Select Elvish Words 3.641-3.642: Eagle, Hawk, Crow

Select Elvish Words 3.641-3.642: Eagle, Hawk, Crow

3.641 Eagle, Hawk

ᴹQ. fion (fiond-) n. “hawk, ⚠️haste”

A word in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from the root ᴹ√PHI and the basis for the name ᴹQ. Fionwe (Ety/PHI). As described by Christopher Tolkien, the gloss of this word is unclear and might be “haste” or “hawk” (LR/381), but according to Carl Hostetter and Patrick Wynne, the reading “hawk” is more likely.

Though as Christopher Tolkien notes the gloss of Q fion could be read as “haste”, the reading “hawk” appears more likely, especially given the onomatopoeic suitability of the form of the base to the cry of a hawk, and the possible relation of PHI- to PHILIK- “small bird” (EtyAC/PHI).

The word has two plural forms, fioni and fiondi, the latter implying a stem form of fiond-. These probably represent distinct ancient agental formations: ✶-on vs. ✶-ond(o).

ᴱQ. n. “owl”

The word ᴱQ. “an owl” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√HO “shout, scream” (QL/40). The word also appeared in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/40).

Neo-Quenya: A similar root √KHOL “crow, cry aloud” appeared in notes from the 1950s, so I think ᴺQ. “owl” may be salvaged for purposes of Neo-Quenya as a derivative of a variant of that root.

ᴱQ. sornion n. “eyrie”

The word ᴱQ. sornion “eyrie” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as an elaboration of ᴱQ. sor(ne) “eagle” (QL/86). The word also appeared in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/86).

Neo-Quenya: Since Q. soron, sorno or sorne were words for “eagle” in Tolkien’s later writings, I think ᴺQ. sornion “eyrie” can be retained for purposes of Neo-Quenya, perhaps originally a genitive plural “of the eagles”.

Q. soron (sorn-) n. “eagle”

The Quenya word for “eagle”, appearing in a number of compounds, derived from primitive ✶thorono and the root ᴹ√THOR(ON) “come swooping down” (PE22/159; Let/427; Ety/THOR; PE21/33). It had couple variants such as sorno (Let/427) and sorne (Ety/THOR), but consistently appeared as soron- in compounds. Its stem form isn’t entirely clear: its most common plural form was sorni (Ety/THOR; SD/290), which is the expected result from the Quenya syncope, but in one place it had the plural soroni and the presence of the variant sorne muddies the waters.

Conceptual Development: This word appeared as ᴱQ. sorne or sor (sorn-) “eagle” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√ŠORO² [ÞORO] (QL/86). The form sorn- “eagle” also appeared in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa where Tolkien indicated the primitive form was sorni- (PME/86). The form ᴱQ. soron appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s as a cognate of ᴱN. thorn “eagle” (PE13/154), and Tolkien mostly stuck with that form thereafter, though he occasionally used variants like sorne and sorno as noted above.

In the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s, Tolkien listed a large number of declined forms for ᴹQ. soron “eagle”, and those declensions used soron- (or sorun-) as their base. In The Etymologies of the 1930s, however, Tolkien gave plural sorni and genitive sornen indicating a stem form sorn-, but that document also gave sorne as an alternate form of soron “eagle”. Nevertheless, I think from the 1930s forward, it is more likely that Quenya syncope would have come into play in the declension of this word, so it would have plural sorni, dative sornen, ablative sornello, etc. The only noun case where the primitive stem would be preserved would be possessive soronwa.

S. thoron n. “eagle”

The Sindarin word for “eagle”, derived from ✶thorono (Let/427).

Possible Etymology: The form of this word is difficult to explain. Since final nasals vanished after vowels, in the ordinary phonetic development of Sindarin it should have become thôr, a form that did appear as variant in the Etymologies (Ety/THOR, KIRIS). David Salo suggested that it could be a back-formation from its plural *theryn (GS/291), perhaps also influenced by ancient names where it still appeared, such as Thorondor “King of Eagles”. Tolkien himself suggested that the (Noldorin) word was a back-formation from the archaic genitive ON. thoronen (Ety/THOR), but this genitive did not survive in (Old) Sindarin.

