Q. á hyamë rámen úcarindor “pray for us sinners”

Q. á hyamë rámen úcarindor “pray for us sinners”

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The sixth line of Aia María, Tolkien’s translation of the Ave Maria prayer. The first word á is the imperative particle, indicating that the verb form hyamë “pray” is an imperative. The third word rámen “for us” is combination of the preposition rá² “for” (lit. “*on behalf of”) and the dative men of the pronoun me “us”. The last word úcarindor “sinners” is the plural of úcarindo “sinner”.

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

á hyamë rá-me-n úcarindo-r = “*do pray for-us-(dative) sinner-(plural)”

Conceptual Development: In the first two versions of the prayer Tolkien suffixed the pronoun lye “you (polite)” to the imperative particle a: alye (I-II). He also used the verb arca (I-II) instead of hyamë (III-IV) for “pray”. He used several different words for the preposition “for”: atar² (I), meter (II), hrá (III deleted) and rá², always followed by the pronoun me “us”, sometimes dative (men) and sometimes not (me).

Tolkien considered several words for “sinners”: ulcarindor (I deleted), naicandor (I), naicor (I replacement), naici (II deleted) and úcarindor (IV). In version II of the prayer, Tolkien replaced “sinners” with a subordinate clause: i naici nar “*[those] who are sinners” (II deleted) >> i naiquear “*[those] who sin” (II).

Wynne, Smith and Hostetter analyzed the word naiquear as an adjective used as a plural noun: “sinners” (VT43/34). However, since it replaced a verbal phrase, I think it is likelier to be the present tense of an otherwise unattested verb naiqua- “*to sin”.

    I    II  III IV
{arca >>} alye á
{alye >>} arca hyamë
{atarmen >>} atarme meterme {hrá >>} rá men rámen
{ulcarindor >>} naicandor [>> naicor] i {naici nar >>} naiquear úcarindor

References ✧ VT43/26-28, 33



á “imperative particle” ✧ VT43/32 (alye); VT43/32; VT43/33 (aly’); VT43/33 (alya)
#hyam- “*to pray” aorist ✧ VT43/32 (hyame)
rá² “*for, on behalf of” ✧ VT43/33 (hrá); VT43/33
me “us (exclusive)” dative ✧ VT43/33 (me(n)); VT43/33 (men)
#úcarindo “*sinner” plural ✧ VT43/33 (úcarindor)
atar² “*for” ✧ VT43/33; VT43/33 (atarni); VT43/33 (atarni)
#naico “*sinner” plural ✧ VT43/33 (naicor); VT43/34 (naici)
#naicando “*sinner” plural ✧ VT43/33 (naicandor)
#ulcarindo “*sinner” plural ✧ VT43/33 (ulcarindor)
arca- “*to pray, petition” aorist ✧ VT43/33; VT43/33; VT43/33
meter “*for (the purpose of), towards the end” ✧ VT43/33; VT43/33 (meterni)
“who, what, which, that” ✧ VT43/34
ná- “to be” aorist plural ✧ VT43/34 (nar)
#naiqua- “*to sin” present plural ✧ VT43/34 (naiquear)

Element In