07 – Mixed Mutation
IMPORTANT LINK YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS MUTATION LESSON:
Mixed Mutation is NOT a Tolkien-made term. The reason we call it “mixed mutation” is because sometimes it acts like soft mutation, sometimes like nasal mutation, and sometimes it differs from both.
We do not know what Tolkien personally called this mutation, but we can extrapolate from Sindarin phonology and from the few examples we do have, how it probably worked. Mixed mutation is also caused by nasal sounds, just like nasal mutation. However, this mutation tends to do two things (though not always both at the same time):
1) Make the following sound more nasal
2) Make the following sound voiced
What triggers Mixed Mutation? Mixed mutation is triggered by the genitive only article en “of the”, and prepositions … ben “according to the/ in the”, erin “on the”, nan “to the”, uin “from the” and ‘nin…. singular form only of “to the, for the”. Notice the ( ‘ ) on ‘nin. It MUST be included when using this preposition in a sentence or your reader may confuse it with other Sindarin words.
Na and nan seem to be more “locative words” when translated as “to” and “to the”, whereas an and ‘nin seem to be used more in a “giving sense” when translated as “to” and “to the”.
Here are some examples of how the mixed mutations are formed …..
|EN + B = E-B||BEN + B = BEN B||ERIN + B = ERIN B||NAN + B = NAN B||UIN + B = UIN B||‘NIN + B = ‘NIN B|
|EN + BL = E-ML||BEN + BL = BEN ML||ERIN + BL = ERIN ML||NAN + BL = NAN ML||UIN + BL = UIN ML||‘NIN + BL = ‘NIN ML|
|EN + BR = E-MR||BEN + BR = BEN MR||ERIN + BR = ERIN MR||NAN + BR = NAN MR||UIN + BR = UIN MR||‘NIN + BR = ‘NIN MR|
|EN + C = E-G||BEN + C = BEN G||ERIN + C = ERIN G||NAN + C = NAN G||UIN + C = UIN G||‘NIN + C = ‘NIN G|
|EN + CL = E-GL||BEN + CL = BEN GL||ERIN + CL = ERIN GL||NAN + CL = NAN GL||UIN + CL = UIN GL||‘NIN + CL = ‘NIN GL|
|EN + CR = E-GR||BEN + CR = BEN GR||ERIN + CR = ERIN GR||NAN + CR = NAN GR||UIN + CR = UIN GR||‘NIN + CR = ‘NIN GR|
|EN + D = E-D||BEN + D = BEN D||ERIN + D = ERIN D||NAN + D = NAN D||UIN + D = UIN D||‘NIN + D = ‘NIN D|
|EN + DR = EN-DR||BEN + DR = BEN DR||ERIN + DR = ERIN DR||NAN + DR = NAN DR||UIN + DR = UIN DR||‘NIN + DR = ‘NIN DR|
|EN + F = EN-F||BEN + F = BEN F||ERIN + F = ERIN F||NAN + F = NAN F||UIN + F = UIN F||‘NIN + F = ‘NIN F|
|EN + G = E-G||BEN + G = BEN G||ERIN + G = ERIN G||NAN + G = NAN G||UIN + G = UIN G||‘NIN + G = ‘NIN G|
The chart below shows how all the consonants change in mixed mutation. The original consonant undergoing the change is shaded in BLUE (Basic C means “original basic consonant”.) The changed forms are shaded in YELLOW, along with the instances which cause mixed mutation and the meanings of the words that cause it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With mixed mutation, only EN changes its form along with the first letter of some following words (depending on the following word’s first consonant or consonant cluster). BEN, ERIN, UIN, NAN, and ’NIN (singular) do not change form at any time as far as we know. That is why the original chart only shows the changes for EN. The other prepositions trigger the exact same changes with the following word that EN does. Just don’t change the form of the preposition itself.
Also NOTE that the three special cases of primitive B, D, and G from MB, ND, and NG (at the bottom of the chart) behave differently than regular B, D, and G.
Now that we have the mutation table for mixed mutation, let’s take a look at some mutations. To begin with, let’s take a look at the names of some tales.
Narn “tale” + en + Tinuviel = Narn e-Dinuviel (Tale of the Nightingale)
Narn “tale” + en + El “star” = Narn en-El (Tale of the star)
As you can see, sometimes the N of “en” disappears. The mutation chart will tell you when this is appropriate or not. In “Narn e-Dinuviel”, we can see mixed mutation at work with the shift from T>D. In “El” there is no mutation (El does not start with a consonant).
Here are some more examples of mixed mutation at work. As you can see, sometimes “e” is used, and sometimes “en” is. You can also see how the consonant of the following words changes. We add a hyphen ( – ) between the preposition “en” and the following words in this case, so that we do not confuse mutated forms with stop mutation (still to be discussed).
en + crist = e-grist (of the cleaver)
en + blabed = e-mlabed (of the flapping)
en + glad = en-glad (of the wood)
en + grond = en-grond (of the club)
en + mellon = e-mellon (of the friend)
en + lam = e-lam (of the tongue)
en + salph = e-halph (of the soup)
Now let’s look at some examples using the other prepositions:
erin + crist = erin grist (on the sword)
erin + totothen = erin dolothen (on the eighth day)
nan + taur = nan daur (to the great forest)
nan + pendrath = nan bendrath (to the stairway)
ben + parf = ben barf (according to the book)
ben + siniath = ben hiniath (according to the news)
uin + caun = uin gaun (from the prince)
uin + trann = uin drann (from the Shire)
‘nin + brannon = ‘nin vrannon (to the lord)
‘nin + sadron = ‘nin hadron (to the faithful one)
As you can see, none of these prepositions are changed in mixed mutation. However, the mutation of the following word proceeds with normal mixed mutation.
A MATTER OF APOSTROPHE
As you look over the mutation chart, you will probably notice that some of the consonants have an apostrophe ( ‘ ) before them. For example: E-‘L, E-‘W. The reason for this apostrophe deals with the primitive Elvish that Sindarin is derived from. The apostrophe indicates a lost sound. Essentially, you lose the H sound that the original consonant cluster contained and replace it (in front) with an apostrophe. For example, take the basic consonant cluster LH. In nasal mutation, you lose this H so it becomes ‘L.