AQ. initial [d] became [l]; [d-] > [l-]

AQ. initial [d] became [l]; [d-] > [l-]

In Ancient Quenya any initial d- became l-, a change Tolkien mentioned frequently starting in the 1930s:

d > l (r) (Comparative Tables, 1930s, PE19/18).
d became l initially. (Outline of Phonetic Development [OP1], 1930s, PE19/18).
d became l initially ... No clear case of initial r occurs. [add to margin in red ball point] A very early change? Cases of d/l variation are found in other[?] languages and may go back to C. Eld. or earlier (Outline of Phonology [OP2], early 1950s, PE19/69-70).
Quenya initial d- normally > l- (etymology notes from the late 1950s, PE17/17).
Quenya has alda since its initial voiced stops (like Greek) were all spirantalized and weakened: b > v, d > l, g > ʒ > nil (etymology notes from the late 1950s, PE17/153).
This form is due to the early change in Q of initial d > l. The change was regular in both Vanyarin and Noldorin dialects of Quenya (Quendi and Eldar, circa 1960, WJ/363).
This [d/l variation] was far older and distinct from the normal Quenya change of initial d > l; though the existence of the variation already in the language may have assisted in making l the normal change (Variation D/L in Common Eldarin, late 1960s, VT48/30).
In Quenya initial d- normally > l but the verbal forms clearly used -de (Quenya Pronominal Elements, 1968, VT49/51).

As noted above, this Quenya sound change was distinct from sporadic d/l variation in Common Eldarin, which was a variation in related roots rather than a true phonetic development (VT48/23). Unfortunately, Tolkien did not describe the mechanism whereby d became l initially in Quenya. The medial development was:

Medially between vowels it appears to have been somewhat retracted, and to have become at first a weak untrilled r or đ-like sound distinct from original r. The two sounds have distinct letters in earlier Quenya spelling, which may be represented by r (original) and (derived from d). 7 = r, 6 = ř (OP2: PE19/69-70).

The exact nature of this medial development (which Tolkien most frequently represented as ř) isn’t entirely clear, but the general consensus is that it was probably an alveolar approximant [ɹ], which is how “r” is typically pronounced in English (untrilled). Perhaps initially it further developed into the lateral approximant [l] instead of to a trilled [r] as it did medially. Alternately, the initial development may have been [d-] > [ð-] > [l-]. Analogs of this sound change are hard to find in real-world languages [@@@ look into this more].

This sound change can be seen most easily in l-/d- variations between Quenya and Sindarin/Noldorin:

Conceptual Development: In Qenya of the 1910s and 20s, initial voiced stops were unvoicedd, so that initial d- > t- as can be seen in t-/d- variations between Early Quenya and Gnomish/Early Noldorin:

There does seem to be one aberrant example of d- > t- in Tolkien’s later writing: ✶dāra > Q. tāra, S. Daur “wise” (PE17/102), as in Frodo’s Sindarin name. Most likely this is a fluke.

References ✧ PE17/17, 153; PE19/69-70, 75; VT48/30; VT49/51; WJ/363

Order (02800)

After 01200 initial [d] assimilated to following [n]
After 02600 initial [dr-], [dl-] became [r-], [l-]
Before 02900 voiced stops became spirants except after nasals

Related

Phonetic Rule Elements

[d-] > [l-] ✧ PE19/69 (d > l; initially); PE19/75 (dy > ly; initially); VT48/30 (d > l); WJ/363 (d > l); PE17/153 (d > l; initial)

Phonetic Rule Examples

danme > lanme d- > l- danmi > Q. lanwe ✧ VT48/32
danta- > lanta- d- > l- DAN-TA > Q. lanta- ✧ PE17/62
dē > lē d- > l- de > Q. ✧ VT49/51
dē > lē d- > l- > Q. ✧ PE17/95
delja > lelja d- > l- delya > Q. lelya ✧ PE17/151
delja > lelja d- > l- delya > Q. lelya ✧ PE17/151
delja- > lelja- d- > l- DEL > Q. lelya ✧ PE17/151
delja- > lelja- d- > l- delta/delya > Q. lelya ✧ PE17/17
deluja > leluja d- > l- delwa > Q. ?leluya ✧ PE17/17
dimpa > limpa d- > l- (N)DIP/B > Q. limpa ✧ PE17/168
domba > lomba d- > l- DOM > Q. lomba ✧ PE22/153
dōmē > lōmē d- > l- dōmē > Q. lómë ✧ PE17/152
dōmē > lōmē d- > l- DOM > Q. lóme ✧ PE22/153
dōmē > lōmē d- > l- dōmē > Q. lómë ✧ SA/dú
dūbā > lūbā d- > l- dūbā > Q. lúva ✧ PE17/168
duime > luime d- > l- DUY > Q. luime ✧ VT48/23
duime > luime d- > l- DUY > Q. luime ✧ VT48/24
duinē > luinē d- > l- duinē > Q. **luine ✧ RC/766
duita- > luita- d- > l- DUY > Q. luita- ✧ VT48/23

