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709Re: [Lambengolmor] _calad_ or _galad_?

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  • David Kiltz
    Jul 6, 2004
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      On 03.07.2004, at 23:17, Helios De Rosario Martinez wrote:

      > I suggest that _(Aran) Chithlum_ might nevertheless be an instance of
      > lenition, because in the earlier "Gnomish Grammar" _h_ > _ch_ does
      > occur in the list of the "grammatical mutations" (PE11:7), and it may
      > also be compared with the later famous title of the _Narn i Chîn
      > Húrin_, where _hîn_ 'children' > _chîn_. Christopher Tolkien wrote in
      > LR:322 that both _i Chîn Húrin_ and _Aran Chithlum_ are, among others,
      > cases of the "Initial Variation of Consonants" of Exilic Noldorin,
      > what from the explanations in V:298 and V:301 we might infer that is
      > specifically the lenition or soft mutation.

      Both 'lenition' and 'soft mutation' (which refer to the same phonetic
      process) seem (to me) problematic here. Descriptively _h_ > _ch_ isn't
      'softening' but rather 'hardening' or 'reinforcing'. The underlying
      phonetics can be gleaned from the historical development:
      PE (ON) *KH > S./N. _-ch-_ in inlaut, (and before liquid) but _h-_ in
      anlaut. Cf. e.g. _*khithme_ > N. _hithw_ 'fog' [Etym. s.v.
      KHIS/KHITH-] and (N. _bachor_ 'pedlar' < _*mbakhro_) and _bach_ 'ware,
      thing' < _*mbakhâ_. In _i Chîn Húrin_ _ch_ shows up because it stands
      between two vowels (i-KHî). _Aran Chithlum_ would be one of the cases
      where the 'generalized rule' comes into effect, although the
      'reinforcemnt' wasn't originally phonetically justified [PE11:7].

      > Among Tolkien's published explanations about the consonant mutation
      > in the Celtic-like Elvish language, the nearest in time to Etym. is in the
      > "Early Noldorin Grammar". There, "_hîr_ 'lord', (a) _ihir_" shows no
      > soft mutation of _h_ (PE13:121).

      But it shows reinforcement in the Etymologies, cf. _Bara-chir_ s.v.
      KHER-.

      > A first overview would suggest that in fact _gilgalad_ should not be
      > the result of any lenition, by comparison with the names _Gilbrennil_
      > *'Star-lady' and _Gilthoniel_ 'Star-maker' that occur next to it in
      > GIL-. _Gilbrennil_ shows no kind of mutation (cp. _brennil_ 'lady',
      > s.v. BARÁN-), and the mutation of _Gilthoniel_ (perhaps < *_tânielle_
      > or something similar, cp. _tanô_ s.v. TAN-) is doubtless the liquid
      > assimilation _l_ + _t_ > _lth_, not a lenition that would have yielded
      > *_Gildoniel_ instead.

      1) _Gilgalad_: According to the Etymologies (s.v. GIL-) N. _gíl_ goes
      back to < _*gilya_. Hence an older form of the compound would have
      been: _*Gilyacalad_. Thus the development _calad_ > _•galad_ is quite
      regular. Even if the compound isn't that old, it is reasonable for
      _gíl_ to cause lenition as it would in other cases, given that it ended
      originally in a vowel.

      2) _Gilbrennil_: This is indeed problematic. _Gil_ here qualifies
      _brennil_ whereas in _Dagor Vregedúr_ _bregedúr_ qualifies _dagor_. One
      might ask oneself whether _gilbrennil_ stands instead of _*gilvrennil_
      due to some sort of analogy (cf. _Elbereth_) or maybe it was easier to
      pronounce (not a strong point) ?

      3) _Gilthoniel_: In X:388 there is a note by J.R.R. Tolkien deriving
      the second element of _Gilthoniel_ from root _than/thân-_ 'to kindle,
      set light to'.

      In brief, I think the most problematic form is _Gilbrennil_. Still,
      Helios De Rosario Martinez is certainly right to point out all those
      difficulties, as it's not clear what Tolkien's ideas were when writing
      the Etymologies. Tolkien's note I cited sub 3) dates probably to the
      late '50s. In the same essay he notes on _Elbereth_ that "... since
      _b_ is not mutated the name is probably to b referred to _*elen-barathi
      > _elmbereth_".

      So Tolkien was (of course) keenly aware of the issues involving
      mutation.

      -David Kiltz
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