Musings on the sociolinguistics of dialect levelling

In Probing the roots of Samoyedic I note that already the clear fragmentation to separate languages demands a deeper age for Samoyedic than for the other Uralic subgroups. H.-W. Hatting asks in the comments a good argument-sharpening question, and writing my answer out in detail may fit better in a new blog post entirely.

His comment goes:

For that argumentation to work, the elimination of intermediate dialects in a continuum by replacement by other dominant dialects or by other languages would have to depend on the age of the language family, while it actually is caused by socio-economic factors that have nothing to do with that age. If Finnish would have been replaced starting from the Middle ages by (say) Swedish and Russian on a much larger scale than actually happened and at 1800 only a handful of dialects from extreme ends of the continuum would have survived, wouldn’t that look similar to Samoyedic? Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying here?

Very roughly, I’d say the issue is that a “fracturing” sociolinguistic phase does not yield itself very well to the accruement of further diversity across a language family. But we will also need to consider what are possible models for the fragmentation of Samoyedic at all.

At first pass, the biggest difference between this Finnish hypothetical and the situation in Samoyedic is of course that if an intrusive language has recently broken up a dialect continuum, we should be able to see the intruder. Yet Russian comes too late on the scene to be blamed for any of the boundaries between the six Samoyedic main groups. Take e.g. take Enets and Nganasan: they have “always” been right next to one another as far as the (meager) historical records go. Any possible transitional dialects must’ve been directly levelled out by Enets and Nganasan themselves, and/or before the Enets and Nganasan lineages arrived on the Taimyr peninsula. I don’t know of any other language either that could be plausibly blamed for splitting Selkup and the northern Samoyedic lineages off as their own groups. Sayan Turkic is the likely reason for leaving Mator and Kamassian in isolation… but as the two show no evidence of forming a common subgroup (their common isoglosses are all arealisms shared with Turkic!), even there this cannot be the only explanation.

This in mind, what looks to me like the fastest possible way to break Samoyedic apart into discrete lineages would be to assume that, after some initial dialect continuum development, some unknown language arrives on the scene and assimilates most of the core Samoyedic area. Then, once transitional varieties are on the way out, a handful of surviving marginal Samoyedic dialects re-gain momentum and expand again to become Nenets, Selkup, Kamassian–Koibal, etc.

The diversity we can observe today would mostly come about during the first and the third phase, and should sum up at least to the same two-ish millennia that less diverse families like Finnic and Samic show. But we also need to add some centuries for the whole fragmentation phase. Linguistic innovations would not be diffusing anymore between the late Common Samoyedic dialects at this time, slowing down the “native” component of language change. Superstrate influence can build up at a clip, but this should be roughly the same everywhere, not creating any substantial isoglosses.

The mystery intruder language does not need to go itself later extinct, at least not under the second expansion phase of Samoyedic. Something like Proto-Turkic could hence also work, with the end result being that none of the Samoyedic languages is anymore spoken anywhere near the original Proto-Samoyedic homeland. (Although in this particular case I’d expect to see much more Samoyedic influence ending up in the Turkicized varieties. Come to think of it, how much traces has the known Samoyedic substrate left in Sayan Turkic?)


Another option is that language boundaries within Samoyedic could be mostly “native”, based on secondary expansions like that of Tundra Nenets. This I think would fare even worse for a shallow dating, however.

I already expect linguistic expansions to be mostly serial rather than “explosive”. Cases like the European colonization of North America are rare (even that shows some spurts and lulls if you look closely). Since Finnish was raised as an example, it alone has gone through at least four major expansion phases:

  • the initial phase, circa 0 CE, in establishing presence in the Kumo and Aura river valleys (likely at the expense of early Germanic speakers);
  • the early middle ages’ agricultural expansion westward (probably mainly at the expense of early Sami varieties, tho I wouldn’t rule out some older “Lakelandic” substrate groups still being around too);
  • the northwestern expansion around the Bay of Bothnia and into Lapland starting from the 15th century (again at the expense of Sami);
  • and the Savonian expansion from the 17th century on, backed by the huuhtakaski method plus tax benefits from the Swedish crown (mopping up the last remaining Sami groups of southern Finland in the process).

