Dagmor (Beren's sword) and the nature of compounds
- View SourceOn 15.11.2006, at 21:12, Richard Derdzinski wrote:
> * _Drambor_, _Dramborleg_ '*beat-fist' (LR:354)The six examples given above can, I think, all be interpreted as
> * _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'
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:
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
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".