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Q. nís (niss(e)-) n. “woman” (Category: Woman)

Q. nís (niss(e)-), n. “woman” (Category: Woman)

The usual Quenya word for “woman” or more exactly a “female person” of any race, in later writings appearing as both nís (MR/213, 226, 229) and nisse (VT47/18, 33). Even in the cases where its singular was nís, its plural form was given as nissi, indicating a stem form of niss-. In rough notes from 1968 Tolkien said “The monosyllabic nouns (especially those with only one stem-consonant) were a small dwindling class often replaced by strengthened forms (as nis- was [by] nisse)” (VT47/18).

Thus it seems the ancient form was *nis- from the root √NIS, which like its male counterpart Q. nér “man” inherited a long vowel from the ancient subjective form *nīs. But the voiceless s was felt to be intrinsic to word, and it was thus strengthened to niss- in inflected forms to avoid the sound changes associated with an isolated s. From this a longer form nisse was generalized. In practice I think either form can be used, with singular nís being preserved by analogy with nér. However, I think inflected forms are probably all based on nisse, such as genitive nisseo “of a woman” rather than **nisso.

Conceptual Development: In The Etymologies of the 1930s Tolkien had both ᴹQ. nis and nisse “woman” derived the root ᴹ√NIS, with plural nissi in both cases (Ety/NIS, NDIS). He explained this variation as follows: “nis was a blend of old nīs (nisen) and the elab[orated] form *nis-sē” (EtyAC/NĪ¹). Hence it is was essentially the same as the scenario described above, but in the 1930s the long vowel in ancient nīs did not survive in the later short form nis.

In Quenya prayers of the 1950s, Tolkien experimented with some alternate plural forms nínaron [genitive plural] >> nísi [ordinary plural] (VT43/26-29, 31), the former apparently representing a variant singular form *nína, but in later writings plural nissi was restored.

References ✧ MR/213, 226, 229, 471; VT43/31; VT47/18, 33

Glosses

Variations

Related

Changes

Inflections

nínaron genitive plural “*women” ✧ VT43/31
nissi plural “women” ✧ MR/213
nissi plural   ✧ MR/226; MR/229; MR/471
nísi plural “*women” ✧ VT43/31

Element In

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

nis- > nisse [nisse] ✧ VT47/18
nis > nisse [nisse] ✧ VT47/33

ᴹQ. nis (niss-) n. “woman” (Category: Woman)

See Q. nís for discussion.

References ✧ Ety/NDIS, NĪ¹, NIS; EtyAC/NDIS, NĪ¹, NIS; PE21/8

Glosses

Variations

Related

Inflections

nissi plural ✧ Ety/NĪ¹; Ety/NĪ¹; Ety/NIS; EtyAC/NDIS
plural ✧ PE21/8

Cognates

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

ᴹ√NDIS-SĒ/SĀ > nisse [ndisse] > [nisse] ✧ Ety/NDIS
ᴹ√NIS/NĪ > nis [niss] > [nis] ✧ Ety/NDIS
ᴹ√NIS > nis [niss] > [nis] ✧ Ety/NĪ¹
ᴹ√NIS > nisse [nisse] ✧ Ety/NĪ¹
ᴹ√NIS > nis [niss] > [nis] ✧ Ety/NIS

ᴱQ. qin¹ (qim-) n. “woman, female” (Category: Woman)

A noun in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s glossed “woman, female” derived from the root ᴱ√QIMI (QL/77). In the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa it appeared in its stem form qim- (PME/77). The word reappeared with the gloss “woman” in the English-Qenya Dictionary and Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s (PE15/79; PE16/135), but seems to have been abandoned after that point.

References ✧ PE15/79; PE16/135; PME/77; QL/40, 77, 95

Glosses

Variations

Changes

Inflections

qima accusative   ✧ PE16/135
qimi plural   ✧ PE15/79
qindi plural   ✧ PE15/79
qim- stem “woman” ✧ PME/77
qim- stem   ✧ QL/77

Element In

Cognates

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

ᴱ√QIMI > qin [giwim] ? [gwin] > [gwin] > [kwin] > [kʷin] ✧ QL/77