Neo-Quenya/Adjectives

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Quenya has 3 types of adjectives depending on their final letter:

  • adjectives in -a:
alta "big"
corna "round"
larca "swift, rapid"
raica "bent"
farëa "enough"
  • adjectives in -ë:
leucë "sick"
ninquë "white"
carnë "red"
  • adjectives in -n; most end in -in but some in -en:
marin "ripe"
qualin "dead"
peren "patient"


Adjectives are mostly placed in front of the noun to which they belong:

larca sírë "a rapid river"
i ninquë fanya "the white cloud"

It is emphasized by putting it after its noun:

mallë raica "a bent (and not straight) road"

With a proper noun adjectives are always put behind the noun:

Elendil Voronda "Elendil (the) Faithful, Faithful Elendil"


Adjectives can also be used predicatively with the verb :

i parma ná carnë "the book is red"

In such short sentences (or nar) is often omitted:

i parma carnë "the book is red"

Plural[edit]

Adjectives have only one plural form; it is used whenever the noun it belongs to is not singular (so dual, plural and partitive plural make no difference for the adjective):

carni parmar "red books"
carni parmat "a pair of red books"
carni parmali "some red books"

Predicatively used adjectives are in the plural whenever the subject refers to more than one person or thing:

i ciryar nar ninqui "the ships are white"
i aran ar i tári nar altë "the king and queen are big"


Formation of the plural:

  • adjectives in -a but not in -ëa:
altaaltë "big"
cornacornë "round"
raicaraicë "bent"
  • adjectives in -ëa:
farëafarië "enough"
laurëalaurië "golden"
  • adjectives in -ë:
leucëleuci "sick"
ninquëninqui "white"
  • adjectives in -n have two possible forms:
marinmarini/marindi "ripe"
qualinqualini/qualindi "dead"
perenpereni/perendi "patient"

One adjective is irregular:

maitëmaisi "handy"


Inflected adjectives[edit]

In Quenya there are only 2 occurrences in which the adjectives are inflected:

  • when the adjective is used as a noun
  • when the adjective immediately follows its noun

In all other places an adjective only has 2 forms: singular and plural (see above).


Examples and paradigms can be found on a separate page: Inflected adjectives.


Comparative[edit]

Quenya uses two different comparatives: relative and absolute.


relative comparison[edit]

When we use an adjective in a relative comparison, it is preceded by but its form doesn’t change:

Oromë ná halla lá Mandos "Orome is longer than Mandos"
Anar ná calima lá Isil "The sun is brighter than the moon"


Note: is also used to negate a verb, so it can appear with both meanings in one sentence:

lá carilyes maica lá macilerya "you don't make it sharper than your sword"


absolute comparison[edit]

If on the other hand the comparison is used absolutively, we have a special ending –lda:

Oromë ná hallalda "Orome is longer"

So these comparatives are always adjectives on –a and follow the rules of these adjectives:

laiqualdë peleri "greener fields"


To apply the ending to adjectives on –ë we use their I-stem:

ninquë "white" → ninquilda

and adjectives on –in/-en get the ending –ilda:

melin "dear" → melinilda


Finally, a few are irregular:

mára/manë "good" → malda "better"
vanya "beautiful, fair" → valda "more beatiful, fairer"
ulca "bad" → ulda "worse"
faica "bad" → felda "worse"
limba "many" → lilda "more"
olya "much" → olda "more"

and the diminutive:

manca "few" → mitsa "less"



Superlative[edit]

The superlative is formed by applying the prefix an- to the adjective:

calima "clear" → ancalima "clearest"
vinya "new" → anvinya "newest"


This prefix cannot be applied to every adjective as otherwise unallowed consonant clusters could appear (see Phonology). It can be prefixed to adjectives beginning in: a vowel, c-, n-, qu-, t-, v-, w-, y-, f-, h-.

alta "big" → analta "biggest"
nindë "fragile" → annindë "most fragile"
quanta "full" → anquanta "fullest"
wilwa "vague" → anwilwa "vaguest"
yelwa "loathsome" → anyelwa "most loathsome"
furin "hidden" → anfurin "most hidden"
halla "long" → anhalla "longest"


When an adjective begins in p- the prefix becomes am-:

pitya "small, little" → ampitya "smallest"


Before l-, m-, r-, s- the n of an- changes into an double consonant:

lauca "warm" → allauca "warmest"
ringa "cold" → arringa "coldest"
sarda "hard" → assarda "hardest"
marin "ripe" → ammarin "ripest"


But when we look at the historical development of Quenya, a large group of adjectives must have 'historical' irregularities, e.g.

vanya "beautiful" → ambanya "most beautiful"

We will look at these on a separate page: historical superlatives.



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