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Select Primitive Elvish Roots: KHAB-KHAY

KHAB “heap up, pile up”

A root glossed “heap up, pile up” appearing in revisions written sometime after 1959 in the Outline of Phonology (OP2), where it replaced √KHAG “pile up” (PE19/91 and note #110, pp. 91-92). One notable derivative of √KHAB was S. haudh “funeral mound”, as opposed to The Etymologies of the 1930s where N. hauð “mound, grave, tomb” was derived from ᴹ√KHAG (Ety/KHAG). The root ᴹ√KHAG “pile up” also appeared in the contemporaneous Outline of Phonetic Development from the 1930s (OP1), but there its derivative was given as N. haeð “heap, piled mound” (PE19/45).

Tolkien’s revision of √KHAG “pile up” > √KHAB may have been motivated by changing conceptions of the vocalization of voiced spirants in Noldorin vs. Sindarin: see the entry on how the first in pair of voiced stops vocalized for further discussion. Compare the earlier development khagda > *khāda > N. hauð “mound” from The Etymologies of the 1930s to the newer development khagda > *khaida > haeð “fenced enclosure” derived from the newly defined root √KHAG¹ “stake”, also in appearing in these post-1959 revisions of OP2 (PE19/91). As for the roots themselves, it seems 1930s ᴹ√KHAG “pile up” >> post-1959 √KHAB “pile up”, whereas √KHAG was given the new meaning “stake”.

Also note that in all of these derivations from the 1930s up through the late 1950s of S./N. haudh “(funeral) mound”, the Sindarin/Noldorin word was influenced by the root √KHAW(AD) of various meanings; see that entry for details.

KHAD “sit”

The roots √KHAD and √KHAM were in competition for words having to do “sit” and “seat” for a significant portion of Tolkien’s life. Both roots have antecedants in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, but in that early document to root for “sit” was given as ᴱ√ÐORO or ᴱ√SORO (QL/85), replacing rejected ᴱ√SOŘO [ᴱ√SOÐO] and ᴱ√SODO (QL/85). Of these, the true form was cleary ᴱ√ÐORO given Gnomish derivative G. dorn “seat”, G. doros “throne”, G. dortha- “settle” (GL/30). This root seems to have been abandoned in Tolkien’s later writing, though N. dortha- “dwell, stay” was reassigned to ᴹ√NDOR in The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/NDOR).

As for √KHAD and √KHAM, their clearest antecedents in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s were ᴱ√HAÐA “cleave, remain” and ᴱ√HAM (QL/39), the latter without gloss but with derivatives having to do with the ground such as ᴱQ. hamba “on the ground” and G. ham “ground” (QL/39; GL/48). Some variant of ᴱ√HAÐA seems to have drifted in the direction of “sit” based on ᴱN. haud “seat” from Early Noldorin word lists of the 1920s (PE13/147, 155).

Tolkien initially used the root ᴹ√KHAD for words having to do with “sit” and “seat” in The Etymologies of the 1930s (EtyAC/KHAM), but it was replaced by ᴹ√KHAM “sit” (Ety/KHAM) and this root seems to have survive for some time, since ᴹ√KHAM “sit down” appeared in the Quenya Verbal System from 1948 (PE22/103). However, at some point Tolkien added a new root √KHAM² “call to, summon, name by name” to The Etymologies, and in this new entry he said “KHAM sit (replacing KHAD, cancelled)” indicating ᴹ√KHAD was restored (EtyAC/KHAM²). This seems to represent an ongoing vacillation between √KHAD and √KHAM in the 1930s and 40s.

However, √KHAD “sit” appeared in the second version of Tengwesta Qenderinwa written around 1950 (PE18/95), Q. hárar “sit” (not **hámar) appears in Cirion’s Oath (UT/305), and in late notes on verbs from 1969 Tolkien had ✶khadmā “seat” as the basis for Q. hanw̃a S. haðw (PE22/148). There are no signs of √KHAM “sit” in this period, so it seems Tolkien chose √KHAD for “sit” in the 1950s and 60s.

I think √KHAD “sit” is the best choice for Neo-Eldarin, since it also lets us use ᴹ√KHAM² “call to, summon, name by name” more freely.

KHAL “raise; lift up or extend upwards, [ᴹ√] uplift, erect, lift from ground, (make) stand up”

This root was the basis for the word Q. halla “tall” (PE17/184), and appeared as ᴹ√KHAL as far back as The Etymologies of the 1930s where it was glossed “uplift” (Ety/KHAL). The root also appeared in the Quenya Verbal System of the 1940s (PE22/103), and in this document was given the gloss “to erect, lift from ground, (make) stand up”, though that particular section was rejected (PE22/127 note #152). The root appeared again in etymological notes probably from the mid-1960s, where it had the gloss “raise; lift up or extend upwards” (PE17/184).

