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Author Topic: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks  (Read 2102 times)

Falcon

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« on: December 19, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

I now that people have worked hard to figure out what the Elvish
lines/lyrics are in the LoTR movies, but has there been any discussion
over the quality of the Elvish translations used in the movies?  Are
they generally accurate or have people observed obvious flaws?  I don't
know about anyone else, but I'm am very interested in that aspect of
the translations.  Also, what about the actual pronunciations?  I would
really like to read a discussion of these subjects by a group of people
who are very well aquainted with Tolkien's languages.

Kirsten



[elfling ID#33718]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Falcon »
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Aida Djikic

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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

 Hi,

I know that there is an analysis of the soundtracks on the
Fellowship of the Word-smiths site maintained by Ryszard Derdzinski
at http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/language.htm so you might want to
check it out.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

-------------------------------------------------------------
Falcon16_nut wrote:













            I now that people have worked hard to figure out what
            the Elvish

Lines/lyrics are in the LoTR movies, but has there been any discussion

Over the quality of the Elvish translations used in the movies?  Are

They generally accurate or have people observed obvious flaws?  I don't

Know about anyone else, but I'm am very interested in that aspect of

The translations.  Also, what about the actual pronunciations?  I would

Really like to read a discussion of these subjects by a group of people

Who are very well aquainted with Tolkien's languages.



Kirsten


















[elfling ID#33719]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Aida Djikic »
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Halrhawrandir

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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

falcon16_nut wrote:
>
> I now that people have worked hard to figure out what the Elvish
> lines/lyrics are in the LoTR movies, but has there been any discussion
> over the quality of the Elvish translations used in the movies?  Are
> they generally accurate or have people observed obvious flaws?  I
> don't know about anyone else, but I'm am very interested in that
> aspect of the translations.  Also, what about the actual
> pronunciations?  I would really like to read a discussion of these
> subjects by a group of people who are very well aquainted with
> Tolkien's languages.
>
> Kirsten
>

That's a good question, and for my money it is as accurate as can be.
If you read the interview with David Salo contained in the 'elvish'
page of this web site, I think you'll have to agree.
http://Http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/ Also, you'll find every elvish line used
in the films (including songs, and weapon inscriptions) along with
translation and pronounciation guide.  I hope that you find this site as
helpful as I have.

Ná Elbereth veria le, ná elenath dín síla erin rád o chuil lín.

~Halrhawrandir



[elfling ID#33720]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Halrhawrandir »
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Matthew Dinse

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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Halrhawrandir wrote:
>
> Falcon Nut wrote:
> >
> > I now that people have worked hard to figure out what the Elvish
> > lines/lyrics are in the LoTR movies, but has there been any
Discussion
> > Over the quality of the Elvish translations used in the movies?  Are
> > they generally accurate or have people observed obvious flaws?  I
Don't
> > Know about anyone else, but I'm am very interested in that aspect
> > of the translations.  Also, what about the actual pronunciations?  I
Would
> > Really like to read a discussion of these subjects by a group of
People
> > Who are very well aquainted with Tolkien's languages.
> >
> > Kirsten
> >
>
> That's a good question, and for my money it is as accurate as can be.
> If you read the interview with David Salo contained in the 'elvish'
> page of this web site, I think you'll have to agree.
> http://Http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/ [snip]

I'd have to disagree. First of all, there is nothing remotely
describing the quality of the translations or anything like this topic
found in that interview.

Secondly, here's a brief analysis of a few problems within the
translation of the movies (dialogue, soundtrack, and inscriptions),
though only focusing on Sindarin:

-Using _aen_ for a passive voice when we don't know what its function
is for sure -_go_ as a separate word and not a prefix -formation of the
Sindarin preterite -use of -ch for 'you' -plural gerunds -conjugation of
_ista-_ -_ae_ for 'if' -_I chair_ for 'the ships' (I chîr) -use of
_hanna-_ -_ess_ for 'name', though _eneth_ had not yet been published



[elfling ID#33721]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Matthew Dinse »
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Falcon

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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Matthew Dinse wrote: Thanks for your post.  One of the reasons that I
was wondering was that I read a few reviews for Mr. Salo's Sindarin
book that were a little less than kind.  With that in mind, it makes me
wary of the accuracy to be expected from his translations.

