Q. perfect grammar.

Q. perfect grammar.

The perfect tense in Quenya indicates an action that has been completed before the present time. In English, the perfect tense is usually expressed with an auxiliary verb “has” or “have”, as in (past) “lived” versus (perfect) “has lived” from the verb “to live”. In Quenya, the perfect tense has its own verbal conjugation: (past) marne versus (perfect) amárië from the verb mar- “to abide, *dwell, live”.

Like English, the Quenya perfect is used when the effects of the completed action are still felt in the present time, as distinct from the past tense, where the action simply occurred at some point in the past. For example, if you said “the man lived in the city”, you only know that at some point in the past the man was in the city. If, however, you say “the man has lived in the city (for many years)”, you imply that he is still living in the city now.

The conjugation for the Quenya perfect has three markers: (1) a vowel prefix (augment), identical to the base vowel of the verb, (2) a lengthening of the base vowel and (3) the suffix -ië (PE22/96, 131). For example, with the perfect amárië from the verb mar-, the initial a- is the augment that matches the base vowel, the base vowel itself is lengthened to á, and the suffix -ië is added. Similarly, the perfect of tul- “to come” is utúlië “has come” (S/190).

Of the three markers, only the third, the suffix -ië is absolutely required (PE22/104). The vowel augment is the most optional of the three markers: it can be omitted merely for aesthetic reasons, especially in verse (WJ/366). For example avánië “has gone” (the perfect form of the irregular verb auta-¹) can also appear without its augment as simply vánië. Compare the Namárië poems in the 1st and 2nd editions of the Lord of the Rings, where the vánië/avánië variations took place (RC/341).

Similarly, the vowel lengthening is prohibited if the base vowel appeared before a pair of consonants, as in the perfect ataltie from the verb talta- (PE17/186). The suffix -ië by itself is not enough to fully distinguish the perfect form, however, because such a conjugation would be identical in form to the verb’s gerund. At least one of the other two markers (augment or lengthened base vowel) should be used if at all possible.

Perfects of Verbs Beginning with Vowels: In the case of verbs beginning with vowels, any vowel augment would be absorbed by the base vowel of the verb. For example, the verb (ᴹQ.) ulya- “to pour” would have a (strong) perfect form u-úlië, which simply becomes úlië (PE22/112). Since the vowel augment is optional in any case, verbs beginning with vowels effectively omit the augment.

Sometimes, however, particularly in poetic writing, the perfects are formed by duplicating the entire stem, as ulúlië (PE22/112) or orórië from orya- (PE22/133, 157). This is not the norm, however.

Perfects of Verbs Beginning with Reduced Consonants: In some cases, the perfect can preserve consonant clusters that were normally reduced at the beginning of words. For example nac- “to hew, slay” from the root √NDAK had an (archaic) perfect form andácië (PE22/112, 133). Over time, however, these perfects tend to normalize and become consistent with their other modern verb forms: anácië.

The Perfect and the Past Tenses: In Old Quenya, the conjugations of the perfect and past tenses were independent of one another. Tolkien stated that as time went on, however, “the forms of past and perfect became progressively more closely associated in Quenya” (WJ/366). This meant that the perfect is often formed using the past tense instead of the verb stem.

For example, the verb mat- has the past tense form mantë. Originally its perfect was formed directly from the verb stem: †amátië. Over time it converged with the past tense, so that its perfect form became amantie (PE22/104). The verb ista- has the irregular past tense (i)sintë, and its perfect became isintië (PE17/77).

The coalescence of the past and perfect is most common with (a) irregular past tenses and (b) weak verbs. Most weak verbs conjugate their past tense with the simple past suffix -në, and their perfects are usually formed by modifying their past tense forms rather than stem. For example, ehentanie from henta- “to examine” (PE17/77) and etengwanie from tengwa- “to read” (VT49/48).

The past and perfect forms are one way to distinguish true derived-verbs (with verbal suffixes like -ta) from TALAT-stem-verbs (from primitive triconsonantal roots). TALAT-stem verbs like talta- can superficially resemble derived verbs, but their past tenses and perfects are different: talantë and †ataltië (later atalantië), as opposed to **taltane and **ataltanie. See the entry on TALAT-stem-verbs for further discussion.

As a general rule, perfects are only formed directly from the stem in the case of regular strong verbs (basic verbs), though of course this is the majority of verb forms.

