Select Elvish Words 1.214: Mud, Mire

Select Elvish Words 1.214: Mud, Mire

1.214 Mud, Mire

Q. hloa n. “flood, fenland”

A Quenya cognate of S. hlô appearing in The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor from the late 1960s, rejected when Tolkien revised the primitive form {✶sloga >>} ✶loga and the Sindarin form {lhô >>} (VT42/9-10). I personally prefer the earlier form S. lhô which Tolkien used prior to 1968, and as such I think ᴺQ. hloa “flood, fenland” is salvagable for purposes of Neo-Eldarin, as a derivative of an s-prefixed variant of √LOG. See the entry on S. (h)lô for further discussion.

ᴱQ. luxo n. “mud”

The word ᴱQ. lukso (luksu-) appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with the gloss “mud” as a derivative of the root ᴱ√LUKU (QL/56). The root √LUK had other meanings in Tolkien’s later writings. However, the later root √LOG “wet (and soft), soaked, swampy” seems to be similar in sense to early ᴱ√LUKU, so this word for “mud” might be salvaged as a neologism: *log-sō > lokso > ᴺQ. loxo.

ᴱQ. luxor n. “swamp, bog”

The word ᴱQ. luksor appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with the gloss “swamp, bog” as a derivative of the root ᴱ√LUKU (QL/56). It also appeared in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa with just the gloss “swamp”. The root √LUK had other meanings in Tolkien’s later writings. However, the later root √LOG “wet (and soft), soaked, swampy” seems to be similar in sense to early ᴱ√LUKU, so this word for “swamp, bog” might be salvaged as a neologism: *logso-rŏ > loksor > ᴺQ. loxor, perhaps originally an agental formation meaning “one who is muddy”. This neologism was originally suggested by Damien Bador in his translations of psalms into Quenya in 2018.

Q. maxo n. “mire, [ᴹQ.] sticky substance”

A word in both the Outline of Phonetic Development (OP1) of the 1930s and the Outline of Phonology (OP2) of the 1950s, where it was glossed “sticky substance, mire” (PE19/48) and “mire” (PE19/101). In both places, it was derived from ✶mazgō, and served to illustrated the sound change whereby [z] plus voiced stop became unvoiced (zg > sk > ks = x) in Ancient Quenya.

Q. motto n. “fen, marsh; [ᴹQ.] blot”

The word ᴹQ. motto first appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with the gloss “blot” as a derivative of the root ᴹ√MBOTH (Ety/MBOTH). It reappeared in Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957 as a derivative of √MOT “fen, marsh”, apparently of the same meaning. Its 1957 Sindarin form both < mbotto implies the root may have been √M(B)OT. For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d keep both the 1957 and 1930s senses, as derivations of slightly different roots.

ᴱQ. sutl n. “sticky matter, slime, gum”

The noun ᴱQ. sutl “sticky matter, slime, gum” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as a derivative of the root ᴱ√SUKU¹ (QL/86-87). Its Gnomish equivalents like G. thuith and G. thugli indicate the actual root form was *ᴱ√ÞUKU, so probably ᴱQ. sutl < *þukl with -kl > -tl as often happened in Early Qenya words. Assuming this is true, I think this word might be salvagable for purposes of Neo-Quenya as ᴺQ. sucul [þ] “sticky matter, slime”, a less viscous variant of ᴺQ. suhtë “resin, gum”. Another later word of similar meaning ᴹQ. makso “sticky substance, mire”.

S. both n. “fen, marsh; [N.] puddle, small pool”

The word N. both first appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with the gloss “puddle, small pool” as a derivative of the root ᴹ√MBOTH (Ety/MBOTH). It reappeared in Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957 as a derivative of √MOT “fen, marsh”, apparently of the same meaning, along with variants moth and amoth. For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I’d use the form both and retain the 1957 and 1930s senses as derivations of slightly different roots.

S. (h)lô n. “flood, fenland; ⚠️[G.] pool, lake”

A noun that served as the final element in various river names. Tolkien was uncertain whether the primitive form of this word began with simple l- or s-prefixed sl-, hence the variation between and hlô. In notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from The Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien said the non-suffixal form of this word was lhô “flood” (PE17/96). In notes from 1966-67 he gave a bewildering variety of derivations for this word, but mostly represented it as lhô in various attempts to connect it to the river name S. Lhûn (PE17/136-137; VT48/27-28).

In notes on The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor from the late 1960s, while discussing the river name S. Gwathló Tolkien said:

The element -ló was also of Common Eldarin origin, derived from a base (s)log: in Common Eldarin sloga had been a word used for streams of a kind that were variable and liable to overflow their banks at seasons and cause floods when swollen by rains or melting snow; especially such as the Glanduin (described above) that had their sources in mountains and fell at first swiftly, but were halted in the lower lands and flats. *sloga became in Sindarin lhô; but was not in later times much used except in river or marsh names. The Quenya form would have been hloä (VT42/9).

Tolkien rejected this etymology, however, replacing it with the following:

was derived from Common Eldarin base LOG “wet (and soft), soaked, swampy, etc.” The form *loga produced S. and T. loga; and also, from *logna, S. loen, T. logna “soaking wet, swamped”. But the stem in Quenya, owing to sound-changes which caused its derivatives to clash with other words, was little represented ... the Quenya form of S. would have been **loa, identical with Q. loa < *lawa “year”; the form of S. loen, T. logna would have been **lóna identical with [Q.] lóna “pool, mere” (VT42/10).

This final etymology appears to be the last one Tolkien wrote on the topic; later in the same document he used the form in discussions of the river name S. Ringló (VT42/13-14). As for the meaning of the word, it seems it applied both to wide rivers with a tendency to flood their banks, as well as fenlands or wetlands in general.

Conceptual Development: As an element in river names, -lo first appeared in the river names N. Gwathlo and N. Ringlo in Lord of the Rings drafts (TI/304; WR/287). G. “pool, lake” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s is possible precursor (GL/54).

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I prefer the pre-1968 form of the word lhô, as this is both more distinctive and also allows us to salvage Q. hloa of similar meaning.

S. madha n. “mud”

A word given as maða “mud” in the Outline of Phonology (OP2) of the 1950s, a derivative of ✶mazgō (PE19/101). A similar form N. mada [probably a slip for maða] appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with the gloss “soft, pliant, yielding” as a derivative of madhgh < ᴹ√MASAG (EtyAC/MASAG). But this form was rejected and apparently replaced by N. moe “soft, pliant” < ON. maiga (Ety/MASAG). These variations seem to reflect shifting thoughts on the development of zg in Sindarin and Noldorin, either (in the 1930s) zg > i̯g to form diphthongs or (in the 1950s) zg > ðg > -ða.

ᴺS. madhren n. “muddy”

A neologism coined by Paul Strack in 2018 specifically for Eldamo, an adjectival form of Q. madha “mud”, inspired by G. ûgrin “muddy” the adjectival form of ûg from the 1910s. It would need to be a late Sindarin (re)formation rather than the phonetic evolution from ancient forms.