27 Stem-forms I
We first met the stem-forms in Lesson 3 and in the previous lesson we explained them as remnants of Old Elvish. The original Old Elvish word for “floor” was talam. But as the letter “m” is no longer allowed at the end of Quenya words, it evolved into “talan” with “talam-” as stem-form.
In this and next lesson we give an overview of the different types of stem-forms that Quenya knows.
The first group of words ends in “–n”, “–r” or “–l”. Their stem-forms are made by adding a –”d–”:
amun (hill) -> amund-
andon (gate) -> andond-
car (building) -> card-
falmarin (sea nymph) -> falmarind-
fion (hawk) -> fiond-
hen (eye) -> hend-
hwan (sponge) -> hwand-
lin (melody) -> lind-
mar (earth) -> mard-
meren (feast) -> merend-
nan (wood) -> nand-
neltil (triangle) -> neltild-
óman (vowel) -> omand-*
pilin (arrow) -> pilind-
sar (pebble) -> sard-
tyel (end) -> tyeld-
wen (virgin) -> wend-
wingil (nymph) -> wingild-
wilwarin (butterfly) -> wilwarind-
*Note that the first vowel of “óman” becomes short in the stem-form.
There are also a few proper nouns (names) with such stem-forms:
Laurelin, Lórien, Solonel, Taniquetil, Ancalimon, Sauron.
The adjectives in “–n” probably also belong to this group (PE 14 pg 77):
i hwarindi (the crooked (ones)
hwarindi neri (crooked men)
When they are used as final declinable words, they get the vowels –e– or –i– between the stem and the case-ending.
harma furindessë (in a concealed treasure)
urur úrindinen (with blazing hot fires)
A number of stem-forms are made by adding a “–t”:
oron (mountain) -> oront-
umbar (fate) -> umbart-
alas (marble) -> alast-
calarus (copper) -> calarust-
coimas (lembas) -> coimast-*
lairus (verdigris) -> lairust-
os (cottage) -> ost-
tirios (walled town) -> tiriost-
urus (copper) -> urust-
*”coimas” also has the stem-form “coimass-“.
The proper nouns in this group are: Turambar, Mandos.
The declension of d- and t-stems is regular except in the possessive singular. In this case we use the suffix –wa with the nominative singular, not the stem form.
fion (hawk) -> fionwa
wingil (nymph) -> wingilwa
sar (pebble) -> sarwa
tirios (walled town) -> tirioswa
3. Contracted stems
Another group of stems lose the vowel of the second syllable. So the stem-form is a contracted form of the nominative.
coron (ball) -> corn-
feren (beech) -> fern-
haran (chieftain) -> harn-
huan (dog) -> hún-
laman (animal) -> lamn-
seler (sister) -> sell-
soron (eagle) -> sorn-
toron (brother) -> torn-
In quite a number of cases of the singular these words use the nominative singular form to produce these cases.
So take e.g. “toron” (brother):
The word “seler” (sister) has only two exceptional cases:
In the partitive plural (see Lesson 21) they also use the nominative singular:
haran (leader) -> haralli (some leaders)
seler (sister) -> selelli (some sisters)
4A. Doubled stems in ss
A few stems double their final s:
eques (saying) -> equess-
falas (beach) -> falass-
lis (honey) -> liss-
nís (woman) -> niss-*
olos (snow) -> oloss-**
coimas (lembas) -> coimass-***
* The long “í” shortens before a double consonant.
** This word also has the nominative “olossë”. It should not be confused with “olos” (dream) which has an irregular stem-form.
*** “coimas” also has the stem-form “coimast-“.
The name Tulcas (also spelt Tulkas) belongs to this group too.
The possessive singular of these words is constructed with an “–e–” between stem-form and suffix. Example: nís (woman) – >nisseva
The locative is formed with only the ending –ë in the singular and –en in the plural. Examples:
lis (honey) -> lissë
eques (saying) -> equessen
The word “solor” (surf) has stem-form “soloss-” and uses the same forms as these words except in the possessive singular, which is “solorwa”.
4B. Doubled stems in ll or nn
Final “l” and “n” can also be doubled:
amil (mother) -> amill-
aranel (princess) -> aranell-
miril (jewel) -> mirill-
riel (garlanded maiden) -> riell-
tol (island) -> toll-*
olwen (branch) -> olwenn-
tamin (forge) -> taminn-
*The cases of “tol” are formed with an “–o–” between stem and ending (see next lesson).
The proper noun Silmaril also belongs to these words.
In the possessive singular we always use the nominative form.
Example: amil (mother) -> amilwa; tamin (forge) -> taminwa
The words in “–l” have a contracted ablative in both singular and plural.
Example: amil (mother) -> amillo, amillon
The ablative singular is thus equal to the genitive singular.
The words in “–n “have a contracted allative in both singular and plural.
Example: olwen (branch) -> olwenna, olwennar
Their partitive plurals have a double “–ll”.
Examples olwelli, tamilli.
4C. Doubled stems in ts
When the words end in “t” we don’t find a genuine doubling but rather an extra “s”:
quelet (corpse) -> quelets-
This word have a special locative and possessive singular:
possessive… queletwa; locative… queletsë
As told in the introduction, the letter “m” is no longer allowed at the end of a word.
anan (doom) -> anam-
ran (noise) -> ram-
talan (floor) -> talam-
These words have exceptional locatives and instrumentals.
And the partitive plurals are: talalli (some floors)
The word “fen” also behaves like these words:
fen (reed) – > feng-
The locative is “fendë” and the partitive plural “felli” (but the instrumental is regular: “fengenen”).
Three words originally ended in “c”, and this letter is also not allowed at the end of a word:
filit (little bird) -> filic-
nelet (tooth) -> nelc-
quesset (pillow) -> quessec-
The exceptional cases are:
possessive … filiqua, nelequa, quessequa
instrumental … filincen, nelencen, quessencen
locative … filixë, neletsë, quessexë
7. Irregular stem-forms
First two cases which are derived from other words:
· All words that denote a “room” end on “–san”. This is derived from “sambë” (room). Example: caimasan (bedroom) -> caimasamb-
· The second part of the word “halatir” is derived from “tirno” (watcher):
halatir (kingfisher) -> halatirn-
Some words are totally irregular:
nó (idea) -> nów-
oaris (mermaid) -> oarits-
olos (dream) -> olor-
peltas (pivot) -> peltax-
rá (lion) -> rav-
tó (wool) -> tów-
yat (neck) -> yaht-