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The etymology of _imíca_

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  • Petri Tikka
    There are currently two theories about the etymology of the Quenya word _imíca_ among (VT43:28): 1. by Carl Hostetter: _imi_ (VT34:30) + partitive ending
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2002
      There are currently two theories about the etymology of the Quenya word
      _imíca_ "among" (VT43:28):

      1. by Carl Hostetter: _imi_ (VT34:30) + partitive ending _-ika_ (VT28:29-30)
      2. by Helge Fauskanger: an extension or intensification of _mi_ (LR:373)
      = _imî_ + adjectival suffix _-ca_ (PM:363)

      Carl's theory conflicts with _mika_ (VT43:11), which doesen't include a
      long _í_ from the merging of _i_+_ika_. Of course, Tolkien may have
      only forgotten to mark the long vowel, but that must not be used as
      concrete evidence.

      The adjectival ending _-ca_ is seen only after dipthongs and consonants,
      cf. _faika_ "contemptible, mean" (V:387), _helka_ "icy, icecold"
      (V:364), _nwalka_ "cruel" (V:377) and _soika_ "thirsty" (VT39:11).

      But there is the word _néka_ "pale, vague, faint, dim to see" (MC:221-223),
      which has either
      1. lengthening of the stem wowel *NE + adjectival ending _-ca_
      2. *NÉ + an adjectival ending
      Both options are neither supported nor denied by the available material,
      since stem vowel can't be lengthened if it already has a dipthong or it is
      a closed syllable, cf. _oilima_ "last" (MC:213, 214) vs _métima_ "last"
      (MC:221-223) and _oantië_ vs _avánië_ (WJ:366). The firs option might
      refute Helge's theory, but it wouldn't support Carl's either, since _mica_
      doesen't have a long vowel.

      Helge's theory is slightly supported by the fact that his endings are
      attested in a latter period and Carl's because it is more succint. Still
      yet Helge's theory of the adjectival ending _-ca_ being used to make a
      preposition, supported by _hekwâ_ "leaving aside, not counting, excluding,
      except" (WJ:365), accounts for _mika_, while Carl's doesen't. It can thus
      explain with attested parallels both _imíca_ and _mika_, while Hostetter's
      theory can't.

      Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland

      [If the partitive ending _-ika_ cannot account for both _imíca_ and
      _mika_, then I fail to see how an adjectival ending _-ka_ can be held to
      account for _mika_ and _imíca_, when *_imí-_ is unattested.

      Moreover, your treatment of the two explanations of _imíca_ fails to take
      the _meaning_ of _imíca_ into account. 'among' is an inherently partitive
      meaning; a partitive ending is thus eminently suitable for this
      preposition. And 'among' is _not_ an adjective.

      If Helge can point to a non-partitive preposition in _-(i)ka_, then I
      might give some credence to this. Until then, I see no reason to count
      Helge's adjectival-conjunction-in-_-wa_ as evidence in support of his
      adjectival derivation of a partitive preposition in _-ka_, nor to prefer
      it to my explanation; and I certainly do not agree that my explanation
      cannot account for both forms. Carl]
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