Linking vowels (Quenya)

Tom Bombadil #349

I do not know whether linking vowel is the right word for that. Sometimes compounds of two words/affixes do not merge, but have a vowel between the two parts. Sometimes this vowel must be a specific one, for example the suffix -nya. The vowel in front of this suffix must be -i-. Such rules exist for every pronominal suffix, and some others too. But there are other compounds. Some of them are made of word and word instead of word and affix.

I was searching for the rule wich defines what vowel has to be choosen in what situation, and I thought that I found it: The linking vowel must be identical to the first vowel of the second part;





But now I'm not shure whether my rule is right, for I found other compounds which break it:

Ancal-i-me (but maybe that is actually An-calima with feminine ending)

Ancal-i-mon (but maybe that is also a derivative of An-calima)

Hyar-a-storni (but that is weird, because no one knows what astorni or storni mean).

Mard-o-runando (but maybe the -o- just marks the genitive)

Melcor-o-híni (maybe also just genitive)

Atan-a-mir (and here I am at my wits' end)

So, do you know the rule or could you help me to find it? It would be also helpful if you know more compounds which use such vowels.

PS. One more thing: when is it even necessary to use such merging/linking vowels? As far as I know it is impossible that more than two consonants are in series without beeing interrupted by a vowel. That would explain why heceldmar, entulsse, ersse, mardrunando and hyarstorni need such a vowel, but what about

Er-melda -> Ermelda (cf. Narmacil)

Atan-mir -> Atammir (cf. Elemmacil)

(and maybe Ancalme/Ancalmon (cf. Menelmacar))?

Why do they need a linking vowel if there are precedents of similar situations where linking vowel are not used?

Tamas Ferencz #351

There is no overarching general rule a to what connecting vowels are to be used in compounds and suffixes words. Sometimes the minds have a stem form which differs from the dictionary form and that determines how suffixes are attached ( that seems to be the case with Melkorohíni ). In other cases there is a reduplication of the root vowel - this happens mostly with verbal forms.

Not all forms you cited actually have a connecting vowel. In entulesse the e is the infinitive ending which then received an abstract noun suffix. In Heceldamar the a is and adjectival ending hekelda "forsaken". The I in ankalima is part of the verbal adjectival suffix -ima "(a)ble" etc.

In my textbook I tried to mention what connecting vowels are expected wherever it was relevant,

Hope this helps.

Tom Bombadil #352

You're giving me an idea here: I could use -e- for verbs, -ie- for nouns and -a or -ya for adjectives, right? Sounds good, just two questions:

Shouldn't it be -i- for the Aorist stem? I thought that the Aorist endings are -e and -i-. Or is -i- just required if a pronominal suffix will follow, and for all other suffixes and words is -e- allowed?

Secondly: Is it a problem to transform an adjective into an adjective? Noun into abstract noun will be no problem, there are precedents, it just might change the meaning a bit.

Well, I could also just make every adjective an abstract noun and every noun an adjective. I think that would not be a problem in compounds.

Tamas Ferencz #353

I'm afraid I am not following you. Neither ie nor ya are connecting vowels, they are suffixes, with various functions depending on the type of word. And I don't understand what you mean by "I will use -e-mail for verbs". Use for what? Maybe if you gave some examples of what you want to achieve or say it would help. Yes, in aorist tense the connecting vowel is i when there is a pronominal suffix present.

Transforming an adjective into an adjective - again, I need some actual example to understand what you mean.

Ríon Gondremborion #357

Tom you're becoming a bit of a ahem Riddle here, and that's a bit concerning.

right, wrong nerdverse, ehm

So, what Tamas was saying was that in some of your examples of compounded words, the were not actually connecting vowels. The vowels you saw just happened to be there because the vowel already existed. In example Heceldamar: the bolded a is in there not because it is a connecting vowel but because it is part of the adjective (which was not made for use in the compound, it already existed) hekelda. Thus "Forsaken Home" as Heceldamar is just the phrase hecelda mar shortened to form one word.

