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Meaningless Names - Pt. 3

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, linguistics, Language and Etymology, Bionicle Apr 15 2013 · 80 views

Just a short one today. This entry, we’ll take an even further detour into the etymological origins of Vahki (and associated designations). Somewhat ironic, this being Tax Day. >>
Vahki, n.cmpd. “law-keeper; lit. measurer-of-limits” [variant forms vah’ki, vahiki, fanhiki]
fa(n), stm. “limit, restriction, range, field; also roof, ceiling, sky” [probably derived from the elemental prefix fa “magnetism; magnetic (field)”; spelling variant pha(n)]
hiki, n. “piece/part/portion of (something); measurement, extent”
The stem fa(n) combines straightforwardly with hiki to form the compound fa(n)-hiki “limit-measurement”. The term hiki may be familiar to you: it has a further shade of meaning involving “trickery, deception” as a consequence of its etymology (see dictionary entries <hiki>, <mahiki> and discussion in previous posts). Perhaps ironically, the term hiki was also used as a unit of measurement, originally for dividing up land during the settlement phases of Matoran prehistory (hī-kī “part/piece of a thing OR place”) and later as a term for measuring out substances and amounts of material in industry and trade. It is this meaning that is at work in the etymology of the term vahki (fan-hiki > fahiki > vah’ki, vahki), which ultimately took on the meaning of “law-keeper”: “one who measures limits”. This was originally a general term referring to any being involved in law-enforcement, and this usage still persists in non-Metru Nuian jurisdictions. Within the bounds of Metru Nuian culture, however, the term vahki has almost exclusively been applied to the law-enforcement automatons invented by the Onu-Matoran Nuparu.
 Vahki Designations:
Nuparu, inventor of the first Vahki law-enforcement automatons, wrote in his memoirs that he intended the Vahki to stand as representations of law and order in a city that, to him, seemed to be slowly slipping back into the same old ways that ultimately led Metru Nui into the Matoran Civil War and its terrible aftermath. The names that Nuparu devised for the different Vahki types reflected these intentions, as well as his ultimate inspiration for the Vahki: the long-dormant Bohrok swarms.
The first Vahki units were designated Borzatahkak “vigilant judges/law-keepers”, later reduced to Bordakh (borzatahkak > borzdahk’k > bordakh). This term was, in fact, patterned on the name of the Bohrok themselves. Nuparu recounts how he consulted the Ko-Metruan scholar Ihu (an authority on Matoran linguistics) on the etymology of terms related to the Bohrok swarms and ultimately devised a compound boh-oro-zatahki-ak, directly based on the original form of the name Bohrok: boh-oro-ak (see previous post for discussion of the translation of this term). The element zatahki, which Nuparu added to his invented term, is originally a compound of zata “authority, order” and hiki “piece/part/portion of (something); measurement, extent” and yields the modern dahki “judge; lit. measurer-of-authority/order ” (zata-hiki > zadah’ki > zdakhi > dahki). The terms dahki and vahki are very closely related in origin and composition, and dahki is, in fact, attested as a variant term used to refer to Vahki.
The upshot of the original compound Borzatahkak is a term referring both to the fact that the Vahki units follow the orders of the law (boh-oro “following words; vigilant for words”) and that they zealously represent and enforce that law (zatahki-ak “judge+intensive particle”), in accord with Nuparu’s vision for his inventions.
Other designations for the Vahki were also devised, both by Nuparu and others. The term Zatahkak, later Zadakh (zatahkak > zadahk’k > zadakh) is a shortening of Borzatahkak, later used as a designation for the Le-Metruan Vahki squads.
Other terms originated as further elaborations of this original compound: the Vorzakh units take their name from a compound fa(n)-oro-zatahki-ak, making use of the stem fa(n) “limit, restriction, range, field”  which, as noted above, also forms the basis of the term vahki itself (fa-oro-zatahki-ak > vaorzatahkak > vorzdahk’k > vorzakh).
Likewise, the name of the Rorzakh units originates as a compound rho-oro-zatahki-ak, replacing fa(n) with the stem rho, of similar meaning, “boundary, ring, edge” (rho-oro-zatahki-ak > rhorzatahkak > rorzdahk’k > rorzakh))
The two remaining Vahki-designations -- Nuurakh and Keerakh -- are also the most recent in origin. They were not, therefore, formed according to the same elaborate compound-pattern as the others. At the time of their formation, the suffix -akh had been reinterpreted as a general “Vahki-designation suffix”, rather than as a component of a larger compound zatahki-ak (manifesting as -zakh or -dakh in the reduced forms of the other Vahki designations above). In both cases, this “new” element -akh was simply applied to a stem: in the case of nuurakh, the stem nuur “firm command” (older nu-or “earth-word”) forms the basis of the compound: nuor-akh > nuurakh “firm-command Vahki”. In the case of keerakh, the stem keer “harsh/severe command” (older kee-or “harsh/severe word”) forms the basis of the compound: keer-akh > keerakh “harsh/severe-command Vahki”.

