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  1. Galin's Avatar
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    In letter 211 Tolkien notes that both the names of Elrond's sons reflecttheir mixed heritage, and signify elf + man.Elrohir is translated 'Elf-knight' however, and contains a variation on Sindarin rochir 'Horse-lord'. Are we to take it that the pronunciation rohir signifies a 'mortal knight' distinct from the Sindarin rochir used for Elvish folk?


  2. Interesting question. I can't remember what letter #211 says in any detail (though at least my copy of Letterswill return to me from storage in a couple of days), but does it say that rochirever signifies an Elven knight? One thought would be that the word had human connotations regardless of pronunciation. But it would be interesting if there had been a semantic split between the older rochirand younger rohir- there are certainly models of doublets splitting off from the same word in real world languages (e.g. shadeand shadow).



    I don't suppose this is mentioned in PE17 at all? (That's another that'll be coming out of storage on Friday.)
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  3. I can't find anything about any of these in PE17 (roch, rochir, rohir, Elrohir).



    What Tolkien writes in the letter is
    Elrohir,
    Elladan:
    these names, given to his sons by Elrond,
    refer to the fact that they were ‘half-elven’ (III 314): they had mortal as
    well as Elvish ancestors on both
    sides; Tuor on their father's side, Beren on their mother's. Both signify elf+man. Elrohir might be
    translated ‘Elf-knight’; rohir being
    a later form (III 391) of rochir‘horse-lord’ from roch‘horse’+ hir‘master’: Prim. Elvish rokkō and khēr or kherū: High-elven rocco, hēr (hěru). Elladan might be
    translated 'Elf-Númenórean'. Adan (pl.
    Edain) was the Sindarin form of the name given to the ‘fathers of
    men’, the members of the Three Houses of Elf-friends, whose survivors
    afterwards became the Númenóreans, or Dún-edain.The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, letter no. 211, to Rhona Beare, October 1958 (underlining emphasis added)
    My understanding is that the difference between rochirand rohanis mainly one of pronunciation— the later form, rohir, being sloppier in reducing the original ch(as the German ach-sound or the sound of a‘j’ in Spanish) to an ordinary h.
    The underlined part is of course curious — as written it refers to the mother and father of Elladan and Elrohir (i.e. Celebrían and Elrond himself), but the descent mentioned refers of course only to Elrond himself: his children only had the mix of Elves and Men on their father's side.
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  4. Thanks, Troels

    My guess would be that the change *ch > his not especially important in signifying the Mannishness of Elrohir. In TLotR Tolkien had already mentioned the etymology of the 'horse' word in connection with Rohan< Rochand, and it looks to me like Tolkien is just tying in Elrohir's name with that explanation. I'm not sure, but I think the implication is that rochiralready had Mannish connotations.
    This name really is a little weird. In Appendix F, Tolkien talks about the sound chgetting weakened to h'in the speech of Gondor'. But Gondor had only been around for 142 years when Elrohir was born. That's an awfully short time for a distinctively Gondorian change to take place, become accepted (since such changes would presumably have been stigmatized as wrong at first), and then somehow become significant enough for an Elf Lord of Imladris (who'd been speaking Sindarin for a few millennia by that point) to adopt in the name of one of his sons. Maybe that's why in the letter Tolkien simply talks about it being a 'later' form rather than a specifically Gondorian form.
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  5. That is an interesting question. I suppose it is one where we may either accept a fairly simple story-external explanation or try to invent a story-internal one (that may be a bit more complex). Below I give my best shot at both types, but though I would venture to guess that my story-internal explanation is somewhat likely as a possible answer from Tolkien had he been asked this question, I don't think he was asked about this (at least not by October 1958) as I would have expected his answer in the letter quoted above in that case would have covered this aspect as well.
    Story internally: Elrohiris a reflection of the pronunciation of the name by the end of the Third Age. Originally he had been called Elrochirbut over the millennia even the pronunciation in Rivendell came to reflect the changes seen in Gondor. I know that there are changes to how a name is pronounced over even shorter periods of time in the real world (in Denmark we certainly do not pronounce all names as they were pronounced before even WWII), though my expectation is that spelling is somewhat slower to change, but perhaps the Elvish languages, where there is a much more direct relation between spelling and pronunciation, would be faster to change — in particular if they saw the spelling in writing as descriptiverather than prescriptivein its relation to the pronunciation of the Elven tongues(I seem to recall that lambëword for language is essentially identical to English 'tongue', i.e. a spoken language).
    Story externally I think that Tolkien was simply thinking in terms of the Gondorian dialect and thus gave Elrohirhis name in that dialect without thinking of the inherent anachronism, merely thinking of Elrochiras an older form without being conscious about how much older.
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  6. That 'story internal' explanation is, I think, linguistically plausible - but in the letter Tolkien may have been using 'later' as relative to, say, the First Age. This would be a slight contradiction with Appendix F, but maybe Tolkien had forgotten specifically what he wrote there or something (though technically, a change in Sindarin generally in, say, the Second Age would have affected how the language was used in later Gondor - the contradiction would be only to the implication that it was specificallya Gondorian change).

