- In version 'III' of the Sindarin "King's Letter" (IX:129, 131), we find
the following phrase:
"_nelchaenen ned Echuir_"
which apparently translates the English phrase (taken from Tolkien's
English text of version 'I'):
"the thirty-first day of the Stirring".
(The English gloss is provided from version 'I', in which the Sindarin
phrase is: "_nechaenen uin Echuir_"; and thus it is possible that 'of
the' of version 'I' does not in fact translate _ned_ of version 'III'.)
In my initial analysis of the form _ned_ in the "King's Letter", way
back in 1993 (VT31:30-31), I wrote:
"_ned_ ... is very likely related to the verb-stem _nedia-_ *'count,
reckon' (q.v.) derived from the base NOT- 'count, reckon' (LR:378). A
version of "Galadriel's Lament" read by Tolkien in a 1952 recording*
contains the phrase _inyar �n�ti nar_ *'years numberless are'
corresponding to the published _Y�ni �n�tim�_ 'years numberless'
(I:394). The element *_n�ti_ 'number(ing)' of _�n�ti_ *'numberless,
without number(ing)' implies a primitive form *_not�_ 'number(ing)'
which, with final _�-affection_ of *_o_ > _e_ (cf. _orod_ 'mountain',
pl. _ered_ (S:362) < *_orot�_) would yield S _ned_ *'number(ing)'. If
this derivation of _ned_ is accurate, then the phrase cited above could
be rendered more literally as *'the thirtieth (of the) number(ing) of
*_J.R.R. Tolkien Reads and Sings his The Hobbit and The Fellowship of
the Ring_ (New York: Caedmon Records No. TC 1477). See Laurence Krieg's
article "Tolkien's Pronunciation: Some Observations" in _An
Introduction to Elvish_ (pp. 152-59) for a discussion and phonetic
transcription of this reading."
Now, I would be the first to say to my self of 11 years ago that it was
overbold to assert that _ned_ is "very likely related to _nedia-_"; but
this proposal is no more _unlikely_ than the current, seemingly
universal notion that _ned_ here in fact means 'in', and is to be
derived from a base *NED-: see for example the etymology of _ned_,
presumably provided by David Salo,* in Didier Willis' _Sindarin
"_ned_ prep. in, of (time, e.g. giving a date) SD/129-31 MS *_ne?_, OS
* According to the Foreword, the _Dictionary_ "includes David
Salo's etymological reconstructions, which sometimes slightly
differ from Tolkien's explanations, but present several advantages
for the study of the 'ultimate' form of the language." The
_Dictionary_ also states: "Etymological reconstructions �
For if my long-ago proposal that _ned_ *'number(ing)' is perhaps to be
related to NOT- 'count, reckon' is less than completely satisfying, it
at least has the advantage over Willis/Salo's of referring the Sindarin
form to a base of suitable meaning and of suitable phonetic shape.
Willis/Salo's etymology _ned_ < *NED fails, first, on phonological
grounds: for original final *_-d_ would yield S _-dh_, _not_ **_-d_
(cf. S _enedh_ 'middle' (UT:264) which apparently, like N _enedh_, <
(We do find the forms _en_, _ened_ 'middle, centre' at L:224; but
these appear to be root/base, not Sindarin, forms. It could also be
argued that Tolkien was avoiding _-dh_ in the "King's Letter" as
"uncouth" (cf. UT:267, VT42:20), and thus that _ned_ is actually for
*_nedh_; but Willis/Salo make no such claim and do not "correct" the
form to *_nedh_, and further, Tolkien had no such compunction against
_dh_ in the name _Edhelharn_ in the same text. Worse, Willis/Salo
derive S _nedh_ (<< N _nedh_) from _precisely the same supposed
base NED_, _without_ noting or accounting for the discrepant
phonological derivation. And worst of all, Willis/Salo assert that this
_nedh_ means "in, inside, mid-: Ety/376", implying that this gloss is
attested in the _Etymologies_, when in fact the _only_ gloss given there
Second, Willis/Salo's etymology fails to note that the base N�D-
(V:376) does _not_ mean 'in', but rather 'middle, center'; and that the
sole Noldorin reflex of this base, the prefix _nedh-_, does _not_ have
the meaning 'in', but rather 'mid-'.
(It is possible that Willis/Salo mean by "NED" to indicate a reconstructed,
and otherwise unattested, base *NED 'in', rather than to associate _ned_
with N�D-; but if so, then a) their reference to "Ety/376", where only
N�D- 'middle, centre' occurs, is misleading; and b) this just introduces
yet another layer of unsupported assertion. Note too that NED does occur,
as a cross-reference in a deleted entry to what would become N�D- and
�NED-, but, significantly, where both bases in _-D-_ refer to 'middle,
centre' _in distinction_ to the base form without _-D-_; cf. VT45:38 s.v.
