11 – Adverbs
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs generally answer one of four questions: how, when, where, or to what extent.
He walked slowly. (how)
He answered immediately. (when)
He ran away. (where)
He became very happy. (to what extent, modifies adjective)
Sindarin has many words that stand by themselves as adverbs, such as: io (ago), lim (on), mae (well), etc. Two words even act as both adjective and adverb: far (enough) and him (steadfast/continually, enduring).
There is also a group of prefixes (most mentioned in the lenition lesson) that are “adverbial” …. such as palan- (far and wide), athra- (across), am- (up), etc. They can make other words, such as nouns and adjectives, adverbs.
What can we do if we need an adverb not covered by attested material? Tolkien has shown us in his attested material that “forming adverbs” can be an easy thing to do. For the adverb “long” (as in … live “long/for a long time”), Tolkien used a preposition and an adjective combined…..
an (for) + and (long) = anann (for long)
This construction is used in the praise for the hobbits: Cuio i Pheriain anann! (May the Haflings live long!)
*The final d of “and” is changed to n in a combination like this. This occurence will be discussed in the lesson on compounds.
For the adverbial phrase “to remote distance”, Tolkien uses a preposition and a noun combined.
na (to) + haered (remote distance) = na-chaered (to remote distance). In English, this phrase could probably be represented by the word “away”.
This construction is used in the phrase: Na-chaered palan-díriel (after having gazed afar to remote distance)
*In this combination, “haered” is lenited after combining with “na-“.
With these two examples, along with “na vedui!” (at last!), which keeps separate word forms, but ultimately means “finally!”, we can construct our own adverbs where needed. For instance, let’s take the adverbs “quickly” and “lovingly”. There are no Sindarin words meaning “quickly” or “lovingly”, but we can easily construct adverb compounds, using the preposition “na” (with) and the noun/gerund “horthad” (speed) and noun “meleth” (love) .
na (with) + horthad (speed) = na-chorthad (quickly)
If you do something “with speed”, you are doing it “quickly”.
na (with) + meleth (love) = na-veleth (lovingly)
If you do something “with love”, you are doing it “lovingly”.
Placement of Adverbs
In a sentence, when not attached to the verb, the adveb can come before or after the verb.
Ar e aníra ennas suilannad mhellyn în phain
Lenition of Adverbs
The adverb “si” (now) is lenited in “Edro hi ammen”, but the reason for this is not known. Since all other adverbs in attested material are NOT lenited, it is probably best to follow the usual pattern and not lenit adverbs when you write in Sindarin.
NOTE: The question of the Sindarin word for “near” is brought up very often in the forum. This word is easily substituted with the word “by” …. “na” in Sindarin.
The river babbles near (by) me.
I hîr glavra na nin.