    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  7. Galin's Avatar
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    #7


    Story internally: Elrohir is a reflection of the pronunciation of the name by the end of the Third Age.That's how I took things. I guess the 'elf+man' part threw me a bit, as Grey-elvenrochir didn't seem necessarily 'mannish' in particular, and I imagined it being used in Sindarin before the migration of Men to Rohan (Eorl and so on). But The Lord of the Rings (the person) has given me more to think about there too.




  8. Regarding the story-external explanation, I am actually not entirely sure of the developments here. I got to look into it a bit (though not much) last night, but I couldn't figure the precise order of events.



    Elrohirwas so named rather late in the composition of The Lord of the Rings(‘The Last Debate’ as first written had him named Elbereth), and the explanation about Rohan reflecting Gondorian usage (for Sindarin Rochann) came after the linguistic matters had been moved to an appendix (a much shorter version appearing in the first drafts for a foreword / prologue). In any case the invention of Elrohirmust be after the use of Rohanand Rohirrimand is almost certainly a reflection of these (this may also explain Tolkien's otherwise curious statement that‘horse-lord(s),’ Sindarin rochir, should refer specifically to the race of Men).
    Which way the inconsistency goes, however, depends somewhat on the order of things, I should say. In particular we'd have to know the order of
    1. Establishing rohiras a laterform of rochir
    2. Naming Elrond's son Elrohir
    3. Listing the birth of Elrond's son in the early Third Age (i.e. with a very young Gondor)
    4. Establishing the weakening of Sindarin chto has a specifically Gondorian development
    While I feel fairly sure that 1 comes before 4, there is nothing else of which I can be sure. This gives too many permutations (12, in fact — fully half of which have 1 as the first event) for me to start listing possible explanations for each one (). The letter to Rhona Baere of course comes last of all these.
    Can anyone cast any light on the order of these events? Establishing the order of just one or two other pairs would be a tremendous help in trying to second-guess the story-external explanation for this.

    Edited by: Troelsfo
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...





  9. I should probably be in bed, but I'm too excited about having all my books back to sleep just now, and this is turning out to be a really interesting issue.



