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Select Elvish Words 4.58-4.59: Bite, Lick

4.58 to Bite

ᴹQ. nac- v. “to bite”

A verb for “bite” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√NAK of the same meaning (Ety/NAK).

Conceptual Development: ᴱQ. naka- “bite” dates back to the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s, already based on ᴱ√NAKA “bite” (QL/64; PME/64).

ᴹQ. nahta n. “bite”

A noun for “a bite” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√NAK of the same meaning (Ety/NAK).

N. nag- v. “to bite; ⚠️[G.] to chew, gnaw”

A verb for “bite” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√NAK of the same meaning (Ety/NAK).

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, G. nag- was glossed “chew, gnaw” and there was a separate verb G. nactha- for “bite” (GL/59). Both were clearly based on the early root ᴱ√NAKA “bite” (QL/64).

Neo-Sindarin: I’d limit the verb nag- to “bite” for purpose of Neo-Sinarin, and for “gnaw, chew” I’d use a neologism ᴺS. nadh- from the root ᴹ√NYAD “gnaw”.

G. nanc n. “bite”

A noun appearing as G. nanc “a bite” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/59), clearly based on the early root ᴱ√NAKA “bite” (QL/64).

Neo-Sindarin: Since ᴹ√NAK “bite” appeared in Tolkien’s later writings, I’d retain the noun ᴺS. nanc “bite” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin.

S. narch adj. “bitter-biting”

A word appearing as an element in the name Narchost, which was glossed “Bitter-biting Fort” in Tolkien’s “Unfinished Index” of The Lord of the Rings (RC/601).

Possible Etymology: This word resembles the derivatives of the root ᴹ√NARAK from The Etymologies (Ety/NÁRAK), and probably has a similar derivation. It might be a cognate of the Quenya adjective [ᴹQ.] naraka “harsh, rending, violent (of sounds)”. Alternately, it resembles ᴱQ. narka¹ in the Qenya Lexicon from the 1910s, whose root ᴱ√ŊARA also has the derivative ᴱQ. narte “bitter”. It could be a later restoration of those ideas.

Conceptual Development: The name N. Narch appears in Lord of the Rings drafts as the original name of the valley of Udûn in Mordor (SD/34), but it isn’t clear whether Tolkien intended this name to be related to Narchost.

4.59 to Lick

ᴹQ. lapsa- v. “to lick (frequentative)”

A verb in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “to lick (frequentative)” under the root ᴹ√LAB “lick” (Ety/LAB). Its derivation is not given, but it is probably from primitive *lab-ta, with the bt unvoicing to pt and then pt becoming to ps. This second sound change was abandoned by Tolkien in his later writings, so I’d avoid using this verb for purposes of Neo-Quenya, but you might use it if you assumed it was derived from *lab-sa. Alternately, you might use a different frequentative form like *laláva- or *lalappa-.

Q. laptë n. “gluttonous eating, [ᴹQ.] †licking up (food or drink)”

A noun appearing as Q. lapsa “gluttonous eating” in the Outline of Phonology (OP2) from the 1950s from primitive ✶labdā (PE19/91-92 note #110). It also appeared as ᴹQ. lapsa in Outline of Phonetic Development (OP1) from the 1930s with the glosses “licking up (food or drink), gluttonous eating”, the first of these presumably the original (archaic?) meaning (PE19/45). Both examples illustrate the sound change whereby pt becoming to ps. However, Tolkien abandoned this sound change and decided that pt became ꝑt [ɸt], though still spelt pt and later pronounced u̯t in Exhilic Quenya of the first age. As part of this conceptual change, Tolkien revised lapsa >> lapte with a new primitive form ✶labdē before deleting the entire section and rewriting it with new examples.

Neo-Quenya: I’d retain ᴺQ. laptë “gluttonous eating” for purposes of Neo-Quenya since the sound changes producing it remained valid.

Q. lav- v. “to lick”

A verb for “to lick” based on the root √LAB of similar meaning (PE17/72; PE22/151-152; RGEO/59).

