√LAM root. “(inarticulate voiced) sound”
This root for “sound” words appeared regularly in Tolkien’s writing, probably to a certain degree contrasted with √LAB which was the basis for Q. lamba “tongue” and Q. lambë “language”. The root √LAM was more specifically for inarticulate vocal sounds and in this sense was the basis for ✶lamā̆n(a) “animal” > Q. laman/S. lavan (WJ/416).
In fact, Tolkien’s earliest use of this root was as the basis for animal words, appearing as unglossed ᴱ√LAMA in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like ᴱQ. lama “a head of cattle or sheep; an animal, beast” and ᴱQ. lamáre “flock” (QL/50). In the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s, animal words were instead derived from ᴱ✶labna (PE14/70).
The first clear connection of ᴹ√LAM to “sound” was in The Etymologies of the 1930s where it was the basis of words like ᴹQ. láma “ringing sound, echo”, ᴹQ. lamma “sound” and ᴹQ. lámina “echo” (Ety/LAM). In this document, the Noldorin word N. glamor for “echo” was based on the strengthened root ᴹ√GLAM along with words like N. glamm “shouting, confused noise; barbarous speech” (Ety/GLAM); the latter sense survived in words like S. Glamhoth “din-horde” (UT/39), but later Sindarin “echo” word were transferred back to √LAM, as in S. Lammoth “Great Echo” (S/106). In the 1930s and 40s the root was also still connected to animals (PE21/28; PPE22/116).
The root √LAM appeared regularly in Tolkien’s later writings, variously glossed “sound” (VT39/15), “inarticulate voiced sounds” (PE17/138), or “sounds, especially ... vocal sounds, but [it] was applied only to those that were confused or inarticulate” (WJ/416). It remained connected to sound-words (VT39/20), echo-words (PE17/133) and animal-words (WJ/416).
References ✧ PE17/138, 159; VT39/15, 20; WJ/416
ᴹ√LAM root. “*sound”
References ✧ Ety/GLAM, LAM, ÑGAL