Neo-Quenya/Past Tense

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Regular formation[edit]

The basic ending to form the Past Tense is -.

Following verbs follow the regular formation:

  • A-stem verbs with a long central syllable that do not end on -ya
hauta- "stop" → i elda hautanë "the elf stopped"
lussa- "whisper" → lussanemmë "we both whispered"
móta- "labour" → mótanelyë "you laboured"
  • U-stem verbs with a long central syllable:
nurru- "grumble" → nurrunen "I grumbled"
  • Primitive verbs on -r, -n or -m:
tir- "watch" → tirnes "he watched"
tam- "tap" → tamnentes "they tapped it"
cen- "see" → cennen i alda "I saw the tree"

Primitive verbs[edit]

nasal inversion[edit]

The primitive verbs that end in -t, -c, -p, -l, -qu undergo the so called nasal inversion because the -n of the past ending is placed before these consonants (the reason is that the clusters: tn, cn, pn, ln, cwn are not allowed in Quenya).

mat- "eat" → mantë "ate"
hat- "break" → hantë "broke"
tac- "fasten" → tancë "fastened"
pequ- "comb" → penquë "combed"

When a primitive verb ends in p Quenya/Phonology demands that np is changed into mp:

top- "cover" → tompë "covered"


and nl changes into ll:

wil- "fly" → willë "flew"

There is one final group that undergoes nasal inversion, these are the verbs on -d.

But in modern Quenya a single d changes into r. So we have to be careful when we meet a primitive verb on -r, because when this r came from a d its past tense changes this into nd (and otherwise the past tense is regular, see above).

Following verbs belong to this group:

har- "sit" → handë "sat"
hyar- "plough" → hyandë "ploughed"
nir- "press" → nindë "pressed"
quir- "stir" → quindë "stirred"
quor- "choke" → quondë "choked"
rar- "peel" → randë "peeled"
rer- "sow" → rendë "sowed"
ser- "rest" → sendë "rested"
sir- "flow" → sindë "flowed"

vowel lengthening[edit]

The primitive verbs that end in -v or -s do not get the regular ending -, but instead they get -ë and lengthen the central vowel:

tuv- "find" → túvë "found"
tyav- "taste" → tyávë "tasted"
sis- "fry" → sísë "fried"

A-stems/U-stems with short central syllable[edit]

These verbs can be conjugated by the regular formation, but most of the time their final -a or -u is dropped and they are conjugated as if they were primitive verbs:

cava- "dig" → cávë "dug" (or cavanë)
maca- "forge" → mancë "forged" (or macanë)
lala- "deny" → lallë "denied" (or lalanë) (do not confuse with lala- "laugh")
naqua- "steal" → nanquë "stole" (or naquanë)
hlapu- "blow" → hlampë "blew" (or hlapunë)
lutu- "float" → luntë "floated" (or lutunë)

These two verbs can never be conjugated by the regular ending:

papa- "tremble" → pampë "trembled"
pata- "rap" → pantë "rapped"

The verbs on -wa only apply in this case:

fawa- "smell" → fangwë "smelled" (or fawanë)
rawa- "run" → rangwë "ran" (or rawanë)

And verbs on -ha are always regular:

nyeha- "weep" → nyehanë "wept"

Note: the central syllable in maxa- "cook" and ruxa- "crumble" is long as x is short for the consonant combination cs.

A-stem verbs on -ya[edit]

These verbs have two different past tenses which are used depending on whether it is used transitively or intransitively.

A verb is used transitively when it has a direct object, and intransitively when it doesn't have a direct object.

  • when a verb on -ya is used transitively it has a regular past tense,
  • when a verb on -ya is used intransitively its past tense is formed by dropping the ending -ya and conjugating it as if it were a primitive verb.

So we have three cases:

  • transitive verbs which require a direct object, these are always regular:
harya- "have, possess" → haryanë "had, possessed"
haryanes rocco "he had a horse"
  • intransitive verbs (these cannot have a direct object), they are always conjugated as primitive verbs:
lamya- "sound" → lamnë "sounded"
i nyelli lamner "the bells sounded"
  • transitive verbs that can be used intransitively, these verbs have two forms in the past tense:
ulya- "pour, overflow" → ulyanë "poured" and ullë "overflowed"
i nís ulyanë nén "the woman poured water"
i sírë ullë "the river overflowed"
yerya- "wear out, get old" → yeryanë "wore out" and yernë "got old"
i nér yeryanë i colla "the man wore the cloak out"
i nér yernë "the man got old"

Irregular Past Tenses[edit]

Some verbs are completely irregular:

anta- "give" → ánë "gave"
caw- "bow" → caunë "bowed"
ista- "know" → sintë "knew"
lala- "laugh" → landë "laughed"
lelya- "go" → lendë "went"
lenna- "go" → lendë "went"
lesta- "leave behind" → lendë "left behind"
lom- "hide" → lombë "hid"
onta- "create" → ónë "created"
serta- "tie" → sérë "tied"
ten- "show" → tengë "showed"
vinta- "fade" → vintë "faded"

Two verbs have both an irregular and a regular form:

atalta- "collapse" → atalantë/ataltanë "collapsed"
orta- "stand, get up" → orontë/ortanë "stood, got up"|

However, the latter is said to be a difference in conjugation between intransitive "rise" and transitive/causative "raise" homonyms, thus:

I Elda oronte "The Elf arose" but I Elda ortane márya "The Elf raised his hand."

The irregularities of some special verbs can be found on a separate page.



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