Select Elvish Words 1.212-1.213: Ground, Soil, Dust, Powder

Select Elvish Words 1.212-1.213: Ground, Soil, Dust, Powder

1.212 Ground, Soil

ᴹQ. hún (hun-), n. “earth, *ground”

A word in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s with stem form hun- and gloss “earth” (QL/39). It might be a later iteration of ᴱQ. han “ground, earth” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/39), and if so then hún might also be used as “*ground”. I think it is useful to assume so for purposes of Neo-Quenya, as the other attested word for “ground”, Q. talan, is probably used for often for “floor”, including floors above the ground level.

ᴹQ. palúre, n. “surface, bosom, bosom of Earth, (Old English) folde”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “surface, bosom, bosom of Earth, (Old English) folde” derived from the root ᴹ√PAL “wide (open)” (Ety/KEM). Here “folde” is an Old English word meaning “land, earth, ground”. The word “bosom” likewise in Old English could refer simply to a surface, and as an anatomical reference described the chest regardless of gender. Given these glosses, it seems unlikely that this word could be applied to the breasts of a woman, to which the term “bosom” was not applied in English until the 20th century.

N. cef, n. “soil”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “soil” derived from the root ᴹ√KEM “soil, earth” (Ety/KEM). It had a rather unusual plural form ceif which shows i-intrusion but not the usual i-raising of e to i; under ordinary phonetic developments the expected plural would be *cif. I can think of no good reason for this abnormal plural, but it would be ^caif if adapted to Sindarin.

N. talaf, n. “ground, floor”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “ground, floor” derived from the root ᴹ√TALAM “floor, base, ground” (Ety/TAL). It has a plural form teleif in keeping with Noldorin plural patterns; in Sindarin its plural would be ^telaif. Its Quenya cognate was ᴹQ. talan, and in later writings this pair became Q. talan/S. talan “flat space, platform” < √TALAM (PE17/52), both demonstrating the ancient sound change whereby final [m] became [n] (VT47/24).

Neo-Eldarin: In later writings, S. talan was used mainly to refer to an elevated platform or floor, such as the flets of Lothlórien. As such, I think it is worth retaining talaf to refer both to the ground floor as well as the ground itself, perhaps from a variant ancient form *talamē.

1.213 Dust, Powder

ᴹQ. asto, n. “dust”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “dust” derived from the root ᴹ√ÁS-AT (Ety/ÁS-AT). It was also mentioned in the The Feanorian Alphabet from the late 1930s with the same form and meaning (PE22/21-22), and in the revisions of that document from the 1940s, though there it was replaced with ᴹQ. osto as a name for one of the tengwar (PE22/50). This replacement may only have to do with tengwar names, and doesn’t necessarily invalidate asto “dust”.

ᴺQ. [ᴱQ.] mulda, adj. “powdery”

A word with variant forms mulda and mulina and the gloss “powdery” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, an adjectival form of ᴱQ. mul (muld-) “fine powder”, ultimately derived from the early root ᴱ√MULU “grind (fine)” (QL/63). In notes from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien gave Q. mulë for “meal” = “*coarsely ground flour”, so it seems *√MUL “grind” either survived or was restored. This may make it possible to retain ᴺQ. mulda “powdery” for purposes of Neo-Eldarin as descriptive of ground up things.

ᴹQ. mulo (mulu-), n. “dust, [ᴱQ.] fine powder”

A word in the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s glossed “dust”, given as an example of declensions for nouns that in ancient times ended with short -ŭ: mulǔ- (PE21/10-11). It is probably a later iteration of ᴱQ. mul (muld-) “fine powder” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, a derivative of the early root ᴱ√MULU “grind (fine)” (QL/63). In notes from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien gave Q. mulë for “meal” = “*coarsely ground flour”, so it seems *√MUL “grind” either survived or was restored. For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think it is appropriate to use this word with the earlier sense “fine powder” as well.

N. ast, n. “dust”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “dust” derived from the root ᴹ√ÁS-AT (Ety/ÁS-AT).

ᴺS. athren, adj. “dusty”

A neologism for “dusty” created by Paul Strack specifically for Eldamo in 2018, inspired by G. thithrin. It is an adjectival form of S. ast, with the thr the result of sound changes similar to othrond = ost + rond. When this entry was first created in 2018, it was given as astren without the sound change, but I modified it to athren in 2021.