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786VT47 and Galadriel's Lament

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  • Helios De Rosario Martinez
    Mar 9, 2005
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      VT47 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
      hands" (VT47:6).

      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_
      'hands-her-two', ibid.).

      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_.
      -- PHW]

      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.