Q. _Tarantar_ 'Trotter'
- In the typescript text "C" of the Epilogue to _The Lord of the
Rings_, "the letter of the King ... begins _Aragorn Tarantar_ (at
which Sam explains 'that's Trotter') _Arathornsson_ &c." (IX:121).
_Tarantar_ was subsequently altered on the typescript to the
now-familiar _Telcontar_, and Sam's gloss changed to 'that's
Strider'. I was recently asked by Michael Urban if I had any idea on
what the etymology of _Tarantar_ 'Strider' might be, and I thought I
might share the results of my investigation into this name with the
Lambengolmor, in order to get some educated feedback. Words
discussed are in Quenya unless otherwise noted.
Q. _Tarantar_ 'Trotter' points to an unattested root *TARAT-. QL gives
TARA (2) 'batter, thud, beat' (PE12:89), and assuming that this root
survived into the 1950s, it might have yielded an extended form
*TARAT-, perhaps 'to beat the ground rapidly with the feet'.
Alternatively, *TARAT- might somehow be related to or derived from
RAT- 'walk' (V:383) -- the Etym. hints at some sort of relationship
between DAT-, DANT- 'fall down' and TALÁT- 'to slope, lean, tip',
though its precise nature is not specified -- the entry DAT- simply
notes "Cf. _Atalante_ 'the Fallen', and _lasselanta_ 'leaf-fall',
Autumn" (V:354), and that for TALÁT- has "Cf. _Atalante (see
LANT)", with LANT subsequently emended to DAT (V:390). Perhaps we are
to suppose from this that DAT- 'fall down' > LAT- > TALÁT- 'slope,
lean, tip'? Extended forms of biconsonantal roots almost always
involve the addition of a _following_ syllable (-vC) rather than a
_preceding_ syllable (Cv-) -- e.g., LEP- > LEPET, LEPEN, LEPEK
(V:368) -- so this mode of extension, if it existed, is rare. But it
does raise the possibility that *TARAT- 'trot' was derived from RAT-
Whatever the source of *TARAT-, a root of this form should yield a Q.
verb _*tarta-_ 'to trot'. With nasal infixion this would yield a stem
_*taranta-_ : compare the manner of nasal infixion in such
structurally similar words as _atalante_ 'the Downfallen' (IX:247),
_Atalantie_ 'Downfall' (L:347) < _talta-_ 'slip, slide down,
collapse' (MC:223); and _oante_ < _áwa-n-tê_, pa.t. of _auta-_
'go away' (XI:366). With addition of agentive _-r_, this
nasal-infixed stem _*tara-n-ta-_ would yield our _Tarantar_ 'Trotter'.
Which leads inevitably to the question: why, assuming a verb
_*tarta-_ 'to trot', would the agentive be _Tarantar_ with nasal
infixion rather than simply _*Tartar_ or _*Tartaro_? Euphony might
have been a factor (i.e. _Tarantar_ simply sounded better to Tolkien
-- as it does to me), and Tolkien might have wished to avoid
similarities with Primary-World words such as _tartar_ and
_Tartarus_. That the latter factor sometimes influenced the
development of an Elvish word is demonstrated by Tolkien's comment
about the form _Arnor_: "For instance we have _Arnor_ and _Gondor_,
which he has retained because he desired to avoid _Ardor_." (L:428)
There is also evidence in the Etymologies that nasal infixion
sometimes accompanied the formation of agentives in _-ro_. There
appear to be two clear examples: LAS- (2) 'listen' > _*la(n)sro-ndo_
> N. _lhathron_ 'hearer, listener', and KWET- 'say' > _*kwentro_'narrator' > Q. _qentaro_ (the asterisked primitive forms cited here
are Tolkien's, not mine).
It might also be possible to assume a root *TARAN- derived from RAN-
'wander, stray' via the same mechanism noted above connecting
TALÁT- and DAT-. In which case, with the addition of the verbal
suffix _-ta_, we would have _*taranta-_ 'to trot', whence agentive
_Tarantar_. But this theory strikes me as both semantically and
phonetically less likely.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- Patrick H. Wynne tence:
> I was recently asked by Michael Urban if I had any idea onAnother possibility, beside the ones you mentioned, for its etymology
> what the etymology of _Tarantar_ 'Strider' might be, and I thought I
> might share the results of my investigation into this name with the
> Lambengolmor, in order to get some educated feedback. Words
> discussed are in Quenya unless otherwise noted.
might be TA3- "high, lofty, noble" (V:389) + _anta-_ "to present, give"
(V:348), derived from NA- "to, towards". So it might ultimately
mean "go towards height". Although it does not seem very applicable
to "trotting" (though it is movement also), it could have a suitable side
meaning (Aragorn's rise to power and his generousity as a king), fitting
Aragorn's description of it not sounding so ill in the high tongue
(LR:845). Though all this is a little bit far-fetched, I know.
