G+ LoME Archive
Eldarin Root Analyses
Jul 12, 2016 (14:00)
A sad +
that is, a story of forgetfulness and forgetfulness and oscillations. Curiously, the situation in the
is remarkably similar to what we are going to obtain decades later, with the alterations really going full circle.
distinguish two separate roots: TEKE 'make marks' (QL:090, GL:040, 068-9), with such derivatives as 'mark, write' (
), 'pen' (
), 'book' (
) and 'letter, mark, sign' (
); as opposed to TEÑE 'feel, understand' (QL:091), providing
'knowledge, understanding' etc.
* However, a root TEHE 'pull?' (QL:090, GL:069) is also of importance. It provides the stems for 'track, path, line' (
), 'straight' (
tína, tain < tegna
), which persist to PE13:153 and survive to the Etymologies with the minimal change (perhaps, due to the importance of the 'Straight Road' concept to Tolkien).
, the two stems were initially given as follows:
Easier stem TEK 'make a mark, write, draw': in Quenya,
tekil < tekla
tengwe < tekmē
'letter' etc. Also
'stroke of pen'. In Noldorin the verb is
TEγ 'line, direction' initially given as a basis for Q
'straight, right'. Then the stem was altered to TEÑ (
téra < teñrā
), and at a very late stage the new form was re-inserted into its proper place (but with a very complicated reading and many alterations), changing its derivatives in the way into Q
'row, series, line',
'straight road'; N
tî < tēñe
tœr, taer < teñra
malle téra lende númenna
in the Lament of Atalante, featuring a different word for 'way' but the same as here for 'straight'. The addition of the new stem might be connected with the word
on the Moria gate drafts; Tolkien was already dissatisfied with TEK as its ultimate derivation.
This dissatisfaction (and a required alteration of all Quenya phonology concerning nasals in contact) can be traced through the whole of further changes. Consider WPP and its drafts:
The explanations of Moria gate. Verb
is derived from
in both draft and final source (PE17:043) and compared to Q
same. Yet, the gloss of TEK 'make a written mark' does not exclude the possibility of remaining bare
in Q, which is not discussed at all. The formula
i thîw hin
makes more complications: while in 1955 in a letter to Masson he still has no doubts that
, but as early as the draft an alternative TEÑ emerges (ibid.:044), first as a possible second derivation ('or both true!'), then the only possible. A reminder is put to alter the phonology such.
Characteristic of this process are the changes in the
Outline of Phonology
(see PE19:086): initially rewritten from OPD as such (favouring
from TEK) and only then altered. However, as Tolkien noted already in WPP, the 'instrumental' suffix
) is not really fit to form a name for 'letter' ('_tekma_ would be a pen'), and yet
are attested and must be accounted. So the alterations actually make not only
km > kw
with nasalization of the previous vowel! The only way out is now
, which is what Tolkien employs: ibid.:097.
This is the pattern observed in a carefully composed essay
Quendi and Eldar
(QE:394) "…the Loremasters, therefore, did not use
as a term for language or speech in general. Their terms were derived from the stem TEÑ 'indicate, signify', from which was formed the already well-known word teñwe > Q tengwe 'indication, sign, token'. From this they made the word tengwesta 'a system or code of signs'."
Therefore, the structure of the stems can be explained as following: TEÑ 'indicate' as the basis for
) vs. TEK 'write' yielding
. The remainder is given in the changes to the
Outline of Phonology
* "Owing to the disappearance of medial ñ the historical developments retaining a stem-nasal were specially liable to later alteration. Thus tēma, series, fr[om] TEG 'line': tegma, direct[ion], process > teñma > tēma. <…> The historical forms that survive were usually grammatically or etymologically isolated in the speech-feeling of Quenya-speakers: as tenna 'a thought, notion, idea' from base TEÑ; since[?] teñgwa, sign, indicator[?], letter is[?] from teñwā".
is explained here as a derivative of a different root, TEG 'line', obviously the same that produces (in hiatus)
tegē > tie
Now we shall observe whether the latest sources add to or contradict the established scheme somehow. Apparently, there is at least one attempt to rewrite this:
PE22:149 repeats the same argument of TEK unavailable for
and re-introduces TEÑ, but continues with some charts of phonetic development which would give
tegma > tengwa
. The word
become inexplicable in this set-up (unless reassign both it and
to a non-attested TE3, which is beyond the stretch of reconstruction).
VT49:48 mentions a weak verb
'to read written matter', which is obviously derived from the noun and gives no additional information.
The situation described in QE and OP is most concise and carefully emerging, and I think PE22 additions can easily be passed on as an experimentation. A further confusion arises due to the connected (though barely intersecting) stems TEN 'direction, end', mostly (if not ever) invoked to explain
in Elendil's Oath, and strange TAN 'sign' homonymous to TAN 'construct' in Sindarin and apparently appearing only in a star's name,
(the difference from TEÑ is doubtful, but can presumably be drawn as 'sign, symbol, vessel of meaning' vs. 'sign, token, message sent'?)
Next time: something concerning BA and WA and a reconstruction of a missing piece of 'Quendi and Eldar'.
Jul 12, 2016 (15:36)
Thank you for the next chapter in the convoluted saga of Eldarin roots!
Jul 12, 2016 (18:26)
I think this one is quite the opposite - a most remarkable homogenous idea through all of the stages of the creation!