Connecting vowels are not there by explicit Noldorin Linguistic Court Order, so you don't need to put a word through the taffy puller to make it into a version of itself that ends in a vowel, they are present only when needed, meaning when two words are being compounded and a consonant cluster forms that is not allowed by Quenya phonology. Then the stem vowel of the first word is repeated at its end. This sort of phenomona can be seen all the way back from Primitive Elvish, and is one of the reasons why we see some verbs ending in "-a" turn out to be primary verbs (seen in both Quenya and Sindarin).

You point out that "i" seems to be the universal linking vowel in primitive verbs between the stem and suffix. Well, yeah, but not for the sake of simply linking the two. Basic stems for primitive verbs (as far as we can tell) took a suffix of -i in their infinitive forms (which, seeing as infinitives are not conjugated would aptly explain why an aorist tense in Quenya would take up such a suffix). During the shift from Common Eldarin to Quenya, this final "-i" when left alone on the end of the verb became an "-e", yet where the verb had a suffix, the "i" was medial and therefore left alone.

Edit: Seeing as I just made a post about myself having very little skill in making Quenya compounds this may seem a little hypocritical, but it's the actual doing of the action not the theory that I'm unfamiliar with, so... yeah.

Hoping I haven't made more of a mess,

Ríon Gondremborion.

Tom Bombadil #360

"Then the stem vowel of the first word is repeated at its end. "

Thank you very much! That was the rule I was searching for.

"in some of your examples of compounded words, the were not actually connecting vowels."

Yes, I assumed that too, and I wrote it.

Tamas, apparently my aims and ideas were not completely clear, I'm sorry for that, and I will repeat all of them. A bit reasonless, because Ríon understood and gave me the answers, but anyway, if one starts thinking that I'm insane

"Tom you're becoming a bit of a ahem Riddle here, and that's a bit concerning."

Then I think, I should say something.

My basic idea, which is really not complicated, is that I could use suffixes like infixes.

I wanted to create compound words. There are four possible situations:

  1. Word one results in a vowel and word two results in a vowel.

  2. Word one results in a vowel and word two results in a consonant.

  3. Word one results in a consonant and word two results in a vowel

  4. Word one results in a consonant and word two results in a consonant.

I am not interested in situation one, because I already know what happens there. I am also not interested in situation two and three, for I already know that both words just connect, without any change. Examples:

Ama + Tixe -> Amatixe

Ava + Cúma -> Avacúma

Apa + Nóna -> Apanóna

Atya + Russa -> Atyarussa

Nó + Coire -> Nócoire

Nó + Laire -> Nólaire

Caista + Nótie -> Caistanótie

Tarma + Sundar -> Tarmasundar

Tasar + ion -> Tasarion

I could tell many many more examples, but I think that the concept is obvious. I am interested in situation four: consonant + consonant. There are also four possible situations here:

4.1. The first word results in one consonant (for example Enel, Elen, Atan, etc.) and the second one starts also with one single consonant (for example Lúce, Sáma, Vande, etc.)

4.2. The first word results in one consonant and the second one starts with two (for example, Mbelekoro, Hwerme, Hwinya-, etc.)

4.3. The first word results in two consonants (for example Heceld-, Mard-, Lepetass-, etc.) and the second one starts with one consonant.

4.4. The first word results in two consonants and the second one starts with two consonants.

I do not care about situation 4.1. If one word results in a single consonant, and the next one starts with a single one, then it is ok. There are rules for that (for instance: -n + r- -> rr (Elerrína). I do not know all of them, and I could need help to find them, but that was not my question. Situation 4.2 and 4.4 are pretty seldom, so I am mainly interested in 4.3.

The problem is that it is impossible that more then two consonants are in series (although there are exceptions for semi-vowels like w and y). I'm not completely shure whether a real Quenya word can start with two consonants which are not semi-vowels, but that does not matter. At least suffixes can (-sse, -nce, -ndon, etc.)

