§ Barangils ’Swertings’ (TI:309,313)
This is a Gondorian term for the people of Harad; ’swerting’ derives from swart (’swarthy’) (RC:764). Later, Harns also appears (see 3.23).
The Elvish name seems to contain baran ’dark, swart, dark-brown’ (BARÁN) and maybe the suffix -il also seen in ernil ’prince’ (LotRVI ch.4, UT:428) < S. #arn ’royal’ (Let:347). If so, the occurrence of -g- looks unusual, but might be compared with S. fing ’lock of hair’ (RC:386, SPIN-). In this example, however, -g- is perhaps an epenthetic insertion by speakers of the Common Speech; at least the name is given the English (= Common Speech) plural -s.
However, Matthew Dinse made me aware of another possibility. In 1932 and 1934 Tolkien published the two parts of an article called Sigelwara Land, which dealt with the question of why there was a distinct and several times attested Old English name for the Ethiopians (namely Sigelwaran, Sigelhearwan). This fact is special because proper biblical names were usually adapted, not translated.
Tolkien remarks that the word includes elements not current in Old English and argues from there on that it must be older and preserved at least a name, if no more, from the vanished native mythology or its borderland of half-mythical geography.
He then attempts a linguisitc analysis. As the initial element Sigel ’Sun’ comes into question, which is attested in Beowulf (and other sources) and has furthermore cognates in other languages, as e.g. the name of the s-rune. Another candidate is sigel, sigle describing a round jewel or golden ornament, originating from Latin sigillum, which in its turn refers to a small image or figure, the impress of a stamp or seal. Tolkien then suggests that the two words had mutual influence on each other; and he remarks on the usage of gimm ’precious stone, jewel’ for the sun.
For the second element hearwa he discusses several primitive candidates all having to do with the colour ’black’, so that the name may mean something like *’those who were made black by the sun’.
As he concludes, such guesswork is naturally inconclusive, but not pointless – giving insight into English and northern trandition and imagination.
An interesting point is that Tolkien considered Harwan, Silharrows, Harrowland, Sunharrowland as names for Haradwaith, the very region occupied by the Swertings (TI:435,439). So it stands to reason that Barangil could mirror the formation of Sigelhearwan, containing baran ’dark, swart, dark-brown’ as mentioned above and as the second element #-gil ’star’, orginally ’bright spark’ (N. geil under GIL-,VT45:15; later sg. gil (Rgeo:73)); but now with reference to the sun (= bright spark, jewel(?)). Although gil (or N. geil, Early Noldorin gail (PE13:143)) is always attested in the meaning ’star’ and never has to do anything with the sun; one could imagine a corruption or alteration of this sense by the Gondorians, especially regarding the obscure Sigelwara. Another possibility would be N. bara ’fiery, eager’, originally ’hot, burning’ (BARAS-) and gil lenited to -ngil. Although the root is given as GIL- in The Etymologies, it later becomes √NGIL ’silver glint’ (MR:388, PE167). Note that Tolkien considers a connection between -hearwan and Old Norse hyrr ’fire’, Old English heorþ ’hearth’, hierstan.’roast’, so that an ambiguity of the Elvish word could have been intended.
Compare also Narghil, Nargil below (2.52).