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(Ñ)GIL root. “shine (white); silver glint; white or silver light”

(Ñ)GIL root. “shine (white); silver glint; white or silver light”

This root was the basis for Elvish words for stars and starlight, especially in the Sindarin branch of the Elvish languages. It first appeared as ᴱ√Gil- in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like G. gil- “gleam”, G. giltha “white metal, †silver”, and (probably) G. gail “star” (GL/37-38). Its Early Qenya derivatives were ᴱQ. ilsa “mystic name of silver” (QL/42) and ᴱQ. īle “star” (GL/37), indicating the true form of the root was probably ᴱ√ƷILI, since initial voiced stops were unvoiced in Early Qenya, so that ancient *gīle would become **kíle, not íle.

This root appeared as ᴹ√GIL “shine (white or pale)” in The Etymologies of the 1930s with derivatives like N. geil “star” and ᴹQ. Ilma “Starlight” (Ety/GIL). The root regularly appeared in this unstrengthened form in Tolkien’s later writing, for example as √GIL “shine (white)” in a 1955 letter to David Masson (PE17/152) or as gil “white or silver light” in a 1958 letter to Rhona Beare (Let/278). In one place Tolkien considered giving it a kil- variant, analogous to √GAL vs. √KAL for “(golden) light” (PE17/50), but that seems to have been a transient idea. In other notes dating to the late 1950s Tolkien gave the root in strengthened form as √NGIL “silver glint” (MR/388; PE17/22) and also √GIL >> √ÑGIL as the basis for the initial element of the name S. Gil-galad (PE17/23).

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think it best to assume the root was originally unstrengthened √GIL, but was sometimes strengthened to √ÑGIL to produce words like Q. ñille “silver glint”.

References ✧ Let/278; MR/388; PE17/22-23, 50, 69, 152-153, 167, 169

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Changes

Inflections

NGIL strengthened “silver glint” ✧ PE17/22; PE17/167
ngil strengthened “silver glint” ✧ MR/388
ÑGIL strengthened   ✧ PE17/23; PE17/169

Derivatives


ᴹ√GIL root. “shine (white or pale)”

See √(Ñ)GIL for discussion.

References ✧ Ety/GIL, GUL, RIL, TIN, WIL; EtyAC/GAL¹

Glosses

Related

Derivatives


ᴱ√GILI root. “*shine (white)”

See √(Ñ)GIL for discussion.

References ✧ GL/38

Variations

Related

Derivatives