AQ. initial [s] plus voiceless stops became voiceless spirants; [sp-|st-|sk-] > [ɸ-|θ-|x-]

AQ. initial [s] plus voiceless stops became voiceless spirants; [sp-|st-|sk-] > [ɸ-|θ-|x-]

An initial s followed by a voiced stop developed into a voiceless spirant of the same quality: sp, st, sk > f (or ), þ, χ (IPA [f] or [ɸ], [θ], [x]). A similar change occurred in Sindarin. Tolkien discussed this sound change in both the Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1] from the 1930s and the Outline of Phonology [OP2] from the 1950s:

[Initial] sky, skw became simplified to [χy, χw] whence Q hy, hw, identical with the products of khy, khw: see above. The same development was common in the case of sp, st, sk which thus became [ꝑ, þ, x] > f, th (s), h initially (OP1: PE19/30).
[Initial] sp, st, sk. For these initial groups a development to f, þ, h identical with that of ph, th, kh but probably coalescing with these only at the spirantal stage, is well evidenced, & occurs in many words and stems. It is improbable that sp, st, sk ever became aspirates. They more likely reached the stage f, þ, h through long spirants ff, þþ, χχ soon simplified (OP2: PE19/78).

In the 1930s, Tolkien described similar developments for initial sky, skw, but in the 1950s he decided these combinations did not occur initially in Primitive Elvish (PE19/78 note #51). The Quenya phonetic developments were a bit different than in Sindarin/Noldorin, where it seems that st- > sþ- > þ-, but in Quenya st- > þþ- > þ-. As indicated by the quotes above, it seems this sound change was after aspirates became voiceless spirants, but Tolkien seems to have vacilated on whether it was before or after [ɸ], [β] became [f], [v], so whether sp- > or f is unclear.

Attested examples are quite numerous in the 1930s, 50s and 60s, and some a few examples appear as early as the 1920s, such as: ᴱ✶skantá [> *χanta] > ᴱQ. hanta “blow with an axe” (PE13/147) and ᴱ✶stak+ta [> *þakta] > ᴱQ. sahta- “to split” (PE14/66). It seems plausible the same sound changes applied to the earliest Qenya of the 1910s but there are no clear examples.

References ✧ PE19/78, 84

Order (02100)

After 02000 syllabic initial [s] became [is]
Before 02300 [x] unvoiced following [j], [w]
Before 03400 unstressed medial long vowels shortened ᴹ✶farāyā́ > fárăyā > ᴹQ. farea PE22/111

Related

Phonetic Rule Elements

[sp-] > [ɸ-] ✧ PE19/78 (sp > ff > f; initially)
[st-] > [θ-] ✧ PE19/78 (st > þþ > þ; initially)
[sk-] > [x-] ✧ PE19/78 (sk > χχ > h; initially)

Phonetic Rule Examples

skalā > xalā sk- > x- skalā > Q. hala ✧ PE17/184
skūna > xūna sk- > x- SKŪ > Q. hūna ✧ PE17/149
skūta- > xūta- sk- > x- SKŪ > Q. húta- ✧ PE17/149
spanja > ɸanja sp- > ɸ- SPAN > Q. fanya ✧ PE17/36
spinde > ɸinde sp- > ɸ- SPIN-ID > Q. findë ✧ PE17/119
spindelē > ɸindelē sp- > ɸ- espin-delē > Q. phindele ✧ PE17/17
spindele > ɸindele sp- > ɸ- spindilā > Q. findile ✧ PE17/17
spine > ɸine sp- > ɸ- SPIN- > Q. phin- ✧ PE17/17
spine > ɸine sp- > ɸ- SPIN- > Q. fine ✧ PE17/17
star- > θar- st- > θ- STAR > Q. thar ✧ PE22/133
steglō > θeglō st- > θ- steglō > thélo > þélo > Q. sélo ✧ PE19/95
stelma > θelma st- > θ- stel > Q. þelma ✧ WJ/319
stenna > θenna st- > θ- stenna > thenna > Q. senna ✧ PE17/185

ᴹAQ. initial [s] plus voiceless stops became voiceless spirants; [sp-|st-|sk-] > [ɸ-|θ-|x-]

References ✧ PE19/36-37, 41

Order (02200)

After 02100 syllabic initial [s] became [is]
Before 02400 [x], [s] unvoiced following [j], [w]
Before 03500 unstressed medial long vowels shortened ᴹ✶farāyā́ > fárăyā > ᴹQ. farea PE22/111

Phonetic Rule Elements

[sp-] > [ɸ-] ✧ PE19/37 (sp > f; initial)
[st-] > [θ-] ✧ PE19/37 (st > th; initial)
[sk-] > [x-] ✧ PE19/38 (sky > hy; initial); PE19/38 (skw > hw; initial); PE19/37 (sk > h; initial)

