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RC:334 provides us with Tolkien's explanation of the meaning of
_Emyn Muil_. According to Tolkien's "Index" it is 'the drear hills'. I
always wondered why the second element _muil_ -- which I thought
to be an adjective -- doesn't lenite (like e.g. in _Eryn Vorn_ etc.). My
latest idea is that _muil_ is here not an adjective but a noun. OED
gives DREAR as noun and adjective. The noun is:
1. Obs. _Dreariness, sadness, gloom._
As we can see in e.g. _Aran Moria_, Tolkien at the time of publication
of the LotR wanted nouns in genitive phrases not to lenite as the
second element of such phrases.
Do you think _Emyn Muil_ can be interpreted as 'the hills of
[This seems likely, all the moreso given that the _Etymologies_
s.v. MUY- gives the Doriathrin NOUN _muil_ 'twilight, shadow,
vagueness' (evidently equivalent to Q. _muile_ 'secrecy'); the
corresponding Doriathrin adj. is _muilin_ 'secret, veiled'. The
base MUY- is said not to have been used in Noldorin, but
Tolkien seems clearly to have decided to retain it in Sindarin.
David Salo also agrees with you; in _A Gateway to Sindarin_
he glosses _Emyn Muil_ as 'hills of dreariness' (pg. 376). In his
Sindarin-English glossary, he lists _muil_ as a noun meaning
'dreariness, twilight, shadow, vagueness' (pg. 274), thus silently
conflating S. _muil_ 'drear' with Dor. _muil_ 'twilight, shadow,
vagueness' -- note the fallacy here: for when the _Etymologies_
was written Doriathrin was NOT an archaic form of Sindarin, as
it is described in Tolkien's later writings; in the late 1930s
"Doriathrin" referred instead to an _Ilkorin_ language of the
Telerin branch of Eldarin, quite separate from Noldorin, which
belonged to its own distinct branch of Eldarin (see the two
versions of the Tree of Tongues given with the _Lhammas_,
V:169-70). This distinction is not unimportant; for an example
of how different Doriathrin was from Noldorin in the _Etym._,
cf. the entry KWET- 'say', where *_kwentro_ 'narrator' yields
N. _pethron_ but Dor. _cwindor_. Caveat lector! -- PHW]
On the Elendili (Polish-language) mailing list, in the thread titled
"Dictionary of the newly revealed words"
<http://elendili.pl/viewtopic.php?p=30974#30974>, I am trying to list all the
newly revealed words (at the
moment only Sindarin entries, more to come since I am still reading the
book) from Hammond and Scull's _The Lord of the Rings. A Reader's
Recently I have found new adjective _paran_ 'smooth, shaven (often
applied to hills ?without trees)', cf. _Dol Baran_ *'Shaven (i.e. deprived
of trees) Hill' (RC:433).
The book also provides us with Tolkien's explanation of the word
_huorn_ (RC:425). It contains the stem KHUG- 'bark, bay' (V:365) (!)
The book is really a wonderful source of the new linguistic information!
[Note Patrick Wynne's suggestion that KHUG- 'bark, bay' might be the
basis of _Huorn_ in Lambengolmor message 470, back in 2003, and
the ensuing discussion of the possible implications:
We'd certainly appreciate the occasional report of your findings here
as well (specifically, those not already reported by your or others on
this list). -- CFH]
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Galadhorn Elvellon"
> Recently I have found new adjective _paran_ 'smooth, shaven (often
> applied to hills ?without trees)', cf. _Dol Baran_ *'Shaven (i.e.
> deprived of trees) Hill' (RC:433).
Just to clarify for the benefit of list members who do not yet have
a copy of RC: Tolkien's index gives "_Paran_ smooth, shaven (often
applied to hills ?without trees), cf. _Dol Baran_." The subsequent
gloss *'Shaven (i.e. deprived of trees) Hill' is Ryszard's rendition.
I would propose *'Smooth (i.e. treeless) Hill' as well. There is no
reason to necessarily assume that Dol Baran was "deprived of trees";
it may have always been treeless. But there is of course the
implication of 'shaven' as a purely visual metaphor: a treeless
hilltop resembles a tonsured head. This is an image that clearly
appealed to Tolkien; cp. the "green hill-top, treeless, rising like a
bald head out of the encircling wood" encountered by the Hobbits
in the Old Forest, a hill around which the forest stood "like thick
hair that ended sharply in a circle round a shaven crown" (LR:113).
> The book also provides us with Tolkien's explanation of the word
> _huorn_ (RC:425). It contains the stem KHUG- 'bark, bay' (V:365) (!)
Actually, Ryszard's wording here is misleading -- the RC only says
that the first element in _Huorn_ "could be" KHUG-; this is Hammond
and Scull's statement, not Tolkien's. They add that this derivation
"appears to be supported" by unpublished etymological notes; again,
note that Hammond and Scull's cautious wording indicates that we are
dealing here with a still-uncertain _possibility_, not any flat and
definitive statement that _huorn_ contains KHUG- 'bark, bay'. In
our rush of enthusiasm for this new material in the RC, we must
be careful not to distort the facts in reporting them!
Finally, if I may don my moderatorial hat -- I would also request,
since this list is devoted to scholarly rather than fannish discussion,
that contributors please sign their posts with their real names, in
addition to whatever Elvish appellations they choose to go by. It
would be greatly appreciated!
[I second that, and would further ask that we not use the Elvish
names at all -- this is a scholarly, not fannish, list, and we should
comport ourselves accordingly. -- CFH]
-- Patrick H. Wynne
--- Galadhorn Elvellon <galadhorn@...> wrote:
> On the Elendili (Polish-language) mailing list, in
> the thread titled
> "Dictionary of the newly revealed words"
> <http://elendili.pl/viewtopic.php?p=0974#30974>, I
> am trying to list all the newly revealed words (at
> moment only Sindarin entries, more to come since I
> am still reading the
> book) from Hammond and Scull's _The Lord of the
> Rings. A Reader's
> Companion_ (RC).