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Chapter I

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"Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a blog-hole, and that means comfort."


A Short Bio of the...Author?


The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a graduate student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics.

His primary interests include such -ologies as mythology, philology, etymology, syntax, and phonology, along with a healthy passion for historical linguistics binding all these bewildering fields together. Some less academic hobbies include reading classical literature and mythology, high and epic fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional Tolkien biography, as well as attempting (and mostly failing) to write fiction modeled after these genres.

In addition to these things, he also harbors the deep-set enjoyment of the Bionicle sets and storyline essential to any hapless LEGO geek who has made the decision to become a member of the BZPower community. Without it, he obviously wouldn't be here writing this, and you wouldn't be reading it. This fact is, in part, what inspired his lasting interest in the art of pixeling, a skill that he apparently isn't all that bad at, although you might never know it, seeing as his severe lack of motivation and excess of procrastination usually prevents him from producing anything much at all.


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= Some Writings =


Unknowledge [Review] - (Epic) Finalist in Epics Contest #7: Murder Mysteries. Unknowledge centers around the mysterious death of Toa Moihu and ensuing investigation by Toa Ros, interwoven with the quest to uncover the reality behind the dark nature of the Dedh-See Scroll. Ultimately, the truth that Ros discovers and is forced to confront may be darker than anyone could have imagined.

Judgement [Review] - (Epic) Judgement opens with a death sentence pronounced upon Toa Jor, watch-Toa of Metru Nui. It then follows the events leading up to this shocking scene, with the arrival of Toa Jovan, bearing grave news concerning the fate of the universe itself, as well as a plan to stop it.

Windows Through the Void [Review] - (Epic) Windows is a serial inspired by the old online serials of Bioniclestory.com. Serial 1 follows Takanuva, Toa of Light, as he journeys across the void to a world of dark trees and night, only to find that he must accomplish another task before his original quest can be completed.

The Time - (SS) A semi-mythic account of the origin of Avan, the first Matoran, in the Time Before Time--the Time of the Great Beings.

Despair - (SS) 1st Place winner of the 2010 Library Summer Olympics (SS category). "Despair" is a prequel to the epic Unknowledge, beginning with the arrival of a mysterious Toa in the city of Moa, deep within the Waste. His motives are unknown, as the nature of the dark Kanohi he wears. But the subsequent arrival of Toa Ros soon sets things in motion, leading up to an epic confrontation between hope and despair.

Dust - (SS) The Dark Hunter Devastator returns to Karzahni, his native land. He must find the Matoran called the Builder and retrieve a stolen tablet, but along the way his encounters with the crazed, broken Matoran and the dreaded Karzahni himself provide him with a sliver of new perspective in this land of dust and living death.

A Storm is Coming - (SS) Entrant in the (now stalled) Lesovikk's Hiatus contest. It tells the tale of Toa Lesovikk's three-day battle with a Rock Lion in a strange land where it never rains and the encounter he has there with the castaway Toa Jovan. Can Lesovikk find the strength to finish his task, or will the memories of his past defeat him? A storm is about to break.

Remember [Archive] - (SS) The Mountains of the Matoran are a strange place, but even stranger are the discoveries to be made within them. Two Agori venture deep into the heart of the mountains, and soon their plight becomes a struggle for survival as they try to escape the strange corridors of this dark place. But at the end of their journey lies a revelation more shocking than they could ever have imagined.

The Coming of the Toa - (SS) 3rd place Judges' Choice winner of Short Stories Contest #8. A glimpse into an alternate history of Bionicle, where something has gone terribly wrong. Kua seeks to discover what it is that the Matoran have lost, the darkness in their past. But can even he resist the power of the darkness that lies beneath?

The End - (SS) Nga-Ro has waited for so long in the darkness and cold of the ruined city. He has forgotten much. But now...even he must find the strength to resist the darkness of death and remember his duty. For the end has come...

The Sight - (SS) 1st place winner in the 2012 Flash Fiction Marathon (Visions Category).

The Power - (SS) 1st place winner of the 2012 Library Summer Olympics: Artistic Gymnastics Reimagine (Bionicle category).

Once Whole - (SS)

Hue #1471 - (SS)
Looming - (SS)

Static [Review] - (Co-authored Epic, OTC) Gold medalist in the 2012 Library Summer Olympics: Epics Unlimited Prompt Relay. Co-authored with Grant-Sud Rises, Velox, and Legolover-361.

Ever Up - (SS, OTC)

Long Day - (SS, OTC)
Beyond the Ridge of Tears - (SS, OTC)
The Trumpet Sounds - (SS, Blog)


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