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S. *_brui_ 'loud'

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    It is perhaps worth noting that S. *_brui_ loud (as in _Bruinen_ Loudwater ) bears a striking resemblance to the Esperanto verb _brui_ make a noise (in
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2006
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      It is perhaps worth noting that S. *_brui_ 'loud' (as in _Bruinen_ 'Loudwater')
      bears a striking resemblance to the Esperanto verb _brui_ 'make a noise' (in
      which _-i_ is the infinitive ending; the adj. form is _brua_ 'noisy, boisterous,
      loud').

      Tolkien, of course, was well acquainted with Esperanto, writing to _The British
      Esperantist_ in 1932 that "I know [Esperanto], as a philologist would say, in that
      25 years ago I learned and have not forgotten its grammar and structure, and at
      one time read a fair amount written in it"
      (see <http://donh.best.vwh.net/Languages/tolkien1.html#fn1>).

      The Esperanto verb was taken from Fr. _bruire_ 'to make a noise, roar', whence
      also _bruit_ 'noise, din, clamour, sound', a word that has also been borrowed
      by English. According to the OED, _bruit_ is thought to derive from L. _rugîre_
      'to roar', and "the prefixed _b_ may be due to some onomatopoeic alteration".
      An alternative theory is that the prefixed _b_ is due to the influence of LL.
      _bragire_ 'to cry out'. Whatever the case may be, Esp. _brui_ and Fr. _bruire, bruit_
      were perhaps influential in the creation of S. *_brui_.

      The association of _bru-_ with 'noise' in Tolkien's mind seems also to occur in
      the Gnomish Lexicon, in which we find Gn. _brum_ 'noise' and _brumla-_
      'make a noise', cited as variant forms under the entries for _rum, rumla-_. The
      addition of _b_ in the variant forms may be an onomatopoeic addition (as the
      OED suggests with _bruit_), perhaps suggested by German _brummen_ 'mumble,
      grumble, growl' (whence the rare English verb _brum_ 'to murmur, hum'). The
      unprefixed forms _rum, rumla-_ are perhaps the conceptual antecedents of
      Q. _rúma-_ 'shift, move, heave (of large and heavy things)' seen in the late
      version of "The Last Ark" (MC:223).

      -- Patrick H. Wynne

      [Note too the play-words "brum" and "vroom" used onomapoetically of the rumbling
      sound of engines. CFH]
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