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_Asëa_ nitpicking

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  • F. Strÿfffff6m
    On his Addenda and Corrigenda page to RC (http://bcn.net/~whammond/addenda/readers.html), Wayne Hammond writes: On the Lambengolmor forum,
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 2, 2005
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      On his 'Addenda and Corrigenda' page to RC (http://bcn.net/~whammond/addenda/readers.html), Wayne Hammond writes:

      'On the Lambengolmor forum, message 850 [...], Fredrik Ström correctly comments that our gloss asëa aranion 'leaf of kings' is not attested in Tolkien's writings. In message 851, however, Arden R. Smith defends this translation as an extrapolation from the gloss of athelas 'kingsfoil' in an unpublished etymology by Tolkien together with 'the transparent meaning of aranion "of kings"'.'

      What Arden wrote was:
      >The unpublished etymology that I cited derives _athelas_ and _asea_ from a
      >similar form [..] but unfortunately leaves it unglossed

      I think no-one queries the translation *'of kings'. However, in the light of Tolkien's gloss on _athea_ (regularly > _asea_ after the change of Q. _th_ > _s_ described in 'The Shibboleth of Feanor' [XII:331]), I'm not sure that the translation *'leaf' should be defended (and I don't think Arden said so, either). I think that the note on RC:183 is correct except for the parenthesis, '(but if so, _athelas_ = ''leaf-leaf'')', since the attested etymological connection between _athe-_ and _asea_ does not imply that _athe-_ means 'leaf'. In the note on RC:580 ll. 2-3 from bottom, perhaps one should substitute Tolkien's actual gloss ('beneficial') for 'leaf' (or simply omit the words 'leaf of kings')?

      /Fredrik



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • William Cloud Hicklin
      You know, I ve felt guilty for the better part of a decade for my unthinking and unauthorized posting of that snippet on Usenet- especially since soon
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 26, 2006
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        You know, I've felt guilty for the better part of a decade for
        my unthinking and unauthorized posting of that snippet on
        Usenet- especially since soon therafter the copyright-law war
        erupted with the Salo/Star/Fauskanger axis. Fortunately it seems
        that it hasn't spread that far, since even Arden appears to have
        been unaware of it (although it has turned up in a couple of
        online "encyclopedias").

        In any event, it's out, and surely there would be no harm if Wayne
        Hammond and Christina Scull were to use it, since they carry the
        Imprimatur.

        I suspect that _asea aranion/athelas_ is one of those Q-S pairs
        that aren't literal translations. Now, I'm no linguist; but we
        can at least be certain that _asea_ and _athe-_ are equivalent
        elements, and, as Frederik points out, that the Quenya assumed
        or omitted the leaf-element. Or, viewed the other way around,
        that the leaf-element was added by the Exiles when they formed
        their Sindarin equivalent (acc. to the late note, the plant was
        known to the medical loremasters of the Noldor- with no
        indication whether the Sindar were aware of its properties, or
        even if it was native to Middle-earth). The snippet's wording
        has _asea_ regularly > _athe-_, "compounded with _-las_," which
        to me suggests that the _-las_ element only entered with the
        Sindarin conversion. Why would this be? Another note cited by
        Wayne and Christina indicates that only the leaves were used,
        which may be relevant. Or perhaps the linguistic loremasters
        found "athe" alone to be ugly?

        [Tolkien wrote in his note on "Stress" in Section I of Appendix E
        that words in which the stress falls on the third syllable from the
        end -- e.g. _Denethor, Fëanor_ -- "are favoured in the Eldarin
        languages, especially Quenya." It seems natural then that the
        medical loremasters of the Noldor, whose native tongue was
        Quenya, would expand _athe-_ to the more euphonious (not to
        mention distinctive) _athelas_. PHW]

        One might speculate whether "aranion" was a pre- or post-
        Downfall Numenorean addition ("balm" > "kingsbalm"), since the
        specific association of healing with the King appears to have
        been theirs, not the Elves'. This leads to yet another
        question- whether Ad/CS _kingsfoil_ followed or in fact underlay
        the hypothesised Num. addition of _aranion_ .

        -- William Cloud Hicklin

        > I think no-one queries the translation *'of kings'. However,
        in the light of Tolkien's gloss on _athea_ (regularly > _asea_
        after the change of Q. _th_ > _s_ described in 'The Shibboleth
        of Feanor' [XII:331]), I'm not sure that the translation
        *'leaf' should be defended (and I don't think Arden said so,
        either). I think that the note on RC:183 is correct except for
        the parenthesis, '(but if so, _athelas_ = ''leaf-leaf'')',
        since the attested etymological connection between _athe-_ and
        _asea_ does not imply that _athe-_ means 'leaf'. In the note on
        RC:580 ll. 2-3 from bottom, perhaps one should substitute
        Tolkien's actual gloss ('beneficial') for 'leaf' (or simply omit
        the words 'leaf of kings')?
        >
        > /Fredrik
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