S. sui mín i gohenam di ai gerir úgerth ammen, “as we forgive those who trespass against us”

[< Previous Phrase] Ae Adar Nín

The eighth line of Ae Adar Nín, Tolkien’s Sindarin translation of the Lord’s Prayer (VT44/21). The first word is the preposition sui “as”. The second word has the same form as mín “our” but seems to function as men¹ “us” (as it appeared in the first draft of this sentence). The third word is “who”, followed by gohenam, the 2nd-pl inflection of the verb gohena- “to forgive” with its direct object di, the lenited form of the pronoun ti “them”.

The function of the sixth word ai² (“those who”) is difficult to decipher. See the entry for that word for further discussion.

The seventh word gerir is a lenited form of cerir (as it appeared in the draft), which itself is the plural of the verb car- “to do”. This followed by úgerth, the plural of úgarth “trespass, *misdeed” and ammen “to us”, a combination of an “to, for” and men¹ “us”.

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

sui mín i gohena-m di [← ti] ai gerir [← cerir] úgerth am-men = “*as us who forgive-we them who do-(plural) trespasses to-us”

The sense of this phrase seems to be: “as us, who forgive those who do trespasses to us”.

Conceptual Development: Tolkien wrote a draft version (I) before producing a revised version (II) of this phrase (VT44/22, note on line 8). For “as we [us]”, Tolkien used the preposition sui “as” in both versions, but for “us” Tolkien wrote mín >> men in the draft, and then mí ni >> mín in the revision. Of these, men “us” seems to me to be the most consistent with Tolkien’s use of this pronoun elsewhere. Bill Welden discussed possible interpretations of this pronoun usage on VT44/28.

For “forgive”, Tolkien first wrote dihenam in the draft, which is another form of the verb díhena- “forgive” used in the previous line of the prayer. Tolkien replaced this with góhenam in the draft, which appeared as gohenam in the revised phrase. As pointed out by Bill Welden (VT44/29), it isn’t clear whether Tolkien intended to replace díhena- with gohena- generally as the Sindarin verb for “forgive”, or whether both verbs were valid with slightly different connotations.

See the entry for the word ai² “*those who” for a discussion of the development of that word (ayath >> ay >> ai).

Tolkien reversed the order of úgarth “trespass” and cerir “do-(plural)” between the draft and revised versions, which required changing cerir to its lenited form gerir (which Tolkien first wrote mistakenly as garer in the revised version before correcting it to gerir).

In the draft version, Tolkien wrote ann for “against us”, but as Bill Welden points out (VT44/22), Tolkien almost certainly intended ammen as it appeared in the revised version and elsewhere in the prayer, and simply failed to complete this form in the draft.

  I   II
{mín >>} men {mí ni >>} mín
{dihenam >>} góhenam gohenam
{ayath >> ay >>} ai ai
ugerth {garer >>} gerir
cerir úgerth
ann ammen

References ✧ VT44/21.3300; VT44/22.1211





sui “*as” ✧ VT44/27.0601
men¹ “us” ✧ VT44/28.3001 (mín)
“who, that” ✧ VT44/29.0101
#gohena- “*to forgive” aorist 2nd-pl ✧ VT44/29.0201 (gohenam)
#ti “*them” soft-mutation ✧ VT44/30.0901 (di)
ai² “*those who” ✧ VT44/30.1701
car- “to do, make” soft-mutation present plural ✧ VT44/30.3301 (gerir)
#úgarth “trespass, (lit.) *misdeed” plural ✧ VT44/28.2601 (úgerth)
an “to, for” assimilated ✧ VT44/27.3701-1 (am)
men¹ “us” ✧ VT44/27.3701-2

Element In