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Nurn and the Sea of Núrnen / Nûrnen

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  • ejk@free.fr
    Slaves lived in the South of Mordor, the Nurn. Elessar Telcontar freed them and gave them land around Lake Núrnen (LOTR Book 6, Ch. V The Steward and the
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 18, 2005
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      Slaves lived in the South of Mordor, the Nurn. Elessar Telcontar freed
      them and gave them land around Lake Núrnen (LOTR Book 6, Ch. V
      "The Steward and the King" -- LR:968).

      In the first manuscript of LOTR (according to VIII:127) J.R.R. Tolkien
      wrote _Nûrnen_. On his first map, in spite of what we see on the map
      made by C. Tolkien, "Sea of Nurnen" (VII:309), J.R.R. Tolkien wrote
      "Sea of Nûrnen" (see _J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend_, pg. 63 --
      I examined the original map).

      In the first edition of LOTR, the name is spelt _Nûrnen_ in Book 6,
      Ch. V. However, on the general map it is "Sea of Nurnen". "Sea of
      Núrnen" appears on the general map in the second edition. Who put
      in the accent? J.R.R. Tolkien? C. Tolkien?

      In 1982 in the index to UT:458, C. Tolkien translated _Núrnen_ as
      'Sad Water'. Now in 2005 we know that it was according to the
      unfinished index of names; see _Reader's Companion_, pg. 457.
      Nevertheless, that etymology of _núr/nûr-_ is tricky. In V:378 the
      Noldorin adjective _nûr_ is translated 'deep' not 'sad'. And finally,
      there should be a link between the name of the lake/sea and the
      region. But the place-name is _Nurn_, never _Nûrn_ or _Núrn_.

      Could it be that _Nurn_ is a name with "Mordorian" roots, not Elvish?
      The Elves never lived in the land, it was the Dúnedain who gave all
      the Elvish (Sindarin) names, except for _Mordor_, which is a very
      ancient name given far back in the Second Age.

      (A question to W. Hammond): Did Tolkien state in his index that
      _Nurn_ and _Nûrnen/Núrnen_ are Elvish place-names?

      Do we have in some unpublished mss. an Elvish root for 'sad' with
      a Sindarin/Noldorin word _nûr_?

      elfiquement vôtre,

      Edouard Kloczko

      [Fortunately, we don't need to resort to the unpublished mss. --
      which in any event could not be cited here -- to find a probable
      etymological source for _Núrnen_ 'Sad Water'. GL gives _nur-_
      (_nauri_) 'growl, grumble', _nurn_ 'plaint, lament, a complaint',
      and _nurna-_ 'bewail, lament, complain of' (PE11:61). QL gives
      the root as NURU-, whence _nuru-_ 'growl (of dogs), grumble,
      carp, etc.' and _nur_ 'a growl, a complaint' (PE12:68). Compare
      Q. _nurrula_ 'mumbling' < _nurru-_ 'murmur, grumble' in the
      final version of "The Last Ark" (MC:222-23).

      So S./N. *_nûr_ (or perhaps *_nûrn_) in _Núrnen_ 'Sad Water' is
      apparently 'sad' in the sense 'bewailing, lamenting, complaining,
      grumbling', no doubt a reference to the general mood of the
      hapless laborers in "the great slave-worked fields" beside the
      lake. -- PHW]
    • cgilson75
      ... What about the Early Qenya Grammar indefinite article suffix _-ma_ a, some, certain ? This is also possibly etymologically connected with the particle
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 19, 2005
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        --- In lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com, Jerome Colburn
        <jcolburn@s...> wrote:

