July 2019

Ancient Quenya Phonetics P35: [ln] became [ld]

AQ. [ln] became [ld]; [ln] > [ld]

In (Ancient) Quenya, the combination ln became ld, a change mentioned in both the Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1] from the 1930s (PE19/48) and the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from the 1950s (PE19/100). This change is most noticeable in adjective forms from roots ending with L, where the primitive adjective suffix -nā produced Quenya adjectives ending in -lda:

Vinya Nó Poika Nén Yo Kelume Netien


Vinya aule autana ló minaþurindor mi Arávia ké poluva anta *elehterónea kelume ar imya lúmes *poita nén erumessen. I tanwe remba áre ar vista sa *elehterónienna ya *arrongo mene ter i singwa hya vára nén i kapsasse nún; i kelume *laukata i nén, potai i singi yo vaksi *hisyar; i *meniende tá atatya lan *maurea, hehtiéla poika nén i mettasse. Min i *ompassion ná sa i tanwe ké karina alta hya titta, antaila kelume ar nén ilye ostoin hya erye martanin.

Ancient Quenya Phonetics P2: The Quenya Syncope

AQ. second short vowel of same quality lost; [V₁CV̆₁CV] > [V₁CCV]

In Ancient Quenya, if two syllables had the same vowel twice and the second vowel as short (aCă, eCĕ, iCĭ, oCŏ, uCŭ), then the second vowel was frequently lost. This process is commonly referred to as the “Quenya syncope” and there are numerous examples of it:

Quenya: genitives of nouns like loa

It’s well known that Quenya nouns ending in -a have genitives ending in -o, such as: ciryo genitive for cirya “ship”. This is because the primitive genitive suffix was , and > ō in Quenya (which then shortened at the end of words as all long vowels did). Presumably this would also be true of nouns like fea “spirit” that ended in a cluster of vowels, whose genitive is probably *feo. But what about nouns ending in oa like loa “(seasonal) year” or coa “house”?

Quenya Phonetics: [ae], [ao] generally became [ē], [ō]

Q. [ae], [ao] generally became [ē], [ō]; [ae|ao|ā{ĕŏ}] > [ē|ō|ā]

Quenya did not tolerate the vowel combinations [ae] or [ao], and these generally became [ē] or [ō]. These sound changes explain the somewhat peculiar rule that the genitive form of nouns ending in -a was -o, for example:



I am musing about possibilities to express rights and related concepts - rights, dues, claim to something, entitlement, just/justice etc. - in NeoQuenya/NeoEldarin. I have not really been able to find any words in this semantic space in the attested vocabulary (there is a deleted Gnomish word for "rights"), so we'd need to resort to a metaphor or neologism.