the correct link seems to be
[How odd! I tried the link before I passed the message on to the list, and it
worked fine! Somehow, a "3" got dropped after "?p=" in the link during
the review process. Thanks for correcting this! -- CFH]
-- love is the shadow that ripens the wine --
Let's discuss Eldarin languages - http://aglardh.middangeard.hu
Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
Thomas Ferencz wrote:
> the correct link seems to be
In fact the link is: <http://elendili.pl/viewtopic.php?t=1300>. Thomas
showed the link to the Polish version of this topic, but we have also
its English version in the "Westron Speakers' Corner". I agree with
Patrick Wynne's corrections of my interpretations of _Dol Baran_ and
_huorn_. Thank you :-)
On his 'Addenda and Corrigenda' page to RC
(http://bcn.net/~whammond/addenda/readers.html), Wayne Hammond writes:
'On the Lambengolmor forum, message 850 [...], Fredrik Ström
correctly comments that our gloss asëa aranion 'leaf of kings'
is not attested in Tolkien's writings. In message 851, however,
Arden R. Smith defends this translation as an extrapolation from
the gloss of athelas 'kingsfoil' in an unpublished etymology by
Tolkien together with 'the transparent meaning of aranion "of
What Arden wrote was:
>The unpublished etymology that I cited derives _athelas_ and _asea_ from a
>similar form [..] but unfortunately leaves it unglossed
I think no-one queries the translation *'of kings'. However, in the light of
Tolkien's gloss on _athea_ (regularly > _asea_ after the change of Q. _th_ >
_s_ described in 'The Shibboleth of Feanor' [XII:331]), I'm not sure that the
translation *'leaf' should be defended (and I don't think Arden said so,
either). I think that the note on RC:183 is correct except for the parenthesis,
'(but if so, _athelas_ = ''leaf-leaf'')', since the attested etymological
connection between _athe-_ and _asea_ does not imply that _athe-_ means 'leaf'.
In the note on RC:580 ll. 2-3 from bottom, perhaps one should substitute
Tolkien's actual gloss ('beneficial') for 'leaf' (or simply omit the words
'leaf of kings')?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Dear _Lambengolmor_ members,
I would be pleased to receive your comments about an article on Rúmilian
numerals, that the moderators have made available as a PDF at the Files area
of the _Lambengolmor_ list:
This is an issue of which I have found no analysis, in fact hardly any mention,
at discussion lists or other sources of interest. So any kind of remark,
complementary or alternative point of view, or maybe the help of a more skillful
searcher of resources, would be of great value.
This article examines the numeral system of the "Alphabet of Rúmil", edited
by Arden R. Smith in _Parma Eldalamberon_ no. 13. This system is described
in five tables written within the span of one year (January 1921 - January
1922), where numerals are represented with characters the greatest part of
which also have phonemic values. An analysis and comparison of the tables
is carried out, stressing on possible graphic and phonemic patterns in their
arrangement, and contrasting it with other published information about the
Eldarin conception of numerals, which may eventually lead to some insight
into the principles of the system.
This 36-page issue features the second part of "_Eldarin Hands,
Fingers & Numerals_ and Related Writings", itself a four-part
collection of late texts (c. 1968) by J.R.R. Tolkien, compiled and
edited by Patrick H. Wynne. Part I, presenting _Eldarin Hands,
Fingers & Numerals_ (HFN) proper, was published last issue. Part II,
"Synopsis of Pengoloð's _Eldarinwe Leperi are Notessi_" (ELN),
provides parallel Eldarin forms of the adult and children's finger-
names and the numerals 1-12, and an account of this document's rescue
from the destruction of Númenor; ELN also features two appendices,
one presenting four brief texts on the etymology of the Quenya
numerals 6, 11, and 12, and the other a late note on Quenya
fractions. Part III, "Variation D/L in Common Eldarin", sheds more
light on Eldarin base structure (particularly regarding issues of
homophony), and gives a surprising etymology of _Lhûn_, a river-name
explored in further detail by the editor in "The Problem of _Lhûn_".
All of these texts are supplemented in the editorial notes by
extensive citations drawn from Tolkien's contemporary unpublished
writings. The concluding Part IV will be presented next issue.
_VT_ 48 is currently at the printers, and should be mailed to
subscribers early in January.
For further information on _Vinyar Tengwar_, including ordering
In 'The Fellowship of the Ring', LR book II, chapter 2 'The Council of
Elrond' the Sindarin name of Tom Bombadil is given by Elrond: "Iarwain
Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless".
Taking "oldest and fatherless" as the literal translation of _Iarwain
Ben-adar_, the first form has been analyzed e.g. by David Salo and Helge
Fauskanger as the adjective _iaur_ and a suffix _-wain_ denoting the
"It so happens that we may also have the superlative form of _iaur_ "old";
during the Council of Elrond, the Sindarin name of Tom Bombadil was given
as _Iarwain_, meaning "Eldest". The ending _-wain_ would seem to be the
superlative suffix. Why not _*Iorwain_, with the normal monophthongization
_au > o_? (David Salo answers, "Because you are looking at the direct
descendant of a form like *_Yarwanya_ (perhaps, I am not sure of the exact
form of the final element) in which the vowel was in a closed syllable."
('Sindarin, the Noble Tongue' by Helge Fauskanger:
The idea of a superlative expressed by an ending occurs partially in
earlier writings by Tolkien, but usually the resulting form is not really
a superlative but only an augmented form and acquires a superlative
meaning in combination with a genitive. For example, in the _Gnomish
Grammar_ (PE11) we find
_gwandra_ 'beautiful' _gwandrodron_ 'more beautiful' _gwandronta_
and the _Early Qenya Grammar_ (PE14) has
"The superlative is expressed by the comparative with prefixed article
(...) followed by the genitive plural adjectival or partitive in _-înen_ -
the latter especially of collectives, as:
_i-ner i-táralda 'n-Noldolion_ 'the tallest man of the Gnomes' " (PE14:48)
A similar construction seems to be employed in the phrase _elenion
ancalima_ (LR book IV chapter 10), in Letters:278 _an-_ is glossed a
"superlative or intensive prefix".
While the _Etymologies_ show ample evidence of intensifying prefixes which
are apparently related to the Quenya _an-_ (see e.g. my article
no superlative suffix is described.
Thus, an adjectival ending which literally expresses a superlative without
a following genitive would seem unusual. Furthermore, the suggested suffix
_-wain_ has not been linked to any other intensifying suffix or prefix
seen elsewhere. In Lambengolmor message #642 Bertrand Bellet has suggested
that the relation _iaur > Iarwain_ seems similar to the development _naur_
> _Narwain_ "new-fire = January" and that hence _Iarwain_ might be
In the the _Reader's Companion_, RC:128 a quote from a (yet) unpublished
draft letter dating from 1968 is provided: "Iarwain = old-young,
presumably as far as anybody remembered, he had always looked much the
same, old but very vigorous."
This is a rather striking confirmation of Bertrand's analysis and explains
why _Iarwain_ is apparently so different from the structure of superlative
constructions glimpsed elsewhere.
