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Select Elvish Words 9.114: Action

9.114 Action

Q. ahtar- v. “to do back, react; ⚠️to requite, avenge”

In notes from around 1959 Tolkien had a verb akkar- or ahtar-, cognate to S. achar- “do back, react; requite; avenge” as combination of √AT “back” (related to √AT-TA “two”) and √KAR “do” (PE17/166). This etymology was rejected when Tolkien decided that, as a prefix, at- meant “re- of the same or other agent in repeating (more or less similarly) a previous action” and in Q. “only in literal sense of second time, double”. It was thus not suitable for “avenge”.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I think ᴺQ. ahtar- can be salvaged in the more limited sense “to do back, react”.

Q. caraitë (caraiti-) adj. “active, busy; ⚠️[ᴹQ.] able to make, handy, crafty, craftsmanlike, skilled”

An adjective for “active, busy” appearing in Late Notes on Verb Structure (LVS) from 1969, a combination of car- “do, make” with the suffix -itë (PE22/155). ᴹQ. karaite also appeared in the Quenya Verbal System (QVS) of the late 1940s, but there it had a variant karamaite and was glossed “able to make, handy, craftsmanlike, skilled” (PE22/111), since in the 1930s and 40s ᴹQ. kar- tended to mean only “make” and not “do”. For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would stick to the later meaning “active, busy”.

Q. caraitië n. “activity, business”

A word for “activity, business”, a noun form of caraitë “active, busy” (PE22/155).

Q. carda n. “deed”

Quenya noun for a “deed”, a combination of the verb car- “to do” and the verbal suffix -da used for the product of an action (PE17/51; PE22/152), thus literally “*a thing done”.

Conceptual Development: Perhaps the earliest precursor of this word is ᴱQ. karma “shape, fashion; act, deed” in the Qenya Lexicon from the 1910s of similar derivation (QL/45). ᴱQ. “deed, act, fact” also appeared in that document, derived from a different root ᴱ√KAHA cause” (QL/43). In The Etymologies from the 1930s, the word appeared as ᴹQ. kar (kard-) “deed” in a draft version for the entry of the root ᴹ√KAR “do, make”, but this word was revised to ᴹQ. kar (kard-) “building” when Tolkien decided the root meaning was only “make, build, construct” and not “do” (Ety/KAR), a decision he later reversed. The form karma “deed” also appeared in some later writings, but was rejected (PE22/138).

Q. carë n. “action, doing, making”

A word meaning “action, doing, making”, attested only as an element in words like lacarë “not-doing, inaction” (PE22/154), loicarë “mistaken action” (PE17/151), and saucarë “doing or making a thing very badly” (PE17/183), clearly based on √KAR “do, make”. It might be an infinitival form of the corresponding verb car-, but Tolkien stated in notes from the late 1960s that such a form was not infinitival when combined with other prefixes (PE22/154).

Conceptual Development: The English-Qenya Dictionary of the 1920s had the similar form ᴱQ. karo “act, action, deed” (PE15/68, 71), also mentioned in the Early Qenya Grammar with the gloss “deed” (PE14/45, 75).

Q. lacaraitë adj. “*inactive; ⚠️impossible”

A word appearing as {alákăraite >>} lắkăraite “impossible” in rough notes within Late Notes on Verb Structure (LVS), a negated form of karaite (PE22/156). The unnegated adjective was elsewhere glossed “active, busy” (PE22/155).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya I think it is safer to assume this adjective means “*inactive”, and that “impossible” is [ᴺQ.] alcárima, the negative form of cárima “possible”.

Q. lacarë n. “inaction, (lit.) not-doing”

A word for “inaction”, more literally “not doing”, a negated form of carë “action” (PE22/154).

S. athragared n. “interaction”

A noun for “interaction” with forms athragarð and athragared, the latter a combination of athra- “cross” and cared “action, *doing, making”, the gerund of the verb car- “do, make” (PE17/14). The short form athragarð is probably a reduction of the long form.

S. cared n. “action, *doing, making”

An element in the word athragared “interaction” (PE17/14), also the gerund/infinitive of the verb car- “do, make” (PE17/68) and thus meaning “*doing, making” as well. As such I would use this word for action as a general process, as opposed to a specific action for which I would use ᴺS. caur.

S. carth n. “deed”

Sindarin noun for a “deed”, attested only in its lenited plural form gerth within the word úgarth “trespass” (VT44/28), which probably more literally means “*misdeed”. This word is not completely compatible with its Quenya cognate Q. carda “deed” from primitive ✶kardā, which in Sindarin should produce *cardh. Perhaps the Sindarin word had a slightly different primitive form *✶kartā. The expect form cardh might appear as an element in the variant form athragarð of S. athragared “interaction”.

Conceptual Development: Perhaps the earliest precursors of this word are G. cara “deed, act” and G. carm “act, deed, exploit” in the Gnomish Lexicon from the 1910s (GL/25; PE13/111), the latter a cognate of contemporaneous ᴱQ. karma “shape, fashion; act, deed” (QL/45). Early Noldorin word lists from the 1920s had ᴱN. carbh “deed” (PE13/140), reflecting Tolkien’s changing conception of the phonetic development of final -m in Noldorin. In The Etymologies from the 1930s, the word appeared as N. carth or carð “deed” (cardh), but these forms were rejected and replaced by N. car(ð) “building” when Tolkien decided the root meant only “make, build” and not “do” (Ety/KAR), a decision he later reversed.

S. carweg adj. “active; busy”

An adjective for “active; busy” in notes from 1959, a combination of S. car- “do” and the suffix S. -weg “active in doing” (PE17/144).

S. úgarol adj. “idling, not now doing or making”

A word for “idling, not now doing or making”, a negation of the active participle carol “doing, making” (adjectival) of the verb car- “do, make” (PE17/144).

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