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Select Elvish Words 4.11-4.13: Body, Skin, Flesh

4.11 Body

Q. hroa n. “body, bodily form, ⚠️flesh; physical matter”
A word for “body” widely used in a variety of documents from 1958-59, derived from primitive ✶srawā based on the root √SRAW (MR/350). This word and derivation was mentioned again in notes from 1968 (VT47/35). In one place Tolkien used hroa metaphorically for the “the ‘flesh’ or physical matter of Arda” (MR/399), but as noted by Christopher Tolkien, Tolkien elsewhere used {orma >>} erma for “physical matter” (MR 406 note #2).

Conceptual Development: In early 1958 versions of the documents mentioned above, Tolkien used hrondo for “body”, a term he introduced in Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957 as a derivative of √SRON (PE17/183). But in the typescript version of Laws and Customs of the Eldar from 1958, he generally struck through hrondo and replaced it with hröa (MR/209, 217), which is the form he stuck with thereafter.

ᴱQ. pulko n. “body, trunk, bole of tree”
The word ᴱQ. pulko “body, trunk, bole of tree” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√PULU “swell” (QL/75). The form ᴱQ. pulka appeared in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon as a cognate of G. baul “body, trunk” (GL/22).

Neo-Quenya: I think this word is worth retaining as ᴺQ. pulco for purposes of Neo-Quenya, but when applied to humans I would use it more with the sense “*torso” (the main portion of the body) as opposed to the entire body, which would be Q. hroa.

G. baul n. “body, trunk”
The word G. baul “body, trunk” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s as a cognate of ᴱQ. pulka (GL/22), while ᴱQ. pulko “body, trunk, bole of tree” appeared in the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√PULU “swell” (QL/75).

Neo-Sindarin: I would adapt this word as ᴺS. polch for closer alignment with its (Neo) Quenya form. When applied to humans I would use it more with the sense “*torso” (the main portion of the body) as opposed to the entire body, which would be S. rhond.

S. rhond n. “body”
A Sindarin word for “body”, cognate of Q. hrondo, appearing as rhonn in Quenya Notes from 1957 (QN: PE17/183) and as rhond or rhonn in notes concerning spirit, also probably from 1957 (NM/237). In the former document, it was derived from the root √SRON, a variant of √RON “solid, tangible, firm” (PE17/183).

Neo-Sindarin: Its Quenya cognate hrondo was replaced by Q. hroa < ✶srawā in notes from 1958-59 (MR/209, 350). However, the Sindarin equivalent of hroa was rhaw, a word that also meant “flesh” along with many other (Neo) Sindarin meanings such as “wild” and “lion”. As such, I would retain rhond as “body” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin; the continued viability of the root √RON is indicated by other words like S. Grond.

4.12 Skin, Hide

ᴹQ. helma n. “skin, fell, *hide”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “skin, fell” derived from the root ᴹ√SKEL (Ety/SKEL). It replaced ᴹQ. halma which was derived from the original form of the root {ᴹ√SKAL >>} ᴹ√SKEL (EtyAC/SKEL). Here “fell” is used in its archaic English sense of “an animal’s skin including its hair”, hence “*hide”.
ᴹQ. †psára n. “peel”
A noun for “peel” appearing in notes on The Feanorian Alphabet from the 1940s (PE22/51). It is likely related to the verb ᴹQ. psar- “rub” (PE18/94; PE22/119). The rare initial combination ps- survived up until Classical Quenya, and probably retained this form in tengwar spelling, but was likely pronounced upsára in Tarquesta (PE19/36, 79).
S. flâd n. “skin”
A word for “skin” (or possibly “bark”) appearing only in the name S. Fladrif “Skinbark” (LotR/474).

4.13 Flesh

Q. hrávë n. “flesh”
A word for “flesh” appearing in documents from 1959, derived from primitive ✶srāwe based on the root √SRAW (MR/349-350).

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, Tolkien had ᴱQ. hara or haranda “flesh-meat” (QL/39), also mentioned as hara(nda) “fleshmeat” in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/39). These early forms might have been a precursor to later hrávë. Another potential precursor is ᴱQ. sarko (sarku-) “flesh, living flesh, body” from the early root ᴱ√SṚKṚ “fat” (QL/86).

S. rhaw n. “flesh, ⚠️body”
A Sindarin word appearing in documents from 1959, a melding of primitive ✶srawā “body” and ✶srāwe “flesh”, both based on the root √SRAW (MR/349-350). It reappeared in notes from 1968 with just the gloss “flesh” as a derivative for primitive srā (VT47/12).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I would only use rhaw for “flesh” (of a living body), and would retain the 1957 word S. rhond for “body”; see that entry for discussion.

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