer) 'may'.
The pure optative is also often expressed by nai, or naike combined, at head of wish." (emphases as in the original)

He also gives some examples, such as

naike hi-tule 'would she might come'
hi-tule nai 'he might (possibly) come' or 'be coming'
hi-túlie nai 'she might have come'
hi-tule ki 'she may be coming, may come'

At this stage 'if' is translated mai, and it is stated that in conditional sentences ki/nai is usually in the main clause:

mai ni-tuluva, tu-tuluval ki 'if I come, they will come_

Given what (or rather what little) we have seen so far from later conceptual stages about the conditional/subjunctive (use of nai in Namárie, the (optative?) na + aorist/future constructs in Ataremma, the conditional phrases with in VT49 come to mind, are there any more?), can we surmise (pending publication of more stuff) that similar rules apply in later stages, or that we can apply similar rules in NeoQuenya? So transposing the phrases above:

nai tuluvasse 'would that he/she might come'
tulesse nai 'he/she might come'
túlesse nai 'he/she might have come'
tulesse (tuluvasse) cé 'she may be coming'

and extending

tulumnesse cé 'he/she would have come'

Is this conceivable or utter bollox?

ܤܡܝ ܦܠܕܢܝܘܤ Jul 19, 2014 (15:24)

When discussing the hazily attested mood variety, one should also not forget the "eventive" –nië contained in erenekkoitanie and ullier ; a suffix which at the time of the Koivienéni Sentence (1937-41) also evidently signified the same idea as Finnish inf. + –kse– ("with the purpose of -ing, in order to"); that is, when following the conjunction i.

Matt Dinse Jul 20, 2014 (04:57)

I think I recall reading about a subjunctive PQ -yē (1930s, maybe?) in either PE18 or PE21, but I haven't found the page yet, and I haven't yet indexed either of those.

Matt Dinse Jul 20, 2014 (20:20)

Found it, PE21:61. "In verbs the principal 'inflexions' were lengthening of the stem or the final stem-vowel in certain obscure[?] uninflected impersonal 3 sgs., as subjunctive affix , 3 sg. ." It's probably from around 1936 or 1937.

Matt Dinse Jul 20, 2014 (22:02)

Kevin, I'm afraid that sentence was all there was. In certain parts of the documents contained within PE21 Tolkien made reference to "see Verb Structure" and whatnot; if he ended up writing that (instead of just being a reference to something he intended to write but didn't get around to doing), perhaps when it's published we'll know more. It would be nice to have later versions of the kind of content found in Qenya Verb Forms (PE14).

Ицхак Пензев Jul 21, 2014 (22:30)

the less attested - the less reliable

Matt Dinse Jul 22, 2014 (01:31)

Well, iirc Carl or Bill Welden or one of the other ET mentioned a few years ago (Elfling? Lambengolmor? some forum or publication?) that we'll be getting into a phase where sometimes new publications have Tolkien making statements about his languages but not any examples. How, then, do we treat those statements without examples?

If anyone recalls or knows what/where that statement is, I'd like to know; I'm not sure where to look.

Tamas Ferencz Jul 22, 2014 (09:05)

+Kevin B Walsh
+Carl Hostetter is member here - perhaps he is willing to comment on this.

Matt Dinse Jul 22, 2014 (15:58)

Eh, I was just wondering if anyone knew offhand the quote/source I was thinking of. It might have been Carl, or Bill Welden, or even perhaps Patrick Wynne. If no one recalls where that quote is it's fine; no need to ask them. I've been searching the Elfling archives, and may yet find it.

Matt Dinse Jul 22, 2014 (17:09)

It looks like it was the later parts of Lambengolmor #1019 that I was trying to recall, with Carl's discussion of metalinguistics with regard to Eldarin. My shaky paraphrase from memory didn't quite hit the mark.