[I have to agree with your own assessment in the last sentence,
if you'll pardon my saying! ;-) On the other hand, it's always useful
to examine a wide variety of possibilities in matters such as this.
> Whatever the source of *TARAT-, a root of this form should yield a Q.Cf. also _vanta-_ "to walk" < BAT- "tread" (LR: 351-2). This might,
> verb _*tarta-_ 'to trot'. With nasal infixion this would yield a stem
> _*taranta-_ : compare the manner of nasal infixion in such
> structurally similar words as _atalante_ 'the Downfallen' (IX:247),
> _Atalantie_ 'Downfall' (L:347) < _talta-_ 'slip, slide down,
> collapse' (MC:223); and _oante_ < _áwa-n-tê_, pa.t. of _auta-_
> 'go away' (XI:366). With addition of agentive _-r_, this
> nasal-infixed stem _*tara-n-ta-_ would yield our _Tarantar_ 'Trotter'.
beside nasal infixion, be an instance of metathesis between from
_-tn_, i.e. _*-nta-_ < _*-tna-_ < _-t-_ + _-na_ verbal ending (cf.
_faina-_ "to emit light" < PHAY- "radiate, sent out rays of light,
The examples you cite of nasal infixion have both something to do with
past (_downfallEN_, pa.t.), while agentality is something, if associated
with a specific time at all, connected with the future. I would thus
consider nasal infixion examples rather far-fetched to explain _-nt-_
in _Tarantar_, if it derives from *TARAT- 'to beat the ground rapidly
with the feet' < TARA (2) 'batter, thud, beat' (PE12:89). It might have
the verbal ending _-na_, cf. the examples above. But the problem with
this is that the word would have two, not just one, markers of
verbality beside the meaning of the stem.
Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
[Indeed, the cited examples of nasal infixion refer to the past tense.
However, I was citing them to demonstrate the manner in which
nasal infixion occurred in triconsonantal stems of the form CvCvC:
thus TALÁT- yielded the nasal-infixed form _atala-n-te_. Similarly,
nasal infixion of a stem *TARAT- (whatever the purpose of the
nasal infixion might be) would yield the form _*tara-n-t-_. This
does not mean that the nasal infixion in _*tarant-_ would have
to connote the past tense -- as the examples _*la(n)sro-ndo_
'hearer, listener' < LAS- and _*kwentro_ 'narrator' < KWET- show,
nasal infixion of biconsonantal stems in agentive forms is an
attested phenomenon, and I am proposing that _tarant-_ in
agentive _Tarantar_ might be an example of this same agentive
nasal-infixion occurring in a triconsonantal stem, *TARAT-.
In these forms the nasal infix marks agentality, not tense.
Also, on what do you base the statement that "agentality is
something, if associated with a specific time at all, connected
with the future"? I doubt that this is true of language in
general, or Elvish in particular. At least, that's not the way
another favorite conlang of mine, Esperanto, works -- the
agentives _parolanto_, _parolinto_, _parolonto_ can all be
glossed in English as 'speaker', but literally mean 'one who
is speaking', 'one who has spoken', and 'one who is going
to speak' respectively. Some inventive souls have even
proposed forms such as _parolunto_ 'one who would speak'!
-- Patrick H. Wynne]
- On Montag, März 31, 2003, at 03:03 Uhr, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:
> the Etym. hints at some sort of relationshipIt would seem to me that we're not dealing with an (otherwise
> between DAT-, DANT- 'fall down' and TALÁT- 'to slope, lean, tip' [...]
> Perhaps we are to suppose from this that DAT- 'fall down' > LAT- >
> TALÁT- 'slope,
> lean, tip'? Extended forms of biconsonantal roots almost always
> involve the addition of a _following_ syllable (-vC) rather than a
> _preceding_ syllable (Cv-)...
unattested, AFAIK) extension by a preceding syllable but rather with a
kind of "mirror root": DAT-, TAD- > Q. _lat-_, _tal_.
The latter can also be seen in _talta-_ with sundóma taina +t extension
A similar case is the root DEL- LED- it would seem. In [XI:363] Tolkien
writes: "In Quenya *_del_ seems to have become *_led_ by dissimilation.
The past form clearly shows *_led_, while _lelya_ may also be derived
from *_ledja_, since _dj_ became _lj_ medially in Quenya."
I'm not exactly sure where the dissimilation is supposed to have
occured. _del_ > _led_ as such, certainly isn't a dissimilation but
would, as such, look like a metathesis.
Whether DAT- exhibits a similar kind of dissimilation or whether
something like a "mirror root " is involved, it seems fair to connect
_lat-_ with _tal-_, as Patrick suggests.
