A DIFFERENT PAST TENSE SYSTEM

Since more information has come out about Sindarin verbal “past tenses”, I am going to address this in a separate article for now ….. as we review this in the forum in a thread called “A Different Past Tense System”. This (like HKFauskanger’s and David Salo’s “Reconstruction of the Verb System”) depends on some hypothetical forms and conclusions, therefore could be seen as another interpretation of the past tense “system” by Carl Hostetter. For his NOTES, which explain that this system is not “set in stone” …. refer to Carl Hostetter’s article titled
The Past-Tense Verb in the Noldorin of the Etymologies
. (A message may pop up that the site won’t display properly, but just press “okay” and scroll down a bit to get to the reading !!) Using this system, we are going to find out how many past tenses of verbs would wind up looking different than the way HKF conjugates them in “SUGGESTED CONJUGATION of all known or inferred Sindarin verbs” ….. which is what our Verb Conjugation charts are based on now.
In this system, the past tense verbs are basically broken down into two main groups …. strong past (past formed from mostly basic verbs [the i-stems] that arise from simple bases with verbal meaning) and weak past (past formed from the derived verbs [the a-stems] formed from simple bases with suffixion of a derivational element).
If there is a prefix added to a verb ….. such as “adertha-“, just focus on the base word. Check the Etymologies and VT45, 46 for the CE base root.
Determine if the verb is either a “basic” [i-stem] or “derived” [a-stem] verb, to narrow down what form it will take.
You will need to know if the verb is intransitive (does not receive a direct object) or transitive (receives a direct object). You can go to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary to find out if a verb is intransitive or transitive, or has both senses here Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Now you are ready to determine which past form your verb should take.

THE STRONG PAST TENSE

1.) STRONG PAST TENSE I: characterized by “root vowel lengthening” or “A-infixion” of BASIC VERBS. All verbs in this class arose from ELDARIN BASES ending in a LIQUID (-L or –R) or in a voiced stop (-B, -D. -G).

  • daul < delio- and doltha- < from a-infixion of DUL-
  • haul < heli < from a-infixion or lengthening of A in KHAL-
  • trenor < treneri < from a-infixion or lengthening of A in NAR-
  • níð < from lengthening of I in NID-

2.) STRONG PAST TENSE II: characterized by “nasal infixion”. This is mainly applied to basic verbs, but there is a small class of derived verbs in this category also. All verbs in this class arose from ELDARIN BASES ending in a STOP or in a NASAL.

    A.) BASIC VERBS WITH E. BASES ENDING IN A STOP CONSONANT (-B, -D, -G, -K, -P, -T )

    • trevant < past tense of trevedi < tre- + BAT-
    • echant < past tense of echedi < et + KAT-
    • hant < past tense of hað- < KHAD-
    • hant < past tense of hedi < KHAT-
    • adlenc < past tense of adlegi < ad + LEK-
    • denc < past tense of degi < NDAK-
    • rhimp < past tense of rhib- < RIP-
    • nestanc < past tense of nestegi < ne + STAK-
    • sunc < past tense of sogo < SUK-

    All of these past tense verbs end in a “nasal + voiced or voiceless stop”.

    B.) BASIC VERBS WITH E. BASES ENDING IN A NASAL CONSONANT (-M, -N)

    • dramp < past tense of dravo < DARAM-
    • hamp < past tense of haf- < KHAM-

    (The “p” on these past tenses may be due to the suffix –be on older forms of the base.)

    C.) DERIVED VERBS WITH OLDER ENDING OF –TÂ

    • lhimmiint < past tense of lhimmid < LINKWI- < LINKWI-TÂ
    • nimmint < past tense of nimmid < NIK-W- < NINKWI-TÂ
    • sint < past tense of isto < ISTÂ- < ISINTÊ < ISINTÂ < IS-TÂ

THE WEAK PAST TENSE

1.) WEAK PAST TENSE I: characterized by suffixion of –(A)NT.
This class includes both basic and derived verbs. It is formed from the infinitive by replacing the terminating vowel with –a- if a vowel is present at the end of the infinitive. But it retains any alteration of the verb’s other vowels caused by the replaced terminating vowel (An example would be if the ending vowel was “i” … which had caused “i-umlaut” throughout the rest or part of the verb that was not a prefix. The i-umlaut would be retained even if the “i” was replaced with “a”.)

    A.) BASIC VERBS (FROM BARE STEM OR INFINITIVE ENDING IN -I):

      i.) FROM BARE STEM
      • hadhant < past tense of hað- < KHAD-
      • hafant < past tense of haf- < KHAM-

      ii.) FROM INFINITIVE ENDING IN –I:

      • trenerant < past tense of treneri < NAR-
      • degant < past tense of degi < NDAK-
      • gwedhant < past tense of gwedi < WED-

    B.) DERIVED VERBS (FROM –Â-, -BÂ-, -TÂ-, AND -YÂ- STEMS):

      i.) -Â- STEMS:

      • dravant < past tense of dravo < DARÁM
      • garant < past tense of garo < GAR-
      • melant < past tense of melo < MEL-
      • sogant < past tense of sogo < SUK-

      ii.) -BÂ- STEM:

      • dammant < past tense of damma- < NDAM < ndambâ

      iii.) -TÂ- STEM:

      • orthant < past tense of ortho < ORO-

      iv.) -YÂ- STEMS:

      • diliant < past tense of dilio < DIL-
      • deliant < past tense of doelio/doltho < DUL-
      • tiriant < past tense of tiri/ tirio < TIR-

2.) WEAK PAST TENSE II: characterized by suffixion of (A)S.

The suffix “-(a)s” seems to have developed from an earlier form ending in a double consonant or from an original final vowel being lost.

  • istas < past tense of isto < IS- (to have knowledge)
  • egleðas < past tense of egledhi or possibly egle[d]hio < LED- (to go into exile)
  • mudas < past tense of mudo < MÔ- (to labour, toil)
  • erias < past tense of erio < ORO- (to rise)

* Note that all attested verbs in this class are “intransitive” (meaning they cannot receive a direct object). It appears that WEAK PAST TENSE II represents the chief “weak past tense” formation of “intransitive verbs” …. while “STRONG PAST TENSE II … B” represents the chief “strong past tense” formation of “intransitive verbs”. However, there are also two intransitive verbs in the Strong Past II A group (basic stems ending in a stop consonant).The other strong and weak classes are primarily applied to “transitive verbs” (those which can receive a direct object).

Lastly, Carl Hostetter tells of another class of past tense that combines the “prefixed base-vowel/augment” at the beginning of the verb, with a lengthening of the stem vowel in the following syllable. Tolkien says this is usual in Sindarin “strong/primary” verbs. He gives the example: akāra ‘made, did’ > S agor. This, however, is the only example we see.

…. by Naneth