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Select Elvish Words 7.122: Home

7.122 Home

ᴱQ. indoite adv. “indoors, at home, homely, domestic”

A word for “indoors, at home, homely, domestic” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, a combination of ᴱQ. indo “house” with the adjective suffix ᴱQ. -ite (QL/43).

Neo-Quenya: For “homely, domestic” I would update this word to ᴺQ. mardaitë using the initial element Q. marda “dwelling, house”, but for “at home” I would use attested [ᴹQ.] maryë (PE21/27).

Q. már (mar-) n. “home, dwelling, habitation; ⚠️[ᴹQ.] house; earth”

This is the basic Quenya word for a “home” or “dwelling”, derived from the root √MBAR “settle, dwell”.

Conceptual Development: This word dates back all the way to the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, where (archaic) ᴱQ. †mar (mas-) was glossed “dwelling of men, -land, the Earth” (QL/60). It appeared under the early root ᴱ√MBARA “dwell, live”, but that root was mingled with many others, and its stem form mas- indicates some unusual developments. The contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa instead has mař “dwelling, -land, †Earth” (PME/60), consistent with an earlier deleted form of the root, ᴱ√MAŘA [MAÐA] (PME/60).

In the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin from the 1910s Tolkien had mar as a cognate to G. bar “dwelling” (PE15/21). In the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s it was glossed “house” in the phrase ᴱQ. i·mar tye “that house (of yours)” (PE14/55). In the English-Qenya Dictionary of the 1920s mar was glossed “home”, where its plural form mari indicated a stem form of mar- (PE15/74).

In the Declension of Nouns of the 1930s, ᴹQ. mar “house” had a stem form of mard- (PE21/27), and on the title page of The Etymologies from 1937, Tolkien had mar(d)- “home, dwelling” from the root ᴹ√MBAR (EtyAC/MBAR). It appeared in the form Mardello “from Earth” in Fíriel’s Song from the mid-1930s, along with an uninflected form i-mar “the earth” (LR/72), but as mar- in the (1930s) genitive form hon-maren “heart of the house” (LR/63).

In Outline of Phonetic Development (OP1) from this 1930s, it appeared as már “habitation”, the first time that it had a long á (PE19/36). In Quenya Verbal System from 1948, már “house” appeared with long á in a couple phrases like már karnelya e·tulle “having built a house he came” (PE22/108). The word már “habitation” reappeared in the Outline of Phonology (OP2) of the 1950s (PE19/76).

Tolkien discussed the word már at length in notes from the 1960s in the root √MBAR, first writing:

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 *mbardā̆ (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. In place-names -mar (stem mār-) was used for a region settled by a community or group, as Eldamar “Elvenhome” the coastal region of Aman, settled by the Elves (PE17/164).

And then in a later version of the same notes:

The simplest form of this base *mbără became a much used word or element in primitive Eldarin: which may be rendered “dwelling”. This application was probably a development during the period of the Great Journey to the Western Shores, during which many halls of varying duration were made by the Eldar at the choice of their leaders, as a whole, or for separate groups. This element survived in various forms in Quenya and Sindarin with sense­ changes due to the divergent history of the Eldar that passed over Sea and of those remaining in Beleriand. The principal forms were the primitive simple form PE *mbăr(a) > uninflected mbār, inflected mbar-; and the derivative form *mbardā

The former survived in Quenya in the archaic word már, which was used with a defining genitive or more often in genitival compound: as Ingwemar, Valimar, Eldamar … This signified, when added to a personal name the “residence” of a family of which the head was the named person; it included not only the permanent buildings, developed by the Eldar in Aman, but also the surrounding attached land … After the name of a people or “kindred” it referred to the whole area occupied or owned by them, in which their dwellings or “houses” were distributed (PE17/106).

These revised notes indicate that marda was a distinct word:

The derivative form *mbardā became in Quenya marda “a dwelling”. This normally referred to the actual dwelling place, but was not limited to buildings, and could equally well be applied to dwellings of natural origin (such as caves or groves). It was nonetheless the nearest equivalent to “house” in most of its senses … Not to the use of “house” as the name of a (small) separate building with a function such as bake-house, wood-house; nor to the use of “house” as a family especially of power or authority. The former in Quenya was usually koa. The latter was represented by words for “kindred” [nóre] (PE17/107).

Thus it seems in these notes, már = “residence”, marda = “dwelling” but coa = “house” as in a type of building.

In terms of its use in other words and phrases, mar or már is most notably an element in Eldamar “Elvenhome” (S/59), Val(i)mar “Dwelling of the Valar” (RGEO/62), and Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva “[ᴱQ.] Cottage of the Lost Play; House of Departed Mirth” (LT1/28; PE21/80). As for mard-, its most notable use was in oromardi “lofty halls” from the Namárië poem (LotR/377).

