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Re: Degrees of volition in active languages (was Re: Chevraqis:asketch)

From:The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>
Date:Sunday, August 13, 2000, 19:12
> From: J Matthew Pearson > Subject: Re: Degrees of volition in active languages (was Re: > Chevraqis:asketch)
> > The Gray Wizard wrote: > > > > How did this double marking evolve in your fictional history? > > > This is highly interesting. Most languages use one and only > one system > > > of marking semantic relations or cases, but Amman-iar uses > two different > > > of them. > > > > Not enough is known about the protolanguage Vulanayal to be certain, but > > linguists speculate that it occurred through a combination of language > > mixing from as many as four different sources at very widely separated > > times. The ur-language of amman seems to have been primarily active. A > > very early contact with Grey Elves (long before the coming of the > > Numenoreans) apparently added a nominative/accusative case marking to > > possibly all pronouns, but at minimum to the speech-act > pronouns. With the > > coming of the Numenoreans, two new sources of language mixing occurred. > > Since the escaping Numenoreans were of the court of Amandil of > Andunie, they > > still spoke Sindarin and influenced the language of amman primarily > > lexically. However, as Numenoreans they also spoke Adunaic > (possible some > > Sindarin/Adunaic) Creole) and it was the latter that is thought to have > > added the ergative influence. > > Adunaic was ergative? Based on the sketchy description of > Adunaic in one of > Christopher Tolkien's "History of Middle-Earth" volumes, the > morphological case > system seems to me to have been modelled loosely on Berber, with > a "bound" case > used for postverbal objects and genitives and a "free" case used > for preveral > subjects. Or am I misremembering?
I think there may be some controversy around this. There was some discussion maybe a year or more ago on either tolklang of elfling regarding this point. Evidence was given that Adunaic was either ergative or active (much of this evidence was gathered post-HoME, I believe). Lowdham's Report in Sauron Defeated (HoME IX), identifies a Normal, Subjective and Objective case. One analysis would certainly fit your description above, another has the Normal (unmarked) case playing the absolutive role while the Subjective (marked) plays an ergative one. The Objective case seems not to be a separate case at all, being used only in compounds. I am not enough of a Tolkien linguistic scholar to support any of these positions, but chose to accept the ergative explanation because it fit my concultural analysis better :-). Helge Fauskanger, one of he more notable Tolkien linguists of our day seems not to take a position on this. David David E. Bell The Gray Wizard "Wisdom begins in wonder." - Socrates