NQ: To Be Sorry

NQ: To Be Sorry


This question often comes up among NeoQuenya writers (most recently on Discord), how to say "I am sorry" as an expression of empathy or ask for forgiveness in NeoQuenya.

As far as I am aware we have no attested example of this phrase. It is also quite idiomatic in real-life languages - but of course also this fact allows us to establish this idiom ourselves.

There could be several candidates:

nán(ye) nairea "I am sorrowful"

nainanyes "I lament it" > "I regret it"

nán nwalmea "I am hurt/full of pain" (see also the etymology of E "sorry")

There is also apsen- which can be used in some (but not all) situations.

I personally think this is an expression that would/could use an impersonal construction, e.g.

nwalya nin "it pains me"

lue nin "it saddens me, I am sad" (this verb was impersonal when it was conceived, see lu-)

Submitted by Paul Strack Thu, 11/08/2018 - 00:13

The problem with coining new idioms is that it increases the chances of you being misunderstood. If I had to say “I’m sorry” in Quenya, I’d say one of:

á apsene ni “forgive me”

samel *ofelmenya “you have my sympathy”


Submitted by Atwe Thu, 11/08/2018 - 07:54

samel ofelmenya is an Anglicism so you are replacing a new idiom with one that is not necessarily better understood by non-English Quenya speakers. It can be understood, yes, but not sure it being in an "Elvish" spirit.

ánin apsene is perfect of course in many situations

Submitted by Shihali Sat, 11/10/2018 - 17:46

I like the idea of splitting "I am sorry" in two, using lue nin for "I am sorry that this happened to you" and ánin apsene (or á apsene nin after that discussion on imperative word order) for "I am sorry that I did this to you".

The truly "Elvish" spirit would be to have something flowery, but I'm not good at flowery without drifting into hyperbole.

Submitted by Shihali Sun, 11/11/2018 - 18:46

In reply to by Atwe

"Flowery" language (a frozen metaphor?) uses many elaborate words when a few simple ones could do, such as saying "this wounds my heart most grievously" instead of "I'm sorry".