The Etymologies

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"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
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"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The Lost Road and Other Writings chapters
Part One
  1. The Early History of the Legend
  2. The Fall of Númenor
  3. The Lost Road
Part Two
  1. The Texts and Their Relations
  2. The Later Annals of Valinor
  3. The Later Annals of Beleriand
  4. Ainulindalë
  5. The Lhammas
  6. Quenta Silmarillion
Part Three
The Etymologies

The Etymologies is the third part of The Lost Road and Other Writings. In his preface to that volume, Christopher Tolkien describes The Etymologies as "a kind of historical dictionary", and associates the work with the years 1937-1938, prior to his father's work on The Lord of the Rings.


Etymologies folio 93

In The Etymologies, Tolkien provides a series of Elvish linguistic root syllables, or "bases". He then shows how each base evolved into various words in the various Elvish languages, primarily Qenya and Noldorin, but also about ten other variations. Although the derived words cannot necessarily be said to be in their final forms, as Tolkien's invented languages continued to evolve throughout his life, as Christopher Tolkien points out, this document "enormously increases the known vocabularies of the Elvish tongues".

Addenda and Corrigenda

In 2003 and 2004, Vinyar Tengwar issues 45 and 46 provided addenda and corrigenda to the original published text of The Etymologies, with previously unknown entries and roots. In 2007, Parma Eldalamberon issue 17 provided even more entries.

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