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Author Topic: Is Tengwar written according to the sounds or not?
Peter_20
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I've heard several times that Tengwar is a kind of "phonetic script" that's written exactly as it's pronounced.
Still, I see lots of fan-scripts that write each separate letter, just like in English.

Personally I would write a word like "occasion" this way:
o-kk-ei-zh-n.
This is how you pronounce it, and this is how I would write it with Tengwar letters.

[ 08-14-2007, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: Peter_20 ]

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Inc'
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Let me see...there is some Christopher Tolkien-made Tengwar writings on the inside cover of the HoMes that I translated into English a few years ago...

*goes to have a look at the work*

Can't find my papers []
I'll let you know.

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Inc'
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Okay, sorry for double-posting. It seems like Christopher, on the inside cover of HoMes, wasn't using a phonetical mode, but a "letter-by-letter" one :
example : "seen" was written "s-e-e-n" in tengwar and not "s-i-n".
Same things for double-letters, always shown : "middle" and not "midle" .

There is a few exceptions, but I guess they are Christopher's mistakes.

Tolkien was doing the same thing himself (See the Letter to Hugh for Christmas).

The reason ? Dunno []

[ 08-14-2007, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Inc' ]

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Glóin the Dark
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Tengwar isn't a phonetic alphabet (in the sense of being a collection of symbols each of which has a fixed phonetic value), so various interpretations of it are to be found.

Internally (i.e., within the Legendarium) Fëanor's original plan, as far as I can remember, was to provide a system of symbols for transcribing speech phonetically, but which would be flexible enough to allow the specific interpretation to be tailored to the requirements of the language being used.

Externally, I don't know of any authoritative standard for transcribing English or any other language in Tengwar. It has been quite a while since I read Tolkien's own Tengwar messages in Letters; I don't think that they exhibit either a consistent phonetic interpretation or a consistent substitution of our letters for corresponding Tengwar ones, but rather some unholy mixture of the two.

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Inc'
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Hmm, indeed, it's possible that the "exceptions" I'm referring to are not mistakes but prooves ( [] ) that Tolkien hadn't thought about that much, and would use the transcription that he found more convenient or prettier or whatever-his-standards-er...
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Peter_20
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Yeah, although he seemed to sometimes blend the different spellings into one sentence.
I recall the phrases from the "title page" in the Appendices to LOTR, where he wrote "seen" as "s-ii-n", but still spelt some words the way the are spelt in English.

There are, however, some vocal sounds that are hard to transcribe with English letters; for example, the sounds heard in "more", "man" and "bird".
We actually use letters for those sounds in Sweden: å, ä and ö.
Using the tehta signs these sounds are usually transcribed like a doubled "a" (conveniently abbreviated into five dots), an inverted "a" and a doubled "e"; but the "ö" sound can also be written like a single dot below a tengwa.

[ 08-16-2007, 10:11 AM: Message edited by: Peter_20 ]

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