I'd like to draw attention to two points in addition to Patrick Wynne's
nice analysis of the form _kainen_ (VT48:12f).
* The entry _kai-_ 'lie down', pa.t. _kaine_, present t. _kaita_ is found
in the discussion of past tenses in the Early Qenya Grammar (PE14:58).
This appears to be the earliest ancestor of the form seen in VT48:12.
* The past tense formation with suffix _-ne_ and loss of a present tense
derivational suffix _-ta_ as exemplified by _poita_ pa.t. _poine_ (PE12:75)
seems to be extremely rare in the Qenya Lexicon. I wasn't able to find
another example, so maybe _keante_ (VT48:12) would represent the
more regular form, cf. Tolkien's comments to _oante_ in XI:366 where
this development is described as "regular".
* Thorsten Renk
[My thanks to Thorsten for catching the citation of pa.t. _kaine_ in
the EQG, which I had overlooked.
Thorsten is also correct in noting that examples of Q. verbs in _-ta_
that drop this ending in the pa.t. seem to be few and far between; I
believe that _poita_ 'cleanse', pa.t. _poine_ is the ONLY example of
this type found in the Qenya Lexicon.
However, it is clear that in the 1920s at least Tolkien did not imagine
this type of pa.t. as being rare, for in the EQG he writes (PE14:56,
bottom of page):
"*_-(n)ta_ has no definite significance though it is sometimes
inceptive and is VERY FREQUENTLY (especially where medial root
consonant is _j, w, s_) found as a mere present formative, as
_kapta_ 'leap', pret. _kampie_." [emphasis added]
(NB: for _j, w_ here the published text has _i, u_ with subscript arches.)
-- Patrick H. Wynne]
It occurred to me that the following index might be of use to others. It is
list of entries in Tolkien's "unfinished index" to _The Lord of the Rings_ given
I've also listed mentions of Tolkien's "notes for the Dutch translator" and the
"manuscript of _Nomenclature_" (i.e., of _Nomenclature of the Lord of the
The "unfinished index" is an interesting source of information; for example I
recall seeing the names _Sennas Iaur_, _Raith/Fui 'Ngorthrim_, or _Luvailin_
else. Christopher Tolkien has said that he derived the plan of his index to
Silmarillion_ from it (UT:12), but from its current presentation in _RC_ the
the "unfinished index" is not immediately obvious. Perhaps one day it may be
published in its entirety in _VT_?
[FWIW, I've never seen the unfinished index, and had in fact forgotten of its
until the publication of _RC_. CFH]
(general) xiii, xv, xxxiv, lxix, lxxxi
Black Gate 231
Black Pits 603
Brandy Hall 29
Bridge Inn 655
Bridge of Stonebows 20
Brown Lands 343
Buck Hill 115
Caras Galadon 311
Cerin Amroth 309
Cirith Gorgor 334-5
Cotton's farm 659
Dead Marshes 239
Deeping Wall 416
Desolation of Smaug 208
Dimrill Gate 276
Dimrill Stair 299
Dol Baran 433
Dome of Stars (of Osgiliath) 437, 694
Drúadan Forest 554
Durin's Tower 393
East End 384
East Road 75
East Wall 364
Emyn Arnen 512
Emyn Muil 334
Encircling Mountains 621
Endless Stair 393
Ephel Dúath 457
Ethir Anduin 350
Ever-eve 218, 333
Far Downs 20
Fen Hollen 550
fences of Mordor 238
Ford of Bruinen 171
fords of the Isen 412
Forsaken Inn 171
Fui 'Ngorthrim 526
Gap of Rohan 243
Gladden Fields 86
Grey Havens 28
Grey Wood 559, 641
Helm's Deep 413
Helm's Dike 415
Helm's Gate 414
Henneth Annûn 473
High City 638
High Court 515
High Hay 115
High Pass 207
Hill Road 94
Hither shores 218
Hold of Dunharrow 407
imlad 234, 482
Imlad Morgul 482
Imloth Melui 582
Imrath Gondraith 558
Inland Sea 522
land of the Beornings 351
Last Shore 625
Midgewater Marshes 167
Minas Anor 232
Minas Ithil 232
Misty Mountains 11
Mounds of Mundburg 571
Nan Curunír 389
Narrow Ice 216
Nen Hithoel 327-8
Night of Naught 216
Nimbrethil 214, 387
North Downs 232
north gate (in the Rammas) 559
North Moors 77
North Stair 346
Northern Fences 331
Northern lands 175
Old Gondor 593
Old Guesthouse 523
Old Moria 294
Old Road 168
Old World 10
Parth Galen 349
Paths of the Dead 526
Pinnath Gelin 525
Place of the Fountain 515
(Raith 'Ngorthrim 526)
Rammas Echor 512
rath 523, 551
Redhorn Gate 262
Sammath Naur 615
Sarn Ford 327
Second Gate 551
Sennas Iaur 523
Seven Gates 512
South Lane 659
Stair Falls 277
Stonewain Valley 558
Three-Farthing Stone 658
Tol Brandir 333-4
Torech Ungol 490
Tower Hall 543
Tower Hills 28
Tower of Ecthelion 514
Town Hole 155
Udûn 297, 609
Walls of Moria 277
White Tower 361-2
Window of the Eye 615
Wold of Rohan 343
Woody End 95
World's End 218
"notes for the Dutch translator":
(general) xiii, lvii
-bottom lx, 31
Bindbole/Bindbale Wood lvii
"manuscript of _Nomenclature_":
Sarn Ford 163
Sarn Gebir 327
Tarlang's Neck 535-6
Tol Brandir 333-4
Patrick Wynne commented:
> Thorsten is also correct in noting that examples of Q. verbs in
> _-ta_ that drop this ending in the pa.t. seem to be few and far
> between; I believe that _poita_ 'cleanse', pa.t. _poine_ is the ONLY
> example of this type found in the Qenya Lexicon.
Of course, this applies to past tense in _-ne_, as Thorsten specified,
since there are many examples of verbs in _-ta_ which drop it in the
formation of past tense in _-e_ (the first case being _anta-_, pret.
_âne_ [with macron] s.v. ANA, QL:31, but also many others).
Nevertheless, _poita_ pa.t. _poine_ is not the only example in QL of
dropped _-ta_ for _-ne_ past tenses. At least "_teta_ (pa.t. _téne_.)
'attract'" s.v. TEHE (p. 90) is another clear case. And there may be
other cases obscured by phonology:
* The "irreg. pret." of _halta 'to leap' s.v. HALA (p. 39) is given
as _halle_ or _ehalle_, in which the long _ll_ could be assimilated
_ln_ (i.e. *_(e)halne_).
