Post cygRdTHV4tz

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2018 (18:36)

Here is another exploration of Eldarin words, this time “father/mother, son/daughter, sister/brother”

“Father” is dead easy. The words Q. atar, S. adar from the root ATAR were established early and Tolkien used them pretty consistently. “Mother” is trickier. Tolkien established AM as the root for “mother” very early on the Quenya side, but its use on the Sindarin/Noldorin/Gnomish side is inconsistent. Probably the best attested Quenya word for “mother” is amil(le), appearing in the Etymologies from the 1930s, Tolkien’s translations of Catholic prayers from the 1950s and isolated words like amilesse “mother name”. However, it’s only clear cognate is N. emil from the Etymologies, and that word is marked as archaic.

The whole question of “mother” is further complicated by Tolkien’s writing on “Eldarin Hands and Fingers” from the late 1960s (VT47-48) where he revisited a lot of family words as the basis for finger names. In those texts he listed both AM and EM as roots for “mother”, and seems to have preferred EM over AM. The best illustration of this change was his revision of amya “mommy” (original meaning “my mother”) to emya as a reduction of emil-inya. He also introduced S. emel “mother”, which unlike its Noldorin predecessor, cannot be the result of i-affection and thus must be from EM.

The problem is that Tolkien mostly listed pet names in these texts (“mummy, mommy”) and did not make clear what he wanted the new Quenya word for “mother” to be. There is Q. emme “mother”, but this is also used as a pet-name, glossed “mummy”. There is Q. emil in the derivation emya, but that would produce S. imil. My best guess would be Q. *emelle as the new form of “mother”, but I think I prefer to stick with better attested amil(le).

On the Sindarin side, if we use Q. amil(le) we cannot use S. emel. We might revert to N. emil, but that word is marked archaic. I think it would be better to use N. naneth “mother” from the Etymologies, derived from the Noldorin-only root NAN, and treat N. emil as a poetic-only form.

For pet names we have Q. atto, atya, tata for “daddy”, and amya and perhaps *amma (instead of emme) for “mummy, mommy”. On the Sindarin side, I’d go with N. ada for “daddy” and N. nana for “mommy”.

For “son”, again the question is easy. Q. yondo, S. ion are well attested, along with patronymic suffixes Q./S. -ion “son of”. On the other hand, “daughter” is a mess. There a lots of options on the Quenya side (yende, yelde, selde, anel). On the Sindarin side, however, we have N. †_sell_ > iell from the Etymologies of the 1930s, and also S. sell from the King’s Letter from the early 1950s. If we go with S. sell, that points to Q. selde.

Q. selde and S. sell would point to the patronymic Q. -rel “daughter of”, but this is used in only one name, Tindómerel “Daughter of Twilight” (Quenya equivalent of Tinúviel). The most common feminine patronymic is -iel in both Quenya and Sindarin. I’d use that, perhaps produced by analogy with -ion. Still, -iel is more consistent with the Q./S. yelde/iell for “daughter”, and that might be a viable alternative over Q./S. selde/sell.

For brother and sister, we have a couple choices. In the aforementioned “Eldarin Hands and Fingers” from the late 1960s, we have “brother” = Q. háno and S. hanar (archaic hawn) from the root KHAN, as well as “sister” = Q. nésa (archaic néþa) and S. nethel (archaic nîth) from the root NETH. This seems to be a complete paradigm in both languages, and I see no reason not to use it.

In the Etymologies, the root NETH was used for “youth”, but most of those words seem to have moved to the root WIN in Tolkien’s later writing. In place of MQ. nesse and N. nîth “youth”, we can instead use Q. víne and S. gwîn. In place of MQ. nessa and N. neth “young” we can use Q. vinya and S. gwain “young, new”. It seems that in Tolkien’s later writing, NETH could also mean “young girl” (as in Q. nette, S. neth) but I don’t think that conflicts with the sense “sister”. In fact, this S. neth “young girl” could still be an element in N. dineth “bride”, variant form of dîs.

From the Etymologies we have earlier roots TORON and THEL(ES) for “brother” and “sister”. For this basic sense, I would use later KHAN and NETH, but I might retain TORON and THELES in the more abstract sense of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood”. In this way, I would replace MQ. toron/seler and N. tôr/thêl with later Q. háno/nésa and S. hanar/nethel, but I would retain other derivatives of TORON/THEL(ES) such as MQ. otornasse “brotherhood” and N. gwathel “(sworn) sister, (female) associate”.

The net result is:

“father/mother”: Q. atar/amil(le), S. adar/naneth (or archaic emil)
“daddy”: Q. atya, atto, tata, S. ada
“mommy”: Q. amya, *amma, S. nana
“son/daughter”: Q. yondo/selde, S. ion/sell
“son of/daughter of”: -ion and -iel in both languages
“brother/sister”: Q. háno/nésa, S. hanar/nethel (archaic hawn/nîth)

The roots for “father/mother” are AT(AR) and AM, but in Sindarin “mother” was replaced by NAN.

The roots for “son/daughter” are YON(DO) and SEL(DE) but the feminine patronymic -iel developed (probably early) by analogy with -ion.

The roots for “brother/sister” are KHAN and NETH, although NETH can also mean “young girl”. There are also the roots TORON and THEL(ES) for “brotherhood/sisterhood”, used especially with those not related by blood.

Also note that I’d consider as viable alternatives using the root EM for “mother” (S. emel and Q. emme or *emelle) and/or the root YEL(DE) for “daughter” (Q. yelde, S. iell). I think you should stick with a consistent scenario however, and I intend to use AM/NAN and SEL(DE) myself.

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2018 (22:11)

@imil: but "elin, not ilin".

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2018 (22:22)

+Ekin Gören Good point, but I think grammatical inflections are more likely to violate phonetic rules (through analogy) than ordinary words.

Also, it occurred to me after posting this that the true cognate of MQ. amil would be N. evil. That may explain why Tolkien marked emil as archaic and coined naneth as an alternative. I can’t imagine I’m the first person to have noticed this, though.

Carrying this forward, the cognate of Q. emil would be S. ivil. If you do pick EM for mother, probably Q. emme is your best choice, so you can assume S. emel < *emmele with an extra feminizing suffix added.

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2018 (22:31)

+Ekin Gören Wait, no you are right. I just rechecked Fiona’s site. I-affection doesn’t modify e except in final syllables.

Paul Strack Feb 19, 2018 (22:36)

Ugh. My notes on i-affection in Eldamo are completely messed up. I don’t distinguish between final i-affection and internal i-affection at all. What a mess. I need to file a bug to remind myself to fix it.

Ekin Gören Feb 19, 2018 (22:55)

That "ilin" thing was a quote from PE22 but I don't have it with me now so I couldn't share the page number.

@evil: Indeed, some folks have already included this in their fanfictions after my explaining it to them.

Paul Strack Feb 20, 2018 (04:01)

+Ekin Gören I found it, PE22/150. My phonological notes on Sindarin and Noldorin desperately need updating. They were my second attempt at phonetic analysis (after Adûnaic) and full of holes.

Unfortunately, I've decided to focus on basic vocabulary this year, so further Quenya and Sindarin phonology analysis is going to have to wait.