Re: Possible ON -r derivation?
- Boris Shapiro asked if anyone has any ideas about the use of _-ro_ as
an abstract noun ending in ON _ndakro_ 'slaughter, battle' (V:375).
In all other occurrences of ON _-ro_ in the _Etymologies_, it acts as
an agentive ending:
ON _biuro, bioro_ 'follower, vassal' < _*beurô_ < BEW- 'follow,
ON _etledro_ 'exile' (i.e. *'one who goes into exile') < LED- 'go,
ON _wanúro_ 'brother' < NÔ- 'beget'.
ON _sthabro(ndo)_ 'carpenter, wright, builder' < _*stabrô_ < STAB-.
There seem to me to be three potential explanations for _ndakro_:
Given the paucity of attested ON forms, _ndakro_ might be the sole
recorded example of an ON abstract noun ending _-ro_ homophonous with
ON agentive _-ro_. The ON agentive ending derives from earlier
_*-rô_, as shown by the forms _*beurô_ and _*stabrô_ in the
list above; a putative ON abstract ending _-ro_ might also be from
earlier _*-rô_, or it could alternatively derive from _*-ru_,
since in ON (as in Quenya) original short final _*-u_ yielded _-o_,
as _*smalu_ 'pollen, yellow powder' > Q. _malo_, ON _malo_ (V:386).
There is, however, no evidence in the _Etymologies_ to support the
existence of this theoretical ending _*-ru_.
ON _ndakro_ might be an agentive < ON _ndakie_ 'to slay' (< NDAK-
'slay') formed with the same ending seen in ON _biuro_, _etledro_,
etc. and literally meaning *'slayer, one who slays'. By this
interpretation, _nkadro_ would be a _personification_ of 'slaughter,
battle', the great 'slayer' of Men and Elves. The _Etymologies_ gives
one explicit example of personification, which also (perhaps
significantly) pertains to loss of life: Q _nuru_ 'Death', "_Nuru_
(personified) = Mandos" (V:377 s.v. ÑGUR). The ON forms are
Theories 1) and 2) both depend on the assumption that _ndakro_ is a
noun, equivalent to N _dagr_, _dagor_ 'battle'. However, the English
words 'slaughter' and 'battle' are also _verbs_, and it might be that
_ndakro_ is an ON verb *'to slaughter, to battle', equivalent to N
_dagro_ 'to battle, make war' cited in the same entry, just as ON
_ndakie_ 'to slay' is equivalent to N _degi_ 'to slay'. Tolkien does
not always include the infinitive preposition "to" in his glosses in
the _Etymologies_, even when verb/noun ambiguity might arise, e.g.
_nak-_ 'bite' (V:374), and at least one other ON verb is cited ending
in short final _-o_: ON _tuio-_ 'swell, grow fat' s.v. TIW- (V:394).
The symmetry of ON _ndakie_ 'to slay' = N. _degi_, and ON _ndakro_
'slaughter, battle' = N. _dagro_ 'to battle, make war' is compelling.
But there are counterindications as well: A) Tolkien is careful to
mark infinitives with "to" elsewhere in the NDAK- entries (ON
_ndakie_ 'to slay', N. _degi_ 'to slay', N. _dagro_ 'to battle, make
war'), so if _ndakro_ is a verb, it seems likely Tolkien would have
glossed it as 'to slaughter, battle'; B) _ndakro_ does not end in a
hyphen, as one might expect if it is a verb like ON _tuio-_; and C)
there are no other attestations of an ON verb in _-ro_, although the
existence of several N. verbs in the _Etymologies_ ending in _-ro_
(_glavro_ 'to babble' < GLAM-, _pathro_ 'fill' < KWAT-, _lhathro_
'listen in, eavesdrop' < LAS(2)-) suggests that it probably existed
in ON as well.
I will add that the reading _ndakro_ 'slaughter, battle' in the
published _Etymologies_ is entirely accurate; the final _-o_ is
clear, and there is no final hyphen.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- On Sonntag, März 16, 2003, at 05:34 Uhr, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:
> I will add that the reading _ndakro_ 'slaughter, battle' in theIf I read it correctly, _ndakro_ is given as a ON form (just as
> published _Etymologies_ is entirely accurate; the final _-o_ is
> clear, and there is no final hyphen.
[Absolutely -- this is not a contested point. I merely wished
to make it clear that the reading was not _**ndakra_ or
_**ndakro-_. -- PHW]
ON already shows the transition PQ _â_ > _ô_ as exemplified by *_ndâkô_
> ON _ndóko_ in the same entry. This allows us to retrace the form toeither PQ *_ndakrô_ or _ndakrâ_.
[Not necessarily. Original long final _*-â_ usually yields _-a_ in ON,
as in ON _gâesra, gêrrha_ 'dreadful' < _*gaisrâ_, ON _tára_ 'lofty'
< _*târâ_, and ON _wóra_ 'soiled, dirty' < _*wa3râ_, to only cite
those forms ending in _-ra_ (V:358, 389, 397). There is one
certain example of an ON form with _-o_ < _*-â_ -- _batthô'-_
'trample' < _*battâ'-_ (V:351-2) -- but this is set against a
majority of forms in which PQ _*-â_ > ON _-a_. -- PHW]
In Indo-European transitions from agent to action noun are frequent.