* The pa.t. form _nesse_ of _nesta_ 'feed' s.v. NESE- (p.66) could be
likewise assimilated *_nesne_, in contrast to the alternative _nêse_.
[Many thanks for the correction -- clearly I ought to have had a
second cup of coffee before writing my comment to Thorsten's
post! -- PHW]
On page 32 of VT 48 Patrick Wynne wrote [on Tolkien's: "The old str.
pa.t. is seen in OQ _umne_ future-past , _matumne_ "I was going to
eat".] "If "str." in this last sentence = "strong" it is extremely
puzzling, since OQ _umne_ appears instead to be a *weak* past tense
(< _*ub-_ + pa.t. suffix _-nê_); ..."
I have a question. Is the translation really 'I was going to eat'?
If that's the case, shouldn't _umne_ contain a suffix of the 1st sg.
'I' ? If so, the form is, perhaps, to be interpreted as _*ub + ni_ (> ne),
where _ne_ would be an OQ (?) form for later _-(V)n_, the marker for
the 1st sg. The pa.t. formation would then resemble _úme_ (UGU-/UMU-
Etym.) with _-ne_ instead of _-e-_ as a marker of the 1st sg. and
subsequent shortening of _ú_ > _u_ before two consonants. For a
different interpretation, see 2).
If we analyze the form as containing _*ub + nê_ it would seem we have
1) The form should typically be a 3rd sg.
2) In the case of the regular 'strong' _-n-_ pa.t. morpheme, an
infixed outcome _**umbe_ after the pattern of _tampe_ (TAP-, Etym)
and _rende_ (RED-, Etym.) or _anwe_ (XI:366 _auta-_) would have
seemed more likely.
So, maybe we even have to analyze it as _**ub + n + ni_ > _*umbne_ >
_umne_, thus accounting for both the infixed _n_ of the str. pa.t. as
well as the suffix of the 1st sg.
The latter interpretation might be favourable if T/D + n > nT/D was a
phonetic process in Q., not a grammatical one, as seems to be the case.
A form _*umben_ 'I pondered' would then be a later 'regularization'.
[Yes, the translation of _matumne_ in the MS is clearly 'I was going to
eat'. It doesn't necessarily follow from this that OQ _umne_ *must*
contain a suffix of the 1st sg. 'I', however, since Tolkien does not
translate _umne_ as a 1 sg. form, but instead describes it in more
general terms as "future-past". It was this that led me to assume --
I now think mistakenly -- that it analyzed as *_ub-_ + pa.t. _-nê_,
and, concomitantly, that the gloss of _matumne_ as a 1 sg. form was
a minor slip (cp. Tolkien's gloss of the ON infinitive _naróbe_ as 3 sg.
'he tells a story', V:374).
However, David's proposed interpretation of OQ _umne_ as strong
pa.t. *_ûb-_ + 1 sg. *_ni_ seems quite plausible, and is certainly
preferable to such "Homer nodded" arguments. The Q. form _karne_
'I make, build' (= _karin_) given in the _Etymologies_ (V:362) shows
suffixion of 1 sg. _-ne_ directly to a basic stem in the aorist, which
suggests that the same could have happened in certain past tense
forms as well. -- PHW]
> The Q. form _karne_
> 'I make, build' (== _karin_) given in the _Etymologies_ (V:362) shows
> suffixion of 1 sg. _-ne_ directly to a basic stem in the aorist, which
> suggests that the same could have happened in certain past tense
> forms as well. -- PHW]
I do not agree with the interpretation of _karne_ given by Patrick here.
But first, the evidence which I know that counts for this interpretation
is the fact that an ending _-ne_ for 1st person sg. is attested in
_tye-meláne_ (V:61) for a form which is presumably present tense _#méla-_.
Furthermore, the actual entry KAR (V:362), listing first _karin_, then
_karne_ and than the translation 'I make, build' suggests that these are
alternative forms sharing the translation.
However, the Etymologies are not a very organized document, and it does
not require a great leap of faith to assume that Tolkien wrote first the
verb, then (because his mind was occupied with it) the past tense and then
added the translation.
A past tense formation _kar-_ 'make' [pa.t.] _karne_ pr.t. _kare_ is seen
in PE14:58. Past tenses of this type, i.e. for stem verbs with final
consonant _-r_ are unusually frequently attested in the Etymologies, in
particular some are in a context in which the form is identified as past
tense, cf. _tirin_ pa.t. tirne (V:394) or _mere_ pa.t. _merne_ (V:373). In
fact, final _-r_ is the best attested case for stem verb past tenses in
the Etymologies and no other past tense formation is seen for this verb
My suspicion as to why this is so is based on the observation that in the
QL all stem verbs ending with _-r-_ (and possibly a repetition of the root
vowel), some 24 examples all together, form their past tense by vowel
lengthening (in particular, _karin_ 'I make, do' pa.t. _káre_ is attested
in PE12:45) No stem verb with final root consonant _-r_ is seen taking a
suffix _-ne_ (although the suffix is active for other verbs).
The past tense _karne_ in the EQG thus suggests a conceptual change to
allow the suffix _-ne_ to become productive with these verbs, but in V:47
the old variant reappears in _ohtakáre_. It is therefore my suspicion that
the relative large number of past tense suffixes _-ne_ for _-r_-verbs seen
in the Etymologies reflect Tolkien trying to come to a decision about the
past tense - which at that time should apparently be by suffix _-ne_ for
this type of stem verb.
Thus, if I look at the whole history of the past tense of _kar-_ and
related verbs up to this point, to my mind it makes more sense to
interpret _karne_ as a past tense - it agrees well with a previous past
tense of the verb, and it agrees well with past tenses of similar verbs
seen in the Etymologies, whereas an interpretation of _-ne_ as 1st person
sg. would to my knowledge be unique within the Etymologies.
(As a final remark -- the reappearance of _ohtakáre_ in the "Notion
Club Papers" (IX:246) indicates that Tolkien was not able to settle the
question of the past tense of verbs with stems ending in _-r_ -- if he
ever desired to).
* Thorsten Renk
[You might very well be right that _karne_ was intended as the pa.t. of
_karin_ 'I make, build' rather than an alternative 1 sg. aorist -- as CJRT
notes, this entry "was very roughly rewritten", which raises the degree
of possibility that the revised entry might be imprecisely expressed.