Kirsten

> I'd have to disagree. First of all, there is nothing remotely
> describing the quality of the translations or anything like this
Topic
> Found in that interview.
>
> Secondly, here's a brief analysis of a few problems within the
> translation of the movies (dialogue, soundtrack, and inscriptions),
> though only focusing on Sindarin:
>
> -Using _aen_ for a passive voice when we don't know what its
Function
> Is for sure -_go_ as a separate word and not a prefix -formation of
> the Sindarin preterite -use of -ch for 'you' -plural gerunds
> -conjugation of _ista-_ -_ae_ for 'if' -_I chair_ for 'the ships' (I
> chîr) -use of _hanna-_ -_ess_ for 'name', though _eneth_ had not yet
> been published
>



[elfling ID#33724]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Falcon »
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David Salo

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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Matthew Dinse wrote:

> Secondly, here's a brief analysis of a few problems within the
> translation of the movies (dialogue, soundtrack, and inscriptions),
> though only focusing on Sindarin:
>
> -Using _aen_ for a passive voice when we don't know what its function
> is for sure -_go_ as a separate word and not a prefix -formation of
> the Sindarin preterite -use of -ch for 'you' -plural gerunds
> -conjugation of _ista-_ -_ae_ for 'if' -_I chair_ for 'the ships' (I
> chîr) -use of _hanna-_ -_ess_ for 'name', though _eneth_ had not yet
> been published

    It's nice to see that it's such a short list!

   Frankly, the only thing on that list that's a sheer stupid blunder
   is 'I chair', which could have known (and did know) better at the
   time, but simply erred in response and didn't catch in time.  In
   producing a huge amount of translation (roughly 2 to 3 times what
   actually appears on screen) that kind of thing is bound to happen.
   Things like the use of aen, go, -ch, ae, are the kind of innovations
   that one comes up when working with a language that is missing some
   necessary component parts.  There are those who argue that I should
   have simply avoided using them at all.  These are people who
   weren't actually in the position of having to do the translations.
   I don't see anything regrettable about it. As for ess instead of
   eneth, and hanna (as if from *khanta-) for anna (<*3anta-); the
   first I could not have known about, the second I probably would have
   avoided for fear of confusion with the an 'give' root. Other things
   appear to be matters of opinion.  I don't recall off-hand using a
   plural gerund (in gerundial sense) in the movie; that words of
   gerundial *form* (like 'cabed') are used simply as nouns doesn't
   seem to me to be truly controversial.  And if you interpret athrad
   'crossing, ford' as a gerund, which is possible, then its plural
   ethraid certainly is attested.

   Frankly, there were and are things that bothered me far more about my
   translations, but as the point of the exercise was not to produce
   'what an elf would have said' (obviously impossible) or to mystically
   plumb the depths of Tolkien's soul, but to produce a plausible
   facsimile of Sindarin for the screen, which could be interpreted and
   understood by those who were sufficiently interested in the question,
   I can say, first, that I didn't lose a lot of sleep over it, and
   second, that it seems to have been successful in its aim.



[elfling ID#33726]
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« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by David Salo »
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William Welden

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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Matthew Dinse wrote:

> I'd have to disagree...

So, Matthew. Suppose that they had gotten Tolkien himself to do the
translation; but kept his participation secret.

What do you suppose your evaluation of the quality of translation would
have been then? (Note that there would likely have been more than a few
words that we'd never even seen before.)

Just as we would hear lots of new words and grammar and dialectal
variations and synonyms (why can't there be two words for 'name'?) --
and even flat-out mistakes -- if we were able to actually eaves-drop on
real Elves talking to each other.

My highest hopes for the movie circled around the possibility that it
would create the impression of actually being in Middle-earth.

--Bill

PS. I cast the issue in this light because it goes to the heart of what
    we do here. The standard by which Elvish compositions are judged has
    an aspect of the Emperor's new clothes. This might begin to come
    clear if somebody would put that standard into words.



