The Elvish languages as linguistic phenomena

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Автор: Слинько Екатерина Андреевна
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Chapter 1. Theoretical aspects of the investigation of the Elvish languages
1.1 The outer history: J.R.R. Tolkien as a philologist
1.2 The history of the Elvish scholarship
1.3 The classification of the Elvish languages
Chapter 2. Primitive Elvish as a linguistic phenomenon
2.1 Structure of words in Primitive Elvish
2.2 Phonology of Primitive Elvish
2.3 Grammar of Primitive Elvish
Chapter 3. Quenya as a linguistic phenomenon
3.1 Phonology of Quenya
3.2 Grammar of Quenya
Chapter 4. Sindarin as a linguistic phenomenon
4.1 Phonology of Primitive Elvish
4.2 Grammar of Primitive Elvish
This graduate work is called “The Elvish languages as linguistic phenomena”. Here we have examined two of the most popular Elvish languages and their predecessor that were created by professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Every year there appear more and more fans of his great works and mostly all of them are interested in his created languages and want to learn and speak them. Moreover, a lot of scholars are attracted by them and they made researches on this topic. For the most part these scholars are from Norway, Germany and England. In Russia there are a few of them due to the fact that the appearance of these books is quite late and the Russian people knew about Tolkien in 1969 from the articles in British journal that was published in Soviet Union, though the first adequate translation appeared in 1992 but still there is no canonical translation of his writings, only seven official. In addition we should notice that even not all of his significant works have been translated. There is also another reason for such poor investigations of Tolkien works – Russian scholars pay more attention to the difficulties of translation, they study the character of them and, as a result, there are no fundamental, resumptive works.
The aim of this work is to study and systematize all the information known about these languages and to present it in more suitable way than it is given in most of the books on Elvish. There are few objects of investigation in this work: these objects are the languages of the Elves. The subject of the investigation is the structure of the languages.
The methods of the investigation are the following:
1)    to find the most important literature concerning the Elvish languages;
2)    to systematize this information;
3)    to observe the development of the languages from the old period to modern;
4)    to investigate the system of the languages and to try to compare it with the system of the “real” languages;
5)    to work with dictionaries of these invented languages;
6)    to sum up all the material and present it in a suitable way.
This graduate work consists of four chapters. In the first chapter we have observed the biography of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and tried to find out the reasons of this hobby (inventing of the languages) and why did he based Quenya and Sindarin on the most difficult and sophisticated languages: Finnish and Welsh. In this chapter we have also examined the most important works on Tolkien’s languages and found some journals concerning them and made a review of all the Elvish languages that Tolkien invented for his mythology.
In the second chapter we have investigated and made a brief survey of the history and development of the first Elvish language – Primitive Elvish. Also we have investigated the structure of words of this language, described the functions of the sounds, their changes in different environment. We also have classified words of the language according to their belonging to certain parts of speech and described them.
In the third chapter we have investigated the “language of lore”, the noble tongue of the Elves – Quenya. Here we also have presented some historical facts about the language, described phonology and its development during the Three Ages of the World, pointed to the traces of the primitive language (they have much in common), described all the parts of speech and their modifications, pointed out the features of the language that are similar to English.
In the fourth chapter we have investigated the language, that was developed in Middle-earth and that was a spoken language of the Elves of those lands - Sindarin. As in the previous chapters, we gave some historical facts concerning this language, described its phonology, the changes it underwent during the Three Ages and grammar (grammatical categories, parts of speech, inflections, modifications, etc).
In the appendices we have presented mostly all the examples of Tolkien’s writings in these languages. However, there is also not a little amount of poems and writings, made by Tolkienists themselves.
Chapter 1. Theoretical aspects of the investigation of the Elvish languages
1.1 The outer history: J. R. R. Tolkien as a philologist
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is a famous writer, the author of such bestsellers as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion. Everyone knows him because of these books but not all of them know that he also was a philologist and the languages that we study here are not just primitive things that some storytellers and game makers do, but a serious scholar work. The languages of the Elves, especially Quenya and Sindarin, are the most developed and shaped. They have the most complete structure. Professor Tolkien worked on them during all his life. But what was the purpose of it? How did he make them? Why only two of the great numbers are developed? We try to answer these questions when studying his biography concerning the philological facts.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was bred by his mother. She made a lot of things for him and the most essential were home-studies. “His favourite lessons were those concerning languages”. She introduced him to the rudiments of Latin. Ronald was “interested in the sounds, the shapes of words and in their meaning” [2, p.29, 30]. French he didn’t like. He eventually found the existence of the Welsh language when was walking along the railway.
The next step was King Edward’s School where he began to study Greek and continued the studies of Latin. Here began his looking for the bones of the languages. In fact, he started to study philology – the science of words. During this period he got acquainted with Spanish, Anglo-Saxon and Old-Norse (Old Icelandic). It was a deep love for the look and the sound of words and as a result of it he started to invent his own languages [2, p.43].
