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Select Elvish Words 4.35-4.36: Leg, Knee

4.35 Leg

Q. attalya n. and adj. “biped, *(lit.) two-footed”
A noun or adjective meaning “two-legged”, attested only in its (noun) plural form attalyar (WJ/389). It is a combination of atta “two” and tál “foot”, with the adjective suffix -ya¹.

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon from the 1910s, there were similar words for “biped”: the noun ᴱQ. attalin and the adjective ᴱQ. attalaite (QL/88).

ᴱQ. oswe n. “hip”
The word ᴱQ. oswe “hip” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√OSO¹ whose other derivative was ᴱQ. oksa “joint” (QL/71).

Neo-Quenya: I’d retain the word ᴺQ. oswë “hip” for purposes of Neo-Quenya, but it cannot be derived from √OS any longer. I would assume it is derived from a √OTH, a variant of ᴹ√OS “round” (perhaps originally referring to the round joint), and hence archaically oþwe; compare [ᴹQ.] hiswa < ᴹ✶khithwa (Ety/KHIS).

Q. telco n. “leg; stem”
The most common Quenya word for “leg” (PE17/122), also used of the “stem” of a tengwar symbol (LotR/1118) and probably the stem of plants as well. Based on the verb telconta-, its noun stem is telco- and hence it is probably derived from primitive *telekō, an elaboration of the root ᴹ√TELEK (Ety/TÉLEK). In The Etymologies of the 1930s it had an “analogical plural” telqui; such plurals generally appear with noun stems ending in cu- such as urqui plural of urco (urcu-). However, since the plural of telco was “analogical” it is clear that Tolkien intended its plural to be borrowed from other similar nouns rather than being the result of its historical phonological development.

Conceptual Development: The earliest iteration of this word was ᴱQ. pelko (pelko-) “leg” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√PELE² that was also the basis for “pivot” words (QL/73). This word reappeared in the Early Qenya Grammar and English-Qenya Dictionary of the 1920s, with plural form pelqi, perhaps adapted from its (Early Qenya) dual which was also pelqi (PE14/76; PE15/74). However, noun declensions from the late 1920s had ᴱQ. telko with the gloss “stem” (PE16/112-113).

This late 1920s ᴱQ. telko “stem” may initially have been a distinct word, since ᴹQ. pelko “leg” appeared in declensions from the early 1930s (PE21/48-49), but in a slightly later declension telko was glossed “leg” (PE21/53), and in the Declension of Nouns, telko was glossed “stem, leg” as an example of -u̯ǝ nouns (PE21/12). ᴹQ. telko was “leg” in The Etymologies written around the 1937, and Tolkien seems to have stuck with it thereafter (Ety/TÉLEK). Furthermore, in notes on The Feanorian Alphabet from the 1930s and 40s, telko was glossed “stem” as both the stem of a tengwar symbol and the name of vowel carriers: (short) telko ` and (long) anda-telko ~ (PE22/20, 22, 51).

ᴹQ. tiuko n. “thigh”
Tolkien used a number of different “thigh” words in Quenya throughout his life. The earliest of these was ᴱQ. tyū “thigh” in the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa based on the early root ᴱ√TYU, a variant of ᴱ√TIW̯I “thick” (QL/50, 93; PME/93). In Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s, this became ᴱQ. tyúta from primitive ᴱ✶teutá (PE13/154), which became ᴹQ. tyúka in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s (PE21/8), and finally ᴹQ. tiuko “thigh” in The Etymologies written around 1937 from primitive ᴹ✶tiukō under the root ᴹ√TIW “fat, thick” (Ety/TIW).

In the Outline of Phonetic Development (OP1) also written the late 1930s, Tolkien instead had ᴹQ. kiuka “thigh” from the root ᴹ√KIWIK (PE19/54). This form and root reappeared as Q. kiuka in the Outline of Phonology (OP2) from the 1950s, though Tolkien clarified the pronunciation was actually kyūka in Tarquesta since iu became a rising diphthong [ı̯ū] (PE19/107).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would stick with the derivatives of the 1937 root ᴹ√TIW “fat, thick” since this represents a larger collection of words, and so would use ᴹQ. tiuco for “thigh”, pronounced tyūko.

ᴺS. teleg n. “leg”
A Neo-Sindarin word for “leg”, derived from the root ᴹ√TELEK “stalk, stem, leg” coined by Elaran in a Discord chat from 2018-08-29.

Conceptual Development: There is an attested Gnomish word for “leg”, G. bactha (GL/21), but its form is not suitable for Sindarin. There is also a Quenya word for “leg” Q. telco appearing later writings, which also means “stem” (PE17/122, LotR/1118). This Quenya word appears in the Etymologies with the gloss “leg”, where its Noldorin equivalent is given as N. telch “stem” (Ety/TÉLEK). It’s possible this word could also mean “leg” in Sindarin, but Tolkien had the opportunity to give it this gloss and chose not to.

Perhaps the Primitive Elvish words were something like ✶téleku “stem” and ✶telékō “leg”, with differing stress patterns. These two words would have blended in Quenya as telco, but would have remained distinct in Sindarin as telch “stem” and teleg “leg”. That’s the theory presented here.

Alternately, you might repurpose S. tâl “foot” to mean both “leg” and “foot” as happens in some real-world languages. This second option is partially supported by the word tad-dal “two-legged, *biped”, though the literal meaning of the word could actually be “*two-footed”.

4.36 Knee

ᴱQ. okka n. “knee”
The word ᴱQ. okka “knee” appeared the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√OQO “bend” (QL/70). The word appeared again in Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s (PE16/137).

Neo-Sindarin: I would retain ᴺQ. occa “knee” for purposes of Neo-Quenya as we have no better alternatives, though what its etymology would be in later conceptions of the language is unclear.

G. octha n. “knee”
The word G. octha “knee” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/62), clearly a cognate of ᴱQ. okka “knee” (QL/70).

Neo-Sindarin: In the VinQuettaParma Wiki (VQP), Sami Paldanius proposed adapting this word as the neologism ᴺS. ogod “knee”, by analogy with the revision of G. leptha “finger” to [N.] lebed.

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