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Re: Possible ON -r derivation?

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    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
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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      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,
      serve'.
      ON _etledro_ 'exile' (i.e. *'one who goes into exile') < LED- 'go,
      fare, travel'.
      ON _wanúro_ 'brother' < NÔ- 'beget'.
      ON _sthabro(ndo)_ 'carpenter, wright, builder' < _*stabrô_ < STAB-.

      There seem to me to be three potential explanations for _ndakro_:

      1)

      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_.

      2)

      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
      _nguru_, _ngurtu_.

      3)

      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
    • David Kiltz
      ... If I read it correctly, _ndakro_ is given as a ON form (just as _ndagno_ slain ). [Absolutely -- this is not a contested point. I merely wished to make it
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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        On Sonntag, März 16, 2003, at 05:34 Uhr, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:

        > 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.

        If I read it correctly, _ndakro_ is given as a ON form (just as
        _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 by *_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,
        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.

        David Kiltz
      • David Kiltz
        ... I know. I wasn t criticizing. I just wanted to hook on to it. ... That is a severe counter-argument. One would then have to resort to other explanations.
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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          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 as
          >> _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]

          I know. I wasn't criticizing. I just wanted to hook on to it.

          >> 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 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]

          That is a severe counter-argument. One would then have to resort to
          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.

          David Kiltz

          [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]
        • Boris Shapiro
          Aiya! 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
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 5 10:23 PM
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            Aiya!

            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? :
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            ... I don t find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have double suffixes in languages; for example, the English word children is a double plural
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 6 6:56 AM
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              On Sunday, April 6, 2003, at 01:23 AM, Boris Shapiro wrote:

              > 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).

              I don't find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have "double"
              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."
            • Boris Shapiro
              Aiya! ... CFH I don t find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have double CFH suffixes in languages; ... Yes, you re right. I should have
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 6 8:48 PM
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                Aiya!

                Sunday, April 6, 2003, 5:56:18 PM, Carl F . Hostetter wrote:

                >> Here we have _-ro_, which is obviously not agentive (because an agentive
                >> ending _-ndo_ present). ...

                CFH> I don't find that obvious. It is not at all unheard of to have "double"
                CFH> suffixes in languages; ...


                Yes, you're right. I should have remembered cases like N _badhron_
                (_*badro-ndo_) etc.


                Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


                : nai ilqua eruanna i nee antanin terlinnuva sen · nai erye vartuva :
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