The first steps were made in Nevbosh or the New Nonsense. It was developed to chant limericks in it. The only one example of it was found:
 Dar fys ma vel gom co palt: “Hoc
Pys go iskili far maino woc?”
Pro si go fys do roc de
Do can ym maino bocte
De volt fact soc ma taimful gyroc!
 There was an old man who said: “How
 Can I possibly carry my cow?”
 For it were to ask it
 To get in my basket
 It would make such a terrible row! [2, p.44]
This language is based on English, French and Latin in disguise.
When he started to learn Greek he entertained himself by making – up Greek-style words. But he wanted to make more sophisticated language on an organized basis and decided to take an existing language as a model or as a starting point. He began to work on Naffarin. It showed a great deal of Spanish influence but it had its own system of phonology and grammar.
Ronald might have developed it still further had he not discovered Gothic language. He invented “extra” gothic words to fill gaps in the limited vocabulary that survived. He started to work on invented alphabets, organized “historical” system. One of his school notebooks contains a system of code-symbols for each letter of the English alphabet. This occupied him most until he entered Oxford.
In Oxford he was bored by Latin and Greek and was excited by Germanic literature. He managed to find books in medieval Welsh and loved the appearance and sound of the words. Also he discovered the Finnish language. Later he recalled: “It was like discovering of wine-cellar filled with bottles of amazing wine of kind and flavour never tasted before. It quite intoxicated me” [2, p.67]. He abandoned Gothic and began to create a private language that was heavily influenced by Finnish. This language would eventually emerge in “Quenya” or “High-Elven”. At that time he extended his knowledge in Old and Middle English and found a group of religious poems of Cynewulf. Few lines from them impressed him greatly and it was a starting point for
his future works. By 1915 Tolkien had developed Quenya or how he called it “My Nonsense Fairy Language” [2] to a degree of some complexity. He felt it was a “mad hobby” and scarcely expected to find an audience for it. He understood that this language should live and needs someone to speak it. Tolkien perfected it and decided to whom it belonged. Sometimes he even wrote poems in it. Here is a part of one of them, dated: “November 1915, March 1916”. No translation survived but the translation of two words is known: Lasselanta – leaf-fal or autumn and Eldamar – the elvenhome in the West.
Ai lintulinda Lasselanta
Pilingeve suyer nalla ganta
Kuluvi ya karnevalinar
V’ematte singi Eldamar [2]
During 1915 Ronald Tolkien discovered that Quenya was spoken by the fairies or Elves. From now he was busy finding out the history of the Elves, where did they come from and how they began to speak Quenya. He paid great attention to their names, carefully constructed them.
By 1917 Tolkien’s “Nonsense Fairy Language” had become very sophisticated, possessed a vocabulary of many hundreds of words. It was derived as any “real” language would have been: from a primitive language supposedly spoken in an earlier age. From this Primitive Eldarian (Eldar means the Firstborn or Elvenkind) Tolkien created a second Elvish language, contemporary with Quenya but spoken by different peoples of the Elves. It was later called “Sindarin” or “Grey Elven” and its phonology was based on the second Tolkien’s favourite language after Finnish, Welsh. Besides Quenya and Sindarin, Tolkien invented a number of other Elvish languages. They were not as sophisticated as the former but still they occupied much of his mind [9].
The Elvish names were constructed almost from Quenya and Sindarin. It is impossible to give an adequate account of how they were constructed but in brief it happened like this: Tolkien at first decided what the name should mean, then developed its form in one language than in another. Sometimes he constructed a name
that sounded appropriate to the character without paying much attention to its meaning because it sounded well. But later such names were dismissed and Tolkien tried to discover how they could have reached their strange, inexplicable form. As the years went by he concerned his invented languages as “real” and stories as historical chronicles. As a result he said not “This is not as I wish it to be; I must change it” but “What does that mean? I must find out”. He strongly believed that he is not an inventor of something, but just as discoverer of the lost languages and myths [2, p.101].
In 1919 Tolkien began to use an alphabet, which looked like a mixture of three ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek and Pitman’s shorthand), later it evolved into “The Alphabet of Rúmil” in his diaries. He was a restless perfectionist and couldn’t decide its final form. Due to this perfectionism the final version hasn’t been achieved and his son, after Ronald’s death, accepted the last version.
Ronald Tolkien did a lot concerning languages, made them more perfect, but still not full, owing to the fact that he didn’t want to accept the words which were not concerned with nature, Old England which he loved so much. That is the main reason why these languages lack of words to communicate though people form new words on the basis of the existing ones.
1.2 The history of the Elvish scholarship
Although the study of Tolkien’s languages is, as a rule, not taken seriously by mainstream linguistics, the number of serious scholars has worked on their studies. An early book dedicated to Eldarin is “An Introduction to Elvish” by Jim Allan. In this book the author gave a very good description of Quenya and Sindarin phonology, a little information on history of the languages and some notes about the main parts of speech. He made a great contribution to Elvish linguistics. The book was first published in 1978, reprinted in 1983, 1987, 1995, 2001, 2002, and 2003.
