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Nameless Masks

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, Long Entries, linguistics, Language and Etymology, Bionicle Apr 06 2013 · 370 views

What do you know: looks like I’m still on a Matoran Language streak these days, despite another interstate relocation (back to my natural habitat in the dry-bare-sandy southwest US...it’s good to be home). This time though, I’m taking a break from those pretentious Lessons in order to play around with a tangent on nameless Kanohi masks, i.e. official (and some unofficial) Kanohi masks that never received official (or unofficial) Matoran names.  With a universe as sprawling as that of Bionicle, you can be sure that there are quite a few. Here are some musings on what some of those masks might have been called if they had only been important enough:
 
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Kanohi Vaamaku, n.cmpd.  “Mask of Psychometry; allows the wearer to see the history of an object/place through physical contact” [variant vāmaku]
 

Etymology:

 
, stm. “time (absract)”
-amu, p. “through, during (transitional-instrumental particle)”
aku, n. “sight”   
 
The element vā-amu translates straightforwardly to “through/across time”, with the application of the transitional-instrumental particle (see Lesson 8, section IIf.). This is combined with aku “sight” to yield the historical compound vā-amu-aku “through/across-time sight”, modern form vaamaku.
 
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Kanohi Amana, n.cmpd. “Mask of Healing; allows the wearer to heal visible/known physical injuries”  [variant form mana]
 

Etymology:

 
amana, n. “(re)forming, (re)making; healing”
 
The element amana is of uncertain etymology. It is almost certainly related to (or even directly derived from) the ancient stem ma(t), denoting “control, mastery, use, etc.”, with a variant meaning of “form, shape, create”. See dictionary entries <mat> and <manta>.
 
One possible solution involves an etymology patterned after the name Mata (lit. All-Master: cf. Mata Nui “the Great Spirit”), which derives from the ancient stem mat combined with a (generally intensive) particle ā. Application of such a particle to a hypothetical stem ?man could yield a form ?man-ā, with displacement of the particle (“variable placement”*) resulting in a further form a-man-a, dividing the particle ā  (literally aa) into two units: a and a. This would be in accord with the variant form mana (see variant form above) and with the attested dialectal variants of the Mata-name, namely Amata, as well as with the obscure title Amana Nui, which, in Matoran cosmology, may in fact be a further pseudonym for Mata Nui himself, with a meaning roughly analogous to “Great Healer”, “Great (Re)Former”, or (post-Bara Magna) “Great Melder”.
 
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Kanohi Onweku, n.cmpd. “Mask of Intangibility; allows the wearer to become intangible (non-solid)”
 

Etymology:

 
onwe, adj. “solid, stable”
-ku, p. “non-, un- (negative particle)”
 
The element onwe derives from the metaphoric meaning of the elemental stem onu “earth”, with application of the (relatively rare) adjectival particle -ee (onu-ee > onwe). This is combined with the general negative particle ku, yielding the compound onwe-ku “non-solid; intangible”.
 
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Kanohi Isima, n.cmpd. “Mask of Possibilities; allows the wearer to subtly alter fields of probability”
 

Etymology:

 
isi, n. “possibility”
ma(t), stm. “mastery, control”
 
The element isi combines straightforwardly with the element ma(t), yielding the compound isi-ma(t) “control of possibility”, modern form isima.
 
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Kanohi Awai, n.cmpd. “Mask of Growth; allows the wearer to increase in physical size” [variant forms waia, waya, waaya]
 

Etymology:

 
, stm. “great, large, broad; large size”
ya p. “verbal particle”
 
The original stem  denotes “great, large, broad; large size”. This stem is verbalized by the addition of the verbal particle ya, yielding a compound wā-ya roughly with the meaning of “become large”. The particle ya exhibits “variable placement”*. It can be “split” into two separate units i and a, with the latter unit being displaced before the stem to which the particle is applied. In this case, this yields the form a-wā-i, modern form awai. This basic verbalization of a stem with displacement of the verbal particle is frequently used to denote a generalized (nounal) event, equivalent to a gerund (or possibly infinitive) in English: “becoming large, increasing, growing”. Variants of this mask-name do appear without the displaced particle (see variant forms above), but they are dialectically very restricted.
 
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Kanohi Mautru, n.cmpd. “Mask of Mutation; allows the wearer to mutate organisms”
 

Etymology:

 
mautru, n. “change, mutation”
 
The original stem maut denotes “change, differentiation”. Application of the (relatively rare) nounal particle -, denoting an object or place embodying a concept, yields the compound maut-rū, modern form mautru.
 
