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343Re: _nahamna_ in the Atalante fragments

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Mar 9, 2003
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      On Sunday, March 9, 2003, at 03:50 AM, David Kiltz wrote:

      > I think to understand the meaning of _nahamna_ one has to see it in
      > the context of the evolving text. _Nahamna_ changed to _kamindon_ >
      > _akamna_ > _nukumna_ (IX:311). None of these forms seems to correspond
      > to the OE "translation" _to h´ythe_. Indeed, I think all the above
      > forms mean "humbled" as does the Adunaic translation
      > _zabathaan_(IX:247 et al.).

      This presentation fails to account for a critical fact concerning the
      first stage of the (indeed) evolving text: Tolkien's Old English
      translation accompanies only the _first_ version; indeed the OE text is
      written on "a slip of paper giving the Quenya fragments in their
      original form" (IX:317), i.e., as Christopher Tolkien goes on to note,
      in a form identical to that in _The Lost Road_, not incorporating even
      the minor changes found in the first version of the text in _The Notion
      Club Papers_ (IX:310). The natural implication of this is that OE _to
      hy'the_ is a translation of _nahamna_.

      Of course, it remains _possible_ that _to hy'the_ does _not_ translate
      _nahamna_; i.e., that in the act of translating the restated _Lost
      Road_ text into OE, Tolkien, _at that point_, decided that the meaning
      he wanted to express was not whatever _nahamna_ means (in this
      scenario, perhaps Tolkien, in the intervening years, had himself
      forgotten what it meant when he wrote it!), and instead wrote _to
      hy'the_, meaning to subsequently alter the Quenya to match. But there
      are at least two problems with this: first, Tolkien's normal work
      pattern would have been to simply mark up _nahamna_ on the spot, to
      change it to the revised form, which he did not do; and second, the
      next time he wrote the passage out (for Text E, IX:310), it still has
      _nahamna_ (note that this version precedes the version accompanying the
      first Adunaic translation).

      Even the third time he wrote it, it has _kamindon_, which looks for all
      the world like an adverbial form, and indeed against it is written the
      partial gloss "-ly" (IX:311); hence, it cannot translate _to hy'the_
      either. Moreover, _kamindon_ first appears in the version of the text
      that accompanies the first Adunaic translation, and corresponds there
      to _zabathaan_ 'humbled'; so it seems pretty clear that _kamindon_ is
      meant to translate 'humbled', and so too _akamna_, as _nukumna_ does
      explicitly (it is glossed thus, IX:246). But despite the apparent similarity
      of _nahamna_ and _akamna_, they must come from different bases
      (_nahamna_ from a base in KH-, _akamna_ from one in _K-_). So we
      can't really infer anything about _nahamna_ from _akamna_. Nor can we
      _necessarily_ infer anything about _nahamna_ from any of the later
      Quenya and Adunaic forms.

      =========================================================================================Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
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