Select Elvish Words 1.35: Wave, Surge

Select Elvish Words 1.35: Wave, Surge

Q. falasta- vb. “to foam, surge, [ᴱQ.] make a sound like surf”

A verb meaning “to foam, surge” (for example, of the sea), used in all versions of the Markirya, both the version from the 1960s and the original from 1931 (and many of its preceding drafts). In the poem, it appeared as an active participle falastala “surging” (MC/222), but in the commentary after the poem it was glossed “foam” (MC/223). In one of the commentaries to the early versions of the poem from around 1930, Tolkien glossed this verb as “make sound as surf” (PE16/75). This verb is probably a derivative of the root √PHAL, perhaps from *phalas-tā.

Q. falma n. “(crested or foaming) wave, breaker; ⚠️[ᴱQ.] foam”

The basic Quenya word for “wave”, in particular a foaming or cresting wave, or a breaker. It was a derivative of the root √PHAL “foam, splash” (PE17/62, 73; Ety/PHAL).

Conceptual Development: Its earliest precursor seems to be ᴱQ. falmo “foam” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, derived from the root ᴱ√FALA (QL/37). It appeared as ᴱQ. falma “foam” in the Oilima Markirya poem of 1931 (MC/213). Other poems from this period use another word ᴱQ. falmar for “wave” (MC/216, 220), and falmar appeared in Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as well with the gloss “wave as it breaks” (QL/37). In the Declension of Nouns from the 1930s, it appeared as ᴹQ. falma “wave” (PE22/22, 50), and in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹQ. falma “(crested) wave” from the root ᴹ√PHAL “foam” (Ety/PHAL). It was mentioned numerous times in later writings, generally as a foaming or breaking wave.

ᴹQ. solor n. “surf, [ᴱQ.] surge; ⚠️wavebreak, coast”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “surf” derived from the root ᴹ√SOL, more specifically from the primitive form ᴹ✶solos (Ety/SOL).

Conceptual Development: The word ᴱQ. solor (solos-) “surf, surge” appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s as a derivative of the root ᴱ√SOLO, along side a longer variant solosse (QL/85). The long form had the same gloss in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa, but the short form solor was glossed “a wavebreak, coast” (PME/85). The form ᴹQ. solor “surf” in The Etymologies was abnormal, in that it showed final -s becoming -r, which may be a remnant of Early Quenya phonology; later on, final s generally survived and medial s became r.

ᴱQ. solto- vb. “to wave, heave, surge (up and down)”

A verb in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as ᴱQ. solto- “wave, heave, surge (up and down)”, a derivative of the root ᴱ√SOLO (QL/39).

Neo-Quenya: I think this word can be salvaged as ᴺQ. solta- as a derivative of the later root ᴹ√SOL, as suggested in Ales Bican’s New Words from the early 2000s.

Q. vairë adj. “?wavy”

A word (adjective?) in Quenya Notes from 1957 (QN) derived from √WAYA “blow” whose gloss is unclear, perhaps “wavy[?] not of fluid[?] but locks[?]” as suggested by Christopher Gilson (PE17/34). Giving the uncertainty of this word’s meaning, I’d avoid using it in Neo-Quenya writings.

N. falf n. “foam, breaker, [G.] wave”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “foam, breaker” derived from the root ᴹ√PHAL “foam” (Ety/PHAL).

Conceptual Development: An obvious precursor to this word is G. falm “a breaker, a wave” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, derived from the early root ᴱ√fal- (GL/33); in Noldorin/Sindarin the final -m would become -f [-v]. Given the gloss “breaker” from The Etymologies, it seems likely that N. falf can also be used for a “wave”, much like its Quenya cognate Q. falma.

S. faloth n. “large foamy wave”

A noun in notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from The Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s, glossed “a large foamy wave” as an element in the name S. Asfaloth = “Sunlit Foam” (PE17/18). It seems to be a combination of the root √PHAL with the augmentative suffix S. -oth. Tolkien was uncertain of this etymology for Asfaloth’s name, since (in that moment) he thought sunlight words came from a root √GAS, but later he changed that to √AS and as such I think both faloth and this definition of Asfaloth are salvageable for purposes of Neo-Sindarin.