Conceptual Development: There are a couple of examples that appear to be perfect forms in the earliest Lost Tales from the 1910s: ᴱQ. tulielto “they have come” and i·Eldar tulier “the Eldar have come” from the verb tulu- “to come” (LT1/114), as well as i·kal’antúlien “light hath returned” from the verb antulu- “to return” (LT1/184). At this earliest stage, these forms are different from the attested Early Quenya past tense forms (which tended to use either either vowel-lengthening or nasal-infixion/suffixion), and are therefore probably genuine perfects. They already had the distinctive -ie suffix of later perfect forms, and possibly vowel-lengthening in the case of antúlien.

The situation is more complicated in the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s, however, where -ie is one of the suffixes used for the past tense, not the perfect (PE14/56). As this stage, the perfect is formed using the past active-participle (-ien(d)-) in combination with an auxiliary verb, but “is” instead of English “has”. Thus: e tulien “is having come = has come”, or tuliende “has come” with the verb e “is” as a suffix (PE14/57).

By the 1930s, Tolkien seems to have reverted to -ie as the perfect suffix. There are perfect forms in Fíriel’s Song from the 1930s: kárielto or kárier “they made” from the verb kar-, versus its past tense káre (LR/72). There are several perfect forms in the Lament of Atalante: ullier “poured” (LR/47, SD/247) and lantie(r) “fell” (LR/47, 56). There are also appear to be perfect forms in the Namárië, draft from Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, such as tūlier (TI/285). At this stage, it seems that the lengthening of the stem vowel (where possible) was also part of the perfect formation.

The first unambiguous appearance of the perfect-augment was not until very late in the Lord of the Rings drafts with túvien >> utúvienyes “I have found it” (SD/57). In Tolkien’s linguistic writings, the perfect-augment was also mentioned in a discussion of Quenya verb from the late 1940s (PE22/96, 112). It seems likely that when Tolkien wrote vánie “has gone” in the 1st edition version of the Namárië poem The Lord of the Rings, that it was in fact a regular perfect form, and Tolkien only decided later than vánië was a poetic variant of the regular augmented avánië.

In the Quenya Verbal System document from the 1940s, Tolkien also discussed an alternate “long perfect” syntax based on the perfect-participle (PE22/104), used with derived verbs to be more distinctive from the past tense. It is unclear whether this syntax remained valid in Tolkien’s later writing. See the long-perfect for further discussion.

This same text also mentioned that stem-reduplication for verbs beginning with a vowel (such as ulúlië) was a poetic-only form (PE22/112). In some very late notes towards the end of the 1960s, Tolkien included quite a few example of stem-reduplication, however: isísië and orórië (PE22/159, 164), so perhaps Tolkien considered making such reduplication a more normal part of perfect formations. Absent further information, it is difficult to be sure.

