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Re: _nahamna_ in the Atalante fragments

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    There seem to be two main objections to accepting the phrase _to hýþe_ (OE to (the) haven ) in the parallel Old English translation as indicating
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10, 2003
      There seem to be two main objections to accepting the phrase "_to
      hýþe_" (OE 'to (the) haven') in the parallel Old English translation as
      indicating Tolkien's intended meaning (at that time, at least) for Q
      _nahamna_ in the first draft (restated from _The Lost Road_) of what
      can be called the "Atalante Fragments" (IX:317):

      Objection 1: It would be odd to have a prepositional prefix _na-_ 'to'.

      The evidence of Tolkien's Quenya prayers shows that, at least for
      Quenya as conceived at that time (mid to late 50s), prepositions could
      indeed be prefixed to pronouns. Since pronouns are nouns, it does not
      seem at all inconsistent, typologically, to suppose that prepositions
      could also be attached to nouns generally. But even more convincing for
      the specific time and text under consideration in the form
      _nuhuinenna_, which is given the English gloss 'under-shadow', and so
      most naturally analyzed as containing a prepositional prefix _nu-_
      'under' derived from the base NU(U)- and cognate with the independent
      preposition _no_ (primitive short *_-u_ becoming _-o_ in word-final
      position in Quenya).

      Objection 2: _nahamna_ looks like an adjective, not a noun.

      It has long been observable that many nouns in Quenya were originally
      adjs.: consider, e.g., _kolla_ 'borne, worn, especially a vestment or
      cloak' (X:385n.19); or even the word _Elda_ itself.

      In my opinion, therefore, these objections do not withstand the

      As for etymology, it is not much of a stretch to conceive that the
      putative element _hamna_ 'haven' could be related to either (or even
      both) of at least two attested bases in _Etymologies_: KHAM- 'sit',
      indicating a ship's place of resting at anchor; or KHAP- 'enfold',
      indicating the enclosed, protected waters of a haven (both of these
      possibilities were first mentioned long ago, I believe by Patrick Wynne
      and Christopher Gilson).

      I would also like to note that the interpretation of _nahamna_ as 'to
      (the) haven' may have been further suggested to Tolkien by the striking
      similarity of the putative element _hamna_ 'haven' to various Germanic
      cognates (of uncertain etymology) to English "haven", including:
      Icelandic _höfn_, Danish _havn_, and Swedish _hamn_.

      =========================================================================================Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
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