Expansions always have some socioeconomic motivations too, which in almost all cases take time to come about or dissipate. (Eastern Finnish could only end up realistically marginalized and thoroughly splintered by 1800 if the main Savonian expansion never happened at all.)

But we would also need to explain how serial expansions could lead to fragmentation into separate languages entirely in the case of Samoyedic, unlike cases like Finnic. When a secondary expansion within a language family comes head-to-head with closely related dialects, the typical result is dialect mixing, not complete levelling. The Savonian expansion shows this well: towards its western edges, the northern Tavastian dialects of central Finland and the central Ostrobothnian dialects close to the coast (up as far as Oulu) end up picking up several Savonian / Eastern Finnish features, but also retaining several western features. The result is more diversity, not less.

Family-internal preliterate expansions [1] that eliminate dialect diversity can still happen: examples that come to mind are Slavic levelling out West Baltic, Dutch & Low German splintering Frisian, and indeed, Tundra Nenets levelling out Yurats. I get the impression however that this requires a more specific sociolinguistic setup. This would seem to only happen when a language variety expands so that it comes newly in contact with a relative that’s already different enough that they cannot re-converge back to a continuum anymore. Within a timespan of some two thousand years, most language families do not manage to pull this off even once! Assuming for Samoyedic some three-to-six of this event right in a row would be pretty unparsimonious. It seems inescapable to me that we would also in this scenario have to allow more time for Samoyedic to “stew”… so that e.g. a Proto-Selkup expansion can run into Para-Nenets or Para–Kamassian dialects that have already developed in rather different directions, and assimilate them without much trace of their earlier affiliation.

[1] By far the easiest way to level out dialect diversity is to roll in mass literacy + a standard literary language. This is not even remotely applicable to Samoyedic, of course.

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Posted in Methodology

Etymology squib: quəččə

A nice discovery: today I ran into a proposal in Róna-Tas’ “Turkic Influence on the Uralic Languages” (The Uralic Languages, 1988) that Mongolian qota(n) ‘fence, town’ might be an old loan from early Selkup through early Kyrghyz. Indeed, there is a Selkup word that Janhunen gives as qëtty ‘town’ and derives from Proto-Samoyedic *wåč → *wåč-əjə ‘fence’.

On the other hand, this qota(n) has been long also included in the whole ‘house, hut’ Wanderwort bundle (stretching from ocean to ocean: English hut to Ainu kotan), which includes also Uralic *kota. And there’s a consonant mismatch in Selkup that points rather in this direction! Alatalo gives (and does not connect with each other) the common Selkup forms *kuəču ‘tributary’ (#1903), [1] but *quəččə ‘town’ (#1912), with the velar / uvular contrast clearly attested also in the descendant dialects. Since Selkup *quə- is usually from Proto-Samoyedic *kå- rather than *wå- (e.g. *quət- ‘to kill’ < *kåə-tɜ-, but *kuətə- ‘to raise, grow’ < *wåtå-), we could trace the latter also back to a PSmy *kåt¹ɜ < PU *kota. The semantic development ‘fence’ > ‘town’ is maybe common enough, but could be here only an accidental similarity: no other Samoyedic languages seem to show this.

PU *t >> Selkup *čč [2] looks off, but not extraordinarily so: there are other examples of evidently secondary *č in Selkup too, most prominently PU *sënə > PSmy *t¹ën > Selkup *čën ‘sinew’. Maybe contamination from the ‘fence’ word is possible…? especially if Mongolic also shows this sense (though a quick look at Tower of Babel does not mention it).

In any case we seem to end up with the following results:

  • we have cleared out one of the exceptional cases where *w- supposedly > *q- in Selkup;
  • *kota ‘house’ does have a reflex even in Samoyedic;
  • the Turkic and Mongolic words can be also derived already directly from Proto-Samoyedic, or even outright Proto-Uralic, without needing to wait for *w- > *k- in Selkup.