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Kanohi Mutuku, n.cmpd. “Mask of Emulation; allows the wearer to analyze and replicate the powers of other beings temporarily”
 

Etymology:

 
mutu, adj. “different, unlike”
-ku, p. “non-, un- (negative particle)”
 
The element mutu derives from the older stem maut “change, differentiation”, with application of the adjectival particle -u (maut-u > mut-u). This is combined with the general negative particle ku, yielding the compound maut-u-ku “not-different, not-unlike”, modern form mutuku.
 
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Kanohi Mautatu, n.cmpd. “Mask of Charisma; allows the wearer to convince others to agree with the wearer’s perspective/will by subtly altering their perception of the world”
 

Etymology:

 
maut, stm. “change, differentiation”
atu, n. “mind, will”
 
The original stem maut denotes “change, differentiation”. In combination with atu, this yields the compound maut-atu “lit. change-mind/will; changing/altering the mind or will”.
 
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Kanohi Eyi, n.cmpd. “Mask of Fusion; allows the wearer to forcibly fuse with one or more beings to form a single, larger being”
 

Etymology:

 
e-, p. “make/cause X (causative particle)”
yi, adj/adv. “together”
 
The adjectival element yi is combined with the causative (verbal) particle e-, yielding a semi-verbal compound e-yi “make together; cause-to-be-together”.
 
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Kanohi Konomau, n.cmpd. “Mask of Biomechanics; allows the wearer to interface with and assume mental control over (bio)mechanical systems” [variant form konomatu, konoimau, konoimatu; noimatuko, noimauko]

 

Etymology:

 
uko, p. “outside, external (locative particle)”
noi, n. “(physical protodermic) body”
ma(t), stm. “control, mastery”
 
The elements noi and ma(t) combine to form the compound noi-ma(t) “body-control”. The element noi is used in reference to the (bio)mechanical nature of the Matoran body. The particle uko exhibits “variable placement” (see Lesson 7 IIId., Lesson 8 Ia.). It can be “split” into two separate units u and ko, with the latter unit being displaced before the stem to which the particle is applied. In this case, the particle uko is applied to the compound noi-ma(t), yielding the form ko-noi-ma(t)-u “external body-control; body-control from outside“, modern forms konomau (-noi- > -no-) and konomatu. Variants of this mask-name also exist using the unsplit form of the particle (see variant forms above).
 
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[Note: the following masks are not officially confirmed Kanohi powers, but they are powers that (I think) could be exhibited by Kanohi (e.g. Makuta/Rahkshi powers)]
 
Kanohi Koramau, n.cmpd. “Mask of Rahi Control; allows the wearer to exert control over various species of Rahi” [variant forms korahimau, korahimatu; rahimat-uko, rahima-uko]
 

Etymology:

 
uko, p. “outside, external (locative particle)”
rahi, n. “Rahi, animals, fauna (general term)”
ma(t), stm. “control, mastery”
 
The elements rahi and ma(t) combine to form the compound rahi-ma(t) “rahi-control”. The particle uko exhibits “variable placement”*. It can be “split” into two separate units u and ko, with the latter unit being displaced before the stem to which the particle is applied. In this case, the particle uko is applied to the compound rahi-ma(t), yielding the form ko-rahi-ma(t)-u “external rahi-control; rahi-control from outside“, modern forms koramau (-rahi- > -ra-) and koramatu. Several variants of this mask-name did exist early on using the unsplit form of the particle (see variant forms above) but these were dialectically very restricted.
 
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Kanohi Kokrimau, n.cmpd. “Mask of Insect Control; allows the wearer to exert control over various species of Insect Rahi” [variant forms kokirimau, kokirimatu; kirimat-uko, kirima-uko]
 

Etymology:

 
uko, p. “outside, external (locative particle)”
kiri, n. “insects (general term)”
ma(t), stm. “control, mastery”
 
The elements kiri and ma(t) combine to form the compound kiri-ma(t) “insect-control”. The particle uko exhibits “variable placement” (see Lesson 7 IIId., Lesson 8 Ia.). It can be “split” into two separate units u and ko, with the latter unit being displaced before the stem to which the particle is applied. In this case, the particle uko is applied to the compound kiri-ma(t), yielding the form ko-kiri-ma(t)-u “external insect-control; insect-control from outside“, modern forms kokrimau (-kiri- > -kri-) and kokrimatu. Several variants of this mask-name did exist early on using the unsplit form of the particle (see variant forms above) but these were dialectically very restricted.
 
