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ÑGOL² root. “dark-hued, dark-brown”

ÑGOL² root. “dark-hued, dark-brown”

In most places, Tolkien assigned the root √ÑGOL the meaning “knowledge, wisdom”, and it was the source of the tribal name of the Noldor. In one set of late notes, however, Tolkien said:

Delete all references of Noldo to “wisdom, lore”! This characteristic only clearly seen later — the Tribal names must be early formations ... √ÑGOL = dark-hued, dark-brown ... The predominant colour of Ñoldorin hair was very dark brown (PE17/125).

The problem with this scenario is that elsewhere the root √ÑGOL is deeply associated with wisdom. Although Tolkien did not explicitly reject √ÑGOL “dark-hued, dark-brown”, this scenario is mentioned nowhere else. Nevertheless, it is possible that the Primitive Quenderin sense of ÑGOL was originally “dark-hued, dark-brown” and the root later developed the meaning “knowledge, wisdom” by association with the Noldor, replacing the older meaning. If so, perhaps the only survival of the original meaning is the word Q. ñolya “dark-haired”. Alternately, ñolya might mean “hair like the Noldor (dark)”.

References ✧ PE17/125, 169