[1] Per -u this is surely derived though. Apocopated forms like Tym kuədž ‘dam’ probably reflect more original *kuəčə < Proto-Samoyedic *wåčə.
[2] It seems to be not really dateable if an irregular *t > *č shift took place in Proto-Samoyedic, in Proto-Selkup, or even in just Southern–Central Selkup.

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Posted in Etymology

Probing the roots of Samoyedic

Last year I participated in a fruitful Academia.edu session on loanwords from Turkic into Samoyedic. I am now honored to see that the final article — P. S. Piispanen 2018, Turkic lexical borrowings in Samoyed, Acta Linguistica Petropolitana 14(3) — ends up incorporating + crediting in detail several of my suggestions. [1]

I would like to add here some detail on one of my four views to have made it into the paper. Footnote 4 mentions my proposed date of as far back as 3000 years of age (= 1000 BCE) for Proto-Samoyedic. This is not directly built on just my WIP database of Proto-Samoyedic though: it’s also informed by morphology and phonology. [2]

Samoyedic does seem to be the most internally lexically divergent branch of Uralic. We often find native Uralic roots continued in just 1-2 languages, [3] in contrast to the situation elsewhere in Uralic, where a native Uralic etymology also predicts good dialect distribution. This fact alone could probably be explained as some kind of a serial-substrate effect though: suppose substrate 1 in Proto-Samoyedic leaves an effect of replacing some Uralic core vocab, substrates 2a and 2b some more in Proto-Selkup and common Northern Samoyedic, some third-generation substrates still some more in Nenetsia, Taimyr, etc.

But it is also the case that Samoyedic is clearly divided in at least six branches with clear boundaries of intelligibility between them. This is quite different from all the other eight Uralic “main” branches, which all show dialect-continuum structure. Maybe the only other really clear within-branch language boundaries are Livonian vs. rest of Finnic, and Udmurt vs. Komi (although also later dialect shuffling has created other opaque language boundaries like Northern vs. Skolt Sami, or Standard Finnish vs. Standard Estonian). In Samoyedic, although there is a base layer of some old crisscrossing isoglosses, and probably late areally shared phenomena, all six of the Samoyedic groups also have a large share of unique distinguishing innovations. E.g. in consonant phonology:

  • Nenets(ic): *nt > n
  • Enets: *-C > -ʔ (general)
  • Nganasan: *ŋt > jt
  • Selkup: *j *w > *ć *k
  • Kamassian: *NP > *NN (general)
  • Mator: *kʲ × *sʲ > k

This selection is also not at all unique. Similar lists could be built also of solely vowel phonology, or inflectional morphology, derivational phonology, core vocabulary, loan vocabulary, notable semantic shifts — pretty much any one component of language. This is the key point that I see putting Samoyedic one “grade” ahead of the historical development of the other subgroups of Uralic. Within a group like Finnic or Khanty, no obvious taxonomy of this sort is possible. We can chart out a bunch of prominent local innovations (Western Finnish *ð > r, Southern Khanty *ɬ⁽ʲ⁾ > t⁽ʲ⁾…), but usually not even cover the dialect area by these, let alone divide it. There are always transitional dialects either lacking or overrepresenting putative branch-defining innovations. More damningly yet, in dialect continuum cases there’s not much coherence between the “phonological branching”, “morphological branching” etc. E.g. the plural genitive isogloss across Finnic (west *-den ~  east *-i-den) ends up being just one isogloss among a dozen or so that have been proposed as grounds for a primary division of the group.

