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Damien Bador

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Translation of Psalms 4 to 41 to Parmaquesta

You will find below the link to the file where I'm updating my translation of the Psalms. The Psalms listed in this section have not been published previously:

Today, I'm adding Psalm 4.

Translating the Book of Psalms in Quenya - Miscellanea

I thought of a discussion where some points concerning my ongoing translation of the Book of Psalms in Parmaquesta could be discussed. Topics could range from reuse of proper names from the Legendarium as common names to required phonological adaptations, Quenya names for God in the Psalms, etc.

I'll start with a short remark: this week, I hit what is so far the most annoying verse I had to translate. Indeed, Ps. 45:9 is as follow in the New Revised Standard Version:
> "your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;"

Here, we get at least 4 unattested (and unlikely to be ever attested) names: myrrh, aloes (i.e. aloe), cassia (or cinnamon) and ivory.

The adopted solutions vary:
- Myrrh: this word (and its Latin and Grek cognates) comes from a Semitic root meaning "bitter" (cf. Heb. mar adj. “bitter” & mōr n. “myrrh”). Hence a meaning "bitter-fragrance" seemed appropriate, yielding Q. sáranis, sáraníþ-, from Q. sára adj. “bitter”, and niþ- v. “*to smell sweetly".

- Aloe: this word (and its Latin and Grek cognates) comes from a Dravidian root whose meaning I've been unable to find. Hence, I've resorted to phonological adaptation from Tulu agilu̥, yielding Q. ailu.

- Cinnamon: this word (and its Latin and Grek cognates) comes from a Semitic root whose meaning I've been unable to find. Hence, I've resorted to phonological adaptation from Heb. qinnāmōn, yielding Q. cinnámon _.

- Ivory: from Q. _rasco "horn", variant of rassë (id.), and taken as meaning more specifically "tusk" if such a word is ever needed, I've derived a word *rascë, meaning "horn (as material)", by extension "ivory". (NB: a long etymological investigation didn't produce anything more convincing.)

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A Psalmist Wordlist
To support my work on translating the Book of Psalms, I've built a specific wordlist on Google Sheets, which identifies all words I've been using, whether attested or not.

Attested words can be found in column A (or column B for unattested orthographies). Their attested declensions are in column H, and their unattested declensions in column J.

Neologisms of any kind are in column L, with their declensions in column P. Most of them are self-explanatory, but notes have been added to explain the few that need it.

A self-measure of the quality of these neologisms is in column R (see the "Presentation" tab for details). Any grade below 4 is really poor, and I'd be interested in any suggestion to change those words.

Feel free to send me corrections or comments. Comments can also directly be added to the Google Sheet.

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Psalm 3 in Parmaquesta

Third and last example — for the time being — of my ongoing translation of the Book of Psalms. This one may be of higher interest because Psalm 3 had never been translated in Quenya, as far as I know, unlike Ps. 1 & 2.

Like Ps. 2, I'll give a word-by-word back translation for better understanding. Again, any comment or remark is welcome, especially with regards to vocabular, grammar, etc.

1. Lindë. Laviro. Alacossë ló Apsalon, yondozya.
Song. David’s. In-flight from Abshalom his-son.

2. Á Yahwë, ta rimbai naistarinyar; rimbai, oryaltë anat ní;
O Yahve, so numerous my-oppressors; numerous, they-rise against me;

3. rimbai, quetiltë nin : “Ui reχtië nin Erussë!”. Putta.
numerous, they-say to-me: “No rescue for-him in-God!”. Stop.

4. Ananta lë, á Yahwë, þandanya, alcarinya; ortal cazinyá.
But-yet you, o Yahve, my-shield, my-glory; you-raise my-head.

5. Yamin ráwen Yahwenna; endaquetis nin aira orontizyallo. Putta.
I-shout aloud to-Yahve; he-answers to-me from-his- holy -mountain. Stop.

6. Inyë caita ar lorë; eχtuinun : ná, Yahwë tulconya.
I-myself, lie and sleep; I-awake: yes, Yahve {is} my-support.

7. Lá aistan lieon húmí sinai i pelir ní.
Don't I-dread {the} people’s thousands these who encircle me.

8. Álë orya, Yahwë, lë reχta ní, Erunya! An petil ilyai cottonyai ancan; rácil nelcí hrúaiwa!
Let-you rise, Yahve, you rescue me, my-God! For you-strike all my-enemies to-{the}-jaw; you-break teeth of-{the}-wicked!

9. Yahwëo reχtië! Lielyanna, mánalya! Putta.
Yahve’s rescue! To-your-people, your-blessing! Stop.

Psalm 2 in Parmaquesta

As another example of my ongoing translation of the Book of Psalms, here is the Psalm 2. Feel free to comment, especially regarding matters of grammar or vocabulary.

I'll give below a litteral back-translation, but not as cumbersome as the one I gave for the Psalm 1.

1. Manan nórí waltar, nossí nurrur alwaralë ?
What-for countries are-excited, families grumble uselessly?

2. Arani cemenwa χoryar, condor panyar uo anat Yahwé ar elpinozyá.
Kings of-earth have-impulse, princes plan together against Yahve and his-anointed.

3. “Áwë ascatir nútiltai, wë χatir waχáya limiltai!”
“Let-we break-asunder their-bonds, we fling far-away their-thongs!”