I would only note, with regard to the final paragraph in your post, that
there is no reason to think that a verb need have one and only one pa.t.
form -- and so no reason to assume that Tolkien had or was unable to
"settle" on one or the other. Verbs in real languages can and do have both
strong and weak past-tense forms happily coexisting: consider English
"shine", str. pa.t. "shone", wk. pa.t. "shined". The same is true of Quenya
and the other Elvish languages, in all their conceptual stages. So while
you have shown that Tolkien strongly favored the weak pa.t. in _-ne_ for
Qenya basic verbs with stems ending in R in the Etymologies, this does
not mean that he envisioned this as a rule without exceptions. The form
_ohtakáre_ 'war-made' that you cited from V:47 -- a form contemporary
with the Etymologies -- points in this very direction, suggesting that
Tolkien perhaps envisioned both _káre_ and _karne_ as coexistent pa.t.
forms of _kar-_, each with a differing semantic nuance. E.g., _káre_
might have been archaic or poetic, which would fit the context of the
example in which it is used in V:47 -- just as there was no single pa.t.
of _auta-_ 'go away, leave', but rather three, each with slightly different
meanings and uses: _anwe_ (archaic), _vâne_ (associated with ideas of
death, loss, departure, and vanishment), and _oante_ (purely physical,
'went away (to another place)'); XI:366. Such variety and unpredictability,
of course, were a deliberate artistic effect in Tolkien's languages, adding
to their verisimilitude. -- PHW]
On 05.02.2006, at 23:58, Patrick Wynne wrote:
> Interpretation of OQ _umne_ as strong
> pa.t. *_ûb-_ + 1 sg. *_ni_ seems quite plausible
Patrick, any particular reason why you wouldn't consider _**ub + n +
ni_ > _*umbne_ >_umne_ a possibility as well ? It would *seem* to me,
such a development is in the phonetic ball park. To be sure, I know of
no example of 1st sg. _-ne_ suffixed to _-n-_ infix past tenses.
(Actually I had overlooked _karne_ vs _karin_, which you thankfully
noted). However, as Tolkien calls _-n-_ infix pa.t. 'strong' (cf. XI:
366 about _anwe_ ), the above analysis seems possible as well, don't
you think ?
[I don't find the **_ub + n + ni_ theory plausible because this is not
how nasal infixion was applied in Quenya. In forming a strong pa.t.
of a basic verb, the nasal infix was inserted before the final consonant
of the stem -- thus AWA > _anwe_, archaic str. pa.t. of _auta-_ 'go away,
leave' (XI:366); TOP- 'cover, roof' > pa.t. _tompe_ (V:394); TALÁT- 'to
slope, lean, tip' > _atalante_ 'down-fell' (V:390, 56). In derived verbs,
the nasal infix was inserted before the derivative suffix (usually _-ta,
-ya_), if this suffix was retained in the pa.t. -- thus _auta-_ > pa.t.
_oante_ (< _áwa-n-tê_) (XI:366), and _farya-_ 'suffice' > pa.t. _farinye_
(beside weak _farne_) (VT46:9 s.v. PHAR-).
What we do NOT ever see is a pa.t. formed by insertion of a nasal infix
between a verb stem and a pronominal ending, as you propose in
**_ub + n + ni_. Indeed, this form would not even qualify as strong,
since the _n_ is SUFFIXED to the basic verb *_ub-_, which means such
a verb would be classified as weak. -- PHW]
In response to a message from "Thorsten Renk" <trenk@...> on
Wed, 08 Feb 2006 09:41:28 -0500, Patrick Wynne wrote
> I would only note, with regard to the final paragraph in your post, that
> there is no reason to think that a verb need have one and only one pa.t.
> form -- and so no reason to assume that Tolkien had or was unable to
> "settle" on one or the other. Verbs in real languages can and do have both
> strong and weak past-tense forms happily coexisting: consider English
> "shine", str. pa.t. "shone", wk. pa.t. "shined". The same is true of Quenya
> and the other Elvish languages, in all their conceptual stages.
I would like to amplify on that for a moment, in agreement with Patrick's
There are two English homophonous verbs _shine_, an intransitive/stative with
strong past _shone_ and a transitive/causative with weak past _shined_, which
are distinct historically but which have fallen together in the present (which
acts as the citation form), leading to the appearance of a single verb with
both weak and strong past tense formations differentiated semantically in the
synchronic description of Modern English.
There is room in the essentially synchronic description of Quenya provided in
the lexica for the same kind of merger, the more so as we have no exhaustive
diachronic description to affirm or to gainsay the possibility.
> I would only note, with regard to the final paragraph in your post, that
> there is no reason to think that a verb need have one and only one pa.t.
> form -- and so no reason to assume that Tolkien had or was unable to
> "settle" on one or the other.
It was not my intention to imply that _karin_ must necessarily have only
one past tense. However, it strikes me as significant that
* In the QL, verbs frequently are listed with more than one past tense.
For example, the subgroup of verbs derived from roots with R-hacek
shows often nasal infixion as alternative to vowel lengthening, cf.:
_siri-_ 'to flow' pa.t. _sinde, sîre_ (PE12:84) (macron in original)
_liri-_ 'to sing' pa.t. linde, lîre (PE12:54) (macron in original)
No alternative past tense is indicated for _karin_, pa.t. _káre_ (PE12:45)
* The list of past tenses in the Early Qenya Grammar shows verbs with
up to three alternative past tenses, cf.
_tantila-_ 'hop' pa.t. _tantilane, tantille, tantilante_ (PE14:58)
No alternative past tense is given for
_kar-_ 'to make' pa.t. _karne_ pr.t. _kare_ (PE14:58)
* The Etymologies show (rarely) alternative past tenses for verbs, cf.
_onta-_ to 'beget, create, pa.t. _ontane, óne_ (V:379)
If it is a past tense, no alternative is indicated for _karin, karne_
* All occurrances of _ohtakáre_ are of course in actual texts, out of
which we can't infer if an alternative past tense exists unless the verb
It is certainly difficult to prove the absence of e.g. an alternative past
tense form for _karin_ in the QL, it is entirely possible that it exists,
but if so, the fact remains that in spite of the fact that we have evidence
that Tolkien indicated alternative past tenses for some verbs in the QL,
in the EQG and (with less certainty) in the Etymologies, he didn't actually
do so once for _karin_. So I think while the available evidence is far
from being conclusive, based on the facts available to me there is
some merit to the idea that Tolkien did not consider both variants
valid at the same time.
