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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quenya Lesson 4 -- Verbs, Present Tense

< Lesson 3

Lihan Taifun            (teaching)
Rhûn Darkmoon     
Siwan Sandalwood 


General Note 1 About Verbs:

Quenya verbs are divided into two forms. (Fortunately you can tell, just by looking, which form you are dealing with.)

"Basic" verbs, simple words ending in a consonant:
     mat-  eat,
     car-   do, make,
     tul-    come

and "A stem" verbs, which have an ending (such as "–ya" or "–ta") added. These always end in –a–
     lanta-   fall
     ulya-     pour
     harna-  wound

General Note 2 About Verbs:

The discussions below shows how to form verbs for a single subject (“he/she”). If the subject is plural (“they”)(and there is no subject-pronoun attached to the end of the verb – a future topic) add –r to the verb to make it plural.
     lassë lanta     a leaf falls
     lassi lantar    leaves fall


Someone has compiled a complete set of the forms of Quenya verbs:


Present Tense:

Quenya has two (or maybe three) forms that we would call “present tense”:  Aorist tense and Continuative tense. There are also situations where there is an implied verb “is”.

(Is “Aorist” an English word? It is at least a “linguistics” word.)

Aorist” present tense expresses the simple, unmodified, unlimited meaning of the verb. Use this form for general, timeless truths. It is often translated by the English present tense.

Forming Aorist verbs:
     Basic verb: add -ë (or –i– if any other ending is added)
          matë     (one person) eats
          matir    (several people) eat (Remember adding –r for the plural?)

     A Stem: ends in -a
          (That makes A-stem verbs come out just like their plain ordinary dictionary form.)
           lassë lanta     a leaf falls
           lassi lantar    leaves fall

Continuative Present Tense
Continuative” present tense expresses an action that is happening right now. It is sometimes translated as “is ~ing”. Some situations could appropriately use either Aorist or Continuative.

Forming Continuative verbs:
     Basic Verb: lengthen the vowel (add accent), and add –a
          máta     is eating

     A Stem: lengthen the vowel, unless it falls before a consonant cluster, (remember, long vowels never occur before a consonant cluster)
          and replace –a with –ëa
               lantëa     is falling

Examples of timeless truths (Aorist)
     "I am a mermaid"
     "Dogs eat meat."

vs. present actions (Continuative):
     "I am wearing human clothes"
     "That dog is eating my dinner!"


Implied “Is”
You can leave out the "is" in a sentence, if it is just joining a noun and an adjective.

"That table (is) beige and white": in Quenya you wouldn't even bother with the "is".

An ordinary adjective comes before the noun. (Correcting last lesson to reflect this.) If the adjective comes after the noun, it becomes a sentence, “Noun is adjective.”.
     calima Anar      the bright Sun
     Anar calima     The Sun is bright.


Quenya word for the day:
     "Hantanyel" — “Thank you”

(It comes from the verb “hanta-”, thank, with pronouns to make it “I thank you”.)

Find even more useful, authentic phrases at:

> Lesson 5     

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