S. initial [w] became [gw]; [w-] > [gw-]

S. initial [w] became [gw]; [w-] > [gw-]

At every conceptual stage of Sindarin (including Gnomish and Noldorin), an initial w- became gw-. An identical development took place in Welsh (WGCH/§100i). Tolkien described this change several times:

Since ON w became initially gw in Exhilic, x was normally employed as gw (Feanorian Alphabet, 1930s, PE22/32).
... for gw is only the S. initial form of basic w-: as wath “shadow”, initial form gwath, i-wath “the shadow”, a chwath “and a shadow” (notes on a “and” from the late 1950s or early 1960s, PE17/41).

There are numerous examples of this change. Here is a representative from each conceptual period:

This sound change did not take place medially, and ended up playing a role in Sindarin’s mutation system. In particular, the soft-mutation of initial gw- was w-, not because the g was lost, but rather because it was prevented from forming in the first place.

Conceptual Development: It seems Tolkien adopted this sound change from Welsh very early and retained it through all conceptual stages of Sindarin. The only complication was that in the earliest stages, initial gw- could also be derived directly from primitive gw-, since unlike Sindarin and Noldorin a primitive [gw] did not become [b] in Gnomish.

There is a note in the Early Noldorin Grammar from the 1920s showing that Tolkien considered a similar strengthening of i- [j-] to di̯- [dj-]:

In addition, di̯ may mutate if from i- so archaically gw from but di, gw̯ usually appear for (b) [hard mutation] as ... diant “most“, (a) i·iant, (b) o·diant, (c) i·ni̯ant (PE13/120).

In this example, the soft mutation i·iant shows the original primitive form iant, just as the soft mutation w- of gw- does. Aside from this note and the example appearing here of diant “most”, there is no other evidence of this sound change for [j-], so it was probably a transient idea

Reference ✧ PE17/41 ✧ for example: gwath < ✶wath

Order (00700)

Before 00900 voiced stops became spirants after vowels ᴹ√WED > N. †gwedi Ety/WED
Before 04900 [wo] became [o] wo > gwo > S. go- WJ/368
Before 05100 [mb], [nd] became [mm], [nn] ᴹ√WENED > gwend > N. gwenn Ety/WEN

Phonetic Rule Elements

[w-] > [gw-] ✧ PE17/41 (w- > gw); PE18/105 (w > gw, w)

Phonetic Rule Examples

danwetha > dangwetha w- > gw- Ndangwetha > S. Dangweth ✧ PM/395
wá- > gwá- w- > gw- WO/WONO > S. gwa´ ✧ PE17/191
wá- > gwá- w- > gw- WO > S. gwa- ✧ WJ/367
wagme > gwagme w- > gw- wagme > S. gwaew ✧ PE17/34
waia > gwaia w- > gw- WAYA > S. gwae ✧ PE17/33
waia > gwaia w- > gw- WAYA > S. Gwae ✧ PE17/189
wain > gwain w- > gw- AWA/WĀ > S. gwaen ✧ PE17/148
waiwe > gwaiwe w- > gw- waiwe > S. gwae(w) ✧ PE17/33
waiwe > gwaiwe w- > gw- WIW > S. gwae(w) ✧ PE17/34
wanja > gwanja w- > gw- wanya > S. gwain ✧ PE17/150
wanwa > gwanwa w- > gw- AWA/WĀ > S. gwanu ✧ PE17/148
wanwa > gwanwa w- > gw- AWA/WĀ > S. gwawn ✧ PE17/148
waθa > gwaθa w- > gw- wath > S. gwath ✧ PE17/41
waθa > gwaθa w- > gw- Wath > S. Gwath ✧ VT42/9
waθa > gwaθa w- > gw- WATH > S. Gwath ✧ VT42/9
waθra- > gwaθra- w- > gw- WATH > S. gwathra- ✧ VT42/9
waθrina > gwaθrina w- > gw- WATH > S. gwathren ✧ VT42/9
waθrini > gwaθrini w- > gw- WATH > S. gwethrin ✧ VT42/9
wego > gwego w- > gw- wegō(n) > S. gwê ✧ PE17/189
wende > gwende w- > gw- WEN-ED > S. gwen(d) ✧ PE17/191
wexθe > gwexθe w- > gw- weg-tē > S. gwaith ✧ PE17/190
wine > gwine w- > gw- WIN > S. gwîn ✧ PE17/191
winja > gwinja w- > gw- WIN > S. gwein ✧ PE17/191
wo- > gwo- w- > gw- WĂ/WO > S. go ✧ PE17/16
wo- > gwo- w- > gw- WO/WONO > S. go´ ✧ PE17/191
wǭ- > gwǭ- w- > gw- > gwǭ > S. go ✧ WJ/364
wo- > gwo- w- > gw- wo > gwo > S. go- ✧ WJ/368
wǭ > gwǭ w- > gw- > S. gwāw ✧ PE17/34
woia > gwoia w- > gw- wāyā > gwoe > S. gwae ✧ PE17/34
wolassa > gwolassa w- > gw- walass(s) > S. go-las ✧ PE17/84

N. initial [w] became [gw]; [w-] > [gw-]

GS/§4.102 WGCH/§100i-2 @@@

Reference ✧ PE22/32

Order (00800)

Before 00900 voiced stops became spirants after vowels ᴹ√WED > N. †gwedi Ety/WED
Before 05300 [mb], [nd] became [mm], [nn] ᴹ√WENED > gwend > N. gwenn Ety/WEN

