Thursday, February 8, 2024

Pokélogan is Elvish, because of course it is -- plus a note on Xanadu

"Pokélogan" -- as an alternative name for the Pokémon Lapras -- comes from two sources. The first is the poké- element in Pokémon, which comes from the English word pocket. The second is pokelogan, an obscure dialect word of unclear origin, meaning "marshy or stagnant water that has branched off from a stream or lake."

I've acquired from William Wright the habit of looking strange words up on Eldamo to see if they mean anything in any of Tolkien's Elvish languages. The search string pok returns only this:

So it means "bag" or "pouch," just as poké- means "pocket."

Logan returns no results, but loga and logn are both hits:

I haven't cherry-picked here. Both loga and logn return only these results, all of which are about swamps and thus directly related to the meaning of pokelogan. Tolkien may well have been influenced by the English words pouch and pocket when he coined poko, but it would be quite a stretch to say that the second half of an extremely obscure American dialect word inspired the Oxford Anglo-Saxonist to create loga and logna.

I think this is just as impressive a hit as Prika-vlein, and it suggests that Pokélogan may have more synchronistic importance than I had thought. One possibly important angle that comes to mind is that Pokélogan was specifically the name of a Lapras keychain, the purpose of which is to keep keys together. See yesterday's post about "keys . . . which must be combined and used together."

On a mostly unrelated noted, William Wright has been posting a lot lately about the 1980 movie Xanadu. In the February 6 post "Ho!" he does for Xanadu what I've just done for Pokélogan above: break it into two parts and look them up on Eldamo. The components into which he separates it are xan and adu. This made me think of Xan, the name of the mosquito in the Popol Vuh, and I had the thought that every time I killed a mosquito, I could say, "Xan, adieu!"

And shrink not, brothers, from the kill:
'Tis but your own suck'd blood you spill.

His latest Xanadu post, yesterday's "How can you be talking to me? You're a movie!" is about a scene in which Kira tells Sonny to look up the word muse in the dictionary. He does so and finds at the end of the entry a sentence addressing him by name. Then she turns on the TV, and the characters on the TV show also start talking to him.

Today I was reading Calvino in a coffee shop, and the background music got my attention when the singer sang the word green at precisely the same moment that I read the word green. (It had to be that word of course!) Then a new song came on, which turned out to be "Too Deep To Turn Back" by Daniel Caesar. It begins thus:

So what's the price?
We're like mosquitoes to light, in a sense
I feed off bio-luminescence

"Mosquitoes to light"? Isn't it usually moths that we talk about in that connection? Then when it got to "I feed off bio-luminescence," it made me think of William Wright's December 10 post "A Vampire's Weekend," in which he characterizes Ungoliant, Tolkien's giant spider-demon, as "acting very much the vampire in sucking the last light from the Trees." A vampire drinks blood, like a mosquito, but this vampire was instead drinking light, and specifically light which came from living organisms, the Two Trees. Feeding off bio-luminescence, you might say.

Near the end of the song we have these lines:

Oh Lord Jehovah, what's this I see?
Bourgeoisie tryna silence me
They don't know what I've been through
Don't know what I pree'd
Seeing shit that you see up in your TV screen

That seems to tie in with Sonny seeing some supernatural shit up in his TV screen in Xanadu.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I forgot to mention that I looked up muse in one of my own dictionaries. It was in the left column, and right next to it, in the right column, were two clefs (literally “keys”) as part of a sidebar about musical notation.

Leo said...

I was hoping you'd say "and right there on the page it said 'do you believe me now, WJT?'"

jason said...

I tried an Anglo-Saxon dictionary ( ) and got a hit for the first word:


1. a point, spot, dot

2. a very small portion (cf. Fr. ne point)

Above Majestic (with an excursus on turban jokes)

Last Halloween, I posted " Francis Bacon, papal keys, triple tiara, Denver Airport ," which included a meme referencing that airpo...