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352Re: Possible ON -r derivation?

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  • pa2rick
    Mar 13, 2003
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      Boris Shapiro wrote:

      > Do you know anything about rare cases of -r derivation in Old
      > Noldorin? I mean cases like N _gador_ "prison" (V:358) and _nadhor_
      > "pasture" (V:374) which come from _GAT_ and _NAT_ and have neither R
      > in their roots nor any sense of agental meaning in themselves.

      Two forms are actually given for each of these words in the
      _Etymologies_: N. _gadr, gador_ 'prison, dungeon' < GAT(H) (whence
      also N. _gath_ 'cavern', N. _gathrod_ 'cave', and Dor. _gad_
      'fence'); and N. _nadhor, nadhras_ 'pasture' < NAD- (whence also Q.
      _nanda_ water-mead, watered plain', N. _nand, nann_ 'wide
      grassland', and Dor. _nand_ 'field, valley'). So this suggests
      that we are dealing with a series of _three_ related N. endings:
      _-r, -or, -ras_.

      > There is no agentive suffix, as far as I can tell, especially since
      > these are inanimate abstracts. It is suggested by David Salo that
      > they come from ON _*gatr-_ and _*nadr-_. Where could this _-r_ come
      > from in ON? ...

      The structure of _gadr, gador_ 'prison, dungeon' resembles that of
      the N. adjective _agr, agor_ 'narrow', < *_akrâ_ < AK- 'narrow,
      confined' (V:348). Perhaps _gadr, gador_ was in origin an adjective
      _*gatrâ_ 'completely enclosed, fenced in', which came to be used
      substantively. Similarly, _nadhor_ 'pasture' could derive from a
      primitive adj. _*nadrâ_, perhaps 'grassy, grass-covered' (or
      'flat, level'?). Noldorin, like Quenya, could use the same form as
      both a noun and an adjective, e.g. N. _gloss_ noun 'snow' and adj.
      'snow-white' < GOLÓS- (V:359) and N. _mael_ noun 'stain' and adj.
      'stained' < _*magla_ < SMAG- 'soil, stain' (V:386).

      The alternative form _nadhras_ of _nadhor_ 'pasture' points toward
      the ending in both forms originating from _*-râ_, with _nadhras_
      from the primitive adj. _*nadrâ_ + _-ssê_ abstract noun suffix,
      with the sense 'grassiness' > 'pasture'. For Q. _-sse_ / N. _-s_
      abstract suffix, compare Q. _handa_ / N. _hann_ 'intelligent', Q.
      _handasse_ / N. _hannas_ 'intelligence' (V:363).

      All three endings _-r, -or-, -ras_ occur together in the N.
      derivatives of the root UB- 'abound', which yielded N. _ofr_ (_ovr_)
      and _ovor_ 'abundant' (the primitive form is given as _*ubrâ_),
      and _ovras_ 'crowd, heap, etc.' (V:396). Here _-(o)r_ remains
      adjectival, with _-ras_ marking the derived noun. Why the adj./noun
      distinction is retained in _ovor_/_ovras_ but not in
      _nadhor_/_nadhras_ I don't know.

      > ... Is it, perhaps, connected with rare cases like ON nouns
      > _ndakro_ "battle" (V:375) and _etledro_ possibly "exile *(as an act,
      > not person)" (V:368) where agentive _-ro_ seems to form inanimate
      > abstracts?

      Interpretation of ON _etledro_ as *'exile (as an act, not person)'
      seems highly unlikely in light of the manner in which this form
      is given in _Etym._: "_egledhron_ exile (ON _etledro_), _eglenn_
      exiled (ON _etlenna_)". This indicates that _etledro_ must be
      directly equivalent in meaning to N. _egledhron_ 'exile', of
      which Tolkien says: "In N _egledhron_ was often taken as
      the meaning of Ilk. _Eglath_ == Eldar == Ilkorins" (V:368).
      It is clear from the latter passage that N. _egledhron_
      and ON _etledro_ meant 'exile' in the personal, agentive
      sense: 'one who has gone into exile'.

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
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