√NĀ root. “be (the same as another), exist”
Tolkien used this root as the basis for Elvish “to be” verbs for much of his life. ᴱ√NĀ “be, exist” first appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like the verb ᴱQ. ná- “to be” and ᴱQ. nasta “existence, being, creature” (QL/64). It also had derivatives in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon such as G. na- “to be” and G. nast “being” (GL/58-59). It appeared again in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹ√NĀ² “be” (Ety/NĀ²), along with an invertible variant ᴹ√ANA² “be, exist” with the derivative ᴹQ. anwa “true, real, actual” (Ety/ANA²); this seems to be the only point where Tolkien considered this root to be invertible. The root √NĀ “be” is mentioned several times in Tolkien’s later writings as well (PE17/93; PE22/147; VT49/27-28).
The root √NĀ was often contrasted with other roots of similar meanings. For example:
Stem of verb “exist” (have being in primary world of history) was √EŊE, distinct from √NA joining adjs./nouns/pronouns in statements (or wishes) asserting (or desiring) a thing to have a certain quality, or to be the same as another (PE22/147).
There were also periods when roots other than √NĀ were the basis for “to be” statement in Elvish. See the entry on √EÑ “exist” for a conceptual history of these alternate roots and their derivatives.
References ✧ PE17/93, 166; PE22/147; VT49/27-28, 31, 36
ᴹ√NĀ²/ANA² root. “be, exist”
References ✧ Ety/ANA², NĀ²
|ANA²||inversion||✧ Ety/ANA²; Ety/NĀ²|
ᴱ√NĀ root. “be, exist”
Reference ✧ QL/64 ✧ “be, exist”