As described in the entry WE, the 3rd person pl. pronouns distinguish plural forms from dual (depending on whether two or more persons are involved) and exclusive forms from inclusive (depending on whether the party addressed is included in “we/our”). Tolkien revised the relevant endings repeatedly. According to one late resolution described in VT49:16, the endings for exclusive “our” are –lma in the plural and –mma as a dual form, hence *aldalma “our tree” (with an “our” of at least three persons, not including the party addressed), but *aldamma “our tree = my and one other person’s tree”. The corresponding inclusive forms are –lwa (plural) and –ngwa (dual). Since the subject ending corresponding to the former is attested as “-lwe, –lve” (VT49:51), –lwa can surely also appear as *-lva, as in *omentielva “our meeting” (attested in the genitive case: omentielvo “of our meeting”, WJ:367). Hence *aldalwa/aldalva “our tree” (an “our” of at least three persons, including the party addressed), dual *aldangwa “our tree = thy and my tree”. – An independent word for plural exclusive "our" appears in VT43:19, 35: menya (also menyë modifying a plural noun). The corresponding plural inclusive form should apparently be *venya (pl. *venyë) for archaic *wenya (pl. wenyai > wenyë). The dual forms would most likely be *mentya (excl.) and *ventya (incl.); compare me, we/ve as the independent pronouns for “we” (with dual forms met, wet/*vet and dative forms *ment, * went/vent, from which the independent possessive pronouns are apparently derived by adding the adjectival ending -ya). – Notice that in an earlier conceptual phase, the forms in –mm- were plural (not as later dual) inclusive, and the forms in –lm- were plural inclusive rather than exclusive. This is why the word translated “of our meeting” appeared as omentielmo in the first edition of LotR, but was changed to omentielvo in the Second Edition. Cf. also Átaremma “our Father” as the first word of Tolkien’s translation of the Lord’s Prayer (VT43:12); this “our” is obviously meant to be plural exclusive rather than dual as it later became (according to Tolkien’s later conventions, “our Father” would be *Átarelma when a group of three or more persons addresses a party not included in “our”, in this case the Father himself).

Quettaparma Quenyallo (English-Quenya). 2014.

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