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RAB root. “astray, wandering, unsettled”

RAB root. “astray, wandering, unsettled”

This root first appeared as unglossed ᴹ√RAB in The Etymologies of the 1930s with derivatives like ᴹQ. ráva/N. rhaw “wild, untamed” and ᴹQ. ravanda/N. rhofan “wilderness” (Ety/RAB; EtyAC/RAB), the latter an element in the name N. Rhovanion from Lord of the Rings drafts (TI/296). The Quenya/Noldorin r-/rh- variation was a result of the fact that initial [r-], [l-] were unvoiced in Noldorin (PE22/32).

The root √RAB reappeared in Tolkien’s later writings with the gloss “astray, wandering, unsettled”; Tolkien contrasted it with √RAN by saying “it differed from √RAN in that it referred to absence of direction or purpose, whereas √RAN meant to ‘err’, go aside from a course (commanded or self-chosen)” (PE17/78). In Sindarin, however, initial r-, l- were no longer unvoiced, so Tolkien coined a new intensified variant √S-RAB “wild in senses ‘not tamed, domesticated’, and hence often ‘fierce, savage, hostile’ (to Elves and Men)”. This intensified variant served as a new basis for S. Rhovanion “Wilderland”, and also had other derivatives like Q. hráva “wild” and Q. hravan “wild beast”.

In another place Tolkien defined this root as √S)ROB with variant √D)ROB as the basis for Rhovanion (PE17/99), also explaining the element Drû in Drúadan, the Sindarin name for the Woses. These roots produced different Quenya derivatives like hróva.

Neo-Eldarin: Since the Quenya form (h)ráva “wild” is better known, I think it is best to ignore the √S)ROB and √D)ROB variants of this root for purposes of Neo-Eldarin. The Sindarin name for the Woses can be easily explain as a loan word from that people’s name for themselves: Drughu (UT/385).

References ✧ PE17/78, 182





ᴹ√RAB¹ root. “*wild”

See √RAB for discussion.

Reference ✧ Ety/RAB ✧ RAB