28 Stem-forms II
The stem-forms in this lesson have effects on the vowels of the words (in previous lesson, the effects all involved consonants).
1. Vowel shortening
In some nouns a long vowel is shortened in the stem-form:
cár (head) -> car-
nén (water) -> nen-
nér (man) -> ner-
quén (person) -> quen-
tál (foot) -> tal-
yár (blood) – > yar- (but, the normal word for blood is “sercë”)
The word “yén” (Elvish year) is an exception, as its plural form also has a long “é”: “yéni”.
2. Vowel lengthening
In a few words we find the reverse situation, but they are all names:
Eruhin (child of Eru) -> Eruhín-
Valatar (Valar-king) ->Valatár-
Atanatar (Forefather) -> Atanatár-
Casar (Dwarf) -> Casár-
3. Vowel changing
In some words a vowel changes completely. The most frequent words are the u-stems and the i-stems discussed in lesson 17.
There are two words that have stem-forms in “–a” but a nominative singular in “–o”:
rauco (demon) -> rauca-
sundo (root) -> sunda-
Note: “rauco” is in singular and dual a u-stem.
There are also two words in “–a” with a stem-form in “–i”:
hína (child) -> híni-
ónona (twin) -> ónoni-
4. Words with exceptional connecting vowels
As we have seen, when a case-ending that begins with a consonant is applied to a noun ending in a consonant we add an “–e–” between the stem and the ending.
Examples: macilen (to a sword… dative), atarenna (to a father… allative)
There are however four words that have a different connecting vowel:
with “–o–” : 1. tol (island) -> toll-; 2. Mandos (Mandos) -> Mandost-
So we find e.g. tolossë (on an island …locative), Mandostonna (to Mandos …allative)
with “–a–” 1. tál (foot) -> tal-; 2. umbar (fate) -> umbart-
So we find e.g. talan (to a foot …dative), umbartanen (by fate …instrumental)
5. Words ending in a long vowel
Quenya has a number of words that end in a long vowel, but they all have only two letters:
cú (crescent, arc)
lú (a time, occasion)
ré (day (of 24 hours))
sú (noise of wind)
The following words also have this form, but in modern Quenya they sound old-fashioned, so they are replaced most of the time with the word next to them:
cá (jaw) …better: anca
ló (night) …better: lómë
ní (woman) …better: nís
sá (fire) …better: uru
wá (wind) …better: vaiwa
yó (son) …better: yondo
The words ending in a long vowel have some special features:
· When the case ending contains a double consonant, the vowel is shortened. Examples: ressë (on a day …locative), i mannar (to the hands …allative)
· In the u-duals the “–u” joins with the final vowel to make a diphtong. Examples: mau (a pair of hands), peu (a pair of lips)
· In the plural the “–i” also joins with the final vowel. Examples: cuinen (with arcs …instrumental), maiva (of hands …possessive)
In the words in “–é” this gives us the diphtong “–ei–” that is very rare in Quenya: pein (to lips …dative)
The respective case
This is the final case of the Quenya nouns. It is sometimes called the mystery case because so little is known of it. We only have a few examples by Tolkien himself, so different authors have used it in different ways, but as Helge Fauskanger notes: “as these authors didn’t get nightly visits from Tolkien, we can regard these uses as acceptable”.
Most authors use it as a nephew of the locative case:
· To replace the proposition “by” when it used to describe a place.
Example: i coa i taures (the house by the forest)
This means “the house next to the forest”, while a locative has a slightly different meaning.
Example: i coa i tauressë (the house in the forest)
· To replace the proposition “at” when it used to describe a place.
Example: i calta i rambas (the picture at the wall)
This means “the picture hanging on the wall”, while a locative has again a slightly different meaning:
Example: i calta i rambassë (the picture on (top of) the wall)
The formation is however well known, because Tolkien explained in a letter to mr. Plotz; the respective can be formed by changing the final “–n” of the dative into an “–s”:
ciryas (by a ship … the dative form is ciryan)
ciryais (by ships …dative: ciryain)
ciryalis (by some ships … dative: ciryalin)
U-duals are formed in the same way. Example:
aldus (by a pair of trees …dative: aldun)
T-duals have the special ending “–tes”. <Example: ciryates (by a pair of ships)
The personal pronoun “me” (we) also has this ending in the dual: metes (by us both)
The relative pronoun “ya” has the following forms in the respective: yas, yais, yates