Examples (perfect)
ālie [← ala-¹] ✧ PE22/164
alālie [← ala-¹] ✧ PE22/164
(a)vánie ← auta- ✧ PE17/63
avánie “have gone, past away” ← auta- ✧ PE17/63
avānie ← av|va ✧ PE17/63
awāwe [← auta-¹] ✧ PE22/164
avānie ← auta- ✧ WJ/366
avānie ← auta- ✧ WJ/366
avāvie [← ava-¹] ✧ PE22/164
akainie [← caita-] ✧ PE22/157
akaine[?] [← caita-] ✧ PE22/157
akaitie [← caita-] ✧ PE22/157
akáyie [← caita-] ✧ PE22/157
acáye ← caita (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
acaitie ← caita (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
acáye ← caita (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
acaitie ← †cea (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
acaitie ← caita (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
akaitie ← kaita (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
engie ← enge (strong-past) ✧ VT49/29
ehentănie ← henta ✧ PE17/77
isintie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
isísie ← istā (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
isisie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
isistie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
isísie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
isistie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
isísie [← ista-] ✧ PE22/164
isistie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
istie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
isísie ← ista (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
alaie [← lá-] ✧ PE22/153
alaie ← lā- ✧ PE22/156
alaie ←  ✧ VT49/13
amáye [← mai-²] ✧ PE22/148
(a)mátie “have eaten” [← mat-] ✧ PE17/13
emēlie ← melya (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
emēnie “has just arrived” [← men-] ✧ VT49/24
anaie [← ná-] ✧ VT49/27
anáye [← ná-] ✧ VT49/27
anaie ← nā- ✧ VT49/27
andákie ← nak- ✧ PE22/133
anaktane ← nahta (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
anahtie ← nahta (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
anākie [← nahta-¹] ✧ PE22/157
anahtie [← nahta-¹] ✧ PE22/157
anákie ← nahta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
anahtie ← nahta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
anahtie ← nahta ✧ PE22/164
anākie ← nahta ✧ PE22/164
ininquitie [← #ninquita-] ✧ PE22/157
ókómie ← okom- ✧ PE17/157
olōlie “has become” [← ol-] ✧ PE22/133
orórie ← ora (aorist) ✧ VT41/13
orie ← ora (aorist) ✧ VT41/13
ohór[i]e [← or-] ✧ VT41/13
ortanie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
orórie ← ortă ✧ PE22/157
orotie ← ortā ✧ PE22/157
orort{anie} ← ortā ✧ PE22/157
orórtie ← ortă ✧ PE22/157
orórie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
orortie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
[orort]ie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
orortie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
orórie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/159
orortaye ← orta ✧ PE22/164
orortie ← orta ✧ PE22/164
ōrtie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
(or)ortie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
orórie ← orta (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
orotaye ← orta ✧ PE22/164
orortaye ← orta ✧ PE22/164
ōrie ← orya (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
orōrie “has arisen” [← orya-] ✧ PE22/133
orórie [← orya-] ✧ PE22/157
(or)oryanie [← orya-] ✧ PE22/164
ororie [← orya-] ✧ PE22/164
orōrie ← orya (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
ororyaye [← orya-] ✧ PE22/164
iríkie “has twisted” [← #ric-²] ✧ VT39/7
asálie [← sal-] ✧ PE22/133
isīrie ← sirya (aorist) ✧ PE17/77
isírie ← sirya (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
ataltie ← talta (present) ✧ PE17/186
atalantie ← †talat- ✧ PE22/164
ororyaye ← †talat- ✧ PE22/164
etengwanie ← tengwane (past) ✧ VT49/48
etēnie “has just arrived” [← ten-] ✧ VT49/23
athárie ← thar ✧ PE22/133
Utúlie’n “has come” [← tul-] Utúlie’n aurë! ✧ S/190
utúlie’n “has come” [← tul-] Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utúlie’n aurë ✧ S/190
Utulie’n “has come” [← tul-] Utulie’n aurë! ✧ WJ/166
utulie’n “has come” [← tul-] Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utulie’n aurë ✧ WJ/166
utultanie [← tulta-] ✧ PE22/157
utultien [← tulta-] ✧ PE22/164
utulye ← tulya (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
utulya ← tulya (aorist) ✧ PE22/164
atyā́vie [← #tyav-] ✧ PE22/152
oiórie [← yor-] ✧ PE17/43
amātielmi [← mat-] 1st-pl-exclusive ✧ PE17/76
alālien [← ala-¹] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/164
ālien [← ala-¹] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/164
avávien [← ava-¹] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/162
avavien [← ava-¹] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/164
avāvien [← ava-¹] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/164
avāvien ← ava- 1st-sg ✧ VT49/13
akárienye [← car-] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/152
afārien [← fara-] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/164
inírien [← nir-] 1st-sg ✧ PE22/165
apārien “I have learnt” ← paranye (present 1st-sg) 1st-sg apārien parmanen ✧ PE17/180
utúlien “I am come” [← tul-] 1st-sg Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien ✧ LotR/967
utúlien “I have come” [← tul-] 1st-sg Et eärello endorenna utúlien ✧ PE17/103
uien ← ua 1st-sg ✧ PE17/144
utúvienyes “I have found it” [← #tuv-] 1st-sg with-sg-object ✧ LotR/971
utuvienyes “I have found it” [← #tuv-] 1st-sg with-sg-object ✧ PE17/110
túlielde “you had come” [← tul-] 2nd-pl augmentless au túlielde (las)! ✧ PE22/140
vānie ← auta- augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vánie- ← auta- augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vánie [← auta-¹] augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vānie [← auta-¹] augmentless ✧ WJ/366
fírië “she hath breathed forth” [← fir-] augmentless ✧ MR/250
fírië “has breathed forth” ← fírë (aorist) augmentless ✧ MR/470
lambie ← lambe (past) augmentless ✧ VT47/21
avánier “have passed” [← auta-¹] plural Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier ✧ LotR/377
avāniër “have passed” [← auta-¹] plural Yēni ve linte yuldar avāniër ✧ RGEO/58
avānier “have passed away (pl.)” [← auta-¹] plural Yēni avānier ve linte yuldar ✧ RGEO/58
vánier “have passed away” [← auta-¹] plural augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vānier “have passed away” ← auta- plural augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vánier “have departed” [← auta-¹] plural augmentless ✧ PE17/63
vánier [← auta-¹] plural augmentless ✧ RC/341

References ✧ PE18/88; PE22/131, 164; WJ/366



Element In

ᴹQ. perfect grammar.