The next book concerning the Elvish languages is “The evolution from Primitive Elvish to Quenya” by Helge Kare Fauskanger, the Norwegian scientist, the founder of the first and the most popular web site of the Elvish languages – Ardalambion. In this book he made a deep investigation of Elvish phonology in historical sense: he described all the way of development of the language phonological changes from the first primitive stage till the one in which Quenya is in the present moment. This book and the previous one were the most important sources of Quenya phonology (except Tolkien’s descriptions in the Appendices of the Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth) for this graduate work.
The next important work in the Elvish languages is “Quetin i lambё Eldaiva ein Quenya-Sprachkurs” of the german linguist Thorsten Renk. This work is also one of the best contributions to Elvish linguistics, though it wasn’t translated in any language and exists only in german. Thorsten Renk investigated Quenya grammar: a little bit of adjectives and a deep investigation of Quenya verbs and its forms. Unfortunately, we don not know, when it was published at first, but the latest publication goes back to 2004.
During the work on this paper we have found a lot of dictionaries of Elvish languages: Sindarin-Polski-English and Polski-Sindarin, Quenya-French and French-Quenya, English-Quenya and Quenya-English dictionaries and also with many more real languages. Sindarin has mostly the same variety of dictionaries as Quenya has.
In Great Britain few magazines concerning the Elvish languages are published every month. The first one and the most prominent is Parma Eldalamberon. Parma Eldalamberon, “The Book of Elven-tongues”, is a journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, a special interest group of the Mythopoeic Society. It presents previously unpublished writings by J. R. R. Tolkien concerning his Elvish languages, early versions of his invented scripts, investigations and deep analysis of the texts. These have been edited and annotated by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith and Patrick H. Wynne, under the guidance of Christopher Tolkien and with the permission of the Tolkien Estate.
The Vinyar Tengwar is the second magazine concerning these languages. Vinyar Tengwar is a linguistic journal published by the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, dedicated to the scholarly study of the invented languages of J.R.R. Tolkien. “Vinyar” is the plural of “vinya” - "new", and “Tengwar” means "letters". Despite the incorrectness of the title, it was kept for old times' sake.
Vinyar Tengwar first appeared in 1988, at first edited by Jorge Quiñonez and later taken over by Carl F. Hostetter. It appeared in bimonthly intervals at first, but after July 1994, issues appeared more irregularly, roughly once a year. This coincided with the greater frequency of publication of texts written by Tolkien himself; the journal is now dedicated primarily to such texts. Several of these texts were mentioned in volumes of The History of Middle-earth, edited by Christopher Tolkien, but not published in that series owing to their specialist or recondite nature.
The professional studying of Tolkien’s works (as the “tolkienists” like to say – academic) in Russia began in 1981, when there appeared the article of L.S. Koshelev called “The character of J.R.R.Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings””. Thus, this year Russian tolkienism celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. This scholar wrote many other investigations. Moreover, he defended the first thesis on Tolkien in USSR. Also we
can point to the author of the second thesis on Tolkien R.I.Kabakov and to the works of Apenko. In the ninetieth there appeared a number of students’ graduate works, thesises of S.A.Luzina, articles of Shurmil, O.L.Kabachek, and S.B.Lihachev. As we
can judge, the number of works on Tolkien increased in the nineties. We may assert that in Russia his works achieved versatile and deep interpretation, though we still cannot speak about some fundamental works of resumptive character.
1.3 Classification of the Elvish languages
As it was said, J.R.R. Tolkien invented several languages for the Elves. In his mythology these languages originated as follows [according to 27]
Primitive Quendian is the first language of the Quendi (Elves), which they spoke soon after their Awakening. It will be mentioned further in the work. Primitive Quendian give birth to Avarin and Common Eldarin. Avarin is the language of those Elves who didn’t follow Oromë and stayed in Middle-earth. Those who went to Aman called them Avari or the Unwilling, but they continued to call themselves Quendi, “those who speak with voices”. According to the “War of Jewels” Avarin dialects were numerous. Though only few words about these six can be found in the there. Some Avarin tongues were evidently similar to the Eldarin ones. The speech of the first Atani (Men) “resembled the Elven-tongue in many words and devices” [19, ch.17]. In these early days, this Elvish influence on the languages of Men could come only from Avarin. There are six descendants of the Avarin language in Middle-earth: Kindi, Cuind, Hwenti, Windan, Kinn-lai, and Penni [21, p.410]. Each of these forms belong to a separate Avarin language, probably there were many more. Let us now watch through the changes in these Avarin languages by comparing these forms with the Quenya word Quendi:
1)                               Kindi. In this form we can see the loss of “w” and the change from “e” to “i” by assimilation to the plural ending “i”. The same change also can be found in Quenya.
2)                               Cuind. “C” stands instead of “k”. The original ending has been lost (such change we can find in the later period in Quenya). The original semi-vowel “w” has turned into a full vowel “u” (this also occurs in Quenya).
3)                               Hwenti. Shows a change from “kw” to “hw” and from “d” to “t”. The original long final vowel “-í” was shortened to “-i”.
