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Two Qenya phrases from VT27 revisited

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  • Roman Rausch
    I d like to draw your attention to some fragments published in VT27: (1) _dakar {dakaro} no giliar_ (VT27:17) (2) _vári to vanimar_ (VT27:35) Of course they
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2006
      I'd like to draw your attention to some fragments published in VT27:

      (1) _dakar {dakaro} no giliar_ (VT27:17)
      (2) _vári to vanimar_ (VT27:35)

      Of course they have been analysed in the issue itself, but since our
      amount of material has vastly increased since 1993, we may (or must)
      see some things in another light:

      Here, one has first of all to identify the language. In VT27:18 Old
      Noldorin is proposed, an intermediate form between ON _ndakro_ and N.
      _dagr_, _dagor_ 'battle' with the shift _nd_ > _d_ already carried
      out, but not yet the lenition of _k_ > _g_. For the meaning *'battle
      under stars' is proposed with possible relations to
      _Dagor-nui-Ngiliath_ and other forms (V:249,378).

      Such an interpretation is problematic in several ways, however:

      Firstly, it would be a unique example of a whole phrase in a ancient
      form of a Tolkienian language - usually we only see 'reconstructed'
      and asterisked words in etymological outlines.

      Furthermore, the plural noun suffix _-r_ is characteristic of
      Quenya, but not really for Tolkien's Welsh branch. Although Early
      Noldorin had the plural ending _-ir_ (apart from other suffixes like
      _-ath_, _-in_, _-iant_), it was applied to monosyllabic words ending
      in a consonant, as _Im_ 'royal-elf' pl. _Inwir_ (PE13:148).
      And we do not meet such a suffix in the Noldorin of the Etymologies
      anymore, although _-in_ and _-ath_ occur.

      Giving this phrase a different interpretation, I would look for
      internal explanations of this suffix. It looks like a Quenya suffix,
      though the sentence apparently cannot be Quenya , having initial _d-_
      and _g-_. In XII:402 we learn that the plural device _-r_ was
      introduced into Quenya by the Noldor - this is, however, a much later
      source (from 1968).

      Still, the only language being close enough to Quenya to share pl.
      _-r_ and allowing initial _d-_, _g-_ is Telerin. In the Etymologies we
      can find ÑGOLOD- > _golodo_ 'Gnome' and more or less contemporary with
      this NDAN- > _Daintáro_ 'Saviour of the Dani' (V:188) reflecting the
      shifts _nd, ng_ > _d, g_; also earlier _gr:go_ > T. _gargo_ 'throat'
      (PE13:144) with retention of _g-_.

      If _gilia_ comes from older _*ngilya_ or _gilya_ (< GIL- in Etym.), we
      can also observe the change of non-syllabic _y_ to _i_. The same
      change occurs in earliest examples of Telerin, as _mburyá:_ > __muria_
      'close, muggy' (PE13:139), as well as in later ones, e.g. _Vaniai_
      from _wanjâ_ (XI:383).

      There is no known Telerin grammar until 'Quendi & Eldar' and there
      is no explicit mention of a plural marker _-r_ as in Quenya. But
      judging from the internal position of the Teleri, there are certain
      relations between the two languages already at the time of the
      Etymologies (e.g. Q. _telpe_ as a probable Telerin loan (V:367)), so
      that grammatical features may have been borrowed and shared.

      But then a question occurs - why would there be a Telerin word for a
      battle in Middle-earth fought by the Noldor?
      But can we be really sure about such an interpretation? The form
      struck out is _dakaro_ and even though there is N. _ndakro_
      'slaughter, battle' (V:375), as also pointed out in the issue, the
      ending _-ro_ may also denote a _person_, cf. TUR: 'in c[om]p[oun]ds
      _turo_, _tur_ 'master, victor, lord'', as Q. _Fantur_, _Spanturo_
      'lord of cloud' (V:387) or T. _avar_ < _avaro_ (VT47:13,24), ABAR- in
      Etym. (lots of other examples brought in VT27:17).
      The primitive endings _-ro_ and _-rô_ are said to have an agental
      meaning in XI:371. Certainly, not all agental formations denote
      persons (just compare Q. _tolbo_ in VT47:10-11). But overall, it
      seems that persons and animals in _-ro_ form the majority, although
      this is still no strict evidence in this particular case, of course
      (and there are a lot of inanimate nouns in _-r_).
      So I believe that the interpretation of _dakar(o)_ as *'fighter,
      warrior' rather than *'battle' cannot be wholly excluded.

      The epithet 'warrior under stars' could be applied to one of the Valar
      - perhaps Tulkas or Orome. At least we know that the rest of the sheet
      is filled by forms of two Quenya sentences - one about Orome coming to
      awaken the sleeping Elves at Koivienéni and another one (probably)
      about the Valar planting the Two Trees of Valinor. Orome could have
      very well appeared as a 'warrior under the stars' to the Eldar (while
      the 'battle under stars' is somehow out of context on this sheet).
      There could be a relation to Q. _Telimektar_ 'Orion, lit. Swordsman of
      Heaven' (QL:90), but this warrior is rather _consisting_ of stars.

      There should be little doubt in the fact that _vanimar_ means
      'beautiful ones' - this form is identical to the one occuring in
      Treebeard's greeting in the 'Lord of the Rings'.
      For _vári_ the translation 'pools' is proposed, with _*var_ isolated
      from _nénuvar_ 'pool of lilies' (I:248). For _to_ a relation to _toi_
      'they' (V:72) is proposed, here as a relative pronoun, thus the whole
      phrase: *'pools which [are] fair' in reference to the Two Trees.

      However, after the publishing of the Qenya Lexicon the ending _-var_
      can be be seen in quite different word formations:
      _kuru_ 'magic, wizardry', _kuruvar_ 'wizard' (QL:49)
      _Autar, Auvar_ *'wealth' < AWA- (QL:33)
      (the latter perhaps < _*aw-var_, as _aw_ > _au_ before the 't' in
      There is no gloss of _*var_ meaning 'pool'. Instead it seems to be a
      word-creating suffix. Perhaps it's even the 'general adjectival
      suffix' _-va_ we meet in EQG (PE14:47) combined with other endings -
      _#nénuva_ could be the adjective of 'lily', made a noun by the ending

      Instead, QL gives us the following forms:
      _vard-_ 'rule, govern'
      _varni_ 'queen'
      _vardar_ 'king'
      and also _Varda_
      (stem VRDR, QL:102)

      The stem BARÁD in Etym. has a very similar meaning, having to do with
      loftiness, highness; and there is also the related stem BAR- with the
      original significance 'raise'. And the two are perhaps also related to
      BAL-, which serves as a stem of the word _Valar_ and has to do with
      the divine power and authority given to them.
      Among the derived forms there is also a plural 'formed directly from
      the stem' - _Vali_ (already present in Early Qenya - QL:99).
      Assuming that BAR- can refer to the Valar as well, _vári_ could mean
      exactly this - *'Valar, the high/risen/lofty ones'. And compare also
      Adunaic _bâr_ 'lord' (IX:437-38) (with macron).

      So the whole phrase perhaps means 'Valar (==Lords) who are beautiful
      [ones]'. A similar alliterative formation occurs in XI:404 - _Valar
      valuvar_ 'the will of the Valar will be done'.

      All these new interpretations are just my suggestions. I thought I
      could share my ideas here to get to know other people's opinions.
      Perhaps there are even better possibilities.

      Roman Rausch
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