In Elvish, however, *_-ô_ (and thus *_-rô_) seems to refer explicitly
to (male) persons. If, however, we take the form to be originally in
*_-râ_ (with +_â_ seemingly representing a kind of neuter, or at least
a not sex/person-specific form) we end up with something like
"the slaying, killing thing, event, aut sim.".
This interpretation is, in my eyes, especially suggestive, since two
English semantically very close words, namely _slaughter_ and _murder_
are formed similarly.
The first is a loan from OldNorse and derives from a root *_slax-_ "to
slay, butcher". The corresponding Old Norse from is _slátr_ "butcher's
meat". The second word derives from OldEnglish _morthor_ (influenced by
OldFrench _murdre_).Proto-forms can be reconstructed as *_slaxtram_
and *_murthram_ (the latter can also be masculine).
What, I think, makes the comparison so compelling, is that both words
are neuter _-r_ extensions. Cf. also the shorter forms in
(Modern) German _Schlacht_ "battle" and _Mord_ "murder".
So, maybe we're dealing with a suffix *_-râ_ here. At any
rate, I think the Germanic parallel is suggestive.
- On Sonntag, März 16, 2003, at 07:39 Uhr, Patrick Wynne commented:
>> If I read it correctly, _ndakro_ is given as a ON form (just asI know. I wasn't criticizing. I just wanted to hook on to it.
>> _ndagno_ "slain").
> [Absolutely -- this is not a contested point. I merely wished
> to make it clear that the reading was not _**ndakra_ or
> _**ndakro-_. -- PHW]
>> ON already shows the transition PQ _â_ > _ô_ as exemplified byThat is a severe counter-argument. One would then have to resort to
>> *_ndâkô_ > ON _ndóko_ in the same entry. This allows us to
>> retrace the form to either PQ *_ndakrô_ or _ndakrâ_.
> [Not necessarily. Original long final _*-â_ usually yields _-a_ in ON,
> There is one certain example of an ON form with _-o_ < _*-â_
> -- _batthô'-_ 'trample' < _*battâ'-_ (V:351-2) -- but this is set
> against a majority of forms in which PQ _*-â_ > ON _-a_. -- PHW]
other explanations. _Ndagno_ could, perhaps, be also seen as deriving
from *_ndaknâ_ . Maybe Tolkien changed the outcome of PQ *_-â_
just in this entry or maybe an original PQ *_-ra_ was later strengthened
(in, say, a Proto-Telerin phase). I have to admit, this doesn't look too
good. But who knows. Still, I would think that the parallel to the
Germanic forms isn't entirely fortuitous.
[It seems likely to me that ON _ndagno_ 'slain (as noun), corpse'
was formed from an ON participle _*ndagna_ 'slain', with the
addition of the suffix _-o_ serving to make the participle into
a noun. This same process appears in Quenya forms in the
_Etymologies_, e.g. adj. _vanima_ 'fair' > nouns _Vanimo_ pl.
_Vanimor_ 'the beautiful' (children of the Valar), _Úvanimor_
'monster' (V:351). Attested examples of the ON participial or
adjectival ending _-na_ include _etlenna_ 'exiled' (< _etledie_
'go abroad, go into exile', V:368), _muina_ 'familiar, dear'
< MOY- (V:374), and _ragna_ 'crooked' < RAG- (V:382) -- PHW]
We've recently discussed the question of ON _ndakro_ "slaughter, and a
possible unknown _-ro_ non-agentive derivation. I have one more
example to add: N _lhathron_ "hearer, listener, eavesdropper" (<
*la(n)sro-ndo); _lhathro_ or _lhathrado_ "listen in, eavesdrop". The
etymology N _lhathron_ < _la(n)sro-ndo_ is interesting. Here we have
_-ro_, which is obviously not agentive (because an agentive ending
_-ndo_ present). Supposing that it is the same _-ro_ derivative
element as in ON _ndakro_, we are left with two possibilities
(excluding the theory of personification):
1) _la(n)sro_ and _ndakro_ are abstract nouns.
2) _la(n)sro_ and _ndakro_ are verbs.
What do you think about it?
Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]
: sii man i yulma nin enquantuva? :
- On Sunday, April 6, 2003, at 01:23 AM, Boris Shapiro wrote:
> N _lhathron_ "hearer, listener, eavesdropper" (< *la(n)sro-ndo);I don't find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have "double"
> _lhathro_ or _lhathrado_ "listen in, eavesdrop". The etymology N
> _lhathron_ < _la(n)sro-ndo_ is interesting. Here we have _-ro_, which
> is obviously not agentive (because an agentive ending _-ndo_ present).
suffixes in languages; for example, the English word "children" is a
double plural (_childr-_ being from the original plural form). It
appears that in Noldorin original agentives in _-ro_ were strengthened
with the addition of _-ndo_ (note that this strengthening would have
the salutary effect of maintaining an agentive marker against the N.
loss of final syllables).
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."
Sunday, April 6, 2003, 5:56:18 PM, Carl F . Hostetter wrote:
>> Here we have _-ro_, which is obviously not agentive (because an agentiveCFH> I don't find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have "double"
>> ending _-ndo_ present). ...
CFH> suffixes in languages; ...
Yes, you're right. I should have remembered cases like N _badhron_
Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]
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