S. [mm] shortened; [mm] > [m]

S. [mm] shortened; [mm] > [m]

In Sindarin and Noldorin, where combinations of [m] and labials had simplified to long [mm], this long [mm] further reduced to [m]; this sound change occurred both medially and finally. This long [mm] could be derived from a variety of sources, most notably: from medial [mf] (which originated from [mp] or from [mpʰ]), or from [mb] that had become [mm] anywhere in the word. This change must have occurred after the phonetic development of [m] to [v], since any [m] from [mm] survived, and in fact this was the only way an isolated [m] could appear in a Sindarin word, except initially (where the change of [m] to [v] did not happen).

Tolkien mentioned this change in The Lord of the Rings appendices:

In Sindarin the combinations ng, nd, mb, which were specially favoured in the Eldarin languages at an earlier stage, suffered various changes. mb became m in all cases, but still counted as a long consonant for purposes of stress (see below), and is thus written mm in cases where otherwise the stress might be in doubt (LotR/1115).

As this note indicates, this medial [m] was pronounced as a single consonant, but was still treated as long for purposes of assigning stress. In transcription, it was using written as a single m unless the preceding syllable was stressed, in which case it was sometimes written mm to indicate where the stress fell. It seems sometimes Tolkien wrote mm purely for aesthetic reasons. For example:

But in most cases mm > m:

Based on Tolkien’s notes on the Feanorian Alphabet from the 1930s, it seems that the reduction at the end of words of (-mb >) -mm > -m occurred earlier, and medially it happened fairly late in the languages’s phonetic development (PE22/35-36):

Final [mb] became [m] in earliest Gondolic, probably before Y.S. 300. Hence t and y interchange finally, y transcribed m predominating: thus Gond. lham “tongue”, Nargothrondic and Feanorian dialects lhamb until later ...

In later Gondolic (after Y.S. 300) medial mb > mm. The letter t thus became used = [mm] of any origin (PQ pm, bm, sm, mm, mb) and is usually transcribed mm. Thus w]F7 [bār] “home” transcribed bár, pl. `B=tl`B7 [imméı̯r later iméı̯r] transcribed i·mmeir. Before or after consonants in compounds &c., [mm] > [m], usually recognized in spelling: so archaic amb “up” + rhūn “rising” > [ambrūn > amrūn]: written ]y7.F6, transcribed amrún.

In post-Exilic, Toleressean, [mm] generally > [m] but this was not recognized usually in spelling.

It is unclear if this last statement (“not recognized usually in spelling”) applies to Sindarin. It seems that mm is slightly more common than m in Noldorin words than it is in Sindarin, but there is enough variation that it is hard to say. Word-final -mm with no -m variant occurs only very rarely, however. The only example I can find is N. glamm (Ety/GLAM), which appears in Sindarin as glam (WJ/391, 416).

Conceptual Developments: Examples like G. cam(m)a- “stoop” (GL/25) and ᴱN. am(m)arth (PE13/137) demonstrate this sound change occurred even in the earliest conceptual stages in the language, though the phonetic development in Gnomish is complicated by the fact that medial mb was preserved: G. cam(m)a- has a variant form camba-.

Order (05900)

After 04900 [mb], [nd] became [mm], [nn] ṃbart(ă) > ammarth > S. amarth PE17/124
After 05300 [n] assimilated to following labial at morpheme boundaries nan-men > S. damen PE17/166
After 05500 final [ll], [nn], [ss] shortened in polysyllables ON. ammalinde > em(m)elin > N. emlin Ety/SMAL
After 05700 non-initial [m] usually became [v] LAMA > glamb > glamm > S. glam WJ/416
Before 06500 final [l], [r] usually became syllabic ᴹ√G-LAM > glambr > glamr > N. glamor Ety/GLAM

Phonetic Rule Elements

[mm] > [m] ✧ PE17/104 (mm > m; medially); PE17/131 (mm > m); PE22/149 (mm > mm > m)

Phonetic Rule Examples

ammar > amar mm > m ambar- > ammar > S. amar ✧ PE17/104
ammarθ > amarθ mm > m mbartā > ṃbartā > ambarta > S. amarth ✧ PE17/104
ammarθ > amarθ mm > m ṃbart(ă) > ammarth > S. amarth ✧ PE17/124
ammarθa > amarθa mm > m mbartā > ṃbartā > S. amartha- ✧ PE17/104
ammon > amon mm > m ambuna > S. amon ✧ PE17/93
ammon > amon mm > m ṃbono > S. amon ✧ PE17/93
dammen- > damen- mm > m nan-men > S. damen ✧ PE17/166
domm > dom mm > m DOM > S. dom ✧ PE22/153
dymm > dym mm > m DOM > S. dym ✧ PE22/153
eglammar > eglamar mm > m ekla-mbar > S. Eglamar ✧ WJ/365
fimm > fim mm > m PHIM > S. fim ✧ PE17/23
galaðremmen > galaðremen mm > m galad(a)rembinā > S. galadhremmen ✧ PE17/127
glamm > glam mm > m LAMA > glamb > glamm > S. glam ✧ WJ/416
imm > im mm > m immā > S. im ✧ VT47/14
imm > im mm > m immō > S. im ✧ VT47/14
imm > im mm > m imbi > imm > S. im ✧ VT47/14
kamm > kam mm > m kambā > S. cam ✧ SA/cam
lamm > lam mm > m lambē > S. lam(m) ✧ VT39/15
lamm > lam mm > m lambē > S. lam ✧ WJ/394
lamm > lam mm > m lambā > S. lam ✧ WJ/394
limm > lim mm > m lĭmbĭ > S. lim ✧ PE17/18
nimm > nim mm > m T. nimbi > S. nim ✧ PE17/19
remm > rem mm > m REM > S. rem(m) ✧ VT42/12
romm > rom mm > m rom > S. rom ✧ WJ/400

