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WIR root. “weave, twine, weaving with cross-threads or withes”

WIR root. “weave, twine, weaving with cross-threads or withes”
ᴱ√KEREKE² “turn round and round, send to and fro; weave”
ᴱ√WIRI “*look”

Tolkien used a variety of similar roots for Elvish words having to do with “weaving”, many of them tied to the name of Q. Vairë. The earliest of these was a pair of roots ᴱ√GWERE “whirl, twirl, twist” and unglossed {ᴱ√WIÐI >>} ᴱ√GWIÐI in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, the latter with derivatives like ᴱQ. ’winda “woof” and ᴱQ. ’windele “loom” (QL/103-104). The connection between ᴱ√GWERE and weaving is more obvious in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon where Tolkien said that ✶gwer- “wind, turn, bend” was often used as “plait or weave”, much like ✶gwidh- (GL/46). The most notable weaving word derived from 1910s ✶gwer- was G. Gwerlum “Gloomweaver” (GL/46).

Nothing of this blended paradigm remained in The Etymologies of the 1930s, where Tolkien instead had ᴹ√WEY “wind, weave” as the basis for ᴹQ. Vaire/N. Gwîr “Weaver”, and in this document the root was blended with ᴹ√WAY “enfold” in Quenya because wei > wai (Ety/WEY). Tolkien seems to have abandoned this phonetic rule by the time he wrote his Quenya Notes (QN) from 1957, where he instead said:

Owing to the use of gwae / gwaew “wind” as in Gwaehir, we must have √WAYA = blow, or be disturbed. √WAYA cannot therefore be used = “weave”, and Vairë has no connexion with winds or stories. EITHER Vairë must become name of Osse’s wife: Q váya is used of sea (as waters, motion). OR Vairë’s name be changed: sc. to Vérë, √WER- “twine, weave”, were-, weave (PE17/33).

Ultimately Tolkien made neither of these changes to Vairë, and this section was rejected. In a set of roots from December 1959 (D59) Tolkien said “√WIRI, weave; hence Vaire (literally ‘weaving’), not from WAY” (PE17/191). The name Q. Vairë “Ever-weaving” was also derived from √WIR in notes associated with the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 (VT39/10). However, in notes from the late 1960s Tolkien said “weaving with cross-threads or withes was represented by the distinct base {WAY >>} WIG, often in strengthened form waig-” (VT42/10 and VT42/29 note #27). So it seems Tolkien continued to vacillate on the weaving roots.

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think the 1959-60 root form √WIR lets us salvage the largest number of words, and it is not clear how Vairë would be derived from late-60s waig-.

References ✧ PE17/33, 158, 191; VT39/10; VT42/12, 29

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ᴹ√WEY root. “wind, weave”

See √WIR for discussion.

References ✧ Ety/WEY

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ᴱ√GWERE root. “whirl, twirl, twist”

See √WIR for discussion.

References ✧ GL/46; LT1A/Gwerlum; QL/103

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ᴱ√GWIÐI root. “*plait, weave”

See √WIR for discussion.

References ✧ GL/46; LT1A/Gwerlum; QL/103-104

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