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Meaningless Names - Pt. 1

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, Long Entries, linguistics, Language and Etymology, Bionicle Apr 09 2013 · 162 views

The streak continues, but this time with an examination of the meanings and etymologies of various other heretofore un-translated Bionicle names (i.e. not just Kanohi mask-names, although there are a few here and there). I started compiling this, and I came to the conclusion that there’s far too much here to digest in a single entry, so I’ve split it into multiple digestable entries.
 
For now, we’ll begin with those infamous sons of shadow, the Rahkshi:
 
Rahkshi, n.cmpd. “wild/untamable offspring/spawn” [variant forms rahkishi, rah’kshi, rah’kishi]
 
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
(i)shi, n. “offspring, spawn” [derived from isi “possibility; possible” by addition of the particle “thing, place”: isi-hī  > ishi. The meaning builds on the concept of “possible thing/outcome, descendant possibility”]
 
The element rahk began as an emergent compound rā-hī-ak. The components and should be recognizable as the basis for the independent modern term rahi “wild thing, beast”. The particle ak expresses an “intensive” meaning, hence rā-hī-ak “extremely-wild-thing; untamable-rahi”. This was the original term used by the early Matoran tribes in their first encounters with Rahkshi in the wild. It has since been gradually reduced -- rā-hī-ak > rah’ak, rahak > rah’k, rahk -- and now exists primarily as an affix-particle.
 
The element ishi “offspring, spawn”, which was already commonly used in reference to rahi-spawn (rahishi), was applied at a later point in history once the origins of the Rahkshi (literally the “sons” or “offspring” of individual Makuta) were known to Matoran. It has also undergone reduction as a part of the name: rahk-ishi > rahkshi. See above for a larger list of common variant forms.
 
Rahkshi names:
 
As the different types of Rahkshi were documented, various names were devised in reference to their characteristic powers, usually formed according to the pattern of stem “power” + -rahk “wild/untamable thing”. The element rahk, in its usage as an affix-particle, eventually took on “agentive” connotations, roughly analogous to English -er (Lerahk “poisonous-wild-thing; poison-er”, see below).
 
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Turahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Fear; terrifying-wild-thing, causer-of-fear” [variant form tūrahk, turah’k]
 
tūr, stm. “fear, terror”
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element tūr was formed as a combination of the elemental stem ta “fire” and the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. The stem ta usually carries connotations of “courage” and “bravery”, and, in combination with ūr(u), it takes on the general meaning of “fear, terror”, both “fearful, terrified” and “causing fear, terrifying”. In combination with rahk, it carries the latter definition: tūr-rahk “terrifying-wild-thing, causer-of-fear”, modern form turahk (also see variants above).
 
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Guurahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Disintegration; disintegrating-wild-thing, disintegrator” [variant forms gurahk, guurah’k]
 
gūr, stm. “disintegrating, unsettling; un-peaceful”
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element gūr was formed as a combination of the elemental stem ga “water” and the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. The stem ga usually carries connotations of “peace”, “calm”, and “settled-ness”, and, in combination with ūr(u), it takes on the general meaning of “un-settledness, falling apart, disintegrating”. In combination with rahk it yields the compound gūr-rahk “disintegrating-wild-thing, disintegrator”, modern form guurahk (also see variants above).
 
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Kurahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Anger; raging-wild-thing, raging-one” [variant forms kūrahk, kurah’k]
 
kūr, stm. “anger, rage”
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element kūr was formed as a combination of the elemental stem ko “ice” and the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. The stem ko usually carries connotations of “stillness”, “silence”, and “inner-calm”, and, in combination with ūr(u), it takes on the general meaning of “agitation”, “disturbance”, “anger/rage” . In combination with rahk it yields the compound kūr-rahk “raging-wild-thing, raging-one”, modern form kurahk (also see variants above).
 
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Lerahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Poison; poisonous-wild-thing, poisoner” [variant forms lūrahk, lērahk, lerah’k]
 
lēr, stm. “noxious, toxic, poisonous” [also lūr]
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element  lēr was formed as a combination of the elemental stem le “air” and the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. The stem le usually carries connotations of “liveliness”, “vigor”, and “vivacity”, and, in combination with ūr(u), it takes on the general meaning of “non-vigorous”, “dying-off”, “poisoned/poisonous” . In combination with rahk it yields the compound lēr-rahk “poisonous-wild-thing, poisoner”, modern form lerahk (also see variants above).
 
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Vorahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Hunger; devouring-wild-thing, devourer” [variant forms vūrahk, vōrahk, vorah’k]
 
vōr, stm. “hunger; energy-draining” [also vūr]
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element  vōr was formed as a combination of the elemental stem vo “lightning, electricity” and the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. The stem vo usually carries connotations of “power”, “energy”, and “sustenance”, and, in combination with ūr(u), it takes on the general meaning of “non-energetic”, “drained”, “hungering/consuming/devouring” . In combination with rahk it yields the compound vōr-rahk “devouring-wild-thing, devourer”, modern form vorahk (also see variants above).
 
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Panrahk, n.cmpd. “Rahkshi of Fragmentation; shattering-wild-thing, fragmenter/shatterer” [variant forms panurahk, pūrahk, paurahk, panrah’k]
 
pa-nūr, stm. “shattering, breaking, fragmentation”
rahk, stm. “wild/untamable thing”
 
The element  pa-nūr was formed as a combination of the elemental stems pa (from po) “stone” and nu (from onu) “earth” with the particle ūr(u) “un-, negative, opposite”. Both elemental stems carry connotations of “strength” and “solidness”, and, in combination with ūr(u), they take on the general meaning of “decaying”, “breaking-down”, “shattering/fragmenting” . In combination with rahk this yields the compound panūr-rahk “shattering-wild-thing, fragmenter/shatterer”, modern form (highly reduced) panrahk (also see variants above).
 
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To conclude, a couple of interesting mask-name etymologies (possibly related to the above discussion?):
 
Olmak, n.cmpd. “Mask of Dimensional Gates; allows the wearer to open portals into other dimensions” [variant forms olmatak, olomak, olomatak]
 
ol(o), stm. “door, gate, opening; available course/pathway”
ma(t), stm. “mastery, control”
-ak, p. “intensive particle”
 
The elements ol(o), ma(t), and the intensive particle -ak combine straightforwardly to yield the compound ol(o)-ma(t)-ak “powerful control of doors/gateways”, modern form olmak (see also variant forms above).
 
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Olisi, n.cmpd. “Mask of Possible Futures; allows the wearer to see (and cause others to see) possible future timelines” [variant form oloisi]
 
ol(o), stm. “door, gate, opening; available course/pathway”
isi, n./adj. “possibility; possible”
 
The elements ol(o) and isi combine straightforwardly to yield the compound ol(o)-isi “possible available course(s)/pathway(s)”, modern form olisi.

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Yolanda Squarble Fried #1
Apr 09 2013 04:08 PM
You are amazing. This is brilliant, and really interesting! Can't wait for the next one!
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Chapter I

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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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