Latin Hobbits

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Arvellas 07/Oct/2006 at 03:51 PM
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I have a question concerning the names of Hobbits.  Some of them seem to have Spanish or Spanish-sounding names; two of the original Hobbits to enter the Shire were called Marcho and Blanco, and the Hobbit family trees show names such as Rosa, Chica, and Sancho.  The Hobbits at the time of LOTR speak Westron, of course, but many of their personal names are retained from their original tongue, which they spoke when they dwelt near the Vales of Anduin.  Could this be a sign of Latin-based languages in Middle-earth?
Magradhaid 07/Oct/2006 at 04:53 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008

No; these names that are given should be treated as not the original; I know that the Hobbits of Buckland were given names in a vaguely Celtic style, like Meriadoc, Gorhendad, Gorbadoc, etc. Fallohide Hobbits of old families like the Tooks and Bolgers were given Frankish / Gothic names (see RC:42, 59):

Tolkien also wrote "Since most of these seem to have been drawn from legends of the past, of Men as well as of Hobbits, and many while now meaningless to Hobbits closely resembled the names of Men in the Vale of Anduin, or in Dale, or in the Mark, I have turned them into those old names, largely of Frankish and Gothic origin, that are still used by us or are met in our histories." (App. F)

Marcho and Blanco are meant to echo Hengest and Horsa, two Germanic chieftains who led the Anglo-Saxons to conquer the Britons. Marcho is from OE mearh ’horse’, and Blanco from OE blanca ’white or grey horse’, whereas Hengest and Horsa were also ’horse’ in OE.

Mentioning Men of the Vale of Anduin, there are Marhari and Marhwini. The latter would appear in OE as Mearhwinë, and their names seem to be a precursor (resembling Gothic?) of the OE which was given in place of Rohirian in the books.

So, many names of Hobbits should be treated like those of the Rohirrim in the books as being translated into a language somewhat related to the language LotR was in (in this case, English); i.e. the book gives Éothéod but its real Rohirian name was Lohtûr, just as the names of Dale and the Vale of Anduin are also translated; Sméagol is Trahald, Smaug is Trâgu, Déagol is Nahald.

Lots of the Hobbit names were not like the Westron form; while some (like Anglicized Bilbo < W. Bilba) were, others like Welsh Gorhendad (actually W. Ogmandab) were not.

geordie 08/Oct/2006 at 03:43 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
To add - Meriadoc Brandybuck is a trans. of Kalimac Brandagamba, and Sam and his dad Hamfast were really called Banazir and Ranagud Galbasi. [Or the other way round]. see App F.

Tyrhsel - I knew of Trahald, but not Tragu nor Nahald. Lohtur and a couple of the other names are new to me too. Could you tell us where we can find those, please?
Captain Bingo 08/Oct/2006 at 04:15 AM
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From ’On Translation’ (App F)

"Smeagol and Deagol are equivalents made up in the same way for the names Trahald ’burrowing, worming in’, and Nahald ’secret’ in the Northern tongues. "

Can’t find Tragu or Lohtur in LotR though.
Captain Bingo 08/Oct/2006 at 04:32 AM
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I’ve googled ’Tragu’ & found references to it being ’Dalish’ (ie from the language of Dale, but I can’t find any references or quotes by Tolkien given, so I’m quite interested now....

Aelindis 08/Oct/2006 at 04:48 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004
Gentlemen,  please consult the HoME: Trâgu - PME:54,  Lohtûr -  PME:53.
Captain Bingo 08/Oct/2006 at 05:00 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Er, right, er ..Well done that chap. Wondered when someone was going to point that out....

Thing is, I have LotR within reach & my 3 vol slipcased HoM-e is on the top shelf & weighs a ton, so every time I have to lift it down I risk braining myself & ending up with the IQ of a Pullman fan...

(Jinniver will probably do me some serious damage for that last comment )
geordie 08/Oct/2006 at 06:05 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Many thanks - but, can we take this as ’kosher’, seeing as these names seem to occur only once in the corpus? Or do these names represent one of Tolkien’s abandoned ideas? Just asking.    

For instance, neither word appears in the index of PoMe.
Magradhaid 08/Oct/2006 at 11:06 AM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008

In my opinion, the words Trâgu and Lohtûr would stand, since the stems trah- (burrow, squeeze into a hole, etc.) and loho-/ lô- "horse" are attested in other Mannish names, such as Trahald ’apt to creep into a hole’, R. trahan ’smial’, Hobbitish trân ’smial’, R. Lôgrad ’the Horse-mark’, and the -tûr part is influenced by the Elvish stem TUR- ’power, mastery’, and is also found in R. tûrac- ’Théoden’.

I myself do not have access to PM to see whether those words are ephemeral; I know Trahald and Nahald are later than Trahand and Nahand, which were in an earlier draft of App. F. As for Trâgu and Lohtûr, is there anything in PM to suggest that they were crossed out? I have read that Trâgu comes from the same source within PM as Trahand / Nahand, so it could be ephemeral. I don’t know about Lôgrad, but it would be circular reasoning to say that it should stand since other words with that stem are found in the same source (PM)... so, geordie, I would say that it is possible. Though if the words were to change, I suspect it would be only slightly, using the same stem, as is found with Trahald [< Trahand] and Nahald [< Nahand], with the later words attested in App. F as published in LotR.

Aelindis, this is just speculation, but what do you think of the possibility that the -ald ending evident in those two names represents a sort of adjectival present participle? It fits with the definitions given, and is reminiscent of Sindarin -ol and Quenya -ala.

Aelindis 09/Oct/2006 at 12:05 AM
Elder of Imladris Points: 1987 Posts: 916 Joined: 18/Dec/2004
In PME there does not seem to be an indication that Lohtûr would not be valid, IMO. Obviously, it is the original Rohirric word for Éothéod = "Horse-folk", "Horse-land". Lôgrad is the Rohirric word for Éo-marc, the "Horse-mark" or "Borderland of the Horsemen", Sindarin Rohan
Of course the later published Appendix E was much shorter and other words were altered as Trahand > Trahald.
BTW, as there are about 370  Hobbit names in PME,  they are not completely given in the index. This is explained by Chr. Tolkien (PME:439).
Tyrhael, regarding -ald, I don’t know. Maybe, if we check all attested names, we might find more examples with -ald.