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Select Elvish Words 4.76: to Kill

4.76 to Kill

Q. nahta- v. “to slay, [ᴱQ.] slay cruelly; ⚠️[Q.] to hurt, injure, wound”
A verb for “slay” based on the root √NDAK (PE22/156). Conjugations from 1964 (PE17/77) and 1969 (PE22/156-157, 159, 164) indicate it was a half-strong verb with past tense nacante, though it also had an (archaic) strong past nance.

Conceptual Development: This verb dates back to the Early Qenya Phonology of the 1920s where Tolkien had ᴱQ. nahta- “slay cruelly” based on primitive ᴱ✶ndagta- from the early root ᴱ√DAGA (PE14/66). In The Etymologies of the 1930s this root became ᴹ√NDAK “slay”, but this verb was not mentioned (Ety/NDAK). The verb ᴹQ. nahta- “slay” was mentioned again in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) from 1948, but there its root shifted back to √NDAG “slay” (PE22/102, 114-115).

In 1959 revisions to the Outline of Phonology (OP2), the root again became √NDAK “hew, slay”, but Q. nahta- was derived from an unrelated root √SNAG “wound” and was itself glossed “hurt, injure, wound” (PE19/91). A conjugation for nahta- appeared in notes from 1964, but without glosses (PE17/77). The verb nahta- appeared in quite a few examples in Late Notes on Verb Structure (LVS) from 1969, and in those notes the gloss was again “slay” and its root was again √NDAK “hew” (PE22/156).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d stick to the meaning “to slay” for nahta-, and for “wound” I’d use [ᴹQ.] harna-.

Q. nahtana adj. “*slain”
An word that seems to be an adjective form of nahta- “to slay”, appearing in the 1969 phrase nahtana ló Turin which itself likely means “*slain by Túrin” as suggested by Patrick Wynne (VT49/24). It is possible that nahtana is a simple adjective, but it may also be some form of passive participle.
Q. nehtar n. “slayer”
An element in Morinehtar “Darkness-slayer”, a name of one of the Blue Wizards (PM/384). It seems to be an agental form of nahta- “to slay”, but the reason why the vowel is e is unclear.
S. dag- [nd-] v. “to slay, [ᴱN.] kill”
A verb meaning “to slay” derived from the root √NDAK, best known from its passive participle dangen as in Haudh-en-Ndengin “Hill of Slain” (S/197). Tolkien wrote a set of possible past forms aðag, aðanc, aðarch in notes from 1962 (PE17/131), and the verb appeared in its (Noldorin) infinitive form degi “to slay” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√NDAK “slay” (Ety/NDAK), along with another couple of (Noldorin) past forms: danc, degant (EtyAC/NDAK). The verb form ᴱN. (n)dag- “to slay” appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/141), but its present form dág was glossed “kills” and in the contemporaneous Early Noldorin Grammar the form dagion was likewise glossed “I kill” (PE13/130). Thus “slay” and “kill” are both viable translations.

Possible Etymology: In notes from around 1962, Tolkien gave ✶dankĭna as the primitive form of its passive participle dangen, indicating a root √DAK rather than √NDAK, which is also consistent with its nasal mutated plural form on that page: {i dengin >>} i nengin (PE17/133). The 1964 past forms aðag and aðanc also seem to indicate derivation from √DAK (PE17/131). In notes from around 1967, however, Tolkien had the mixed mutated form n(d)engin in the phrase i·m(b)air en N(d)engin, indicating √NDAK, and he consistently gave nac- for the equivalent Quenya forms, so the early 1960s flirtation with √DAK seems to have been a transient idea.

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I would assume the root is √NDAK, and hence I’d give it the past form *annanc rather than aðanc.

S. dagnir [nd-] n. “slayer, bane”
A word for “slayer” (PE17/97), a noun form of dag- “to slay” with the agental suffix -nir, appearing in the (somewhat loosely translated) phrase: Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga “Túrin Turambar, Glaurung’s Bane” (S/226). I would use this word as “bane” only in the sense of “one who has killed” or “one who will kill”.
ᴱN. dagros [nd-] n. “slaughter”
A noun appearing as ᴱN. dagros “slaughter” in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s based on the verb ᴱN. (n)dag- “to slay” (PE13/141). It also appeared in the contemporaneous Early Qenya Phonology (PE14/66).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I would update this form to ᴺS. dagras using the later abstract noun suffix -as.

S. dangen [nd-] adj. “slain”
An adjective for “slain” derived from primitive ✶dankĭna (PE17/133), best known from its (mutated plural) appearance in the name Haudh-en-Ndengin “Hill of Slain” (S/197). N. dangen “slain” also appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√NDAK “slay” (Ety/NDAK). This adjective is likely the passive participle of the verb dag- “to slay”.

Conceptual Development: A similar adjective ᴱN. danc “killed in battle” appeared in the Early Qenya Phonology of the 1920s, also related to ᴱN. dag- “slay” (PE14/66).

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