Ilk. initial [x] unvoiced following [l], [r], [w]; [x{lrw}-] > [ø{l̥r̥w̥}-]

Ilk. initial [x] unvoiced following [l], [r], [w]; [x{lrw}-] > [ø{l̥r̥w̥}-]

In the Comparative Tables, where the initial aspirate [kʰ] appeared before an [l], [r], [w], the result was a voiceless [l̥], [r̥], [w̥] (PE19/18, 21). This was also true when the aspirate developed from an initial [s]: ᴹ✶skw > [kʰw >] Ilk. hw (PE19/20). There is only one example of this rule in The Etymologies: ᴹ✶khrassē > Dor. rhass (EtyAC/KHARÁS).

Most likely this development occurred after aspirates became voiceless spirants, ([kʰ-] > [x-]), and was part of the general trend whereby initial [x-] became [h-]. This development did not occur for [j] (“y”), since either [j] was lost after initial velars or initial palatalized velars became dentals; Tolkien vacillated on the exact development of [j] after initial velars.

Phonetic Rule Elements

[xl-] > [l̥-]
[xr-] > [r̥-]
[xw-] > [w̥-]

Phonetic Rule Examples

xl- > l̥- xl- > l̥- ᴹ✶khl- > Ilk. lh- ✧ PE19/21
xr- > r̥- xr- > r̥- ᴹ✶khr- > Ilk. rh- ✧ PE19/21
xrass > r̥ass xr- > r̥- ᴹ✶khrassē > Dor. rhass ✧ EtyAC/KHARÁS
xw- > w̥- xw- > w̥- ᴹ✶khw- > Ilk. hw- ✧ PE19/18
xw- > w̥- xw- > w̥- ᴹ✶skw- > Ilk. hw- ✧ PE19/20