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Elvish check on aisle 4, please

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Mar. 16th, 2017 | 11:28 am

My work has a large TV/monitor in the foyer currently displaying these multilingual "Libraries Are For Everyone" slides in rotation: https://hafuboti.com/2017/02/02/libraries-are-for-everyone/ A couple of the librarians and I were joking the other night about having one in Klingon ("If we're going to be inclusive, let's be inclusive!") and then Tom said something like, "Or in Tolkien's stuff. The script looks so nice. But that'd be your department." And I'm like, deadpan, "Okay. You can get fonts, you know. [insert starting to go off about the weird character encoding Tengwar fonts have]" He laughed and said something to the effect of "of course you would know about that." (???) I don't think he was expecting me to actually take it seriously or come back in half an hour with a stab at it, though.

But actually, I'm struggling with this. What I came up with in limited time without others' input, so that I didn't spend all day and actually went back to getting work done, was this:

parmassi nar ilquenen

But I don't feel very confident about it.

For one thing, there is no attested word for "library", so we risk winding up with one of those neologistic kennings which often sound so silly in literal translation (I saw "flour-grass" for corn or grain plants and was like ugh). This is a plural form of parmassë, parma "book" + -ssë as an abstract ending, apparently coined by David Salo. I don't like it much, as it seems vague, but none of the ones that meant things like book-building, book-hoard, etc. were better IMO.

Ilquen "everybody" apparently comes from the material published posthumously in The War of the Jewels; see http://eldamo.org/content/words/word-83477805.html. I have here attempted to apply the dative case ending -n to mean "for, to" (see http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/quenya.htm#Heading7 about case endings), but 1. I'm not sure what vowel it should take when the noun itself already ends in n -- should it be -in or -en? -- and 2. I'm not sure if the dative is the right case in the first place, since this construction doesn't seem to me to be the same kind of thing as I got a ___ for him or I gave him a ___, i.e. English indirect objects. However, in my defense I'm not the only person out there to have settled on ilquenen, although the contexts I saw it used in seemed mostly to be greetings (i.e. "greetings to everyone here").

For that matter I'm not even sure I've conjugated the verb properly. "To be" is one of those minefields of irregularity and variation - see http://eldamo.org/content/words/word-2562596025.html for instance. More minorly, if it's okay, should it maybe be a long vowel nár?

Or I might be barking up the wrong alda to want to form the phrase so strictly like English; perhaps some other phrasing would express the idea more fluidly (as I could see there were some variations in the primary-world-language signs that were not literally built of the blocks "libraries", "are", "for", "everyone").


P.S. I chose Quenya over Sindarin out of the idea that it was probably more complete thus easier to accomplish an arbitrary phrase, and because I just prefer the look of Quenya-mode Tengwar. But having looked slightly into what the Sindarin would be, I'm glad I did as I did because I'm just in the weeds. parf book, -as the abstract ending cognate to -ssë, but I'm not sure how to join them together and then Sindarin likes to pluralize by changing internal vowels and I don't think we have the pieces for "all, everyone" and oh I just don't have time for this. Also, it's a pity that the soft mutation turns parf "book" into barf when you add the definite article, i barf "the book". I know the final f is pronounced "v" and that it doesn't look bad in Tengwar , but still.

P.P.S. I didn't already have TengScribe installed on this computer, so when I Googled it to go download it I was amused to see that one of the sites in the hitlist apparently had it in its "Productivity > Office Tools" category. LOL. "Productivity", you say. Quite the opposite, I ween...

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