* Thorsten Renk
I would like to draw attention to the announcement of an important
new work by Thorsten Renk on the "Q(u)enya Past Tense":
From the announcement:
"[This work] contains a list of all (well, probably most to be honest) attested
past tenses from the early Qenya Lexicon (QL) to forms published recently in
'Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals' and illustrates how Tolkien's ideas
about the past tenses changed in time, but also how remarkably stable many
features of the system outlined in the QL remain over the years - there is
no evidence for a substantial revision of the system, although there are
many changes in detail."
The full announcement is at:
If you subscribe to VT and live in Canada or (from the US
perspective) overseas in a country whose name in English is Norway or
alphabetically later, then you've been asking yourself this question.
The printer I use shorted me by about 70 copies of the new issue
(#48), a fact not discovered until I got to Norway in the mailing
process, and they couldn't print me up the missing copies until
earlier this week. Happily, they've now all gone in the mail, so you
should have it in a week or so.
With the announcement of Måns Björkman's "Valmaric Eldamar" font:
I have made the following changes in the fonts used for _Tengwestië_
1) Addition of the "valmaricText" CSS tag to support text written in
the Valmaric alphabet.
2) Replacement of the use of Måns's earlier, unitary "Tirion Sarati"
with his newer "Sarati Eldamar" font family:
with a corresponding expanded set of CSS tags (e.g.,
"saratiLtrBarText", "saratiRtlBarText", "saratiVertBarText") to allow
for the different writing conventions and orientations. (Note however
that current browsers will most likely not fully support anything
other than the left-to-write without bar tag, "saratiLtrText").
For full details and examples, see:
I would also like to thank Måns for his continuing efforts in
producing such fonts, both rigorous and attractive, in support of
In recent messages the verb form _karin_ 'I make, build' from the
_Etymologies_ s.v. the verbal root KAR- 'make, do' (V:362), was
incidentally cited, classifying it as 1st person singular aorist.
The label of _karin_ as an aorist form is supported by the note c.
1969 cited at VT41:17, where Tolkien tells that verb forms with _-i_
are "the stem of the aorist tense". According to this, _kari-_ whould
be the aorist stem of the root KAR-. Complementarily, the form _kare_
(seemingly < *_kari_ with regular opening of final _-i_) acts as
infinitive in the sentence _alasaila ná la kare tai mo nave mára_ 'it
is unwise not to do what one judges good' at VT42:34, which is
explicitly told by Tolkien to be "in general 'aorist' terms", in a
text from the last years of his life (cf. VT42:33 for the dating).
However, it is possible that _karin_ at _Etym._ is not an aorist form,
but present. Verb forms in _-i-_ (_-e_ in the absence of suffixes)
belong to the present tense of "regular" basic verbs in earlier
conceptual stages: see "_Matar_ and _Tulir_" (MT), "The Qenya Verb
Forms" (QVF) and various examples at the verbs section of the "Early
Qenya Grammar" (EQG), PE14:23-34, 57-58. Actually, the aorist tense
occurs in a very distinct form (ended in _-ya_, -_mo_, _-le_...) at
QVF (cf. PE14:28, 34).
I think it probable that _karin_, and the many other verbs ending in
_-in_ from _The Etymologies_, were conceived in that context as
present forms, as in the earlier paradigms. Their glosses are not
helpful, as English present tense may be used for both the present and
aorist functions. However, present is to me a more natural tense to be
given as the first reference in a dictionary than the aorist.
In fact, MT apparently represents only present tenses, and both QVF
and EQG give the conjugation of the present tense first; furthermore,
at QVF, where both present and aorist are represented, aorist in fact
is given last, and when there is a relation between their forms aorist
is told to be "as present" (PE14:28, 34), and not the reverse(*). So,
if _Etym._ ever used aorist as the "reference" tense, that singularity
could be expected to be noted somewhere throughout the text.
Related to this, the difference between the well-known greeting _elen
síla lúmenn' omentielvo_ 'a star shines upon the hour of hour meeting'
and its draft forms _eleni silir..._ 'the stars shine...' and _elen
silë..._ 'a star shines' (VI:324-325), has been elsewhere considered a
change in the tense (aorist > present, cf. VT41:15, for instance), but
instead they could be a reflection of a change in the conception of
how the present tense was formed.
A limitation of this argument is that in _The Lost Road_, more or less
contemporary to the _Etymologies_ and written before any draft of _The
Lord of the Rings_, the form _tye-méla_ '[I] love thee' (not directly
glossed) occurs, seemingly a present like that of _elen síla..._ , and
like present _quéta_ in contrast to aorist _quete_ (VT41:15, 18). So,
it seems that the present formation of _The Lord of the Rings_ and
later texts was already conceived when the _Etymologies_ was being
composed. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean that _-i_ was
already conceived as the aorist stem characteristic, as it was in the
last years of Tolkien's life. The Q. verb _mel-_ 'love' is given at
_Etym._ just as the stem (and not *_melin_), leaving room to think
that it might not be the same kind of basic verb as _kar-_, and that
its present form could be different (thus enabling _tye-méla_ and
_tye-meláne_). And even if this was not implied, as Patrick Wynne and
Rich Alderson recently noted, there is no reason to think that a verb
need have one and only one form for a given tense.
(*) Against this, it could be argued that the conception of time is
different for Elves and Men, and that the first ones could find
completely natural to refer a verb by the tense which expresses an
habitual or time-indefinite action... if it is that the _Etymologies_
were conceived to be composed by some Elven sage, and that fact was
considered in this kind of details.
[Helios raises a important point of caution: given the shifting nature of
Tolkien's languages, even in fundamental categories, it is important
to distinguish between what Tolkien actually _states_ about any
particular class or formation at a particular stage in the conceptual
development of his languages, from what is _assumed_ to be the
case based on the evidence from other conceptual stages.
That being said, I don't agree that there would necessarily be
anything odd in citing the aorist form of a verb as opposed to the
present tense form, _per se_. The actual practice seems to be rather
to cite the _least marked_ formation first, followed by whatever forms
are necessary to illustrate the other formation classes. It happens that
for Latin as for most Western European languages this least marked
form of the verb is its present tense; but this neeed not be true of
languages generally. So in those stages of Tolkien's languages where the
aorist is the least marked form, it would be quite expected for the
aorist form to be the first cited. CFH]
Quoting Helios De Rosario Martinez <imrahil@...>:
> That being said, I don't agree that there would necessarily be
> anything odd in citing the aorist form of a verb as opposed to the
> present tense form, _per se_. The actual practice seems to be rather
> to cite the _least marked_ formation first, followed by whatever forms
> are necessary to illustrate the other formation classes. It happens that
> for Latin as for most Western European languages this least marked
> form of the verb is its present tense; but this neeed not be true of
> languages generally. So in those stages of Tolkien's languages where the
> aorist is the least marked form, it would be quite expected for the
> aorist form to be the first cited. CFH
The most common form for citation, as far as Western European languages are
concerned, is surely the infinitive, regardless of how marked it is compared to
I however quite agree with Carl's larger point - that a form being the citation
form is no ground for assuming it to be a present tense form. Indeed, the many
European languages that use the infinitive as the citation form is a powerful
[Every Latin dictionary I am familiar with cites verbs by 1st. sg. pres. act.
