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S. #gwae- v. “to go, depart” (Category: to Depart, Go Away)

S. #gwae-, v. “to go, depart” (Category: to Depart, Go Away)
S. †ban- “?to go”
G. us- “to leave, depart”

This highly irregular verb appeared in Definitive Linguistic Notes (DLN) from 1959 as the Sindarin equivalent of Q. auta- “go (away), depart”, itself very irregular, both verbs derived from the invertible root √WĀ/AWA (PE17/148). The Sindarin verb has a present tense form gwaen “I go” and past forms 1st. sg. anwen “*I went” and 3rd. sg. anu/awn “*he/she went”, with these past forms apparently based on an ancient nasal-infixed strong past ✶anwē (from which the Q. strong past anwe “went” was derived). It has two more forms gwanu/gwawn. These seem to be the equivalent of Q. vanwa “lost” < ✶wanwā.

A probably related form gwanwen “departed” appears in the Quendi and Eldar (Q&E) essay from 1959-60 (WJ/378). This could be an independant adjective, but could also be a passive participle of gwae- (or some variant of it), possibly a strengthened or elaborated form of gwanu/gwawn.

The present tense form gwaen “I go” is especially peculiar. Compare this to the more regular present tenses cewin “I taste” < kawin(e) (PE22/152) and galon “I grow” < galān(e) (PE17/131). I think the likeliest explanation is that gwaen is derived from an ancient aorist form wa-i-nĭ, with ai becoming ae as was usual of Sindarin’s phonetic developments. If so, the presents of this verb would be based on √WA and the pasts based on √AW.

A final twist is that in the note from DLN Tolkien mentions u-intrusion, a sound change parallel to the more common i-intrusion, whereby a final u moved before a preceding consonant. The forms awn and gwawn are thus the u-intruded results of anu and gwanu. This u-intrusion would not occur in forms with further suffixes, like anwen “I went”.

Neo-Sindarin: How to handle this verb in the context of Neo-Sindarin is unclear. Given the extreme irregularity of this verb, it is tempting to discard it. Unfortunately, we have no other good Sindarin verbs for “to depart”. Furthermore, common verbs like “go” tend to be irregular in many languages (such as English as “go” vs. “went”), so it makes sense the same would be true of Sindarin. As such, I propose the following conjugation for this verb (hat tip to Gilruin for most of this paradigm; he suggested much better forms than my original ideas):

Finally, this verb means “go” specifically in the sense “depart”, that is: “go away”. For “go (generally and in any direction)”, use the verb men-.

References ✧ PE17/148; WJ/378



Gwanwen passive-participle “departed” ✧ WJ/378
Gwenwin passive-participle plural   ✧ WJ/378
anwen past 1st-sg   ✧ PE17/148
anu past 3rd-sg   ✧ PE17/148: 3rd singular
awn past 3rd-sg   ✧ PE17/148
gwanu perfective-participle   ✧ PE17/148
gwawn perfective-participle   ✧ PE17/148
gwaen present 1st-sg “I go” ✧ PE17/148
’waen soft-mutation present 1st-sg; gw-mutation   ✧ PE17/148

Element In



Phonetic Developments

AWA/WĀ > gwaen [wain] > [gwain] > [gwaen] ✧ PE17/148
AWA/WĀ > anwen [anwen] ✧ PE17/148
AWA/WĀ > anu [anwe] > [anw] > [anu] ✧ PE17/148
AWA/WĀ > awn [anwe] > [anw] > [aun] ✧ PE17/148
AWA/WĀ > gwanu [wanwa] > [gwanwa] > [gwanw] > [gwanu] ✧ PE17/148
AWA/WĀ > gwawn [wanwa] > [gwanwa] > [gwanw] > [gwaun] ✧ PE17/148