(Nonetheless, apparently on the authority of Willis/Salo's dictionary
entry, a supposed S _ned_ *'in' proliferates in "Neo-Sindarin", having
become the preferred translation of 'in' in all of its English senses,
i.e., not constrained even to the more restricted sense assigned to the
form in the dictionary. A further mutation of this assertion has
surfaced in more formal discussion of the matter, in Gabe Bloomfield's
article "The Sindarin Word for 'in'"
<http://maethor.weet.us/writings/sindin.rtf>, in which, having been
entirely cut loose from its moorings of sole attestation in _nelchaenen
ned Echuir_, Mr. Bloomfield declares that _ned_ is "more likely to mean
'into' rather than just a plain 'in'", without showing how such a
meaning could be at all appropriate to _ned_ within the sole actual
attestation of the form. He also takes the mention of the base NED at
VT45:38 s.v. NE-/N�- as unquestionably providing "the root of the [S]
word _ned_", without even noting the phonological difficulty.)
The only way that I can see to salvage anything of Willis/Salo's
assertion that S _ned_ is derived from a root meaning 'in', would be to
instead relate it to the newly-attested base NE-/N�- *'in, inside'
(VT45:38); but note that this base was deleted from the _Etymologies_
by Tolkien at least a decade before the composition of the "King's Letter",
and leaves the _-d_ of _ned_ utterly unaccounted for.
Thus, there is no evidence to support, and thus no particular reason to
accept, the notion that S _ned_ is related to either NE-/N�- *'in,
inside' or N�D- 'middle, centre', or arises from an unattested base
*NED 'in' (this being in fact phonologically impossible); and thus no
reason even to think that it means 'in' at all.
=========================================================================================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."
- Pent Carl F. Hostetter:
> It could also be argued that Tolkien was avoiding _-dh_ in the "King'sBesides, I find it quite unlikely that Tolkien would write _ned_, if for *_nedh_,
> Letter" as "uncouth" (cf. UT:267, VT42:20), and thus that _ned_ is actually
> for *_nedh_; but Willis/Salo make no such claim and do not "correct" the
> form to *_nedh_, and further, Tolkien had no such compunction against
> _dh_ in the name _Edhelharn_ in the same text.
with _ando_ /d/ in the _Tengwar_ version (as he did), even if he did wish to
avoid /dh/ in the Roman version. Note that at another point where his Roman
transcription differs from pronunciation does indeed show a _tengwa_
corresponding to the pronunciation (i.e. _Cordof_ with final _ampa_ for /v/).
> And worst of all, Willis/Salo assert that this _nedh_ means "in, inside,Nor is the form in _Etymologies_ given as *_nedh_, as it is in Willis' dictionary
> mid-: Ety/376", implying that this gloss is attested in the _Etymologies_,
> when in fact the _only_ gloss given there is 'mid-'.)
(implying that it's a preposition), but rather as _nedh-_, clearly making it a
prefix (which is in fact is precisely what Tolkien calls it).
> The only way that I can see to salvage anything of Willis/Salo'sWell, that need not mean all too much. Just look at the clearly
> assertion that S _ned_ is derived from a root meaning 'in', would
> be to instead relate it to the newly-attested base NE-/NÊ- *'in, inside'
> (VT45:38); but note that this base was deleted from the _Etymologies_
> by Tolkien at least a decade before the composition of the "King's
> Letter", and leaves the _-d_ of _ned_ utterly unaccounted for.
mentioned absence of _*Finw_ in Noldorin, which in later Sindarin
does appear (as _Finu_ and _Fim_) in Sindarin. Ok, that is not quite
the same case, since _Finw_ didn't first exist and then was deleted,
but it shows Tolkien's tendency to sometimes return to older ideas
good enough I believe.
[Absolutely. Still, I believe that the status of bases -- attested, deleted,
deduced, etc. -- should nonetheless be borne in mind as a _potential_
factor in weighing possibilities and likelihoods, even if not always
But I find your own idea quite interesting, although we would, as you
wrote, have to assume *_notî_ > S *_noed_ > _ned_ (as opposed to
*_nôtî_, which would seem to underlie Q _únóti_ and which would >
S *_nûd_ or *_nýd_ instead).