4)                               Windan. This form has lost the original initial “k”, turned “e” to “i” and strengthen the original second “e” to “a”. This Avarin language also introduced a new plural ending “-n”.
5)                               Kinn-lai. Perhaps closely related to the Kindi. We see here the change from “kwe” to “ki”, have assimilation of “nd” to “nn”. The last element “lai” which is derived from Primitive Quendian “liё” by A-infixion (very common in the primitive language) and by shortening of the final vowel.
6)                               Penni. It is a form especially interesting to Tolkien. It shows the change of “kw” to “p” as in Telerin. Also we can see the assimilation from “nd” to “nn” and the shortening of the final vowel. [ 21]
According to these changes we can construct new Avarin words, deriving them from Primitive Quendian.
Common Eldarin is the next stage after Primitive Quendian. "When the Eldar arrived in Aman and settled there they had already a long history behind them...also their languages had been elaborated and changed and were very different from their primitive speech as it was before the coming of Oromë" [21, p.348]. It will be discussed later in this work.
Common Telerin is the original language of the Teleri or Lindar. It comes from Common Eldarin and appeared during the Westward March. Very little is known about this language. The only thing we can say is that this language gave birth to Telerin and Sindarin as well and has very much in common with them, mostly with Telerin.
Quenya is the language of the Vanyar and the Noldor who reached Valinor. There are two dialects of Quenya: Noldorin Quenya, which later converted to Exilic Quenya, and Vanyarin Quenya. This language we will mention later.
Telerin or Lindalambë, “the tongue of the Lindar”, is the language of those Teleri, who reached Valinor. It is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Quenya, but it is an independent language. Comparing this language with the languages of real world some can detect that Telerin has an Italian flavour, though Tolkien has never mentioned it. Concerning the world of Arda, Telerin was influenced by and in turn influenced Quenya that is why they are very closely related. Telerin is much more conservative than Quenya and preserved many old forms from the Primitive language. This is due to the fact that in Quenya there were only new realizations of one phoneme which the language didn’t have, but in Telerin there have been some major simplifications in phonemic system. [21] Here we present some words of Telerin origin. The second form is in Quenya.
1)                                 Abari – Avari, derived from a Primitive Quendian stem “abar”, meaning “to refuse, deny”. The Elves who never left Middle-earth or began the March from Cuiviénen but stayed.
2)                                 Alatáriel – “Galadriel”, elf-maiden crowned with a garland of bright radiance, niece of Fёanor. Has two stems “alata” – radiance, “rielle”- garland, wreath”.
3)                                 Bala – “Vala”, one of the Ainur (Angelic Power), descended to Arda. The stem “bala” is a verb “has power”, hence the plural form Balar (“Valar”) means “those who has power” or just “the Powers”.
4)                                 Banya – Vanya, means “beautiful”. The plural form “Vanyar” is the name of the first elves who came to Valinor and whose beauty impressed the Valar.
5)                                 Ellálie – Eldaliё, Elf-people. The stem is “elda” which means “connected with the stars” (Elves were awakened under the stars).
6)                                 Fallinel – Telerin Elf, which means “foam-singer” (the Teleri loved singing).
7)                                 Gáiar – the Sea. The stem here is Gayar meaning “the Terrifier”.
8)                                 Lindai – Singers. The Teleri called themselves by this name.
9)                                 Lindalambe – the language of the Lindar, Telerin.
10)                            Telperion – the White Tree of Valinor. The stem “telepe” means silver” [11].
Nandorin is the language of the Nandor, a group of Teleri, who turned south along the Great River (Anduin), and disappeared from written history. In Quenya this word means “those who go back”. Later they appear as Silvan or Wood elves. Nandorin became extinct when Sindarin elves merged with the Silvan folk and were taken as their lords. The daily tongue of the Silvan elves became Sindarin or Sindarin with some Silvan influences. Nandorin was spoken in Mirkwood and in Lórien. All that survived of it were some thirty words [22, p.257]. Here are some of them:
1)    alm – “elm-tree”
2)    beorn – “man”, descended from “berno”- valiant man, warrior
3)    Danas – “Green elves, Nandor”, derived from the stem “ndan” meaning “back”
4)    Edel – “Elda, High Elf”, “Star-folk”
5)    Lindórinand – “Vale of the Land of Singers”, “Lórien”[11]
Sindarin is the language spoken in Middle-earth in the Third Age and spoken at first only by those Elves who were left behind on the Westward March, derived from Common Telerin. There are three dialects of Sindarin: Doriathrin, Falathrin and North Sindarin. Doriathrin is spoken by the Sindar of Doriath, the heart-region of Beleriand. It is an archaic variant of Sindarin. Falathrin is spoken by the Eldars of Falas, the coast region of Beleriand. It adopted a lot of features of Quenya. North Sindarin is spoken in Hithlum, northern Beleriand. This dialect was adopted by the exiled Noldor. North Sindarin retained many features of Archaic Sindarin. The survivors of Beleriand adopted the Falathrin dialect, though some names show North Sindarin influence.
