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1052Re: _Huorn_ and _huine_ ?

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  • Roman Rausch
    Feb 29, 2008
      A late answer, but nevertheless:

      >Although the ability to speak was a defining characteristic of Huorns
      >in early drafts (VIII 47-55), and this ability is still mentioned in
      >the final text of LR (LR 551), the ability to speak is hardly relevant
      >in the narrative context of the final text. In the final text, Huorns
      >are defined by their ambiguity (second only perhaps to their ability
      >to uproot and travel). They move in shadow, vaguely heard or sensed
      >but not seen (no one actually sees them move, except perhaps the Ents:
      >LR 551, 539; Merry says "they seem to be able to wrap themselves
      >in shadow" [LR 551]).

      That very paragraph actually contains a clear explanation of the name:
      'They still have voices, and can speak with the Ents – that is why
      they are called Huorns, Treebeard says'

      >One potential obstacle I see is that _Huorn_
      >is a Sindarin word (per Jim Allen 1978) and _huine_ is Quenya (S 358)

      Yes, that'a point. Original aspirated PH becomes _h_ before _u_ in
      Quenya only. PHUY- yields Q. _Fui_, _Hui_ 'Night' as well as _fuine_,
      _huine_ 'deep shadow', but N. _fuin_ only (V:382).

      >If the mixing of languages in this instance is permissible, I wonder
      >whether "ui" treated as a dipthong might be a problem?

      Oh yes, it is, there is no known mechanism to simplify a diphthong
      like that. Examples of hybrid Quenya/Sindarin words do exist, e.g. Q.
      _Ondohir_ which substitutes _-hir_ 'lord' from S. _hîr_, pure Quenya
      would be _Ondoher_ (XII:210). But also given _#hu-_ instead of _*hui_
      the possibility of a derivation from PHUY- just doesn't appear likely
      by Occam's razor.

      Still, your guess was not unreasonable. Tolkien apparently considered
      an element _hô_ 'spirit, shadow' (PE17:86) > *S. _hû_ as a possibility
      among others, although the translation is not very readable. Look here
      for a quick discussion (use the browser search to get to _Huorns_):

      But one should note that Tolkien wrote down almost every possible
      retrospective interpretation for a lot of LR names and it's seldom
      clear in favour of which possibility he decided (if he did at all). In
      any case, earlier variants are a helpful means of analysis, often
      showing the original intention for the meaning of a name. In this case
      it's clearly 'talking trees'.

      Roman Rausch
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