Post jSyFDM3xeMq

Young P Feb 19, 2017 (02:16)

I posted this question other places but I'd like to here some more opinions.

Medial NG sound.
Should it be [ŋ] or [ŋg]?

Tolkien said "NG represents more or less ng in finger, except finally where it was sounded as in English sing" in Appendix E.
so initial or medial NG is [ŋg] and final NG is [ŋ].

Medial NG followed by a vowel like anga[ɑŋgɑ] is no problem. But how about medial NG followed by a consonant?

It seems that some Elvish students or linguists believe NG followed by a consonant should be pronounced as [ŋ] not [ŋg] just like final ng as in Glaurung: Angband[ɑŋbɑnd], Angmar[ɑŋmɑr], Angrod [ɑŋrod], Anglachel[ɑŋlɑxel].

It may feel more natural with just [ŋ] sound to most English speakers but according to Tolkien's note in Appendix E, I think it is more likely with distinct g sound as in Grond: Angband[ɑŋgbɑnd], Angmar[ɑŋgmɑr], Angrod [ɑŋgrod], Anglachel[ɑŋglɑxel]

Is there any evidence to overthrow Tolkien's direction in Appendix E?

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2017 (02:38)

That is an excellent question. In Tolkien's Outline of Phonology (PE19/68-107), Tolkien describes the development of nasals combined with voiced stops, stating that "mb, nd, ñg were among the the most favoured consonant groups in Quenya" and "mb, nd, ñg suffered no further change in 'correct' TQ [Tarquesta = Spoken Quenya]" (PE19/92).

That argues strongly for medial [ŋg].

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2017 (03:02)

If we think about how compounds are formed, almost all "medial NG"s are originally followed by a vowel: aŋga-runja >>> angruin. And we have an example of G showing up (after two velar nasals) rather than disappearing: CE. oŋŋol forms ongol in Sindarin.

Eldamo offers ang's development as aŋgā > aŋga > aŋg, and stops there. Since we (as far as I know) haven't seen a rule which suggests that G disappeared after [ŋ], even when final.

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2017 (03:03)

And I just realized your question and all your examples were Sindarin ... which is not my area of expertise. I will wait and see if one of the Sindarin experts chimes on your question, and not I will dig through Salo's book to see if I can come up with an answer.

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2017 (03:07)

+Paul Strack I should have posted my comment faster!

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2017 (03:47)

+Ekin Gören Actually, David Salo is of the opinion that final [-ŋg] became [-ŋ] in Sindarin, and I trust his judgement over mine. See Gateway to Sindarin p. 64, rule §4.202. The Sindarin phonetic analysis in Eldamo is very, very incomplete.

Salo does seem to be of the opinion that medial [ŋg] either remained or was restored in the phonetic development of Sindarin. See, for example, §4.201.

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2017 (10:51)

+Paul Strack I meant attested rule, as in PE19. But "... except finally where it was sounded as in English sing" could be Salo's basis for §4.202. Looking at [ŋ]'s sisters, we have (both monosyllabic) "-m(b>ø)" and "-nd", though this only adds to the confusion. I should revisit PE19.

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2017 (17:40)

+Ekin Gören Actually I find PE22 a better source for Noldorin/Sindarin phonetic information, and I did find some direct quotes from Tolkien on the development of [ŋg]:

"The groups mb, nd, ŋg written [as tengwar malta, númen, noldo] have now become [m]; [nn] medially and [n] finally; [ŋg] medially and [ŋ] finally" (PE22/35)


"In late Exhilic [ŋg] suffered no further change. [tengwa noldo] thus represents [ŋg] except finally, where it is [ŋ]. [ŋg] has since remained before r, l, but became [ŋ] before other consonants, as Angband = [aŋban]. Before a main stress [ŋg] is sometimes in Toleressean reduce to [ŋ], but this is not normal." (PE22/36)

So, this would indicate pronunciations:

Angband [ɑŋbɑn] and Angmar [ɑŋmɑr]

but Angrod [ɑŋgrod], Anglachel [ɑŋglɑxel]

Of course, the above is Tolkien writing about Noldorin in the 1930s, and he could have changed his mind about Sindarin.

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2017 (17:55)

+Paul Strack Ah, great! Clears everything up quite nicely, even though it's about Noldorin. There is certainly more to PE22 than LVS, a more thorough reading is in order.

Young P Feb 20, 2017 (11:11)

Great works you guys!
Now the pain in the neck is gone. Thank you.
I hope I could read PEs or other stuffs but I'm not even done with major works yet...