Quenya Phonetics P35: [sp], [sk] became [ps], [sk]

Q. [sp], [sk] became [ps], [sk]; [sp|sk|skw] > [ps|ks|skw]

In Quenya the combinations sp, sk were frequently transposed to ps, ks: universally in the case of medial ps, sporadically in other cases. This sound change happened both initially and medially, and the initial transpositions introduced the new initial clusters ps-, ks- to Quenya. Although established in Early Qenya, the frequency and nature of these sound changes evolved over Tolkien’s life.

Quenya Phonetics P32: final spirants were altered

This is a rewrite an extension of the following post:

The discussion of the development of final -th is largely unchanged, but the entry has been expanded to cover final voiced and voiceless spirants more generally.


Quenya Phonetics P32: final spirants were altered

Q. final spirants were altered; [-{θð}] > [-{tr}]

Quenya Phonetics P31: final consonant clusters reduced

Q. final consonant clusters reduced; [-CC|-{ptk}s|-{xp}t] > [-C|-s|-t]

It is well known that Quenya only allowed five final consonants: n, t, l, r, s, and the cluster nt (Let/425; PE19/104; PE22/62; VT42/7). That means any other consonants and consonant clusters had to be modified when final. The number of possible combinations is large, but these changes can be reduced to three relatively simple rules:

Quenya Phonetics P29: short final [a], [e], [o] lost in long compounds

Q. short final [a], [e], [o] lost in long compounds; [-SSS{ăĕŏ}] > [-SSSø]

In Quenya, short final ă, ĕ, ŏ were lost in long compounds. Tolkien discussed this in the Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1] from the 1930s:

At end of long words, especially compounds, ă, ĕ, ŏ, reductions of ē, ā, ō (as described above), were also lost. Thus kwènedḗ > kwendḗ but móri-kwènedḗ > móri-kwènǝdĕ > móri-kwèndĕ > móri-kwèn(d), Q. Moriquen.

Quenya Phonetics P27: [ŋ] assimilated to following [n] after [e], [a], [o]

Q. [ŋ] assimilated to following [n] after [e], [a], [o]; [{eao}ŋn] > [{eao}nn]

In cases where velar nasal ñ [ŋ] survived before a dental nasal n, it likewise became dental so that eñn, añn, oñn > enn, ann, onn. Tolkien mentioned this in both Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1] from the 1930s and the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from the 1950s: