Q. ámen anta síra ilaurëa massamma “give us this day our daily bread”

Q. ámen anta síra ilaurëa massamma “give us this day our daily bread”

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The sixth line of Átaremma, Tolkien’s Quenya translation of the Lord’s Prayer. The first word Ámen is a combination of the imperative particle á and the (dative) second person plural pronoun men “[to] us”, followed by the aorist verb form anta “give”. This is followed by síra “this day”, ilaurëa “daily” and massamma “our bread”, the last one being the first person plural exclusive possessive form of massa “bread”.

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

Á-me-n anta síra ilaurëa massa-mma = “*(imperative)-us-to give this-day daily bread-our”

Conceptual Development: The imperative element á, the verb anta “give” and the dative pronoun men “us” appear in all versions of the prayer, but are arranged differently. In versions I-IV of the prayer, there is an additional subject pronoun l(y)e “you (polite)” [God], either as a suffix -le of the verb anta (I) or the suffix -lye of the imperative element á (IIa-IV). In versions I-IV, the indirect object men “us” appears after the verb.

In earlier versions of the prayer, the Quenya word for “this day” varied from siarë >> hyárë >> hyázë (I-IIa), and then back hyázë >> hyárë >> siar(ë) (IIb-III). Another form siar appears in version IV, but this may be a slip for siare. The form of the adjective “daily” was ilyarëa (I, IIb-IV) or ilyázëa (II), while the word for “bread” was masta (I-IV). These earlier forms probably reflect Tolkien’s previous words for “day” and “bread”: ᴹQ. are and ᴹQ. masta (Ety/AR¹, MBAS), which later become Q. aurë and Q. massa.

    I   IIa IIb III IV V VI
A Alye Ámen
{anta >>} antale anta anta
{amen >>} men  
{siare >> hyáre >>} hyáze {hyáre >>} siare siar síra
ilyarea ilyázea ilyarea ilaurea
mastamma massamma

Versions I-IIa of this line include the phoneme [z] (hyáze, ilyázea), which was not seen in Classical Quenya. It was, however, present in Ancient Quenya (LotR/1123) and Vanyarin (PE19/73). It is possible that Tolkien was attempting (at least initially) to write the prayer in a particularly archaic or “high” form of Quenya.

References ✧ VT43/8-12



á “imperative particle” ✧ VT43/17 (Alye); VT43/18
me “us (exclusive)” dative ✧ VT43/18 (men); VT43/18 (men)
anta- “to give, present; †to add to” aorist ✧ VT43/17 (antale); VT43/18; VT43/18
síra “*today, this day” ✧ VT43/18
ilaurëa “*daily” ✧ VT43/18
#massa “bread” 1st-pl-exclusive-poss ✧ VT43/18 (massamma)
hyárë “*today, this day” ✧ VT43/18 (hyáze); VT43/18
ilyarëa “*daily” ✧ VT43/18 (†ilyázea); VT43/18
siar(ë) “*today, this day” ✧ VT43/18 (siare); VT43/18 (siar)
masta “bread, cake, loaf” 1st-pl-exclusive-poss plural ✧ VT43/11 (mastammar); VT43/18 (mastamma)

Element In