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Select Elvish Words 3.11: Animal

3.11 Animal

Q. celva n. “animal, living thing that moves”
A word used in its plural form kelvar to describe animals in The Silmarillion, as opposed to Q. olvar = “plants” (S/45). In a marginal note to a short document on Ents and Eagles from 1958-9 (or later), it was translated “animals, all living things that move” (WJ/341); this document was the basis for the reference in the published version of The Silmarillion. The word kelvar was also translated as “animals” in some notes the Death of Animals and Plants from 1957-8 (NM/271), where it was a replacement for deleted Q. kuivar along with a note explaining the reason for the change being that “cuy = awake not live” (NM/274 note #6).

Possible Etymologies: Wynne, Smith, and Hostetter suggested kelvar might be derived from 1930s ᴹ√KEL “go, run (especially of water), flow away downhill” from The Etymologies (VT43/31), perhaps in the sense of “a thing that runs”. If this is the case, kelva would be the only derivative of that root not connected to flowing water.

⚠️Q. cuima n. “creature, animal”
A word for “animal” in Late Notes on Verbs (LVS) from 1969, appearing only in its plural form kuimar (PE22/155). It is clearly based on the root √KUY “live”, also appearing in the same document (PE22/156), hence probably meaning “*living thing”.

Conceptual Development: Perhaps the first precursor of this word was ᴱQ. koite (koisi-) “living thing, being, animal” from the early root ᴱ√KOẎO “have life” (QL/48). A similar form kuivar appeared for “animals” in some notes the Death of Animals and Plants from 1957-8, but there Tolkien said “cuy = awake not live” (NM/274 note #6), and replaced this term with Q. kelvar, which is the word for “animal” Christopher Tolkien used in the published version of The Silmarillion (S/45). By 1969 Tolkien decided √KUY did mean “live”, and (re)introduced a derivative of that root for “animal” (see above).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I prefer for √KUY to mean only “awake” and keep √KOY for “live”; see those entries for discussion. As such, I recommend against using cuima for “animal”, especially since Q. celva is a much better known term since it appeared in The Silmarillion as published.

Q. hravan n. “wild beast”
A word for a “wild beast” in notes from the mid-1960s, derived from the root √S-RAB “wild, in senses not tamed, domesticated” (PE17/78), hence meaning “wild animal” vs. a “tamed animal”, which would probably be Q. laman.
Q. laman (lamn-) n. “animal, [ᴹQ.] tame beast”
A word for an “animal” in the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, where Tolkien said it “usually only applied to four-footed beasts, and never to reptiles or birds” (WJ/416). It was derived from the root √LAM in the sense “inarticulate voiced sound”. It had plural forms lamni and lamani based on distinct primitive forms ✶laman(a) and ✶lamān, the first form being subject to the Quenya syncope and the second immune to it.

Conceptual Development: The earliest precursor to this word was ᴱQ. {lāma >>} lăma in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√LAMA, with the glosses “a head of cattle or sheep; an animal, beast” (QL/50). In this document it had an ancient form lamṇ, and accusative forms lamna or laman. The origin of this final -a is made clear in the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s, where Tolkien said “-a < ”, citing lama as an example with plural form lamni (PE14/44, 74). This singular and plural form also appeared in Early Qenya Word-lists (PE16/132) and the English-Qenya Dictionary of the 1920s (PE15/69), and in the latter Tolkien specified that the word “can be used generally, but popularly as in English excludes birds & insects, and men”.

The form ᴹQ. laman emerged in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s, where Tolkien gave it the gloss “tame beast” (PE21/19). Inflected forms indicate the stem was still lamn-, and the plural remained lamni (PE21/28). Thus it seems that by this stage the word’s stem form was the result of the Quenya syncope. The word laman “animal” appeared in the Quenya Verbal System of the 1940s, but there it was rejected and replaced by ᴹQ. nasto (PE22/116). Laman “animal” appeared again in the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, as noted above.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would assume this word mostly applies to either tame or tameable four-legged mammals, as opposed to hravan for “wild beasts” and celva for animals in general.

⚠️ᴹQ. nasto n. “animal, beast”
A word for an “animal” or “beast” the Quenya Verbal System of the 1940s, probably based on the root ᴹ√ and thus originally meaning “*being” (PE22/111, 116). It appeared in the phrases ᴹQ. farastea nasto “beast of the chase” and ᴹQ. farea nasto “hunting animal, beast of prey”, and in the latter phrase it replaced laman “animal” (PE22/116 note #92).

Neo-Quenya: This word appears nowhere else, and Q. laman “animal” reemerged in the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, so I prefer that word over nasto.

Q. vëo n. “living creature, *living being, ⚠️[ᴹQ.] man”
A noun for a “living creature” in Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957, a derivative of the primitive form ✶wegō(n) from the root √WEG “live, be active” (PE17/183). It is not entirely clear from context, but I think this word may apply to any living being, both plants and animals.

Conceptual Development: In earlier conceptions, the root √WEG and its precursors were mostly associated with masculine things, and thus the precursors to this word meant “man” rather than living creature: ᴱQ. wie cognate to G. gweg “man, male of the Elda” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/44), archaic ᴹQ. † “man, warrior” from the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s (PE21/1, 41) and archaic ᴹQ. †veo “man” from the The Etymologies of around 1937 (Ety/WEG; EtyAC/WEG).

S. gwê n. “living creature, *living being; ⚠️[N.] man, warrior”
A noun for a “living creature” in Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957, a derivative of the primitive form ✶wegō(n) from the root √WEG “live, be active” (PE17/183). It is not entirely clear from context, but I think this word may apply to any living being, both plants and animals.

Conceptual Development: In earlier conceptions, the root √WEG and its precursors were mostly associated with masculine things, and thus the precursors to this word meant “man” rather than living creature: G. gweg “man, male of the Elda” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/44), ᴱN. gweg “man, male (being)” from various Early Noldorin word lists of the 1920s (PE13/122, 146, 162; PE15/62), and N. {gweg >>} gwe “man, warrior” from the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s (PE21/1).

S. lavan n. “animal”
A word for an “animal” in the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, where Tolkien said it “usually only applied to four-footed beasts, and never to reptiles or birds” (WJ/416). It was derived from the root √LAM in the sense “inarticulate voiced sound”.

Conceptual Development: ᴱN. lafn was mentioned as a cognate to ᴱQ. lama “animal” in the Early Qenya Phonology from the 1920s, derived from primitive ᴱ✶labna (PE14/70).

N. ûn n. “creature”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “creature” derived from the root ᴹ√ONO “beget” (Ety/ONO), perhaps from a primitive form *ōno with ancient ō becoming ū.

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