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4.1  Mutation and assimilation

As lenition is the main driving force of these languages both in phonological development and grammar, it is worthwhile to take a look at the names under this viewpoint. Surprisingly there is little of it in many of the words discussed above. For example,

show no lenition of the second element at all, Rathcarn has been even changed from Rathgarn. This is surprising, as we know words like basgorn ’loaf’ < bast-gorn < *bast-corn ’round bread’ (MBAS-, KOR-, once glossed Ilkorin and once Noldorin), where in the contact s-c the second word is lenited, although the combination -sc- seems to be permitted both in Noldorin and Ilkorin when it comes from the same stem, compare N. asgar, ascar, Ilk. ascar ’violent, rushing, impetuous’ (SKAR-).
Even more surprising is Erceleb, a unique example of an unchanged contact r-c, although Erchamui ’One-handed’ (KAB-) and numerous other words show that a stop after r would become a spirant or at least undergo lenition.
Pensarn has unchanged contact n-s, while we can see from the name Arassuil (LotR App.A) < *aran-suil ’king-greeting’ that n-s assimilates to -ss- in later Sindarin; although it may be here due to the medial simplification of *pendsarn > pensarn. Still, one would have at least expected *Penharn, as in Calenhir, Tolharn. Note that according to a conception of the later Northern Sindarin dialect s is unlenited initially (PE17:134) and it was also unlenited in Goldogrin and Early Noldorin (GL:7, PE13:121) – perhaps the same applies at that time to Ilkorin?
In Dincelon the word celon is not lenited; instead we are perhaps observing *dim- assimilating to the following c-. However, in examples like

we see even a lack of assimilation, with the clusters -rnb- and -rnv- allowed medially, as well as -nb-, although Calenbel or Calen-Bel was changed to Calembel, Cálembel and later Calembrith can be found.

Lenition occurs in the following words:

One has to point out Beleghir and Calenhir in contrast with Narosîr. The usage of the circumflex for the second unlenited element in Narosîr is noticeable – it is usually used in monosyllables and the other compounds with lenited sîr shorten their vowel. Perhaps this is indeed a different (more loose) kind of compound *Naro-sîr and therefore without lenition.
The lenition of g- to the spirant gh in Morghul, Dúghul ignoring primitive ñg- is also different from later Sindarin, where we find i ngaurhoth *’the wolf-host’ (LotRII ch.4, ÑGAW-), di-nguruthos ’beneath-death-horror’ (LotRIV ch.10, Rgeo:72, ÑGOROTH-, ÑGUR-); also earlier di-ngorgoros (or di-ngorgoroth, reading uncertain) in The Etymologies (VT45:37). Such a special treatment of former nasalized stops goes in fact all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon (e.g. golda > i·Ngolda ’the gnome’ (GL:8)).
Lenition g > gh may be either an analogical development – historical forms would tend to become forgotten by the time of the Third Age, compare dor ’land’ > i·nnor, indor ’the land’, analogical i·dhor (PE13:161). The voiced velar spirant surely strengthens the effect of -ghul applied to dark magic.
But in Angrobel, Fornobel, Ered Orgoroth initial g- is lenited to zero (gorgoroth also may have had initial ñg-, but The Etymologies give primitive gor-ngoroth). Perhaps they had been lenited *ʒobel, *ʒorgoroth at an intermediate stage before the spirant fell away, although remaining in monosyllabic elements (as Mor-ghul, Dú-ghul) – otherwise those would have become unrecognizable. Or gh only remained after r or a vowel and fell away after other consonants or clusters. Compare the later Sindarin development nāba-grota ’hollow’ + ’excavation, underground dwelling’ > nǭv-ʒrot > novrod (WJ:414).

The forms with hoth ’host’ show three different results – lenition, no lenition and the dropping of h. Perhaps this has to be understood as a suffix rather than part of a compound:

There are some examples of trailing and lenited adjectives:

But there are about twice as much without lenition:

The interpretation of Arad Dain *’High Pass’ is too uncertain to work with. Minas-berel may also contain an unlenited adjective berel *’valiant’.

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