S. [n] assimilated to following labial at morpheme boundaries; [n+{mb}] > [m+{mb}]

S. [n] assimilated to following labial at morpheme boundaries; [n+{mb}] > [m+{mb}]

At morpheme boundaries, it seems that [n] assimilated as [m] to a following labial (such as [b]) very late in both Sindarin and Noldorin, much as it did in Primitive Elvish, as noted by David Salo (GS/§4.121). This is most obvious in compound names such as:

It shows up in some older compounds as well, where the n+b combination were the result of middle consonants being lost in large clusters:

All of these examples of mb must be from later assimilations, because otherwise the mb would have become mm as it usually did medially. Compare this with the following examples, which must have been from early assimilations because the ultimate result is an isolated m:

There a couple of examples that show nb unassimilated but these are the minority, perhaps intermediate forms or dialectical variations.

Very likely there was a similar assimilation of [n] to [ŋ] before following velars (such as [g]) as suggested by David Salo (GS/§4.121), but this is difficult to determine orthographically because Tolkien represented both [ŋg] and [ŋ] as ng.

Conceptual Developments: There are no attested examples nb in the Gnomish of the 1910s. This fact together with examples like G. Tirimbrithla “Tower of Pearl” = G. tirin + brithla (GL/71) indicate that this sound change was part of Tolkien’s conceptions of the language from the very beginning. Lack of clear examples makes determining the details at the earliest stages very difficult, especially since medial mb did not become mm in Gnomish.

Order (05100)

After 02200 short final vowels vanished ledme-mbasta > lenm(e)mbast(a) > lenmbast > S. lembas PE17/51
After 05000 [mb], [nd] became [mm], [nn] OS. lenn-mbass > S. lembas PM/404
Before 05500 non-initial [m] usually became [v] nan-men > S. damen PE17/166
Before 05700 [mm] shortened nan-men > S. damen PE17/166

Phonetic Rule Elements

[n+m] > [m+m]
[n+b] > [m+b]

Phonetic Rule Examples

lenbas > lembas n+b > m+b OS. len-bas > S. Lembas ✧ LotRI/Lembas
lenbas > lembas n+b > m+b OS. lendbas > S. lembas ✧ PE17/60
lenbas > lembas n+b > m+b OS. lenn-mbass > S. lembas ✧ PM/404
lenbas > lembas n+b > m+b OS. lenn-mbass > S. lembas ✧ SI/lembas
lenbass > lembass n+b > m+b ledme-mbassē > S. lembas ✧ PE17/51
lenbass > lembass n+b > m+b led(e)mbasse > S. lembas ✧ PE17/52
lenbast > lembast n+b > m+b ledme-mbasta > lenm(e)mbast(a) > lenmbast > S. lembas ✧ PE17/51
danmen- > dammen- n+m > m+m nan-men > S. damen ✧ PE17/166

N. [n] assimilated to following labial at morpheme boundaries; [n+{mb}] > [m+{mb}]

GS/§4.121 @@@

Order (02000)

Before 02100 short final vowels vanished ON. Boronmíro/Borommíro > N. Boromir Ety/BOR
Before 05700 [mm] shortened ON. Boronmíro/Borommíro > N. Boromir Ety/BOR

Phonetic Rule Elements

[n+m] > [m+m]
[n+b] > [m+b]

Phonetic Rule Examples

lenbas > lembas n+b > m+b ᴹ√LEN > N. lembas ✧ EtyAC/LEN
boronmiro > borommiro n+m > m+m ON. Boronmíro/Borommíro > N. Boromir ✧ Ety/BOR