Quite feasibly transitional Samoyedic varieties once did exist, but died out eventually, due to other groups such as Russians, Yakuts, Evenkis enroaching on the rather extensive Samoyed area; or due to “secondary expansions” within the family itself. (Yurats works as a proof-of-concept, assimilated to Tundra Nenets rather than Russian.) This does not make for a counterargument, though, since we by now see the same process playing out within the “younger” groups as well: all but Northern Mansi is gone, Southern Khanty is gone, Kemi and Akkala Sami are gone; Ume, Pite and Sea Sami are moribund, Votic and Ingrian are moribund; many traditional Finnish and Estonian dialects are rapidly assimilating into the standard. Assuming that the Samoyedic expansion ran out of steam (turned into a recessive, low-status language family) much faster than others sounds unwarranted too, especially given that it has in the end reached a much wider area than the other Uralic subgroups.

We do not have any historical-philological evidence for dating the early stages of Samoyedic. But we can do the same with Samic and Finnic, by leveraging the well-known history of Germanic (and even Latin) through loanword evidence. The results come out, in both cases, as showing that the first isoglosses within S and F start appearing already in the second half of the first millennium BCE, and clear dialect areas have been established by 0 CE, though many common innovations continue to diffuse across the dialect area until as late as the first major round of Slavic influence circa 1000 CE. [4] We know dialect continua can fracture into multiple clearly distinct languages quite rapidly (most of Finnic was still a single dialect continuum circa 1900, and is looking headed for just a handful of surviving discrete daughter languages by 2100) — but we also know Samoyedic was “discrete” already as early as about 1800. As a conservative estimate, I’d therefore then add about 400 years more age for Samoyedic. This adds up to a minimum age of about 2600 years BP for Samoyedic, which I then round up to the accuracy of one decimal, due to the numerous uncertainties involved.

This is all still a lower age limit. The only real upper limit seems to be that Samoyedic was still a single dialect continuum by the time of contact with Proto-Turkic, usually dated somewhere around 0 CE… but “standing” dialect continua can easily reach ages of a millennium or two! So 3000 BP really isn’t even a maximally bold suggestion. A pitch like 4500 BP would however start to have further implications: I’d obviously also have to backdate Proto-Uralic closer to the traditional 6000 BP than the recently proposed “shallow” chronologies branching off only at about 4000 BP.

Proto-Samoyedic also seemingly shows substantial general divergence from Proto-Uralic, but this does not mean that a “long” chronology would demand an outright Mesolithic dating for PU. Again as seems to be the case also in Samic and Finnic, various pan-Samoyedic innovations could be also re-dated into their common dialect continuum phase. Helimski’s vowel system updates (retained *a, *ä, *e in PSmy rather than Janhunen’s *ä, *e, *i) already point in this kind of a direction, as does the phenomenon of native Uralic roots being often restricted to a single Samoyedic language (this means that many may have been lost in parallel in all). I think two likely additional candidates are the sound change *ľ > *j, found even in isolated loans from Tungusic; and “coaffix insertion” into the local cases, which has been long known to have proceeded differently in Nganasan than in the rest of Samoyedic (and as I’ve recently learned from Valentin Gusev, Nenets and Enets have some quirks in this too in the possessed paradigm).


I will readily admit that none of the above discussion takes any direct archeological evidence into consideration. Again (cf. footnote 2), this is intentional. Archeology cannot date languages, not even identify them: it can only create a sociohistorical backdrop that we can attempt to pin language expansions on. At a pinch, all that really happens here is that we draw one directed graph indicating known relationships of archeocultural descent and influence; another directed graph indicating known linguistic relationships; and attempt to fit the latter as a minor of the former. If culture A begets B which begets C, a priori it would not be parsimonious to assume A, B and C to have all spoken different languages entirely; but it may also prove necessary to fit other pieces of the big picture in. If the proposed language of culture B has clear contact influence from language L, we’d like to assign also L to have been spoken in a culture that was actually in contact with B. Everything else, e.g. cultural reconstructions on Proto-Samoyeds as copper traders or reindeer nomads or hunter-gatherers or what have you, comes downstream of linguistics/archeology pairings based on the “topology of chronology”.

