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847_Uvanwaith_ 'the Nomenlands'

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Nov 12, 2005
      In an early draft of the chapter "Farewell to Lórien" presented
      in "The Treason of Isengard", Keleborn -- describing the lands
      south of Lórien through which the Company will pass on
      its way down the Anduin -- mentions an interesting Noldorin
      name: beyond the Wetwang "are the Nomenlands, dreary
      Uvanwaith that lies before the passes of Mordor" (VII:281). A
      variant draft of Keleborn's account repeats the name and gloss
      as "the Nomenlands (of Uvanwaith)" (VII:283). The index to Vol.
      VII cites the name as _Úvanwaith_, in which the long _Ú-_ is
      apparently an error.

      The only analysis of this name that I've found appears in David
      Salo's _A Gateway to Sindarin_, in which he glosses _Uvanwaith_
      as 'wilderness of monsters', < _úan_ + _gwaith_ (pg. 394). EN _úan_
      'monster' appears in the _Etymologies_ s.v. BAN- *'fair, beautiful',
      from *_ûbanô_ (with an acute accent over the _û-_), lit. *'not-
      beautiful one'. N./S. _gwaith_, in its lenited form _-waith_, is a
      common final element in place-names, in which it = '-land', and
      Tolkien's First Map for LotR provides several Noldorin examples
      contemporary with _Uvanwaith_: _Forodwaith_ 'Northerland',
      _Enedwaith_ 'Middlemarch', and _Haradwaith_ 'Sutherland'
      (VII:304–06).

      Salo's interpretation presents two difficulties: 1) The first element
      in _Uvanwaith_ is _uvan-_, not _úan_, and (so far as I can tell)
      Salo doesn't account for this phonological difference; 2) In both
      occurrences, _Uvanwaith_ is glossed by Tolkien as 'the Nomenlands',
      not *'the Monsterlands' or *'Wilderness of Monsters'. This seems all
      the more significant given that the Noldorin name was to vanish,
      while its English gloss survived into the published text as "the
      Noman-lands" (in the chapters "Farewell to Lórien" and "The Passage
      of the Marshes").

      If Tolkien's gloss of _Uvanwaith_ is literal, then _uvan-_ should
      mean 'nomen' or 'noman', in which case the most straightforward
      analysis would be negative prefix *_uv-_ 'no' + N. _anw_ 'a male,
      man (of Men or Elves), male animal' (V:360, VT45:16) -- *_uvanw_
      'noman' + -waith '-land' > _Uvanwaith_ 'Noman-land'. These
      elements are examined in more detail below:

      *UV- 'no'

      QL lists the roots UMU-, UVU as variants of the negative stem Û(2),
      with a derivative "_u-_ or _ûv-_ prefix mainly used before vowels,
      = un-"; and GL gives _û_, "negative prefix with any part of speech",
      which has a "strengthened" variant _um-_ clearly corresponding to
      the root UMU in QL. The _Etymologies_ gives the negative stems UGU-
      or UMU-, and a rejected base MÛ- (whence N. _mû_ 'no'; VT45:35)
      that is obviously a variant of UMU-. N. *_uv-_ 'no' in _Uvanwaith_
      would thus evidently derive from UMU- (which had been in existence
      since 1915) with the usual Noldorin development of medial M > V;
      in other words, N. *_uv-_ is apparently the later conception of Gn.
      _um-_ (in Goldogrin, medial M was retained unchanged).

      ANW 'a male, man'

      According to the entry for *_anu_ (= EN _anw_) in Didier Willis's
      Sindarin dictionary (Edition 1.4):

      "A literal interpretation of the _Etymologies_ would class this word
      as a noun, but David Salo notes that the punctuation in _The
      Etymologies_ is not always reliable. Noldorin _anw_ cannot be
      cognate to the Quenya noun _hanu_ (*_3anû_) because the final
      _-u_ would drop. It must rather be cognate to the Quenya adjective
      _hanwa_ (*_3anwâ_) attested under the stem INI, where it is also
      stated that _inw_, corresponding to Quenya _inya_ "female", has
      been remodelled after _anw_. The combination of these two
      entries, along with the phonological evidences, clearly indicates
      that _anw_ is actually an adjective".

      The entry in the _Etymologies_ reads: "3AN- male. Q _hanu_ a male
      (of Men or Elves), male animal; ON _anu_, N _anw_; Dor. _ganu_.
      (The feminine is INI.)", and as Didier notes, this seems to clearly
      indicate that N. _anw_, like Q. _hanu_, was used as a noun meaning
      'a male' -- entries with the identical format are common in the
      _Etymologies_, e.g., "PÁRAK- Q _parka_ dry; ON _parkha_, N _parch_."
      The appeal to "unreliable" punctuation to explain away the entry's
      obvious meaning is unconvincing, since no change in punctuation,
      short of replacing the semicolon after the entry for Q. _hanu_ with a
      "not equal to" symbol, would yield a plausible alternative
      interpretation.

      On the other hand, the phonological objection raised -- that N.
      _anw_ must be cognate with Q. adj. _hanwa_ rather than Q. noun
      _hanu_ -- appears valid. The Noldorin cognate of Q. _hanu_ ought
      to be *_an_ -- and interestingly enough, GL does in fact list Gn.
      _an_ 'person, "-body", "one", anyone, someone, "they"' (the Qenya
      cognate appears in QL as noun _anu_ 'a male'), which originally had
      the negative forms _umon_ or _unweg_ (the latter is glossed in a
      separate entry in the U-section as 'nobody, no one'). The first form,
      _umon_ (later struck out), might end in Gn. _on_ 'he', but it could
      also end in _an_ 'person', since unaccented _-an_ > _-on_ in
      Goldogrin (PE11:13). If so, then Gn. _umon_ (< earlier *_uman_)
      looks very much like the conceptual predecessor of N. _uvan-_
      in _Uvanwaith_.

      Where Didier's dictionary entry errs, however, is in its flat
      assertion that _anw_ "is actually an adjective", without considering
      the possibility that _anw_ might be both an adjective _and_ a
      noun. Certainly there are many such Noldorin noun/adjectives
      found in the _Etymologies_, e.g., "N _gloss_ snow ... N _gloss_
      also adj. snow-white"; "N _sarn_ stone as a material, or as adj.";
      "[N] _mael_ (*_magla_) stain and adj. stained"; etc. (V:359, 385,
      386). It seems possible that the noun *_an_ 'a male' was not used
      because this syllable was already overworked in Noldorin -- cf. _an-_
      'with, by' (V:374), _an-_ 'long' in _Anfang_ 'Longbeard' (V:348),
      _-an_ '-land' in _Rohan_ 'Horseland' (VI:434, n. 22), _-an_ 'gift' in
      _Rhian_ 'crown-gift' (V:383), etc. -- and this may have resulted in
      the more distinctive adjectival form _anw_ being used substantively
      as well, a process probably aided by analogy with the large class of
      Noldorin nouns ending in _-w_, including _tinw_ 'spark, small star',
      _gwanw_ 'death', _ianw_ 'bridge' (V:393, 397, 400); _curw_ 'craft',
      _harw_ 'wound' (V:366, 386); _celw_ 'spring, source', †_golw_ 'lore'
      (V:363, 377); and _hithw_ 'fog', _pathw_ 'level space, sward',
      _gwelw_ 'air (as substance)' (V:364, 380, 398).

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
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