December 2018

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 11)

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OS. [ɣ] became [g] before nasals and liquids; [ɣ{mnlr}] > [g{mnlr}]

In the Old Noldorin of the 1930s and 1940s, the voiced velar spirant [ɣ] evolved into [g] before nasals [m] and [n]; the same seems to be true of [ŋ], though Tolkien’s notation is unclear. This development is discussed in Tolkien’s notes on the Feanorian Alphabet from the 1940s:

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Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 10)

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OS. [z] vanished before [d] lengthening preceding vowel; [Vzd] > [V̄d]

In Sindarin and Noldorin, [z] disappeared before the voiced stop [d], modifying the preceding vowel, though the exact phonetic rules evolved between the conceptual stages of the language. For Sindarin, this change is described in a couple places within notes on the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from around 1950:

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: