A subordinate clause is a phrase within a sentence that depends on the main clause, usually (but not always) referring back to a noun in the main clause called the referent. As described all the way back in Chapter 1, Section §1.2.6, Quenya has a set of three relative pronouns used to construct subordinate clauses: indeclinable i and declinable ya, ye. This section further discusses their use.
10.1.1.1 Indeclinable i: The most common relative pronoun is the indeclinable relative pronoun i, translatable as “who, which, that” depending on circumstances. This pronoun can be used:
Indeclinable i can refer to both persons (atan “a man”) and things (quettar “words”), and its referent may be singular or plural. If the referent is plural and is also the subject of the subordinate clause, then the verb in the subordinate clause must also be plural to agree with the (indirect) subject:
Speculative: It is not entirely clear what happens when the relative pronoun i “who, which, that” is followed by the definite article i “the”, but I suspect that like mí “in the” (= mi + i) the two merge into a long í:
10.1.1.2 Declinable ya, ye: Indeclinable i is used only when the relative pronoun is itself unmodified. If the pronoun must be put into some noun case or (speculative) is used as the object of a preposition, the declinable pronouns ya “which, that” or ye “who, whom, that” should be used, ya for things and ye for persons:
The declinable ya, ye must be made plural if their referent is plural. The plural form of ye is i and (speculative) the plural form of ya is yai if used independently, though often it just receives the plural noun case.
Note that in English it is perfectly legitimate (despite what your English teacher may have told you) to split the relative pronoun from its preposition, as in “I see the men who you walked with yesterday”. That is not the case in Quenya: the preposition and the pronoun must remain together.
10.1.1.3 Advanced Topic: Relative sa: Quenya has another relative pronoun sa used in the late 1940s up through at least the 1950s: sa “that” (PE16/96-7; PE22/119). It seems likely to be related to the anaphoric demonstrative pronoun sana “that”, as discussed in section §10.2 Demonstrative Pronouns below.
Based on examples, it seems to be useable in the same circumstances as indeclinable i. It is not that strange that two different relative pronouns can serve the same function in a sentence. For example, English uses “who/what” and demonstrative “that” more or less interchangeably:
There are only few examples of demonstrative/relative sa being used after the 1940s, so its exact function (and whether it can be declined like ya) is unclear. If you are unsure, stick to i, ya, ye. However, sa is useful for breaking up too many repetitions of i, as in the example above.
10.1.1.4 Pronoun Differentiation: As discussed in Chapter 1, Section §188.8.131.52, the distribution of functions among “who, what, that” in English and Quenya are not the same. For example, English uses “who” as both a question word and a relative pronoun, but Quenya uses man for questions (see Chapter 8, Section §8.2.1) as opposed to i, ye for relative pronouns:
Likewise, English has distinct words for definite article “the” and relative pronoun “who”, but Quenya uses i for both:
Quenya also uses distinct base words for relative “that” (i) and demonstrative “that” (ta); see section §10.2 Demonstrative Pronouns for more on ta “that”.
If you choose to use sa as a relative pronoun “that”, that is likewise distinct from demonstrative ta “that”, but somewhat less so because sa can also be used as an “anaphoric that” (see §10.2 Demonstrative Pronouns below).
Bear in mind that sa can also be used as the neuter third singular pronoun “it”.
10.1.1.5 How do we know this? The discussion above on indeclinable i is mostly based on examples of its use in Tolkien’s writing. Tolkien did briefly describe the use of the relative pronoun i in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) written in 1948; see the next section for more information. The ya, ye pronouns were described in notes from the late 1960s (VT47/21). Tolkien did not explicitly say ya, ye are only used when inflected, but that is consistent with the main examples of ya/ye use.
The examples above have all been slightly modified to better align with the vocabulary used in the course. There is one phrase in Quenya prayers from the 1950s where ya seems to be used by itself without a noun case:
However, earlier versions of the prayer used yá with long á instead, so the actual meaning may be “*now and at the hour when we will die”, since yá is the conjunction “when”; see section §7.4.3 Vocabulary: Conjunctions.
Note that the use of ya, ye with prepositions is speculative, since we have no examples. It seems a reasonable extrapolation from their use with noun cases, however.
As for relative pronoun sa “that”, it was also described in QVS, where it was strictly speaking only an “objective” relative pronoun as opposed to ha which was the “subjective” relative pronoun (PE22/119). The pronoun ha seems to have disappeared after the 1940s. There is, however, an example of the use of sa from a letter to a fan of The Lord of the Rings, and hence written in the 1950s or later (the exact date of the letter is unknown):
I think that relative sa is fine for purposes of Neo-Quenya as an alternative to i and would use it myself, but we don’t have a lot of information on it after the 1940s. This is why I marked it as an (optional) advanced topic.
Subordinate clauses are one way to put together complex expressions that string verbs together. They are not the only way, however. As discussed in Chapter 7, Section §7.2.1, a verb in infinitive form can follow another verb, effectively functioning as a verbal object. The Quenya infinitive is identical in form to an uninflected aorist:
An infinitive can also be used when the first verb has a direct object, which then functions as the subject of the infinitive:
However, when the direct object of the first verb is an independent noun, in Quenya it is more common to use the relative pronoun i to form a subordinate clause:
An infinitive in Quenya cannot be put into a verb tense, and effectively uses the tense of the main verb. The same is true of simpler subordinate clauses:
As the clauses grow more complex, however, the verb in the subordinate clause may be conjugated into a verb tense. This is especially true if the relative pronoun itself functions as the subject or object of the clause:
Finally, when the subordinate pronoun itself must be declined into a noun case or (speculative) made the object of a preposition, then the declinable pronouns ya, ye must be used instead.
Note that while English can split the prepositions (“who the king spoke to”, “which merchants come through”), in Quenya the preposition/noun case must stay with the relative pronoun.
10.1.2.1 How do we know this? Tolkien discussed the differences between infinitives and relative pronouns in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) written in 1948. The Quenya examples in the excerpt below have been heavily modified to fit the vocabulary and syntax used in the course, since QVS used pronominal subject prefixes rather than suffixes (PE22/118):
The ordinary verb without subject pronouns acts as infinitive in Quenya: when one verb is the object of another only ... merin tulë “I want to come” ... Where the second verb also has a subject [then] that subject can be regarded as the object also of the first verb ... merinyes tulë “I want him to come” ...
The same sort of expression can be used with nouns: mernes atarya tulë “he wished his father to come” ... But in the latter case (with nouns) a clause was far more usual, and could be used in all cases where the subject of the second verb was not the same as that of the first. A clause in such cases is introduced by i ... The tense inside the clause depends on that of the first verb: the time of which becomes the present of the second verb.
- merin i Túro tulë “I wish Túro to come [that Túro comes]”.
- mernen i Túro tulë “I wished that Túro come”.
- mernelmë i Túro cáras “we wished that Túro [was] making it”.
The excerpt above indicates that the tense in the subordinate clause is relative to the main clause, as is the case with the infinitive. Note that in QVS, the relative pronoun i took the form in before vowels, but there is no sign of this in Tolkien’s later writing. For example:
Regarding i vs. ya/ye, the basic theory of this course is that i is used for undeclined relative pronouns and ya/ye for declined relatives. However, Raccoon has proposed an alternate theory that i may only be used for a definite referent, and ya/ye is used when the referent is indefinite, so that cenin i atan i quéta i aranen “I see the man that is talking to the king” but cenin atan ye quéta i aranen “I see a man who is talking to the king”. This idea is very appealing, and ties relative i more closely to definite article i. There is, however, a counterexample from QVS: vahaia nóre ëa i a-esta Valinor “far away (there) is a land called Valinor”, where i is used with an indefinite referent. This 1948 example doesn’t necessarily invalidate Raccoon’s theory, because Tolkien did make changes in how the definite article worked after 1948 and there may have been corresponding changes in the relative pronoun i as well. For now, though, I personally recommend sticking with the undeclined/declined split between i and ya/ye.
Here are some vocabulary words having to do with health:
Translate the following to English:
Translate the following to Quenya:
Answers are in Answer Key 10.1 at the end of this chapter.
A demonstrative pronoun is one that points to an item in the discourse, the equivalent of English “this, that, these, those”. English has a two-fold demonstrative paradigm: “this” (near me) and “that” (far from me). Quenya has a three-fold demonstrative paradigm: si “this” (near), ta “that” (remote) and en “that yonder” (very remote). Tolkien vacillated a great deal on how demonstratives worked in Quenya, and there is still quite a bit of unpublished material discussing the demonstratives. As such, the information in this section is somewhat speculative.
10.2.1.1 Spatial Demonstratives: As noted above, Quenya demonstratives divide space up into three regions, near, remote and very remote. The base element for the three spatial demonstratives are:
The three regions can also be thought as corresponding to the three persons of pronouns: si = “by me”, ta = “by you”, en = “by him/her, by some other party (neither of us)”. This is not strictly true of how the pronouns are used, but it is helpful conceptually.
The pronouns si and ta may be used independently:
The element en is not used in this way, however. It is used primarily as an adverb referring to the future = “then (in the future)” or to a distant location “there yonder”:
10.2.1.2 Demonstrative Adjectives: All three elements have adjectival forms: sina “this”, tana “that”, enta “that yonder”. All three adjectives are used in similar ways:
Though we have no examples, it likely the demonstrative adjectives are declined into the plural to agree with the noun: sinë cirmar “these knives”, tanë macili “those swords”. All three adjectives may also be used as pronouns. This is especially the case for enta, whose independent element en is used almost exclusively as an adverb:
10.2.1.3 Anaphoric Pronouns: There is another adjective sana “that” which has a slightly different function than tana “that”. Whereas tana “that” refers to “that over there”, sana “that” refers to “that previously mentioned”. For example:
This use of “that” to refer to a previously mentioned individual is called “anaphoric”. Thus sana is “anaphoric that”, as opposed to ta “that” which is used spatially, indicating an item by its relative location (away from the speaker).
10.2.1.4 How do we know this? As noted at the beginning of the section, Tolkien changed his mind quite a bit about how demonstratives worked in Quenya. The notion of a three-fold system of demonstratives connected to the three persons (me, you, him/her) dates back to the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s, but in that document the demonstratives were qi, tye, sa/ta (PE14/54-55). Tolkien flipped back and forth on the function of sa vs. ta. For example in The Etymologies of the 1930s, it was tana which was “anaphoric that” (LR/389), but in notes from the 1940s it was sana (PE16/96-97).
The basic function of si “this” and ta “that” was described in demonstrative notes from 1968 (VT49/11-12, 18). This 1968 document is also the basis for the inflected demonstrative forms discussed in the next section (§10.2.2). However, the full 1968 demonstrative notes are not currently published, and we don’t have the complete context of that discussion.
The use of en “yonder, then (future)” is the most difficult to determine. In The Etymologies of the 1930s the root √EN referred to “over there, yonder” (LR/356), but could also refer to the future (LR/399 under the entry for √YA). The same was true in notes from the 1940s and early 1950s (PE22/120, 125, 131). However, at some point in the 1950s Tolkien started using en- as a prefix meaning “re-, again”, as in enquanta- “to refill” and entul- “to return”. In very rough notes from 1968, Tolkien seems to say that the repetition and distance functions of the root were related:
en- “again” as [in] enquantuva is prob[ably] [?] “further, beyond” [?in respect of time influenced by ? only in] Q. enta, only with verbs. [?root] ēn (VT41/16).
This note is very difficult to read, but seems to imply that the prefixal sense en- “re-, again” originated from a spatial/temporal sense “further, beyond”, presumably from the same root √EN. Assuming this reading is correct, then the en/enta “yonder” meanings from the 1930s, 40s and early 50s may remain valid.
10.2.2.1 Demonstratives and Noun Cases: The two basic demonstratives si “this” and ta “that” have a large number of inflected forms that can be used in various contexts. Many of these are based on noun cases.
Most of the above are transparently the demonstrative elements si and ta with a case suffix added, such as sissë “here” = si + locative -ssë or tanen = ta + instrumental -nen. The others are compounds, such as sinomë “here” = si “this” + nómë “place” or tama “that matter” = ta “that” + ma “thing”. The forms sir(a) “hither” and tar(a) “thence” are (probably) archaic, based on an ancient directional suffix *-dā which mostly fell out of use in modern Quenya but survives in a few words as -r(a). The prepositions sívë and tambë are often used together: sívë cemenessë tambë menelessë “as on earth, so in the heavens”.
The element en “yonder, then (future)” does not appear in such spatial forms, but is an element in other compounds such as enar “tomorrow”, a modification of en “then” + aurë “day”; see the next section on temporal adverbs.
10.2.2.2 Temporal Adverbs: The demonstrative elements si and ta also appear in temporal adverbs, but ta refers to the past, while en refers to the future.
The adverbs tá and en both mean “then”, but tá refers to the past and en to the future: quenten sen tá “I spoke to him/her then [past]”, quetuvan sen en “I will speak to him/her then [future]”. It was once possible to use en with the aorist as a way of marking the future, but this construction is now somewhat archaic: quetin sen en “I speak to him then [future]”; the construction dates back to time before Quenya had formalized its future tense. Where still used it has the implication of “soon” = “I speak to him soon”.
10.2.1.3 How do we know this? Most of the inflected demonstratives above are drawn from the partially published 1968 notes on the demonstratives mentioned in the previous section (VT49/11-12, 18). The discussion on the usage of en as an (archaic) future marker with the aorist are based on notes from the early 1950s (PE22/131).
Here are some vocabulary words having to do with dwellings:
Quenya has a three-fold demonstratives system based on the elements si “this”, ta “that” and en “yonder, then (future)”. Most of the details are embedded in the relevant vocabulary:
Translate the following to English:
Translate the following to Quenya:
Answers are in Answer Key 10.2 at the end of this chapter.
A reflexive pronoun is one that indicates the referent is both the actor and the object of the action: “myself, yourself, himself, herself”. Quenya has two patterns of reflexives, one as an independent pronoun and another as a subject suffix (3rd person only).
The independent reflexives were discussed in notes from the late 1960s (VT47/37). They function more or less as English “myself, yourself, etc.”. They are formed as a combination of the element im “same” plus the independent pronouns discussed in Chapter 3, Section §3.2.1. The resulting forms underwent some sound changes and thus don’t precisely match their independent forms:
The following reflexive subject suffixes appeared in a verb chart from around 1964 (PE17/75). They can only be used in the 3rd person:
As a suffix, they function as both the subject and the object: poitanexë “he/she cleaned himself/herself”; cennexer “they saw themselves”. For 1st and 2nd person the independent forms must be used: poitanen imni “I cleaned myself”. Likewise for inflected forms like indirect objects: quententë inten “they spoke to themselves”.
Tolkien created the reflexive suffixes based on -xë a few years before the independent reflexives based on im-, so they may not be part of the same conceptual framework. There were a couple more reflexive suffixes -ssë and -ttë created around 1965 (VT49/20-21), but those forms conflict with some of the ordinary subject pronouns (3rd singular and 3rd dual), so I recommend against using them. The 1964 -xë reflexives have the advantage of not conflicting, but if you are not comfortable with them you can just stick to the independent im- reflexives.
Here are some vocabulary words having to do with shapes and similarity:
Most of the details for reflexives are embedded in the relevant vocabulary:
Translate the following to English:
Translate the following to Quenya:
Answers are in Answer Key 10.3 at the end of this chapter.
The mood of a verb (modality) has to do with the possibility, necessity or permissibility of an action. English expresses verbal mood using various auxiliary verbs:
Quenya likewise uses auxiliary verbs for these constructions, some personal and some impersonal. These verbs are:
The impersonal constructions put the putative subject in the dative: nin.
10.4.1.1 How do we know this? The modal use of the verbs pol-, ista-, and lerta- is discussed in notes from 1959-60 (VT41/5-6). The use of impersonal ec- “may” is discussed in notes from 1967 (VT49/20).
The impersonal use of mauya- “to compel” is based on its equivalent in Sindarin [actually 1930s Noldorin] bui which is an impersonal verb meaning “[I] must”. Both Q. mauya- and S./N. bui seem to be derived from primitive m[b]auy- under the root √MBAW in The Etymologies of the 1930s (LR/372; VT45/33). It is not certain that the two verbs are actually related, since Q. mauya- seems to be an ordinary transitive verb and S./N. bui is a fossilized impersonal verb. However, the mauya nin construction has become a fairly well established in Neo-Quenya, appearing in a number of Neo-Quenya courses (including those of Helge Fauskanger, Thorsten Renk and Tamas Ferencz). Therefore, I recommended sticking with this established convention.
Note that there is another Quenya phrase meaning something like “I must” in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) written in 1948: inya karie·te “I am to (have to) make it”, more literally “mine [is] making it”. This a possessive pronoun with an (omitted) “to be” and a gerund (carië). This might be modernized to ninya (ná) carië sa “mine (is) making it” or perhaps ninya ná carë sa, which gives an alternate construction for “I must” if you are uncomfortable with mauya nin.
Here are some vocabulary words having to do with materials:
Verbal moods for possibility, necessity or permissibility can be expressed in Quenya as follows:
Translate the following to English:
Answers are in Answer Key 10.4 at the end of this chapter.
In the 1950s, Tolkien translated a number of Catholic prayers into Quenya, included Aia María (Ave Maria) as previously discussed in Chapter 9, Section §9.6. In this section we will discuss another prayer, Átaremma which is a translation of Pater Noster, better known as the Lord’s Prayer. As with Aia María, the prayer Átaremma differs in some places from the (Neo) Quenya grammar recommended by this course. There are six versions of the prayer (VT43/8-12), the last of which is discussed here.
First some vocabulary:
The first five lines of the prayer are:
Átaremma i ëa han Ëa
na airë esselya
aranielya na tuluva
na carë indómelya
cemendë tambë Erumandë.
Broken down into its constituant parts:
Átar-emma i ëa han Ëa
Father-our who exists beyond existence
na airë esse-lya
be holy name-your
aranie-lya na tul-uva
kingdom-your be come-(future)
na carë indóme-lya
be do will-your
cemen-de tambë Eruman-de
earth-on as Heaven-in
First Phrase: Átaremma i ëa han Ëa. The first word is atar “father” with an earlier 1950s version -mma of the possessive suffix “our”; in this course we recommend using the suffix -lma for “our (excluding you)”, as discussed in Chapter 3, Section §3.2.3. This is followed by the subordinate clause i ëa han Ëa “who exists beyond existence”, using a preposition han for “beyond” that appears only in this prayer. In this course I recommend pella or lá for this purpose. The long Á in the first word is a bit odd, but in earlier versions of the prayer this was A Ataremma “Oh our Father”, so it may be that the long Á is the result of combining a “oh” with atar “father”. The entire phrase means “Our father who is beyond existence”, a loose translation of “Our father who art in Heaven”.
Second Phrase: na airë esselya. This statement apparently has aorist na “be” functioning as the imperative element, following by airë and possessed noun esselya “your name”, hence meaning “holy be your name”. Earlier versions of the prayer used the imperative particle á.
Third Phrase: aranielya na tuluva. This is another apparent imperative using na “be”, with possessed noun aranielya “your kingdom” and verb tuluva “will come”. The use of the future is somewhat unusual here, and it seems the intended meaning is “be [it that] your kingdom will come”.
Fourth Phrase: na carë indómelya. Yet another apparent imperative using na “be”, with possessed noun indómelya “your will” and verb carë “do”. The use of aorist carë may be intended to be some kind of passive voice; an earlier version of the prayer used the passive participle carina “done” instead. If so, it seems the intended meaning is “be [it that it] does your will” = “be done your will”.
Fifth Phrase: cemendë tambë Erumandë. The final phrase has two unusual locative forms cemendë and Erumandë, which would be rendered cemenessë and Erumanessë in the usual syntax recommended by this course. These are variant “assimilated locative” forms, as mentioned in Chapter 7, Section §7.3.4, but it is not a form I recommend using, and Tolkien himself only used it in this prayer. The preposition tambë seems to mean “that like” = ta + ve; in earlier versions of the prayer Tolkien used sívë = “this like”. The meaning of the phrase is “on earth as in Heaven”.
A full English translation would be:
Our father who exists beyond existence
be holy your name
be [it that] your kingdom will come
be [it that it] does your will
on earth as in Heaven.
Of course, the more usual English rendering of the prayer is:
Our father who art in Heaven
hallowed by thy name
thy kingdom come
thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Tolkien’s use of na “be” in this prayer as a pseudo-imperative is peculiar. In more ordinary Quenya syntax I would expect to see nai “be it that”, which is used to express a wish: nai aranielya tuluva. Perhaps Tolkien thought nai was not forceful enough, because the things expressed must necessarily be true as opposed to merely being wished for by the speaker. On the other hand, perhaps a true imperative was too forceful, because the speaker was not literally commanding God.
If I were to render the prayer myself, I would probably use nai:
Atarelma i ëa lá Ëa
nai airë esselya
nai aranielya tuluva
nai carë indómelya
cemenessë tambë Erumanessë.
Alternately, using only imperative constructions:
Atarelma i ëa lá Ëa
á ná esselya airë
á tulë aranielya
á carë indómelya
cemenessë tambë Erumanessë.
Shapes and Similarity:
10.6.2.1 Relative Pronouns:
10.6.2.2 Demonstrative Pronouns: Quenya has a three-fold demonstratives system based on the elements si “this”, ta “that” and en “yonder, then (future)”. Most of the details are embedded in the relevant vocabulary.
10.6.2.3 Reflexive Pronouns: Reflexive pronouns are mostly based on the element im “same” combined with independent pronouns. Most of the details are embedded in the relevant vocabulary.
10.6.2.4 Modal Verbs: Verbal moods for possibility, necessity or permissibility can be expressed in Quenya as follows.