ᴹ√KHAM² “call to, summon, name by name”

A root that was a later entry in The Etymologies of the 1930s gloss “call to, summon, name by name” and having rejected variants ᴹ√KHAL², ᴹ√KYAM and ᴹ√KYEM. Tolkien’s introduction of the root seems to have caused him to restored ᴹ√KHAD over ᴹ√KHAM¹ “sit”; see the entry on √KHAD for further discussion. Meanwhile, ᴹ√KHAM² was probably introduced to explain ᴹQ. nahamna “summoned” in the version of the Lament of Atalante from the 1930s (LR/47). The phrase where it appeared underwent quite a few changes thereafter, ultimately becoming ar Sauron túle nukumna Númenórenna “and Sauron came humbled [to Númenor]” by the 1940s, so the future status of ᴹ√KHAM² “summon” is unclear.

It is a useful root for purposes of Neo-Eldarin, however, and I think it is worth retaining.

KHAN “brother; back; [ᴹ√] understand, comprehend”

A root for “brother” that Tolkien introduced in notes on finger-names from the late 1960s as a companion to √NETH “sister” (VT47/14, 26, 34). It conflicts with, and possibly replaces, earlier uses for √KHAN such as √KHAN “back” in notes from around 1959 serving as the basis for the prefix Q. han- in hanquenta “answer” (PE17/166). The root ᴹ√KHAN also appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “understand, comprehend”, with various derivatives in both Quenya and Noldorin of similar meaning (Ety/KHAN).

It is unlikely that all these uses of √KHAN coexisted, but I think at a minimum both √KHAN “brother” and ᴹ√KHAN “understand, comprehend” should be retained for the purposes of Neo-Eldarin, as the latter has no good replacements in Tolkien’s later writing. As for hanquenta “answer”, it might be reinterpretted as “a saying providing understanding”, and so be derived from ᴹ√KHAN “understand”.

KHAP “retain, keep, detain; bind, make fast; restrain, deprive of liberty; [ᴹ√] enfold;”

A root with alternate form √KHAM and gloss “bind, make fast; restrain, deprive of liberty” given as a variant of √KHEP “retain, keep” in a page of roots composed sometime around 1959-60 (VT41/6; PE17/157). It reappeared in notes from 1967 with the glosses “retain, keep, detain” and one derivative: Q. hampa “restrained, delayed, kept” (PE17/68). It might be a later iteration of ᴹ√KHAP “enfold” from The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/KHAP).

For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think it is useful to retain this 1930s sense, since it is the basis for various Noldorin words having to do with “clothing” for which we have no clear replacements.

ᴹ√KHAT “hurl, cast, send through air, loose from hand”

This root appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as ᴱ√HATA “hurl, fling” (QL/39), and in this early period it had derivatives in both Qenya and Gnomish such as ᴱQ. hata- “hurl, fling” and G. hada- “throw at, aim at” (QL/39; GL/48). It appeared again in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹ√KHAT “hurl” with only Noldorin derivatives (Ety/KHAT), and appeared in a list of roots in the Quenya Verbal System of the 1940s with the gloss “hurl, cast, send through air, loose from hand but not nec[essarily] fast”, though the page where it appeared was rejected (PE22/127 note #152). Tolkien’s use of Q. hatal “spear” in writings from the late 1960s indicate its continued validity (VT49/14), as suggested by Patrick Wynne (VT49/33 note #15).

KHAW “cover up, hide away, lay in store; big; [ᴹ√] rest, lie at ease”

This existence of this root was indicated in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s as (unglossed) ᴱ✶haw- where it was the basis of words like G. hau- “to lie” and G. haus “bed” (GL/48). It reappeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹ√KHAW “rest, lie at ease”, this time with both Quenya and Noldorin derivatives such as ᴹQ. hauta- “cease, take a rest, stop” and N. haust “bed” (Ety/KHAW). In The Etymologies Tolkien also said this root influenced the meaning of N. hauð “mound” so that it came to mean “grave, tomb” as well (Ety/KHAG, KHAW).

The root reappeared again in Outline of Phonology (OP2) with a new gloss “cover up, hide away, lay in store”, along with an extended root √KHAWAD “store, hoard” that continued to influence S. haudh “(funeral) mound” (PE19/91); although OP2 was first composed in the early 1950s, √KHAW(AD) appeared in a revision from 1959 or later (PE19/91 note #110). The root √KHAW² >> √KHAWA also appeared in a page of roots having to do with “large and small” of unclear date (but probably late 1950s or early 1960s), with the derivatives Q. hoa “big, large” and Q. haura “huge” (PE17/115).

For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think the 1930s meaning “rest, lie at ease” is probably most useful, and I would limit the meaning “lay in store” to its extended root √KHAWAD. As for the meaning “big”, I would limit it to (Quenya-only) Q. hoa.

ᴹ√KHAY “far, distant, remote”

A root in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “far, distant, remote” with derivatives in Quenya and Noldorin of similar meaning such as ᴹQ. haira “remote, far” and (unglossed) N. hae (Ety/KHAYA; EtyAC/KHAYA). Tolkien’s continued use of words like S. hae “far, very far away” and haered “remote(ness)” in later writings indicates its continued validity (LotR/238; PE17/25).

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