Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 110)

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 110)

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S. [sk] usually became [sg]; [sk] > [sg]

In both Sindarin and Noldorin, the cluster [sk] usually became [sg]:

  • skalā > S. esgal “cast shadow” (PE17/184).
  • S. lisg “reed” in Lisgardh (UT/34) vs. ᴹQ. liske (PE19/51), though the primitive form of the Quenya word is given as ᴹ✶lisge.
  • S. rasg “wain” vs. Q. raxa [raksa] (PE19/51), probably primitive *raskā.
  • ᴹ√MISK > mesc > N. mesg “wet” vs. ᴹQ. miksa (Ety/MISK).
  • ᴹ✶askarā > ascar > N. asgar “violent, rushing” (Ety/SKAR).
  • N. osgar “cut round, amputate” (Ety/OS), probably os- + car-.

There are a few cases where this does not occur: N. rhosc “russet”, S. rusc “fox” and the river name S. Ascar. The last of these might be an archaic name. For the other cases, perhaps final -sc only became -sg only after front vowels a, e, i, and was preserved after back vowels o, u. This limitation does not seem to be true medially, for example: N. osgar (though this could simply be ordinary lenition as well).

There is one example that hints at a similar sound change for [sp]:

  • spini- > S. esbin “thin thread, tress” ( PE17/17, 119).

As a counter-example, we see N. osp “smoke” (Ety/USUK). Perhaps [sp] followed the same pattern as [sk], preserved (finally?) after o, u, but there are not enough examples to formulate a clear theory. Note that the cluster [st] is preserved medially and finally, for example: S. esten(t) “short” (PE17/185; WJ/311), N. ast “dust” (Ety/ÁS-AT).

Conceptual Developments: There are quite a few Gnomish examples from the 1910s that show sc after every possible vowel: G. fasc “clean” (GL/34), G. hesc “withered” (GL/49), G. tisca- “tickle” (GL/70), G. nosc “damp, wet” (GL/61), G. musc “grey” (GL/58). Other examples show sc/sg variants: G. asg/asc “bone; stone of fruit” (GL/20), G. losc/losg “rye” (GL/54), G. usc/usg “fog, mist” (GL/75), G. lisg/lisc “reed, sedge” (GL/54); compare the last example to S. lisg “reed” above. The variety of forms makes it hard to tell what is going on.

The few Early Noldorin examples from the 1920s mostly show sg: ᴱN. asg “bone” (PE13/137, 160), ᴱN. lhesg “sedge” (PE13/148), ᴱN. esg “sharp rock” (PE13/143), the last with variant esk. Of these, ᴱN. asg “bone” has an cognate ᴱT. axas which hints at a primitive form with [sk] (PE13/160), but the phonetic development of the other examples is unclear.