645Re: Moria Spell
- Mar 29, 2004--- "Peter" <edelberg@g...> wrote:
> Has anyone tried to translate the version of Gandalf's spell toTo which Patrick Wynne added a note:
> open the gates of Moria that appears in _The Return of the
> Shadow_ p. 451 (paperback ed.):
> _Annon porennin diragas-venwed
> diragath-telwen porannin nithrad_
> the hyphens stand for dots in the original). Or does anyone know if
> this has been discussed on the mailing lists or elsewhere?
> I seem to recall this verse being discussed in some detail once inHere is a summary of that discussion:
> VT, though with little success at coming up with a likely
> translation [...]
In VT 20 (p. 12) Tom Loback suggested that perhaps "_-ath-_ is a
lenition of _-as-_," and that "_diragas_ and _diragath_ are the same
word and are verbs," with the future tense suffix _-ath-_ as in
_linnathon_ `I will sing' in the Hymn to Elbereth. In
_diragas·venwed_ he said the second word is the lenited form of
*_menwed_. He also suggested that _porannin_ may contain _nin_ `me'
as in Sam's Invocation to Elbereth and the preposition _an_ of _ammen_
`for us' and _anim_ `for myself' (Gandalf's fire spell and Gilraen's
linnod); and that "_nithrad_ may indicate an underground passage or
tunnel" with _ni-_ cognate to the _di-_ `beneath' of the invocation
and the end of the word comparable to _athrad_ `crossing, ford' and
_ostrad_ `a street' (Etym. root RAT- `walk'). Tom also noted the one
certain fact about this spell, that _Annon_ == `gate'.
In VT 20 (pp. 5, 20) I suggested that the first component of _diragas_
and _diragath_ is a form of Noldorin _dîr_ from Etym. root DER- `adult
male, man (elf, mortal, or of other speaking race)' with second
components _gas_ `hole, gap' and _gath_ `cavern' and construction
comparable to _Nauglafring_ `Necklace of the Dwarves' and _Goldamir_
(II 346, Etym. 357-8, 377), thus _diragath_ `cavern of men'. I also
suggested that related to the GL verb _telu-_ `to close, end, finish'
a derivative "_telwen_ would be `closure' or `cover', and
_diragath·telwen_ essentially `cavern-door'." And as an alternative
possibility to *_menwed_ (perhaps from root MEN- `region, direction',
as in _Men-i-Naugrim_ `Dwarf-Road', Road Goes Ever On 64, UT 280), I
suggested that the form underlying lenited _·venwed_ might be
*_benwed_, derived from GL _benn_ `shape, cut, fashion'. "So
_diragas·venwed_ would mean `man-hole shaped', i.e. having the shape
of the cavern mouth, describing the _annon_ `gate', which of course
was cut to fit exactly into the opening."
In VT 22 (pp. 22-25) Tom elaborated his theory by proposing that in
_diragas·venwed_ lenition of *_menwed_ `way' marks it as the object of
the verb _diragas_, while in _diragath·telwen_ absence of lenition
marks _telwen_ as the subject of the (same) verb _diragath_. He also
suggested that _porennin_ may be structured comparably to _porannin_,
but with preposition _en_ `from yonder, over there', i.e. _porennin_ =`_ before me' and _porannin_ == `_ for me'.
In VT 23 (pp. 10-12) I suggested an alternative interpretation of
_telwen_ as an adjective *`domed, roofed; covered, closed; ended,
finished' and _diragath·telwen_ == *`closed tunnel'; and an alternative
interpretation of _nithrad_ as _ni_ + _(a)thrad_, literally "something
like `me to cross' or `my crossing', referring to the intended purpose
of the spell, for the speaker to get past the gate." I also mentioned
a suggestion of Patrick Wynne's that the first syllables of _diragas·_
and _diragath·_ might relate to the preposition _dir_ in the "Secret
Vice" Noldorin poem: _dir avosaith_ `dark through gloomy places;
(shining) over the gloomy places', _dir hanach_ `through the vale'
(Monsters & Critics 217).
In VT 26 (pp. 10-11) Tom offered some further remarks, but added
nothing new to the discussion; and so it ended as far as I recall.
That was November 1992.
-- Christopher Gilson
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