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TAS root. “point out, indicate”

TAS root. “point out, indicate”

The root √TAS “point out, indicate” was mentioned a couple times in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s as the basis for various words for the index finger as a pointer, most likely as an extension of the demonstrative root √TA (VT47/11, 13, 26, 29). However, in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, the root ᴱ√TASA had derivatives like ᴱQ. tasarin “willow” and ᴱQ. taste “fringe” and was connected to ᴱ√TAŘA [TAÐA] which was the basis for “hedge” words (QL/89-90). A superscript S after the root seemed to indicate the primitive form was indeed ᴱ√TASA rather than **ᴱ√TAÞA as pointed out by Gilson, Hostetter, Wynne and Smith. The words G. tast “border, fringe” and G. tathrin “willow” from the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon were clearly related (GL/69), the latter most likely the result of the sound change whereby sr became thr in Gnomish as it also did in later Sindarin.

The root ᴹ√TAS reappeared in revisions to The Feanorian Alphabet from the early 1940s, where it served as the basis for ᴹQ. atsa {“claw” >>} “tassel, fryse, fringe” (PE22/50). However, as the basis for ᴹQ. tasar(e) “willow” the root ᴹ√TAS was problematic, because starting in the 1930s intervocalic s > z > r in Quenya (PE19/49), as opposed to Early Qenya of the 1910s where this transition happened only before nasals, liquids and voiced spirants (PE12/15-16, 19). Thus in The Etymologies of the 1930s Tolkien introduced a new root ᴹ√TATHAR as the basis for ᴹQ. tasar(e)/N. tathor “willow-tree” and N. tathren “of willow” (Ety/TATHAR). The root {√TASĀR >>} √TATHAR reappeared in Words, Phrases and Passages in the Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s as the basis for Q. tasar/S. tathar “willow” (PE17/81).

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I would posit the existence of a Neo-Root ᴺ√TATH as a replacement for early ᴱ√TASA to salvage early “fringe” words as well as being the basis for √TATHAR, reserving for √TAS the sense “point(er)” it had in the late 1960s.

References ✧ VT47/11, 26, 29