√LAƷ root. “cross, pass over, go beyond”
Tolkien considered several similar roots for the Elvish words “neck, throat” and “beyond”.
In The Etymologies, the words for “throat” were ᴹQ. lanko and N. lhanc from the root ᴹ√LAK¹ with nasal-infixion. The Noldorin form also appeared as an element in the adjective N. tarlanc “stiff-necked, obstinate”. In The Lord of the Rings, it seems that this last word had shifted to S. tarlang, as in the place name Tarlang (LotRI). The earlier forms reappeared in as S. lang and Q. lango “neck, passage”, whose roots were either √LAƷA (PE17/91-92) or √LAG (PE17/65).
Tolkien also established the word Q. lá² as the Quenya element meaning “beyond”, most notably in the preposition pella (the Namárië poem, LotR/377), whose literal meaning was “beyond the border”. There is an early hint of this sense in The Etymologies in the root ᴹ√LĀ, unglossed but said to be related to the “ablative element” ᴹ√LŌ (EtyAC/LŌ).
In later writings, Tolkien briefly considered the root √ALA/LA for lá (PE17/90), but quickly changed it to √LAƷA (PE17/91-92), the same as the root of Q. lango “neck”, noted above. Most likely change was to allow √AL(A) to have the sense “good, blessed, fortunate”. In another place (PE17/65), Tolkien stated that the root of lá was instead √LAŊ, distinct from the root √LAG of lango.
This leaves us with two scenarios: that lango and lá had the same origin in the root √LAƷ (PE17/91-92), or that they had distinct origins, √LAG and √LAÑ respectively. This entry adopts the first scenario, since it frees up the root √LAG to retain its meaning from The Etymologies: ᴹ√LAG “*cut” (Ety/LAG).
References ✧ PE17/65, 90-92, 146, 158-159
ᴹ√LAK¹ root. “swallow”
References ✧ Ety/LAK¹, LANK, TÁRAG; EtyAC/LAK¹