April 2020

Neither of them were neutral


It's funny how things that should be evident sometimes stay hidden despite glaring in your face - yesterday I was musing about how I would express the adjective neutral in NeoQuenya. This, of course, led me to Etymonline and the aforementioned into-face-glaring, when I realized that L neuter, the basis of the word neutralis, is cognate of English neither, which of course makes all the sense in the world (Hungarian semleges "neutral" also comes from sem "nor, neither".

Quenya Grammar P84: Optative

An optative is the expression of a wish, and Quenya usually formulates such expressions using the adverb nai “may it be that, be it that, maybe”. Its most famous use is in nai hiruvalye Valimar, nai elye hiruva “maybe thou shalt find Valimar, maybe even thou shalt find it” in the Namárië poem (LotR/378). Tolkien described this formulation in several places:

I Nulla Nakka Ya Kúva Harmar

Ilúvea *laukatáre umbe ná ya voro lihlikka kata i silúmea umbe *iluhímeo. Mal yú urre tulmar ké kolir *lahoraine *tyardar: yalle helke *tique ar *nanya *laukatárenen apanta ké engwi i kuvine nér nu sa. *Fornóresse, ara i osto Lendbreen, tára oron ya tensi tupina helkenen, mal sí i *tiquila helke *nanhalyane nulla nakka, ar *sasse tamnar hehtaine liénen i neldea hya kantea haranyesse. *Silu i harma lá malta, míri, hya mainar, mal ilaurie *yuhtamnar ve hyapati, pilini, *lossepanor, ente lanni *vortaine nixenen.