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

  • adjectives in \`C -a:
`Cj1E alta "big"
aY65# corna "round"
j#6aD larca "swift, rapid"
7lDaD raica "bent"
eD7R`C farëa "enough"
  • adjectives in \`V -ë:
j.FaR leucë "sick"
5%v$ ninquë "white"
aD65$ carnë "red"
  • adjectives in \5 -n; most end in \`B5 -in but some in \`V5 -en:
t#7T5 marin "ripe"
zDj%5 qualin "dead"
qR7R5 peren "patient"

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

j#6aD 8~B7R larca sírë "a rapid river"
`B 5%v$ eD5Ì# i ninquë fanya "the white cloud"

It is emphasized by putting it after its noun:

t#j°$ 7lDaD mallë raica "a bent (and not straight) road"

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

`Vj$2%j yY7Y2# Elendil Voronda "Elendil (the) Faithful, Faithful Elendil"

Adjectives can also be used predicatively with the verb :

`B qE6t# 5~C aD65$ i parma ná carnë "the book is red"

In such short sentences 5~C or 5#6 nar is often omitted:

`B qE6t# aD65$ i parma carnë "the book is red"


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):

aD65% qE6t#6 carni parmar "red books"
aD65% qE6t#1 carni parmat "a pair of red books"
aD65% qE6t#j% carni parmali "some red books"

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

`B aG7ÎE6 5#6 5%v% i ciryar nar ninqui "the ships are white"
`B `C7E6 `C6 `B 1~C7T 5#6 `Cj1R i aran ar i tári nar altë "the king and queen are big"

Formation of the plural:

  • adjectives in \`C -a but not in \`V`C -ëa:
`Cj1E alta`Cj1R altë "big"
aY65# cornaaY65$ cornë "round"
7lDaD raica7lDaR raicë "bent"
  • adjectives in \`V`C -ëa:
eD7R`C farëaeD7T`V farië "enough"
j.D7R`C laurëaj.D7T`V laurië "golden"
  • adjectives in \`V -ë:
j.FaR leucëj.FaG leuci "sick"
5%v$ ninquë5%v% ninqui "white"
  • adjectives in \5 -n have two possible forms:
t#7T5 marint#7T5% - t#7T2% marini/marindi "ripe"
zDj%5 qualinzDj%5% - zDj%2% qualini/qualindi "dead"
qR7R5 perenqR7R5% - qR7R2% pereni/perendi "patient"

One adjective is irregular:

tlD1R maitëtlDiG maisi "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.


Quenya uses two different comparatives: relative and absolute.

relative comparison[edit]

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

`N7Yt$ 5~C 9Dj°# j~C t#2^8 Oromë ná halla lá Mandos "Orome is taller than Mandos"
`C5#6 5~C aDj%t# j~C `BiGj Anar ná calima lá Isil "The sun is brighter than the moon"

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

j~C aD7Tj´$8 tlDaD j~C t#aGj$7ÎE lá carilyes maica lá macilerya "you don't make it sharper than your sword"

If one is unsure of the meaning of which j~C is being used, simply identify the following word to determine the meaning:

j~C followed by "noun": relative comparison
j~C followed by "verb": verb negation

absolute comparison[edit]

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

`N7Yt$ 5~C 9Dj°#m# Oromë ná hallalda "Orome is longer"

So these comparatives are always adjectives on \`Ca and follow the rules of these adjectives:

jlDzDm$ qRj$7T laiqualdë peleri "greener fields"

To apply the ending to adjectives on \`Vë we use their I-stem:

5%v$ ninquë "white" → 5%v%m# ninquilda

and adjectives on \`B5 - \`V5in/-en get the ending \`Bm#ilda:

t$j%5 melin "dear" → t$j%5%m# melinilda

Finally, a few are irregular:

t~C7E - t#5$ mára/manë "good" → t#m# malda "better"
yE5Ì# vanya "beautiful, fair" → yEm# valda "more beatiful, fairer"
`MjaD ulca "bad" → `Mm# ulda "worse"
elDaD faica "bad" → eRm# felda "worse"
j%w# limba "many" → j%m# lilda "more"
`Nj´# olya "much" → `Nm# olda "more"

and the diminutive:

t#f# manca "few" → t%1E+ mitsa "less"


The superlative is formed by applying the prefix `C5\ an- to the adjective:

aDj%t# calima "clear" → `Cf#j%t# ancalima "clearest"
yT5Ì# vinya "new" → `C5yT5Ì# 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-. some other consonants can get the prefix `C5#\ ana-:

`Cj1E alta "big" → `C5#j1E analta "biggest"
5%2$ nindë "fragile" → `C5:%2$ annindë "most fragile"
zD4# quanta "full" → `Cv#4# anquanta "fullest"
nTjnE wilwa "vague" → `C5nTjnE anwilwa "vaguest"
hÍRjnE yelwa "loathsome" → `C5Ì$jnE anyelwa "most loathsome"
eU7T5 furin "hidden" → `C5eU7T5 anfurin "most hidden"
9Dj°# halla "long" → `C5#dEj°# anahalla "longest"

When an adjective begins in q\ p- the prefix becomes `Ct\ am-:

qT1ÎE pitya "small, little" → `Cr%1ÎE ampitya "smallest"

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

jlDaD lauca "warm" → `Cj°lDaD allauca "warmest"
7Ts# ringa "cold" → `C7;Ts# arringa "coldest"
iDuE sarda "hard" → `C,DuE assarda "hardest"
t#7T5 marin "ripe" → `C5:#7T5 ammarin "ripest"

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

yE5Ì# vanya "beautiful" → `Cw#5Ì# ambanya "most beautiful"

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

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