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Select Elvish Words 1.83-1.85 Smoke, Ashes; Burn, Scorch

1.83 Smoke

ᴱQ. qonda n. “choking smog, smoke”
A word appearing as ᴱQ. qonda “choking smog, smoke” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, derived from the early root ᴱ√QOŘO [QOÐO] along with other choking words (QL/78).

Neo-Quenya: I think this word can be salvaged as ᴺQ. quonda based on a neo-root ᴺ√KWOD “choke, suffocate, drown”, but not all Neo-Quenya writers accept quo- as a valid combination in Quenya: see the discussion of how [wo] became [o] for details. If you do use quonda, I would use it for a thick chocking smoke (smog) as opposed to ordinary smoke for which I’d use Q. usquë.

ᴱQ. rukta- vb. “to belch smoke, spout smoke; to cause to smoke; to smoke at a pipe”
A word appearing as ᴱQ. rukta- “belch smoke, spout smoke — cause to smoke; smoke at pipe” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, derived from the early root ᴱ√RUKU “smoke, reek” (QL/80).

Neo-Quenya: I think this word can be revised to ᴺQ. uruhta- “to (cause to) smoke; to belch smoke” as a derivative of the later root √USUK, which I use as the basis for “smoke” words in Neo-Eldarin; this neologism was first coined by Shihali in a Discord chat on 2018-04-20.

Q. usquë n. “[ᴹQ.] reek, *smoke; ⚠️[Q.] dusk, dim light, [ᴹQ.] twilight; [ᴱQ.] fog”
An Elvish noun Tolkien used for much of his life but with shifting meanings: 1910s “fog” >> 1930s “reek” (= smoke) >> 1940s-1950s “dusk”. This word first appeared as ᴱQ. usqe “fog” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as a derivative of the early root ᴱ√ṢQṢ (QL/98), also mentioned in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon as a cognate of G. usc “fog, mist” (GL/75). In The Etymologies of the 1930s it was ᴹQ. usqe “reek”, cognate of N. osp “smoke”, both derived from primitive ᴹ✶us(u)k-wē under the root ᴹ√USUK (Ety/USUK).

However, in both the first and second versions of the Tengwesta Qenderinwa from the 1930s (TQ1: PE18/50) and 1950s (TQ2: PE18/100) usque had the same basic derivation but was glossed “dusk”. The word usqe “dusk, twilight” appeared in documents on The Feanorian Alphabet from the 1940s (PE22/51) and in Common Eldarin: Noun Structure from the early 1950s uskwe was given as the Q. derivative of √USUK “dusk, evening”. In the Outline of Phonology (OP2) from the early 1950s usque was glossed “dim light, especially of early dawn” (PE19/84).

Neo-Quenya: Although it is fairly clear Tolkien changed the meaning of this word from “reek” to “dusk”, many Neo-Quenya writers continue to use usque with its meaning from The Etymologies of the 1930s, since we have plenty of other “dusk” words but few words for “smoke”. The 1930s sense “reek” is a noun, and hence probably tied to Old English sense of the word, which was “smoke” before it had the later sense “stench”, so I’d use usque primarily as “*smoke” and only secondarily as “reek” = “stench”.

N. osp n. “smoke”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “smoke”, cognate of ᴹQ. usqe “reek”, both derived from primitive ᴹ✶us(u)k-wē under the root ᴹ√USUK (Ety/USUK). In the phonetic development of ᴹ✶us(u)k-wē to N. osp, the ancient kw became p and then short u became o, developments typical of both Noldorin and Sindarin.

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, the cognate of ᴱQ. usqe was G. usc, usg, or usb “fog, mist” (GL/75), and in the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon ᴱQ. usqe was glossed “fog” and derived from the root ᴱ√ṢQṢ (QL/98). In The Etymologies of the 1930s the meaning of the related words became “smoke“ or “reek” [probably in its Old English sense = “smoke”] as noted above (Ety/USUK), and in writings after the 1930s Q. usquë became “dusk” (PE18/100; PE19/84; PE21/71; PE22/51) but its Sindarin equivalent did not appear.

Neo-Sindarin: Despite the shift in meaning of its Quenya cognate to “dusk”, I would still use osp for “smoke” in Neo-Sindarin, since there are several other “dusk” words but no other good candidates for “smoke”.

1.84 Ashes

S. lith n. “ash; [N.] sand”
A noun for “ash” appearing as an element of names like Lithlad “Plain of Ashes” (RC/457) and Dor-nu-Fauglith “Land under Choking Ash” (WJ/239-240), as well as in the adjective lithui “ashy, ashen” (RGEO/66, RC/765). It is translated as “dust” in the name Anfauglith “Gasping Dust” (S/150), but since this is the name for Ard-galen after the region was burned by the forces of Morgoth, this may simply be a loose translation for “ash”.