[elfling ID#33732]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by William Welden »
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Matthew Dinse

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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Bill Welden wrote:
>
> Matthew Dinse wrote:
>
> > I'd have to disagree...
>
> So, Matthew. Suppose that they had gotten Tolkien himself to do the
> translation; but kept his participation secret.
>
> What do you suppose your evaluation of the quality of translation
> would have been then? (Note that there would likely have been more
> than a few words that we'd never even seen before.)
>

_Honestly_, if I didn't know that Tolkien had done it, I'd probably
have been just as critical - for example, if someone had used _umbas_
for 'shield' before vt45, I wouldn't have understood it or any root
it came from, and would have suggested _turma_ despite it being
Etym-style Qenya, or more likely #_sanda_ from _sandastan_ (ã¾andā) in
ut. And if _eneth_ had been used in the films before vt44, I'd have
criticized it and suggested *_ess_. So you do put things into
perspective, yes.

- M. Dinse



[elfling ID#33733]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Matthew Dinse »
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Thorsten Renk

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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

iiipitaka wrote:

> And if you interpret athrad 'crossing, ford' as a gerund, which is
> possible, then its plural ethraid certainly is attested.

I would very much like to see your reasoning why this interpretation
would come to one's mind at all, given that the word is listed
under both at and rat which very strongly suggest a compound of
these two roots.

* Thorsten



[elfling ID#33734]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Thorsten Renk »
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Thorsten Renk

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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

>  So, Matthew. Suppose that they had gotten Tolkien himself to do the
>  translation; but kept his participation secret.
>
> What do you suppose your evaluation of the quality of translation
> would have been then? (Note that there would likely have been more
> than a few words that we'd never even seen before.)


To which my answer would be that the Movie-Sindarin has a different
'flavour' than Tolkien's work and I think I can tell the difference.
Since I can't nail it down or cast it into words more precisely than
that, alas this remains an aesthetic judgement of mine which is by
nature rather personal, so I prefer to discuss the matter based on facts
which can be verified. But ultimately, this is the main source of my
disagreement with the dialogues.

* Thorsten



[elfling ID#33735]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Thorsten Renk »
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Helge Klåre Fauskanger

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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Kirsten wrote:  

> One of the reasons that I was wondering was that I read a few reviews
> for Mr. Salo's Sindarin book that were a little less than kind. With
> that in mind, it makes me wary of the accuracy to be expected from his
> translations.

It is probably not entirely unfair to suggest that certain reviews
of _a Gateway to Sindarin_ may be colored by private grudges against
the author.

Valid criticisms can probably be made of any substantial work of
Tolkien-linguistics -- mine, the Editorial Team's, David's, or those
of yet other people. But when certain reviewers literally can't find
one positive thing to say about _Gateway_, one has to suspect that this
is just criticism for the purpose of criticism. Contrast, for instance,
this balanced and fair review by Bertrand Bellet:

http://Http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/780

As for some of the potential problems identified by Matthew Dinse:

> -Using _aen_ for a passive voice when we don't know what its
Function is for sure

Since nobody knows 'for sure' we can't be sure this is wrong either. It
may have been an unnecessary risk, though. Instead of _I amar prestar
aen_ Galadriel could have said _I amar prestannen_ 'the world (is)
changed/disturbed/altered'. _Le aphadar aen_ 'you are being followed'
could have been _le ephennin_ 'you [are being] followed', and so on.

> -Use of -ch for 'you'

Interestingly, the eixistence of a a 2nd person sg. Root ke in
Tolkien's late material has been confirmed (vt48:25, 32). If it ever
existed in a geminated form -kk- (like the root me 'we' does produce
forms in -mm- at certain stages of Tolkien's conception), this could
yield a Sindarin ending -ch. Or a simple post-vocalic -k would produce
Sindarin -G. The movie forms would at least be on to something.

> -Conjugation of _ista-_

I believe Haldir says _istannen le ammen_ 'known you [are] to us' in one
place, though I wonder if it wasn't only in the extended dvd edition of
Fellowship. According to vt45:18, the pa.T. Of _ista-_ 'have knowledge'
is actually _sint_ or _istas_. One could argue that the passive
participle should then be _sinnen_ or _istassen_. But Haldir comes from
Lórien, and Tolkien clearly describes the Sindarin of Lórien as
non-standard, so who cares?