(and then by infinitive). Standard Greek dictionaries follow the same
as do those of Welsh (e.g. the _Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru_). English
universally cite the 1st sg. pres. So in fact many dictionaries of Western IE
languages do not cite the infinitive form of the verb first. It is true that
do, e.g. for most (all?) Romance languages, and for those Germanic languages
have a distinct infinitive inflectional form (though even here the practice
aimed at citing an actual speech form from which the least-marked tense stem
can readily and mechanically be extracted, which in these IE languages happens
to be the present tense). CFH]
On 12.02.2006, at 01:35, Carl Hostetter wrote:
> The actual practice seems to be rather
> to cite the _least marked_ formation first, followed by whatever forms
> are necessary to illustrate the other formation classes
One might add that a formation is used that (generally) conveys the
best idea of the basic nature of the verb, the most transparent.
That's not necessarily the present tense. A good example to underline
Carl's point are Semitic languages which cite the 3rd sg. perfect
because it's structurally the most transparent. Another example is
Korean which uses a present form but -lacking person markers- can
choose between various reverential levels. It uses the one whose
suffix least modifies the basic verbal stem. Lastly consider
Sanskrit, which cites roots.
For most (modern) european languages (germanic, romance, slavic,
baltic, finnish...) though, it's indeed the (or one) infinitive.
[Harm J. Schelhaas also wrote, to make the same point about Semitic
citation standards: "As an example of a non IE language with a different
convention, in Hebrew verbs are cited by 3rd (male) sg. perf. act." CFH]
It seems to me that in VT48 p. 18, there's an error in the editorial
note n. 15 :
"adj. _exa_ 'other' and noun _exe_ 'the other' (VT42:40 n. 65)"
The VT42 has only 38 pages and no editorial note n. 65.
I think we must read "(VT47:40 n. 65)" instead.
[You are absolutely right. Many thanks for correcting my error!
There are a couple of points which I find interesting to add to
Thorsten Renk's "The Q(u)enya Past Tense" at:
About the _-ie_ past tense:
Its presence in suffixed pa.t. forms of "The Lost Road" (e.g.
_kárielto_ 'they made' vs. _káre_ '[he] made'), is comparable to the
development of the pa.t. explained at "The Qenya Verb Forms". There, pa.t.
of "regular verbs" is normally marked by _-ie_ plus the suffixes which
denote gender, number and voice; but impersonal singular active past
tense has _-e_ < _-ie_ (PE14:31, _i_ glide and breve over the _e_ in
the primitive form). Thus, _tul-_ 'to bring, come' is _tûle_ 'came'
(imp. sing.), but _tûlien_ or _tûliendo_ 'he came', etc. (PE14:28,
macron over the _u_ in all cases).
Additionally, though it is not a great finding at all, it may be worth
noting that the _-ie_ past tense did not really disappear, but became
a perfect tense (cp. _tûlien_ 'he came' cited above vs. _utúlien_ 'I
am come' in _Eärello Endorenna utúlien..._, LR:967).
On the other hand, in the last paragraph just before the
acknowledgements, Thorsten says:
"In the QL, all such verbs [with stem in _-r-_] form past tense by
vowel lengthening, best examplified by #_kar-_ 'to make, do' pa.t.
_káre_ (PE12:45). But already in the EQG, this has been changed to a
suffix _-ne_, cf. _kar-_ 'to make' pa.t. _karne_ pr.t. _kare_
(PE14:58). In the Qenya of 'The Lost Road', the past tense form
_ohtakáre_ (LR:47) appears, suggesting a change of mind back to vowel
I think, however, that the scenario of these facts may not be Tolkien
trying to settle whether pa.t. of _kar-_ should be _káre_ or _karne_,
but something closer to what Thorsten said previously, in the
introduction about cases from _Etym._:
"verbs are not limited to one past tense, we find an example in which
alternative past tenses exist without apparent differences in meaning,
cf. _onta-_ 'to beget, create', pa.t. _óne_, _ontane_ (LR:379)..."
In relation to this, it may be interesting to look at the
"English-Qenya Dictionary", where there is a handful of verbs
conjugated in present and pa.t. (there labelled "preterite"), and
"Do. '_kara_': _kare_, pret. _kârie_, but pret. is also frequently
[All Qenya forms are in Valmaric script and then transliterated, with
the exception of the base _kara_, which is untransliterated by
Tolkien; _kârie_ with macron over the _a_.]
There we see the pa.t. form _karne_ already found in EQG, PE14:58 (EQG
being closely related to that dictionary, cf. PE15:65-66), as an
alternative to _kârie_, which conforms the conjugation of "regular
verbs" like _tul-_ (pa.t. _túlie_) in EQG (PE14:57). This proves that
distinct pa.t. forms were possible, though the text of EQG only showed
_karne_. In addition, though the pa.t. _kârie_ of the English-Qenya
Dictionarly does not occur in 'The Lost Road' as such, it does occur
in the suffixed form _kárielto_, which is apparently in complement to
unsuffixed _káre_, _ohtakáre_, etc. (see above).
On 08.02.2006, at 11:23, Patrick Wynne wrote (off-list):
> What we do NOT ever see is a pa.t. formed by insertion of a nasal
> infix between a verb stem and a pronominal ending, as you propose
> in **_ub + n + ni_.
That's certainly a strong point. Just to clarify, there are two
assumptions that led me to this reconstruction:
1) The infixed past tense forms derive from original suffixed forms
by regular sound change, as in Q. _lemba_ < _*lebnâ_ (Etym s.v.LEB-).
2) that the apparent past tense marker *_-ê_ was originally a marker
of the 3. sg.
Ad 1) It's true that Tolkien's own wording suggests that there was an
original distinction between nasal infixion and suffixation of _-ne_
with subsequent metathesis.
[One such passage making this distinction occurs in the Early Qenya
Grammar (ms.), where Tolkien writes that the past stem was formed
by addition of the suffixes _-ye_, _-ie_, or _-ne_, but that the most
common of these, _-ie_, "is normally accompanied by stem strengthening
consisting of (1) a-infixion, (2) n-infixion, (3) vowel lengthening"
(PE14:56). -- PHW]
I could, and probably should have written **_umb-ni_. Which brings
Ad 2) That, I'll admit is a very weak point, as Tolkien's writings
suggest otherwise. It was an entirely ad hoc assumption, in order to
explain one particular form. It seemed to me (somewhat) admissable
because Tolkien's languages (unlike 'real-world' ones) are subject to
re-formation/ interpretation without further notice. Also, re-
formation of case endings (especially in past tense) based on the 3.
sg. are frequent in the world's languages.
Yet *_ê_ or (or, at some stage *_ie_, cf. Helios' post) is indeed
indicative of past tense in particular and so throughout the corpus.
I am slightly puzzled by the statement in VT48:32, note 19:
"In both of the Sindarin forms, _duinen_ and _dannen_, the original
C.E. suffix _-mê_ has presumably been replaced by S. _nen_ 'water'
(e.g. as in _Bruinen_ 'Loudwater', LR:200)."
I wonder whether the parenthetical comment about _Bruinen_ applies to
the second part of the sentence only (i.e. that _Bruinen_ 'Loudwater'
just occurs to end with _nen_ 'water') or rather to the whole sentence
(i.e. that _Bruinen_ would also possibly be a S. word where an
original _-mê_ in C.E. was replaced by _nen_ -- thus implying some
derivation such as _bruinen_ < _nen_ repl. _-me_ < _*bruime_ < *BRUY +
I haven't found any evidence for the latter case, but as the former is
quite obvious(*) and not really necessary to understand _duinen_ and
_dannen_ ... So I just asked myself what the editor exactly had in
mind when he wrote this note. Could he clarify how the note should
Actually, this question interests me as I have never found across my
readings any satisfying explanation for _bruinen_ (except, perhaps, to
deduce _*brui_ as a possible adjective 'loud', possibly including S.
_-ui_ as adjectival ending, from former -*(V)ya_ -- but this would
still be very hypothetical and inconclusive).
(*) If the first reading of the note was implied, we know other river
names ending with _-nen_, which would perhaps have made better examples
as the first element is less obscure (or is at least interpretable):
_Carnen_ 'redwater' and _Harnen_ *'south-water', both attested in the
[I cited the form _Bruinen_ 'Loudwater' in note 19 in VT48:32 merely
to provide an example of S. _nen_ 'water' used as the second element
in a compound; I did NOT intend to suggest that _nen_ in _Bruinen_
replaced earlier _-mê_. Evidently my wording of this note was less clear
than it might have been, and I regret any potential confusion this may
As Didier notes, the first element in _Bruinen_ might be an adjective
*_brui_ 'loud', ending in the common Sindarin adj. suffix _-ui_ (see
VT42:10 for the etymology of this suffix). It seems to me that S.
*_brui_ is probably related to the second element of Q. _Ulumúri_,
name of the great horns of Ulmo (S:27, X:202), in which *_múri_ is
probably 'horns'. The root could be reconstructed as *MUR- (referring
to loud or low sounds), with CE *_murûya_ (stressed on the _û_) >
*_m'rûya_ > S. *_brui_ 'loud'. For S. _br-_ < *_mr-_, compare *_morókô_
'bear' > Q. _morko_, N. _brôg_ (V:374).
The Goldogrin verb _mul-, mum_ 'low, bellow' (PE11:58), along with
the related noun _mû_'ox' and its feminine forms _mûs_ 'cow' and _muir_
'heifer', may be the conceptual antecedents of the root *MUR- proposed
above. -- PHW]
I have a question concerning the form _hlonite_:
In VT48:29, Patrick Wynne cites the form _hlonite_ "phonetic" from
a Tolkien manuscript. He notes that this provides "the singular of
_hloníti_", a plural adjective cited in XI:394-5.
Would not the singular of _hloníti_ simply be *_hloníte_ with
a long vowel in the singular form as well? Obviously _hlonite_
and *_hloníte_ are close variants of the same word, as Pat
observes. But is there any reason to believe that the _i_
in the penultimate would be lengthened in the plural form
of the adjective?
In some attested examples, lengthening of vowels in inflected
forms is indeed observed in the corpus. For instance, the
Etymologies s.v. PHUY gives _huine_ as the word for "deep
shadow", but there we also learn that its possessive-adjectival
form is _huinéva_ rather than **_huineva_ (as in the name
However, the adjective _hlonite_ "phonetic" could be expected
to form its plural in _-i_, with exactly the same number of
syllables and the same distribution of long and short vowels.
Do we, then, have any reason to believe that the vowel in
the penultimate syllable would be lengthened in the plural?
It is perhaps worth noting that S. *_brui_ 'loud' (as in _Bruinen_ 'Loudwater')
bears a striking resemblance to the Esperanto verb _brui_ 'make a noise' (in
which _-i_ is the infinitive ending; the adj. form is _brua_ 'noisy, boisterous,
Tolkien, of course, was well acquainted with Esperanto, writing to _The British
Esperantist_ in 1932 that "I know [Esperanto], as a philologist would say, in
25 years ago I learned and have not forgotten its grammar and structure, and at
one time read a fair amount written in it"
The Esperanto verb was taken from Fr. _bruire_ 'to make a noise, roar', whence
also _bruit_ 'noise, din, clamour, sound', a word that has also been borrowed
by English. According to the OED, _bruit_ is thought to derive from L. _rugîre_
'to roar', and "the prefixed _b_ may be due to some onomatopoeic alteration".
An alternative theory is that the prefixed _b_ is due to the influence of LL.
_bragire_ 'to cry out'. Whatever the case may be, Esp. _brui_ and Fr. _bruire,
were perhaps influential in the creation of S. *_brui_.
The association of _bru-_ with 'noise' in Tolkien's mind seems also to occur in
the Gnomish Lexicon, in which we find Gn. _brum_ 'noise' and _brumla-_
'make a noise', cited as variant forms under the entries for _rum, rumla-_. The
addition of _b_ in the variant forms may be an onomatopoeic addition (as the
OED suggests with _bruit_), perhaps suggested by German _brummen_ 'mumble,
grumble, growl' (whence the rare English verb _brum_ 'to murmur, hum'). The
unprefixed forms _rum, rumla-_ are perhaps the conceptual antecedents of
Q. _rúma-_ 'shift, move, heave (of large and heavy things)' seen in the late
version of "The Last Ark" (MC:223).
-- Patrick H. Wynne
[Note too the play-words "brum" and "vroom" used onomapoetically of the rumbling
sound of engines. CFH]
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