Post eErHtcvwn6F

Александр Запрягаев Nov 26, 2015 (20:27)

My current field of interest, connected with the upcoming article Eldarinwe Ólamáron Allamaiti Quenta-Yestalesse, is Quenya phonology. As per PE19:86, Tolkien first conceived 'a letter, epistola' as CE TEK-na > tenna; but after he revised the behaviour of stops before nasals, such derivation would yield tehta and clash with 'diacritic'. The classic 're-designation to TEÑ' fails, due to TEÑ-na giving tenna 'thought, notion, idea' on 97; can we still get a desired 'message/letter' word out of it? The new version omit examples; perhaps exactly noticing something's amiss Tolkien adds the note: "These were very often transposed to ñk, mp (especially latter)"? This gives a possibility of teñka 'letter' for VQP!

Paul Strack Nov 26, 2015 (22:35)

I thought the same thing working on Eldamo: tenca has no other late form homonyms, so it would be a good addition.

Александр Запрягаев Nov 28, 2015 (11:04)

+Paul Strack After all these revisions, however, téma hangs in the air. It cannot be from TEG-mā, as implied, for gm > ñm > ngw, and clash with tengwa. No chance from TEÑ-mā for the same reason. The only possibility I observe is writing the stem rather as TEƷ: this way it could be teʒe > tie and teʒ-mā > tē-mā > téma.

Paul Strack Nov 29, 2015 (17:22)

+Александр Запрягаев Tolkien seems to have abandoned the development ñm > ngw. See PE17/44, PE19/15 and PE19/85. This meant that the g in the combination gm would evolve into ʒm (perhaps via ñm), and the ʒ would vanish with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel as usual (PE19/97).

My reading of the conceptual changes is as follows:

In the Etymologies of the 1930s, Tolkien had two roots: TEK "mark" and TEÑ "line, direction". The former was the source of words related to writing: tek- "to write", tehta "diacritic" and tengwa "letter". The latter was the source of tie "path" and téma "row".

The 1930s etymology of tengwa was tek-mā > tegma> teñma > teñgwa, an etymology that reappeared in the 1950s (PE17/43). But Tolkien became unhappy with this development, as indicated by two things (PE17/44):

1) He indicated that the phonology of voiceless stops + nasals needed revising.

2) He changed the root of tengwa to TEÑ, with the much simpler etymology teñwa > tengwa.

In the new conception, he gave the root TEÑ a new gloss: "indicate". Later he devised a new root TEG "line" which became the new source for tie and téma (PE19/71, 97). His new conception of the phonology of voiceless stops + nasals appears on PE19/85.

That said, TEƷ could have served just as well as TEG,  producing the same derivatives, and the root TEƷ did at one point have the meaning "line" (in the Etymologies, before being revised to TEÑ).

Александр Запрягаев Nov 29, 2015 (17:31)

+Paul Strack But the text LVS3, from PE22, 1969, is quite explicit in both ñm > ñgw and TEÑ-mā > tengwa.

Paul Strack Nov 29, 2015 (17:40)

+Александр Запрягаев You're right. I hadn't gotten that far in my reading of PE22. I guess Tolkien changed his mind again.

That leaves only TEƷ "line" as an option for tie and téma.

Ekin Gören Dec 01, 2015 (00:01)

Instead of having to deal with the uncertainties of voiced-stop+nasal development (plus TEÑ/TEK/TEG/TEƷ), why not use menta?

Tamas Ferencz Dec 01, 2015 (15:30)

+Ekin Gören
because having a choice in our vocabulary is good?