        > At 05:19 AM 11/13/05, Patrick Wynne annotated Helios
        > De Rosario Martinez's post:
        >
        > >[Given that Quenya _man_ 'who?' is interrogative -- cf.
        > >"the Eldarin interrogative element _ma, man_" (XII:357,
        > >n. 18) -- it seems an unlikely candidate for the second
        > >element in N. _uvan-_ 'noman', the literal sense of which
        > >would then be 'not-who?'. ... -- PHW ]
        >
        > A word for "no one" formed with the elements for "not" and
        > "who?" is found in Greek and would have been familiar to
        > Tolkien: _outis_, which is what Odysseus named himself to
        > Polyphemus (Odyssey ix. 366), rendered into English as
        > "Noman".
        >
        > [Greek _tis_, according to Liddell and Scott, is _an indefinite
        > pronoun 'any one, any thing'_ as well as an interrogative
        > 'who? what?'
        ...
        > And there is no evidence that I know of that Eldarin _ma,
        > man_ and derivatives were ever used as anything other than
        > pure interrogatives. -- PHW]

        What about the "Early Qenya Grammar" indefinite article suffix
        _-ma_ 'a, some, certain' ? This is also possibly etymologically
        connected with the particle _mai_ 'if, whenever'. (See PE14:42,
        59, 71.)

        Given the overlap between indefinites and interrogatives in
        "real" languages it is hard to believe that Tolkien did not have
        at least an historical connection in mind between these
        forms _-ma_, _mai_ and the interrogative _man_ 'who' which
        appears around this time in the poem "Oilima Markirya". And
        by the same token, even if we suppose that these indefinites
        had been rejected by the time of "Etymologies", the plausibility
        of an Eldarin interrogative becoming an indefinite (or vice versa)
        in Q. and N. through the normal processes of semantic and
        syntactic change would still seem to hold.

        Interestingly enough, in Galadriel's Lament when she uses the
        pronoun _man_ her question is rhetorical. Which is to say that
        what she is actually implying is: "no one will refill the cup for me
        now." This is not to suggest that the pronoun was actually used
        this way literally in Quenya. But it does suggest that the element
        did not have far to drift in meaning to make sense in the proposed
        etymology -- for what that is worth :-)

        -- Christopher Gilson

        [In a word, OOPS. Chris's point about the early Qenya suffixed
        indefinite article _-ma_ 'a, some, certain' certainly suggests
        that I was probably being overly hasty (hom-hoom!) in dismissing
        Helios's and Jerome's theories.

        Moreover, in addition to the Qenya forms cited by Chris, GL
        gives "_ma-_ ? root of indef[inite]. cp. _-(u)m_, suffix" (PE11:55),
        with derivatives _madhon, [madh]ir_ 'someone' (m. & f.) and
        _ [madh]eg_ 'something', in which the endings _-dhon, _-dhir,
        -dheg_ are probably mutated forms of _don, dir_ 'who' (m. & f.)
        and _deg_ 'what' (PE11:30).

        So perhaps Helios is right in proposing that _uvan-_ is from
        _ú-_ 'no, not' and _man_ -- save that the latter element is not
        interrogative 'who?' but rather indefinite 'someone', a later
        recurrence of the earlier indefinite sense of the stem _ma-_
        seen in GL and the EQG. If so, then _uvan-_ would in fact be
        quite similar etymologically to Greek _outis_, as Jerome
        suggested. -- PHW]
      • ejk@free.fr
        ... All of these Elvish words, including the late Quenya verb _nurru-_, have a short _u_; the discrepancy between the name of the sea _Nûrnen/Núrnen_ and the
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 20, 2005
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          Edward Kloczko wrote :

          > Do we have in some unpublished mss. an Elvish root for 'sad' with
          > a Sindarin/Noldorin word _nûr_?