The recent decades’ paradigm shift on the origins of Finnic and Samic is again instructive, I think. The same language expansions were varyingly pinned on multiple known material-cultural expansions, with details filled in with assumptions where necessary. What had changed was not the archeological evidence: the new picture emerged due to new linguistic evidence, with results such as the early divergence of South Estonian and Livonian, the existence of a para-Sami substrate across most of Finland and far east into Russia, and the unviability of a common Finno-Samic node (itself done in maybe primarily by loanword research showing many “Finno-Samic lexical innovations” to be loans back-and-forth, or in parallel from Indo-European). These changed the topology of the Uralic linguistic family tree enough that it could no longer be fit into the “archeological family tree” in the same location.

And for Samoyedic, we don’t have a clear enough picture of this area of the family tree yet. There’s no consensus model for the branching of Samoyedic, nor for its splitting from Uralic. Those who side with an East Uralic group will be able to find a roughly suitable archeological assignment for it; so will those who side with a Finno-Ugric group; etc.

The fact that language does not have to coincide exactly with culture also helps to create a lot of wiggle space here. For one, linguistic descent can happen also through cultural “contact”, rather than cultural “descent”; for two, linguistic splits can happen invisibly, without any corresponding cultural split (especially if we’re talking about just basic dialect diversification); for three, cultural expansions can pull along multiple linguistic lineages at the same time. The last two in particular combine to form a situation where even if we could match cultural and linguistic lineages accurately, we still cannot use splits in one to date the splits in the other. I believe this is indeed the case in Samoyedic. There is strong archeological evidence to assume that Northern Samoyedic arrived on the Arctic coast only in the ballpart 1000 years ago; [5] but this does not allow us to conclude that the language spoken at the time was really unified Proto-NSmy. I would think that at minimum a pre-Nganasan dialect and a pre-Nenets-Enets dialect already existed separately at this time, to allow for certain cases where Nenets-Enets shares isoglosses with southern Samoyedic branches like Kamassian or Mator. Perhaps more varieties yet, existing first as clan or family dialects before ballooning into full-blown languages.


I do not believe I am ending up with a radically different approximation for the age of Samoyedic from previous researchers — e.g. Janhunen in his 1998 handbook article guesstimates that “proto-Samoyedic seems to have dissolved as recently as the last centuries BCE”, i.e. in the same millennium as my conservative assumption does (or, for what it’s worth: Blažek’s recent glottochronological calculation comes out at 250 BCE). But as comes to the deeper end, I do make one methodological basic assumption that I do not think other linguists always properly appreciate: a proto-language is by definition unitary, and it is broken up already by the first emerging dialect isogloss. Not upon the emergence of more major division lines such as daughter ethnicities (identities are malleable and can easily also re-coalesce), or “language-type” rather than “dialect-type” boundaries (whatever that may mean), or loss of mutual comprehensibility (not a binary distinction anyway). A proto-language only has its strong methodological value if it is reserved for the truly common ancestor, a stage that precedes the rise of all areal variation; otherwise we lose the ability to reconstruct innovations, and can always appeal to almost any arbitrary modern variation having “already existed in the proto-language” (so, ever since humans first invented speech?). All isoglosses have a finite age, and when we seek to date a family’s break-up, we are seeking to date the oldest isogloss observable within the family — or at least, the oldest theoretically somehow dateable isogloss. And it is these roots that I believe could run quite deep compared to the conservative approximations.

