Post XDkLpY6zZ2N

Ицхак Пензев Dec 08, 2017 (14:08)

What do you think, friends?
Shall we base our Neo-Quenya reconstructions on the latest ideas of the Professor found in his draft notes, or give advantage to the style and form presented in the LotR?

Tamas Ferencz Dec 08, 2017 (14:30)

I don't think we can be as clear-cut as that. When I resort to neologisms I strive to come up with something that most makes sense in the given situation, and has precedence, and feels like something Tolkien could've invented (although I am aware in many cases I fail miserably in that department).
I for myself do not regard the published attested versions as sacrosanct canon - if later notes/essays provide a fuller paradigm or a much missing semantic/grammatical link I do not hesitate to use them. I don't think we have the luxury.
But perhaps you can give an example of what you're thinking of?

Александр Запрягаев Dec 08, 2017 (17:48)

Eh? Are they so different? (I don't think so.)

In fact, after reading +Tamas Ferencz 's text with an increasing bewildering feeling 'That's not the language I study. At all,' the correct question should rather be: do we aim to make a more controlled late Quenya based on how it could work as the language of mostly Mannish sciences of the later Ages (both Tamas and Thorsten definitely aim for it), or instead aim for the richness of pre-Exile and Exile Parmaquesta (as perhaps did Helge and which always moves myself)?

Tamas Ferencz Dec 08, 2017 (20:08)

+Александр Запрягаев thanks for the veiled insult...

Paul Strack Dec 09, 2017 (06:15)

This is a very complicated question, and one that I don’t think has a single answer. Since Tolkien left of us with a mass of contradictory material, any Neo-Elvish constructions necessarily require picking and choosing from the existing material and inventing to fill in gaps.

Here is how I prioritize my use of forms for Neo-Elvish constructions.

1) They should be internally consistent. In particular, they should be part of coherent phonetic and etymological paradigm, ideally one that spans all the languages.

2) I prefer to use constructions invented by Tolkien over those I invent on my own, although I think it is acceptable to make small adjustments to forms invented by Tolkien to bring them into a more coherent paradigm. For example, like many others, I change unvoiced initial rh and lh in Noldorin words to voiced initial r and l to be consistent with Sindarin phonology.

3) Where multiple useable forms exist, I prefer to use later forms over earlier forms. But when the use of a later form requires rejecting a large number of words to maintain a coherent paradigm, I may choose to use an earlier form to preserve its cognates.

4) Where multiple forms exist, I prefer forms that produce a more useable language, in particular by minimizing homophones. For example, I prefer to use Q. ná for “yes” instead of lá because lá is also used for “no” and “beyond”.

5) I want to be “maximally inclusive” in my constructions, using as many of Tolkien’s linguistic ideas as I can within the constraints of maintaining a coherent paradigm.

While the above is how I prefer to prioritize things, others may set different and equally valid priorities. For example, I am fine basing new constructions on Early Quenya and Gnomish words provided that (a) there are no later forms available and (b) they can be brought into a coherent phonetic and etymological paradigm with later Quenya and Sindarin forms. But I know there are others who reject any form appearing only in early materials, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable position.

Tamas Ferencz Dec 09, 2017 (09:14)

My apologies. I had a very bad day yesterday. Nevertheless I really really don't like the suggestion that my intention would be to supplant the richness of Tolkien's languages with some sort of a poor man's Quenya. And to get that after reading an initial draft of a portion of a text.

Leonard W. Dec 09, 2017 (22:03)

+Tamas Ferencz No, I actually believe that I share your opinion on the matter. There is something humble and beautiful in working with what we have. Tolkien certainly did not invent new words every time he wanted to translate something, and nor should we. Every word meant something to him, phonetically and syntactically.

A typical example would be the expression "try harder." Tolkien utilised existing vocabulary to render a previously unknown pattern of expression. We cannot, and never will, hope to do the same, so our community would probably render something erroneous like **á care arya "do better" or, worse, presume to invent a neologism for "harder".

Another example would be the verb epholar. Nobody knows how Tolkien arrived at this verb, so it is rather prepostrous to pretend that "we have all the blueprints, so let us just coin new words from proto-eldarin! Word for all and everything!"

I see Tolkien's languages as a beautiful painting. A painting Tolkien worked on all of his life, but never completely finished. I cannot pretend to know what colours and nuances he would have used for those gaps, and I will not ever presume to correct what he had already done. What we do know is that the painting, as it appeared when Lord of the Rings was published, was satisfactory to his aesthetics. That is something I believe we should treat with profound respect.

Our community can take a copy of the painting and arrive at colours and nuances for the gaps as we believe would be most respectful to its original creator, and the only way we can do that, in my opinion, is by treading carefully, meticulously considering (and reconsidering!) the validity of our contributions.

... and of course, it is fun in itself to try to piece together a legible sentence with a limited vocabulary.

Ицхак Пензев Dec 10, 2017 (11:59)

Well, the question was a bit provocative, and the provocation succeeded. Frankly speaking, I don't see any significant difference between the versions / idiolects (re) constructed by Helge, Tamas or Thorsten. All I meant was a strategy. And I mostly agree with Tamas and Paul.
As for details, I prefer to see the style and the grammar of the LotR, 2nd Ed., as the pattern and the standard for all our reconstructions, and then to fill the gaps in grammar and vocabulary from every possible source with maximal internal consistency.

Paul Strack Dec 10, 2017 (18:38)

While I think the program I propose above is the right approach, it also involves a stupidly huge amount of work. I’ve been working on it for a decade and haven’t even reach the draft stage. A less perfect, intermediate approach might get faster results, but I honestly don’t know which priorities we could relax while still remaining true to Tolkien.