√LON¹ root. “*haven, harbour”
The most notable derivatives of this root were Q. londë and S. lond “haven”, but the exact derivation of these words underwent a number of revisions. The earliest word for “haven” was ᴱQ. kópa as in ᴱQ. Kópas Alqalunte(n) “Haven of the Swanships” (LT1/164; LT2/82), a word Tolkien gradually abandoned; see ᴹ√KHOP for discussion. The Telerin haven was renamed ᴹQ. Alqalonde in Silmarillion drafts from the early 1930s (SM/265), a name Tolkien retained thereafter. A Noldorin equivalent N. Alflon also appeared in some Silmarillion maps from the early 1930s (SM/250-1, 261).
In The Etymologies of the 1930s these new words for “haven” were derived from ᴹ√LOD, unglossed but with primitive form ᴹ✶londē “narrow path, strait, pass” and N. lhonn of the same meaning (Ety/LOD). The sense “pass” is seen in the name N. Aglon “*Narrow Pass” (Ety/AK, LOD). It seems there was some semantic drift in Quenya, since the Quenya derivative ᴹQ. londe was glossed “road (in sea), fairway, entrance to harbour” (Ety/LOD). The root ᴹ√LON [LONO] also appears in The Etymologies, but its only derivative was ᴹQ. lóna “island, remote land difficult to reach”, as in ᴹQ. Avalóna “Outer Isle”, one of the names of Tol Eressea (Ety/LONO).
In The Etymologies, ᴹ√LOD had some competition for haven-words, since there was also the root ᴹ√LUR “be quiet, still, calm” with derivative N. lhorn “quiet water, anchorage, haven, harbour”; a false beginning indicates Tolkien first considered using the root ᴹ√LOR for this purpose (EtyAC/LUR). This Noldorin haven-word appears in some 1942 notes on names from Lord of the Rings drafts: “Lorn = haven [vs.] Londe = gulf” (TI/423), and in early Lord of the Ring maps from 1943, the north and south havens were N. Forlorn and N. Harlorn, as opposed to the name of the gulf which was N. Mithlond (TI/301-302).
However, Tolkien eventually changed the north and south havens to S. Forlond and S. Harlond (LotR/1050), and S. Mithlond became “Grey Havens” rather than “*Grey Gulf” (LotR/1030). Thus Quenya and Sindarin haven-word were ultimately considered cognates, and in notes from the late 1960s having to do with The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor both were derived from √LON (unglossed) along with Q. lóna “pool, mere” (VT42/10).
Remnants of earlier ideas remained in Tolkien’s later writings, however, which muddy the picture: Aglon still appeared in the Silmarillion narratives in the 1950s and 60s (S/123; WJ/38, 77), as did the name Q. Avallónë for Tol Eressea (S/260; MR/175). The root √(S)LON was also connected to some of Tolkien’s later ideas for possible origins of S. Lhûn; see the entry on √LOG for discussion. The instability of all these ideas makes me think that Tolkien never did quite sort out how (or whether) any of them were connected to √LON or √LOD and haven-words.
References ✧ PE17/137, 160; VT42/10; VT48/28
ᴹ√LOD root. “*pass, path”
References ✧ Ety/AK, ÁLAK, LOD
ᴹ√LUR root. “be quiet, still, calm”
Reference ✧ EtyAC/LUR ✧ “be quiet, still, calm”