There are two consonants in series in situation 4.1, three in 4.2 and 4.3, and four in 4.4. As far as I know, it is the most common strategy in situation 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 to put a vowel between the two words. I just don't know, what kind of vowels are required. It is sometimes -a-, sometimes -e-, sometimes -i- and maybe -o- and -u- are possible too.

Word 1--linking vowel-Word 2---Result (compound)

Atan--------a----------mir----> Atanamir (4.1)

Er----------e----------sse----> Eresse (4.2)

Anar--------i----------nya----> Atarinya (3)

So how do we know, whether the linking vowel has to be -a-, -e- or -i-? My idea was that the linking vowel is identical to the first vowel of the second word, -e- in Eresse, because of the e of -sse. Apparently this is not true, therefore I thought that I can just use -ie- if word one will be a noun, -i- if word one will be a verb and -a- or -ya- if word one will be an adjective. Examples:

Word 1--linking vowel-Word 2---Result (compound)

Mard---------ie-------menel--> Mardiemenel (4.3)

Alfirin--------a--------sta-----> Alfirinasta (4.2)

Alfirin--------ya-------ldatar--> Alfirinyaldatar(4.2)

Ric-----------i--------sse-----> Ricisse (4.2)

Ric-----------e-------sse-----> Ricesse (4.2)

Mard is a noun. -ie makes something a noun. Therefore it would be clever to give this noun with an unintentional consonant ending another ending, a vowel ending, which does not change the word's meaning. The noun of a noun is still a noun. Therefore I thought that this could be an universal method to link two words if the first one will be a noun. There might be a difference between abstract noun and noun, but I have a solution for that. I could just transform the noun into an adjective. It does not change anything, for the part of speech of a compound is defined by the second word.

Same with -a and -ya. Alfirin is an adjective. -a and -ya make something an adjective. Therefore it would be clever to give this adjective with an unintentional consonant ending another ending, a vowel ending, which does not change the word's meaning. The adjective of an adjective is still an adjective. Therefore I thought that this could be an universal method to link two words if the first one will be an adjective.

It is a bit different with verbs. As far as I know (would be interesting if I'm wrong) there is no way to make something a verb, except -ta, but that would change the meaning dramatically. So, maybe I could use the aorist ending, as Tamas suggested. To make a verb, which results in a consonant, an aorist word, we have to add -e.

Stem----> Aorist

Apsen---> Apsene

Quet----> Quete

Ócom---> Ócome

Car-----> Care

Unfortunately this -e ending changes if we will add a pronominal suffix. It becomes -i-. Therefore the aorist endings are

-e (no line on the right side, because no new word will come)

and -i- (a line on the right side, because a new word will come).

Stem---linking vowel---pronominal suffix






Therefore I was confused that you said, -e- could be the linking vowel. I asked whether it should not be -i-. I thought that maybe -e just becomes -i- if a pronominal suffix will follow, and that it would stay -e- if another suffix or word will follow. That would explain why it is


and not


at least if the -e- really marks the aorist, as you suggested.

Tamas Ferencz #365

Okay, but neither eresse nor atarinya are compounds, they are single nouns, the first containing an abstract suffix, the latter a possessive suffix. Compounds are formed from two or more standalone words, because together they get a new, more specific meaning, e.g. "standalone", "blackboard" etc.

When I find myself facing a dilemma whether I should express something using a compound word,I try to ask myself, would that likely be a compound in the first place? If I am unsure, I rather stick to keeping them șeparate. If I decide to go for a compound, I usually search Eleanor, to see if any of the elements I chose have been attested in compounds, and if yes, how? Also, does the first element have a specific stem form, that may govern how the second element is connected to it? Are there attested compounds of a similar structure that may give a hint? Etc.

In my textbook there is a section about formative suffixes, how they are used to form words from other words, you may find that useful, too.