799Forgotten Words of Elvish: _Mornvenniath_
- Jul 25, 2005While doing some research in _The Treason of Isengard_
recently I came across the Noldorin form _Mornvenniath_,
a name of the Black Mountains appearing in a one-page
manuscript apparently dating to the early 1940s (VII:124).
The Black Mountains (also called _Eredvyrn_ << _Ered
Myrn_) were the precursors of the later White Mountains
The first element in _Mornvenniath_ is of course N. _morn_
'black' (V:373, VT45:35), and _-venn-_ must be N. _ment_
'point' (ibid.) with lenition of initial _m_ > _v_, and final _nt_ >
_nn_ in medial position (cp. N. _pent_ 'tale', _pennas_
'history', V:366). It's interesting to see another instance of
N. _ment_ crop up outside of the _Etymologies_ (no such
luck yet for the Qenya cognate _mente_, so far as I know).
The final element _-iath_ can perhaps be identified with
later S. _iâth_ 'fence', as in _Doriath, Dor Iâth_ 'Land of the
Fence' (XI:370) and probably _Echoriath_ 'the Encircling
Mountains' (S:138) -- hence _Mornvenniath_ *'Fence of
Black Peaks' -- unless we are to suppose that this is the
collective pl. ending _-iath_ seen in such forms as _giliath_
(sg. _geil_ 'star'; V:358, VT45:15), though this variant of
_-ath_ is otherwise only attested with nouns having _i_ as
the original stem vowel.
I Googled "Mornvenniath" to see if this word had been
analyzed on any of the online forums, and got bupkis --
no hits at all. Apparently _Mornvenniath_ is a sort of
"forgotten word", excluded from the idiosyncratic canons
of the neo-Elvish practitioners (despite the fact that it
provides confirmation of the enduring existence of N.
_ment_), and not yet analyzed by scholars. There are a lot
of these forgotten words to be found in "The History of
Middle-earth" volumes, very many of them Noldorin --
e.g., _Hithdilias_ 'Misty Mountains', which shares the
same ms. page as _Mornvenniath_; _Cinderion_ 'Hither
Lands' (V:405); _Eges-sirion_ 'Mouths of Sirion' (V:407);
_Thanador_, _Ulthanador_, _Borthendor_, _Orothan[ador]_,
all early names of _Rohan_ (VI:434, n. 22), etc.
Perhaps we might begin pointing out and discussing
these neglected forms on this list?
-- Patrick H. Wynne
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