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Sindarin lessons 1 through 5



Lesson 1-Sindarin phonology
Before we begin, there are certain terms that will be used during the exercises that should be defined beforehand. Study these carefully.

Dipthong: a combination of two vowels that make a sound. In Sindarin there are: ae, ai, ei, oi, ui, au.
Stress: the force with which you pronounce a syllable.
Syllable: a part of a word that can be pronounced with one impulse with the voice. Example: syl-la-ble
Accent: an accent denotes a long vowel or consonant. There is the acute accent ( ` ), and the circumflex ( ^ ), the latter denoting an extra long sound.
Voiced sound: a sound is voiced when your vocal cords vibrate to make it. Example: the English v as opposed to the English f.
The phonology of Sindarin is very important for pronunciation. The text below should be read attentively.

Consonants:
C-pronounced K
CH-considered as a single consonant, should be pronounced as in German ach-Laut.
DH-a voiced TH, as in English then (single consonant as well)
F -pronounced as English F, except at end of words (changes to V)
G-always pronounced as a hard G (English "goat")
H-as English H in "house", when alone with no other consonant
L-as English L in "life"
LH-voiceless L
NG-as in English "sing" (at end of words), as in "ngurthos" (at beginning of words, G not very pronounced), as in "finger" (in the middle of a word).
PH-as in English F (in the middle of a word should be lengthened).
R-should always be trilled
RH-voiceless R
S-voiceless (as in "sorry")
TH-voiceless (as in "thought")
V-as in English V
W-as in English W
HW-voiceless W
Vowels:
Sindarin vowels are the same as English ones, adding Y. The vowels are lengthened by adding an accent.

A-as in English "always"
E-as in English "end"
I-as in English "important". At the beginning of words, pronounced as Y as in "you".
and -long I, as in "sleep, teeth"
O-intended to be rounder than English O, pronounced like "shot"
U-as in "put"
Y-as in the French word "lune". A trick-say EE as in see, but form an o with your lips.
Note: I before another vowel is lengthened (takes on an "ee" sound).
The following groups of words are pronounced a certain way. It is important to remember these.
ER: as in English "care" (air sound)
IR: as in English "clear" (ear sound)
UR: as in English "lure" (oor or ure sound)
Dipthongs:
The Sindarin dipthongs, as mentionned above are AE, AI, EI, OE, UI, AU. These dipthongs are stressed on the first element.

AI- as in English "shy"
EI- as in "day"
UI- as in "doing"
AU- as in "cow" note: at the end of words, is sometimes written aw
AE- it is assumed that this dipthong is pronounced like ai.
OE- it is assumed that this dipthong is pronounced as in "decoy"
Note: the first vowels of ai and ui are lengthened a little. Also, remember that a dipthong is considered one sound. In a word, don't break up the dipthongs when stressin a syllable.

Vowel length:
Long vowels are denoted by an acute accent, except when in stressed monosyllables, where a circumflex is used, because this vowel tends to be extra long. These accents are very important, for they sometimes indicate differences between words. Example: nin and nn ("me" and "my")
Important: final vowels are always pronounced.

Double consonants indicate that the consonant should be lengthened.
Stress:
The following three rules indicate how to stress words. Remember that accents do not mark stress, but length.

1- Bisyllabic words are stressed on the first syllable
2- Polysyllabic words are stressed on the second to last syllable when it contains a long vowel, a dipthong or a vowel followed by a consonant cluster.
3- Failing rule 2, the word is stressed on the third from the last syllable (when it is a short vowel followed by one or no consonant).
If a word is changed (by adding a prefix, for example), change the stress accordingly, except when there is a hyphen.

Lesson 2-Plurals
In Sindarin, most plurals are formed by changes made to the vowels. These are called, in Sindarin, prestanneth, in English, umlaut. Some examples of vowels changing to form plurals are "foot-feet", "cry-cries".
Not all vowels change, however.

Some changes to the vowels in non-final syllables

A to E
E to E
I to I
O to E
U to Y
Y to Y
AU to OE
AE to AE
AI to AI
EI to EI
UI to UI

Some changes to the vowels in final syllables OR monosyllabic words

A to AI (with one consonant following it)
A to E (with two or more consonants following it)
E to I
or to or
IE to I
I to I
O to Y
or to
IO to Y
U to Y
or to UI
Y to Y
to
AU to OE
AE to AE
AI to AI
EI to EI
UI to UI
Note: remember that dh, th and ch are considered as one consonant when which plural for A to use.
Exceptions

For non-final syllables: E, I, Y, EI, UI, AI, AE
For final syllables: I, Y, , AE, AI, EI, UI

Lesson 3-Types of plurals
The natural plurals
Some Sindarin nouns always denote plurals, and a suffix is needed to make them singular. These are called natural plurals. The following are the suffixes to add to these ouns.
ig-: one of a pair
og- and od-: one of a whole

