AQ. [ę̄], [ǭ] became [ē], [ō]; [ę̄|ǭ] > [ē|ō]
The Primitive Elvish a-fortified long vowel ę̄ and ǭ became ē and ō in the Quenya of the 1950s. Tolkien mentioned this development in both the second version the Tengwesta Qenderinwa [TQ2] (PE18/96) and the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from the 1950s (PE19/106). The same developments held in the 1930s (TQ1: PE18/47; OP1: PE19/53), except in that period Tolkien represented a-fortified e as ǣ rather than ę̄. Examples of these sound changes are rare but can be found in both conceptual periods:
- √MEL > Q. méla vs. T. mála “loving” (VT39/10) [in Telerin, ę̄ > ā].
- Val. Arǭmēz > Arōmē > Q. Orome (WJ/400).
- ᴹ✶wǣdē > ᴹQ. vére “bond” (Ety/WED).
- ᴹ✶mǭri > ᴹQ. móre “blackness” (Ety/MOR).
As the Orome example illustrates, this must have been a somewhat ancient change, before unstressed medial long vowels shortened.
Conceptual Development: There is no evidence of anything like a-fortification in Tolkien’s earliest conception of Primitive Elvish in the 1910s and 1920s.