Thread: Valarin Names
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:06 AM   #2
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This looks like fun.

The first thing I'm going to do is throw out the name Oss: Ooai, Oai in the Valarin. He, notably, does not have a stress-z ending (neither does Nchrra, Nahar). What's interesting is that Ooai is interpreted as 'foaming', while Nahar's name is said to be onomatopoeia - ie, his name is literally '[neighing sound]'. The Trees, too, seem to be named for their description, so it's entirely possible that most Valarin names are literal descriptions of what that person does.

In contrast, the stress-z names look like they might be more formal. Manw specifically has 'One (closest) in accord with Eru', and Orom 'horn-blower' (ie, 'one who blows the horn') just as mchanz is 'One of the Aratar'. Is it possible that the stress-z ending specifically means 'One who...'? That would make Tulkas 'one who is golden-haired', and Ulmo - yep, confirmed - 'one who Pours'. It's an interesting difference, because it means the Valar are identified as actors, while the Maiar are denoted by their actions. A subtle distinction, but I think a real one.

(Actually, we should really discount Orom - Pengolodh specifically says that he alone gave the Eldar his actual name to use, not one of his titles. Orom is weird, folks.)

It's really useful that we have Tulkas' name, because we can confirm that the stress-z is [b]not[/i] limited to the Aratar. (That said, Tulkas' name is a bit weird - perhaps it's because he came last? It is amusing that he's basically called Goldilocks.)

Since you didn't provide it, here's the list of meanings of the names of the Valar that you worked from in Part 2, which probably found their way into Primitive Quendian***:

Originally Posted by War of the Jewels
Varda 'the Sublime'. V form not given.
Melkor 'He who arises in Might', oldest Q form *mbelekoro.
V form not given.
Namo 'Judge'; usually called by the Eldar Mandos, the place
of his dwelling.
Irmo 'Desirer'; usually called by the name of his dwelling
Este 'Repose'. (*SED: CE *esde > *ezde, Q Este, .T Ede (as
names only); S idh 'rest, repose'.)
(Nessa is cited separately).

***So... how? How did the Eldar end up adopting words like 'Judge' and 'Repose' from the Valar - before they ever left the Waters of Awakening? Assuming we don't have a 'the names of the Valar are an integral part of the world' scenario, we have to assume that Orom sat down and taught them the names (or rather titles) of his kind. Luckily for our sense of consistency, they're fairly specific words that you probably can assume weren't around before - you can picture the primitive Eldar not having a concept of a judge, or blessedness, or the specific word 'repose' (though 'might' and 'desire' are a bit harder to swallow). Or perhaps they displaced pre-existing words; maybe once they Eldar-ised them, the Valarin words were actually more appealing to Elven ears than their own homespun equivalents.

As to your suggested names... I'm no linguist! The only thing that springs out as a concern is the -nn- you have in Nienna and Yavanna - the only double-letter I see in the Valarin corpus is -ll-, and it otherwise follows a very strict (V)CVCVC... structure. That doesn't mean -nn- isn't a possible consonant cluster in Valarin, but it would be nice if it was attested.

(That CVCV structure makes me wonder whether Tolkien was thinking not in terms of languages for his inspiration, but alphabets - or more accurately abugidas. Something like cuneiform, where each 'letter' represents a consonant+a vowel, would give words much like the Valarin words we have - even though people don't actually talk like that! The dropped 'o' in O(o)ai points at this - it's a sound that is formally required, but never said.)

Incoherent, incomplete, inconsistent... goodness, my post here shares a lot of traits with Valarin itself!

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