[Quite right. First, though, let me note that I did and do not intend to offer
my own analysis of 11 years ago (made at a time when my own understanding
of Sindarin phonology was much less) _in place of_ the current thinking, and
in fact think my suggestion only to be _more_ plausible, not really likely to be
what Tolkien had in mind; and so defending it is not really my point, nor
something I would like to spend much more time on, beyond what I already
wrote. However, I would note several factors: first, Q *_únóti_ in Tolkien's
earlier, oral version of "Galadriel's Lament" was (so far as I know) deduced by
the transcriber from Tolkien's recording, not from a written text; so it seems
_possible_ that the form is in fact *_únoti_. Second, we don't really know the
part of speech of Q *_únóti_: it looks most like a plural noun, but apparently
plays a predicative role (_inyar únóti nar_ *'year numberless are') and so is
seemingly adjectival; it could well be a noun used as an adjective. But in any
event, it's not clear to me what interplay of lengthening with grammatical
function is to be expected for this form. CFH]
Florian "Lothenon" Dombach
===================================================We speak as is right, and as King Finwe himself did before he was led
astray. Let them sa-si, if they can speak no better.
- Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
> see for example the etymology of _ned_, presumably provided byThis is exact, for 99% of these etymological notes, as implied by the
> David Salo,* in Didier Willis' _Sindarin Dictionary_
Foreword you quoted.
In recent versions, however, I took the liberty to add additional a
few notes (especially for compounds and new words) and to change some
notes that clearly required to be updated with new information. The
etymological text hasn't much changed otherwise since the first
version of the dictionary -- and that's actually the main reason why
these etymological reconstructions are planned to be removed in some
By the way, the dictionary is better referred as "Hisweloke's Sindarin
dictionary", preferably with an indication of version, for the reasons
given on the above-mentioned web page - for additional reference, see
also elfling-d mailing-list message #454. (1)
> this proposal is no more _unlikely_ than the current, seeminglyCorrect. Regarding this point, and indeed very possibly the related
> universal notion that _ned_ here in fact means 'in', and is to be
> derived from a base *NED-. [...] Willis/Salo's etymology _ned_
> < *NED fails, first, on phonological grounds: for original final
> *_-d_ would yield S _-dh_, _not_ **_-d_ (cf. S _enedh_ 'middle'
> (UT:264) which apparently, like N _enedh_, < ÉNED-).
issue of _enedh_ and _ened_, the discussion between Bertrand Bellet
and Carl Hostetter himself on the sindict mailing-list is
enlightening, cf. messages #196, #197. (2)
> Worse, Willis/Salo derive S _nedh_ (<< N _nedh_) from _preciselyAs for the first, "worse" item, I make no claim that the dictionary
> the same supposed base NED_, _without_ noting or accounting for
> the discrepant phonological derivation. And worst of all,
> Willis/Salo assert that this _nedh_ means "in, inside, mid-:
> Ety/376", implying that this gloss is attested in the
> _Etymologies_, when in fact the _only_ gloss given there is
project is accurate on all points. As the above-mentioned discussion
on sindict attests, the issue is not that simple. There is indeed a
clear failure to correctly interpret it, in current versions of the
dictionary. (But let's also say that I am not unhappy if such an error
has incidentaly made Bertrand and your own remarks possible --
discussion and criticism is a good way to improve our knowledge.)
As for the second, "worst" item, I will object that this is certainly
not the way references should be used. It is nowhere stated (and for
many long entries it is even not true) that the glosses or definitions
are exactly taken, _verbatim_, from Tolkien's books. There is actually
a permanent effort (and of course it implies a risk of error -
comments such as Carl's one are of course welcome to point these
errors) to refine and classify the definitions, basing them on other
sources and/or theories. It is by no mean a mere "reversed" version of
the _Etymologies_ (and other sources), but it tries to build upon the
bricks we know, while trying to be as accurate as possible at the same
time. Most real dictionaries have the same fallbacks when indirect
definitions are involved. And if references are indeed provided, it is
certainly not to misrepresent the source, BUT that's all the other way
round: it is intended to direct readers to the original source(s) so
that, notably, they can check it _in context_. If readers want the
genuine defintions, they ought to refer to the primary material.
> b) this just introduces yet another layer of unsupportedIf the work was finished, to my taste and as I envisioned it so long
ago, all entries would have encyclopaedic discussions (of the sort
provided in recent versions for _arnen_ "(?) royal", *_gwin_ "wine",
_mass_ "bread" vs _mast_, *_bassoneth_, etc. -- to quote but a few
But as an unfinished project (as clearly noted on the web site) and
actually a very lone project currently (with lots of users but very
little contributive feedback), it suffers from the lack of
completeness. I accept therefore the above criticism, though its
wording is perhaps a bit too rude (Pesch "Elbish" book in German,
on-line wordlists on wwww.sindarin.de or council of Elrond, etc. are
not that cautious with sources, references and marking of
deduced/reconstructured entries... I tried to do better, and still
hope to improve, but that's certainly not perfect. Errare humanum est).