Conceptual Development: In The Etymologies of the 1930s N. lith was glossed “sand” from primitive ᴹ✶litse under from the root ᴹ√LIT “soil, earth” (Ety/LIT), and in this document N. Fauglith was translated “Thirsty Sand” (Ety/PHAU), as opposed to its original translation from the 1920s and early-to-mid 1930s which was simply “Thirst” (LB/275; SM/26, 101; LR/280).

Neo-Sindarin: For Neo-Sindarin I’d use lith mainly in its 1950s-60s sense “ash” but also allow its 1930s sense “sand”, but for “dust” I’d use [N.] ast.

S. lithui adj. “ashen, ashy, of ash, ash-coloured, dusty”
The adjective form of lith “ash”, variously glossed as “ashy” (RGEO/66), “ashen” (RC/765), “of ash” or more exactly “ashen, ash-coloured, ashy, dusty” (VT42/10), most notably used in the name Ered Lithui “Ashen Mountains”.

Conceptual Development: The name N. Ered Lithui was already translated “Ash Mts [Mountains]” when it first appeared on early maps for The Lord of the Rings (TI/305).

1.85 Burn, Scorch

ᴱQ. hus- vb. “to burn (tr.)”
The transitive verb for “to burn [something]” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s was ᴱQ. usta- from the early root ᴱ√UŘU or ᴱ√USU² (QL/98), though the Gnomish form of the root gudh- (GL/42) indicates the actual root form was *ᴱ√ƷUÐU. In Early Qenya Word-lists from the 1920s, the transitive verb for “burn” was instead ᴱQ. hus- (PE16/134), perhaps related to the verb G. husta- “burn (tr.)” from the Gnomish Lexicon, variant of G. gusta- (GL/42), as suggested by Wynne and Gilson (PE16/134).

By the 1930s the root had become ᴹ√UR “be hot”, rendering these early forms invalid. There was a 1930s verb Q. urya- “blaze” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under this new form of the root, but the entry was deleted (Ety/UR) and in any case in later writings Q. urya- from √UR meant “be hot” (PE17/148).

Neo-Quenya: These shifting roots and verb forms give us no good Neo-Quenya options for “burn”. In his Neo-Quenya New Testament (NQNT), Helge Fauskanger restored the 1930s sense “blaze, *burn” of urya- and used it intransitively, and for transitive “burn” used ᴺQ. urta- as an adaptation of ᴱQ. usta-. I think using urya- for both “burn” and “be hot” is problematic, so my current solution is to use ᴺQ. urta- as “burn (both tr. and intr.)”. I would give it differing past forms, however: urtane “burned (tr.)” [weak past] vs. urunte “burned (intr.)” [half-strong past]; compare Q. orta-¹ “raise” [past = ortane] vs. Q. orta-² “rise” [past = oronte].

ᴱQ. sisi- vb. “to scorch, singe, fry”
A verb in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as ᴱQ. sisi- “scorch, singe, fry” derived from the early root ᴱ√SISI “singe, etc.” (QL/84). The root’s likely Gnomish derivatives such as G. thista- “dry up” (GL/73) indicate the root form is probably *ᴱ√ÞISI.

Neo-Quenya: I think this word is worth salvaging as Neo-Quenya ᴺQ. sis-, though it would need to be derived from a Neo-Root ᴺ√THITH to retain this same form.

ᴹQ. yul- vb. “to smoulder”
In The Etymologies of the 1930s, the verb ᴹQ. yul- “smoulder” was mentioned in passing in a deleted entry for the root ᴹ√GUL (Ety/GUL). Since the root ᴹ√YUL “smoulder” remained undeleted in The Etymologies, perhaps this verb also remained valid in the 1930s (Ety/YUL). However, the later meaning of the verb Q. yul- was “drink” from the root √YUL of the same meaning (PE17/63).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I would adapted the root ᴹ√YUL “smoulder” as the Neo-Root ᴺ√YOL, and hence would adapt this 1930s verb as ᴺQ. yol- “smoulder” to sidestep the conflict with Q. yul- “drink”; see the entry on ᴺ√YOL/YUL for further discussion.

G. brantha- vb. “to scorch”
A verb in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as G. brantha- “scorch”, related to (and possibly derived from) G. brant¹ “cooked, done; overdone” (GL/24).

Neo-Sindarin: I recommend restoring this confluence of Gnomish cook-related words in Neo-Sindarin based on a Neo-Root ᴺ√BRATH “cook”, and would adapt this word as ᴺS. branna- “to scorch” to better fit Sindarin phonology.

G. urna- vb. “to blaze, burn (intr.)”
The verb G. {urtha- >>} urna- “blaze, burn (intr.)” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/75), probably derived from the early root ᴱ√URU which had several fire-related derivatives (QL/98).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I think this verb can be adapted as ᴺS. orna- from the later root √UR, and it can be used for “burn” in general (both transitive and intransitive) since the other transitive Gnomish “burn” words like G. gusta- cannot be easily adapted.

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