narîka ’nbâri ’nadûn yanâkhim

The Eagles of the Lords of the West are at hand

An isolated Adûnaic sentence in “The Notion Club Papers” story (SD/251). Carl Hostetter and Patrick Wynne suggested (VSH/26) that this same sentence is mentioned previously on SD/231 where Lowdham speaks in “an unknown tongue”, and then cries out in English “Behold the Eagles of the Lords of the West! They are coming over Nūmenōr!”. If so, this provides another translation of the phrase.

The first word, Narîka “Eagles” seems to be the subjective plural of #narak “eagle”, but is unusual in that it is declined as if it were a neuter noun. The names of animals are generally common-nouns (SD/426). Perhaps when this sentence was written, Tolkien had not yet fleshed out the Adûnaic gender rules.

Narîka is modified by the noun phrase ’nBâri “of the Lords”, which is a combination of the genitive prefix an- “of” (elided) and the plural of the noun bâr “lord”. This is also unusual in that it uses the short i rather than the long î for the plural, another sign that this may be an early sentence (the Adûnaic draft-plural often used a short i).

The phrase is further modified by ’nAdûn “of the West”, another instance of an elided genitive an- prefixed to the noun adûn “west”.

The verb yanâkhim is glossed “are at hand”. Its initial element ya- is likely the third neuter person plural pronominal suffix “they” and it ends with the normal plural verb suffix -m. This leaves the verb form nâkhi, which seems to be an inflection of the verb nakh- “come”. A literal interpretation might be “The Eagles of the Lords of the West are coming”, as supported by the second translation mentioned above, so that this is an example of the Adûnaic continuative-present tense. This analysis of yanâkhim* was suggested by Carl Hostetter and Patrick Wynne (VSH/27).

Adûnaic [SD/251] Group: Eldamo. Published by