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Dúven = "southern"?

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  • BertrandBellet75@aol.com
    The _Etymologies_ feature several sets of Noldorin words for the points of the compass, based on the roots PHOR - KHYAR - RÔ- NDÛ. We already find the later
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 23, 2005
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      The _Etymologies_ feature several sets of Noldorin words for the points of the
      compass, based on the roots PHOR - KHYAR - R�- ND�. We already find the
      later Sindarin words: _forod_ "north" (V:382), _harad_ "south" (V:365), _rh�n /
      amr�n_ "east" (V:384), _d�n / ann�n_ "west" (V:376). But there is another set
      of forms more closely related to the Q terms formed by association with the
      root MEN (V:372) : _formen_, _hyarmen_, _r�men_ and _n�men_, sc. N _forven_
      (V:382), _harfen / _harven_ (VT45:23), _�rhufen_ (V:384) and _d�ven_ (V:376,

      There would be no problem in all this if the word _d�ven_ were not glossed,
      most curiously... "southern"! It is important to note that the reading is
      tentative: Christopher Tolkien used brackets and a question mark; but since I
      found no correction of it in the A&C, I suppose nothing better can be made (the
      entry ND� is commented in VT45:38). Neither is there anything about this in
      the VT Errata.

      Shifts in the compass are not impossible. We have a good Primary-world
      example of the very change east > south in Latin with _auster_ "south wind",
      _austr�lis_ "southern", related to "East" (and its Germanic cognates). The meaning
      "east" is certainly the primitive one since from the same family comes
      _aur�ra_ "dawn" with good Indo-European cognates (Ancient Greek _��s_, Sanskrit
      _uS�s_ [retroflex S] etc.). But I do not think such a change is likely for
      _d�ven_: _harven, harfen_ seems to stand at the (expected) place for "south"
      already; also, internally, this semantic shift would be hindered by the
      association with the closely and very recognisably related _d�n_, which keeps the
      expected meaning. (By contrast, it is interesting to observe that the Latin
      rhotacism somewhat obscured the etymological connection between _auster_ and

      It is methodologically better to avoid assuming errors by JRRT, and to
      attempt it only when alternative explanations have failed; but here to the least
      we have an oddity. Is there any possibility that the reading is actually

      Bertrand Bellet

      [The gloss is certainly not "western" -- nor is it "west", as David Salo
      flatly asserts in _A Gateway to Sindarin_, pg. 250 (as usual, without
      noting the existence of the inconvenient and problematic _published_
      gloss). Both Carl and I have spent some time looking again at our
      photocopies of the MS, and can provide the following further details
      about this entry: What Tolkien actually wrote here was _D�ven_ (with
      a capital D), after which he wrote and then struck through another
      capital D, immediately followed by the gloss, which does look very
      much like "Southern" (with a capital S) -- however, we now think that
      the gloss probably in fact reads "Sunken", so that this entry in full is

      "also _D�ven_ Sunken (pl. _d�vin_)"

      The deleted capital D following _D�ven_ was perhaps the start of an
      abandoned gloss beginning with "Down-"; the base ND�- is glossed
      as 'go DOWN, SINK, set (of Sun, etc.)'. The gloss 'Sunken' is participial,
      in which case the ending in _D�ven_ would seem to be the participial
      ending _-en_ (e.g., as in N. _dangen_ 'slain' < _degi_ 'to slay', V:375)
      rather than a lenited form of MEN -- in this regard, note that Tolkien
      emended the entry for Q. _n�-men_ 'west' to read "Q _n�me-_ and
      _n�-men_ west" (VT45:38); it is perhaps this _n�me-_ that corresponds
      to the _D�v-_ in _D�ven_. It is also highly instructive to compare the
      corresponding Gnomish forms in GL, which are _num-_ 'sink, decline,
      slope down; descend', and _n�min_ 'the west; sinking' (PE11:61). The
      latter appears to be the conceptual antecedent of N. _D�ven_ 'Sunken';
      in Goldogrin, _-in_ was a participial/adjectival ending (e.g., _sam-_
      'arrange, settle' > _samin_ 'arranged, settled, done'; PE11:67).

      Finally, we are left to wonder what _D�ven_ 'Sunken' as a proper name
      refers to. Although the context suggests that it could simply be another
      term for for 'the West' (i.e. *'the Sunken (Sun)'), Carl has noted that it
      might also have been intended as a name for N�menor after its fall,
      and that the abandoned gloss beginning with "D-" was perhaps the
      beginning of "Downfallen". In any event, the word was also clearly used
      simply as a participle or adjective, as shown by the uncapitalized plural
      _d�vin_. -- PHW]

      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
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