Neo-Quenya/Perfect Tense

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Regular formation[edit]

This tense is formed in the following way:

  • repeat the central vowel of the verb and put it in front of it
  • lengthen the central vowel, if possible
  • add the ending - (-ier in the plural)

So we find e.g.

mat- "eat" → amátië
tec- "write" → etécië
not- "count" → onótië

The A-verbs and U-verbs lose their final vowel before adding -:

mapa- "take" → amápië
palu- "spread" → apálië

Exceptional cases[edit]

verbs with long central syllable[edit]

Verbs with a central vowel that cannot be lengthened are divided into three types:

  • When the stem ends in a consonant-cluster, we cannot lengthen the central vowel, but otherwise the basic rule is followed:
nasta- "prick" → anastië
nurru- "grumble" → unurrië

However, menta- and fanta- have attested perfect eménië and afánië, while orta- and henta- have ortanie and ehentanie.

  • When the central vowel is long, we put a short version of this vowel in front of the stem:
móta- "labour" → omótië
  • When the central vowel is a diphthong, we add the first vowel of the diphthong:
hauta- "stop" → ahautië
poita- "cleanse" → opoitië
vaita- "wrap" → avaitië
suila- "greet" → usuilië
tiuta- "fatten" → itiutië

verbs starting in a vowel[edit]

When the verb starts in a vowel, we don't add an extra vowel to the beginning of the stem:

anta- "give" → ánië
allu- "wash" → allië
ulqua- "rend" → ulquië
ita- "sparkle" → ítië

verbs with a prefix[edit]

Some verbs are formed by placing a prefix before another verb, in this case we first form the perfect tense of the original verb and then we put the prefix again in front:

enyal- "recall" → en + ayáliëenayálië

verbs on -ya[edit]

Verbs on -ya lose both these letters:

hanya- "understand" → ahánië
tulya- "lead" → utúlië


Some ancient verbs end on a diphtong followed by -tya, they probably follow the same rule as the others:

paitya- "repay" → apaitië

Some verbs have a vowel before the ending -ya. Possibly the perfect can be formed by the insertion of an -n- between the stem and the ending:

aya- "honour" → ánië
laya- "flourish" → alánië
naya- "grieve" → anánië
paya- "punish" → apánië
vaya- "enfold" → avánië
oya- "salve, rub" → ónië
loya- "be thirsty" → olónië
séya- "appear, seem" → esénië
súya- "breathe" → esúnië
ahya- "change": as is mentioned on the page about Quenya/Phonology, the combination hy has to be seen as a unit, so the perfect tense is probably ahyánië

Some verbs can be conjugated by using an ancient stem and don't need an extra n:

feuya- "abhor" → efévië (ancient stem phew)
mauya- "compel" → ambávië (ancient stem mbaw, see also below: historical influences)
tiuya- "swell" → itíwië (ancient stem tiw)

The verb tuia- comes from the ancient stem tuy, so the perfect tense would also need n:

tuia- "sprout" → utúnië

Historical influences on the perfect tense[edit]

Most likely certain verbs undergo historical influences. The problem can be found in the prefixed vowel. Quite a few letters are allowed in the middle of a word but not in the beginning, so they have evolved differently in the perfect tense.

In most verbs there is no problem because they begin in a letter that is allowed in both places: tul- "come" has utúlië "has come" as perfect tense. In Old-Elvish this verb was tul and there is no problem here because t is allowed at the beginning of a word (note: the Passive infinitive shows the same irregularities as a prefixed a- has the same effect).

Verbs in d[edit]

Take now the Old-Elvish verbs dant "fall" and dab "allow". The letter d is no longer a separate letter in Neo-Quenya, neither in the beginning nor in the middle of a word. In the evolution a d in the beginning of a word changed into an l and in the middle of a word it changed into r.

So these verbs evolved into the Quenya verbs lanta- "fall" and lav- "allow" (the b changed into v but here there is no problem as this letter never appears at the end of a word).

But in the perfect tense the d changed into r:

lanta- "fall" → arantië

If we apply this to lav- we get a nice consequence: Old-Elvish also had a verb lab "lick". In Quenya this verb also evolved into lav-, but their perfect tenses have remained different:

lav- "allow" → arávië
lav- "lick" → alávië

Verbs in mb/nd/ng[edit]

These verbs are however not the only ones, in Old-Elvish we had verbs that began with the consonant clusters mb-, nd- or ng-. In Quenya these are no longer allowed in the beginning of a word, but in the middle of words they are still allowed.

The verbs namba- "hammer" and núta- "set (of sun and moon)" have evolved from the Old-Elvish stems ndam and ndú. So in the perfect tense we find:

namba- "hammer" → andambië
núta- "set" → undútië

The next verbs had originally a stem beginning with mb-: mar- "dwell" (mbar), manca- "trade" (mbakh), martya- "destine" (mbarat) and masta- "bake" (mbas). So we find following perfect tenses:

mar- "dwell" → ambárië
manca- "trade" → ambancië
martya- "destine" → ambartië
masta- "bake" → ambastië

The verbs beginning with ng- can in Tengwar script still be recognized as they are even now written with the Tengwa ñoldo or ngoldo (Tengwa 19). In pronunciation there is no difference between ñoldo and the normal n (númen).

At the moment we know two verbs in this category: nol- "smell" (ngol) and nanda- "harp" (nganad):

nol- "smell" → ongólië
nanda- "harp" → angandië

Verbs in h[edit]

Verbs beginning with h- can show the same problems because this h can have evolved from both kh- and sk-. This last combination gives in Neo-Quenya the letter h at the beginning of a word and an x in the middle of a word.

Here we have following verbs: halya- "hide" (skal), harna- "wound" (skar), hat- "split" (skat) and helta- "undress" (skel) and following perfect tenses:

halya- "hide" → axálië
harna- "wound" → axarnië
hat- "split" → axátië
helta- "undress" → exeltië

When this starting h appears in the combinations hy-, hl- or hr- then we find following forms (at this moment no verbs in hr- are known):

hyar- "cleave" → aryárië
hlar- "hear" → allárië

In the combination hw- the changes are like these:

hwesta- "breathe" → eswestië
hwinya- "swirl" → iswínië

Verbs in s[edit]

The final irregularity is found with verbs starting in s. This s can either be a pure s (Tengwa 29 silmë) or have evolved from th (Tengwa 9 súlë).

In Old-Elvish the pure s was the letter z. In the beginning of a word this z became s, but in the middle it changed into r.

Words with súlë however are not influenced (they are still written with súlë even in modern Neo-Quenya Tengwar).

salpa- "sip" → aralpië
ser- "rest" → erérië
sil- "shine" → irílië
sir- "flow" → irírië
suc- "drink" → urúcië

However, the attested perfect tense of sirya- is isírië.



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