Chapter 2. Primitive Elvish as a linguistic phenomenon
 There are two stages of Primitive Elvish distinguished by Tolkien. The very first stage is Primitive Quendian, the ancestor of all Elvish languages in the world. PQ was the language of the first Elves, who woke up at Cuiviénen (Waters of Awakening) and was used till the beginning of The March. Common Eldarin is the next stage of Primitive Elvish. This is the language of the original Eldar, developed from PQ during the March from Cuiviénen, and the last common ancestor of Quenya and Sindarin.

2.1 Structure of words in Primitive Elvish
 When we are speaking about Primitive Elvish, the meaning of the stem, root or base must be clearly understood. The root or stem is a part of a word containing a basic meaning, and in the process of derivation we can produce new words. For instance, the general idea of youth is apparently contained in the stem neth, which is the basis of words like nêthê (youth) or nethrâ (young).
The Quendian consonantal base or sundo was characterized by a determinant vowel or sundóma: thus the sundo kat has a medial sundóma “a”, and talat has the sundóma repeated. In derivative forms the sundóma might be placed before the first consonant, e.g. atalat. The "base" consists of consonants (like k-t in kat) plus a determinant vowel (in this case a) that can move around and be reduplicated. Consonantal roots are associated with a certain characteristic vowel that can be inserted in various places, but has to be present in all derived words.
The system that eventually formed at Cuiviénen featured a basic structure with two consonants and a fixed medial vowel: C-V-C-(-): dele, heki, tele, kiri,ruku, etc. A large number of monosyllabic stems (with only an initial consonant or consonant group) still appear in the Eldarin tongues; and many of the dissyllabic stems must have been made by elaboration of these. Usually the first and the second vowels are identical and, in fact, it does not matter if the stem is given with or
without the final vowel: Ulu (pour)= ul. Some of the stems originally ended in a consonant 3, which was lost later and the final vowel was lengthened in compensation: do3 > dô. The stem for “bite” is a good example of how a stem can be modified to produce a basis for new words: nak (bite), ndak (slay), ának (jaw), naýká (biting, painful). Nak - ndak – strengthening of the initial consonant; nak - ának – reduplication of the medial vowel and its lengthening; nak – naýká – elaboration of the stem. We will now examine various ways of manipulating a stem.
1)    Stem-vowel prefixation.
Intensive prefix is a reduplication of base-vowel:
Thil (silver shine) > Ithil (Moon)
Ndis (woman) > Indis (bride)
Stel (remain firm) > Estel (hope)
In most cases stress is moved to the new first syllable, but very seldom the original stem vowel retains accent:
Nar (flame, fire) > Anár (Sun)
Rom (loud noise) > Óromë (name of the Vala)
Rok (the dark rider upon its horse, servant of Morgoth) > Órok (orc)
2)    A-infixion.
A-infixion is seen in adjectives and in some abstracts. A new vowel a is inserted into a stem, turning the stem-vowels i, u into diphthongs ai, au. The stem sliw (sickly) yields the adjective slaiwâ (sickly, sick, ill), the stem khim (adhere) yield an abstract khaimê (habit).
3)    I/Y-infixion.
This seems to be rarer than A-infixion. It is stated that the stem naýká (painful) is an elaboration of nak "bite"; naýká yields Quenya words in naic-. The stem waíwa (blow) is apparently an I-infixed variant of wawa, which in turn seems to be a reduplicated form of wá.
4)    Nasal-infixion.
Stems could be modified by infixing a nasal before the second consonant of the stem, m before b and p, and n. Dat (fall down) has a nasal-infixed variant dant. Lak (swallow) becomes lank, yielding words for "throat". There is one example of ñ-infixion before w: liñwi "fish" from the stem liw.
5)    Strengthening, fortification.
Ruku also appear as a strengthened stem gruk-; in this case the strengthening consists of a g-prefix. A prefix s is seen in srot- (delve underground, excavate, tunnel). B, d, g turned into nasalized plosivesmb, nd, ñg. Initial n, like d, may be strengthened to nd, and m can similarly become mb. Initial ñ could be strengthened to ñg (no examples). The stem nder (bridegroom) is said to be a strengthened form of der. Similar changes can also occur in the middle of words. Kwende (elf) is derived from a stem kwene by primitive fortification of the medial n > nd. In the middle of words, the medial could also be doubled: Grottâ (a large excavation) is an intensified form of grotâ (excavation).
6)    Extension.
Some stems have special extended forms made by suffixing the stem-vowel (this is called ómataina or vocalic extension) and adding a final consonant, usually n, k, t, or s. A similar extension involving a final n is provided by the stem el, ele yielding Common Eldarin elen (star). Órot (height, mountain), that is apparently extended from the basic stem oro (up; rise; high). There are some extensions with final -k, like otok (seven) from ot. Naýak (pain) is connected with nay (lament).
7)    Differentiation.
