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Select Elvish Words 6.94-6.96: Ointment, Soap, Mirror

6.94 Ointment

ᴹQ. laive n. “ointment”

A word for “ointment” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from primitive ᴹ✶laibē under the root ᴹ√LIB (Ety/LIB²). The (archaic?) form laiwe appeared in notes written around 1940 as a cognate to N. glaew (TMME/53).

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s Tolkien had ᴱQ. oine “unguent” and ᴱQ. oinalis (oinaliss-) “ointment”, both under the early root ᴱ√OẎO (QL/71). ᴱQ. oine “unguent” also appeared in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/71).

N. glaew n. “ointment, salve”

A word for “ointment” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from primitive ᴹ✶(g)laibē under the root ᴹ√(G)LIB where the G appeared in Noldorin derivations as indicated by the form g-laew (Ety/LIB²; EtyAC/LIB²). In notes on The Feanorian Alphabet also from the 1930s, it was given as (archaic Gondolic) glaiw “salve” from ON. glaibe (PE22/32). A more detailed derivation appeared in notes from around 1940: ON. glaibe > glēbe > glaef > glaew (TMME/53).

6.95 Soap

ᴹQ. lipsa n. “soap”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “soap” and derived from primitive ᴹ✶libda under the root ᴹ√LIB having to do with ointments (Ety/LIB²). Here the ps is the result of bd unvoicing to pt and then pt becoming to ps.

Conceptual Development: The Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s had ᴱQ. poime (poimi-) “soap” (though the word was marked with a “?” by Tolkien) under the early root ᴱ√POYO having to do with cleanliness (QL/75).

Neo-Quenya: In Tolkien’s later writing, [pt] becoming to [ɸt], spelled pt but pronounced more like ft. As such this word should have developed into *lipta [liɸta] in the Quenya phonology of the 1950s and 60s. I prefer to retain 1930s lipsa, perhaps as an abnormal phonetic development. If you don’t like either of these, 1910s poimë “soap” also remains viable, since ᴹ√POY “clean” survived in Tolkien’s later writing (Ety/POY).

N. glûdh n. “soap”

A noun appearing as {lhúð >>} glúð in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “soap” and derived from primitive ᴹ✶(g)libda under the root ᴹ√(G)LIB having to do with ointments (Ety/LIB²). Here the b vocalized to u and the resulting diphthong iu became ū as was usual in Noldorin of the 1930s.

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s Tolkien had G. puim “soap” (GL/64), clearly based on the early root ᴱ√POYO having to do with cleanliness (QL/75).

Neo-Quenya: In Tolkien’s later writing, iu became ȳ, so in Sindarin of the 1950s and 60s this word would have become *glŷdh. I prefer to retain 1930s glûdh, perhaps as an abnormal phonetic development.

6.96 Mirror

Q. angal n. “mirror, *reflective surface”

A noun for “mirror” in notes from the late 1960s, derived from primitive ✶aññala based on the root √ñal- (NM/350, 353). Another derivative of this root was ✶ñalatā “a glitter (of reflected light)” (NM/349), so perhaps this word meant “mirror” in the sense “*reflective surface”.

Q. cilintilla n. “looking-glass, *mirror”

A word for “looking-glass” in notes written in the late 1950s or early 1960s, the equivalent of but not a direct cognate to S. cenedril (PE17/37). Its initial element was Q. cilin “glass” and its final element was based on an ancient adjective ✶tirlā “looking” from √TIR “look at”.

Neo-Quenya: In notes written in the late 1960s Tolkien gave calca for “glass”, possibly rendering cilintilla obsolete. I feel that cilin and calca can coexist as words for different kinds of glass and so I retain cilintilla as “looking-glass, *mirror”, but if you are concerned about it you can use Q. angal for “mirror”, another word from the late 1960s.

S. cenedril n. “mirror, looking-glass, (lit.) looking-crystal”

A noun for “mirror” in Nen Cenedril “Mirrormere”, which Tolkien initially gave as Nen Singil (PE17/35). Tolkien said that this word meant “looking glass” or more literally “looking crystal” (PE17/37). The initial element cened clearly means “looking”, the gerund of cen- “to see”. Thus the second element -ril must be “crystal”, perhaps a reduction of bril as in Brilthor “Glittering Torrent” (S/123); in the 1930s this was an Ilkorin name whose initial element Ilk. bril meant “glass, crystal” (Ety/MBIRIL).

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