Forum: Languages in Arda

Discussing: A question from another board...

A question from another board...

This was posed to another board of which I am a member and I would like to know what you all think. In an effort to expand both the Sindarin and Quenya vocabularies, it was suggested that one could take common phoneme mutations that seem to exist between the two (for example, Quenya t seems to become Sindarin d quite often) and apply them, say, to a Quenya word to get a Sindarin word. Given the relationship between the two languages (sisters of the same parent, more or less), would this be kosher? Bado na siidh. Berz.

 

 

Re: A question from another board...

I don't think so, Berz. I've never heard such a simple formula suggested by any of the Tolkien language scholars that I know of. I think if it were really that simple the entire Quenya lexicon would already have been converted by now. I know many Neo-Sindarin words are created out of Quenya words and I know that the regular changes in those phonemes play a big part in the conversion. Probably for some (many?) words that is all it takes. But I think there may be other features of how the words were formed that would need to be considered, and it takes a pretty deep understanding of the language to cover all the bases. This might be especially true for converting Sindarin words into Neo-Quenya words. Tolkien’s Sindarin went through so many stages and changes – both internal and external to the story – that I would think it might be tricky to make such conversions. But then I’m not an accomplished linguist either. ;) If there are some specific words you want to convert, I would suggest making the phoneme changes and your best educated guesses and then post the result at the Elfling mailing list, or in Council of Elrond or LOTR Plaza language threads for feedback. Some of the most knowledgeable folks in the field that I know of hang out in those places. I'll be glad to post the links if you are interested and need the urls. And there are a couple of other lists I know of that are even more technical in nature if that is what you prefer. Just let me know. It is a valid way to form new Neo-Sindarin or Neo-Quenya words, I just think one has to be careful when applying any formula - especially in blanket fashion to Tolkien's languages. I would be very interested in seeing the result of any word conversions that you do – vocabulary expansion is much needed and new constructions are always welcome! Ithildin *(

 

 

Re: A question from another board...

I wasn't really planning on doing any, myself. I'm content to stick with what's known and do translations that can be done from that. The topic mainly just piqued my interest. I'm more or less of the same opinion, at this point. Blanket conversions are just not a good idea, especially given the relationship between the two languages. It would be one thing if one was a parent to the other, but they're at best sister languages and more likely cousins several times removed. You've got Telerin and Nandorin in there mucking things up, too. I'm no lingusit either, but it just would seem to me that there would be enough word borrowing going on in there to make wrote conversions inviable. Not only that, but the Edict of Thingol kinda keeps Sindarin from taking on any more Quenya qualities after that. IMHO, some thought needs to be given to the internal histories of the languages in order to decide where to go from what Tolkien gave us. Wish we had more info on Telerin... Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

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