If one wants to argue 'internally', it should be remembered that the
Queen of Lórien is a Noldo and that certain Quenyaisms may have crept
into the Sindarin there spoken. Using _ista-_ transitively ('know' and
not just 'have knowledge') may already be a Quenyaism. So perhaps the
transitive past tense of _ista_ is *_istant_ in the Lórien dialect as it
exists in the movie universe, with _istannen_ as the corresponding
passive participle, whereas _ista-_ does have the pa.T. _Sint_ or
_istas_ when used intransivetively as in Standard Sindarin. (We then
asssume that these Noldorin forms listed in the Etymologies did survive
into Sindarin proper.)

> -_Ae_ for 'if'

Speculation based on Quenya _ai_ as in _aiquen_ 'if anybody'. But
nothing better was available.

> -_I chair_ for 'the ships' (I chîr)

Ah yes, this is definitely a mistake, as David himself admits. But even
this can be rationalized 'internally': Though Elrond tries to appear
calm, his slip of the tongue gives away his inner turmoil as he
desperately tries to convince Arwen to follow him into the West! The
nasal mutation, as well as the following plural verb, clearly indicates
that the noun is meant to be plural. ('The ship', singular, would be
lenited rather than nasal-mutated: _I gair_.)

> -Use of _hanna-_ ['thank]

Can be explained as a Quenya borrowing in the Rivendell dialect of
Sindarin. Remember that Tolkien (in rgeo) suggested that this dialect
had even borrowed pronouns from Quenya!

> -_Ess_ for 'name'

Ditto: a Sindarized form of Quenya _esse_. And as it only appears in a
Tengwar inscription on a sword, it isn't exactly very prominent in the
movie! It needn't be a word used in daily speech. Some Noldorin
sword-smith apparently thought a Sindarized form of Quenya _esse_
sounded so much better than _eneth_...

As for linguistic shortcomings in the movie, I am more troubled by
misaccented words. Liv Tyler bizarrely puts the stress on the definite
article when she says 'dan in úlaer' (against the Ring-wraiths),
completely giving away the fact that she has no idea what the individual
words mean. And already in the Prologue, Cate Blanchett first accents
the name Isildur as 'IS-ildur' (wrong!) only to switch to 'is-ILD-ur'
(correct!) a moment later. It is quite frustrating to hear 'Galadriel'
make such mistakes. She, of all people, ought to know how Quenya words
are accented.

Gandalf misaccents Caradhras as CARadhras, but shortly afterwards
Saruman gets it right with CarADHRas. In the movies, the most evil
characters tend to have the best pronunciation!

- Hkf



[elfling ID#33736]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Helge Klåre Fauskanger »
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Matthew Dinse

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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Helge Klåre Fauskanger' wrote:
>
>
> > -Use of -ch for 'you'
>
> Interestingly, the eixistence of a a 2nd person sg. Root ke in
Tolkien's late material has been confirmed (vt48:25, 32). If it ever
existed in a geminated form -kk- (like the root me 'we' does produce
forms in -mm- at certain stages of Tolkien's conception), this could
yield a Sindarin ending -ch. Or a simple post-vocalic -k would produce
Sindarin -G. The movie forms would at least be on to something.
>

I can understand your explanations for the other points, but the only
movie-Sindarin things I really don't understand are (1) the use of
_-ch_, and (2) the preterite.

On the first note, I am aware of the root ke and possibly derivations.
More specifically, there is Quenya _-tye_ in the Lost Road for the 2nd.
Fam. Sg., Which has many times been suggested to be from *-cye. A direct
Sindarin cognate (well, Noldorin, since that's what existed during the
writing of the Lost Road) might be *-g, and -ch would be 1st pl. Inc.
Around that point in the chronology.

Combined with the TolkLang message (not going into any further detail on
that) where David listed Noldorin -g and -ch for 'you', my query is more
of why he used -ch _instead_ of -G. We see doubling in the forms of -mme
and -lle, both plural (though -mme was changed to dual), so _perhaps_ by
extension out of the two listed _-ch_ would be the plural form, and _-g_
the singular?

As for the second note, the preterite was the only thing on my list that
he did not respond to.

Regards to all,
M. Dinse



[elfling ID#33737]
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« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Matthew Dinse »
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Helge Klåre Fauskanger

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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

 Bill Welden wrote:


> Suppose that they had gotten Tolkien himself to do the translation
> [for the movies]; but kept his participation secret.



