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Select Elvish Words 4.332: Hand (other)

4.332 Hand (other)

Q. ataformaitë adj. “ambidextrous”
A word for “ambidextrous” in the so-called Ambidexters Sentence written in 1968, replacing various alternate forms like at(t)aformor and attaformaitë (VT49/6-8). As pointed out by Patrick Wynne, this word is a combination of at(a)- “double” and formaitë “right handed”, analogous to the Latin formation “ambidextrous” (VT49/9), and indeed ᴹQ. formaite was glossed both “righthanded” and “dexterous” in The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/PHOR). However, the point of the Ambidexters Sentence is that the Elves themselves where naturally ambidextrous and equally skilled with both hands, so the notion that “righthanded” is connected to “dextrous” makes no sense for the Elves. Thus, the term was likely coined after the Elves encountered men, for whom right-handedness was common.
Q. maitë (maiti-) adj. “handy, skillful, [ᴹQ.] skilled; [Q.] shapely, well-shaped; (as suffix) having a hand, handed”
An adjective for “handy, skilful” in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s (VT47/6). ᴹQ. maite had a similar gloss “handy, skilled” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√MAƷ “hand” (Ety/MAƷ). Tolkien gave its primitive form as ✶magiti in the 1960s (VT41/10) and as ᴹ✶maʒiti in the 1930s (Ety/MAƷ). Either way, it seems to be a combination of Q. “hand” and the adjective suffix -itë, with a stem form of maiti-.

As a suffix in compounds, it has the sense “handed” as in Q. formaitë “righthanded” (Ety/PHOR) and Q. morimaitë “black-handed” (PE17/110). As prefix, however, it seems to have meant “shapely, well shaped” as in Maitimo “Well-shaped One” (PM/353). It seems likely the same would be true if the adjective were applied to an object, such as maitë macil “a well-shaped [skillfully made] sword”.

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, ᴱQ. maqa or maqalea meant “handy, skilled (with hands)” while ᴱQ. mavoite (mavoisi-) meant “having hands”, both under the early root ᴱ√MAHA (QL/57). In the manuscript version the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s Tolkien had ᴱQ. maili “handed” as an element in erumaili “one handed” (PE14/51), but in the typescript version this became erumaite (PE14/84). ᴹQ. maite appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as noted above, but with the abnormal plural form maisi (Ety/MAƷ) that seems to be remnant of Early Qenya phonetic developments from the 1910s.

Q. málimë (málimi-) n. “wrist, (lit.) hand-link”
A word for “wrist” in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s, a combination of “hand” and limë “link”, hence “(lit.) hand-link” (VT47/6).

Conceptual Development: There was a similar word in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s: ᴱQ. marikta “wrist”, a combination of suffixal ᴱQ. “hand(s)” and some derivative of the early root ᴱ√RIKI “*twist” (QL/57, 80), perhaps “*hand-joint”.

Q. morimaitë adj. “black-handed”
A word for “black-handed” in Treebeard’s description of orcs, a combination of Q. morë (mori-) “black” and Q. maitë “handed” (LotR/979; PE17/110). This description was literal rather than figurative (NM/176). ᴹQ. morimaite was already the form Tolkien used in Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s (SD/68).
Q. palta adj. “flat of the hand, *palm; [ᴱQ.] shelf”
A word for the palm or the flat of the hand in notes from 1968, derived from primitive ✶palátā based on the root √PAL “wide, extended” (VT47/8-9). More specifically, it described “the hand held upwards or forwards, flat and tensed (with fingers and thumb closed or spread)”. Tolkien went on to describe various Elvish hand gestures using a flat hand (VT47/8, 13): a single upward palm to ask for gift, a pair of upward palms to offer service, a palm held forward to forbid an action or refuse a plea. Greetings were made with palms outward and arms held wide (indicating no held weapons), or single palm held up but backwards (so not in refusal), or more casually held sideways.

Conceptual Development: This word has a clear precursor: ᴱQ. paltya “flat of hand” from the early root ᴱ√PḶTYḶ in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/74). Despite the 50 year gap, the forms and meanings of these two words were too close to be a coincidence. ᴱQ. paltya also appeared in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s with the slightly different gloss “palm of hand” (PME/74). As for ᴱQ. palta (from ᴱ√PALA “flatness”), this meant “shelf” rather than “palm” in the Qenya Lexicon (QL/71).

Neo-Quenya: For purpose of Neo-Quenya, I think palta can mean both “palm” and “shelf”.

N. camland n. “palm of hand”
A noun appearing as N. camland “palm of hand” in The Etymologies of the 1930s as a combination of N. cam “hand” and N. lhann “wide” (Ety/LAD). It is not clear why this word ends in nd rather than reducing to n(n) as is usual.

Conceptual Development: There were some similar words for “palm of the hand” in the the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s: G. mablad or mablod plus G. mavlant, all with an initial element G. mab “hand[s]” and a second element like G. lad “a level, a flat” (GL/52, 55).

Neo-Sindarin: This word is often adapted as ᴺS. camlann for Neo-Sindarin, as suggested in Hiswelókë’s Sindarin Dictionary (HSD), in keeping with the trend of final nd becoming n(n) in polysyllable in both Noldorin and Sindarin.

N. drambor n. “clenched fist; blow with a fist; ⚠️[G.] thudder”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “clenched fist, hence blow with fist”, a combination of dram “heavy blow” and paur “fist” (Ety/DARÁM). It seems this word can refer to both a punch with a fist and a clenched fist ready for a punch.

Conceptual Development: G. drambor was glossed “thudder” in the name G. Dramborleg “Thudder-sharp” (PE13/103; PE15/22).

G. mabwed adj. “handed, having hands, dextrous”
A word appearing as G. mabwed “handed, having hands. dexterous” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, an adjectival form of G. mab “hand(s)” (GL/55). It also appeared with a vocalic augment: G. amabwed “having hands” (GL/19). This augmented form amabwed reappeared in the Gnomish Lexicon Slips modifying that document (PE13/109).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I would adapted this word as ᴺS. mabren using a later adjectival suffix: -ren.

S. molif n. “wrist, (lit.) hand-link”
A word for “wrist” in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s, a combination of (archaic) †maw “hand” and lîf “link”, hence “(lit.) hand-link” (VT47/6).

Conceptual Development: There was a similar word in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s: G. mabrin(d) “wrist”, a combination of G. mab “hand(s)” and G. grinn “ankle, wrist” (GL/42, 55).

S. plad n. “palm, flat of the hand”
A word for the palm or the flat of the hand in notes from 1968, derived from primitive ✶palátā based on the root √PAL “wide, extended” (VT47/8-9). As first written this word was (deleted) palad (VT47/23 note #24). Tolkien went on to describe various Elvish hand gestures using a flat hand (VT47/8, 13): a single upward palm to ask for gift, a pair of upward palms to offer service, a palm held forward to forbid an action or refuse a plea. Greetings were made with palms outward and arms held wide (indicating no held weapons), or single palm held up but backwards (so not in refusal), or more casually held sideways.

Conceptual Development: There was a similar word N. dalf “palm of hand” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√DAL “flat” (Ety/DAL).

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