Translations of _orthanc_
- It is said that _orthanc_ has two major meanings (in two different
tounges): in "elvish" (Sindarin) "stony heart, [?tormented] Hills"
(VIII:35), "Stone Fangs" (VIII:35) and lastly "forked-Height" (RC:
234); in Rohirric it is "cunning craft, invention" (VIII:35).
The underlying etymology of the compound _or-thanc_ with translation
"forked-Height" may be as follows:
_or_: derived from base ORO- (V:379) giving N. _or_ prep. above;
prefix _or-_ as in _orchall, orchel_ "superior, eminent"
_thanc_: derived from Stem STAK- (V:388) giving N. _thanc_ and Q.
_sanka_ meaning "cleft, split" here in adjectival form _thanc_ "forked".
But in light of the different translations (mentioned above)
thought of Tolkien by the time of writing _The Lord of the Rings_, we
can easily observe many other hints how Tolkien first constructed
One could argue that Tolkien sometimes translated his own creations
inexactly and non-literally, but in this instance I think that Tolkien toyed
with various etymological explanations for his word interesting enough
to pull out a little analysis of _orthanc_ for each translation:
_or_: possibly the Sindarin cognate of Q. _óre_ (XII:337) meaning "heart"
_thanc_: certainly not derived from STAK-, but from base TAK-
(V:389) giving N. _tanc_ "firm", which we could take (with enough
imagination) as "stony". _tanc_ would undergo a liquid mutation when
combined with _or_.
_or_: may be derived from base ORO-(V:389) but unattested with the
meaning of hill, although we can find _orod_ (under base ÒROT-
(V:389)) "mountain", which could well be connected to *_or_ "hill".
_thanc_: with the meaning of "torment" is nowhere else mentioned or
reconstructable from bases. It's very possible that "tormented" is a
misreading due to illegibility (as hinted by Chistopher Tolkien).
_or_: can only mean "stone" in the context of the translation, but can
hardly be derived from ORO-. I can not shed any further light on
_thanc_: derived from abse STAK-, could fit in this context of the
meaning _thanc_ "split, cleft".
As we can see, Tolkien experimented with the many possibilities of
translating _orthanc_. Whether we could add the new word meanings (e. g.
*_or_ "heart") to our Sindarin vocabulary is questionable.
- On 22.04.2006, at 20:48, varavilindo wrote:
> Whether we could add the new word meanings (e. g.More so, perhaps, because there is _gûr_ (VT41;11) 'heart, inner
> *_or_ "heart") to our Sindarin vocabulary is questionable.
mind', said (loc. cit.) to derive from CE _3ôrê_. Of course,
Tolkien's idea about the derivation of Q _óre_ and the respective
Sindarin form may have changed over time. In the times of _The
Etymologies_, CE _3_ (i.e. a voiced velar fricative) is lost in later
Noldorin. 'Stony heart' could also be a deliberate folk etymology by
those well acquainted with Elvish, I think. Especially, maybe, because
S _gûr_, Q _óre_ seem to refer not so much to the physical organ but
to mental/emotional phenomena. Hence a 'rigid' or 'stony' heart could
be seen as an allusion to the state of Saruman's _óre_ in the later days
of his residence in Orthanc.
- Philipp Marquart wrote:
> It is said that _orthanc_ has two major meanings (in two differentFor 234 read 243. The gloss "forked-height" in the unfinished index
> tounges): in "elvish" (Sindarin) "stony heart, [?tormented] Hills"
> (VIII:35), "Stone Fangs" (VIII:35) and lastly "forked-Height" (RC:
would (if that index had been completed and appeared in the book) have
been a complement to the main text's "Mount Fang".
> The underlying etymology of the compound _or-thanc_ with translationThe element _or_ occurs in Sindarin with the sense 'height,
> "forked-Height" may be as follows:
> _or_: derived from base ORO- (V:379) giving N. _or_ prep. above;
> prefix _or-_ as in _orchall, orchel_ "superior, eminent"
mountain' also in (at least) _Erebor_.