 As noted above, the long forms of stems with a final vowel usually involve simple repetition of the stem-vowel: del > dele, kal > kala etc. But there are some rare cases with another final vowel –u: telu (close, end, come at the end). There are also some Quenya stems in -u, such as nicu (be chill, cold (of weather))
8)    Variation
There seems to be some variation between certain similar consonants, such as t/th/d, and also between th and s, sp and ph, y and w, p and t. In the Etymologies we can find the following examples:
tin (emit slender beam) = thin (grey)
sil = thil (shine)
spalas = phalas (foam)
kyel = kwel (dead)
pik = tik (having to do with smallness) [11]
In Primitive Elvish, nearly all words can be split into a stem followed by a derivational ending, and we have tried to list these suffixes. In the primitive language the stem and the ending are usually easy to distinguish, while the border between them is often blurred by sound-changes in the later languages. For instance, primitive sukmâ (drinking-vessel) is easily split into a stem suk (drink) with the ending -mâ denoting an implement. It should be noted that the second, reduplicated vowel of the stem, the ómataina or vocalic extension, is often not included when an ending is added to produce an actual word. There are definitely some words where the second vowel persists, as when ulu (pour) yields ulumô (pourer), but often it disappears.
 The second vowel of two-syllable stems like gólob or stálag may also be omitted in the actual words that are derived from them; these stems manifest as golb- and stalg- in the derivatives golbâ (branch) and stalgondô (hero, dauntless man).
 In the case of two-syllable stems with a final consonant, this consonant and the final vowel may change places when an ending is added: thus the stem Úlug manifests as ulgu- in the word ulgundô (monster).
 In actual words, j as the final consonant of a stem becomes i before a consonant, merging with the stem-vowel to produce a diphthong in -i (as when the stem tuy – or tuj - yields the word tuimâ (a sprout, bud) - for tujmâ. Sometimes, but not always, j becomes i also before vowels, as when daj/dai yields daiô (shade).
W becomes u before a consonant: tiw yields tiukâ (thick, fat).
Most primitive words end in a vowel, sometimes short but often long. The vowel may be a complete ending in itself or part of a longer ending.
In Primitive Elvish, nearly all words can be split into a stem followed by a derivational ending, and we have tried to list these suffixes. In the primitive language the stem and the ending are usually easy to distinguish, while the border between them is often blurred by sound-changes in the later languages. For instance, primitive sukmâ (drinking-vessel) is easily split into a stem suk (drink) with the ending -mâ denoting an implement. It should be noted that the second, reduplicated vowel of the stem, the ómataina or vocalic extension, is often not included when an ending is added to produce an actual word. There are definitely some words where the second vowel persists, as when ulu (pour) yields ulumô (pourer), but often it disappears.
 The second vowel of two-syllable stems like gólob or stálag may also be omitted in the actual words that are derived from them; these stems manifest as golb- and stalg- in the derivatives golbâ (branch) and stalgondô (hero, dauntless man).
 In the case of two-syllable stems with a final consonant, this consonant and the final vowel may change places when an ending is added: thus the stem Úlug manifests as ulgu- in the word ulgundô (monster).
 In actual words, j as the final consonant of a stem becomes i before a consonant, merging with the stem-vowel to produce a diphthong in -i (as when the stem tuy - or tuj - yields the word tuimâ (a sprout, bud) - for tujmâ. Sometimes, but not always, j becomes i also before vowels, as when daj/dai yields daiô (shade). W becomes u before a consonant: tiw yields tiukâ (thick, fat). [11]
Most primitive words end in a vowel, sometimes short but often long. The vowel may be a complete ending in itself or part of a longer ending. The ending -â (or -a) occurs in many types of words, but most prominent is the adjectival ending –â. Adjectives may be derived by simple suffixation, like mizdâ (wet) or telesâ (rear). However, the ending is often combined with certain manipulations of the stem:

 - Medial fortifications like m > mb, n > nd, l > ld, e.g. rimbâ (frequent, numerous), kandâ (bold), kuldâ (golden-red).
 - Nasal infixion, e.g. tungâ (taut, tight), panda (sloping).
 - A-infixion, e.g. thausâ (foul, evil-smelling, putrid, taurâ (masterful, mighty).
 - I-infixion; this occurs in a small group of desiderative formations. For instance, the adjective meinâ (eager to go, desiring to start)
 - Lengthening of stem-vowel, e.g. khîmâ (sticky, viscous), râba (wild, untamed"), dâla (flat).
 - Stem-vowel prefixed: askarâ (tearing, hastening). [11, 21]
 Nouns in -â display much the same variation; in most cases, such nouns denote inanimate things. Some are derived by simple suffixation, e.g. wedâ (bond) or golbâ (branch). Some show nasal infixion: kwentâ (tale), randâ (cycle, age), kwingâ (bow). We also note cases where the stem-vowel is lengthened, such as râmâ (wing") or kânâ (outcry, clamour). Doubling of the final consonant in the stem is also found: rattâ, ratta (course, river-bed), gassâ (hole, gap). As noted above, there are many verbs showing final a, but then as part of the longer endings -tâ or -jâ. The simple ending -a, -â is very rare on verbs. We note olsa- (dream) Long -â combined with medial fortification m > mb occurs in tambâ(knock).