          PHW wrote :

          > [Fortunately, we don't need to resort to the unpublished mss. --
          > which in any event could not be cited here -- to find a probable
          > etymological source for _Núrnen_ 'Sad Water'. GL gives _nur-_
          > (_nauri_) 'growl, grumble', _nurn_ 'plaint, lament, a complaint',
          > and _nurna-_ 'bewail, lament, complain of' (PE11:61). QL gives
          > the root as NURU-, whence _nuru-_ 'growl (of dogs), grumble,
          > carp, etc.' and _nur_ 'a growl, a complaint' (PE12:68). Compare
          > Q. _nurrula_ 'mumbling' < _nurru-_ 'murmur, grumble' in the
          > final version of "The Last Ark" (MC:222-23).
          >
          > So S./N. *_nûr_ (or perhaps *_nûrn_) in _Núrnen_ 'Sad Water' is
          > apparently 'sad' in the sense 'bewailing, lamenting, complaining,
          > grumbling', no doubt a reference to the general mood of the
          > hapless laborers in "the great slave-worked fields" beside the
          > lake.]

          All of these Elvish words, including the late Quenya verb _nurru-_,
          have a short _u_; the discrepancy between the name of the sea
          _Nûrnen/Núrnen_ and the region _Nurn_ still remains.

          I am not a native speaker of English, but I see not much semantic
          relation between N./S. _*nûrn_ adj. 'sad' and Gnomish _nurn_ noun
          'plaint, lament, a complaint'.

          If we had a Noldorin/Sindarin compound *_nûrn_ + _nen_ it would
          be *_Núrnnen_. _Pelennor_ < *_pelen_ adj. 'fenced, encircled' +
          _nor_ 'land' (see LOTR-Readers Companion:512).

          elfiquement vôtre,

          Edouard Kloczko

          [I'll take Edouard's three points in order:

          1) -- My citation of forms in _nur-_ from GL, QL, and MC was
          not intended to account for the discrepancy in vowel length
          between _Nurn_ and _Núrnen/Nûrnen_. It is possible that the
          varying vowel length is due to differing parts of speech, e.g.,
          adj. *_nûr_ 'sad' vs. noun *_nurn_ 'sadness'.

          Also, please note that I did not cite _all_ derivatives of NURU-
          given in QL, since I was more concerned with the _meaning_
          of the derivatives rather than the vowel length -- QL also gives
          forms with long vowels: _nûru- (pret. _nurûne_) 'growl (of dogs),
          grumble, carp, etc.' and _Núri_ (a name of the death-goddess
          Fui), and the full entry for _nur_ 'a growl, a complaint' includes
          the stem-forms _nûr-, nurr-_ (PE12:68).

          2) -- You cannot see a connection between the senses 'sad'
          and 'plaint, lament'? Eng. _plaint_ means 'a complaint or
          lamentation', while a _lament_ or _lamentation_ is 'a passionate
          expression of grief or sorrow'. According to Buck's _Dictionary
          of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages_,
          entry for "sad" (16.36) -- "In many languages the words for 'sad'
          are simply derivs. of those for 'grief, sorrow' ... and so mean lit.
          'grieving' or 'sorrowful'. Since Elvish NURU- has connotations
          of 'lamenting, bewailing' (i.e., expressions of grief or sorrow),
          it seems quite plausible to associate this root with 'sad(ness)'.

          3) -- It seems to me unlikely that *_nûrn_ + _nen_ would yield
          *_Núrnnen_ with _rnn_; simplification of _rnn_ >_rn_ in such
          an instance seems probable. Can you cite an example of _rnn_
          as a consonant cluster in Nold./Sindarin? In any event, _Núrnen_
          is just as likely to consist of _nûr_ + _nen_. -- PHW]
        • Wayne G. Hammond
          ... In the copies of the first edition on our shelves, the name is printed in the text _Núrnen_, with an acute accent, not with a circumflex. It has no accent
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 21, 2005
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            Edouard wrote:

            > In the first edition of LOTR, the name is spelt _Nûrnen_ in Book 6,
            > Ch. V. However, on the general map it is "Sea of Nurnen". "Sea of
            > Núrnen" appears on the general map in the second edition. Who put
            > in the accent? J.R.R. Tolkien? C. Tolkien?

