√NAD root. “hollow (of structures or natural features more or less concave with rising sides)”
This root and ones like it were connected to the names of dales and vales for much of Tolkien’s life. A likely precursor is ᴱ√NAŘA [NAÐA] from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like ᴱQ. nan(d) “woodland” and ᴱQ. nandin “dryad” (QL/64). Words like G. nand “field acre”, G. nandriol “rustic, rural”, and G. nandor “farmer” from the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon are probably derived from the same root, since G. nandir “fay of the country” in the same list is said to be a cognate of ᴱQ. nandin (GL/59). Another likely precursor is ᴱ√NḶDḶ or nḷřḷ [NḶĐḶ] from the Qenya Lexicon, given as nḷđ in the Gnomish Lexicon, with derivatives like ᴱQ. nal (nald-) and G. glith “dell” (QL/66; GL/40).
The unglossed root ᴹ√NAD appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with derivatives like ᴹQ. nanda “water-mead, watered plain”, N. nadhor “pasture”, and N. nann “wide grassland” and so probably meaning something like “*plain” (Ety/NAD); it had a rejected variant ᴹ√NÁNAD as well (EtyAC/NAD). √NAD appeared in notes from 1968 with the gloss “hollow (of structures or natural features more or less concave with rising sides)” and derivatives like Q. nanwa “a (large) bowl” and S. nand “valley” (NM/351). In these notes, primitive ✶nandē was described as meaning:
*nandē “a valley, bottom”, originally used only of not very large areas the sides of which were part of their own configuration. Vales or valleys of great extent, plains at the feet of mountains, etc. had other names.
The most notable names in the early Legendarium using this root are ᴱQ. Tasarinan and G. Nan Tathrin “Land of Willows”, names that retained the same basic form and meaning in Tolkien later writings, except that the Sindarin form became S. Nan-tathren, and that Tolkien sometimes translated the name as “Valley of Willows” instead of “Land”. Indeed, the elements S. nan(d) and Q. nan(do) or nandë appeared regularly in names in Tolkien’s later writings, but almost always translated as “valley” or “vale”.
Neo-Eldarin: Since primitive ✶nandē referred as much to the plain at the bottom of the valley than the valley itself, I would assume Noldorin (and Neo-Sindarin) words having to doing with pastures could be extrapolate from that sense. For Neo-Quenya pasture words, however, I would use derivatives of ᴺ√NES; see that entry for discussion.
Reference ✧ NM/351 ✧ “hollow (of structures or natural features more or less concave with rising sides)”
ᴹ√NAD root. “*plain, valley”
References ✧ Ety/NAD; EtyAC/NAD
ᴱ√NAÐA root. “*plain”
References ✧ LT1A/Nandini; QL/64
ᴱ√NḶĐḶ root. “*dell”
References ✧ GL/40; LT1A/Murmenalda; QL/66