S. Argonath loc. “Pillars of the Kings, (lit.) Royal Stones”
Two statues of Gondorian kings just north of Nen Hithoel, translated “Pillars of the Kings” (LotR/392), more literally “(Pair of) Royal Stones” (RC/347, RGEO/67, Let/427). It is combination of the prefix ar(a)- “noble”, the noun gond “stone”, and the class-plural suffix -ath (RC/347).
It is not clear why this noun uses the class-plural. However, in one place Tolkien describes a dual variant argonad using the archaic dual suffix †-ad (Let/427). Perhaps this was the original form of the name, altered to Argonath after the Sindarin dual form was forgotten.
Conceptual Development: In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, this name first appeared as N. Sern Aran(ath) “King Stones” along with an alternate name N. Sern Ubed “[Stones of] Denial” (WR/98, 132). Later in these drafts it was revised to N. Argonath (TI/366).
References ✧ Let/427; LotR/392; LotRI; PMI; RC/347; RGEO/67; SA/ar(a), gond; SI
|ar(a)-||“noble, royal, high”||✧ RC/347|
|gond||“stone, rock”||✧ RC/347 (gon-); SA/gond|
|-ath||“collective or group plural”||✧ RC/347|
|✶arn(a)-||“noble, royal”||✧ Let/427|
|√RĀ/ARA||“noble, high, royal”||✧ SA/ar(a) (ar(a)-)|
N. Sern Aranath loc. “King Stones”
Earlier name for the Argonath appearing in Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s (TI/366), a combination of the plural of sarn “stone” and the class-plural of aran “king”. It also appeared with the ordinary plural Sern Erain, and the singular form Sarn Aran (WR/98).
References ✧ TI/366; TII/Argonath; WR/98, 132; WRI/Sarn Aran, Sern Aranath
|sarn||“stone as a material”||plural||✧ WR/98 (Sern)|
|aran||“king, lord (of a specific region)”||class-plural||✧ WR/98 (Erain)|
N. Sern Ubed loc. “[Stones of] Denial”
References ✧ WR/132; WRI/Sern Ubed
|sarn||“stone as a material”||plural||✧ WR/132 (Sairn); WR/132 (Sern)|