Calling all Tolkien language geeks: "Bree" in the original Westron

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Elleth
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Calling all Tolkien language geeks: "Bree" in the original Westron

Postby Elleth » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:17 pm

So...

I'm pondering what word our beloved characters were *actually* saying when that said the town name of "Bree."
(I'm working on an in-universe project where I'd like to reference the town in Westron, and I'd prefer to use something at least hypothetically correct - even if we can never really know the 'real' answer. )

To recap for those missing context: Tolkien gives us narrative and dialogue in English, which stands in for a language called Westron in the "real" Middle-earth - itself a sort of lingua franca of this area of MIddle earth, derived from a pidgining of the Adunaic spoken by the old Numenoreans and the languages of their long-distant cousins who never allied with the elves or went west to Numenor.

In the text, Tolkien chose "Bree" from the old Brythonic/Celtic word for "hill" - the idea being that the peoples of Eriador are speaking Westron but the town name of "Bree" is a holdover from the tribes of men who lived there prior to Elendi's kingdom of Arnor.

(As an aside, I came across a funny result of waves of peoples hitting Britain centuries apart and asking "what's the name of that place over there?"
And so the placename "Breton Hill" - translates all the way out from their various tongues as "HillHill Hill". :) )

ANYHOW: Bree.

Presumably the word derives from (I'm thinking) a word used by ancient forbears of the Dunlenders, as they seem to be Tolkien's stand in for the Celtic tribes of Europe.
And there is exactly one word for Dunlendish in the text: "Forgoil" for "straw-heads" - an insult the third age Dunlenders use for the Rohirrim.

The Dunlenders come from the House of Haleth: who we know had alliance in the first age with the Sindarin.
There's also some thought that early proto-Adunaic was influenced by the Khazad.

So there's some *possibility* we can mine those tongues for a hint, but it's of course impossible to know.

These are some terms I came across combing elfDict:

ambo: Quenya: hill/rising ground/mount
Túna: Qunya hill/mound
tundo: hill/mound
umbo: Quenya hill/lump/clump/ass
súl :Sindarin hill/lump/clump/mass
amon: hill/lump/clum/mass (esp isolate)
bund: khuzdul head
tund: noldorin hill/mound
dôl: noldorin head/hill
amon: noldorin hill
ambo: primitive elvish hill
kas: primitive elvish head
nóla: primitive/”Qenya” (sic) - (round) hill, head, top, summit
nod: early noldorin head


I do like the initial "b" in Khuzdul head as a nod to the real "Bree" in the text. I'm also somewhat inclined to use a single-syllable word if possible, just to mimic the mouth-feel of "Bree."
I'd like to avoid getting too close to "tun" as "Noldorin tum / 'Gnomish' tûm" is already a perfect word to use in place of Combe: very similar mouth-feel.
("Combe" is prounounced "koom" and is also a Brythonic loanword for [narrow] valley)

Anyhow, past that I'm flailing for what to use.
I'm tentatively thinking "Búnd" or "Búnda" or something similar.

Any Tolkien language geeks have a thought?
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
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Elleth
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Re: Calling all Tolkien language geeks: "Bree" in the original Westron

Postby Elleth » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:46 pm

Hunh. Just had a thought.

The "goil" of "Forgoil" is similar to the plural form we see in Sindarin: Duneadan (man of the West) / Dunedain (men of the West).
... which MIGHT indicate that Dunlendish "head" singular would be "gol."
... unless the Dunlenders follow Sindarin mutation rules, in which case it could also (I think) plausibly be "kol."

Regardless, it's suspiciously similar to Sindarin "dhol/dol" (head/ hill / round-topped mountain)

.... so that might be the most plausible vowel / word end at any rate. Thoughts?
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
LastielRusc
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Re: Calling all Tolkien language geeks: "Bree" in the original Westron

Postby LastielRusc » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:37 pm

So, just an overview I'm working on learning Sindarin.... More on the advanced beginner end, with English being my native tongue with no other on my belt all of the mutations and rules are a bit of a challenge.

Elftdict is a good resource, though I might suggest looking into eldamo.org which allows one to see and the original roots, words that were rejected by Tolkien and replaced by later works (later works as in later on in life) along with some fan based words that are based off of roots in proto-qenya (if I am remembering correctly).

Though in looking for an answer to your question, I hesitate to venture a guess with my current knowledge. I do suggest that you visit Vinyë Lambengolmor ( https://discord.gg/kHaKJmQ ) while they primarily study/research Sindarin and Quenya they might know of a resource or an article that may have an answer that satisfies.

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