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MN#4 - Karzahni to…Parakrekks?

Posted by Tolkien , in Bionicle, Language and Etymology, linguistics, Matoran Language Apr 23 2013 · 144 views

Alright, after that brief interlude, we’re back on schedule. This is going to be a semi-regular series, posted on Monday or Tuesday, as possible. I’ve abbreviated “Meaningless Names” to “MN”, since I originally wanted to call it “Matoran Notes”. Best of both worlds, this way. =P
Before jumping into the discussion, I’ll start with a brief plan for this entry and the next two entries: Three groups of words, some (seemingly) related, some (seemingly) unrelated. Ultimately, it will be seen that the etymologies of all three groups are interrelated in some way.
1) karzahni, carapar, keras, koro, icarax, crast, krekka, parakrekks
2) barraki, brakas, brander, brutaka
3) artakha, artidax, teridax, tren krom, pridak, jaller
This entry will focus only on Group 1, tying together the etymologies of the members of this group in an effort to highlight the underlying elements which are shared across the spectrum of these (seemingly) distant terms. The next entry will deal with Group 2, the next with Group 3.
Group 1:
All of the words in Group 1 exhibit an element kar(a)-, kera-, kre-/kra-, or some variation thereof. These variants all derive from an ancient compound consisting of the stem kae and the particle ār: kae-ār.
kae, stm. “power, energy, force, ability” [a semi-elemental stem]
ār, p. “applied, application (of); later (applied) against, resistance, hindering (see discussion below)” [exhibits “splitting” and “variable placement”: ar. . .a, with displacement of ar before the stem.]
kae-ār, stm.cmpd. “application of power/force/ability; later application of power against (smthg.), rejection, repulsion (see discussion below)”
Both the meaning of the compound kae-ār and the meaning of the particle ār underwent a particular semantic shift at an early stage. This shift is attributed to events surrounding the actions of the being Karzahni, whose name exemplifies the compound. The meaning of kae-ār acquired connotations of “repulsion, rejection, application of power against (smthg.)” as a consequence of the pseudo-rebellion of Karzahni, whose name (kaeār-zahni) originally translated as “keeper-of-the-plan; lit. one-who-applies-power-according-to-the plan/strategy” (in reference to Karzahni’s original purpose). The meaning-shift here is roughly “one who applies power to X” > “one who applies power against X; one who rejects” (“one-who-rejects-the-plan/strategy”, in Karzahni’s case, see discussion below). The particle ār follows an identical path of development in most cases under the direct influence of kae-ār, with the meaning of “applied, application (of)” shifting toward “(applied) against, resisting, hindering”. This shift had widespread consequences for the meaning and interpretation of other lexical elements and compounds, some of which will be examined below.
But first, an etymology for the root cause of the semantic shift: the name Karzahni:
Karzahni, n.cmpd. 1. (original) “one who applies power according to (a) plan/schematic/strategy”; 2. (modern) “(an) anomaly, enemy; one who rejects the plan/schematic/strategy”
kae-ār, stm.cmpd. 1. (original) “application of power/force/ability”; 2. (modern) “application of power against (smthg.), rejection, repulsion”
zahi, n. “(a) plan, schematic, strategy”
-ni, p. “personifying particle; one who. . .”
The elements above combine straightforwardly to form the compound kaeār-zahi-ni, reducing to kar-zah’ni > karzahni. In this case, the compound kae-ār yields the reduced form kar-. This is only one of several descendant forms, some of which have taken on independent lexical status.
carapar, n.cmpd. “strong/robust resistance (also ‘shell’); stubbornness” [modern spelling karapar]
kara-, kera-, stm. “resistance, resisting/repulsing; (a) shell, barrier, smthg. that resists” [< kae-ār]
par(a), stm. “strong, stolid, robust; strengthened, made strong” [derived from po-ār “lit. application-of-strength (elemental stone)”]
The forms kara (<cara>), kera are generally associated with concepts of “resistance, resisting/repulsing”. These concepts become concrete in the meaning of “shell, covering, barrier” (something that “provides resistance”). In the case of carapar, this yields a double-meaning: one with the abstract “resistance” and one with the concrete “shell”. The stem kara- is combined with par(a) to yield kara-par(a), modern form karapar (older spelling carapar).
