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Sindarin _Emyn Muil_ 'the drear hills'

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  • Galadhorn Elvellon
    RC:334 provides us with Tolkien s explanation of the meaning of _Emyn Muil_. According to Tolkien s Index it is the drear hills . I always wondered why the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2005
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      RC:334 provides us with Tolkien's explanation of the meaning of
      _Emyn Muil_. According to Tolkien's "Index" it is 'the drear hills'. I
      always wondered why the second element _muil_ -- which I thought
      to be an adjective -- doesn't lenite (like e.g. in _Eryn Vorn_ etc.). My
      latest idea is that _muil_ is here not an adjective but a noun. OED
      gives DREAR as noun and adjective. The noun is:

      1. Obs. _Dreariness, sadness, gloom._

      As we can see in e.g. _Aran Moria_, Tolkien at the time of publication
      of the LotR wanted nouns in genitive phrases not to lenite as the
      second element of such phrases.

      Do you think _Emyn Muil_ can be interpreted as 'the hills of

      [This seems likely, all the moreso given that the _Etymologies_
      s.v. MUY- gives the Doriathrin NOUN _muil_ 'twilight, shadow,
      vagueness' (evidently equivalent to Q. _muile_ 'secrecy'); the
      corresponding Doriathrin adj. is _muilin_ 'secret, veiled'. The
      base MUY- is said not to have been used in Noldorin, but
      Tolkien seems clearly to have decided to retain it in Sindarin.

      David Salo also agrees with you; in _A Gateway to Sindarin_
      he glosses _Emyn Muil_ as 'hills of dreariness' (pg. 376). In his
      Sindarin-English glossary, he lists _muil_ as a noun meaning
      'dreariness, twilight, shadow, vagueness' (pg. 274), thus silently
      conflating S. _muil_ 'drear' with Dor. _muil_ 'twilight, shadow,
      vagueness' -- note the fallacy here: for when the _Etymologies_
      was written Doriathrin was NOT an archaic form of Sindarin, as
      it is described in Tolkien's later writings; in the late 1930s
      "Doriathrin" referred instead to an _Ilkorin_ language of the
      Telerin branch of Eldarin, quite separate from Noldorin, which
      belonged to its own distinct branch of Eldarin (see the two
      versions of the Tree of Tongues given with the _Lhammas_,
      V:169-70). This distinction is not unimportant; for an example
      of how different Doriathrin was from Noldorin in the _Etym._,
      cf. the entry KWET- 'say', where *_kwentro_ 'narrator' yields
      N. _pethron_ but Dor. _cwindor_. Caveat lector! -- PHW]
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