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Q. -wë suf. “ancient name suffix (usually but not always masculine)” (Category: Human Being)

Q. -wë, suf. “ancient name suffix (usually but not always masculine)” (Category: Human Being)

A suffix that “appears frequently in ... Quenya names of the First Age, such as Voronwe, generally but not exclusively masculine” (PM/340). It was derived from the root √WĒ/EWE “person, being, individual”, but was sometimes also related to √WEG “live, be active” (PM/340; PE17/189-190), especially in the case of its Sindarin variant -we.

Conceptual Development: The suffix ᴱQ. -we dates all the back to the earliest versions of the Legendarium, being an element in some very stable names like ᴱQ. Manwe and ᴱQ. Finwe which Tolkien never changed after their introduction. The early basis for this suffix isn’t entirely clear, but its Gnomish equivalent G. -weg seems to be the suffixal form of G. gweg “man” (GL/44). This Gnomish variant was specifically masculine and often paired with its feminine equivalent G. -win. In the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s, Tolkien said that ᴹQ. -we in names like ᴹQ. Finwe was a masculine suffix based on archaic ᴹQ. † “man, warrior”, but he also said that the suffix in ᴹQ. Manwe was distinct (PE21/1).

In The Etymologies of the 1930s, Tolkien said the name suffix had two different origins and meanings, ᴹQ. -we¹ “masculine” and ᴹQ. -we² “abstract”:

veo (*wegō) “man”. The latter in compound form *-wego is frequent in masculine names, taking Q form -we (< weg). This can be distinguished from -we (-wē abstract suffix) ... The abstract suffix occurs in the names Manwe, Fionwe, Elwe, Ingwe, Finwe (Ety/WEG).

Thus the masculine variant of the suffix was derived from primitive ᴹ✶-wego under the root ᴹ√WEG “(manly) vigour”, while the abstract suffix was derived from unrelated abstract suffix ᴹ✶-wē.

This duality in origin seems to have continued in Tolkien’s later writings, where Tolkien variously tied the suffix to either √ “person, individual, being” (PE17/189-190) or √WEG, the latter glossed “live, be active” (PE17/189) but also “masculinity apart from sex” and thus useable in names of the Valar, though the note with this last gloss appeared was struck through (PE17/190). The last mention of this suffix is in The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968, where it was described as an abstract name suffix, most frequent in male names, based on √EWE “person” (PM/340), as noted above.

References ✧ PE17/23, 189-190; PE21/81; PM/340; WJ/399

Glosses

Variations

Related

Changes

Element In

Cognates

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

> -we [-wē] > [-we] ✧ PE17/189
> -we [-wē] > [-we] ✧ PE17/189
weg- > -we [-weg] > [-weɣ] > [-we] ✧ PE17/190
wegū̆/wego > -wē > [-wego] > [-weg] > [-weɣ] > [-we] ✧ PE17/190
-wēg(o) > > -we [-wēgo] > [-wēg] > [-wēɣ] > [-wē] > [-we] ✧ PE21/81
> -wë [-wē] > [-we] ✧ PM/340

ᴹQ. -we¹ suf. “masculine suffix” (Category: Male)

See Q. -wë for discussion.

References ✧ Ety/WEG; PE21/1

Glosses

Related

Elements

“man, warrior” ✧ PE21/1 ()

Element In

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

ᴹ✶-wego > weg > -we [-wego] > [-weg] > [-weɣ] > [-we] ✧ Ety/WEG

ᴹQ. -we² suf. “abstract suffix” (Category: Human Being)

See Q. -wë for discussion.

Reference ✧ Ety/WEG ✧ -we “abstract suffix”

Related

Element In

Derivations

Phonetic Developments

ᴹ✶-wē > -we [-wē] > [-we] ✧ Ety/WEG

ᴱQ. -we² suf. (Category: Male)

See Q. -wë for discussion.

Element In

Cognates