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The _nahamna_ files

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  • David Kiltz
    Clarification: As I mentioned in my first post on the subject (_nahamna_) the hypothesis outlined by me was done as a heuristic means. To see whether it could
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2003
      As I mentioned in my first post on the subject (_nahamna_) the
      hypothesis outlined by me was done as a heuristic means. To see whether
      it could stand, to falsify or corroborate other assumptions or simply
      put facts in line.
      It was not intended to dismiss the possibility of _nahamna_ == "to
      hy´the". It would, however, in my opinion, show, that it, in itself, is
      a possibility that cannot be affirmatively be refuted. I may not have
      made that clear enough.

      Why did I write it ?

      1) The hypothesis is a possibility and, in my view, not absurdely
      unlikely. It elaborates on Ales hinting to the connection of HAM-
      "ground" with "humble" and the patent fact that it can be analysed as
      2) Nothing definite can be said as of now. The discussion focused on
      _nahamna_ == "to hy´the". Contrasting this assumption may show flaws or,
      indeed, corroborate it.

      My personal opinion about the _nahamna_ problem is:

      1) I think there is a fair possibility that the assumption outlined by
      me earlier is correct.
      It would, then, second the possibilty that Ales mentiones in his
      "Atalante Fragments" in Note 3.
      Its weak spot is undoubtedly how it accounts for the OE translation.
      Namely by assuming that it does not mirror the Elvish text in every
      point. There are good reasons to think it does mirror it. Still, in my
      eyes, the situation doesn't necessarily imply it.
      Again, it is a perfectly reasonable assumption that "to hy´the"
      directly represents _nahamna_. However, it remains an assumption.

      2) In my eyes, the assumption that _nahamna_ reflects "to hy´the" is,
      at least, as likely as the adjectival hypothesis. In this context, I
      consider Ales' words "If hamna was derived from HAM-, it would mean
      something like *"place for grounding/landing"" to be most significant.
      _Hy´th_ in OE does not just denote a harbour/haven. It can, but is
      mostly simply used for a "landing place" (that is, not necessarily a
      permanent one).
      So, indeed, it may well be analysed as _na-hamna_ (the latter being a
      noun as _namna_ "statute" from root NAM- "to utter a judgement")
      meaning "an instance of landing, a land-fall", and hence, "landing
      place". Alternatively, _-na_ may be seen as directly deriving nomina
      loci as does, apparently, _-ná_ in Sindarin (Nandorin) (cf. _Lindon_ <
      *Lindáná. XI:385).

      Some responses;

      Petri Tikka wrote in response to me:

      >> A "glued" preposition is not a preposition at all. It's a nominal
      >> prefix. While a preposition _na_ might mean the same as
      >>_-nna_ a nominal prefix creates a new word.
      > Not always; cf. below.

      This is a misunderstanding. A nominal prefix creates a new word per
      definitionem. That's what I meant.
      Of course, you're right in pointing out that Tolkien sometimes runs
      prepositions together with the next word. In that case, however, they
      still are prepositions.

      Carl Hostetter wrote:

      >This presentation fails to account for a critical fact concerning the
      >first stage of the (indeed) evolving text: Tolkien's Old English
      >translation accompanies only the _first_ version.

      It doesn't mention it. It accounts for it by implication, by assuming a
      discrepancy between the first version and the OE translation. Cf. supra.

      Carl mentions:

      > 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_.

      This seems to be a recurrent theme as exemplified by KHOP- etc..
      Note that the Germanic etymon has been connected with PIE _*kap-_
      "seize, grasp, take" (Latin _capere_ "to seize", OIrish _cachtaim_
      "take captive" OHG _haft_ "ccaptivity"). Hence it would refer to a bay
      in the sense of German "Einfassung".

      David Kiltz

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