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Re: _Asëa_ nitpicking

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    You know, I ve felt guilty for the better part of a decade for my unthinking and unauthorized posting of that snippet on Usenet- especially since soon
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 26, 2006
      You know, I've felt guilty for the better part of a decade for
      my unthinking and unauthorized posting of that snippet on
      Usenet- especially since soon therafter the copyright-law war
      erupted with the Salo/Star/Fauskanger axis. Fortunately it seems
      that it hasn't spread that far, since even Arden appears to have
      been unaware of it (although it has turned up in a couple of
      online "encyclopedias").

      In any event, it's out, and surely there would be no harm if Wayne
      Hammond and Christina Scull were to use it, since they carry the

      I suspect that _asea aranion/athelas_ is one of those Q-S pairs
      that aren't literal translations. Now, I'm no linguist; but we
      can at least be certain that _asea_ and _athe-_ are equivalent
      elements, and, as Frederik points out, that the Quenya assumed
      or omitted the leaf-element. Or, viewed the other way around,
      that the leaf-element was added by the Exiles when they formed
      their Sindarin equivalent (acc. to the late note, the plant was
      known to the medical loremasters of the Noldor- with no
      indication whether the Sindar were aware of its properties, or
      even if it was native to Middle-earth). The snippet's wording
      has _asea_ regularly > _athe-_, "compounded with _-las_," which
      to me suggests that the _-las_ element only entered with the
      Sindarin conversion. Why would this be? Another note cited by
      Wayne and Christina indicates that only the leaves were used,
      which may be relevant. Or perhaps the linguistic loremasters
      found "athe" alone to be ugly?

      [Tolkien wrote in his note on "Stress" in Section I of Appendix E
      that words in which the stress falls on the third syllable from the
      end -- e.g. _Denethor, Fëanor_ -- "are favoured in the Eldarin
      languages, especially Quenya." It seems natural then that the
      medical loremasters of the Noldor, whose native tongue was
      Quenya, would expand _athe-_ to the more euphonious (not to
      mention distinctive) _athelas_. PHW]

      One might speculate whether "aranion" was a pre- or post-
      Downfall Numenorean addition ("balm" > "kingsbalm"), since the
      specific association of healing with the King appears to have
      been theirs, not the Elves'. This leads to yet another
      question- whether Ad/CS _kingsfoil_ followed or in fact underlay
      the hypothesised Num. addition of _aranion_ .

      -- William Cloud Hicklin

      > I think no-one queries the translation *'of kings'. However,
      in the light of Tolkien's gloss on _athea_ (regularly > _asea_
      after the change of Q. _th_ > _s_ described in 'The Shibboleth
      of Feanor' [XII:331]), I'm not sure that the translation
      *'leaf' should be defended (and I don't think Arden said so,
      either). I think that the note on RC:183 is correct except for
      the parenthesis, '(but if so, _athelas_ = ''leaf-leaf'')',
      since the attested etymological connection between _athe-_ and
      _asea_ does not imply that _athe-_ means 'leaf'. In the note on
      RC:580 ll. 2-3 from bottom, perhaps one should substitute
      Tolkien's actual gloss ('beneficial') for 'leaf' (or simply omit
      the words 'leaf of kings')?
      > /Fredrik
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