Although always meaning “home” or “dwelling” and always derived from √MBAR “dwell”, the various changes in the stem form between mar, mard- and már make the conceptual development difficult to trace. The rough timeline seems to be:

  • In the 1910s the stem was mař- >> mas-, becoming mar- in the 1920s.
  • In the 1930s the stem was mostly mard-, but in OP1 már (mar-) with long á was introduced and became more prevalent in the 1940s and 50s.
  • In the 1960s Tolkien decided that már (mar-) < *mbără and marda (mard-) < *mbardā were distinct words of similar meaning.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya I would use már mainly in the sense “home, a place dwelled in”, as opposed to marda for “a dwelling” whether inhabited or not. In place names -mar can refer to the dwelling place of an entire people, or of an individual family. The word már might be used as “house” in the sense of the dwelling place of a family, but when referring specifically to the building, the word coa is more appropriate.

ᴹQ. mar(dar) adv. “homewards”

An “old short allative” form appear in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s with suffixal -r, with both monosyllabic mar and longer mardar (PE21/25, 27). Tolkien said the longer for mardar was “less usual” (PE21/27), but it is more distinct from már “home”. This allative variant is probably related to ᴹQ. tar “thither” < ᴹ✶tad from later in the 1930s (Ety/TA; PE19/52).

ᴹQ. marye adv. “at home, *indoors”

A pair of locative variants marre, marye from the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s, the first derived from ᴹ✶mardasē, and the second from ᴹQ. mar “house” + ᴹQ. ye “at” (PE21/27).

Neo-Quenya: In Tolkien’s later writing, the sound changes producing marre from ᴹ✶mardasē are rather dubious, but I think ᴺQ. maryë “at home” might remain viable as an abstract adverbial form. I would also use maryë in the sense “*indoors”, inspired by ᴱQ. indoite “at home, indoors” (QL/43).

Q. mélamar n. “(emotional) home”

A term for one’s “emotional home” or “*true home” from which one is currently separated, a combination of mel “love” and már “home” (PE17/109). For example, Valinor remained the mélamar for many of the Noldor despite their exile to Middle Earth. This word is adapted from S. milbar of the same meaning; see that entry for further discussion.

S. bâr [mb-] n. “house, dwelling, home; ⚠️[N.] earth”

The basic Sindarin word for “house, dwelling, home” derived from the root √MBAR “settle, dwell” (PE17/109; PE17/164). This Sindarin word (unlike its Quenya counterpart már) can also be used to refer to the “house” of a clan or family, as in Bar Bëora “House of Bëor” (WJ/230) and Narn e·mbar Hador “*Tale of the House of Hador” (MR/373). It could also mean “-home (for a people)” in compound names for regions as in Eglamar “Home of the Eglain” and Brithombar (WJ/379; S/120), but it seems this use was archaic and in more recent names the trend was to use dôr “land” (PE17/164).

This word appears as both bâr with long â and bar with short a. As a general rule, it has a long â when used as an independent word, following the general Sindarin principle whereby short vowels (usually) lengthened in monosyllables. It has a short vowel when appearing in compounds or as a “pseudo-prefix” in names like Bar-en-Danwedh “House of Ransom” (S/203).

Conceptual Development: This word dates all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, where (adverbial?) G. bar appeared as a variant of G. barthi or barai “at home, home” (GL/21). In the Gnomish Lexicon its noun form seems to be G. bara “home” (GL/21), but in the contemporaneous Gnomish Grammar it was bar “home” (GG/8). These Gnomish words were all derived from the early root ᴱ√MBARA “dwell, live” (QL/63).

In Gnomish Lexicon slips, Tolkien modified the word to G. bawr “house” derived from primitive ᴱ✶mbāră (PE13/116). In the Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin Tolkien had G. bar “dwelling” (PE15/21). In the Early Noldorin Grammar of the 1920s it was ᴱN. bâr “house”, though a change in its mutated form {i·bhar >>} i·mâr indicates some vacillation on its primitive form (PE13/120 and note #2). In Early Noldorin word-lists of this period it was bar “house” (PE13/138).

In The Etymologies of the 1930s it was N. bár “home” written in the margin next to the root ᴹ√MBAR “dwell, inhabit” (EtyAC/MBAR), but it also meant “Earth” in the name N. Barthan “Earth-smith” (Ety/TAN). In later notes (date unknown) this name was S. Barthan “World-artificer” (LT1A/Talka Marda). In notes on The Feanorian Alphabet from the 1930s it was †băr “home”, which became bār after vowels lengthened in monosyllables (PE22/36).

In notes from the 1960s, Tolkien described this word in some detail, first saying:

In Sindarin bar [< *mbăr-] (pl. bair) was used for a single house or dwelling, especially of the larger and more permanent sort; barð [< *mbardā̆] was much as English “home”, the (proper) place for one (or a community) to dwell in (PE17/164).

