§ Ramathor, Ramathir >> Belfalas (TI:119)
These earlier names of the Bay of Belfalas are most difficult to interpret. It looks as if both are containing N. rhamb, rham ’wall’ (RAMBĀ-) or a similar Ilkorin word with voiced intial r-.
The second element in the first form could be related to THUR- ’surround, fence, ward, hedge in, secrete’ with N. thoro- ’fence’. The whole word thus could be translated as *’surrounding/fencing wall’ – perhaps appropriate for a bay with high cliffs. Another stem in question is THOR-, THORON- with N. thôr, thoron, Ilk. thorn ’eagle’. And if the name is indeed Ilkorin, we may consider rama- as meaning ’wing’ (RAM-) with unlenited m, thus ?’eagle-wing’ – referring to the bay’s shape on the map?
On the other hand, if one considers both early forms, it appears that Tolkien simply exchanged the ending -or for -ir (compare Brandor and Brandir below (2.36)), which would leave us the basic form #ramath – interpretable as the collective plural *’walls’, but perhaps also *’wings’.
But after all, we are later told that Bel- in Belfalas has no suitable meaning in Sindarin, probably meaning ’shore’ in an alien tongue (VT42:15), so the earlier names need not to be entirely interpretable at all.