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Select Elvish Words 4.30-4.32: Shoulder, Arm, Elbow

4.30 Shoulder

ᴱQ. almo n. “shoulder, ⚠️back”
The word ᴱQ. almo or aldamo “back, shoulders” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√ALA² “spread”, and the longer form was an element in the name ᴱQ. Aikaldamor “Broad Back” (QL/29). This pair of words (along with deleted {alma}) reappeared in Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s, but there they had the gloss “shoulder” (PE16/144).

Neo-Quenya: The early root ᴱ√ALA² “spread‽” was the basis for ᴱQ. alda “tree”, which in later writings was derived from ✶galadā. Thus ᴺQ. almo “shoulder” might be retained as a derivative of the later form of the root: √GAL. The sense of the later root was “grow (like plants), flourish” rather than “spread”, so this is a bit of a reach semantically, though not impossible since ✶galadā referred to broad, spreading trees as opposed to ✶ornē for tall trees (NM/349). I would use ᴺQ. almo only for “shoulder”; for “back” I recommend the neologism ᴺQ. catta.

ᴱN. amoth n. “shoulder”
A word appearing as ᴱN. amoth “shoulder” in Early Noldorin Word-lists of 1920s derived from ᴱ✶a-mbod-t’ (PE13/137, 159) and related to ᴱN. bost “back” (PE13/139). In these documents amoth was an element in the name ᴱN. Egallmoth “He of the Wide Shoulders” with an initial element of ᴱN. egall “very broad” (PE13/142, PE13/159).

In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, the name G. Egalmoth was glossed “Broad-back” and it contained G. alm “back, shoulders” from primitive ᴱ✶alđam- (GL/19), while in Gnomish Lexicon slips modifying this document, the word for “a shoulder” was G. {awlan >>} alan derived from ᴱ✶aldǝmā (PE13/109). These 1910s words were probably based on the early root ᴱ√ALA² “spread”, from which ᴱQ. almo or aldamo “back, shoulders” was derived (QL/29).

In Tolkien’s later writings, S. Egalmoth was given an entirely new etymology as “Pointed Helm-crest” (WJ/318).

Neo-Sindarin: Despite the change in the meaning if Egalmoth, I think ᴺS. amoth “shoulder” can be retained for purposes of Neo-Sindarin, reconceived as a derivative of √AM “up” (< *ammots-) and perhaps originally an augmentative using the suffix -oth = “*most up (part of the torso)”.

4.31 Arm

ᴹQ. ranko (ranku-) n. “arm”
A noun for “arm” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from primitive ᴹ✶ranku under the root ᴹ√RAK “stretch out, reach” (Ety/RAK).

Conceptual Development: The word ᴱQ. “arm” appeared Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√RAHA “stretch forward”, along with a variant rakta (QL/78). The Early Qenya Grammar and English-Qenya Dictionary of the 1920s instead had ᴱQ. ranko “arm” (PE14/76; PE15/69), a form which reappeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s (see above).

N. rhanc n. “arm”
A noun appearing as N. rhanc “arm” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from primitive ᴹ✶ranku under the root ᴹ√RAK “stretch out, reach” (Ety/RAK). It had the irregular plural form rhengy, presumably from final -ui becoming -y, but this plural was archaic and reformed to rhenc based on normal Noldorin (and later Sindarin) plural patterns.

Conceptual Development: The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s had (archaic) G. † “arm, strength” (GL/65), clearly related to ᴱQ. “arm” in contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon from the early root ᴱ√RAHA “stretch forward” (QL/78). The Gnomish Lexicon also had a non-archaic word rath “the full arm, the extent of one’s arm, one’s reach — a measure = 2 feet”, apparently referring to both the arm itself and the reach of the arm, and so functioning as a unit of measure (GL/65).

Neo-Sindarin: Most Neo-Sindarin writers adapt the Noldorin word as ᴺS. ranc “arm” (plural renc) as suggested in Hiswelókë’s Sindarin Dictionary (HSD), since the unvoicing of initial r to rh was a feature of Noldorin of the 1930s but not Sindarin of the 1950s and 60s. Based on the Gnomish usage, this word might also be used as a unit of measure for an arm’s length, about 2 feet.

4.32 Elbow

ᴱQ. óleme n. “elbow”
A word appearing as ᴱQ. ōleme “elbow” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s derived from the early root ᴱ√OLO¹ “tip” (QL/69). It appeared with the same gloss in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/69).

Neo-Quenya: I think it is worth retaining ᴺQ. ólemë “elbow” for purposes of Neo-Quenya, as there are no other attested Quenya “elbow” words. It is perhaps derived from a variant of √LIM “link, join”.

G. crig n. “elbow”
A noun appearing as G. crig “elbow” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s and related to G. carc “fang” (GL/25, 27) and so probably derived from the early root ᴱ√KṚKṚ from which Qenya “fang” words were derived (QL/48).

Neo-Sindarin: I think it is worth retaining ᴺS. crig “elbow” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin, but reimagined as an elaboration on √RIK “twist” (VT39/7).

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