Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

560Re: _Ingwe_: A Possible Quenya Word for "Insect"?

Expand Messages
  • Patrick H. Wynne
    Dec 25, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      NOTE: I had originally intended to post the following comments on
      Elfling, but as of this morning I have been banned from that forum
      by David Salo, without explanation or warning.

      [List members are invited to read and join the Elfling-d meta-discussion list:
      if they share our concern for the policies and practices of the owner and
      moderators of Elfling. CFH]

      The thread to which this responds was begun by Chris Friederich
      in Elfling message #27849:


      A list of links to followup messages is found at the bottom of
      the above page.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      On Dec 23, 2003, at 12:02 AM, chris_friederich wrote:

      > ... So now we have either #_ingwe_ or #_pingwe_ as possible
      > forms for "insect", and we have no real way of telling which
      > is the correct one. One could simply take #_pingwe_, which
      > has no homophones as far as I know, and run with it, I
      > suppose. I still wish there were a way to be sure, though...

      This has been a very interesting thread. I'm inclined to take
      Q _ingwe_ in QL at face value as meaning 'fish' and not *'insect',
      since the meaning 'fish' seems thoroughly confirmed by the other
      derivatives of root IWI given in QL:

      _ingwilin (ng), ingwil_ 'eel' -- evidently lit. *'fish-snake',
      with Q _lin_ (_ling-_) 'snake' (PE12:54)

      _Uin (d)_ 'a fish', (also the name of "the primeval whale" in the Lost
      Tales) pl. _uini, _windi_; adj. _uindea, windea_ 'fishlike';
      and _Ui_ "Queen of Mermaids", name of the wife of Osse, which
      QL compares to _Uin_ 'a fish' -- all said to derive from "some
      such form as _wî_", itself from root IWI (PE12:97).

      We can also note the Gnomish cognates given in GL: _ing_ 'fish',
      _igli_ 'young of fish, small fry', and _uin_, which can mean either
      'a whale' in general, 'Gulma's great whale' in particular, or,
      poetically, 'a wave'. This last meaning suggests some confusion
      or blending with Gn. _gwing_ 'a wave-crest, crest, foam' (in GL
      this word is cross-referenced to _uin_); QL also notes that
      _winge_ 'foam, spindrift, froth, scud' derives from _uingê_,
      "also == wave". Perhaps the meaning of the root IWI was originally

      It seems possible that Q _ingwe_ 'fish' is the second element in
      both _telpingwe_ 'silverfish' and _ulumpingwe_ 'caterpillar', in
      both instances the sense 'fish' being _pictorial_ (describing
      how these insects look and move) rather than literal. In the case
      of _telpingwe_ 'silverfish', this word (like its English counterpart)
      might refer to _both_ the insect and the fish; these insects, with
      their silver scales, torpedo-shaped bodies, and darting movements,
      do in fact resemble tiny fish. Ditto for _ulumpingwe_ 'caterpillar',
      the literal meaning of which might be *'camel-fish', referring
      to the "hump" a caterpillar makes as it inches along, and to its
      elongated eel-like body shape and fish-like undulating mode of

      And certainly "camel-fish" would be no stranger a pictorial metaphor
      for these creatures than English _caterpillar_ itself, which traces
      back to Old French _chatepelose_ 'hairy cat' < Latin _catta_ 'cat'
      + _pilosus_ < _pilus_ 'hair' (according to one theory, at least;
      it has also been proposed that the second element is _piller,
      pilour_ 'pillager, plunderer, spoiler'). French uses a canine
      metaphor instead, _chenille_ 'caterpillar' deriving from Latin
      _canicula_ 'little dog', dim. of _canis_ 'dog'. Portuguese uses
      _lagarta_, from _lagarto_ 'lizard'.

      There are similarly non-literal, metaphorical names for 'dragonfly'
      in the Gnomish Lexicon. Dragonflies are neither Orcs nor snakes, yet
      the names for this insect in GL are _sithagong_ *'fly-goblin' (Gn.
      _sitha_ 'fly' + _gong_ 'one of a tribe of the orcs, a goblin') and
      _sithaling_ 'dragonfly (fly snake)' (Gn. _ling_ 'small snake').

      As for interpreting _telpingwe_ and _ulumpingwe_ as haplologies of
      *_telpe-pingwe, *ulumpe-pingwe_, with *_pingwe_ meaning 'insect' --
      while hapolology would probably occur if these forms existed, there
      are etymological problems with *_pingwe_. In QL, words ending in
      _-ngwe_ consistently derive from two kinds of roots: 1) roots with W
      as their medial consonant -- thus _ingwe_ 'fish' < IWI, _rangwe_
      *'ran' pa.t. of _rawa-_ 'run, chase' < RAWA; and 2) roots with NG
      (usually spelled with an _eng_) as their medial consonant --
      thus _ongwe_ 'pain' < ONGO, _ringwe_ 'frost' < RINGI, _tengwe_
      'knowledge' < TENGE 'know', _ungwe_ 'spider' < GUNGU. Thus we would
      expect a noun *_pingwe_ to derive either from a root *PIWI or *PINGI.
      There is no root *PINGI in QL, though there is a root PIWI, apparently
      meaning *'fat', with derivatives including _pîwe_ 'fatness,
      richness, goodness' and _pingwa_ 'fat, rich (of soil)', the latter
      very close to our hypothetical *_pingwe_. But if a noun *_pingwe_
      were formed from PIWI, it would almost certainly have the meaning
      'fat' or 'fatness', not 'insect'. And although it is tempting to
      suppose that a noun *_pingwe_ could derive from PIKI, PINI, PÎ
      *'slender, small', especially in light of the derivative _pin, pink_
      'a little thing, a mite' (the latter gloss possibly referring to the
      tiny parasitic arachnids of that name), none of these roots has the
      form that all the attested examples of words in _-ngwe_ in QL would
      lead us to expect.

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
    • Show all 2 messages in this topic