Yeah, for instance because Peter Jackson found it embarrassing to
publicly admit that they had been using a Ouija board to produce Elvish
dialogue.  :)


> PS. I cast the issue in this light because it goes to the heart of
>     what we do here. The standard by which Elvish compositions are
>     judged has an aspect of the Emperor's new clothes. This might
>     begin to come clear if somebody would put that standard into
>     words.



May you be bothered to explain a potentially interesting metaphor? In
particular, who's not having any clothes on this time? The Neo-Eldarin
authors or those who judge their works?



. Hkf



[elfling ID#33740]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
« Last Edit: December 28, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Helge Klåre Fauskanger »
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Benct Philip Jonsson

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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Thorsten Renk skrev:
> Iiipitaka wrote:
>
> > And if you interpret athrad 'crossing, ford' as a gerund, which is
> > possible, then its plural ethraid certainly is attested.
>
> I would very much like to see your reasoning why this interpretation
> would come to one's mind at all, given that the word is listed
> under both at and rat which very strongly suggest a compound of
> these two roots.

I for one can't see how the question of whether the etymology of
_athrad_ is either a gerund or a compound of _at_ and _rat_ (and I would
tend to favor the latter interpretation) could possibly affect which
plural form we should expect it to take: surely the plural would be
expected to be _*atrati:*_ >  S. _ethraid*_ in either case. If anything
this plural is **more** likely if the etymology is _at + rat_, since it
is by no means sure that gerunds take a plural, even though I would
expect substantivized gerunds to do so.
--

/BP
--
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__
               

'I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody
is altogether on my side'                   -- Fangorn



[elfling ID#33741]
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« Last Edit: December 29, 2006, 05:00:00 PM by Benct Philip Jonsson »
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Olga García

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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2006, 05:00:00 PM »

Matthew Dinse wrote:
>
> 'Helge Klåre Fauskanger' wrote:
> >
> >
> > > -Use of -ch for 'you'
> >
> > Interestingly, the eixistence of a a 2nd person sg. Root ke in
> Tolkien's late material has been confirmed (vt48:25, 32). If it ever
> existed in a geminated form -kk- (like the root me 'we' does produce
> forms in -mm- at certain stages of Tolkien's conception), this could
> yield a Sindarin ending -ch. Or a simple post-vocalic -k would produce
> Sindarin -G. The movie forms would at least be on to something.
> >
>
> I can understand your explanations for the other points, but the only
> movie-Sindarin things I really don't understand are (1) the use of
> _-ch_, and (2) the preterite.
>
> On the first note, I am aware of the root ke and possibly derivations.
> More specifically, there is Quenya _-tye_ in the Lost Road for the
> 2nd. Fam. Sg., Which has many times been suggested to be from *-cye. A
> direct Sindarin cognate (well, Noldorin, since that's what existed
> during the writing of the Lost Road) might be *-g, and -ch would be
> 1st pl. Inc. Around that point in the chronology.
>
> Combined with the TolkLang message (not going into any further detail
> on that) where David listed Noldorin -g and -ch for 'you', my query is
> more of why he used -ch _instead_ of -G. We see doubling in the forms
> of -mme and -lle, both plural (though -mme was changed to dual), so
> _perhaps_ by extension out of the two listed _-ch_ would be the plural
> form, and _-g_ the singular?
>
> As for the second note, the preterite was the only thing on my list
> that he did not respond to.
>
> Regards to all,
> M. Dinse
>
Well, read this:

'An interesting side remark: Discussing modificators of root consonants,
Tolkien gives in pe14:66 the example

'These relationships are equally important in the formative elements:
for example (...) pronomial element _ke_ as (...) _kke_',

Explicitly giving a 2nd person form _-kke_ which would, if it was not
abandoned, eventually lead to a verbal ending _-ch_ in Sindarin.'

This text is taken from Thorsten Renk's 'Early Qenya Grammar' article
(http://www.phy.duke.edu/~trenk/elvish/eqg.html). It's interesting to
see that the ending _-kke_ already existed in the 'eqg'. It can be
inferred from there that the root word was actually *_-kkê_ (produced
via gemination of the stem consonant) and that would have produced _-ch_
in Sindarin. (Just below that extract there is a comment on the _Arphent
Rían_ sentence that states that ending is doubtful in Sindarin).

Cheers!

Olga



[elfling ID#33745]
[original subject: Lotr Dialogue and Soundtracks]
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