The suffix - is an agental ending that is preferred in the case of stems ending in n: ñgandô (harper) from and lindô (singer) from lin. There is also the word ndandô (Nando, Green-elf, one who goes back on his word or decision). The ending -dô also appears in a nasal-infixed form -ndo or -ndô. In the word ulgundô (monster, deformed and hideous creature) from úlug used to form a noun. In the words kalrondô (hero) from kal (shine) and lansrondo, lasrondo (hearer, listener, eavesdropper), the ending -ndo, -ndô seems to be suffixed to another masculine ending -rô.
The ending -ê, -e has several meanings. A number of words denote abstract or intangible things; in such cases the stem-vowel is often lengthened: nêthê (youth) from neth, ñgôlê (Science/Philosophy),ñôle (odour) from ñol, rênê (remembrance) [19, p.360, 372]. Another group of nouns in -ê denote substances: khjelesê (glass), kjelepê (silver), laurê (golden light).
A feminine ending -ê, -e is seen in the word tawarê (dryad, spirit of woods) evidently feminine.Cf. also bessê (wife). A few nouns in -ê denote localities: ndorê (land) [21, p.413], taurê (great wood, forest), etkelê (spring, issue of water).
 However, the ending -ê also occurs in many nouns. It may be used alone as in spinê (larch), but more often it is combined with some other manipulations of the stem, such as nasal-infixion: londê (narrow path) lengthening of the stem-vowel: rîgê (crown); A-infixion: laibê (ointment); medial fortifications like m > mb or n > nd: rimbê (crowd, host) or doubling of the final consonant of the stem: lassê (leaf).
The ending i occurs in a number of adjectives, many of which are colour-words. In the case of monosyllabic stems ending in n, it is always combined with the fortification n > nd: slindi (fine, delicate), thindi (pallid, grey, wan, pale or silvery grey), windi (blue-grey, pale blue or grey) [21, p.384]. Ninkwi (white) combines the ending -i with nasal-infixion of the stem nikw; karani (red) shows no extra modifications. Nouns in –i can be abstract, such as rinki (flourish, quick shake).A few nouns in -i refer to periods of time: ari (day) and dômi (twilight).
 Some few denote substances: glisi (honey), pori (flour, meal), khîthi (mist, fog).
An abstract/infinitive ending -ie is found in Quenya and Old Sindarin, and we would expect it to correspond to something like - in the primitive language. This ending may be attested in the word luktiênê (enchantress).
An adjectival ending -imâ occurs in the word silimâ (shining white, silver). This would be the origin of the Quenya adjectival ending -ima (often meaning "-able", but sometimes used in a more general sense). The feminine ending -ittâ is mentioned in the Peoples of Middle-earth, p.345; this is the origin of Sindarin -eth.
The endings -jâ, -ja, -iâ, -ia have several meanings. They occur in a number of adjectives: banjâ (beautiful), erjâ (isolated, lonely), and kalarjâ (brilliant). It also occurs in some ordinals that are said to be Common Eldarin: lepenja (fifth), otsôja (seventh) [26]. The verbal endings -jâ, -ja, -iâ are attested in the words barjâ- (to protect), berja- (to dare), uljâ (it is raining). There are only a few nouns in -jâ, -ja: galjâ (bright light), gilja (star), kegjâ (hedge) [22, p.282].
Another adjectival ending is -. In the Letters of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, p.282, Tolkien mentions a basis lay that yields laikâ (green). Other examples include gajakâ (fell, terrible, dire) [15, p.363], poikâ (clean, pure), tiukâ (thick, fat); later -kâ became short –ka.
The ending -la seems to mean little more than "thing" or "person"; it is used as a noun-former. Tolkien defines hekla as "any thing (or person) put aside from, or left out from, its normal company" [21, p.361] this could be turned into a personal form heklô (waif or outcast) with the masculine ending -ô. In the Etymologies, -la is found in the names of a number of implements where the ending -mâ could have been used as well: makla (sword), tekla (pen), tankla (pin, brooch).
The ending - is used to derive nouns that "seem properly to have been universal or abstract" [26]. In most attested examples it simply acts as a verbal noun ending. The root tuy (spring, sprout) yields tuilê (day-spring) or (spring-time). Keglê comes from keg (snag, barb). The -rille of silimarille (Silmaril) is a verbal noun derived from ril "glitter", so that rille means something like "radiance, brilliance".
 The suffix -mâ is one of the most productive endings. Tolkien points out that this suffix is frequent in the names of implements [21, p.416]. Hence the stem tak (fix, make fast) may yield takmâ (thing for fixing). From the stem yat (join) comes the word jatmâ, meaning "bridge" or "joining". Telmâ (hood, covering) comes from a stem tel that is not defined, but apparently has to do with the top or canopy of something. However, not all words in -mâ denote implements. Often it simply denotes an object somehow connected with the state or action denoted by the stem.