[1] Really I wonder if I should start keeping a list of publications I have been credited on. Eventually this would be pointless I’m sure, but as an early-career researcher, maybe not…
[2] Comparative syntax, especially clause-level, I must admit I know roughly jack shit about (in general, not just re: Samoyedic). This is an intentional omission of effort: maybe my core subfield is comparative phonology, which does not have much overlap with syntax at all. At most there would be third-degree repercussions through morphology / classification / areal linguistics, hardly any more than from fields like paleography or folkloristics.
[3] Examples (far from an exhaustive list): PU *uwa ‘flow’, *kuwakka ‘long’ reflected only in Nganasan; *ekä ‘big; father’ only in Enets; *muja- ‘to smile’, *säńćä- ‘to stop’ only in Nenets; *kajə ‘hair’, *këččə ‘bitter’ only in Selkup; *porə- ‘to eat’, *suwďa ‘finger’ only in Mator. Works the other way too: I’ve a list of the most widespread Uralic vocabulary, and their average distribution across Samoyedic, when present, seems to be clearly lower than across any other branch.
[4] I may do a fuller post on this eventually, but I believe the supposed “Slavic loanwords in Proto-Finnic” like *pappi ‘priest’, *risti ‘cross’ well postdate the breakup of PF. Several other loanwords from essentially the same phase of Slavic already show dialect divisions existing: mainly via differing sound substitutions, such as *netäli ~ *nätäli ‘week’, *värttinä ~ *värttenä ~ *värttänä ‘spindle’, *šauki- ~ *šaukë- ‘pike’. A few cases like ‘priest’, ‘cross’ may appear uniform just due to their phonological simplicity, therefore making up a case of what I call “convergent parallel loans“.
[5] Dated more accurately actually, but I do not have the details on hand.

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Posted in Reconstruction

Recontextualizing Mansi

Currently I’m looking a bit into older research on Mansi. Coverage on the language has not been optimal in the past, mainly due to most of the existing field research materials being rather slow to be released. The main sources on no less than a 100+year-delay! — Bernát Munkácsi’s 1880s records coming out in dictionary form in 1986, Artturi Kannisto’s 1900s records in 2014, and Antal Reguly’s 1840s records I’ve not seen any decent edition of at all. I think this has left etymological research in particular in a limbo. Mansi specialists with direct access to one or more of these field research corpora (e.g. Steinitz, Liimola, Kálmán, Honti, and of course Munkácsi and Kannisto themselves) have for long been able to dig out comparisons and publish their findings, but us more general Uralicists not so much.

Many of these Mansi specialists have also been working with Khanty, whose primary comparative lexical source, K. F. Karjalainen’s dialect dictionary likewise built on 1900s field research, came out already in 1948, making the language more accessible for investigation. This has, I believe, led to a kind of an “overlooked middle sibling” status for Mansi, creating a more Khanty-colored picture of the language’s history than is warranted. Comparisons between the two languages are much more readily apparent than more distant cognates. Yet it can be also suspected that many of these are not common Ob-Ugric inheritance, but rather newer loans (Ms → Kh, Kh → Ms, or from some common third source). We also know of a cautionary example from the western end of the Uralic family: untangling Finnic loans from true cognates, with the help of more distant relatives, has been integral to working out the history of Sami. This line of work has by now revealed that just about all especial commonalities between Finnic and Samic are either archaisms, loans, or areal, and that from a proper cladistic point of view, a Finno-Samic subgroup is really no stronger supported than some different hypotheses such as Finno-Mordvinic would be.

For Mansi and Khanty, this work has so far not been done … but I strongly suspect the results would have a similar lean. Extensive areal sharing of some secondary isoglosses is already well-documented along the Mansi–Khanty contact zone. There are also a number of known Mansi–Hungarian and even Khanty-Hungarian isoglosses, as well as several “Proto-Ob-Ugric innovations” that appear essentially out of the blue.


These considerations suggest some steps for going forward. One that could be done without too much trouble with just the existing materials would be to “re-root” the historical phonology of Mansi in Proto-Uralic. E.g. as has been established at least since Sammallahti (1988) (more debatably already since Steinitz 1944), the regular reflex of Proto-Uralic *ä in Mansi is *ää — a development that surely represents simple qualitative retention, and not a detour through a Proto-Ob-Ugric *ee (as per Honti) or *eä (as per Sammallahti). Corresponding mid *ee in Khanty is most likely an independent innovation (likely even post-Proto-Khanty, as per the reanalysis due to Tálos of Surgut Khanty /ä̆/ as more original than other varieties’ /e/).

But etymology will require work too. A Mansi analogue of Steinitz’ comparative-etymological dictionary of Khanty would be quite desirable, now that the main sources are finally out and available for easy consultation. This would doubtlessly take an additional long while to assemble though. Also, from the comparative Uralist’s view, this would involve lot of work being spent on clearly secondary material: compounds, derivatives, relatively recent Russian and Tatar loans, etc.

