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Analysis of _Nimrodel_ and its preceding forms

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  • Philipp Marquart
    In VII:223 is a nice poem (written around August 1940) in which the name _Nimrodel_, and its precedent forms, first appears. We have _Linglorel_, _Inglorel_,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 16, 2006
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      In VII:223 is a nice poem (written around August 1940) in which
      the name _Nimrodel_, and its precedent forms, first appears. We have
      _Linglorel_, _Inglorel_, _Nimladel_, _Nimlorel_, _Nimlothel_ >>
      _Nimrodel_; note that the third and fourth forms were composed before
      the song (cf. VII:222, note 17). Only the last forms were apparently
      corrected while the other forms were allowed to stand. Via Google I
      found a forum archive containing translations for some of these forms
      written by a pseudonymous "Dark Lord Andúril" ("DLA")
      <http://www.minastirith.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?
      ubb=print_topic;f=20;t=000140>; I shall note them at the end of each
      word-discussion. My analysis is presented here in a more "compact"
      manner than my previous posts: All the (suggested) elements of words,
      or compounds (for that's what they primarly are), are given with the
      meaning as far as known or reconstructable. To distinguish each
      word-element every one of them is followed by the semicolon. Further
      discussion follows regularly after that. I want to note that I have
      used the same analysis style as Christopher Gilson did in his
      discussion of "_Sí Quente Feanor_".

      _Linglorel_: Cf. _lin[?n]_ "air, tune", V:369 LIN-(2); _glor-_,
      _lor-_ *"gold" appearing "in names, as _Glorfindel_, ... N
      _Galad-loriel_" cf. V:368 LÁWAR-, N GLÁWAR- ; *_-el_ might be the
      feminine suffix from primitive form *_elle_ exhibited in
      _galata-rîg-elle_ "lady with garland of sunlight" which is the
      primitive form of _Galadriel_ (X:182, cf. sidenote below), cf. also
      _Gilthoniel_ (R:72-3) or _Nimrodel_ (below).

      If it is indeed N. _lhinn_/_lin-(?)_ we would see _glor-_ being
      left unmutated, a phenomenon maybe also seen in _Ninglor_ *"golden
      water[flower]" (UT:280-1); the initial consonant cluster GL in _glor_ is
      apparently unchanged when suffixed to final -N-. However, we have to
      consider another possible explanation for medial -NGL-. The
      Etymologies provide us with very similiar forms _Inglor_, _Indlour_
      and their primitive cognates _Indo-klâr_, _Indo-glaurê_ (ID-, V:361).
      Thus, a change of medial -NDL- to -NGL- could also be very likely.
      _Linglorel_ might be translated as *"woman of the golden tune".
      "DLA" gives a weird translation "song of the golden elf? Q". First, it
      is surely not a Q(u)enya form (given medial -NGL-), secondly there is no
      hint that any word-element could be simply translated with "elf".

      _Inglorel_: Cf. _în_ "year" s. V:400 YEN-, or _inn_, _ind_ "inner
      thought, meaning, heart"; _glor-_ and *_-el_ see above.

      Under the stem GENG-WÂ- we find "N. _gemb, gem_; cf. _ingem_
      `year-sick' " [Author's note: < PE. *_în_ "year" + *_gengwâ_
      "sick"] showing that bare -G- is retained after -N-. If that is also
      the case here, the translation might be *"woman of the golden year".
      On the other hand, under stem ID- we perceive _Inglor_ (in various
      drafts an earlier name of Finrod; cf. X:93, 104), apparently a masculine
      cognate to _Inglorel_. Suggesting that _Inglorel_ is indeed inspired
      by _Inglor_ we could assume that it has to mean *"Woman of the
      golden heart". "DLA" translates it with "Not-gold-star/elf? S"; I don't
      know how he supposes that *_in_ could here be used for negation.

      _Nimladel_: Cf. _nimp, nim_ "pale, *white" (V:378, NIK-W-) often seen
      in compounds as in _Nimdil-dor_ "Q. Taniqetil(de), High White Horn"
      (V:378); _lad_ *"plain(?)" probably derived from LAT-, cf. also
      _Tumladen_ "plain of Gondolin" (V:368) (Note that the GL gives a form
      _lad_ "(1)level, smooth ..." (PE11:52) derived from stem LAHA or LA'A
      (PE12:50)); *_-el_ see above.

      Translation might be *"woman of the white valley". "DLA"
      translates it as "White valley of stars S". It is not unthinkable that
      *_-el_ could be derived from EL- (V:355) but I don't think it is here
      the case, moreover in respect to Tolkien's translation of _Nimrodel_,
      which surely implies that *_-el_ HAS to mean *"lady, woman". See also
      discussion of _Nimrodel_ and sidenote on *_elle_.

      _Nimlorel_: Cf. _nim, nimp_ above; _lor_ see above; *_-el_ see above.

      Another compound consisting generally of components mentioned above.
      Translation might be *"woman of the white gold". "DLA" suggests as
      a possible translation "White dream of stars Q"; I don't think that we
      have here a Q(u)enya word, though the word might be acceptable in
      Q(u)enya phonology (the context here shows us clearly that Tolkien
      intended to compose a Noldorin word). Moreover, there is no word
      **_lor_ in Noldorin and we rather find _ôl_ (LOS-, V:370) for "dream".

      _Nimlothel_: Cf. _nim, nimp_ see above; _loth_ "flower" cf. V:370 LOT(H)
      giving a similiar form _Nimloth_; *_-el_ see above.

      Translation might be *"woman of the white flower". "DLA" supposes
      "Blossom of stars S", leaving out _nim_ "white" and ignoring Tolkien's
      translation for _Nimloth_ "white blossom" (_Silmarillion_ Appendix).

      _Nimrodel_: Cf. _nim, nimp_ above; _groth, grod_ "cave" cf.
      _Silmarillion_ Appendix entry _groth (grod)_; *_-el_ see above.

      The _Silmarillion_ Appendix gives for _Nimrodel_ the translation "Lady
      of the caves". Since _nim_ means "white" and _grod_ "cave" (here
      mutated to weak _rod_) we are left to assume that ending *_-el_ has to
      mean *"Lady, woman" as proposed above of _Linglorel_. A more
      "accurate" translation of _Nimrodel_ is given in the index to
      _Unfinished Tales_: "Lady of the White Grotto".

      Sidenote on *_-elle_ :

      I assume that *_-elle_ might be derived from stem SEL-D- (V:385). We
      are informed that when _selde_, the (apparently) ultimate predecessor
      of *_-elle_, is used in a compound there is "a change assisted by the
      loss of _s_ in cpds. and patronymics". The example mentioned fits well
      with the further statements made: "(_tindômiselde_, Q _Tindómerel_)"
      (V:385). Yet, this is debatable since _selde_ means precisely
      "daughter", making it hard to see how this can be used to have a
      meaning like "Lady" in the exact case of *_-el_ in _Nimrodel_.

      Philipp Marquart
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