Select Elvish Words 3.84-3.85: Worm, Snake

Select Elvish Words 3.84-3.85: Worm, Snake

3.84 Worm

ᴱQ. wembe n. “worm”

A noun appearing as ᴱQ. {wembe >>} ’wembe “worm” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√GWEVE; it had a longer variant ’wembil (QL/103). Wembe “worm” was also mentioned in the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/103).

Neo-Quenya: Helge Fauskanger adapted this word as ᴺQ. vembë “worm” in his Neo-Quenya New Testament (NQNT), and I follow his suggestion in part for better compatibility with adapted Gnomish forms from the Neo-Root ᴺ√WEB.

G. gwem n. “worm”

A noun appearing as G. gwem “worm” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/45), probably derived from the early root ᴱ√GWEVE that was the basis for “worm” words in the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon (QL/103).

Neo-Sindarin: I think this word is worth retaining as (archaic?) ᴺS. gwem “worm” for purposes of Neo-Sindarin as a derivative of the Neo-Root ᴺ√WEB, though I expect the 1964 word S. leweg “worm” is more commonly used.

G. gwembel n. “weevil”

A noun appearing as G. gwembel “weevil” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s with variant forms gweml or gwemli, all elaborations of G. gwem “worm” (GL/45).

Neo-Sindarin: I think this word is worth adapting as ᴺS. gwemmel based on ᴺS. gwem “worm”.

S. leweg n. “worm”

A word for “worm” in 1964 notes on Dalath Dirnen (DD), a derivative of the root √LEWEK of the same meaning.

Conceptual Development: The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s had G. tereg or terch “a worm” (GL/70), likely related to the early root ᴱ√TEÐE “pierce” from the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon which had a derivative ᴱQ. teste “small worm” (QL/91). The Gnomish Lexicon also had G. gwem “worm” (GL/45), probably derived from ᴱ√GWEVE (QL/103). Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s had ᴱN. lhiw “worm” < ᴱ✶slingwé (PE13/149).

3.85 Snake

ᴹQ. ango (angu-) n. “snake, dragon”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “snake” derived from the root ᴹ√ANGWA of the same meaning, with a plural form angwi (Ety/ANGWA). This plural form reappeared in the Quenya Verbal System of the 1940s, but there it was translated “dragons”.

Conceptual Development: A similar form ᴱQ. oqi “snake” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s as a derivative of the early root ᴱ√OQO “curve, bend” (QL/70).

Neo-Quenya: The word Q. leuca “snake” from The Lord of the Rings appendices is more commonly used for “snake” in Neo-Quenya.

Q. (h)lócë n. “reptile, snake, serpent, worm, *lizard; [ᴹQ.] dragon”

A noun in Quenya Notes from 1957 (QN) with variants hlóke and lóke based on primitive ✶(s)lōkō “reptile, snake, worm” from the root √LOK “bend, loop”, so presumably having a similar meaning (PE17/160). Christopher Tolkien also had (h)lóke in the The Silmarillion appendix, but gave it the glosses “snake, serpent” (SA/lok). Its Sindarin cognate lhûg points towards a Quenya form hlócë.

Conceptual Development: ᴱQ. lóke (lóki-) “snake” appeared all the way back in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√LOKO “twine, twist, curl” (QL/55). It was also mentioned with the gloss “snake” in the Official Name List for the Lost Tales (PE13/105) and the Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin (PE15/28). It appeared in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon as related to G. ulug “dragon” (GL/74), and in The Lost Tales proper lóke was given as the “the Eldar name [of] the worms of Melko”, that is dragons (LT1/85).

In The Etymologies of the 1930s, Tolkien glossed ᴹQ. lóke as “dragon” under the root ᴹ√LOK “great serpent, dragon” along with Noldorin cognate N. lhûg (Ety/LOK). It was followed by an in parenthesis, indicating a primitive form of *lōkī and a stem form of lóki-. Tolkien vacillation on its 1957 form was probably out of a desired to retain lhûg as the Sindarin form. In Noldorin of the 1930s an initial l was unvoiced to lh, but this was no longer true of Sindarin of the 1950s and 60s, so Sindarin lhûg required a corresponding Quenya form of hlócë.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I recommend sticking with hlócë. Furthermore, since this Quenya word cannot be derived directly from ✶(s)lōkō, I would assume a primitive form slōkī and a stem form hlóci- compatible with its earlier appearances. Given the breadth of its glosses, I would assume the word can apply to any sinuous reptilian creature with or without legs, including lizards, snakes and dragons.

Q. leuca n. “snake”

The best known Quenya word for “snake”, appearing in Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings (LotR/1115). In 1964 notes on Dalath Dirnen (DD), Tolkien said it was derived from the root √LEWEK “worm” (PE17/160).

ᴹQ. lingwilóke n. “fish-dragon, sea-serpent”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “fish-dragon, sea-serpent”, a combination of ᴹQ. lingwe “fish” and ᴹQ. lóke “dragon” (Ety/LOK).

Conceptual Development: A similar form ᴱQ. lingwin “serpent, dragon” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa of the 1910s, an elaboration of ᴱQ. lingwe “snake” (QL/54; PME/54).

N. am- n. “snake”

A prefix for “snake” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from the root ᴹ√ANGWA of the same meaning, most notably an element in N. amlug “dragon” (Ety/ANGWA).

S. lhûg n. “reptile, snake, serpent, worm, *lizard; [N.] dragon”

A noun in Quenya Notes from 1957 (QN) derived from primitive ✶(s)lōkō “reptile, snake, worm” based on the root √LOK “bend, loop”, so presumably having a similar meaning (PE17/160). Christopher Tolkien also had lhûg in the The Silmarillion appendix, but gave it the glosses “snake, serpent” (SA/lok).

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, Tolkien had G. ulug “dragon” (GL/74), and in the contemporaneous Official Name List for the Lost Tales and the Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin he had G. lug or lûg “snake” (PE13/105; PE15/28). In The Etymologies of the 1930s, Tolkien had N. lhûg “dragon” under the root ᴹ√LOK “great serpent, dragon” (Ety/LOK), where initial l was unvoiced to lh as was usual in Nodorin. This was no longer true of Sindarin of the 1950s and 60s, so Sindarin lhûg required a primitive from ✶slōk- and a corresponding Quenya form of hlócë.

Neo-Sindarin: Given the breadth of its glosses, I would assume this word can apply to any sinuous reptilian creature with or without legs, including lizards, snakes and dragons.

S. lŷg n. “snake”

The best known Sindarin word for “snake”, appearing in Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings (LotR/1115). In 1964 notes on Dalath Dirnen (DD), Tolkien said it was derived from the root √LEWEK “worm” (PE17/160), likely from *leukā where the ancient eu became ȳ as was usual in Sindarin (LotR/1115).