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[ᴹ]*√PI(N) root. “little”

[ᴹ]*√PI(N) root. “little”

Tolkien used a variety of roots for Elvish words for “small”. One early root was ᴱ√PIKI with variants ᴱ√PINI and ᴱ√ from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, unglossed but with derivatives like ᴱQ. pínea “small” and ᴱQ. pinqe “slender, thin” (QL/73). It also had derivatives in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon such as G. pinig “tiny, little” and G. pibin “small berry, haw” (GL/64).

The root reappeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as unglossed {ᴹ√PEK >>} ᴹ√PIK with derivatives like N. pigen “tiny” and N. peg “small spot, dot” (Ety/PIK; EtyAC/PIK). Further evidence for this root can be seen in later words like Q. piki- or pitya “petty” (WJ/389) and Q. píka- “lessen, dwindle” (MC/223). A variant root √PEY appeared in a list of roots having to do with large and small, with a single derivative Q. pia “little” [< *peya], but it was immediately followed by the forms pikina, pinke, pitya which point back to √PIK (PE/117).

Further evidence of early forms ᴱ√PINI and ᴱ√ can also be seen in Tolkien’s later writings. There is S. *pîn “little” in S. Cûl Bîn “Little Load” (RC/536), ✶ {“small bird” >>} “small insect” (VT47/35), and T. pinke “little-one, baby” (VT48/6), though the last of these might be from √PIK. In any case it seems Tolkien continued to use all of √PI, √PIK and √PIN to form words for little things into the late 1960s.

In The Shibboleth of Fëanor from the late 1960s, Tolkien changed pitya to Q. nitya in the name Q. Nityafinwë “Little Finwë” (PM/353, 365 note #59), which may indicate a replacement of √PIK by √NIK, another root used regularly in Tolkien’s later writings for “small”. But I believe √PIK and √NIK may coexist with slightly different meanings: “tiny” vs. “small”; see the entry on √NIK for further discussion.

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PEY root. “*little”

See *√PI(N) for discussion.

References ✧ PE17/115, 173

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ᴹ√PIK root. “*tiny”

See *√PI(N) for discussion.

References ✧ Ety/PIK, TIK; EtyAC/PIK

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ᴱ√PINI root. “*small”

See *√PI(N) for discussion.

References ✧ QL/73-74

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