ᴹAQ. initial [d] became [l]; [d-] > [l-]

Reference ✧ PE19/32

Order (02900)

After 01200 initial [d] assimilated to following [n]
After 02700 initial [dr-], [dl-] became [r-], [l-]
Before 03000 voiced stops became spirants except after nasals and liquids

Phonetic Rule Elements

[d-] > [l-] ✧ PE19/38 (d > l; initial)

Phonetic Rule Examples

dab- > lab- d- > l- ᴹ√DAB > ᴹQ. lav- ✧ Ety/DAB
dagra > lagra d- > l- ᴹ√DAG > ᴹQ. lára ✧ EtyAC/DAG
dagwe > lagwe d- > l- ᴹ✶dagwe > ᴹQ. lau(w)e ✧ PE19/46
dai > lai d- > l- ᴹ√DAƷ > ᴹQ. lai ✧ EtyAC/DAƷ
daime > laime d- > l- ᴹ√DAY > ᴹQ. laime ✧ Ety/DAY
daime > laime d- > l- ᴹ√DAY > ᴹQ. laime ✧ EtyAC/DAY
daime > laime d- > l- ᴹ√DAY > ᴹQ. laime ✧ EtyAC/DAY
daira > laira d- > l- ᴹ√DAY > ᴹQ. laira ✧ Ety/DAY
daira > laira d- > l- ᴹ√DAY > ᴹQ. laira ✧ EtyAC/DAY
dajō > lajō d- > l- ᴹ✶daı̯ō > ᴹQ. leo ✧ Ety/DAY
danta > lanta d- > l- ᴹ√DANT > ᴹQ. lanta ✧ Ety/DAT
danta > lanta d- > l- ᴹ√DAT > ᴹQ. lanta ✧ Ety/TALÁT
danta- > lanta- d- > l- ᴹ√DANT > ᴹQ. lanta- ✧ Ety/DAT
danta- > lanta- d- > l- ᴹ√DAT > ᴹQ. lanta- ✧ Ety/TALÁT
dantar > lantar d- > l- ᴹ✶dantā́r > dantār > ᴹQ. lantar ✧ PE21/58
dantar > lantar d- > l- ᴹ✶dantar > đantā̆r > ᴹQ. lantar ✧ PE21/63
dattā > lattā d- > l- ᴹ✶dattā > ᴹQ. latta ✧ Ety/DAT
dattā > lattā d- > l- ᴹ✶dattā > ᴹQ. latta ✧ EtyAC/DAT
dō > lō d- > l- ᴹ√DOƷ/DÔ > ᴹQ. ✧ Ety/DOƷ
dōme > lōme d- > l- ᴹ√DOƷ/DÔ > ᴹQ. lóme ✧ Ety/DOƷ
dōme > lōme d- > l- ᴹ✶dōmi- > ᴹQ. lóme ✧ Ety/DOMO
dōmē > lōmē d- > l- ᴹ√DOƷ > ᴹQ. lóme ✧ Ety/LUM
dōme > lōme d- > l- ᴹ✶dōmi > ᴹQ. lōme ✧ SD/302
dōmilindē > lōmilindē d- > l- ᴹ✶dōmilindē > ᴹQ. lōmelinde ✧ SD/302
dōna > lōna d- > l- ᴹ√DOƷ/DÔ > ᴹQ. lóna ✧ Ety/DOƷ
dumna > lumna d- > l- ᴹ√DUB > ᴹQ. lumna ✧ Ety/DUB
dumna- > lumna- d- > l- ᴹ√DUB > ᴹQ. lumna- ✧ Ety/DUB