[I rather prefer your explanaton of the relationship between DAT-
and TALÁT- to my own. Another example of a "mirror root" in the
Etym. itself is DAL- 'flat', said to be "variant or alteration of LAD"
(V:353). -- PHW]
> Q. _Tarantar_ 'Trotter' points to an unattested root *TARAT-.Maybe, and this is very hypothetical, agental formations in _-r(o)_ are
formed in two different ways from stems CVCta-: Just by adding _-r(o)_
when the element "t" is the causative suffix _-tá_ and by adding
_-r(o)_ + nasal infixion when it derives from a _Vt_ extension.
_Envinyatar_ "Renewer" is a good example for the former. The
word in question might be one for the latter.
[Quite a plausible possibility, I'd say. -- PHW]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- "Patrick H. Wynne" wrote:
> In the typescript text "C" of the Epilogue to _The Lord of the[snip; Patrick goes on trying to find out the origin of the word,
> Rings_, "the letter of the King ... begins _Aragorn Tarantar_ (at
> which Sam explains 'that's Trotter') _Arathornsson_ &c." (IX:121).
> _Tarantar_ was subsequently altered on the typescript to the
> now-familiar _Telcontar_, and Sam's gloss changed to 'that's
> Q. _Tarantar_ 'Trotter' points to an unattested root *TARAT-. QL gives**It may be just a coincidence, but the name _Tarantar_ is similar
> TARA (2) 'batter, thud, beat' (PE12:89), and assuming that this root
> survived into the 1950s, it might have yielded an extended form
> *TARAT-, perhaps 'to beat the ground rapidly with the feet'.
to its descendant _Telcontar_. I know there were various discussions
on the origin of the latter, but I do not remember all suggestions and
My opinion is that _Telcontar_ is to be segmented to _telco_ "leg"
(see Etym s.v. TELEK), _nta_ verbal formant, _r_ agentive suffix.
While both _telco_ and _r_ are well-known, the _nta_ element does
not seem to occur much in the corpus -- we see another verbal formant
_ta_ instead. Yet it cannot be said it is not found, because the form
_nta_ is apparently a variant of _ta_ -- or was at least in QL. This
can be nicely demonstrated on _paimeta-_ and _paimenta-_ "exact or
inflict a penalty, punish", derived from _paime_ "the vengeance taken,
the punishment, the penalty. -- an infliction" (p. 72).
[Another possible example of _nta_ as a verbal formant
was pointed out in Carl F. Hostetter's analysis of _Telcontar_ in
VT31:33: _alkantam�ren_ '[they] made it shine' (MC:216) < AKLA-
'shine' (V:362 s.v. KAL-). Cf. also the noun _alka_ 'ray of light'
(V:348). -- PHW]
Likewise, we could devide _Tarantar_ to _tar(a)_ ?, _nta_ verbal
formant, _r_ agentive suffix. However, we do not know the origin of
_tar(a)_. Patrick mentions the base TARA (2) from QL, but I think a
more likely QL base is TARA (1). The meaning of this base is not
given, but the verb _tara-_ given under the entry means "cross, go
athwart, cross rivers, etc.". Although it is not exactly the same,
the meaning is close to "to trot".
Let me note that the base THAR "across, beyond" from Etym is probably
a reflex of TARA (1) from QL. This does not, however, mean that TARA
itself is obsolete and was replaced by THAR. Cf. bases TIN and THIN
in Etym: they are suggested to be related.
Yet, this base does not have to be necessarily the origin or _tar(a)_,
Tolkien might have created another base. Just an idea.
- I have received an e-mail from Milan Rezac, who pointed out that
there is an explicit statement by Tolkien on the topic of nasal
infixion and agentives to be found in "Quendi and Eldar" (XI:317):
"An old derivative of _*aba-_ as a quasi-verbal stem was _*abaro_ >
CE _*abar_. This was an old agental formation, as seen also in
_Teler_, pl. _Teleri_, made with the suffix _-ro_, added to
_ómataina_. (Other forms of this suffix were _-rô_ added to
stem, with or without _n_-infixion; and _-rdo_ > _rd_.)"
I completely overlooked this statement when preparing my comments on
_Tarantar_, and my thanks to Milan for pointing it out. The fact that
agentive suffix _-rô_ was "added to stem, with or without
_n_-infixion" would seem to support the possibility of a stem *TARAT-
'to trot' > agentive _*tarantarô_ or _*tarantrô_ (cf.
_*kwentro_) > _Tarantar_ 'Trotter' (perhaps itself a shortening of
earlier _*Tarantaro_, with the final _-o_ dropped on analogy with
agentives such as _Avar_ 'recusant, one who refuses to act as advised
or commanded' (XI:371), _Teler_, _Envinyatar_ 'Renewer', etc.
-- Patrick H. Wynne