20 To Be, To Exist
Three forms of the verb “to be” are known:
ná / nar (is, are) – present and aorist
nauva (will be) – future tense
né / ner (was) – past tense
These verb forms can be combined with pronominal endings just like other verbs.
nan / nanyë (I am)
nal / nalyë (you are)
nat (you are – intimate singular)
nas / naryë (he / she / it is)
nalmë / nalvë / nammë (we are, excl / incl. / dual)
nantë (they are)
But, it is just as permissible to leave out the copula altogether and use an independent form of the pronoun instead. Examples: Ni nér. (I am a man.) Elyë vanima. (*You* are beautiful.)
Eä – to be, to exist
There is also another verb with similar meaning: “ëa”. This form can be both the present/ aorist tense, meaning “it is”, and the imperative, translated “let it be”. The past tense is “engë” and the future tense is suggested to be “euva”.
Eä is used to say that something exists or is present. It is also a better choice than “ná” when talking about the position of something. Examples: Wilwarini ëar (Butterflies exist). Eä nís i cardessë ([There] is a woman in the house).
Ma – a word for questions
All the “question-words” introduced in the previous lesson begin with “ma”, and it is believed, though not directly exemplified in Tolkien’s writings, that “ma” by itself can be used to turn statements into questions.
Example: I rocco ná linta. (The horse is swift). Ma i rocco ná linta? (Is the horse swift?)
Sa – that
“Sa” is used for “that” in phrases like “They know that you are here” (Istantë sa ëalyë sinomë) and “I said that you are beautiful” (Quentë sa nalyë vanima.)
1. ma (possible interrogative particle)
2. sa “that”
3. sinomë “here” (literally “in this place”)
4. tenna “until, as far as”
5. ëa “is, exists”
6. maquet- “to ask”
7. lerta- “can, to be allowed to”
8. ista- “to know” (also “to be able to” because one has the knowledge or intellectual capacity)
9. lambë “language, tongue”
10. oron (oront-) “mountain”
11. liantë “spider”
12. tári “queen”