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Tolkien & front rounded vowels (was: RE: [CONLANG] Fave Conlangs

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 27, 2002, 20:37
At 3:21 am +0000 27/3/02, And Rosta wrote:
[snip]
> >It's striking too how Quenya has the consonants of Finnish but
Eh? hy [C], hw, qu [kw], as well as /b/ and /g/ inter alia.
>the vowels of Latin, not Finnish. So I guess Christian is correct.
I thought Finnish shared with Latin long & short /a/, /e/ ,/i/, /o/ and /u/. But the diphthongs surely give Quenya vowels a very un-Latin feel - more like Ancient Greek or (dare I say it) Finnish. But it must be admitted that front, rounded vowels figure very little in Tolkien's languages; in fact, apart from Sindarin's {y} [y], I can't of where else any occur. If he really despised the sounds, however, they would surely have appeared in Orcish or the Black Speech. It seems to me he was simply indifferent to them and, therefore, had no use. I guess [y] occurs in Sindarin partly because he was keeping close to Welsh phonology but thought the inclusion of [1] wouldn't be readily acceptable and substituted the Old English [y] because (a) Old English is clearly part of the Sindarin mix, and (b) the sound is known from familiar langs like French and German. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================