The class plurals
The class or collective plural denotes groups of "all of something" (ie: Elves, stars, etc), and is obtained by adding a suffix to the noun. There are four types of suffixes for this.
-ATH and -IATH
ATH denotes a group that belongs together, such as a race. IATH is used when the word has an i in the last (or only) syllable.
-RIM, -HOTH and -(G)WAITH
These suffixes denote a specific group of things, or a division of, say, a race (as in a tribe).
Note: -rim and -(g)waith are usually used in a good sense (denotes good things) whereas -hoth is used to denotes bad things (such as orcs).
It is important to note that when -ath is added to a noun that ends in -nc-m, these would change to -ng and -mm respectively, and -nt and -nd would change to -nn.
There is another form of plural obtained by adding -go (an earlier form is -gwa) which means together.
Odd plurals
As with any language, there are some odd plurals found in Sindarin. The link below provides a place where you can look up certain words to make sure that they don't have an odd plural formation. The Dragonflame Sindarin Dictionary


Lesson 4-Articles and genitives
The article
An article identifies a nouns status, either definite or indefinite.
The definite article
In English, the definite article is the. In Sindarin, there are two definite articles, in singular and plural form. The singular is i, and the plural is in.
The indefinite article
In English, the indefinite articles are a and an. This article does not exist in Sindarin. When there is no article before a noun, the context will determine whether to use a/an or not.
The genitival relationships
A genitival relationship signifies possession or association between two words. There are three forms of this relationship in Sindarin, that deal with proper nouns, common nouns and indefinite common nouns.
proper noun: a name, always capitalized, denoting specific places, things, or people. (ex: Merenwen Palantr) common noun: denotes non-specific things, places, etc (ex: box, shoe) definite noun: denotes specific thing. proper nouns are always definite. (ex: Merenwen Palantr, the webmaster) indefinite noun: denotes non-specific thing or amount of something. common nouns are indefinite if they have an indefinite article before them (ex: webmaster, a webmaster)
Proper nouns in a genitival relationship
If, in a genitival phrase, the last word is a proper noun, the relationship is expressed by the word order. any noun + proper noun
Definite common nouns in a genitival relationship
Another approach is taken when a prase is formed with common nouns 1. When the last word is a definite singular common noun, the article en (of the) is used when combining the two nouns. common noun + en + common singular definite noun 2. When the last word is plural, the article in (of the) is used. common noun + in + common plural definite noun In this case, it is very important to remember that when debating whether to use en or in, one must only consider the last noun in the phrase.
Indefinite common nouns in a genitival relationship
When the last word in the phrase is indefinite, using juxtaposition is suggested (This means you place the words next to each other). common noun + indefinite noun
When to use a genitive
When do you use a genitive, and why don't we just use o (Sindarin word for of, from)? Because o really means from, a location word, and genitive relationships must show possession or association. Which means instead of saying, for example, "webmaster of this site", you have to say, "this site's webmaster".

Lesson 5-Consonant mutation

This is a very important lesson, for it is essential for writing Sindarin. I will not deny that this subject is somewhat difficult, but, once understood, you will have a better grasp of it.
An important link for these lessons is the Sindarin Mutations Chart on the Council of Elrond website. Don't try to memorize the mutations, but consult the chart if necessary.

How this works
Consonant mutation is caused, for the most part, by articles and prepositions that cause the following word's consonant to mutate (the article or prepostition can mutate as well). Certain consonants will remain unchanged, as will all vowels.
These mutations, or changes of sound, are caused by the close proximity of conflicting sounds. This occurs in many languages, and very frequently in Sindarin.

Lenition

Lenition, or soft mutation, is the most common form of mutation in Sindarin. This mutation softens harsh sounds and causes all of the following sounds to become voiced or become fricatives (or spirants), which are sounds caused by friction in the mouth.
Certain irregularities will occur in Sindarin, due to it's earlier form. These can be memorised, however, in the Chart provided above. When looking up a word that begins with a consonant cluster, remember to look up the whole cluster.

When to use soft mutation

1. The following words cause lenition in the words following them.
adel "behind, in the rear of"
ab- "after, behind, following, later"
am "up, upwards, upon"
ath- "on both sides, across"
athra- "across"
ben "according to the, in the"
dad "down"
di- "under, beneath"
go- (gwa-) "together"
na "to, towards, at, of, with, by"
nu "under"
tri "through"
- (u-) "no, not"
2. The second element of compound words will lenit
3. Adjectives following a noun will lenit When two adjectives follow the noun, both will lenit. Remember, adjectives always follow the nouns in Sindarin.
4. Nouns or pronouns that are objects of verbs are lenited.
5. Verbs following the negative adverb avo (which can be shortened to the prefix av-) are lenited.