√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 (LotR/790). 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. lá 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). Other possible precursors are ᴱ√ALA² “spread” and related ᴱ√LAHA or ᴱ√LĀ from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/29, 32, 50).
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. The most likely motive for this 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 “neck” and lá “beyond” had the same origin in the root √LAƷ (PE17/91-92), or that they had distinct origins √LAG and √LAÑ respectively (PE17/65); both scenarios appear in notes written around 1965. For purposes of Neo-Eldarin I would assume the first scenario with “neck” based on the sense “passage”, since it frees up the root √LAG to retain its meaning from The Etymologies: ᴹ√LAG “*cut” (Ety/LAG). For “throat” words, see the discusssion in the entry for ᴹ√LAK¹.
References ✧ PE17/65, 90-92, 146, 158-159
ᴹ√LAK¹ root. “swallow”
A root in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “swallow” with variant ᴹ√LANK and derivatives ᴹQ. lanko/N. lhanc “throat” (Ety/LAK¹, LANK), the latter an element in N. tarlanc “stiff-necked, obstinate” (Ety/TÁRAG). This last word was changed to S. tarlang in Tolkien’s later writings (PE17/92; RC/536), consistent with an earlier but rejected form ᴹ√LANG for ᴹ√LANK in The Etymologies (Ety/LANK).
In later writings, Q. lango/S. lang meant “neck” rather than “throat”, so it is tempting to retain ᴹ√LAK for “throat” and other swallow-words. But it would be very confusing to have such similar but unrelated words for “neck” and “throat”, so I recommend using the root ᴹ√SLUK for “swallow” instead, and Q. lango, S. lang for both “neck” and “throat”.
References ✧ Ety/LAK¹, LANK, TÁRAG; EtyAC/LAK¹