See also [Sindarin verbs].
It is often argued that Sindarin employs copula-less constructions to form a predicate. For example, the following are valid sentences that would use the verb "to be" in English:
i Edhel adar
(lit. "the Elf father")
= "The Elf is a father"
(lit. "I Arwen")
= "I am Arwen"
rochon ellint im
(lit. "rider fastest I")
= "I am the fastest rider"
If there is no such thing as a Sindarin "to be" verb, then often it is asked
how we would tell the difference between "the house is ancient" and "the
ancient house" (both i adab iaur to the beginner). The answer is
that in an adjectival predicate (the latter one) the adjective follows the
noun, undergoing lenition (e.g. i adab galen "the green house" vs.
i adab calen "the house is green", but the valid question has been
asked "if the consonant is not one that undergoes lenition then we would
have exactly the same phrase. Am I missing something?" (Maethorgalad on
Elfling). This begs answering, and is compounded when I ask "how would
we say 'the house was green', past tense?"
Luckily, it has been conjectured that whilst writing the dialogues for
The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers the linguistic
consultant, David Salo, came up with a "to be" verb closely modelled on that
In both the movies and in primary sources(*), we see the imperative no. If we conjecture that
that comes from the root na- (as in Quenya), we get the following:
nâ: 3rd person sg. present tense
nant: past tense
(*) v. imp. no "be!" (attested in VT#44,21) from *na- "to be".
N.B. Gritchka informs me that
"Russian and Arabic, with no present tense 'be', as here, use verbs in the past: kaana in Arabic, byl in Russian".
- Derdzinski, Ryszard, Summary of Sindarin Grammar, at http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/sindarin_intro.htm
- Fauskanger, Helge K., Sindarin the Noble Tongue, at http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/sindarin.htm
- -, proposed Sindarin Course, [avail. Online, but URL unknown at present]
- Vinyar Tengwar periodical
- discussions on elfling mailing list at http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/elfling
- own notes