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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      Do we have in some unpublished mss.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      [Fortunately, we don't need to resort to the unpublished mss.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]
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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