Conceptual Development: This verb dates all the way back to ᴱQ. lava- “lick” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s where it was derived from the early root ᴱ√LAVA (QL/52). It retained this form in Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s (PE16/134), and in The Etymologies of the 1930s it appeared as ᴹQ. lavin “I lick” under the root ᴹ√LAB “lick” (Ety/LAB). The verb and root continued to appear regularly in Tolkien’s later writings.

ᴹQ. salpa- v. “to lick up, sup, sip, [ᴱQ.] take a sup of; to sample”

A verb in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “lick up, sup, sip” derived from the root ᴹ√SALAP “lick up” (Ety/SÁLAP).

Conceptual Development: This verb appeared as ᴱQ. salpa- “take a sup of, sample, sip” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√SḶPḶ (QL/84). I’d retain the sense “sample” as an alternate meaning for purposes of Neo-Quenya.

ᴹQ. sulpa- v. “to lap up, drink greedily; ⚠️[ᴱQ.] to lick, sup, lick up, sup up; to sip, taste; to drink”

A verb glossed “to lap up, drink greedily” in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) of the late 1940s as an example of a talat-stem verb (PE22/114-115), perhaps derived from a variant *ᴹ√SULUP of the root ᴹ√SALAP “lick up” in The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/SÁLAP).

Conceptual Development: This verb appeared as ᴱQ. sulp- “lick, sup, lick up, sup up” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√SḶPḶ (QL/84). In the Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s it was glossed “drink” (PE14/58) and in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s it was glossed “sips, tastes” (PE13/149).

ᴱQ. sult (sulp-) n. “sip, taste”

A noun appearing as ᴱQ. sult (sulp-) “a sip, taste” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√SḶPḶ (QL/84).

Neo-Quenya: I’d adapt this noun as ᴺQ. salpë “sip” for purposes of Neo-Quenya, from the later form of the root: ᴹ√SALAP (Ety/SÁLAP).

S. laudh n. “gluttonous eating, [N.] †licking up (food or drink)”

A noun appearing as S. laudh “gluttonous eating” in the Outline of Phonology (OP2) from the 1950s from primitive {✶labdā >>} ✶labdē (PE19/91-92 note #110). It also appeared as N. lauð in Outline of Phonetic Development (OP1) from the 1930s with the glosses “licking up (food or drink), gluttonous eating”, the first of these presumably the original (archaic?) meaning (PE19/45). In OP2, the section where it appeared was marked through when Tolkien revised the Quenya phonetic developments, but the Sindarin phonetic developments remain sound, so I’d retain ᴺS. laudh “gluttonous eating” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin.

G. lavra- v. “to lap (of animals), suck up”

The verb G. lavra- “lap of animals, suck up” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/53), clearly based on the early root ᴱ√LAVA “lick” (QL/52).

Neo-Sindarin: Since this early root survived as √LAB in Tolkien’s later writings, I’d retain ᴺS. lavra- “to lap (of animals), suck up” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin.

N. lhav- v. “to lick”

A noun appearing as N. lhâf “lick” (with Noldorin infinitive form lhebi) in The Etymologies of the 1930s from the root ᴹ√LAB of the same meaning (Ety/LAB) where the initial initial l was unvoiced to lh as was the case in Noldorin of the 1930s.

Conceptual Development: This verb was G. lav- “lick” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/53), clearly based on the early root ᴱ√LAVA since the unvoicing of initial l was not a feature of Gnomish in the 1910s.

Neo-Sindarin: Most Neo-Sindarin writers adapt this word as ᴺS. lav- “to lick” since the unvoicing of initial l was also not a feature of Sindarin in the 1950s and 60s.

G. thlib- v. “to sup, lap up, suck”

The verb G. thlib- {“sup, sip” >>} “sup, lap up, suck” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s which Tolkien said was the equivalent of ᴱQ. salpi (GL/73), thus clearly based on the early root ᴱ√SḶPḶ (QL/84).

Neo-Sindarin: The early root ᴱ√SḶPḶ became ᴹ√SALAP “lick up” in The Etymologies of the 1930s, so I would adapt this verb as ᴺS. hlab- from *s’lap-, but I would use it mainly with the sense “sup, sip” while for “lap up, suck” I’d use ᴺS. lavra-. I’d also assume a noun form ᴺS. hlab “a sip”, to justify the abnormal vocalization of the verb.

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