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Kanohi Akataiku, “Mask of Heat Vision; allows the wearer to project beams of heat along the wearer’s line of sight” [variant forms akataku, akatāku, akataiaku]
 

Etymology:

 
aka, n. “power, ability” [independent augmented form of [i]ka[/i], see dictionary entries <aka>, <ka>]
taiaku, n.cmpd. “heat-vision” [from ancient compound tae-aku; also tāku]
 
The element aka combines straightforwardly with the element taiaku, yielding the compound aka-taiaku “power of heat-vision”, modern form akataiku (also see variants above).
 
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[Note: the following masks are not actually nameless. They have official names, but no official etymologies. Here are unofficial etymologies for them.]
 
Kanohi Komau, n.cmpd. “Mask of Mind Control; allows the wearer to exert mental control over a target” [variant forms komatu, matuko, mauko]
 

Etymology:

 
uko, p. “outside, external (locative particle)”
ma(t), stm. “control, mastery”
 
The particle uko exhibits “variable placement”*. It can be “split” into two separate units u and ko, with the latter unit being displaced before the stem to which the particle is applied. In this case, the particle uko is applied to the stem ma(t), yielding the form ko-ma(t)-u “external control; control from outside“, modern forms komau (more frequent) and komatu. Variants of this mask-name did exist early on using the unsplit form of the particle--mat-uko and ma-uko—but these were dialectically very restricted.
 
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Kanohi Suletu, n.cmpd. “Mask of Telepathy; allows the wearer to communicate with others telepathically, along with a range of other telepathic abilities” [variant form selatu]
 

Etymology:

 
seu(l), stm. “elemental Psionics” (modified form of elemental prefix se-, ce-)
atu, n. “mind, will”
 
The element seu(l) is an elaboration of the elemental Psionics prefix se- (also spelled ce-) modified along a similar pattern as, e.g. ga > (a)gal- (see dictionary entries <gah>, <ehel>, <galnu>). This is combined with atu (from older *aetu) to yield a compound seul-aetu “psionic will; mental will”, modern forms suletu (more frequent), selatu.
 
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Kanohi Mahiki, n.cmpd. “Mask of Illusion; allows the wearer to create and manipulate visual illusions”
 

Etymology:

 
ma(t), stm. “control, mastery”
hiki, n. “deception, trickery”
 
The ancient stem ma(t)  combines with the element hiki to form the compound ma-hiki “control of deception/trickery”. The etymology of hiki is somewhat interesting to note. The concept of deception or trickery in the emergent Matoran culture appears to have been associated with “incompleteness”, “part of a whole”, or “something held back”. The composition of hiki reflects this association: the element ki denotes “(a) part, piece”, while denotes “(a) thing, place”, with the original meaning of hiki being “part of a thing”.
 
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Kanohi Akaku, n.cmpd. “Mask of (X-Ray) Vision; allows the wearer to see with enhanced vision, even through solid matter”
 

Etymology:

 
aka, n. “power, ability” [independent augmented form of [i]ka[/i], see dictionary entries <aka>, <ka>]
aku, n. “sight, vision”
 
The element aka combines straightforwardly with the element aku, yielding the compound aka-aku “power of vision”, modern form akaku.
 
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Kanohi Kakama, n.cmpd. “Mask of Speed; allows the wearer to move at extremely high speeds” [variant form kamaka]
 

Etymology:

 
ka, n. “power, energy”
ka-ma, v. “to move”
 
The element ka combines with the verbal complex ka-ma to form the compound ka-kama “power of moving/movement”. In order to express the generalized (nounal) event of “moving, movement” intended here, the verbal particle is also sometimes displaced (“variable placement”*), yielding the variant verbal complex ma-ka (and the variant form kamaka, see variant form above).
 
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Kanohi Vahi, n.cmpd. “Mask of Time; allows the wearer to control the flow of time itself”
 
, stm. “time (abstract)”
, stm. “thing, place”
 
The elements vā and combine straightforwardly to yield the compound -hī, literally meaning “time-thing”, modern form vahi.
 
[*see Lesson 6 I., Lesson 7 IIId., Lesson 8 Ia. for more information on “splitting” particles and “variable placement”]

  • 1



To bad we can't canonize this.
    • 0
You realy have read too much Tolkien Books :) My little langue Theory in S&T doesn't stand a chance against this.
    • 0

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The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a grad-student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in rhetoric/composition and linguistics.
 

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