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Select Elvish Words 7.21: Room

7.21 Room

ᴹQ. kaimasan (kaimasamb-) n. “bedchamber”

A word for “bedchamber” in The Etymologies from around 1937, a combination of ᴹQ. kaima “bed” and ᴹQ. sambe “chamber” (Ety/KAY, STAB). Its plural kaimasambi indicates a stem form of kaimasamb-.

Conceptual Development: This word first appeared as ᴱQ. {kaitosambe >>} kaimasambe “bed-room” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/46). It reappeared as kaimasan (kaimasamb-) “bed-chamber” in the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s (PE14/42, 71) and appeared as kaimasan with plural kaimasambi in the English-Qenya Dictionary of this same period (PE15/70). It appeared again as kaimasan (kaimasamb-) in the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s (PE21/17, 37). At each earlier stage it had essentially the same derivation as in The Etymologies, so the word was fairly well established.

ᴹQ. sambe [þ] n. “room, chamber”

A word for “room, chamber” in The Etymologies from around 1937, derived from primitive ᴹ✶stambē and cognate to N. tham “hall” under the root ᴹ√STAB (Ety/STAB).

Conceptual Development: This word first appeared as ᴱQ. sambe “chamber, room” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√SAMA (QL/81), and appeared as ᴱQ. sambe “chamber” in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/72). Its Gnomish equivalent G. tham “chamber, room” indicate the root form was actually *ᴱ√ÞAMA (GL/72). It reappeared as sambe “room, chamber” in the English-Qenya Dictionary from the 1920s (PE15/76). Its primitive form was given as ᴹ✶sambē “room” in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s (PE21/17), but this became ᴹ✶stambē in The Etymologies as noted above.

The Sindarin word sammath “chambers” hint at another possible root change (LotR/942); see that entry for discussion.

Q. solma n. “[main or entry] hall, chamber”

A word in 1965 notes on the Lives of the Númenóreans, glossed by “hall” (NM/326) and “chamber” (NM/337). Based on the context where it appeared, it may not simply be an arbitrary chamber, but rather the main or entry chamber to a house. As Tolkien described it: “they were often welcomed to the central solma or hall, where the chief fire burned” (NM/326). For purposes of Neo-Quenya, this is my preferred reading, to make this word more distinct from [ᴹQ.] sambe “room, chamber” (Ety/STAB).

S. sam n. “chamber, [G.] room”

The word sammath “chambers” appeared in the name Sammath Naur “Chambers of Fire” for the cavernous chambers in the interior of Mount Doom (LotR/942). It appears to the class-plural of an otherwise unattested noun *sam “chamber”.

Conceptual Development: Earlier forms of this word were G. tham “chamber, room” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/72) and N. tham “hall” from The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√STAB (Ety/STAB). The Gnomish word was cognate to ᴱQ. sambe “room, chamber” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√SAMA (QL/81), though the Gnomish form tham indicates the actual form of the root was (or became) *ᴱ√ÞAMA. Likewise the Noldorin word in the 1930s was cognate to ᴹQ. sambe “room, chamber” but with a distinct gloss = “hall” (Ety/STAB). The form sammath from the 1950s may indicate another revision of the root to √SAB or √SAM, though both of these conflict with other roots from the 1950s and 60s: √SAB “believe” (PE22/158) and √SAM “to have” (PE17/183).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I prefer to retain both S. sam “chamber” and N. tham “hall”, so I would assume that S. tham and Q. sambe where both derived from ᴹ√STAB, but that in Quenya the word meant “room, chamber” while in Sindarin it meant “hall”. Furthermore, I would assume that prior to the arrival of the Noldor, Sindarin architecture mostly consisted of single-room houses or large buildings with a great hall without subdivision into smaller rooms or chambers.

When Sindar adopted the architectural practice of subdividing houses and buildings into multiple rooms from the Noldor, they borrowed Q. sambe as S. sam to mean “chamber, *room” as a way of distinguishing a “room” from the older Sindarin word for “hall” = tham. I would further assume that tham came to be used for ordinary “halls” joining distinct chambers, and that [N.] thamas “great hall” was coined to describe a great central hall. This is an entirely fan-based etymology, however, purely speculative.

N. thamas n. “great hall”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “great hall”, an elaboration of tham “hall” under the root ᴹ√STAB (Ety/STAB).

Conceptual Development: There was a similar word G. thambros “hall” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, an elaboration of G. tham “chamber, room” (GL/72).

Neo-Sindarin: See S. sam “chamber” for a discussion of possible later forms of this word’s root, and possible Neo-Sindarin uses.

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