4. I mardo meneldë lala; i Χéru yaia té.
The inhabitant in-sky laughs; the Lord mocks them.

5. San quetis ten rúþezyanen; þostaset raiquezyanen:
Then he-says to-them by-his-wrath; he-terrifies-them by-his-anger:

6. “Ananta inyë elpië aranya Sionna, aira orontinya.”
“But-yet I-myself, have-anointed my-king on-Sion, my- holy -mountain.”

7. Nyarin Yahwëo axan. Quentes nin: “Yonya nát ; inyë, síra, onostanië tyë .
I-tell Yahve’s law. He-said to-me: “My-son art-thou; I-myself, today, have-begotten thou.

8. “Á cesta ní, antanyet nórínen an aurá, an armai cemen-tyeldí.
“Let ask me, I-give-you {the} lands as possession, as goods {the} earth-ends.

9. “Á palpa té angaina vanganen; á terχatë té wai cemnaró calpá.”
Let batter them with- {an} iron-made -staff; let break-apart them like {a} potter’s bucket.”

10. Sín, á arani, lë χandai nár; lë peantainar, námor cemenwa!
Now, o kings, you intelligent are; you instructed {are}, judges of-earth!

11. Álë núrir Yahwé þossenen, lë yambar pampilenen.
Let-you serve Yahve with-fear, you cheer with-trembling.

12. Álë miquir talizyat ; cé las raiqua, wanyuvaldë tiessë ; en rúþezyá uryuva. Mánai ilquen i caumainar sessë !
Let-you kiss both-his-feet; maybe he-is-not angry, {otherwise} you-will-disappear in-{the}-path; soon his-wrath will-burn. Blessed everybody who sheltered in-him!

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I have started translating the Book of Psalms into Quenya, and more specifically Parmaquesta. As I don't read Hebrew, unfortunately, I checked a number of versions, both French and English. My main source is the Bible Chouraqui, a very litteral Jewish translation, supplemented by several more literary translations, especially for the passages that are too idiomatic.

As an example, you'll find below the current version of my translation of Psalm 1, with a word-by-word English back translation:

1. Mána quén yë lá χilya hrúaron oré, lá χauta úcarindo-tiessë, lá χamu yaiwo-χammanna.
Blessed somebody who not follow {the} wicked-[pl]’s advice, not stop {the} sinner-path-in, not sit-down {the} scornful-him-chair-to.

2. Mal fasta i Yahwëo axandë ar hlussa axanzyá aurë ar lómissë.
But {is} pleased the Yahve’s law-in and whisper law-his day and night-in.

3. (Nás) wai alda ana sírí alanwa, ya lúmezyassë yáva. Olassiezya lá quelë ; ilqua caritazya alë.
(He is) like {a} tree alongside river plant-ed, that time-his-in bear-fruit. Foliage-his not wither; all doing-his prosper.

4. Laumë hrúain, naltë wai siltina ya þúlë winta.
On-the-contrary {the} wicked-[pl]-for, are-they like chaff that wind scatter(s).

5. Sië hrúar lá oryuvar i Námiessë, ar lá úcarindor faimo-ocombessë.
Thus {the} wicked-[pl] not rise-will-[pl] the Judgment-in and not {the} sinners {the} just-assembly-in.

6. An Yahwë ista faimo-tié mal hrúa-tië wanya.
For Yahve know(s) {the} just-path but {the} wicked-path lost {is}.

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Hi James,

I came independently to the same conclusion that #kyerme was impossible, even as a component of Erukyerme. No phonological change gives ky in Quenya, and primitive *ky > ty, both for initial (PE 19, p. 75) and medial (ibid., p. 86) combinations. In fact, the combination #ky does not belong to Parmaquesta, contrary to what Alexandre mentions: all known examples belong to CE.

Besides, Y-alteration does not seem to work contrary to the general Quenya phonology. Even if TY is not mentioned as the beginning a primitive root in PE 19, it most probably comes from Tolkien overlooking the specific case of the root TYAL-. Indeed, in Medial combinations of consonants, ty is said to remain unchanged (p. 86); this behaviour could be extrapolated for initial combinations.

So what would be the Quenya word for “prayer”? Regarding the ending -me, Alexandre's explanation seems sound, and the reading is probably correct.

Remains the « ky » question. I believe that the most likely explanation comes from Christopher Tolkien misreading the notoriously difficult writing of his father. Based on the tolkienian manuscript sheets published in VT and elsewhere, a confusion between a k and a h seems possible. This would link the postulated #Eruhyerme to verb #hyam- “pray” (attested as hyamë in VT43).

As initial consonant group, hy- comes either from primitive *sy- or *khy- (PE 19, p. 80). In the same way, primitive *khy > χy > hy in medial combinations (ibid., p. 83, 100). On the other hand, primitive *sy > zy > ry in medial combinations (ibid., p. 102).

This would then suggest a root KHYEM- or KHYAM-, which is not actually attested, as far as I know (but we do have KHYEL(ES), KHYĀ, KHYAR, and a rejected KHYAD). The two variants could coexist as related stems or one could have replaced the other. However, as #Eruhyerme is the name of a Númenórean festival, it is likely that the compound does not date from the CE period. Tolkien could had considered it as a late combination of two independent words, irrespective of their ultimate etymology. Hence the root SYEM- or SYAM- cannot fully been ruled out at this stage, though neither of these roots is attested.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting if somebody had access to the original manuscript of “A Description of Númenor” and could check whether there was indeed a typo in the spelling of “Erukyerme” in Unfinished Tales.

Best regards,
Could it be possible that #kyerme "prayer" be a misreading of *hyamie "a praying"?
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