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Forgotten Words of Elvish: _Entarë_

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    In Chapter IV The Calendars in _The Peoples of Middle-earth_, Christopher Tolkien presents the early workings (c. 1949–50) for Appendix D of _The Lord of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2005
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      In Chapter IV "The Calendars" in _The Peoples of Middle-earth_, Christopher Tolkien
      presents the early workings (c. 1949–50) for Appendix D of _The Lord of the Rings_.
      Among this material is the "calendar of the New Era" (XII:133-36), the reformed calendar
      used in Gondor in the Fourth Age. In the "New Era" calendar, the first day of the year is
      named Q. _Entarë_ [<< _Entalë_]. This was the predecessor of _yestarë_, "the first day of
      the year" in Appendix D as published.

      _Entarë_ is labeled "Year's beginning" on the chart on XII:134, which suggests that the
      name could be analyzed as *_enta_ 'begin(ning)' + _arë_ 'day' (XII:127 -- in this earlier
      material, _arë_ appears rather than _ré_ as the word for a 24-hour 'day'; also cp.
      _Arendiën_ 'Midyear's Day' on the New Era chart). In the earlier form _Entalë_, the ending is
      instead the abstract noun suffix _-le_, as in _quentale_ 'narration, History' (VT39:16),
      _Erulaitalë_ 'Praise of Eru' (UT:166), etc.

      If *_enta_ in _Entarë_ does in fact mean 'beginning', then it perhaps is a derivative of *EÑ-
      'be, exist', whence Q. _ëa_ 'it is, exists' (pa.t. _enge_) and _engwe_ 'thing' (VT39:6-7,
      VT43:58). The Early Qenya Grammar notes that the verbal suffix _-(n)ta_ "is sometimes
      inceptive" (PE14:56), so *_eñ-_ 'exist' + inceptive _-(n)ta_ might have yielded *_enta-_, lit.
      'come into existence', hence 'begin'.

      This also suggests an alternative etymology for the form _yestarë_ that replaced _Entarë_.
      Fauskanger suggests in his Quenya-English wordlist that *_yesta_ 'first' in this form is in
      origin a modification of Q. _esta_ 'first' in the _Etymologies_ s.v. ESE-, ESET- 'precede',
      whence also Q. _esse_ 'beginning'. On the other hand, given the apparent derivation of
      _Entarë_ < *EÑ- 'be, exist', perhaps *_yesta_ is related, not to ESE-, ESET- but rather to YÊ,
      Î- "stem of verb to be" (VT46:22), seen in forms such as _yé_ 'is' and _yéva_ 'will be' in
      Fíriel's song (V:72). This might account for the seeming disappearance of _yé_ as 'is' after
      the _Etymologies_ and "Lost Road" period -- the word was perhaps reimagined, not as
      'to be', but as 'to begin, come into being'. The _-s-_ in *_yesta_ might indicate that
      Tolkien modified the stem from YÊ- > *YES-, or *_yesta_ might be analyzed as _ye-_
      'begin' + gerundive ending *_-sta_ -- cp. N. _haust_ 'bed' < *_khau-stâ_, lit. 'rest-ing' <
      KHAW- 'rest, lie at ease' (V:364).

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
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