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The survival of Q. _vea_ 'sea'

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Helge Fauskanger, in his Quenya-English wordlist, includes the following two entries: _vëa_ (1) adult, manly, vigorous (WEG) _vëa_ (2) sea (MC:213, 214,
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 17, 2005
      Helge Fauskanger, in his Quenya-English wordlist, includes the
      following two entries:

      _vëa_ (1) "adult, manly, vigorous" (WEG)
      _vëa_ (2) "sea" (MC:213, 214, 216; this is "Qenya" and certainly
      obsoleted by # 1 above; use _ëar_ in LotR-style Quenya).

      However, Fauskanger's assertion here that _vea_ 'sea' from the 1931
      "Secret Vice" poems was "certainly obsoleted" by _vea_ 'vigorous' in
      the _Etymologies_ is highly dubious in light of two Quenya personal
      names found in Tolkien's later writings -- names that, coincidentally,
      are not mentioned in Fauskanger's word-list.

      One of these names is _Veantur_, which occurs in Tolkien's writings
      on Númenor, dating to c. 1965, published in "Unfinished Tales".
      _Veantur_ was discussed in several posts on Elfling in Jan. 2002,
      at which time Anders Stenström noted the most plausible
      translation of the name: "_Veantur_ (clearly 'Sea-master')" (msg.
      #8320). This gloss is all the more likely given that in "A Description
      of the Island of Númenor" we learn that Vëantur was "Captain of
      the King's Ships under Tar-Elendil", who "first achieved the voyage
      to Middle-earth" (UT:171). Vëantur is similarly described in
      "Aldarion and Erendis" (UT:173) and "The Line of Elros" (UT:219).

      The other personal name clearly pointing to the post-Etymologies
      survival of _vea_ 'sea' is _Vëandur_, name of the third son of
      Isildur in "The Heirs of Elendil", a text apparently dating to the
      early 1950s (XII:191). _Vëandur_ literally means *'sea-servant',
      probably in the sense 'mariner' -- cp. Tolkien's translation of
      _Eärendur_ as '(professional) mariner' (L:386), with _-(n)dur_
      derived from a base meaning 'to serve' (ibid.). Vëandur's name
      is very much in accord then with those of his two elder brothers,
      who also bore names with a maritime theme: _Kiryandil_ (*'Devoted
      to Ships') and _Eärnur_, a shorter form of _Eärendur_ 'mariner'.
      Isildur's 4th son, Valandil, was the odd man out; his name means
      *'Devoted to the Valar'.

      The names of the three elder sons of Isildur were later changed, and
      appear in "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" (c. 1968 or later) as
      _Elendur_, _Aratan_, and _Ciryon_ (see XII:208, UT:271) -- and
      although the first two names no longer refer to seafaring (they
      must mean *'Elf/Star-servant' and *'Noble Man' respectively), the
      maritime sense is retained in Veantur's new name _Ciryon_
      *'Ship-man, mariner'.

      Given the strong maritime associations of the characters called
      _Veantur_ and _Veandur_, it seems highly unlikely that Tolkien
      intended their names to mean *'vigorous-lord' and *'vigorous-
      servant'. Fauskanger's flat assertion that _vea_ 'sea' was "certainly
      obsoleted" by _vea_ 'adult, manly, vigorous' does not hold up in
      light of all the available evidence.

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
    • Helios De Rosario Martinez
      Patrick Wynne mentioned in message #821 of this list the name _Vëantur_, besides _Vëandur_, as occurrences of Quenya _vea_ sea in late writings. Another
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 19, 2005
        Patrick Wynne mentioned in message #821 of this list the name _Vëantur_,
        besides _Vëandur_, as occurrences of Quenya _vea_ 'sea' in late writings.

        Another interesting issue of the name _Veantur_, is the _n_ after _vea_.
        This was already discussed in Elfling, where Anders Stenström suggested that
        the word for 'sea' might have been changed by Tolkien from _vea_ to *_vean_
        (msg. #8320), and Helge Fauskanger replied that probably the suffix _-tur_
        alternated with _-ntur_, perhaps by analogy with _-ndil_ and _-ndur_, as
        "there is also _Feanturi_ for 'Masters of Spirits', and we know that _fea_
        'soul, spirit' wasn't changed to **_fean_" (msg. #8417). Actually in UT:210
        we may have another example of _-ntur_: _Malantur_, that could come from
        the Q. stem _mala-_ 'gold'. Cp. _malta_ < *_malatâ_ 'gold' in LR:1096, as
        well as root MALA(2) related to 'yellow' in QL, (S)MAL- in Etym. and VT45:32,
        etc. (I thank Patrick Wynne for pointing out these counterarguments in the
        editorial process of this post).

        However, it is interesting to see that this "intrusive" _n_ after _vea_ also
        occurred in _Veaneldar_, a name for the 'Sea-elves' in a table of the divisions
        of the Qendi written in the early thirties (V:403). This case was explained
        by Christopher Gilson as the genitive form of _vea_, that "serves to break
        up the hiatus that would occur if it were formed with the uninflected stem,
        **_vea-eldar_" (VT36:20). Obviously, such an explanation cannot be transferred
        to the case of _Veantur_, written in a conceptual stage when the the common
        Quenya genitive inflexion was _-o_ (pl. _-(r)on_), not _-n_. But it led
        me to think that _Veantur_ could show _another_ inflexion of _vea_, as an
        alternative explanation to the variation _-tur_ / _-ntur_.

        I was thinking in particular on the old plural in _-m_: *_veam_ > Q. *_vean_
        (see a discussion on this old plural suffix by Patrick Wynne in VT47:25).
        This could have been used as a collective noun ('the seas'), used frequently
        instead of, or alternatively to the singular _vea_, and thus the old plural
        would have been preserved.

        I am aware that this collective function would have been properly covered
        by the general or complete plural *_vear_; but the old plural might have
        been favoured, not only by "fossilization" due to a frequent use, but in
        compounds with another _r_ by dissimilation (instead of **_Veartur_, for
        instance): the other possibility, the Old Quenya plural *_veai_, would have
        been less euphonic. The partitive plural *_veali_ perhaps was a good alternative,
        though, like happened with _má_ 'hand', pl. _máli_ (VT47:6, 12, 17-18).

        And all this discussion could also be applied to the name _Fëantúri_.

        Another interesting issue is the etymology of _vea_ 'sea'. Philip Jonsson
        mentioned in Elfling (msg. #8379) its possible relation to the root WAY-
        'enfold' of the Etymologies (and I would add VAYA 'enfold, wind about' in
        PE12:100), under which we may find several terms associated to the sea (though
        specifically related to the 'Outer Sea'). These roots show forms beginning
        with _vai-_, derived from primitive forms with long _a_; but *_vaya_ (first
        _a_ short) would actually give _vea_, like _fëa_ < _phaya_ (first _a_ with
        breve, X:349), as David Salo noted in Elfling msg. #8496. (I thank again
        Patrick for his observations on this matter.)

        But complementarily, I think that a relation with WEY- 'wind, weave'
        (referring to the movement of the sea) is also possible, as in Etym. it is
        told that in Q. _wei_ > _wai_, and thus WEY-, WAY- were confused.
        Moreover, the word *_weya_ itself could have given Q. _vea_, if that
        _eya_ behaved like the pre-accented hiatus _éia_ (with inverted breve
        under _i_) > _ea_ as told in the Qenya Phonology (PE12:12, where
        _áia_ > _ea_ is also mentioned).

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