Subject: I found a very relevant paper!
Posted on: 2021-08-25 09:06:04 UTC

I had a whole thing written up here, but then I thought: what does Welsh do with loanwords? We know Tolkien based Sindarin on Welsh, so it's the perfect example. And lo and behold, there's a paper from 1949.

I'm no linguist, but it seems to be saying this:

  • Many loanwords are treated as Welsh words, and mutated as normal. "pleser" (pleasure) becomes "yn bleser".

  • Some loanwords are treated as if the English form was mutated, particularly when they start with what sounds like a mutated consonant. English "bench" should give Welsh "bainc", but this is back-mutated to be "mainc" (and therefore "bainc" in many sentences).

  • Sounds which shouldn't exist in Welsh at all (they give th as an example) are just adopted directly, and do not mutate... sort of. The trouble is th is already a mutated sound in Welsh...

There's an interesting note that in proper names, "there is of course no lenition of the sounds in any position". I've never actually been sure whether names mutate in Sindarin - I think they might? But it always feels like they shouldn't.

Yeah, this is why I don't get on well with Sindarin.


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