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Analysis of _Lëa-vinya_ “Lëa the young”

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  • Philipp Marquart
    It is told that in that feast of the Spring of Arda Tulkas espoused _Lëa-vinya_, fairest of the maidens of Yavanna, and Vana robed her in flowers that came
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2006
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      "It is told that in that feast of the Spring of Arda Tulkas espoused
      _Lëa-vinya_, fairest of the maidens of Yavanna, and Vana robed her in
      flowers that came then first to their opening; and she danced before
      the Valar..." (Excerpted from "Morgoth's Ring" p. 67, note 18)

      In 1958 Tolkien sat down to work on the "Annals of Aman" and there the
      names of the _Vali_ were often altered. And indeed, we are informed
      in note 18, pointing to the passage on page 53, that the ultimate
      predecessor of _Nessa_ is _Lëa-vinya_ "Lëa the young".

      _Lëa_: There are two possible stems from which _Lëa_ could be derived:
      1) LAYA- (VT45:26), and 2) LÁYAK- (V:368).

      Dissyllabic words exhibiting the use of –ea- are somewhat rare in our
      corpus of Q(u)enya words. But there exist some specific examples which
      could shed light on the matter of how the meaning of _Lëa_ could be
      reconstructed. In V:349 we find stem ÁYAR-, AIR- (VT45:6) which gives
      the derivates _ear (earen)_ and _aire (airen)_ letting us assume that
      primitive *_áya_, *_ai_ becomes in Q(u)enya _ëa_, _ai_.

      Another examples show a similiar pattern of derivation:
      _leo_ "shade, shadow cast by any object" (V:354) with primitive
      _daiô_(VT45:8), *_dayô_ (adding possible primitve development -ay- >
      -e-); PE. _Phay-anâro_ "radiant sun" > _Feanáro_ (PHAY-, V:381)*.
      Though we have to dismiss DAY- as a possible stem because of the
      meaning (DAY- is associated with "darkness, shadow" and _Lëa_ has to
      refer to something more joyful, hence the byname "the young") and
      the lack of an –a- in the primitive form. In V:368 we find stem
      LÁYAK-, giving for example _laiqa_ "green". Yet, this stem is
      irritating because we perceive a final –k- which can't be easily
      eliminated; but in VT45:26 the stem LAYA- was added in the margin
      against LÁYAK- with derivative _laire_ "summer". I think it is very
      possible that _Lëa_ has to derive from LAYA- (standing surely in
      connexion to LÁYAK-) -- the meaning we'd get wouldn't be that far-
      fetched, and it does not contradict the morphology of –aya- stem
      types: PE. *_laya_ > _Lëa_ *"the summerlike, the young".

      _vinya_: _vinya_ "young" (X:67).

      *But note also that later drafts (concerning the etymology of _fëa_)
      show that this conception had maybe changed over the years: "Quenya
      _fëa_ (dissyllabic) is from older *_phaya_ ..." (X:349).

      Philipp Marquart
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