2013 – Parma Eldalamberon XXI: Qenya Noun Structure

The current issue presents previously unpublished writings by J. R. R. Tolkien concerning the declension of nouns in Qenya and the origins of noun stucture in Primitive Quendian and Eldarin. These have been edited and annotated by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith, under the guidance of Christopher Tolkien and with the permission of the Tolkien Estate.

Declension of Nouns is a detailed grammatical treatment of the inflexions of the Qenya noun, dating from circa 1931. It describes the formation of stems and syntactic suffixes, including Old Qenya, archaic, and poetic variants, and it traces the development of the noun from Common Eldarin. A number of the forms cited, including those in eight full paradigm tables, are transcribed in the Tengwar as conceived at this time. The various types of vocalic and consonantal stems are discussed, and illustrated with full listings of inflected forms for about 30 nouns, and variations outlined for another 50 or so.

Qenya Declensions is a series of paradigm tables apparently intended to replace those in the Declension of Nouns. They reflect further changes in Tolkien’s conception of the noun inflexions up to the middle of the 1930s. In three of these the forms are tanscribed in Tengwar, showing the conceptual development in the writing system.

Primitive Quendian Structure: Final Consonants is a text from 1936 connecting the distribution of word-final consonants in the primitive language with the etymological origins of the Qenya noun inflexions. An associated text titled just Nouns treats the same material starting from Common Eldarin.

Notes for Qenya Declensions is a revision of Nouns, probably dating from the early 1940s. It was intended to be part of a projected revision of the Declension of Nouns subsequent to the changes introduced in the Qenya Declensions.

Common Eldarin: Noun Structure is a revision and elaboration of the material in Primitive Quendian Structure and Nouns, dating from circa 1951. Tolkien eventually incorporated this as the first part of a Common Eldarin Morphology, describing how the inflexional categories of Quenya (and the other Eldarin tongues) developed in Common Eldarin by extension and combination of the base-structures, affixes, and other elements inherited from Common Quendian, as described in the Tengwesta Qenderinwa. The tendency of certain derived noun-stem types to be associated with gender is discussed, along with a more general description of the Eldarin process of contriving personal names.

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