Here it seems bar = “house, dwelling” but bardh = “home”. However, in a later iteration of these notes Tolkien said:

There were thus tendencies both (a) for Noldorin terms for things peculiar to their culture to be translated into Sindarin forms or imitated … Examples … were (a) the use of Sindarin bâr (< *mbăr(a)) for “house” a settled built dwelling of a family, larger or smaller: in true Sindarin use it only denoted a small area in which some group had at last settled more or less permanently (PE17/164).

This was revised slightly to read:

There was thus a tendency: (a) for Noldorin words and terms for things peculiar to their culture to be translated into Sindarin, or imitated … Examples of these processes are: (a) the use of Sindarin bâr (< *mbăr(a)) for “house”: the permanent building serving as the home of a family, larger or smaller, though in genuine older Sindarin use this word referred to a (small) area, in which some group had at last settled, more or less permanently (PE17/164).

Both these later paragraph imply that the original sense of Sindarin bâr was something like “*settlement (of a group or community)” but came to mean “house, dwelling” under the influence of Quenya már.

Of its uses in compounds Tolkien said:

This was also in old compounds used (like Q -mar) for a region, but not in ordinary language … Only in old names was -bar used like Q -mar for a region inhabited by a people. For this Sindarin used usually -dor (< ndor) “land” (PE17/165).

S. bardh [mb-] n. “home”

A word for “home” appearing in draft notes from the 1960s discussing the root √MBAR, where it was contrasted with bâr “house, dwelling”:

In Sindarin bar [< *mbăr-] (pl. bair) was used for a single house or dwelling, especially of the larger and more permanent sort; barð [< *mbardā̆] was much as English “home”, the (proper) place for one (or a community) to dwell in (PE17/164).

It was also contrasted with milbar “dear home” which was used for the “emotional senses ‘home’ as the place of one’s birth, or desire, or one’s home returned to after journey or exile” (PE17/164). In later versions of these notes on √MBAR, Tolkien mentioned bâr and milbar but not bardh (PE17/109).

Neo-Sindarin: Given its absense from the final version of the √MBAR notes, it is possible Tolkien abandoned bardh “home”. However, I prefer to retain it for purposes of Neo-Sindarin for the ordinary sense of “home”, and reserve milbar for one’s “emotional home” or “*true home” from which one is currently separated, as opposed to the home that you are living now = bardh. I would use bâr primarily in the sense “house, dwelling”.

N. caew n. “lair, resting-place”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “lair, resting-place” under the root ᴹ√KAY “lie down”, apparently the cognate of ᴹQ. kaima “bed” (Ety/KAY). If so, then the ancient [m] became [v] and then developed into [w] as it did after i- and e-diphthongs.

S. milbar n. “dear home, beloved dwelling [place]”

A word appearing in some draft notes from the 1960s glossed “dear home” which Tolkien described as follows:

In emotional senses “home” as the place of one’s birth, or desire, or one’s home returned to after journey or exile milbar was used, “dear home”. Note absence of Sindarin mutation owing to the original presence of initial mb-: mēlā̆-mbar > mîl-mbar > milbar (PE17/164).

In the final version of these notes Tolkien said:

Mélamarimma “Our Home” was used [in Quenya] of their lost “home” in Aman, but not by the followers of the Sons of Feanor. Nonetheless this word was modelled on S milbar “beloved dwelling” applied to the places best known and most frequented. It was derived from older mēlā̆-mbar > mīl(a)mbar. In true Quenya the adjectival form “dear” had the form melda (PE17/109).

In this later version Tolkien gave milbar as an example of a Sindarin word that was adapted into Quenya: mélamar. The sense of both words is “emotional home” or “*true home” from which one is separated:

… “home” in its emotional uses as the place of one’s birth, or the familiar places from which one was separated by journeys of necessity, or driven out by war. These circumstances the Noldor had not suffered in Aman, but knew later only too well, not only in their exile from Aman, but in the increasing destruction of their new realms and settlements by the assaults of Morgoth (PE17/109).

The drafts of these notes had S. barð as the more ordinary word for “home” (PE17/164). S. bardh did not appear in the final version of these notes, but whether it was an intentional or accidental omission isn’t clear.

S. torech n. “lair, (secret) hole, excavation”

A word for “lair” as in Torech Ungol “Shelob’s Lair”, though this may be a loose translation. In Tolkien’s Unfinished Index to The Lord of the Rings of 1954-55, he translated torech as “hole, excavation” and Torech Ungol as “Tunnel of the Spider” (RC/490). In etymological notes from around 1964 (DD) Tolkien said it meant “secret hole, lair”, a combination of the root √TOR “secrete, hide” and primitive ✶ekka “hole” (PE17/188).

Conceptual Development: In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, the form was N. terch, glossed either “lair” or “hole” (WR/202).

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