786VT47 and Galadriel's Lament
- Mar 9, 2005VT47 is indeed a fruitful and very welcome source of information about Quenya
vocabulary and grammar, and about the development of the Eldarin languages.
Among many other things, I think that it is interesting to note some details
that can be related with the poem _Namárië_.
The most remarkable, I think, is Tolkien's explanation and examples of how
nouns such as _má_ 'hand' are seldom used in the "general or complete" plural,
but rather in the singular or pair-dual (_mát_), even in general sentences
or when the subject is more than one person. One of the examples provided
is the sentence "they raised their hands", where "_hand_ was in Eldarin syntax
always singular, if each ... raised one hand, and always dual if each raised both
This example strongly recalls the sentence _Elentári ortane máryat_ 'Elentári
lifted up her two hands' (from Tolkien's "prose" arrangement of _Namárië_
in R:67), in which we accordingly see the pair-dual _máryat_, i.e., _mát_
with the 3rd sg. possessive pronoun _rya_ between the stem _má_ and the
dual marker -_t_ (being literally explained by Tolkien as _má-rya-t_
Another item is the Eldarin noun _sûli_, _sûr(i)_ 'wind', formed from the
stem _sû_ 'the sound of wind' (with macron over the _û_ in all cases),
extended with r_ / _l_ (VT47:35). Eld. _sûr(i)_ is seen in the Q. instrumental
_súrinen_ 'in the wind', in the first line of the _Namárie_ poem. Its undeclined
form may be expected to be *_súre_, with final Eld. -_i_ > Q. -_e_; _súre_ is
actually found in line 14 of the last version of the _Markirya_ poem (MC:222).
Analogically, Eld. _sûli_ would yield Q. *_súle_; and _súle_ is actually found
as a _tengwa_ name (previously _thúle_) in LR Appendix E, and in _Etym._,
s.v. THÛ-, though in both cases it clearly comes from an earlier form in
_th_-, not in _s_- as the words commented in VT47.
[Q. _súle/thúle_ is glossed as 'spirit' rather than 'wind', which accords
with the Etymologies, which gives Q. _súle_ 'breath' as a derivative of
THÛ- 'puff, blow' (English _spirit_ is from Latin _spirare_ 'to blow,
breathe'). The Noldorin cognate is given as _thûl_, which stands in
contrast to S. _sûl_ 'wind' in _Amon Sûl_ 'Hill of the Wind' (TC:195), which
must derive from Eld. _sûli_ cited in VT47:35 -- otherwise we should see
**_Amon Thûl_. In other words, THÛ- 'puff, blow' (whence Q. _súle/thúle_
'breath, spirit', N. _thûl_ 'breath') and SÛ- '(sound of) wind' (whence
Q. _súre_ 'wind', S. _sûl_ 'wind') appear to be two related but semantically
distinct bases. So the direct descendant of Eld. _sûli_ < _sû_ (VT47:35) in
_The Lord of the Rings_ appears to be S. _sûl_ rather than Q. _súle/thúle_.
And of course, there is the usage of the particular plural in -_li_ commented
by Tolkien in VT47:6, in _i falmalinnar_ 'on the foaming waves', as Patrick
notes in VT47:18.