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Old 12-09-2017, 01:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2017
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ArcusCalion has just left Hobbiton.
Valarin Names

So I am obsessed with the Valar, and I've thought a lot about them and their structure and systems etc. One of the most interesting things to me is their language, the Valarin, of which we only know a small portion (given in Quendi and the Eldar). I have thought about the canon names for them, as well as those whose names are not given. Here is my list of the Valarin names for all of the Valar, and my reasoning behind each. Obviously, this is all shaky ground canonically, but it's a fun exercise.

The Names Given

1. Manw = Mānawenūz
2. Ulmo = Ul(l)ubōz
3. Aul = Aʒūlēz
4. Orom = Arǭmēz
5. Tulkas = Tulukhastāz

Names Known to Derive from the Valarin, and the Extrapolated Forms

As a general rule, all the names of the Valar (including the general word for them) end in a stressed vowel followed by a final z. This is asserted by many to mean that this is a nominal suffix, which, if not universal, is certainly something used by the Valar for their names, perhaps due to its relation to the words māχanāz 'One of the Aratar; One with Authority' and ayanūz 'One of the Holy Ones.'

6. Irmo = Ir(r)ubōz (because of its identical form phonologically to Ulmo. PQ root √IR, just like √UL)

7. Nmo = Nāχamōz (from māχan, “authority”, which is clearly related. Possible evolution of *Nāchamō > *Nāhamō > Nāhmo > Nmo)

8. Melkor = Mbelekhōrūz (from PQ *mbelekōro)

9. Varda = In PQ there exist the roots √BARAD, √BARAT both meaning ‘lofty, high’ which are said to be translations of Varda, along with ‘Sublime.’ From which PQ: Baradā. We have in Valarin mirubhōzē > miruvr, so bh > v at least sometimes: perhaps V: Bharadāz?

10. Nessa = (although the loremasters posit that it might be from √NER, meaning 'she that has manlike valor or strength', I find this doubtful, since Nessa is not associated with this quality in any way. In addition, it is similar in structure to Oss, which is said to be Valarin: Oš(o)šai.) Because of Oss, maybe Ngeš(e)šai? Or Ngeš(e)šāz to match the other Valar?

11. Est = (the root √SED is given, meaning ‘rest, repose’ from which CE *esdē > *ezdē. This suggests that the sound was morphing away from ‘s’ to ‘z’, before going back to ‘s’ in Q, and continuing to ‘dh’ in Sindarin.) Perhaps Ežedēz, or Ešedēz?

Unknown if They Derive from the Valarin

While the remaining four are not confirmed by Pengolodh to be originating from the Valarin, if this list is to be complete, I would like to assume that they are in order to create a complete list of words. Going from there, here are the remainder.

12. Ninna = We are told that this name comes from the root √NEY meaning ‘tear’. If we assume this is derived from the V, then we could extrapolate an y > i change, like Vair, and a medial e in the name after the initial n, so that there in no involved. The –nna ending is identical to Yavanna, and of unknown meaning, but in Yavanna’s case it comes from anna which is ‘gift.’ In the Lost Tales, Ninna is the giver of tears, so this meaning would be appropriate. Even in the later conception, this fits (cf. Gandalf’s “not all tears are an evil.” He is said to be a Maia of Ninna in the Valaquenta.) The word anna for ‘gift’ is used in the name for Nmenor: Andr ‘the land of gift.’ This is a gift from the Valar, and special, so I think it is a reasonable assumption to think this word comes from the V. From all of this we can extrapolate: ?Neyannāz, or ?Neyennāz.

13. Vna = This name is said to derive from the same root as Vanyar (√WAN) meaning “fair” so either Orom told the Elves about his wife and said she was exceedingly beautiful and her name was “___” and they made the root, or they named her after they saw her and knew the elvish for her. It is elsewhere said to derive from the root √BAN, or √VAN meaning ‘beautiful because of lack of blemish, unblemished.’ Assuming that these roots are related, and that the sense of ‘unblemished’ is different enough from ‘fair’ that the roots are distinct, and the derivation of Vna is therefore obscured, we can stick with √VAN or √BAN as an older root, since √BAN is said to be related to √MAN, which we know to be from the V. PQ did not have sounds in v, so the V in her name could be an original artifact restored after the arrival of the Elves in Aman where they met her, or at least a Bh. PQ *banya is glossed as ‘beautiful’ and is the root of the later words. Using this information, plus the in Quenya (usually coming from an ā in PQ and V) we can extrapolate ?Vānāz, ?Bhānāz, ?Vāāz, or ?Bhāāz.

14. Vair = This name is said to be related to the root √WIR ‘weave, thread together.’ The PQ form of the name is derived to be Wairē, Weirē. Knowing that Elvish has the tendency to soften the harsh consonants of Valarin, a y > i mutation is likely (as in ayanūz > ainu). Thus we could have ?Wayar(r)ēz.

15. Yavanna = This name is old. The word yv for ‘fruit’ seems to come from it, rather than the other way around. This makes me think that it comes from the Valarin. The V name for Telperion is Ibrīniilpathānezel. Earlier in the V list of words we are given iniil ‘large single flower’ and ezel ‘green’. Thus it appears to be Ibri-iniil-pathān-ezel. This gives a possible reading of pathān as ‘leaf.’ This element is similar to Yavanna in structure, with the ‘p’ and ‘th’ sound differing from ‘y’ and ‘v’. A risky association, since it isn’t based on much, but if the word for ‘leaf’ is pathān, might the word for ‘fruit’ be similar? In addition, the word for fruit is said to come from the root √YAB, of which almost all the derivatives are compounds with Yavanna’s name, including the months and times of harvest. Even in the Sindarin, the association of Yavanna with the month is intrinsic, and not related solely to fruit. Therefore it seems that the word for fruit comes from Yavanna, and thus likely from the V. Using pathān as a guide, it is likely yābhan. Perhaps we have ?Yābhannāz.

Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments. If my derivations seem off please let me know!

Last edited by ArcusCalion; 01-10-2018 at 12:48 AM.
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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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