I have at this point a shortcut of sorts in mind. The Munkácsi and Kannisto materials have been the main sources for comparative research on Mansi for the last 140 years, and we might assume they have been already reasonably mined through for comparative purposes. They’re far from the only materials on Mansi though. Older collections could be still expected to maybe have some archaisms in them that have been lost in later times. We again know from precedent that this line of research is likely to bear some fruit. On historical phonology, the 1970s-80s “Hungarian school” (L. Honti, K. Rédei, E. Sal) revamp of Proto-Mansi reconstruction has been based on 18th-century records that show some retained word-final vowels, pointing to stem-type contrasts CVCə | CVC and CVCCə | CVCəC (from the 19th century on, collapsed to just CVC and CVCəC). This then can be leveraged for some reanalysis. — On etymology, there is so far at least a small 1991 article by Katz: “Altsüdwogulisches” (FUF 50), [1] which identifies from 18th-century records previously unknown Mansi reflexes for PU *kota ‘hut, house’ and Indo-Iranian → Ugric *täjɜ ‘milk’.

The 18th century materials are, alas, still not well-documented in print. The Hungarians mainly refer to a manuscript Altwogulische Dialekte by J. Gulya, which I believe ended up never being published (though some of the data is briefly covered in his articles in NyK 60 and 62). So I’m casting my hopes into the 19th century instead. There is too at least one smaller primary source to have been released relatively timely: A. Ahlqvist’s materials starting since the late 1850s, a wordlist of which was released in 1891, as the second SUST volume Wogulisches Wörterverzeichnis (and by now available digitally; also on archive.org, IMO in better scan quality than the National Library of Finland version). The usability of this data is limited somewhat by various dialect forms being given without specifics — perhaps Ahlqvist’s original records would have this info? — but with modern Mansi dialectology in hand, the big picture is clear enough. I am not aware of any later reappraisal of this material, and it seems likely that a close look could turn up some new etymological insights.

As a promising initial result, from the A section I have already run into an entry aidentantqtam ‘to vomit’. As Ahlqvist seems to render unstressed schwas varyingly as a, e, i, , [2] as well as coda /ɣ/ often as a vowel i or , we can thus see this as a reflex of PU *oksənta- ‘to vomit’ > PMs *aaɣtəntə- (showing several regular developments: *o-ə > *aa, *s > *t, *kC > *ɣC).

In overall phonology it is also interesting to note how, while most of Ahlqvist’s data seems to be Western Mansi, he has also numerous forms showing the Northern Mansi development *ä > /a/ (e.g. mań ~ mäń ‘daughter-in-law’, ńäl ~ ńal ‘handle’; notice also the inconsistent lemmatization), sometimes quite tellingly further combined with also typically Northern *š > /s/ (sam ~ šäm ~ šem ‘eye’). Yet, his examples of the combination *kʷä- show uniformly only küä-. In newer Northern Mansi this has undergone a shift to /o/, starting from Munkácsi’s materials, but no sign of this appears in Ahlqvist’s materials. Perhaps this is then indeed independent from the usual NMs shifts *ä > /a/ and *a > /o/ (it could be otherwise routed through either), and has instead proceeded as something like /kʷä/ > *[kʷɞ] > /kʷo/ > /ko/?
Edit 2019-01-11: nope: one doublet jelpi̮l-küäl ~ jalpi̮l-kol ‘church’ (lit. ‘holy house’), already seems to show the native NMs reflex. There is also plain kol, though given separately, not coordinated into the same entry with the WMs form küäl.

[1] Why specifically “süd” is unclear to me, given that some of his forms are clearly Northern Mansi.
[2] Theoretically some of this variation could represent real vowel contrasts, neutralized in later times, but that will require a more systematic look at the data, maybe with dialect division included.