Examples (perfect)
(ol)ólie “it has grown up, it has reached its prime, become” [← ola-] ✧ PE22/116
(al)álie [← ola-] ✧ PE22/116
kárie “made” [← kar-] ohtakárie valannar ✧ LR/56
akárie [← kar-] ✧ PE22/103
akárie [← kar-] ✧ PE22/109
akárie [← kar-] ✧ PE22/109
ekénie [← #ken-] ✧ PE22/103
ekennie [← #ken-] ✧ PE22/103
ēne “existed” ← ëa ✧ PE22/123
enie [← ye-] ✧ PE22/123
yénie [← ye-] ✧ PE22/123
etekélie ← ehtelu- ✧ PE22/103
ahámie ← hame (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
ahammie ← hame (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
ihímie ← hime (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
illīk[ie] [← hlik-] ✧ PE22/113
ihlíke “has crept” [← hlik-] ✧ PE22/113
ahyárie ← hyare (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
akápie [← kap-] ✧ PE22/102
akampie ← kampe (past) ✧ PE22/102
(a)karanyanie [← karanya-] ✧ PE22/117
kímie “has found” [← kim-] ✧ PE22/108
aláhtie ← lahe (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
alahie/alakkie ← lahe (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
alávie ← lave (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
ulungie ← lue (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
uluiye ← lue (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
ukúvie ← kuve (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
amátie [← mat-] ✧ PE22/102
amantie ← mante (past) ✧ PE22/102
amantie [← mat-] ✧ PE22/104
emérie [← mer-] ✧ PE22/103
umúnie ← mune (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
andákie [← nak-¹] ✧ PE22/112
anákie [← nak-¹] ✧ PE22/112
(i)niñqitanie [← ninqita-] ✧ PE22/117
unúrie ← nure (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
oine “have lived” [← oia-] ✧ PE22/125
olólie [← ol-] ✧ PE22/103
ólie [← ol-] ✧ PE22/103
orahallie ← orhale (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
orhálie ← orhale (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
ortanie [← orta-] ✧ PE22/117
ortánie [← orta-] ✧ PE22/117
orórie “has arisen” ← orya- ✧ PE22/115
ipísie ← pise (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
aráfie ← rafe (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
urúkie [← ruk-] ✧ PE22/102
uruñkie ← mante (past) ✧ PE22/102
esérie ← sere (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
isílie “has shone (white)” [← sil-] ✧ PE22/113
**isirinie ← sirya ✧ PE22/115
astárie [← †thar-¹] ✧ PE22/112
otonnie ← tone (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
otónie ← tone (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
utunnie ← tune (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
utúnie ← tune (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
utúlie ← tule (aorist) ✧ PE22/103
utúlie [← tul-] már akárielya e utúlie ✧ PE22/108
utúlie “had come” [← tul-] ni qente (sa) e·utúlie ✧ PE22/119
utúlie “have just come” [← tul-] ni·utúlie nyariello ve atarella ✧ PE22/119
utúvie “has found” [← #tuv-] már akárielya e·utúvie ✧ PE22/108
atyávie ← tyave (aorist) ✧ PE22/102
túvien “I have found it” [← #tuv-] 1st-sg augmentless ✧ SD/57
[?in]túviet “I have found it” [← #tuv-] 1st-sg with-sg-object ✧ SD/57
utúvienyes “I have found it” [← #tuv-] 1st-sg with-sg-object ✧ SD/57
kárielto “they made” [← kar-] 3rd-pl augmentless En kárielto eldain Isil, hildin Úr-anar. Toi írimar. ✧ LR/72
kárie “finishes” [← kar-] augmentless qe e·kárie i kirya aldaryas, ni kauva kiryasta menelyas ✧ PE22/121
lálie [← lá-] augmentless ✧ PE22/126
lánie [← lá-] augmentless ✧ PE22/126
lantier “they-fell” [← lanta-] augmentless lantier turkildi unuhuine ✧ LR/47
lantie “fell” [← lanta-] augmentless lantie nu huine ✧ LR/56
lantier “fell” [← lanta-] augmentless eari lantier kilyanna ✧ LR/56
niñqitánie [← ninqita-] augmentless ✧ PE22/117
túlie [← tul-] augmentless aiqe e·kestanen ela en ni túlie/karnet, aiqe e·kestanen, en(ai) ni·túlie/karnet, auve e·kestanen, au ni·túlie ✧ PE22/121
túlie [← tul-] augmentless aiqe e kestanelyanen (ela), en ni·túlie ✧ PE22/122
ăkárier [← kar-] plural ✧ PE22/109
amantier [← mat-] plural ✧ PE22/104
ullier “poured” [← ulya-] plural ëari ullier kilyanna ✧ LR/47
ullier “should flow” [← ulya-] plural ëari ullier ikilyanna ✧ SD/247
ullier “they-should-flow” [← ulya-] plural ëari ullier kilyanna ✧ SD/310
ullier “should pour” [← ulya-] plural ✧ VT24/7
kárier “they made” [← kar-] plural augmentless Eldain en kárier Isil, nan hildin Úr-anar. Toi írimar. ✧ LR/72
lantier “they-fell” [← lanta-] plural augmentless {lantier >>} lantane turkildi unuhuine ✧ SD/310
amantielti [← mat-] plural with-pl-object ✧ PE22/104
akárin [← kar-] with-1st-sg-object ✧ PE22/109
ulungien “I have been sad” [← lu-] with-1st-sg-object ✧ PE22/104

