Post aEvdKzQGnTs

Hjalmar Holm Apr 06, 2015 (23:22)

Why is it necessary to use the definite article when indicating possessive when one is using a pronoun, like in i ennyn dîn, "his doors", since it's clearly not when one isn't using pronouns, like in ennyn Durin "Durin's doors"?

Beregond, Anders Stenström Apr 07, 2015 (00:54)

It does not seem to be necessary: there is no definite article in any of the phrases with possessive pronoun in the King's Letter.

Roman Rausch Apr 07, 2015 (03:04)

I Chîn Húrin does have an article, so it would seem optional.
Regarding possessive pronouns, it might be that the article is only used with inanimates: In KL, bess, sellath and ionnath all happen to be animate, but that could be a coincidence, of course.

Jenna Carpenter Apr 07, 2015 (07:54)

However in the Lord's Prayer, it is used repeatedly - i eneth lîn, i arnad lîn, i úgerth vîn... (and obviously the Hollin Gate inscription). Going back to the question, there is of course also a linguistic difference between genitival possession (Durin's Doors) and a possessive pronoun (His doors).

Beregond, Anders Stenström Apr 07, 2015 (08:38)

Yes, it seems to be optional. The prevalence of phrases with article in the Lord's Prayer may reflect the Greek original.

Carl Hostetter Apr 07, 2015 (20:43)

As has long-since been noted, "In this syntax, Tolkien was clearly following Welsh. J. Morris Jones, in his 1913 Welsh Grammar (of which Tolkien made extensive use), says of the corresponding construct: 'A possessive adjective was placed after its noun, which was usually preceded by the article' and gives the example y tŷ tau ‘thy house’ (p. 282), literally, as in the Sindarin examples, ‘the house [of] thine’. Cf. the deictic construction i thiw hin (LR:297–98), which, although glossed ‘these signs’, is literally *‘the signs these’. Welsh uses this same construct: y llyfr ’ma ‘the book here’." (VT44:24; PE17:153; and cf. more recently iglind then *'this song' in "The Túrin Wrapper", VT50:14).

Hjalmar Holm Apr 07, 2015 (21:04)

"Usually", so in a text or formal speech, the proper thing would be to use the definite article, but one is forgiven to omit it in poetry and songs when having a meter in mind?

Carl Hostetter Apr 07, 2015 (21:09)

I am highly dubious about declaring anything either "usual" or "unusual" syntactically in languages for which we have so very few exemplars of either prose or poetry. (And that's even if we assume that Tolkien's views on the syntax of his Elvish languages was more-or-less fixed across the decades of his development of them, which I see no particular reason to think.)