Primitive elvish


root. high, high, [ᴹ√] lofty; noble

This root and ones like it were used for “high” things for much of Tolkien’s life. It first appeared as unglossed ᴱ√TAHA in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like ᴱQ. “high; high above, high up”, ᴱQ. tahōra or tayóra “lofty”, and ᴱQ. tāri “queen”; it had a variant form ᴱ√TAʕA where the ʕ might be a malformed Y (QL/87). The corresponding forms in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon were G. “high” and G. dara “lofty” (GL/29), indicating the true form of the root was ᴱ√DAHA, since initial voiced stops were unvoiced (d- > t-) in Early Qenya (PE12/17). Primitive forms like ᴱ✶dagá > ᴱN. /ᴱQ. “high” in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s indicates the root continued to begin with D for the following decade (PE13/141, 161).

In The Etymologies of the 1930s Tolkien gave this root as ᴹ√TĀ/TAƷ “high, lofty; noble” with derivatives like ᴹQ. tára “lofty, high”, ᴹQ. tári “queen” and N. taen “height, summit of high mountain” (Ety/TĀ). In Definitive Linguistic Notes (DLN) from 1959 Tolkien gave the root as √TAG or Tā- “high”, and in notes from around 1967 Tolkien gave √TAƷ as the explanation of the initial element of Q. Taniquetil and contrasted it with √TĂR “stand” (PE17/186). In 1970 green-ink revisions to the Outline of Phonology (OP2), Tolkien wrote a marginal note giving √TAƷ > “high”, but this note was rejected with a statement “transfer to Gen. Structure. No [ʒ] existed in Eldarin” (PE19/72-73 note #22).

This last rejection seems to be part of Tolkien’s general vacillation on the nature and phonetic evolution of velar spirants in Primitive Elvish in 1968-70. For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I would assume the root form was √TAH or √TAƷ > √ as the basis for “high” words, much like √MAH or √MAƷ > ✶ was the basis for “hand” words.


  • tagra ✧ PE17/186
    • Q. tára “lofty, tall, high” ✧ PE17/186
    • S. taer “lofty, lofty, *high” ✧ PE17/186
  • tāra “high”
  • Q. -tar “honorific”
  • Q. tar “honorific, sir, madam”
  • Q. tar- “high, high; [ᴹQ.] king or queen (in compounds)”
  • Q. tára “lofty, tall, high” ✧ PE17/186
  • S. taer “lofty, lofty, *high” ✧ PE17/186


  • TAG/Tā- ✧ PE17/186
  • TAƷ ✧ PE17/186; PE17/186; PE19/073 (TAƷ)
  • ✧ PE19/073 ()
Primitive elvish [PE17/186; PE19/073] Group: Eldamo. Published by


adjective. high


  • TĀ/TAƷ “high, high, [ᴹ√] lofty; noble”

Element in


  • tār(a) ✧ PE17/186
Primitive elvish [PE17/067; PE17/186] Group: Eldamo. Published by