ᴹQ. nelet (nelk-) n. “tooth” (Category: Tooth)
The normal Quenya word for “tooth”, appearing in The Etymologies written around 1937 derived from the root ᴹ√NELEK of the same meaning (Ety/NÉL-EK), where the final k became t. Its plural form nelki [nelci] indicates a stem form of nelk- [nelc-], since in most inflected forms the word would undergo the Quenya syncope and loose the second e. A variant form nelke (EtyAC/NÉL-EK) may reflect a reformation to align with those inflected forms.
Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s Tolkien had ᴱQ. nele (neli-) “tooth” under the early root ᴱ√NELE (QL/65), a word also mentioned in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon (PME/65). In Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s Tolkien instead had ᴱQ. nyat “tooth” (PE16/136), but that seems to have been a transient idea. ᴹQ. nelet first appeared in Common Eldarin: Noun Structure from 1936 alongside variant nelke, but it was replaced by nele and then later nelke was deleted as well (PE21/56 and note #12). Both nelet and variant nelke were restored in The Etymologies (see above).
Primitive √nelek “tooth” was mentioned in Common Eldarin: Noun Structure from the early 1950s, but its Quenya derivatives were not listed.
Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d use nelet (nelc-) “tooth” as the traditional form of this word, with nelcë as a modern variant with more regular inflections.
References ✧ Ety/NÉL-EK; EtyAC/NÉL-EK; PE19/58; PE21/56
|nelki||plural||✧ Ety/NÉL-EK; PE21/56|
|ᴹ√NÉL-EK > nelet||[nelek] > [nelet]||✧ Ety/NÉL-EK|
References ✧ PE16/136
References ✧ PME/65; QL/48, 65
|ᴱ√NELE > nele||[neli] > [nele]||✧ QL/65|