Phonetic Rule Elements

[w-] > [gw-] ✧ PE19/19 (w- > gw-); PE19/19 (w- > gw-)

Phonetic Rule Examples

wá- > gwá- w- > gw- ᴹ✶wō/wŏ > N. †gwa- ✧ Ety/WŌ
waide > gwaide w- > gw- ON. waide > N. gwaeð ✧ Ety/WED
waita- > gwaita- w- > gw- ᴹ√WAY > N. gwaedo ✧ EtyAC/WAY
waiwa > gwaiwa w- > gw- ᴹ√WAIWA > N. gwaew ✧ Ety/WĀ
wanaθθa > gwanaθθa w- > gw- ᴹ√WAN > N. gwanath ✧ Ety/WAN
wanna > gwanna w- > gw- ᴹ✶wannā > N. gwann ✧ Ety/WAN
wanθa- > gwanθa- w- > gw- ᴹ✶wanta- > N. gwanno ✧ Ety/WAN
wanūre > gwanūre w- > gw- ON. wanúre > N. gwanur ✧ Ety/THEL
wanūro > gwanūro w- > gw- ON. wanūro > N. gwanur ✧ Ety/NŌ
wanūro > gwanūro w- > gw- ON. wanūro > N. gwanur ✧ Ety/TOR
wanwe > gwanwe w- > gw- ᴹ✶wanwē > N. gwanw ✧ Ety/WAN
waria- > gwaria- w- > gw- ON. warie > N. gwerio ✧ Ety/WAR
warθa > gwarθa w- > gw- ᴹ√WAR > N. gwarth ✧ Ety/WAR
wasse > gwasse w- > gw- ON. wasse > N. gwass ✧ Ety/WAƷ
wastar > gwastar w- > gw- ᴹ√STAR > N. gwa-star ✧ Ety/STAR
wator > gwator w- > gw- ON. wator > N. gwador ✧ Ety/TOR
watori > gwatori w- > gw- ON. wator > N. gwedeir ✧ Ety/TOR
waθa > gwaθa w- > gw- ON. watha > N. gwath ✧ Ety/WATH
waθele > gwaθele w- > gw- ON. wathel > N. gwathel ✧ Ety/THEL
waθeli > gwaθeli w- > gw- ON. wathel > N. gwethil ✧ Ety/THEL
waθθa- > gwaθθa- w- > gw- ON. wattóbe > N. gwatho ✧ Ety/WAƷ
waθθe > gwaθθe w- > gw- ON. watte > N. gwath ✧ Ety/WAƷ
wed- > gwed- w- > gw- ᴹ√WED > N. †gwedi ✧ Ety/WED
weda > gweda w- > gw- ON. weda > N. gweð ✧ Ety/WED
wende > gwende w- > gw- ᴹ√WENED > gwend > N. gwenn ✧ Ety/WEN
wende > gwende w- > gw- ᴹ√WED > N. gwend ✧ Ety/WEN
westa > gwesta w- > gw- ᴹ✶wed-tā > N. gwest ✧ Ety/WED
westa- > gwesta- w- > gw- ᴹ✶wed-tā > N. gwesto ✧ Ety/WED
wexθe > gwexθe w- > gw- ᴹ✶weg-tē > N. gweith ✧ Ety/WEG
wī > gwī w- > gw- ᴹ√WEY > N. gwî ✧ Ety/WEY
wiliθθe > gwiliθθe w- > gw- ᴹ√WIL > N. gwilith ✧ Ety/WIL
wilwa > gwilwa w- > gw- ᴹ✶wilwā > N. gwelw ✧ Ety/WIL
wilwiliθθa > gwilwiliθθa w- > gw- ᴹ√WIL > N. gwilwileth ✧ Ety/WIL
winda- > gwinda- w- > gw- ON. winda > N. gwinna ✧ EtyAC/WIN
winde > gwinde w- > gw- ᴹ✶windi > gwind > N. gwinn ✧ Ety/WIN
winde > gwinde w- > gw- ᴹ✶windi > gwind > N. gwinn ✧ EtyAC/WIN
wiŋge > gwiŋge w- > gw- ᴹ✶wingē > N. gwing ✧ Ety/WIG
winja > gwinja w- > gw- ᴹ✶winyā > N. gwein ✧ Ety/WIN
winje > gwinje w- > gw- ᴹ√WINI > N. gwîn ✧ EtyAC/WIR
winje > gwinje w- > gw- ᴹ✶winyē > N. gwîn ✧ EtyAC/WIN
winji > gwinji w- > gw- ᴹ✶winyā > N. gwîn ✧ Ety/WIN
winθa- > gwinθa- w- > gw- ON. wintha > N. gwinna ✧ Ety/WIN
wīre > gwīre w- > gw- ᴹ✶weı̯rē > N. Gwîr ✧ Ety/WEY
wo- > gwo- w- > gw- ᴹ√WŌ̆ > N. go- ✧ Ety/NAT
woun > gwoun w- > gw- ᴹ✶WĀ-N > N. gwaun ✧ Ety/WA-N
wouni > gwouni w- > gw- ᴹ✶WĀ-N > N. guin ✧ Ety/WA-N
woura > gwoura w- > gw- ON. wóra > N. gwaur ✧ Ety/WAƷ

ᴱN. initial [w], [j] became [gw], [dj]A sequence of more than one item is not allowed as the second argument of concat()