Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 9)

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OS. first in pair of voiced stops vocalized; [Vb{bdg}|Vg{bdg}] > [Vu{bdg}|Vi{bdg}]

In Sindarin and Noldorin, the first consonant of a pair of voiced stops became a vowel, but the exact phonetic development evolved between the two conceptual periods. The clearest description of the Sindarin change is in the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from around 1950:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 8)

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OS. [ŋ] vanished except before stop; [ŋ-|VŋV] > [ø-|VøV]

The ancient velar nasal ñ [ŋ] generally vanished in Sindarin and Noldorin, ultimately surviving only in combination with voiced and voiceless stops: [ŋk] and [ŋg], including the larger cluster [ŋgj] (but not [ŋgw] which had already become [mb]). A clear description of this change appears in the second version of Tengwesta Qenderinwa from around 1950:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 5)

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AT. final voiceless stops and [s] vanished in polysyllables; [-SV{ptks}] > [-SVø]

Based on various examples (mainly from Noldorin), primitive polysyllables ending in final voiceless stops (p, t, k) or s lost this final consonant in their phonetic development. Such primitive words were principally derived from KALAT-stems and fairly rare, especially those ending in [p] (PE21/71). Tolkien discussed such words in his notes on Common Eldarin Noun Structure in the late 40s or early 50s:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 3)

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AT. [j] was lost after initial dental; [{ttʰdnl}j-] > [{ttʰdnl}-]

At various points Tolkien indicated that initial palatalized dentals (those with an additional y-sound) lost their palatalization and became simple dentals in the Telerin language family. The clearest description of this change is from a discussion of the development of primitive initial combinations in the Comparative Tables of the 1930s:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 2)

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Another Sindarin Phonetic post:

AT. labialized velars became labials; [kw|kʰw|gw|ŋgw|ŋkw|ŋw-] > [p|pʰ|b|mb|mp|m-]

The ancient change of labialized velars to labials in Telerin is extremely well documented (PE18/104; VT41/8; WJ/374-375), and it is characteristic of the Telerin branch of the Eldarin languages. For example, in a note associated with The Shibboleth of Fëanor essay from 1968:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 1)

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I’m working on creating detailed analysis of Sindarin phonetic development, and have decided to post preliminary work here, for these interested in early reviews and possibly giving me feedback. Here is the first such post, on the following phonetic change:

AT. short unstressed vowels vanished before [l], [r] to produce favored initial clusters; [{ptkpʰkʰbdgm}V₁{rl}V́₁-] > [{ptkpʰkʰbdgm}ø{rl}V́₁-]