            In the copies of the first edition on our shelves, the name is
            printed in the text _Núrnen_, with an acute accent, not with a
            circumflex. It has no accent on the map, but Christopher followed the
            usage on his father's working maps, which (according to Christopher's
            redrawings and comments in _The History of Middle-earth_) themselves
            had _Nurnen_, without accent. _Nurnen_ is still without an accent on
            the second edition map; I haven't followed this through every Allen &
            Unwin printing in our collection, but a quick look suggests that the
            accent wasn't added until Christopher redrew the general map for
            _Unfinished Tales_ and took the opportunity to correct some errors
            and omissions. (On maps, see RC:lv-lxvii.)

            > (A question to W. Hammond): Did Tolkien state in his index that
            > _Nurn_ and _Nûrnen/Núrnen_ are Elvish place-names?

            _Nurn_ is not in the unfinished index; it appears only on the general
            map. _Núrnen_ in the index (so spelt) is not said to be in any
            particular language.

            Pat wrote:

            > So S./N. *_nûr_ (or perhaps *_nûrn_) in _Núrnen_ 'Sad Water' is
            > apparently 'sad' in the sense 'bewailing, lamenting, complaining,
            > grumbling', no doubt a reference to the general mood of the
            > hapless laborers in "the great slave-worked fields" beside the
            > lake. -- PHW]

            Our own note on this (RC:457) reads: "An old definition of _sad_
            is 'dark-coloured', in particular referring to an unpleasant colour;
            but by the waters of Núrnen were the great fields of Mordor worked by
            slaves, and in that context may be recalled the plight of the Hebrew
            slaves expressed in Psalm 137: 'By the rivers of Babylon, there we
            sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.'"

            Wayne
          • ejk@free.fr
            ... Sorry about the ref. but I was referring to _Nûrnen_ as printed in the chapter The Black Gate is Closed , first edition, p. 244 (my copy 11th printing).
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 21, 2005
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              "Wayne G. Hammond" wrote :

              > Edouard wrote:
              >
              > > In the first edition of LOTR, the name is spelt _Nûrnen_ in Book 6,
              > > Ch. V. However, on the general map it is "Sea of Nurnen". "Sea of
              > > Núrnen" appears on the general map in the second edition. Who put
              > > in the accent? J.R.R. Tolkien? C. Tolkien?
              >
              > In the copies of the first edition on our shelves, the name is
              > printed in the text _Núrnen_, with an acute accent, not with a
              > circumflex.

              Sorry about the ref. but I was referring to _Nûrnen_ as printed in the
              chapter "The Black Gate is Closed", first edition, p. 244 (my copy 11th
              printing).

              > It has no accent on the map, but Christopher followed the
              > usage on his father's working maps, which (according to Christopher's
              > redrawings and comments in _The History of Middle-earth_) themselves
              > had _Nurnen_, without accent.

              The original map by J.R.R. Tolkien has _Nûrnen_ (either with a circumflex
              or a macron, it is not clear). And in VIII:127, n. 5 there is _Nûrnen_.

              Thanks for your answer.

              So the mystery still remains... :-)

              elfiquement vôtre,

              Edouard Kloczko
            • Wayne G. Hammond
              ... Ah, yes, there it had a circumflex. This carried over from the first edition into the first printing of the second edition (1966), but was changed to an
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 21, 2005
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                Edouard wrote:

                > Sorry about the ref. but I was referring to _Nûrnen_ as printed in
                > the chapter "The Black Gate is Closed", first edition, p. 244 (my
                > copy 11th printing).

                Ah, yes, there it had a circumflex. This carried over from the first
                edition into the first printing of the second edition (1966), but was
                changed to an acute accent in the second edition, second printing
                (1967). This was one of many changes made at Tolkien's direction in
                the 1967 printing: see notes to _J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive
                Bibliography_ A5e.

                Wayne
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