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Analysis of _Neleg Thilim_ and _Neleglos_

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  • Philipp Marquart
    On the far (East) Horn of the Gates is a tall white tower. _Minas Ithil_ now _Minas Morghul_... It had been called [_Neleg Thilim_ ] _Neleglos_ [the Gleaming
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 30 1:10 AM
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      "On the far (East) Horn of the Gates is a tall white tower. _Minas
      Ithil_ now _Minas Morghul_... It had been called [_Neleg Thilim_ >]
      _Neleglos_ [the Gleaming >] the White tooth." (excerpted from _The War
      of the Ring_, p. 106)

      This sketch (around 1944) shows us a little more how the story grew,
      and some of the words evolved and disappeared. It is astonishing to
      see that _Minas Ithil_ or _Minas Morgul_ got, at the point of writing
      this passage, a third name: _Neleglos_ (the citation given above seems
      to underpin this), but the whole sketch was (apparently immediately)
      erased. Nonetheless, the two (apparently Noldorin) forms seem to be
      worth being analysed:

      _Neleg Thilim_: _neleg_ "tooth" is exactly stated under the stem
      NÉL-EK- (V:376), while _Thilim_ *"gleam, shine silver, (?)very silvery
      shining" belongs surely to THIL- (V:392) and is in adjectival
      position, though being completely unattested elsewhere; the ending
      _-im_ is very peculiar, it may be connected with _lim, rim_
      "many"(V:369, as in _orodrim_ (ÔR-OT)) but that is very unlikely
      (could it be a comparative ending, intensifying _Thil_?). We may
      rather assume an alternative adjectival ending in _-im_.

      _Neleglos_: consists of _neleg_ "tooth" (s. above) and mutated _los_
      *"(snow-)white, snow" from original _gloss_ "snow, (snow-) white"
      (GOLÓS, V:359, R:70). This word fits well together with
      Tolkien's own translation "White tooth".

      Philipp Marquart
    • Roman Rausch
      In Lambengolmor message 924 ( ), ... Perhaps _-im_ is best explainable as being the cognate of
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 7, 2006
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        In Lambengolmor message 924
        (<http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/lambengolmor/message/924>),
        Philipp Marquart wrote of N. _Thilim_ that:

        >the ending _-im_ is very peculiar, it may be connected with _lim,
        >rim_ "many"(V:369, as in _orodrim_ (ÔR-OT)) but that is very
        >unlikely (could it be a comparative ending, intensifying _Thil_?).
        >We may rather assume an alternative adjectival ending in _-im_.

        Perhaps _-im_ is best explainable as being the cognate of Quenya
        _-(i)ma_ or _-(i)me_. Compare the stem SIL- (variant of THIL-; V:385)
        with derivatives _silimâ_ 'silver, shining white (adj.)' > Q. _silma_,
        N. _*silef_. The latter form is theoretical and does not occur in Noldorin;
        generally Sindarin and Noldorin do not show _-ef_, see "Quendi & Eldar":

        "_Fíreb_ as compared with _Fírima_ shows the use of a different suffix,
        [...] since the S equivalent of Q _-ima_ (*_-ef_) was not current." (XI:387)

        I guess that Tolkien disliked the sound of _-ef_ and avoided it
        (although it is a straightfoward etymological consequence). In the
        given example he may have rejected the lenition of _m_, whatever
        internal explanation may have stood behind this (lacking lenition of
        _m_ is known in the northern dialect of Sindarin, e.g. in the name
        _Celegorm_).

        There is also no a-affection, so I suppose _thilim_ derives from
        _*thilimê_ 'silvery light' (cf. _silimê_ 'light of Silpion' (V:385))
        and is put into genitive position - _Neleg Thilim_ *'a tooth of
        silvery/gleaming light'. On the other hand forms without a-affection
        sometimes occur as well, e.g. _celebrin_ (V:367), later changed to
        _celebren_. This way, _thilim_ would be an adjective from _*thilimâ_,
        a variant of _silimâ_.

        Apparently Tolkien made up another solution later - we find _silivren_
        in _The Lord of the Rings_, where a second ending _-ren_ seems to be
        attached.


        Roman Rausch
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