keras, n. “name for a rahi-crab; lit. shell-spawn” [variant forms karas, kerash, kerashi]
kar(a), ker(a)-, stm. “resistance, resisting/repulsing; (a) shell, barrier, smthg. that resists” [< kae-ār]
-s, aff. “(rahi-)beast, spawn” [affix directly derived from shi “spawn, descendant” with eventual reduction to -s in final position; variants -shi -sh]
The word keras dissolves straightforwardly into the stem kera and the affix -s, which frequently denotes a form of Rahi (rahi-spawn, etc.). The translation of keras (with the concrete meaning of kera) is thus simply “shell-rahi” or “shell-spawn”.
koro, n. “village, town, settlement defined by borders” [variant forms korro, karo]
kar(a), ker(a), stm. “resistance, resisting/repulsing; (a) shell, barrier, smthg. that resists” [< kae-ār]
rhō, stm. “ring, boundary, edge”
The elements kar(a)/ker(a) and rhō combine to form the stem-compound kar-rhō with roughly the meaning “edge/boundary of resistance”. This term was originally used to refer to the outlying borders of early Matoran settlements, which were frequently delimited by walls or barriers. This term eventually develops into modern koro, now used as a general term for any (bounded) settlement, village, or town.
icarax, n. 1. (original) “toward greater application of power/energy; toward greater motivation”; 2. (modern) “toward greater resistance/conflict” [variant forms ikarax, ikaraxi]
ī-, p. “to/toward (endpoint particle)”
kae-ār, stm.cmpd. 1. (original) “application of power/force/ability”; 2. (modern) “application of power against (smthg.), rejection, repulsion”
-ak, p. “intensive particle”
-si, p. “more, -er (comparative adjectival particle)”
The term icarax is attested at a fairly early stage, early enough to undergo the same shift in meaning experienced by words containing the stem-compound kae-ār. The endpoint-particle ī- in combination with this stem-compound and with the functional particles -ak and -si yields a complex form ī-kaeār-ak-si, modern for icarax (īkāraksi > ikaraxi > ikarax, icarax).
An alternate etymology has also been proposed for this term based on the relatively rare compound term kara “ambition, pride; lit. wild/rampant-power”. This would yield a compound with roughly the meaning “toward greater ambition/pride”.
Kanohi Crast, n. “Mask of Repulsion; allows the wearer to repel other objects with violent force” [variant forms krasta, kras’ta, kraseta, krest]
krā, krē, stm. “repulsion, resistance, forcing back” [older spellings <crā>, <crē>; from kae-ār via metathesis: kaeār > kār > krā, krē]
sta, s’ta, seta, stm.cmpd. “driving-out, removing, taking away” [From compound sae-tae, possibly with original meaning of “scattering/consuming fire; leader-of-scattering”; sae is likely related to “scattering, dispersing; sand”, see previous post for discussion]
The elements krā/krē and sta/seta combine straightforwardly to yield the compound krā-s(e)ta, roughly “driving-out/away-(via)-repulsion”, modern form crast (but see variant forms above).
krekka, n.cmpd. “extremely resistant force/power” [variant form krakka]
krā, krē, stm. “repulsion, resistance, forcing back” [older spellings <crā>, <crē>; from kae-ār via metathesis: kaeār > kār > krā, krē]
-ak, p. “intensive particle”
ka, n. “power, energy, force, ability”
The stem krā/krē combines with the intensive particle -ak to form a unit krē-ak “extremely resistant, extreme resistance”. This is then combined with ka to form a compound krē-ak-ka “extremely resistant force/power”, modern form krekka.
parakrekks, n.cmpd. “name of a Rahi-species: strengthened/robust and extremely resistant force”
par(a), stm. “strong, stolid, robust; strengthened, made strong” [derived from po-ār “lit. application-of-strength (elemental stone)”]
krekka, n.cmpd. “extremely resistant force/power” [variant form krakka]
-s, aff. “(rahi-)beast, spawn” [affix directly derived from shi “spawn, descendant” with eventual reduction to -s in final position; variants -shi -sh]
The elements par(a) and krekka combine straightforwardly to yield the compound para-krekka, with addition of the Rahi-designation affix -s leading to the modern form parakrekks (parakrekka-shi > parakrekkas > parakrekk’s, parakrekks).

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Chapter I

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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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