Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 48)


S. initial voiceless [j̊] became [x]; [j̊-] > [x-]

In Sindarin and Noldorin an initial voiceless y (hy = [j̊] or [ɧ]) become a simple spirant [x-] and eventually changed to [h-]. This was a further development in the process started when initial [s] unvoiced following consonants. Tolkien alluded to this sound change in Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 47)


S. initial [s] vanished before spirants; [s{ɸθx}-] > [{ɸθx}-]

Any initial s before spirants was lost as part of the general process whereby initial s + voiceless stops became initial voiceless spirants. For further details, see the discussion of the first stage of this sound change: voiceless stops became spirants after initial [s]. Based on Noldorin evidence, it seems the second stage of this sound change occurred after the Old Noldorin/Old Sindarin period:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 45)


S. initial nasals vanished before stops; [{mb|nd|ŋg}-] > [{bdg}-]

At every conceptual stage of Sindarin (including earlier Gnomish and Noldorin), all initial nasalized stops become stops: [mb-] > [b-], [nd-] > [d-] [ŋg-] > [g-], the only exception being when those stops became syllabic and developed a preceding vowel. These sound changes appeared in the phonetic Comparitive Tables from the 1930s (PE19/20), and Tolkien mentioned them on numerous occasions:

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 43)


OS. [bm], [dn] became [mm], [nn]; [bm|dn] > [mm|nn]

In (Old) Sindarin and (Old) Noldorin, voiced stops became nasals before another nasal. In Sindarin, this change was restricted to homorganic stops, that is [bm] > [mm] and [dn] > [nn]. In Noldorin, the change was more general (see below). For Sindarin, Tolkien described this change in notes on Elvish numerals from the late 1960s (VT42/26):

Serke Iþil


Enta lómis eke mon kenda *keþyalima hellea *fánie - Iþilwa *vaþarie. Iþil menuva tere Kemeno leo (hya Kemen menuva imbe Anar Iþilye), ha vistuva Iþilo laite þindello karnenna. Queni estar tana *fánie Serke Iþil *nanqui laiterya lauva *morikarne ve serke, arya1kuluina.

I vaþarie kenuvaina or i forna *perkoron. Or Europa i ammára lúmion kenitas tuluva nó Anarórie.

*fánie noun "phenomenon, apparition" PHAN

What Is Neo-Elvish and Is It Good or Bad?


Many modern books and web sites that examine Tolkien’s Elvish languages take care to distinguish between Tolkien’s languages as he described them (Quenya and Sindarin) from fan-based reconstructions and extensions of his languages (Neo-Quenya and Neo-Sindarin). The distinction between Tolkien’s Elvish versus fan-based Neo-Elvish can confuse new students of the languages. People who approach the languages for the first time usually want to use them just as Tolkien did, and avoid fan-based reconstructions.