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Select Elvish Words 3.81: Insect

3.81 Insect

ᴱQ. malo n. “moth”
A noun appearing as ᴱQ. malo “moth” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from primitive ᴱ✶[mal]wǝ under the early root ᴱ√MALA “crush, squeeze, pulp” (QL/58). It had a plural malwi, and in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa it was given the stem form of malu-.

Neo-Quenya: This word conflicts with later words like ᴹQ. malo (malu-) “pollen, yellow powder” (Ety/SMAL) or “rust” (PE21/12; PE15/77), making its continued validity as “moth” rather questionable. However, the only other attested Elvish “moth” word is G. fufril of unclear etymology (GL/36), which is very challenging to adapt to Neo-Quenya. Thus I currently recommend retaining ᴺQ. malo for “moth”, as a derivative of the later root ᴹ√MBAL, but altering its stem form to malo- (< *mbalō) to make it more distinct from the “pollen, rust” words.

Q. n. “small insect, fly, *mite, gnat; ⚠️[ᴱQ.] speck, spot, dot, mote”
A noun for a “small insect, fly” appearing in notes from 1968 as an example of a primitive monosyllabic noun that survived in modern Quenya (VT47/35). Its primitive form was originally glossed “small bird”. I think it might apply to other tiny insects like mites or gnats, based on its conceptual precursors. Likely it is related to the root √PI(N) for tiny things.

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s Tolkien had ᴱQ. “speck, spot, dot, mote” and ᴱQ. pin or pink “a little thing, mite”, the latter also serving as a diminutive ending, all under the early roots ᴱ√PINI, ᴱ√PIKI, or ᴱ√ (QL/73). It is unclear whether or not ᴱQ. pin(k) “mite” could refer to an insect or only a tiny thing. In the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s, Tolkien had ᴹQ. “fly” (PE21/40).

ᴱQ. ulumpingwe n. “caterpillar”
A word appearing as ᴱQ. {ulumpinge >>} ulumpingwe in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/97), perhaps as a combination of ᴱQ. ulumpe “camel” and ᴱQ. lingwe “snake, worm”. This word was also mentioned in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/97).

Neo-Quenya: I would adapt this word as ᴺQ. ulumpembë “caterpillar, (lit.) camel worm”, altering its second element to ᴺQ. vembë “worm”.

Q. wilwarin (wilwarind-) n. “butterfly”
A word for “butterfly” appearing in the Markirya poem of the 1960s based on the adjective wilwa “fluttering to and fro” (MC/222, 223). It has a stem form of wilwarind- as implied by the adjective wilwarindëa “like a butterfly” from the version of the Nieninquë poem from the 1960s (PE16/96). The appearance of an initial w- in this word is somewhat unusual: see the entry on the sound [w] for further discussion.

Conceptual Development: The word ᴱQ. wilwarin (wilwarind-) “butterfly” appeared all the way back in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√GWILI (QL/104). That document also had an adjective form ᴱQ. wilwarinda, descriptive of the sycamore tree (QL/57). This word appeared in the versions of the Oilima Markirya poem written around 1930, and the adjective wilwarindea appeared in the version of the Nieninqe poem from this period. ᴹQ. wilwarin “butterfly” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√WIL “fly” with a plural form wilwarindi (Ety/WIL). Thus this word was quite stable in Tolkien’s mind, and consistently appeared with an initial w.

G. fufril n. “moth”
A noun appearing as G. fufril “moth” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/36).

Neo-Sindarin: The etymology of G. fufril isn’t clear, but could be derived from an early root *ᴱ√FUVU. I prefer to adapt this as a Neo-Root ᴺ√PHUM rather than ᴺ√PHUV/PHUB, since derivatives of ᴺ√PHUM would preserve the base vowel u. Thus I would adapt this word as ᴺS. fyvril “moth” < *phumril with i-affection; perhaps the final element is a feminine suffix as seen in N. thlingril “spider”. Admittedly this is all a very loose adaptation.

G. gwef n. “louse”
A noun appearing as G. gwef “louse” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/45), clearly based on the early root ᴱ√GWEVE from the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon (QL/103).

Neo-Sindarin: I think this word can be salvaged in Neo-Sindarin as ᴺS. gwef “louse” based on the Neo-Root ᴺ√WEB.

N. gwilwileth n. “butterfly”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “butterfly” derived from the root ᴹ√WIL “fly” (Ety/WIL), apparently with duplication of the root and the addition of the abstract noun suffix N. -th.

Conceptual Development: The word G. gwilbrin or gwilvrin “a butterfly” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s along with an adjective form G. gwilbriniol “like a butterfly”, based on primitive ᴱ√gu̯il (GL/45).

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