Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q
- Hans Georg Lundahl recently submitted the following link
to this list without comment, save for the queried subject
header "slightly off topic?":
The link is to a post on an MSN group (there is no author's
name that I can see) pointing out the similarity between the
name "Gollum" (named after the swallowing sound he made)
and the "supposedly proven Nostratic root M-L-Q", which is
thought to have various reflexes "of which an Amerindian
one was nearly Gollum (OK, there was a vowel before the g
or other velar!) and where most meanings are either throat
or swallow (other ones being drink, suckle, milk [a cow or
goat] and Germanic also milk [in a bowl])".
Presumably the I.E. root *_melg-_ 'to rub off; to milk' is
assumed by Nostraticists to be derived from Nost. MLQ;
*_melg-_ is seen in Lat. _mulgere_ (via a zero-grade form
*_mlg-_), and Gmc. *_melkan_ 'to milk' (whence Eng. _milk_),
the Germanic form thought to have been influenced by
the unrelated nominal root *_g(a)lag-_, _*g(a)lakt-_ 'milk'
seen in Grk. _gala_, Lat. _lac_ 'milk'.
Tolkien probably had the Indo-European forms cited above
in mind when he wrote the entry for N. _bliw_ 'oil' in the
Leeds-era "Noldorin Word-lists" (PE13:139) -- this form
is said to derive from *_mlgo_, whence also Q. _millo_ and
T. _milgo_ of the same meaning, and also Ilk. _molk_ 'sap'.
None of these early Elvish forms means 'milk', of course,
but the connection in Tolkien's mind between the senses
'oil' and 'milk' is evident in the Qenya Lexicon, where we
find the root ILI(1) 'shine oily', whence both _ilin_ 'milk'
and _ilma_ 'oil'. QL compares ILI(1) to ILU 'ether, the slender
airs among the stars' (whence _ilwe_ 'sky, heavens, the blue
air that is about the stars, the middle layers') -- perhaps
an allusion to the heavens as "the Milky Way"?
-- Patrick H. Wynne