Q. alalyë nattira arcandemmar sangiessemman “despise not our petitions in our necessities”

Q. alalyë nattira arcandemmar sangiessemman “despise not our petitions in our necessities”

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The second line of Ortírielyanna, Tolkien’s translation of the Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer. The first word alalyë is 2nd-person-polite form of the negative imperative ála “[do] not”. The second word nattira is the aorist/infinitive form of the verb nattira- “to despise”.

The third word arcandemmar “our petitions” is the 2nd-plural-exclusive-possessive (-mma² “our”) plural form of arcandë “petition”. The last word sangiessemman “in our necessities” is the 2nd-plural-exclusive-possessive (-mma² “our”) locative (-ssë¹ “in”) plural form of sangië “necessity”. In these two words, the final -r and -n mark the nouns as plural: “petitions” and “necessities”, respectively.

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

a-la-lye nattira arcande-mma-r sangie-sse-mma-n = “*do-not-thou despise petition-our-(plural) necessity-in-our-(plural)”

Conceptual Development: The word arca·ndemmar was first written anarcandemman, ending with a plural marker -n instead of -r and with a prefix, possibly the intensive prefix an- (VT44/8). The order of the first three words was changed: anarcandemman alalye nattira >> alalye nattira arca·ndemmar (VT44/5). A seperator “·” appeared in the word arca·ndemmar, dividing the word arca·nde into is constituent elements: arca- “pray” and an abstract noun ending -ndë (VT44/8).

The form sangie-sse-mma-n is unusual in that it places the locative suffix -ssë (“in”) before the possessive suffix -mma (“our”). Elsewhere the possessive suffix usually preceded the case suffix. A similar construction appears in some rejected forms in Tolkien’s Átaremma prayer from the same time period (VT43/20): see the entry possessive pronouns on for discussion. This construction may explain the use of the plural marker -n instead of the more typical -r, since the plural of the locative suffix -ssë was -ssen (Plotz).

Reference ✧ VT44/5 ✧ {anarcandemman alalye nattira >>} alalye nattira arca·ndemmar sangiessemman “despise not our petitions in our necessities”


ála “do not” 2nd-sg-polite ✧ VT44/8 (alalye)
nattira- “to despise” aorist ✧ VT44/8
#arcandë “*petition” 1st-pl-exclusive-poss plural ✧ VT44/8 (arca·ndemmar)
#sangië “necessity” 1st-pl-exclusive-poss locative plural ✧ VT44/8 (sangiessemman)

Element In