> (Nonetheless, apparently on the authority of Willis/Salo'sIt is certainly not my fault if people misuse the material offered to
> dictionary entry, a supposed S _ned_ *'in' proliferates in
> "Neo-Sindarin", having become the preferred translation of 'in'
> in all of its English senses, i.e., not constrained even to the
> more restricted sense assigned to the form in the dictionary. [...]
them... And I wouldn't care much about what proliferates or not in
Neo-Sindarin (whose users are most of the time known to reject some
newer conceptions or evidences that do not fit their needs for a
"usable" languages)... "Liquid mutations", "infinitive vs. gerund",
"hennaid - thanks", "-ech for thou" and all well known Neo-Sindarin
theories, while often criticized, _do_ proliferate also, despite of
us. Even if/when I correct the _ned_ and _nedh_ entries in the
dictionary, that will not change the face of Neo-Sindarin, because
they will need this word (beside the fact that it was already used for
"in" long before this dictionary). So what? Scholarship will progress
anyway, thanks to criticisms such as this one, and Neo-Elvish has not
part to play in this, as fan-fiction has no part either to play in
studies of Tolkien's mythos.
[I largely agree with what Didier says, and so won't bother to respond
point by point. I _would_ however like to say that while it is indeed
true that Didier is not responsible for how others use his work, there
is still incumbent upon any _serious_ work of scholarship to maintain
a distinction between what is known and what is conjecture --
linguistics even developed a convention for succinctly conveying
precisely this distinction. Now, my own impression of the dictionary
was that it was intended to be scholarly and accurate; and as such, if I
see a form and some glosses given, without qualification, and a cross-
reference to a source, I expect that if I look up that source I will find
there precisely that form and those glosses. If I don't, I consider that an
error and, if intentional, misleading to boot. I'm sure that Didier will
appreciate how normal such an expectation is in linguistics, and how
easy it will be for a user of his dictionary not to understand that such
cross-references are not provided as citation of _support_, but merely
as an index to a place in the corpus that has some at least tangential
bearing on the form in question. Now, this may all be made clear
somewhere in the front-matter of the dictionary, but even if so it is so
contrary to convention and expectation in linguistic glossaries, which
Didier's work certainly has the form of, that I consider it insufficient,
and I urge you to minimize reliance on such contra-conventional
presentation in later version of the work. I will also note that
incompleteness has, in itself, no necessary bearing on correctness. CFH]
- Carl Hostetter discussed the difficulties in the relationship of _ned_
(IX:129-31) with the root NED in the Etymologies (V:376) and questions its common
interpretation as a word for "in". He concluded so :
> Thus, there is no evidence to support, and thus no particular reason toIndeed from NED we would expect a form _*nedh_ which is attested but only as
> accept, the notion that S _ned_ is related to either NE-/N *'in,
> inside' or N- 'middle, centre', or arises from an unattested base
> *NED 'in' (this being in fact phonologically impossible); and thus no
> reason even to think that it means 'in' at all.
a Noldorin prefix "mid-" (V:376).There is little doubt about the genuineness
of the -d, as Florian Dombach just pointed out. It would then need a root
NET. There is indeed some evidence for this variation, as discussed on Sindict
(no. 196 and 197) : for instance we read in jottings reproduced in VT41:16 :
"_enet_ for 'middle'. _en-_ 'mid' (as prefix), _enet_ [?extended](related to
_enek_ 'six'? as middle part of twelve). _endor_, S[indarin] _ennor_
'Mid-Land' [altered from: 'Mid-Earth']. _enetya_ adj. 'middle', S. _ened_ (_enaid_).
... [?needs] distinguishing from _en_ == _hen_ 'again'". Another group of
related notes appears on the recto of this same sheet (ibid.): "_en-_ 'again' as
[in] _enquantuva_ is prob[ably] [?] 'further, beyond' [?in respect of time
influenced by ? only in] Q. _enta_, only with verbs. [?root] _�n_ [using a
circumflex to represent a macron in the original]. Basis of 'middle' was _hen_ -
HEN or [?extended] HENET. T[elerin] _Hendor_, Q. _endor_, S. _ennor_. Q.
[?_endea_] HENET [deleted: HENED]. S. _ened_ 'centre', adj. _enaid_. Q.
[deleted: _enda_ 'central, middle'] _entya_ 'central, middle' [<] _enetya_. _ente_
'centre'. [Deleted: _ende_ a variant of _n�d_.]"