N. [mm] shortened; [mm] > [m]

GS/§4.186 @@@

References ✧ PE22/35

Order (05700)

After 02000 [n] assimilated to following labial at morpheme boundaries ON. Boronmíro/Borommíro > N. Boromir Ety/BOR
After 05000 non-initial [m] usually became [v] ᴹ√MBAR > ambar > N. amar Ety/MBAR
After 05300 [mb], [nd] became [mm], [nn] ᴹ√DARÁM > dramb > N. dram(m) Ety/DARÁM
After 05500 final [ll], [nn], [ss] shortened in polysyllables ON. ammalinde > em(m)elin > N. emlin Ety/SMAL
Before 05900 final [l], [r] usually became syllabic ᴹ√G-LAM > glambr > glamr > N. glamor Ety/GLAM

Phonetic Rule Elements

[mm] > [m]

Phonetic Rule Examples

amm > am mm > m ᴹ√AM² > N. am ✧ Ety/AM²
amm > am mm > m ᴹ√ANGWA > N. am- ✧ Ety/ANGWA
ammar > amar mm > m ᴹ√MBAR > ambar > N. amar ✧ Ety/MBAR
ammaθ > amaθ mm > m ᴹ√MBAT(H) > ambath > N. amath ✧ EtyAC/MBAT(H)
ammon > amon mm > m ᴹ√AM² > N. amon ✧ Ety/AM²
borommir > boromir mm > m ON. Boronmíro/Borommíro > N. Boromir ✧ Ety/BOR
damm > dam mm > m ᴹ√NDAM > N. dam ✧ Ety/NDAM
dramm > dram mm > m ᴹ√DARÁM > dramb > N. dram(m) ✧ Ety/DARÁM
dumm > dum mm > m ᴹ√NDUB/DUB > N. dum ✧ EtyAC/NDUB
emmerein > emerein mm > m ᴹ√MBAR > Emerein > N. Emerin ✧ Ety/MBAR
emmlin > emlin mm > m ON. ammalinde > em(m)elin > N. emlin ✧ Ety/SMAL
emmyn > emyn mm > m ᴹ√AM² > emuin > N. emyn ✧ Ety/AM²
gemm > gem mm > m ᴹ✶GENG-WĀ > gemb > N. gem ✧ Ety/GENG-WĀ
glammr > glamr mm > m ᴹ√G-LAM > glambr > glamr > N. glamor ✧ Ety/GLAM
goθmmaug > goθmaug mm > m ᴹ✶Gothombauk- > N. Gothmog ✧ Ety/MBAW
himm > him mm > m ᴹ√KHIM > N. him ✧ Ety/KHIM
imm > im mm > m ᴹ√IMBE > im(b) > N. imm ✧ EtyAC/IMBE
kamm > kam mm > m ᴹ√KAB > camb > N. cam ✧ Ety/KAB
kamma > kama mm > m ᴹ✶kas-ma > kazma > ON. kama ✧ EtyAC/KAS
kramm > kram mm > m ᴹ√KRAB > cramb > N. cram ✧ Ety/KRAB
kromm > krom mm > m ᴹ✶krumbā > N. crom ✧ Ety/KURÚM
krumm > krum mm > m ᴹ✶krumbē > N. crum ✧ Ety/KURÚM
kumm > kum mm > m ᴹ√KUB > cumb > N. cum ✧ Ety/KUB
l̥amm > l̥am mm > m ᴹ√LAB > N. lham(b) ✧ Ety/LAB
l̥imm > l̥im mm > m ᴹ✶liñwi > lhimb > N. lhim ✧ Ety/LIW
l̥omm > l̥om mm > m ON. lumba > N. lhom ✧ EtyAC/LUB
l̥umm > l̥um mm > m ᴹ√LUM > N. lhum ✧ Ety/LUM
nemm > nem mm > m ᴹ✶NEÑ-WI > nemb > N. nem ✧ Ety/NEÑ-WI
r̥amm > r̥am mm > m ᴹ✶rambā > rhamb > N. rham ✧ Ety/RAMBĀ
r̥emm > r̥em mm > m ON. rimba > rhemb > N. rhem ✧ Ety/RIM
r̥imm > r̥im mm > m ON. rimbe > rhimb > N. rhim ✧ Ety/RIM
r̥imm > r̥im mm > m ᴹ√RINGI > rhimb > N. rhim ✧ Ety/RINGI
r̥omm > r̥om mm > m ON. romba > N. rhom ✧ Ety/ROM
tumm > tum mm > m ᴹ✶tumbu > N. tum ✧ Ety/TUB
θamm > θam mm > m ᴹ✶stambē > thamb > N. tham ✧ Ety/STAB