√SKAL root. “cover, veil, cloak, conceal”
A root appearing in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹ√SKAL¹ “screen, hide (from light), overshadow” (Ety/SKAL¹) with a couple rejected variant meanings “cower, hide” and “conceal, hide (from light)” (EtyAC/SKAL¹, SKAL³). It had derivatives like ᴹQ. halda/N. hall “veiled, hidden, shadowed, shady” and Ilk. esgal “screen, hiding, roof of leaves” as in Ilk. Esgalduin “River under Veil” (Ety/SKAL¹).
The root reappeared as √SKAL “cover, veil, cloak, conceal” with a “privative” √S- prefix added to √KAL “light”, again as the basis for S. esgal “a cast shadow” in S. Esgalduin “River under Shade” (PE17/184). In this note, Tolkien contrasted √SKAL with √SPAN of similar meaning, saying that “√SKAL was applied to more opaque things that cut off light and cast shadows over other things ... √SPAN was applied to things of lighter texture, and corresponds closer to our veil” and also:
SKAL was primitively verbal [whereas] SPAN was primitively nominal. Thus the most primitive derivative of SKAL was skalā and this meant the action or effect of overshadowing ... But spanā meant a thing that veiled, a veil (PE17/184).
Elsewhere the derivatives of √SPAN were more frequently attributed to √PHAN; see those entries for further discussion.
References ✧ PE17/184
|KAL||“light; shine, be bright”||✧ PE17/184|
ᴹ√SKAL¹ root. “screen, hide (from light), overshadow”
References ✧ Ety/SKAL¹; EtyAC/DUI, SKAL¹, SKAL³