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Tengwar/Quenya mode

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Quenya mode is a name of the writing method of Quenya using Tengwar.

Contents

Origin

Fëanor invented the tengwar on the Valian Year 1250 strongly influenced by the Sarati of Rúmil the Loremaster.[1][2] Fëanor constructed the Tengwar both as a general phonetic alphabet, and devised special arrangements to fit the characteristics of all languages of Valinor[3]

Unlike Rúmil, Fëanor considered vowels as indepedent sounds and not just “colours” of the consonants, so he devised the “full writing” (Quanta Sarmë).[2]

However Fëanor also used a more 'conservative' system which seem to have been proved far more popular; he held Rúmil's idea of syllabic analysis of the words by the Sarati, and made also use of tehtar (instead of the full letters).[2].

Although Fëanor was a speaker of Quenya it is possible that he did not invent the Tengwar with Quenya specifically in mind, since the strict Quenya phonology didn't fit absolutely consistently. It's more probable that the Tengwar was created as a general phonological template[4], onto which he later "fit" the Quenya sounds as consistently as possible

History and evolution

First Age

Despite Fëanor is said to prefer the Quanta Sarme, he also used a more 'conservative' system which (judging by the majority of the subsequent samples) seem to have been proved far more popular. Fëanor held the idea of syllabic analysis of the words by the Sarati, and made also use of signs (tehtar) for vowels (instead of the full letters), placed over the preceding tengwar/consonants, indicating their “colour”. A consonant followed by a vowel was concidered as a “full letter” (ñávëa or ñáva-tengwë). The sarat was imported from the previous system, and when a vowel had no preceding consonant, it was used as a carrier for convenience in writing. This system however was used by Fëanor mainly for tradition and brevity, favoring the Quanta Sarme instead.

Apart of the standard consistent characters, there were also additional tengwar which don't fit in the structure. These are usually modifications of the standard tengwar. Hyarmen is a modification of Charma, Úre is of Wilya, and Anna derived from an earlier sarat.

Table

The following table attempts to display how the sounds of archaic Quenya[5], of Feanor's time would be represented with the earliest known Tengwar.

The names are known only from the 3rd Age table composed in Gondor so it is not known if this arrangement existed since Fëanor’s days. It is possible that some of the known names may have replaced earlier, unrecorded forms.

Tincotéma Tyelpetéma[1 1] Parmatéma Calmatéma Quessetéma
1 t
Tinco
ty
Tyelpë
q p
Parma
a k
Calma
z kw
Quessë
! th
extended grade[1 2]
th
extended grade
Q ph
extended grade
A kh
extended grade
Z khw
extended grade
2 nd
Ando
ndy
Indyo
w mb
Umbar
s ng
Anga
x ngw
Ungwë
3 th > s
Thúle[1 3] > Súle
sty
Istyar
e f
Formen
d ch
Charma
c chw
Chwesta
4 nt
Anto
nty
Intya
r mp
Ampa
f nk
Anca
v nkw
Unquë
5 n
Númen
ny
Nyellë
t m
Malta
g ñg-
Ñgoldo[1 4]
b ñgw-
Ñgwalmë[1 4]
6 ɹ
?Óre[1 5]
ry?
?Arya[1 6]
y v
Vala
h 3 > -
Anna[1 7]
n w
Wilya
Additional Tengwar:
7 r
Rómen
ry
?Arya
u rd
Arda
j l
Lambë
ly
Alya
m ld
Alda
8 s
Silmë
I s
Silmë nuquerna[1 8]
k z > r
Ázë > Árë[1 9]
, z > r
Ázë > Áre nuquerna[1 8]
9 hy
Hyarmen
l

[1 10]

*y
Yanta
. w
?Úrë[1 11]
½ h[1 12]
?Halla
` *(short carrier)
?Telco
~ (long carrier)

Notes

Later evolution

Some changes occurred in Noldorin phonology, already in Valinor, that differentiated it from the dialect of the Vanyar: th merged with s, initial ch with h and maybe later, z with r. Those changes were inherited to Exilic Quenya which slowly evolved further.

During the Second Age, Quenya was spoken and written in Númenor.[6]

Table

Parmatéma Tincotéma Tyelpetéma[notes2 1] Calmatéma Quessetéma
q p
Parma
1 t
Tinco
ty
Tyelpë
a k
Calma
z kw
Quessë
w mb
Umbar
2 nd
Ando
ny
Inyo[notes2 2]
s ng
Anga
x ngw
Ungwë
e f
Formen
3 s[notes2 3]
Súlë
sty
Istar
d h-, -ch-[notes2 4]
Harma-Acha
c hw
Hwesta
r mp
Ampa
4 nt
Anto
nty
Intya
f nk
Anca
v nkw
Unquë
t m
Malta
5 n
Númen
ny
Nyellë
g ñ-
Ñoldo
b ñw-
Ñwalmë
y v
Vala
6 r [preconsonantal]
Órë
ry
Arya[notes2 5]
h -[notes2 6]
Anna
n w-
Wilya
Additional Tengwar:
7 r [intervocalic]
Rómen
u rd
Arda
j l
Lambë
m ld
Alda
ly
Alya
8 s
Silmë
k r – ss
Árë - Essë[notes2 7]
9 hy
Hyarmen
l

[notes2 8]

y
Yanta
. w
?Úrë
½ h
Halla[notes2 9]
` (carrier)
Telco
~ (carrier)
Ára
i s
Silmë nuqu.
, r
Árë nuqu.

Notes

  1. Some changes took place in Quenya and consisted Tyelpetéma obsoleted as a separate series. The palatalised sounds will be now shown with its remnant, the “following y” underdots.
  2. The Noldor simplified ndy > ny. So Indyo must became *Inyo, making the letter useless and replaced by Nyellë
  3. It is known that for orthographic reasons, Súlë was used for s in words that once were th (eg. thanga and later sanga would be written 3Ds# , not **iEs# ). One can wonder why it didn’t get another useful value, like Árë did, since Súlë was confused with Silmë.
  4. Initial ch was softened and merged with h, and Charma became "Harma". Harma might still be used initially, but it seems that it was eventually replaced by Hyarmen. Harma was renamed Acha and was used now only medially where the hard sound ch remained unchanged.
  5. As z merged with r and zy became ry. It seems that when Arya was obsoleted: Árë was renamed as Essë, and the ry sound began to be indicated by Rómen/Órë letters.
  6. The 3 sound had been disappeared and the Telco was now solely used to carry the tehtar. But Anna was now used with the “following y” nuntixi to represent the y consonant since it seems Yanta was now used only to represent –i in diphtongs.
  7. This letter was used even after z became r for orthographic reasons. Since there was already Rómen for intervocalic r, (aurel should still be written .D,Rj , but also as .D7Rj ) Árë was renamed Essë and took the value of long s. Maybe the application of value ss was an influence from the earlier Mode of Beleriand.
  8. This sound was simplified to h, maybe because of Sindarin influence, and later displaced Halla (and maybe Harma) completely. Its old hy value was restored when borrowing the “following y” nuntixi.
  9. This letter was replaced by Hyarmen, but it was still used to indicate the soft initial hl and hr (hrívë, ½7~ByR )

Classical mode

Table

Notes

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, The Annals of Valinor
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Vinyar Tengwar 39, Appendix D to Quendi and Eldar
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, Appendix on Runes
  4. Observations made by Jim Allan's An Introduction to Elvish, The Evolution of the Tengwar - Theoretical Tengwar values
  5. The Evolution of Primitive Elvish to Quenya: Valinorean
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, The Notion Club Papers. Alwin Lowdham writes some Quenya Númenorian names in Tengwar

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