    The variation of ch~hseems to have been there from the very beginning of this name. At the first occurrence of the name recorded in the drafts in HoMe, on p. 422 of The Return of the Shadow, Christopher Tolkien notes:
    Before the name Rohanwas reached several others were written, Thanador, Ulthanador, Borthendor, Orothan{dor}. After Rohanis written: {= Rochan(dor)= Horseland}. This is unquestionably the point at which the name Rohanarose.-HoMe Vi, The Ring Goes South, n. 22, p. 433f.
    Somewhat later, when Tolkien was writing Helm's Deep, he scribbled some variant forms on the back of a page: RohirwaithRochirchoth Rohirhoth Rochann Rohann Rohirrim. Tolkien seems to be trying out different ways of referring to what he eventually called the 'Rohirrim', and one of the main points of variation was this ch~hissue. (HoMe VIII, Helm's Deep, p. 22)
    The association of the hform with Gondor seems to come, as Troelssaid, in the development of the Appendix on Languages. Judging by the introduction to that section, this comment was already in the earlier draft of the Appendix, labelled F1, of which Christopher says 'To date this version precisely seems scarcely possible, but at least it can certainly be placed before the summer of 1950, and I think that it may well be earlier than that', which is at least something (HoMe XII, p. 28). Unfortunately that makes it pretty hard to date this relative to the emergence of the name Elrohir, which looks like it must have been in the period 1946-1948.
    The specifically Gondorian nature of ch > his emphasized not only in Appendix F, but also in a letter to Naomi Mitchison (before RotK had been published), and in the notes in Parma Eldalamberon17in the discussion of the name Roheryn: 'softened Gondor form = pure S{indarin} Roch(ch)eruin> Rocheryn= 'Steed of the Lady'', p. 97.
    These notes in PE are probably from the late 50's or early 60's. Almost certainly after the letter to Rhona Beare, at any rate, showing that my earlier suggestion that Tolkien was slightly revising his ideas by using 'later' instead of 'Gondorian' don't really hold up. And anyway, both in that letter and the much later one to Mr. Rang (a draft from 1967) Tolkien actually cites to the specific page number of the Gondorian weakening comment in RotK, showing, I think, that he was well aware of what he'd written there, and was sticking to it and referencing it periodically for well over a decade.
    But that does leave the oddity that his letter to Rhona Beare really does seem to be rather consciously explaining the form of Elrohir's name as a Gondorianism.



    Edited by: Lord of the Rings
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.






  10. There's more, if we look at the notes for the nameRohaninUnfinished Tales.
    In the relatively lateCirion and Eorl, probably written in or after the summer of 1969, Tolkien goes into some detail about the various pronunciations ofRo(c)han(d). The Rohirrim themselves did use the Elvish form of their name, and they pronounced it with thech, a sound they had in their own language and which 'presented them with no difficulties'.
    Thehpronunciation was in fact a relatively late change -The Battle of the Fords of Isenimplies it happened only sometime after 2510 TA. And it was confined to the unlearned of the Men of Gondor. The correct pronunciation was adhered to by the more educated, and so used in written records:
    {These names'} proper form wasRochandandRochir-rim, and they were spelt asRochand, orRochan, andRochirrimin the records of Gondor. . .
    . . the Common Speech did not possess it {i.e. the sound speltch}, and in pronouncing Sindarin (in which it was very frequent) the people of Gondor, unless learned, represented it byhin the middle of words and bykat the end of them . . . Thus arose the namesRohanandRohirrimas used inThe Lord of the Rings.
    Rather than implying thatElrohirwas rather prophetically named as regards to Gondorian pronunciations of Sindarin some two millennia later, I'd be inclined to think that Tolkien's explanation for why he usedRohanin TLotR should apply just as much toElrohir. His name would properly have beenElrochir, but it was the colloquial forms that found their way (via the Hobbits?) into the story as it later took form. A bit like how the ancient Greek playwright is virtually always referred to asAeschylusin English, though his name would be more properly writtenAischylos(my spellchecker isn't too fond of that spelling). The modern English spelling comes because Greek literature was filtered through the Latin tradition for so long.
    I think that in this late text, Tolkien may just be more clearly (and precisely) expressing the idea that he'd had from the writing of the draft F1 of Appendix F onwards - not that he's writingRohanbecause the pronunciation of Gondor had prevailed in the late Third Age, but that the Gondorian pronunciation was significant for thetransmissionof the text, and that's the point where the actual formsRochan,Rochirrim, and (perhaps)Elrochirwere replaced with the more familiar versions. If that's right, then there aren't any problems at all on the sound front, internally or externally (though the question of howElrochirwould allude to Mannish heritage is still unclear, and still may well have an external explanation based on Tolkien anachronistically associatingrochirwith Rohan and its Mannish inhabitants).





    Edited by: Lord of the Rings
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

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