Parmâ (book) comes from a stem par (compose, put together). Sometimes - denotes an impersonal agent, as in tuimâ (a sprout, bud) from tuy (spring, sprout). In some cases, -mâ is used simply to derive concrete nouns, as in pathmâ (level space, sward). Infrequently the ending -mâ may also denote a substance, as in wilmâ (air, lower air) from the stem wil (fly, float in air), or sagmâ (poison) from the stem sug (bitter).
The ending - is properly an abstract or verbal noun ending, much like English "-ing", as in julmê (drinking, carousal), from the stem julu (drink) [14, p.416] or labmê (moving of the tongue). A number of other words are easily explained as abstract words that have taken on a more concrete meaning, as such words often do: rakmê (fathom), tekmê (letter, symbol), tinmê (sparkle, glint). In a few cases, the ending -mê/-me occurs in the names of substances: khithme (fog), silimê (light of Silpion). The agental ending -mô is attested in the word Ulumô (Pourer, Ulmo) only.
The ending -nâ /-na is very productive. In a few cases the final vowel is marked as accented. Its function is to form adjectives: In the Unfinished Tales, p.266, a word in -nâ is called as an "ancient adjectival form", while in the War of Jewels, p.365 another such word, heklanâ, is called an "extended adjectival form" (extended as compared to the shorter adjectival form heklâ). Examples include ku3nâ (bowed, bow-shaped, bent), magnâ (skilled), ornâ (uprising, tall) [14, p.266]. This ending may well be added to stems that already have an adjectival meaning, such as krannâ (ruddy (of face)) from or mornâ (dark). A longer form -inâ, -ina is found in a few words: smalinâ (yellow), Bedûina (of the Spouses, Aulë and Yavanna), ngolwina (wise, learned in deep arts).
The word luktiênê (enchantress), the primitive form of Lúthien, seems to contain a feminine ending -nê. A distinct ending -nê occurs in ornê (slender tree). The suffix - nô is a masculine ending. It occurs in bernô (man) and besnô (husband). The endings -ô, -o are predominantly a masculine ending. Often -ô is seen to have an agental meaning: kânô (crier, herald), mâlô (friend), ndâkô (warrior, soldier).
 In some words -ô, -o have no agental meaning, but are simply masculine endings: urkô "Orc" [20, p.390], ndêro (bridegroom), tawarô/tawaro (ryad, spirit of woods). The ending -ô also occurs in the names of some animals: rokkô (horse) and morokô (bear); we may include ûbanô (monster). Yet another masculine ending, -ondô, is seen in stalgondô (hero, dauntless man); kalrondô (hero).
The ending - is a fairly productive adjectival suffix: wa3râ (soiled, dirty), mikrâ (sharp-pointed) [20, p.337], nethrâ/nethra (young).
The ending - seems to have several meanings. It functions as an abstract ending in the two words idrê (thoughtfulness) and thêrê (look, face, expression). On the other hand, it is a collective ending in the word nôrê (family, tribe or group having a common ancestry) [20, p.413].
 The endings -rô, -ro function simply as a masculine ending and have no agental significance: târo (king), kalrô (noble man, hero).
An apparently adjectival ending - occurs in the word neresâ. This is said to be a "feminine adjectival formation" from ner (man), meaning "she that has manlike valour or strength" [20, p.416].
An ending - occurs in a number of words, but it seems to have several meanings. In some words it apparently denotes something that is made by the action denoted by the stem: khotsê (assembly), sjatsê (cleft, gash), wahsê (stain). A few words indicate that -sê may also be used to derive words for implements (taksê (nail)) or constructions (tupsê "thatch"). A distinct feminine ending -sê seems to occur in a few words, such as ndîse (bride).
The endings -tâ, -ta are in most cases verbal suffixes. Most verbs are clearly transitive: anta (to present, give), hektâ (set aside, cast out, forsake), skelta (strip).
An adjectival ending -ti or -iti is seen in a few words: ma3iti (handy, skilled), neiti (moist, dewy), phoroti (right/north).
The ending -û is a dual suffix, but it also has other meanings. Words in -û, -u are nearly always nouns, rarely verbs and never adjectives. A masculine ending -û seems to be present in atû (father) and kherû (master) [3, p.282]. Some u-words denote localities: jagu (gulf), tumbu (deep valley) and tundu (hill, mound). Only one word in -u denotes a substance: smalu (pollen, yellow powder).
The ending -wâ, -wa is seen to be basically an adjectival suffix. It occurs in several colour-words: khithwa (grey), laikwâ (green), smalwâ (fallow, pale), narwâ (fiery red). There is also the adjective katwâ (shaped, formed). In one case -wâ turns up in a word stated to be an "adverb and preposition": hekwâ (leaving aside, not counting, excluding, except). The ending -wâ also occurs in a couple of bird-names: alkwâ (swan) and kukûwâ (dove).
The ending - is identified by Tolkien as an abstract suffix. It is clearly used to produce verbal nouns in words like etkuiwê (awakening) and wanwê (death); Tolkien made it clear that wanwê refers to the act of dying, not "death" as a state. Some concrete words in -wê can be explained as abstract verbal nouns that have taken on a concrete meaning: atakwê (construction, building).
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