New Theme! What do you think?

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

Select Elvish Words 9.112: Doer, Agent

9.112 Doer, Agent

Q. -llë suf. “feminine agent”
Some feminine agental suffixes were mentioned Notes on Galadriel’s Song (NGS) from the late 1950s or early 1960s: -lle, -lde, and -nde, the first of which was an element in the name Tintallë (PE17/69). In NGS Tolkien said -lle was used less frequently as an agental suffix because -lle was also the 2nd person plural subject suffix “you (pl.)”. In fact, in notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from the Lord of the Rings (WP2) from this same period Tolkien considered changing Varda’s sobriquet to Tintalde (PE17/69).

However, in the late 1960s Tolkien decided the 2nd person plural suffix was actually -lde (VT49/16, 51), so presumably -lde would then be the less common agental suffix and -lle more common. Tolkien was considering -lde for 2nd plural as early as 1959, and in the 1959 page which specified -lde for 2nd plural, Tolkien also designated -lle for a feminine agent, the equivalent of masculine -ndo (PE17/190).

As for -nde, it was most notable as an element in Serindë “Broideress, Needlewoman” (S/63; MR/257; PM/333).

Q. -mo suf. “agental suffix”
A suffix of which Tolkien said “the ending -mo often appeared in names or titles, sometimes with an agental significance” (WJ/400). It is based on the pronoun mo “(some)one”. This suffix is often specifically neuter, as in [ᴹQ.] nilmo “friend” vs. male and female [ᴹQ.] nildo and nilde (Ety/NIL).

Conceptual Development: The suffix ᴱQ. -mo appears all the way back in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s in words like ᴱQ. laulemo “inhabitant” and ᴱQ. qolimo “invalid” (QL/52, 78).

Q. -ndo suf. “(masculine) agent”
A masculine agental suffix given as -ndo in notes from around 1959 (PE17/190) and as (primitive) ✶-on, ondo in notes from the late 1960s (NM/353). A fair number of the words containing it seem to be neutral in meaning, such as Q.
colindo “bearer” (LotR/953) and Q. runando “redeemer” (VT44/17). As a name suffix -on, it seems to be exclusively masculine, however.

Conceptual Development: The suffix ᴱQ. -ndo appears all the way back in the Early Qenya of the 1910s and 20s in words like ᴱQ. herendo “brother” vs. ᴱQ. heresse “sister” (QL/40) and ᴱQ. puyando “parent” (PE15/76). In The Etymologies of the 1930s, Tolkien briefly had ᴹQ. -ando as the suffixal form of ᴹQ. hando “agent (male)” under the root ᴹ√ƷAN “male” (EtyAC/ƷAN), but that version of the root’s entry was replaced and this form did not appear in the updated version.

Q. -r(o) suf. “agental suffix”
An agental suffix derived from ancient ✶-rō̆ (WJ/371), usually appearing as suffixal -r but sometimes as -ro as in quentaro “speaker” (PE19/83). Tolkien indicated -rō was sometimes accompanied by nasal infixion, and that there was another variant -rdŏ > rd (WJ/371), but there are no clear signs of -r(d) in his later writings (but see below).

Conceptual Development: There are no examples of -ro in the Early Qenya of the 1910s and 20s, but there are examples of agental -r and sometimes -ar, as in ᴱQ. maksar “cook” from ᴱQ. maksa- (QL/59), and ᴱQ. vaktelear “merchant” from ᴱQ. vaktele “trade” (QL/99). There are also examples of -r(d), such as ᴱQ. ektar (ektard-) “swordman” (QL/35) and ᴱQ. moar (moard-) “shepherd” (QL/60).

ᴹQ. tyaro n. “doer, actor, agent”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “doer, actor, agent” derived from the root ᴹ√KYAR “cause, do” (Ety/KYAR).

Conceptual Development: In an earlier version of the entry for ᴹ√KAR “make, do”, Tolkien had ᴹQ. káro “doer, actor, agent” (Ety/KAR; EtyAC/KAR), but this form was abandoned when Tolkien decided ᴹ√KAR meant only “make, build”.

Neo-Quenya: Despite the later restoration of the sense “do” to the root √KAR, I would stick with attested tyaro for “actor, agent”, since Q. tyar- “cause” continued to appear in Tolkien’s later writings.

N. ceredir n. “doer, maker, *crafter (m.)”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “doer, maker”, a combination of car- “do, make” and dîr “man”, used here as an agental suffix that cause i-affection on the preceding a, mutating it to e (Ety/DER).

Neo-Sindarin: Some people have noted that there are no examples of suffix -dir causing i-affection in later Sindarin, and consider this Noldorin word dubious. Personally have no problem with ceredir, but I have ᴺS. caron “actor, agent, doer, maker” as an alternative. Fiona Jallings suggested ceredir make also have the sense “crafter [m.]”, with ᴺS. ceredis as its feminine equivalent (FJNS/340).

N. -dis suf. “feminine agent”
A feminine agental suffix appearing in The Etymologies of the 1930s as a suffix in N. meldis “friend (f.)”, the feminine equivalent of N. meldir which had the masculine agental suffix dîr (Ety/MEL).

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s the suffix G. -(n)ir seems to be a feminine agent, probably based on (archaic) G. †nîr “woman”. For example: G. bridh(n)ir “queen” vs. G. bridhon “king” (GL/24) or G. gwar(e)dhir “f. companion” vs. G. gwar(e)dhon “m. companion” (GL/44). Sometimes -ir seems to be gender-neutral, however, as with G. faithir “savior” (GL/33) and G. hilmir “heir (m. or f.)” (GL/49). There are remnants of this feminine -ir suffix in the The Etymologies, where in the first iteration of the entry for the root ᴹ√MEL Tolkien had meldir “friend (f.)” (EtyAC/MEL) before deciding meldir was masculine.

S. -or suf. “agental suffix”
A general agental suffix that developed from the syllabification of ancient suffix ✶-ro, since since final r became -or after other consonants. This can be seen most clearly in [N.] tavor “woodpecker, [lit.] knocker” derived from older tafr [tavr] < ᴹ✶tamrō (Ety/TAM).

Conceptual Development: This agental suffix also appeared as G. -or in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s in words such as G. nandor “farmer” and G. ecthor “swordsman”. It appeared in a quite a few words in The Etymologies of the 1930s. There is some evidence of it in Tolkien’s later writings, such as S. magor “swordsman” attested in S. Menelvagor “Swordsman of the Sky” (LotR/0081), and in Notes on Names (NN) from 1957 Tolkien said -or was a variant of the masculine agental suffix -on used after n (PE17/141).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, most people assume -or is a gender-neutral agental suffix.

S. -(r)on suf. “agental suffix”
A (masculine) agental suffix appearing as either -on or -ron. The -on variant is derived from ancient ✶-on(do), as seen in [N.] callon “hero” < ᴹ✶kalrondō (Ety/KAL). The -ron variant arose from the addition of ✶-on(do) to the ancient agental suffix ✶-ro after vowel losses made that suffix indistinct. This can be seen most clearly in [N.] thavron “carpenter” < [ON.] sthabro(ndo) < ᴹ✶stabrō (Ety/STAB). Other times the reduced -r became syllabic -or, as in [N.] tavor “woodpecker, [lit.] knocker” < tafr [tavr] < ᴹ✶tamrō (Ety/TAM).

Sometimes the suffix -(r)on was specifically masculine, as in Ellon vs. Elleth “Elf (m./f.)” and [N.] odhron vs. odhril “parent (m./f.)” (WJ/363; Ety/ONO). Other times it seems to be more neutral in meaning, as in pethron “speaker” or mellon “friend” (PE18/100). As a suffix in names, -on is only masculine.

Conceptual Development: The suffix G. -(r)on dates all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, but in Early Noldorin Word lists of the 1920s, it usually appeared as ᴱN. -ion.

Leave a Reply

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