Richard Derdzinski wrote:
> What is your opinion on the etymology of the Quenya language-names in
> _-rin_ i.e. Eldarin, Sindarin, Telerin, Valarin etc.? Such names are
> treated in Tolkien's late papers as Quenya names though it seems
> they were first typical for the predecessors of Sindarin
Early Qenya language-names had also a similar form: see the list of
languages _Eldarin_, _Noldorin_, _Solosimpilin_, _Qenyarin_, _Inwelin_,
_Telellin_, _Cor-eldarin_ at the beginning of the Qenyaqetsa (PE12:2).
The endings _-rin_, _-lin_ in most of them could be the plural endings
_-r_, _-li_, + _-(i)n_. In fact, most of the plural folk-names implicit
in those language-names are found in the Qenya Lexicon or the Qenyaqetsa
The plurals _Eldar_ and _Cor-Eldar_ are found in the text before the
_Noldor_ and _Inweli_ (and again _Eldar_) are in QL:36 (s.v. _Erinti_);
there the form _Teleri_ also occurs, but _telelli_ can be found in QL:91
_Solosimpeli_ is in QL:35 s.v. _Eldamar_. Note that from _Solosimpilin_
at PE12:2 the expected plural folk-name would have been *_Solosimpili_,
which blends two plurals of _Solosimpe_: this one in QL:35 with _-li_,
and the commoner _Solosimpi_ (cf. PE12:1-2, 4, 17, 85), with _-i_. The
form _-li_ is usually employed for nouns with vocalic ending, and _-i_
for nouns with consonantal ending, or in _-e_ < (semivocalic) _-i_ (cp.
PE14:43-44); thus both plurals forms could be expected for _Solosimpe_,
though if they coexisted, only one of them would be etymological, the
other one being probably derived by analogy. The blend *_Solosimpili_
seems rarer, and perhaps did not occur outside the language-name; but
note that the language-name form _Solosimpelin_ also occurred, at PE12:22.
*_Qenyar_ is the only plural that I have not found, and which probably
does not exist, as _Qenya_ is not a singular folk-name, but an adjective
related to _Qendi_. The ending _-ya_ is a usual Qenya adjective former,
as seen in the QL adjectives _inya_ 'tiny' (p.42), _laminya_
'animal-like, beastly, stupid' (p.50), _mintya_ 'reminding, "memoryful"'
(p.62), _nyenya_ 'querulous, tearful, plaintive' (p.69), _rûya_
'unmoved, steadfast' (p.80), _sastya_ 'sore, galled' (p.86), _talanya_
'burdened, weighed down, sad' (p.88), _telya_ 'attractive' and
_telyantalya_ (p.90), _tilinya_ 'downy, hairy' (p.92), or _varya_
'different' (p.100). _Qenyarin_ was probably formed by analogy from the
The suffix _-in_, on the other hand, could be a short form of _-inwa_,
another adjective former which is also applied to form folk-related
adjectives, like _noldorinwa_ (glossed 'goblin (adj.)' in QL:67),
_telerinwa_ (MC:216, PE16:90ff.), and specially enlightening,
_eldarinwa_ in the Enlish-Qenya Dictionary, where it is given next to
_eldarin_ as Qenya glosses to the adjective 'elfin' (PE15:71). The word
_Qenyarinwa_ is also found, written next to the English form "Qenyatic"
If related, short _-in_ and long _-inwa_ could have different
grammatical functions, _-inwa_ being used when the adjective qualified a
name (as in _losselie telerinwa_ 'the white people of the shores of
Elfland', MC:215), and _-in_ when the substantive was omitted and thus
the adjective was itself used substantively (like in the language-names).
This _-inwa_ ending is an adjective former very productive outside
language of folk-related words. See for instance in QL:
_helinwa_ 'of pansies; of colour = "a blue-violet"' (p.39)
_saminda, -wa_ (i.e. _saminwa_) 'silken' (p. 81)
_tirinwa_ 'vigilant' (p. 93)
_turinwa_ 'kingly, royal' (p. 96)
Making a step further in the analysis, it could be that _-inwa_ was
derived by analogy from adjectives like the following in QL:
_finwa_ 'acute, sagacious' (p. 38, s.v. FINI)
_minwa_ 'small' (p. 61, s.v. MINI)
_ninwa_ 'blue' (p. 66, s.v. NINI)
In these ones, _-in-_ is not a suffix, as it belongs to the Qenya root,
and the suffix was in fact just _-wa_, for which compare the "general
adjectival suffix" _-va_ (PE14:47, 79). If cases like these were common
in Qenya, the blend of root ending _-in_ + adjectival _-va_ / _-wa_
could have yielded by analogy a new adjective ending _-inwa_. It is
interesting that the Qenya root TURU had both derived adjectives
_turinwa_ ('kingly, royal') and _turwa_ ('powerful'); cf. PE12:96).
Now in the frame of Tolkien's late papers, about which Richard asked,
the etymology could be quite similar.
From a text as late as "Quendi and Eldar" we know that the term
_Quenderin_ was formed anew by historians as an adjective meaning
'Quendian, belonging to the Elves as a whole', and that they made
it "on the model of _Eldarin_, _Noldorin_, etc." (XI:407).
_Quenderin_ seems to be formed by the singular _qende_ 'elf' (itself
formed analogically from pl. _Quendi_, cf. XI:361) + _-rin_. Thus, the
cited note implies that adjectives meaning 'belonging to a people as a
whole' may be formed by adding _-rin_ to the referred people. But this
does not necessarily mean that this was the etymological formation. As
older _Qenyarin_, it could be just formed by analogy.
If that is the case, _Eldarin_ and _Noldorin_ could be, as seemingly the
previous Qenya language-names, plural _Eldar_ and _Noldor_ + _-in_. The
same may be said of _Sindarin_ and _Valarin_, commented on by Richard.
_Telerin_ could likewise come from plural _Teleri_ (*_Teleri-in_ >
And as commented on above about _-in_ for Qenya language-names, in the
late texts this ending could also be intended to come from adjectival
_-inwa_, the longer form being used when the adjective qualifies a noun.
To support this theory, besides _Sindarin_, _Eldarin_, _Valarin_ or
_Noldorin_ we have _hwesta sindarinwa_ ('Grey-elven [belonging to the
Sindar] _hw_', LR:1123), _Essekenta Eldarinwa_ (*'Enquiry on the names
of the Eldar', XI:360), _Lambe Valarinwa_ (*'tongue of the Valar',
XI:397), and _quentale Ñoldorinwa_ ('the history of the Noldor', VT39:16).
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