S. voiceless nasals were voiced; [m̥|n̥] > [m|n]

S. voiceless nasals were voiced; [m̥|n̥] > [m|n]

In both Sindarin and Noldorin, voiceless initial nasals were voiced, as noted by David Salo (GS/§4.84). Salo put this change fairly early, to coincide with the voicing of medial voiceless nasals that developed from mph, nth, nch; for simplicity I treat the medial and initial development separately. The initial voiceless nasals were mostly developed when initial [s] unvoiced following consonants: [sn-], [sm-] > [n̥-], [m̥-]. Tolkien wrote these as hn-, hm-. Examples include:

As indicated by the last example, in the 1930s Tolkien seems to have vacillated on this sound change, and voiceless initial nasals were frequently retained, as noted by David Salo (GS/§4.221). For example: N. hniof “noose, snare” (Ety/SNEW), N. hmael “stain; stained” (Ety/SMAG), N. hmâl “pollen, yellow powder” (Ety/SMAL). There is no evidence voiceless nasals ever survived in Sindarin.

Conceptual Developments: In Gnomish of the 1910s an initial sm- > f-, so this sound was probably never unvoiced. In the Early Noldorin of the 1920s, however, initial sm-, sn- > m-, n-, perhaps passing through a voiceless phase first. See the entry on how initial [s] unvoiced following consonants for further discussion.

Phonetic Rule Elements

[m̥] > [m]
[n̥] > [n]

Phonetic Rule Examples

n̥aeð > naeð n̥ > n snagdē > S. naeð ✧ PE19/91

N. voiceless nasals were usually voiced; [m̥|n̥] > [m|n]

See S. voiceless nasals were voiced for discussion.

Phonetic Rule Elements

[m̥] > [m]
[n̥] > [n]

Phonetic Rule Examples

m̥alð > malð m̥ > m ON. malda > N. (h)malt ✧ EtyAC/SMAL
m̥alðen > malðen m̥ > m ᴹ√SMAL > N. mallen ✧ Ety/SMAL
m̥elðin > malðen m̥ > m ᴹ√SMAL > N. Mellin ✧ Ety/SMAL
m̥alen > malen m̥ > m ON. malina > N. malen ✧ Ety/SMAL
m̥alt > malt m̥ > m ON. maltha > N. malt ✧ EtyAC/SMAL
m̥elin > melin m̥ > m ON. malina > N. melin ✧ Ety/SMAL
n̥arð > narð n̥ > n ᴹ√SNAR > N. narð ✧ Ety/SNAR
n̥aθθ > naθθ n̥ > n ᴹ√SNAT > N. naith ✧ Ety/SNAS
n̥orð > norð n̥ > n ᴹ√SNUR > N. norð ✧ Ety/SNUR
n̥orn > norn n̥ > n ᴹ√SNUR > N. norn ✧ Ety/SNUR