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Orthography

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Orthography
Phonetics

2.1 Orthography (taithelar)

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The influence of elvish culture on the early inhabitants of ámman is nowhere more evident than in the various orthographic forms used to transcribe their languages. All of the earliest texts are written using a Tengwar variant known as cuenid-ûar. By the time the sarnos codex was composed, a native form of writing had come into widespread use. This native form, called annæn-ûar was based on the cuenid-ûar model.

All of the languages derived from vulánayal use the annæn-ûar orthographic model. The graphic structure of the graphemes in this model is reflective of the underlying phonetic properties of the phonemes they represent. This grapheme/phoneme mapping apparently held without exception for the phonology of early vulánayal, but has undergone diachronic distortions in the derivative languages.

In their original forms, each grapheme was composed of a staff and a bow. Variations in the mode of the staff and the mode, type, and form of the bow signaled specific phonetic properties.

The staff of each grapheme was written in three forms reflecting distinctive manners of articulation

  1. medial represented stops> p p, b b, t t, d d, c c, g g;
  2. ascending represented fricatives f f, v v, T th, D dh, j ch; and
  3. descending representing approximants and nasals w û, m m, y î, n n.

The bow of each grapheme was written in two forms reflecting the voice aspect

  1. open representing unvoiced phonemes p p, t t, c c, f f, T th, j ch and
  2. closed representing voiced phonemes b b, d d, g g v v, D dh.

Variations in the bow reflected gross articulatory features

  1. single concave bows representing labial phonemes including bilabials and labiodentals p p, b b, f f, v v, w û, m m;
  2. single convex bows representing dental/alveolar phonemes t t, d d, T th, D dh, y î, n n;
  3. double concave bows representing velar phonemes c c, g g, j ch, h h and
  4. double convex bows representing palato/alveolar phonemes s s, S sh.

Although the current forms represented below show deviations from these original forms, much of the original mappings remain.

ámman îar is currently written using a cursive script and a corresponding block letter form based on the annæn-ûar forms. These forms are called tal (tal-eglar for the script and tal-taith for the block letters). The languages of ámman can be transliterated into the standard Latin alphabet and all descriptions in this grammar will include this transliteration.

2.1.1 the eglar forms

tal-eglar consonants

    voiceless voiced
articulation latin annæn-ûar tal-eglar latin annæn-ûar tal-eglar
labial stop p h p b n b
fricative f d f v c v
approximant

nasal

û a w m z m
               
dental stop t 6 t d y d
fricative th 3 T dh e D
approximant

nasal

î 1 y n q n
               
velar stop c g c g b g
fricative ch f j h v h
alveolar approximant r s r
             
fricative s 5 s
palato-alveolar sh 4 S
               
alveolar lateral l j l

tal-eglar vowels

articulation front   back
high i i   u u
mid e e   o o
low æ @   a a

2.1.2 the taith forms

2.1.3 example text

Beren and Luthien - JRRT

The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinúviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering.

i  verenan  nai  luTyel
in  les  anDyen  ceT,  i  galendair  galen  deT,
enin  leT  hemeLyon  mabar  na  vecalenil,
naen  calen  ilíNion  dwaTar  vecalen  erenyer  ir  aLadar.
i  TinuvyeLe  deraDyar  erincinel
linaDen  feniLyon  voren,
na  calen  iliNyon  finar  alyeLyon
na  encuMilar  alyéLyon  vecalen

i vérenan nai lúthîel
in les ándhien ceth, i galéndair gálen deth,
énin leth heméllion mábar na vecálenil,
nšen cálen ilínnion dûáthar vécalen erénîer ir álladar.
i thinúvîelle derádhîar eríncinel
línadhen feníllîon vóren,
na cálen ilínnîon fínar alîéllîon
na encúmmilar alîéllîon vécalen