We can also notice that in the Appendix D to the History of Galadriel and
Celeborn in UT we have both S _#ened_ in _Enedwaith_ (always so) glossed
"Middle-folk" and _enedh_ in _Lond Daer Enedh_ "Great Middle Haven" in a footnote
(UT:343 in the HarperCollins 1998 edition). I failed to notice the latter in
my Sindict post (no. 196) so my conclusion there was false and should be
changed to: _ened_ and _enedh_ coexisted in Sindarin.
[However, Tolkien himself specifically noted that _Enedwaith_ is a "misspelling"
for _Enedhwaith_, the conscious result of his desire to avoid the "uncouth"
_dh_ (VT42:20); so _Enedwaith_ cannot count as evidence for _ened_ and
_enedh_ as mere variant spellings < N�D-. Moreover, while it is phonologically
consistent to propose that _ned_ < *NET, no such base is in evidence, the
material quoted above not withstanding. I had of course considered this
material while writing my post, but noticed that in fact all the bases listed
are extensions of the base HEN 'middle', from which it is not possible to
form *NET: the closest you get is HENET 'centre', but that yields S _ened_
'centre', not _ned_; and in any case the meanings have all to do with 'middle,
centre', not 'in', the supposed meaning of _ned_. So none of this in fact supports
_ned_ *'in'. CFH]
Another probable source for the interpretation of _ned_ as "in" before the
publishing of the Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies is the prefix
_ne-_ seen in two verbs:
- _nestegi_ insert (V:388) from the root STAK "split, insert"
- _neledhi_ *enter (Tolkien Artist and Illustrator p. 157) probably from LED
"go, fare, travel" (V:368) - I follow Didier Willis' interpretation in
Hiswel�k� pp. 74-78.
VT45:38 now confirms the existence of this prefix _ne-_ and related it to a
Carl also points out a semantic problem :
> Note too that NED does occur, as a cross-reference in a deleted entryTrue, but it is likely that these related roots in form and meaning
> to what would become N�D- and �NED-, but, significantly,
> where both bases in _-D-_ refer to 'middle, centre' _in distinction_ to
> the base form without _-D-_; cf. VT45:38 s.v. NE-/N�.)
interfered. That words for "in", "inside", "into", "between" and "among" are related
has good parallels in Primary World languages: for instance in Latin _in_ "in
(static with ablative, dynamic with accusative)", _inter_ "between, among",
_internus_ "internal", _interior_ "interior", _intrare_ "enter", _intus_
"inside (static)", _intro_ "inside (dynamic)" etc. are all related.
Moreover, Tolkien's notes suggest that NED, *NET, ENED, ENEK are all akin,
being elaborations of the simpler NE-/N�- by already known processes, namely
prefixion of the sund�ma and extension by a consonant. The situation of NE-/N�-
and its derivatives is actually reminiscent of the root KWE pertaining to vocal
speech, which had the extended forms KWENE and KWETE, or KWA pertaining to
completion with its elaborations KWAN and KWATA (XI:392).
[There is no doubt that NE-/N�- 'in' and N�D-/�NED- 'middle, centre' were
related bases when conceived; and if a base *NET- 'in' in fact existed with them
then yes, it would obviously be related to NE-/N�- as well. But there further
seems to be little doubt that the _-D_ extension in the latter forms distinguishes
not just the forms but the meanings. Unless one can produce indepenedent
evidence that these forms and meanings both came to be interchangeable (as it
is true does often happen in "real" languages), _and_ further can account for
phonological difficulty of S _-d_ < _-D_, I don't see much reason to think that
this is the case here. CFH]
Another possibility is that the _d_ is not old and is a late modification of
*_dh_. According to Tolkien, the preposition _o, od_ "from" may come from
_*aud_ but this would yield a form ending in -_dh_ (when not swallowed in
mutation), so he suggests an influence of _ed_ "out of". Something similar may
have happened to _ned_. This might have happened to _ned_ too.
[Quite so: appeals to analogical forces cover a multitude of phonological sins!
But does this level of conjecture really justify asserting that _ned_ means 'in'? I
don't myself think so. CFH]
Therefore, while I agree that there is indeed a phonological difficulty, I
do not regard it as crippling and think that there is still some base to the
common interpretation of _ned_ as "in". Or rather some of the meanings of
"in": as for other prepositions, our limited information gives us an idea of
its semantics, but does not allow us to define its precise range of use.
Language has both strengthened imagination and been freed by it. Who shall
say whether the free adjective has created images bizarre and beautiful, or
the adjective been freed by strange and beautiful pictures in the mind ? -
J.R.R. Tolkien, A Secret Vice
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]