References ✧ PE22/96, 104, 112



Element In

ᴱQ. imperfect grammar.

Examples (imperfect)

ᴱQ. perfect grammar.

Examples (perfect)
ie “had ... been” [← e-²] ✧ PE14/54
tūlie [← tulu-] ✧ PE16/124
túlie [← tulu-] ✧ PE16/126
tuliembo [← tulu-] 1st-dual-exclusive ✧ PE16/124
túliembo [← tulu-] 1st-dual-exclusive ✧ PE16/126
[tuli]engo [← tulu-] 1st-dual-inclusive ✧ PE16/124
túliengo [← tulu-] 1st-dual-inclusive ✧ PE16/126
tulielme [← tulu-] 1st-pl-exclusive ✧ PE16/124
túlielme [← tulu-] 1st-pl-exclusive ✧ PE16/126
túliengwe [← tulu-] 1st-pl-inclusive ✧ PE16/126
tūlienye [← tulu-] 1st-sg ✧ PE16/124
túlienye [← tulu-] 1st-sg ✧ PE16/126
[tuli]ello [← tulu-] 2nd-dual ✧ PE16/124
túliello [← tulu-] 2nd-dual ✧ PE16/126
túlielle [← tulu-] 2nd-pl ✧ PE16/126
tūlieste [← tulu-] 2nd-sg ✧ PE16/124
túlielye [← tulu-] 2nd-sg ✧ PE16/126
[túl]ieste [← tulu-] 2nd-sg ✧ PE16/126
túliesse [← tulu-] 3rd-dual-fem ✧ PE16/126
[túliess]ir [← tulu-] 3rd-dual-fem ✧ PE16/126
túliesso [← tulu-] 3rd-dual-masc ✧ PE16/126
[túliess]ur [← tulu-] 3rd-dual-masc ✧ PE16/126
túliettar [← tulu-] 3rd-dual-neut ✧ PE16/126
tulielto “they have come” [← tulu-] 3rd-pl ✧ LT1/114
túliende(n) [← tulu-] 3rd-pl-fem ✧ PE16/126
túliendo(n) [← tulu-] 3rd-pl-masc ✧ PE16/126
túlienta(n) [← tulu-] 3rd-pl-neut ✧ PE16/126
tulia [← tulu-] 3rd-sg ✧ PE16/124
tūliesse [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-fem ✧ PE16/124
túliende [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-fem ✧ PE16/126
[túli]ére [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-fem ✧ PE16/126
tūliendo [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-masc ✧ PE16/124
túliendo [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-masc ✧ PE16/126
[túli]éro [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-masc ✧ PE16/126
tuliēta [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-neut ✧ PE16/124
túliéta [← tulu-] 3rd-sg-neut ✧ PE16/126
tulier “have come” [← tulu-] plural ✧ LT1/114
antúlien “hath returned” [← #antulu-] singular ✧ LT1/184
antúlien “returned” [← #antulu-] singular ✧ LT1A/tulielto

Reference ✧ PE16/128

Element In