New Theme! What do you think?

Study, speak, and hang out with fellow Elvish students!

Select Elvish Words 7.12: House

7.12: House

Q. cöa n. “house; outhouse, shed, hut, booth; building used for a dwelling or other purposes; †body”

The most general Quenya word for “house” or small building derived from √KAW “shelter” (PE17/107; VT47/35; WJ/369). As Tolkien described it in notes from the late 1960s:

From √KAW was made the simple primitive form *kawā > Q koa, applied to any “shelter” (contrived and not natural) temporary or in Aman more often permanent, and applied to what we might call outhouses, huts, sheds, booths (PE17/108).

In another note from this period:

As the simple name of a building used for a dwelling or other purposes Quenya used koa, a derivative of √KAW “shelter” (PE17/165).

Thus coa could be used for a “house” as a dwelling place but also for other kinds of small buildings as well. For an inhabited dwelling, Q. mar(da) might be more appropriate.

In some places Tolkien use coa to refer (metaphorically) to a body, as in cöacalina “light of the house” referring to a spirit within a body (MR/250), as well as the phrase: Valar ar Maiar fantaner nassentar fanainen ve quenderinwe koar al larmar “Valar and Maiar cloaked their true-being in fanar [veils], like to Elvish bodies [koar = houses] and raiment” (PE17/175).

ᴹQ. kar (kard-) n. “building, house”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “building, house” under the root ᴹ√KAR “make, build, construct” (Ety/KAR).

Q. mar(da) (mard-) n. “dwelling, (great) house, residence, mansion, a thing or place dwelt in, ⚠️home; [ᴱQ.] world”

A word for “dwelling, mansion, hall” derived from √MBAR “dwell” (PE17/64), most notably as an element in oromardi “lofty halls” in the Namárië “poem” (LotR/377). Its plural mardi indicates a stem form of mard-, but its uninflected form appeared as both short mar (PE17/64, 163-4; PE21/80) and longer marda (PE17/107; PE21/76). Tolkien described its meaning more precisely in some notes from the late 1960s:

The derivative form *mbardā became in Quenya marda: “a thing or place dwelt in, dwelling” and since it could be applied to the actual dwelling-places or buildings (alone or grouped) approached the sense “house”. Though it did not in fact refer to “buildings”, and could equally well be applied to dwelling-places of natural origin, such as caves or groves (PE17/107).

And elsewhere:

The usual word in Eldarin for a “home”, as the established residence of a family consisting of one or more associated buildings, was *mbā̆r (stem mbăr-), and *mbardā (an adjectival formation). In Q mar (stem mard-), a blending of the two, was used like “residence”, usually with a defining genitive, for the “great house” of a family (PE17/164).

In Tolkien’s later writings, it seems this word was distinct from and coexisted with Q. már (mar-) “home” (PE17/106, 164).

Conceptual Development: The word for “dwelling” was often intermingled and confused with már “home”, making its conceptual development difficult to trace. There are some other earlier words for which some extension was added to √MBAR. In the 1910s ᴱQ. marda meant “world” as in ᴱQ. Talka Marda “Smith of the World” (LT1/180; 15/8); in The Qenya Phonology Tolkien said marda had a dialectical variant ᴱQ. mára (PE12/24) and in the Gnomish Lexicon it had the form Marwa “World” (GL/18).

The Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s had an adverbial variant ᴹQ. marta “home” of ᴹQ. mar “house” (PE21/25, 27); this adverbial form became marda “home” in Common Eldarin: Noun Structure of the early 1950s (PE21/76). In the 1930s more generally the stem form of short ᴹQ. mar was frequently mard- (PE21/27; EtyAC/MBAR; LR/72) but not always (LR/63). The coexistence of már and mard- was not clearly established until the 1960s (see above).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would use marda primarily as a “dwelling” as in “a thing dwelled in”, usable of buildings but also of natural dwellings like caves. Of constructed dwellings, it generally applies to larger or more elaborate dwellings such as mansions and halls, as in oromar “high hall”. For the home of an individual or family I would use már “home”, and for a smaller building I would use cöa “house” (dwelling or not).

I would use mard- as the stem form of this word as with its plural mardi. Strictly speaking its uninflected form would be mar < ✶mbardā̆ after the ancient loss of short final ă, but in practice this was generally reformed to marda to make it more distinct from már “home”. Thus sissë i luinë marda (ná) “here is the blue mansion” but tassë i ninqui mardi (nár) “there are the white mansions”.

Q. martan (martam-) n. “dwelling-house”

A word for “dwelling-house” in notes from the mid-1960s with forms martan (martam-) and longer martaman, a combination of √MBAR “dwell” and √TAM “construct” (PE17/107).

Q. oromar (oromard-) n. “lofty hall, high-mansion, high (lofty) dwelling”

A word appearing in its plural form oromardi, referring to the dwelling of Varda and Manwë on the slopes of mount Taniquetil from the Namárië poem (LotR/377). It is a combination of oro- “up, aloft” and mar(da) “dwelling” (PE17/63-64). Though not a proper name, I suspect this word was poetic and not in general use.

N. adab n. “building, ⚠️house”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “building, house” derived from primitive ᴹ✶atakwē under the root ᴹ√TAK “fix, make fast” (Ety/TAK). Here the ancient kw became p and then the voiceless t, p became voiced d, b as they generally did after vowels. It had a (Noldorin) plural form edeb, also appearing in a (rejected) name N. Edeb na Nestad “Houses of Healing” from Lord of the Rings drafts of the 1940s (WR/380). Its Sindarin plural would be *edaib.

Conceptual Development: The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s Tolkien had G. bad “building, outhouse, shed” related to G. bada- “build” (GL/21). In Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s Tolkien had ᴱN. adob “(a) building” from primitive ᴱ✶atāqa (PE13/136, 158, 165); in this period it also served as the infinitive of the verb N. adag- “to build, erect” (PE13/132, 158).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin I would use this word primarily in the sense of “a building”; for an ordinary “house” where people live, I would use S. bâr.

S. barthan [mb-] n. “dwelling-house, large building of masonry used as a dwelling”

A noun for “a large building of masonry used as a dwelling” added to Sindarin late in the First Age in imitation of the Quenya word Q. martan (martam-) “dwelling-house” of the same basic meaning (PE17/109). Barthan was an elaboration of bâr “house” from the root √MBAR. Its second element was √TAM “construct”, which in Sindarin was √TAN (PE17/107-8). In North Sindarin it was bartham.

Conceptual Development: G. brann or brand “dwelling, hall” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s likewise seems to refer to a large dwelling, most notably as its suffixal form -vran in the name G. Gilthavran “Hall of the Moon King” (GL/24, 38). This name was first given as Gilthauran where the second element u̯rand was derived from ᴱ✶gu̯ara- “to dwell” (GL/38). After its change to -vran, brann, it was probably derived instead from the early root ᴱ√MBARA (QL/60, 63).

N. car(dh) n. “house, *construction, structure”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s appearing as car or carð with the gloss “house” under the root ᴹ√KAR “make, build, construct” (Ety/KAR). Its Quenya cognate ᴹQ. kar (kard-) was glossed “building, house”.

Neo-Sindarin: Given the meaning of its root, I would use cardh for any kind of building-like construction or structure for purposes of Neo-Sindarin. For an ordinary “house” where people live, I would use S. bâr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *