New Theme! What do you think?

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

Select Elvish Words 9.60-9.62: Smith, Forge, Anvil

9.60 Smith

Q. sintamo n. “smith”

A word specifically for a “[metal] smith” based on primitive ✶sinkitamo, as opposed to more generic tamo “smith, *builder” which can refer to a variety of craftsman (PE17/107-108). Its initial element seems to be a restoration of ᴱQ. sink “mineral, metal, gem” from the 1910s (QL/83), and might be related to Q. sinca “flint”. If so, this word may have originally meant “*mineral smith”, perhaps referring to the extraction of metal from minerals.

Conceptual Development: The Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s had ᴱQ. tongar “smith”, apparently an agental form ᴱQ. tonga “great hammer” under the early root ᴱ√TOŊO, so more literally “*hammerer” and thus likely referring to metal smithing (QL/94).

Q. tamo n. “smith, builder, wright, artificer”

This word appeared in notes from the late 1960s, where Tolkien that it was “translated ‘smith’, but meaning a craftsman in wood, stone, or metal: carpenter (carver), mason (sculptor), or [metal] smith (PE17/107)”. Tolkien further gave sintamo specifically for “[metal] smith”, but said “tamo unspecified, especially among the Noldor, was usually employed = sintamo, our ‘smith’ (PE17/108)”. In this 1960s note the word tamo was derived from the root √TAM “construct” (PE17/107).

Based on its use as an element in other words, tamo could be translated as “smith, builder, wright, artificer” = “*one who crafts things from some material”. As a reduced element in compounds it becomes -tan, since final m became n in Quenya (PE19/104). This can be seen in words like calmatan “lampwright” (PE17/96) and ciryatan “shipbuilder” (S/265). The element tamo can also be seen in one of the names for Aulë: Martamo “World-artificer” appearing a very late note according to Christopher Tolkien (LT1A/Talka Marda).

Conceptual Development: Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s had ᴱQ. talka “smith” (PE16/138) as in ᴱQ. Talka Marda “Smith of the World” from the early Lost Tales (LT1/180). This 1920s word was probably a cognate of ᴱN. taglon “smith” (PE13/153) and was likely based on the early root ᴱ√TAKA “fix, fasten”. A remnant of talka “smith” can be seen in primitive ᴹ✶talkō “craftsmen, wright”, which appeared in the first version of Tengwesta Qenderinwa (TQ1) from the 1930s as a derivative of ᴹ√TAK (PE18/54).

The Etymologies of the 1930s had ᴹQ. tano “craftsman, smith” derived from primitive ᴹ✶tanō under the root ᴹ√TAN “make, fashion” (Ety/TAN). In this document Aulë’s name was ᴹQ. Martan(o) “Earthbuilder, Earth-smith” (Ety/MBAR, TAN). Remnants of this √TAN derivation can be seen a few later names like Q. Artano “High-smith” (UT/254), but it seems Tolkien decided sometime in the 1960s to make the root √TAM instead. Some of the 1950s and 60s compounds with -tan were probably originally from √TAN, but these remain fine after the change in root since final m became n as noted above.

ᴱN. taglon n. “smith”

A word as appearing as ᴱN. taglon “smith” in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/153), where it was element in ᴱN. Barthaglon or Balthagron “World Smith” (PE13/138). The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s had archaic G. †tagor along with modern G. tagros or taglos “smith” (GL/68), elements in G. Martaglos or Maltagros “Smith of the World” (GL/56). These word were likely based on the early root ᴱ√TAKA “fix, fasten” (QL/88).

Neo-Sindarin: In Tolkien’s later writings, the name “World-artificer” became Barthan where the second element was based on √TAN (Ety/TAN; LT1A/Talka Marda). However, I think the earlier words can be salvaged as ᴺS. tagron “smith” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin.

9.61 to Forge

ᴱQ. tamin n. “forge”

A word appearing as ᴱQ. tamin or tamilla “forge” in the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√TAMA “beat; smelt, forge” (QL/88; PME/88).

Neo-Quenya: The root √TAM was glossed “construct” in Tolkien’s later writings, and its derivative tamo was often used for “[metal] smith”, so I think ᴺQ. tamin “forge” can be retained as a derivative based on the later meaning of the root.

9.62 Anvil

ᴱQ. onin n. “anvil”

A word appearing as ᴱQ. onin “anvil” in the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√ONO [ƷONO] “hard” that was also the basis for stone-words (QL/70; PME/70).

Neo-Quenya: In Tolkien’s later writings the root became ᴹ√GONOD “stone”, and ᴺQ. onin “anvil” might be retained based on a reduced variant of that root.

Leave a Reply

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