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Some remarks on _loikolíkuma_

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  • David Kiltz
    The word _loikolíkuma_ occurs, to my knowledge, only once in the published corpus of J.R.R. Tolkien s writings [MC:222, 223]. It figures in a poem named The
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 13, 2005
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      The word _loikol�kuma_ occurs, to my knowledge, only once in the
      published corpus of J.R.R. Tolkien's writings [MC:222, 223]. It figures
      in a poem named 'The Last Ark' (later version) line 20, contained in
      the essay 'A Secret Vice'. In a note to the text Tolkien gives Q _loiko_
      as 'corpse, dead body' and _l�kuma_ as 'taper, candle' < _l�ko_ 'wax'.

      As Christopher Tolkien remarks [I:248], his father introduced some
      'historical or etymological punning' into his languages. More
      specifically, there are (among others) often resemblances to Germanic
      words or, indeed, *possible* words. Chr. Tolkien cites
      S _h�r_ 'old' or the root HERE 'to rule'. However, there are some words
      which evoke older stages of Germanic, especially Proto- or even
      Pre-Proto-Germanic. There is, e.g. the root QUET- which evokes such
      germanic forms as Goth. _qithan_, OE _cwedhan_ etc. 'say, speak', which
      have the same anlaut but the elvish word has unshifted 't'. Another
      example is _huan_ 'hound' [V:364f.]. While this word is given a perfect
      elvish etymology, it is reminiscent of Germanic _*hund-_ and PIE nom.
      _*k'w�n, gen. _*k'un�s_ 'dog'. In fact, _huan_ is precisely what PIE
      _k'uw�n_ (with SIEVERS variant as in Greek _ky�n_) would have yielded
      in Proto-Germanic. Only that Germanic has built a new word from the
      zero grade root adding a dental suffix. In fact, The Etymologies give
      the Q genitive as _h�nen_ thus mirroring, if you will, the PIE ablaut
      situation. These resemblances are hardly there by coincidence.

      Now the first element of _loikol�kuma_, _loiko_, bears a striking
      resemblance to Germanic words of the same meaning: Goth. _leik_, ONo.
      _l�k_, OE _l�c_, NHG _Leiche_ [lai�<schwa>] etc., the first three meaning not
      only 'dead body, corpse' but also 'body, shape' in general. The
      diphthong 'oi' recalls Gk. _loig�s_ 'perdition, death' which is,
      however, not normally connected with the Germanic words (cf. IEW:667,
      Watkins 2000:49). Had OE or ONo. _l�c/k_ as a noun survived into Modern
      English times it should have acquired the pronunciation /laik/. The
      latter seems to occur in the Rohirric term _Dwimmerlaik_ used by �owyn
      for one of the Ringwraiths [LRIII:136]. The first element is clearly a
      modernization of OE _dwimor_ 'ghost', the second might be our 'corpse,
      body, shape'. In the index to the LR it's glossed "(in Rohan) work of
      necromancy, spectre" [ibid.p. 535].

      The second element, _l�kuma_ is, internally, derived from _l�ko_ wax.
      However, it is perhaps noteworthy that next to OE _l�chama_ and
      _l�choma_ 'dead body, corpse' (i.e. _l�c_ + _hama_) there is a somewhat
      younger OE form _l�cuma_ 'corpse'.

      There certainly also is some elvish etymology for Q _loiko_. Yet, it
      seems typical of Tolkien's Elvish and other languages that, while they
      work perfectly in and for themselves, they contain quite a number of
      allusions, puns and general resemblances with reference to the primary
      world. All this is, as I see it (and I'm probably not alone there),
      part of the joy of his (sub-)creation.

      -David Kiltz


      P.S. As for the internal derivation of Q _l�ko_, maybe it is to be
      connected with _ilka-_ (apparently) 'to gleam' attested in the same
      poem, line 36. There the reference is apparently to the colour of
      (bleached) bones (axor) which resembles (white) wax, so that these two
      words may derive from a root denoting (emitting the light of) this
      colour, hence ILIK- or rather LIK- with the sund�ma prefixed to yield
      _ilka-_.


      List of abbreviations (Follows the conventions for Tengwestie
      <http://www.elvish.org/Tengwestie/conventions.phtml> where an
      example is given):

      Goth. : Gothic
      Gk. : Greek
      I : The Book of Lost Tales, Part One
      IEW : Pokorny, Julius. Indogermanisches Etymologisches W�rterbuch
      LR : The Lord of the Rings
      MC : The Monster and the Critics
      NHG : New High German
      OE : Old English
      ONo. : Old Norse
      PIE : Proto-Indo-European
      Q : Quenya
      V : The Lost Road
      Watkins
      2000 : The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. Second
      edition.
      You also find the respective entry here:
      http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE286.html

      Addendum: As for the etymology of Q _loiko_, one possibility seems to
      be to derive it from LOYO- [VT45:29] 'lack, be without; miss, fail to
      go', possibly denoting the 'lifeless/soulless body' or 'the part that
      doesn't go thither' ?
    • Rich Alderson
      ... I would just like to point out that the word does appear in Modern English in the old compound _lychgate_ (also _lichgate_), a covered section of the gate
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 13, 2005
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        > From: David Kiltz <derdron@...>
        > Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 09:34:06 +0100

        > ... Had OE or ONo. _l�c/k_ as a noun survived into Modern English times
        > it should have acquired the pronunciation /laik/.

        I would just like to point out that the word does appear in Modern English in
        the old compound _lychgate_ (also _lichgate_), a covered section of the gate
        into a churchyard in which a bier could be rested temporarily, that is to say,
        a "corpse gate".

        Rich Alderson
      • lambengolmor@yahoogroups.com
        [This is drifting off-topic. Keep any further discussion of this form related to Tolkien s own usage and inventions, please. Discussion of the development of
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 13, 2005
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          [This is drifting off-topic. Keep any further discussion of this form related to
          Tolkien's own usage and inventions, please. Discussion of the development of
          forms in modern languages should otherwise be conducted off-list. CFH]

          1) =====================================
          On 13.01.2005, at 20:14, Rich Alderson wrote:

          > I would just like to point out that the word does appear in Modern English in
          > the old compound _lychgate_ (also _lichgate_).

          Thank you. Yes, I'm aware of this form but I understand, this being a compound,
          the first element is pronounced /litsh/ rhyming with _switch_. Only if the noun
          had survived should we see the development to /laik/ as in ModE _like_ and _to like_.
          John Cowan pointed out some more survivors of the word (also in compounds), cf.
          <http://tolklang.quettar.org/messages/Vol45/45.44>. As John also indicates,
          there is also _lyke-wake (lykewake < ONo. _líkavaka_) but I don't know how current
          the word _lyke_ is or if it is used independently at all.

          Curiously, Rohirric _laik_ seems to represent an Old Norse precursor.

          --
          David Kiltz

          2) =====================================
          Among the undead creatures described in the _Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
          Monster Manual_ (c.1980) was one they called a "lich"; I hadn't encountered the word
          before seeing it there, but it may still have had some currency before they revived it,
          so to speak.

          --
          Odysseus

          3) =====================================
          OE/ONo. _líc/k_ also survived into modern Danish (_lig_ with silent g) and modern
          Swedish (_lik_) both meaning corpse / dead body.

          Peter Edelberg
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