Quenya Phonetics P14: [ɸu] became [hu]

Quenya Phonetics P14: [ɸu] became [hu]

Q. [ɸu] became [hu]; [ɸu] > [hu]

In Quenya the combination ꝑu [ɸu] became hu as described in the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from the 1950s:

ph became a bilabial spirant [ꝑ]. Later where preserved this became labio-dental [f]. While still at the stage [ꝑ] the sound became [h] (voiceless breath) before ū̆, ui: as in huine “deep shadow, night shade” < AQ phuinē (OP2: PE19/71).

Conceptual Development: Hints of this phonetic development appear as far back as the Qenyaqesta of the 1910s, but in the earliest conceptual stages this sound change was not universal:

f from maintained itself in Qenya before ū̆ (distinguish f < hw), but h- forms occur (PE12/20).

The f/h variation was more characteristic of the phonetic development of Primitive Elvish x͡w [xʷ] in the 1910s:

x͡w ... gave generally f in Qenya (all Telellin) ({Solosimpi hw,} Noldorin f) except before ū̆ where h is common to all dialects (OP2: PE12/17).

Despite this statement, there do seem to be some dialectical variations in Early Elvish. In the Qenya Lexicon Tolkien said:

ǶUẎU: hui “fog, dark, murk, night”. huiva “murky”. (ƕ because of Noldo fui) (QL/41).

Indeed, Tolkien said “Fui (= hui) wife of = Nûri Nyenna (QL/38)”. There are other fu/hu variations in Early Qenya, not all with clear origins: fuiva as a variant of ᴱQ. huiva above (PME/104) and ᴱQ. furin, hurin “hidden” (QL/39).

By the 1930s Tolkien had introduced aspirates into Primitive Elvish as a replacement for the series of primitive voiceless spirants, and described a sound change much like the one from OP2 in the Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1] written in the 1930s:

ph > became the labio-dental f (as in English “fin”), but in Vanyarin before ū̆, ui h was produced, as in huine (PQ phuine) “deep shadow; nightshade” (OP1: PE19/31).

As originally written this note said this “Lindarin” rather than “Vanyarin” (OP1: PE19/31 note #11); the switch to Vanyarin was probably sometime shortly before OP2 was written. In any case, it seems that in the 1930s the phonetic development was phu > ꝑu > fu > hu and was only fully accomplished in the Lindarin dialect. Note that fu/hu variants can still be seen in the contemporaneous examples from The Etymologies: both ᴹQ. Fui/Hui and ᴹQ. fuine/huine appear in the entry for the root ᴹ√PHUY (Ety/PHUY), though in other writings of this time period normally only huine appeared (LR/47, 56; SD/246, 310).

By the 1950s, Tolkien seems to have decided this change occurred before the shift of > f and was universal rather than dialectical. There are no examples of fu in Quenya from the 1950s forward.