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s this word appeared as G. thorn (GL/73), which was also the usual form in names of this period. In Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s it reappeared as ᴱN. thorn (PE13/154), but in The Etymologies of the 1930s it appeared as N. thoron beside the variant thôr as noted above (Ety/THOR, KIRIS). The names of this period also began to reflect this change, and names after the 1940s consistently show thoron, though the form þorn did appear at least once in later notes (PE22/159).

3.642 Crow, Raven

ᴹQ. korko n. “crow”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “crow” derived from the root ᴹ√KORKA of the same meaning, replacing rejected ᴹQ. karko derived from ᴹ√KARKA (Ety/KARKA).

Conceptual Development: The Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s had ᴱQ. karon “crow” (QL/45), a word that was also mentioned in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/45). In the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60, Tolkien had Q. quáco “crow” derived from primitive ✶k(a)wāk (WJ/395), but in notes from the late 1960s Tolkien instead had Q. {koake >>} quácë “frog” < ✶kāwāk, with primitive ✶ for “crow” (VT47/36).

Neo-Quenya: Since quácë “frog” is later than (and possibly replaces) Q. quáco “crow”, I prefer corco as “crow” for purposes of Neo-Quenya.

Q. quáco n. “crow”

A word in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 for “crow”, derived from primitive ✶k(a)wāk (WJ/395). In notes from the late 1960s Tolkien instead had Q. {koake >>} quácë “frog” < ✶kāwāk, with primitive ✶ for “crow” (VT47/36).

See ᴹQ. korko for a discussion of earlier forms.

N. corch n. “crow”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “crow” derived from the root ᴹ√KORKA of the same meaning, replacing rejected N. carach derived from ᴹ√KARKA (Ety/KARKA).

Conceptual Development: The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s had G. crunc “crow”, probably related to G. crug “beak” (GL/27) and possibly also to ᴱQ. karon “crow” from the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon (QL/45). The forms crunc and crwnc “crow” appeared in Gnomish Lexicon Slips modifying that document (PE13/111), and ᴱN. crunc “crow” appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/141). The word ᴱN. corch also appeared in the same Early Noldorin Word-lists, but was unglossed, so it is not clear whether it was connected to 1930s N. corch “crow”.

S. craban n. “bird of crow-kind, *raven”

A noun for a large crow-like bird, appearing in its plural form crebain in The Lord of the Rings (LotR/285). Its singular form craban was given in notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from The Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s, where Tolkien described it as “a bird of the crow-kind” and said it was “not an ancient Sindarin word, and probably a loan from some Mannish tongue of NW or from some non-Eldarin Elvish of the same region” (PE17/37). Jim Allen noted its similarity proto-Germanic khrabanas (An Introduction to Elvish, p. 75). The exact species isn’t clear, but it might be a kind of raven.

Comments

Submitted by jteuber Thu, 04/07/2022 - 21:25

Tolkien himself suggested that the (Noldorin) word was a back-formation from the archaic genitive ON. thoronen (Ety/THOR), but this genitive did not survive in (Old) Sindarin.
There is still the Glaurunga-genitive and the possessive suffixes (and as you already noted plural and compound stem, including the class plural thoronath btw). It currently sounds like the rejection of the specific form thoronen is a major problem for the proposed etymology but IMO there are still plenty of contexts where the -n to keep the underlying idea of the back formation. Perhaps a better order would be: 1) Tolkien suggest thoronen 2) This isn't valid in Sindarin 3) David suggests the plural instead 4) Also compound stem, class plural, possessive suffixes =>therefore still enough forms in Sindarin to trigger the analogical development.

khrabanas
*khrabanaz (italic, reconstruction and usual convention is to cite Proto-Germanic after s > z afaik)
Submitted by Paul Strack Thu, 04/14/2022 - 15:21

I apologize for the delay. I rewrote the relevant paragraph as follows:

Possible Etymology: The form of this word is difficult to explain. Since final nasals vanished after vowels, in the ordinary phonetic development of Sindarin it should have become thôr, a form that did appear as variant in the Etymologies (Ety/THOR, KIRIS). Tolkien himself suggested that the (Noldorin) word was a back-formation from the archaic genitive ON. thoronen (Ety/THOR). While this specific genitive form did not survive in (Old) Sindarin, there are plenty of other mechanisms that might result in such a back-formation in Sindarin. For example, David Salo suggested that it could be a back-formation from its plural *theryn (GS/291), perhaps also influenced by ancient names where it still appeared, such as Thorondor “King of Eagles”.