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Dagmor (Beren's sword) and the nature of compounds

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  • David Kiltz
    ... The six examples given above can, I think, all be interpreted as consisting of a verbal element with different kinds of complements. They can, then, be
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 17, 2006
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      On 15.11.2006, at 21:12, Richard Derdzinski wrote:

      > * _Drambor_, _Dramborleg_ '*beat-fist' (LR:354)
      > * _Glingol_ < _lingikâle_ '*hang-light' (VT45:19,27)
      > * _hadlath_, _haglath_ 'sling, *throw-string' (LR:363,368)
      > * _Maglor_ 'Gold-cleaver' (LR:371)
      > * _megli_ < _mad-lî_ 'bear, *eats honey' (LR:369)
      > * _Rhibdath_, _Rhimdath_ 'Rushdown' (LR:384)"
      >
      > If my theory is right _Dagmor_ would be built like e.g.. _hadlath_
      > (V:363, 368):
      >
      > _hadlath_ < *_had-lath_ = *'throw-string' i.e.. *'string for throwing,
      > string which is used to throw [stones]'
      >
      > _Dagmor_ < *_dag-baur_ = *'slay-need (n.)' ie. *'need of slaying, need
      > to slay'

      The six examples given above can, I think, all be interpreted as
      consisting of a verbal element with different kinds of complements.
      They can, then, be divided into three groups according to the
      function of their respective second elements: A) 1-3, B) 4+5, C) 6.
      In group A the second element, a noun, can be interpreted as the
      subject of an underlying verbal phrase: 1. "a fist that beats,
      hammers" 2. "a light that hangs" 3. "a string that throws".
      Group B is different in that the second element can be interpreted as
      the object of a verbal phrase: 4. "(something/someone) that cleaves
      gold", 5. "(sth./so.) that eats honey". #6, which forms a group of
      its own, can be interpreted as a verbal phrase with an adverb:
      "rushes down".

      I will not go into a lengthy discussion of various types of
      compounds. One can, of course, as Richard Derdzinski does, interpret
      #3 (or group A) as a determinative (or endocentric) compound with
      nominal governing (I hope this makes sense in English, I'm trying to
      translate German 'nominales Determinativkompositum'). In the case of
      _dagmor_ *'need of slaying' could mean a number of things. Need used
      for killing ? or (a situation of) need characterized by killing ? or
      even need that kills ?.

      Personally, I find the verbal interpretation more elegant. If it is
      correct, we're dealing with secondary (German 'uneigentlichen')
      compounds here. That is, with original syntagmas where the juxtaposed
      elements have fused. (Something similar, albeit not yet fully turned
      into a compound, can be found in French _tire-bouchon_ or Spanish
      _saca corchos_). The first element would then be an endingless 3.
      pers. sg. "aorist" fitting, I think, the general nature of those
      compounds "typically, usually does...". (Without opening a whole new
      Pandora's box, I'd like to mention that in Eldarin, the endingless
      form of a verb might originally have had a function similar to what
      is typically described as 'participle' in the european tradition of
      grammatical terminology).

      In that vein, I'd interpret _Dagmor_ as "sth./so. that slays darkness/
      night/gloom" (2nd element < *_môrê_). On a wholly subjective note
      (again), 'Slayer of darkness' seems to fit the style of Prof.
      Tolkien's stories better than "The need to kill".

      David Kiltz
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