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Quenya Grammar P40: Emphatic Pronouns

In addition to ordinary independent pronouns, Quenya has a set of emphatic pronouns that resemble the subject suffixes with a vocalic augment, e- or i-:

    Independent Subject Emphatic Source
First Person Singular “I” ni -n(ye) inye PE22/162
Second Person Singular “you (familiar)” tye -t(ye) *itye
Second Person Singular “you (polite)” lye -l(ye) elye LotR/378
Third Person Singular “he/she/it” se -s(se) isse PE22/162
First Person Plural (inclusive) “we (you and I)” ve -lve elve PE17/13
First Person Plural (exclusive) “we (us but not you)” me -lme elme PE17/136
Second Person Plural “you (ya’ll)” le -lde *elde
Third Person Plural “them” te -nte inte PE17/75

We don’t have a published paradigm of emphatic pronouns from the 1950s and 60s, so the above pronouns are pulled from a variety of documents, as indicated above. We don’t know the emphatic 2nd person singular familiar or 2nd person plural pronouns, but *itye and *elde seem like probable forms. There is a published 2nd person emphatic pronoun ilke (PE17/75), but based on its placement it is probably a familiar form as suggested by Carl Hostetter (VT49/48). The existence of a familiar 2nd person plural is an idea that Tolkien considered but ultimately rejected: he deleted the corresponding subject suffix -ntye from the same chart (PE17/75), and in the late 1960s he said “tye thus had no dual or plural” (PE49/51).

There was likewise a variant 2nd person plural exclusive emphatic pronoun emme from the 1950s (VT43/12) in the period where the 2nd person plural pronouns were -mme/-lme rather than -lme/-lve as they were in the late 1960s. There was a variant 3rd person singular emphatic esse (PE17/126), probably from early 1960s, as opposed to the isse form given above from the late 1960s. It is possible that there are inanimate variants of the 3rd person emphatic pronouns (issa, inta?) but they are not attested.

We know of only two dual emphatic pronouns. The first is the so-called oholima “confidential” 2nd person dual inclusive/familiar pronoun which had the form inke in the late 1950s or early 1960s (PE17/75) and the form inke > inque in late 1960s (VT49/51). The second attested emphatic dual pronoun is 3rd person dual esto (PE17/75) from a period where the corresponding subject suffix was -sto (PE17/57). Probably the dual emphatics were the same as the subject suffixes with an e-augment, perhaps *emme (1st dual exclusive), *este (2nd dual) and *ette (3rd dual) if you use the 1968 pronominal paradigm from Quenya Pronominal Elements (PE49/51), as most Neo-Quenya writers do.

The vocalic augment for the emphatic pronouns was either e- (elye, elve, elme, emme, esto, esse) or i- (inye, inte, inque, isse). It is hard to determine the mechanism that was used to derive the vowel. It could be purely phonetic (such as i only before n or s) or it could be based somehow on the primitive pronominal forms. Perhaps future publications will shed more light on this.

Using emphatic pronouns: Making a pronoun emphatic will emphasize that pronoun in the sentence, much like how English might stress a pronoun to emphasize it: nai elye hiruva “maybe you will find it [but I won’t]” (RGEO/58). Quenya can also emphasize the pronoun by stressing/lengthening ordinary independent pronouns: melin sé apa lanye hé “I love him but not him (the other)” (VT49/15). These two ways of emphasizing pronouns may be equivalent, or perhaps gradated: (unstressed) lye < (stressed) lyé < (emphatic) elye.

For their role in sentences, emphatic pronouns function more or less like nouns, in the sense that they can be independent subjects or objects as well as inflected in the various noun cases.

  • Emphatic subject: nai elye hiruva “maybe you will find it” (LotR/378).
  • Emphatic object: á pusta isse! “stop him [not the other person]”.
  • Declined emphatic: i úcarir emmen “those who trespass against us [us-(emphatic)-(dative)]” (VT43/12).

When used as a subject, the verb was inflected to agree in number with the emphatic pronoun, just as with ordinary nouns: “When the emphatic pronoun is used separately the verb has no inflexion (save for number)” (PE17/76), for example: inte úcarir “it is they who sin”.

Origins of emphatic pronouns: It is not entirely clear how emphatic pronouns originated, but it is probably not a coincidence they so strongly resemble the long pronominal subject suffixes. Perhaps the emphatic pronouns in Common Eldarin (CE) were simply longer variants of the independent pronouns. As clitics to the verbs they became the long subject suffixes, just as the short independent pronouns became the short suffixes. Then either the independent long pronouns became emphatic or (more likely) the long pronouns were already emphatic in CE and but lost their emphatic character as long subject suffixes.

Conceptual Development: The only complete published emphatic pronoun paradigm is from the Early Qenya Grammar (EQG) of the 1920s (PE14/53):

    Independent Emphatic
1st Person Singular “I” ni nímo
2nd Person Singular “you” ke kēto/tēko
3rd Person Masc. Singular “he” hu húyo
3rd Person Fem. Singular “she” hi hie
3rd Person Neut. Singular “it” ha hea
1st Person Plural Exclusive “we (but not you)” me melmo
1st Person Plural Inclusive “we (and you)” qe qelmo
2nd Person Plural “you” ke kēto/tēko
3rd Person Masc. Plural “they [m.]” tu tūto
3rd Person Fem. Plural “they [f.]” si¹ sīse/sīte
3rd Person Neut. Plural “they [n.]” ta atta

There was a distinct set of accusative emphatic pronouns, but the genitive and dative emphatic pronouns simply added the usual EQG noun-case suffixes -n and -r respectively.

The emphatic pronouns of the 1930s and 40s seem to follow the same e/i-augment pattern seen in the 1950s and 60s, but possibly with a plural suffix -n for plural emphatic pronouns:

  • ᴹQ. inye “I (emphatic)” (LR/61; PE22/121).
  • ᴹQ. ette “he (emphatic)” (PE22/121-122).
  • ᴹQ. intin “they (emphatic)” (PE22/124).

The i-augment continued to be the emphatic formation for 1st person singular and 3rd person plural in the 1950s and 60s. As for the -n at the end of intin, this may have generalized from an accusative plural marker: “the final -m/n that sometimes appears at the end of object pronouns in pl. and belongs to them, not to the subject” (PE22/94). Aleksandr Zapragajev pointed out this connection in a (now defunct) Google+ chat, but I can no longer retrieve what exactly Aleksandr said about it.

Neo-Quenya: For the purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would form emphatic pronouns by adding an e-augment to subject suffixes, with the exception for forms attested with an i-augment: inye, inque, isse, inte. I would also use *itye for the 2nd person singular familiar emphatic pronoun, based on the (probably abandoned) 2nd person singular familiar emphatic pronoun ilke. I would use 3rd singular isse over esse, to better disambiguate it from esse “name”. If you prefer the 3rd plural subject suffix -lte over -nte, I would recommend *elte as its emphatic form.

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