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679_Im_, _Gwahaedir_ and _Fornarthan_: in light of the A&C

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  • Didier Willis
    Jun 13, 2004
      Thanks to the publication of the "Addenda and Corrigenda to the
      _Etymologies_" (VT #45), some later words from Tolkien's manuscript
      can now find a correct interpretation. _Gwahaedir_ "Palantir", _Fornarthan_
      "North-beacon" and _im_ "vale" are among these.

      A&C, p. 21, lists "N. _hae (hoe), haen, gwahae_" under the stem
      KHAYA, along with an interesting note nuancing the meaning of this
      stem (with regard to Q. _palan_, "distant and remote" vs. "far in

      Previously published in XII:273 (PM), the word _Gwahaedir_ was there
      used as the name of the Palantiri in Sindarin/Noldorin. It may now
      find a complete interpretation: "remote-seing" stone. It seems worth
      mentioning that several people had already deduced the word _hae_,
      by comparison with _haered_ (LotR Book II Ch. I) and _haeron_ (RGEO:72).
      For instance, refer to the article "Compound Sindarin Names in ME" on
      the _I Lam Arth_ website, or to the gloss for that entry in my own
      Sindarin dictionary project). As it seems, however, these interpretations
      generally failed to interpert _gwahae_ as a unitary word and suggested
      it could be a compound including the prefix _gwa-_ and henceforth meaning
      "all-seeing stone" (or something to that extent). We now have the
      complete and accurate interpretation, to be linked, as noted by the
      editors of the A&C, with the cognate intensive form in Q., _vahâya_.

      Further on, A&C, p. 37, lists a previously unpublished stem NARTA,
      with _nartho_ "to kindle" as S. derivative.

      It may be linked to _Fornarthan_, a word published VT #42, p. 30,
      where _narthan_ is transparently intended to be a "beacon",
      a signal of fire. According to the Webster's 1913, the English
      word "beacon" is in origin a "signal", but not necessarily of
      fire, so it would not have been easy to fully analyze the
      S. word without this new imput from the A&C.

      This relation is also interesting as it adds another word to a
      small list of nouns ending in -an and derived from a verb: of
      course the well known _leithio, leithian_, but also and more
      interestingly _neithan_ "the deprived" (UT:456) - For the latter,
      people had suggested that *_neitha-_ could be a verb meaning
      "to deprive". To my knowledge, this small class of nouns has
      seldom been studied.

      Finally, A&C, p. 18, also lists "N. _im(b), imm_" as a "dell" or
      "deep vale". Later words such as _imloth_, _imlad_ (both attested
      in LotR) and _imrath_ (UT:465) now all find a satisfying
      explanation, that fits well with their actual meanings as we
      know them from.

      For the record, it is worth mentioning again that people had
      often failed to interpret these three words correctly, assuming
      that the first element might have been related to Q. _imbe_
      "between", and then trying to interpret them differently (such as
      _imlad_ as "a watercourse between (hills or mountains)", hence "a
      valley", etc.). From the A&C, we now learn that there are actually
      two similar stems (even leading to homonyms in Q.), but that
      they are wholly distinct.

      The _Etymologies_, as presented in HoME V, allowed us to interpret
      many words and were immediately regarded as a major document at
      their publication. There is no doubt that they haven't finished
      to astonish us and that the A&C will reveal other "pearls" as the
      ones mentioned above - For the greatest pleasure of people studying
      Tolkien's invented languages.


      [I'd like to take this opportunity to say that my intention is to publish
      the second part of the A&C this month, if profession and events finally
      decide to conspire to give me the necessary free weekends to complete
      the layout and proofing and get everything to the printers soon. CFH]
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