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295Re: Miqilis?

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  • pa2rick <pwynne@gvtel.com>
    Dec 21, 2002
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      Peter Edelberg asked:

      > Has anybody ever figured out how to analyse the word
      > _miqilis_ 'kisses' from the poem _Nieninque_ (A Secret Vice).
      > The full sentence is _yar i vilya anta miqilis_ 'to whom the air
      > gives kisses'. Evidently it is plural, but what is the singular,
      > and how could it be transformed into a verb?

      The Qenya Lexicon gives the following entry:

      MIQI kiss.
      _miqe (e)_ a kiss.
      _miqile_ kissing.
      _miqilitse_ little or tender kiss.
      _miq-_ to kiss. [_minqe_.

      _miqilis_ in the 1931 poem is probably a shortened form of
      _miqilitse_ 'little or tender kiss'. With omission of the final _-e_,
      _miqilits-_ would become _miqilis_ -- compare _oaris_
      'mermaid' in QL, in which the final _-s_ is reduced from _-ts_
      in the stem _*oarits-_ (the _ts_ of the stem is retained medially
      in the pl. _Oaritsi_, I:227).

      The diminutive suffix _-litse_ in _miqilitse_ also occurs in QL
      in the form _inwilitse_ 'little fairy', < _inwe_ 'one of the royal
      house of the Eldar'. It is also possible that in _miqilis_ the final
      element has been reinterpreted as a shortened form of _lisse_
      'sweet' (LR:368).

      _miqilis_ is therefore probably _not_ a plural form, despite its
      gloss as 'kisses'. Tolkien clearly used some poetic leeway in
      his translations of the poems in "A Secret Vice" -- for example,
      the line _nu karne vaiya_ in _Oilima Markirya_ must contain
      sg. _karne_ 'red' (given in QL) and sg. _vaiya_ 'Outer Sea or Air'
      (V:397), but the English translation is plural: 'under red skies'.

      As for "transforming" _miqilis_ into a verb, QL gives the verb
      _miq-_ 'to kiss', pa.t. _minqe_. If this verb survived into the
      later corpus, it may have taken the form _*miku-_ 'to kiss',
      _*mique_ 'it kisses', etc., analogous to _niku-_ 'be chill, cold
      (of weather)', _nique_ 'it is cold, freezes' (XI:417). On the other
      hand, _Nieninque_ employs the equally serviceable idiom
      of the verb _anta_ 'to give' followed by the noun 'kiss'. This
      same idiom occurs in Goldogrin -- the Gnomish Grammar
      cites _ôni cailthi_ 'he pressed a kiss, he kissed' (PE11:11),
      with _antha-_ 'give' (pa.t. _ôni_) and noun _cailthi_ 'kiss'.

      -- Patrick Wynne
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