Phonetic Rule Examples

skala > xala sk- > x- ᴹ√SKAL² > ᴹQ. hala ✧ Ety/SKAL²
skalja- > xalja- sk- > x- ᴹ√SKAL¹ > ᴹQ. halya- ✧ Ety/SKAL¹
skalja- > xalja- sk- > x- ᴹ√SKAL³ > ᴹQ. halya- ✧ EtyAC/SKAL³
skalmā > xalmā sk- > x- ᴹ✶skalmā > ᴹQ. halma ✧ EtyAC/SKEL
skalnā > xalnā sk- > x- ᴹ✶skalnā > ᴹQ. halda ✧ Ety/SKAL¹
skalna > xalna sk- > x- ᴹ✶skalnā > ᴹQ. halla ✧ EtyAC/SKEL
skarna- > xarna- sk- > x- ᴹ√SKAR > ᴹQ. harna- ✧ Ety/SKAR
skarnā > xarnā sk- > x- ᴹ✶skarnā > ᴹQ. harna ✧ Ety/SKAR
skarwē > xarwē sk- > x- ᴹ✶skarwē > ᴹQ. harwe ✧ Ety/SKAR
skat- > xat- sk- > x- ᴹ√SKAT > ᴹQ. hat- ✧ Ety/SKAT
skelmā > xelmā sk- > x- ᴹ✶skelmā > ᴹQ. helma ✧ Ety/SKEL
skelnā > xelnā sk- > x- ᴹ✶skelnā > ᴹQ. helda ✧ Ety/SKEL
skjapat > xjapat sk- > x- ᴹ✶skyapat- > ᴹQ. hyapat ✧ Ety/SKYAP
skora- > xora- sk- > x- ᴹ✶skorā > ᴹQ. hora ✧ PE22/113
skwarin > xwarin sk- > x- ᴹ√SKWAR > ᴹQ. hwarin ✧ Ety/SKWAR
skwarma > xwarma sk- > x- ᴹ√SKWAR > ᴹQ. hwarma ✧ Ety/SKWAR
spaika > ɸaika sp- > ɸ- ᴹ√SPAY > ᴹQ. faika ✧ Ety/SPAY
spāna > ɸāna sp- > ɸ- ᴹ√SPAN > ᴹQ. fána ✧ Ety/SPAN
spaŋgā > ɸaŋgā sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶spangā > ᴹQ. fanga ✧ Ety/SPÁNAG
spanja > ɸanja sp- > ɸ- ᴹ√SPAN > ᴹQ. fanya ✧ Ety/SPAN
spantur > ɸantur sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶Spanturo > ᴹQ. Fantur ✧ Ety/SPAN
spāra > ɸāra sp- > ɸ- ᴹ√SPAR² > ᴹQ. fára ✧ EtyAC/SPAR²
spara- > ɸara- sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶sparā > ᴹQ. fara- ✧ PE22/113
sparājā > ɸarājā sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶farāyā́ > fárăyā > ᴹQ. farea ✧ PE22/111
sparma > ɸarma sp- > ɸ- ᴹ√SPAR² > ᴹQ. farma ✧ EtyAC/SPAR²
spinde > ɸinde sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶spindē > ᴹQ. finde ✧ Ety/SPIN
spinē > ɸinē sp- > ɸ- ᴹ✶spinē > ᴹQ. fine ✧ Ety/SPIN
stabnē > θabnē st- > θ- ᴹ✶stabnē > ᴹQ. samna ✧ Ety/STAB
stabnō > θabnō st- > θ- ᴹ✶stabnō > ᴹQ. samno ✧ Ety/STAB
stambē > θambē st- > θ- ᴹ✶stambē > ᴹQ. sambe ✧ Ety/STAB
θanda > θanda st- > θ- ᴹ√STAN > ᴹQ. sanda ✧ Ety/STAN
θaŋgā > θaŋgā st- > θ- ᴹ✶stangā > ᴹQ. sanga ✧ Ety/STAG
θaŋgā > θaŋgā st- > θ- ᴹ√STAG > ᴹQ. sanga ✧ PE22/107
θaŋgasjandō > θaŋgasjandō st- > θ- ᴹ✶stangasyandō > ᴹQ. sangahyando ✧ Ety/SYAD
θanja > θanja st- > θ- ᴹ√STAN > ᴹQ. sanya ✧ Ety/STAN
θanje > θanje st- > θ- ᴹ√STAN > ᴹQ. sanye ✧ Ety/STAN
θaŋkā > θaŋkā st- > θ- ᴹ✶stankā > ᴹQ. sanka ✧ Ety/STAK
star- > θar- st- > θ- ᴹ√STAR > ᴹQ. thare ✧ PE22/112
θara > θara st- > θ- ᴹ√STAR > ᴹQ. sara ✧ Ety/STAR
stegrā > θegrā st- > θ- ᴹ✶stegrā > ᴹQ. thḗra ✧ PE19/46
stintā > θintā st- > θ- ᴹ√STINTĀ > ᴹQ. sinta ✧ Ety/STINTĀ
stugnā > θugnā st- > θ- stuknā > Q. thúna ✧ PE19/86
stundo > θundo st- > θ- ᴹ√SUD > ᴹQ. sundo ✧ Ety/SUD

ᴱQ. initial [s] plus voiceless stops became voiceless spirants; [s{pɸ}-|s{tθ}-|s{kx}-] > [ɸ-|θ-|x-]

Phonetic Rule Elements

[sp-] > [ɸ-]
[st-] > [θ-]
[sk-] > [x-]

Phonetic Rule Examples

skampa- > xampa- sk- > x- ᴱ√kapa- > ᴱQ. hampa- ✧ PE14/66
skanta > xanta sk- > x- ᴱ✶skantá > ᴱQ. hanta ✧ PE13/147
skapta- > xapta- sk- > x- ᴱ✶skapi̯a- > ᴱQ. hapta- ✧ PE14/66
skend > xend sk- > x- ᴱ✶ske-ndá > ᴱQ. hen ✧ PE13/147
staina > θaina st- > θ- ᴱ✶stainá > ᴱQ. saina ✧ PE13/153
stakta- > θakta- st- > θ- ᴱ✶stak+ta > ᴱQ. sahta ✧ PE14/66