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Posted in Etymology, Methodology

CIFU 13 announced

The 13th International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies, to take place in Vienna in August 2020, is now fully announced: symposia have been settled and paper submission is open. Most people who would be interested in participating likely have gotten also the usual email circulars, but perhaps some readers will be reminded by this post; maybe even to just pop by for a visit to listen to some presentations.

I will be participating too of course. Perhaps with more than one presentation this time, even (but no promises just yet).

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The treatment of /f/ in Finnic

Loanwords from Germanic and, more recently, Russian have been feeding *f into Finnic for a good while. Today /f/ has been established as a loanword phoneme in most Finnic varieties (including, I think, all of the literary standards), but for most of the last 2000 years, the consonant has been adapted into native Finnic phonology in various shapes.

Five substitutions are usually recognized:

  1. *f → /p/
    Mostly in oldest loans from Proto-Germanic or Proto-Scandinavian. The oldest examples could feasibly even precede Grimm’s Law, and therefore actually involve *pʰ → *p (the likes of *pëlto ‘field’). Others can be dated as slightly later, e.g. *pasto ~ *paasto ‘fast’ ← Gmc. *fastōn-, showing the probably relatively late *ā > *ō. A few examples are found even in much more recent loanwords such as Fi. porstua ‘porch’ ← Sw. förstuga or förstuva; Fi. upseeri ‘officer’ (perhaps since expected **vo and **hs are or were not phonotactically possible).
  2. /f/ → ∅
    In initial consonant clusters, e.g. Fi. läski ‘(pork) fat’, riski ‘strong’ ← Sw. fläsk, frisk.
  3. /f/ → /v/
    This is found initially (Fi. vaari ‘grandfather, old man’ ← Sw. far ‘father’) and after a consonant (Fi. konvehti ‘confectionary’). I suspect the switch from the first substitution pattern to this marks the onset of *w > [ʋ]. This may have been completed only after Proto-Finnic, since several dialects of Finnish have been recorded even in the 20th century with [w] adjacent to rounded vowels: kuva [kuwa] ‘picture’, vuosi [wuosi] ‘year’, vyö [wyø] ‘belt’ etc. Dialectal variants such as kasva- ~ kasua- ‘to grow’, kivi ~ [kiw] ~ [kiu] ‘stone’ could also speak in favor of *kaswa-, *kiwi and not **kasva-, **kivi as the starting points. Likewise the Estonian metathesis *Vuh > /Vhv/, more easily rewritten as *wh > *hw.
  4. /f/ → /h/
    Found initially preceding a labial vowel (Fi. huotra < *hootra 'scabbard' ← Gmc *fōdra-) and word-internally preceding a consonant (Fi. luhti ‘loft’, sahrami ‘saffron’, uhri ‘sacrifice, offer’).
  5. /f/ → /hv/
    Found between vowels, e.g. Es. Fi. sohva ‘sofa’, Es. kohv ~ Fi. kahvi ‘coffee’ (contrast though Livonian and dialectal Fi. kaffe, Karelian koffi ~ koofi ~ koufi etc.)

Altogether we have, in the newer layers, /h/-substitutions for preserving voicelessness, /v/-substitutions for preserving labiality and continuancy, and /hv/ for covering both.

There’s however also a sixth that I have usually not seen mentioned: substitution as /uh/ (~ /yh/), unpacking the consonant in the opposite order from the kahvi type. At least two other examples appear to be known. One is the Russian loan ‘kaftan’: Fi. Krl. Izh. Vot. kauhtana, Ludian–Veps kauhtan. (Estonian has rather kahvtan.) The other is Fi. Krl. Izh. tiuhta ‘reed; awn’ ← Gmc. *stifta- (> Sw. stift), with the sound development remarked on in LÄGLOS in the word’s entry (in the 3rd volume), but not in the foreword overview of sound substitutions (in the 1st volume). I think a few additional examples could be adducible too:

  • Fi. Izh. vyyhti ‘weft’ (← Gmc. *wifti-), whose vowel length is usually attributed to sporadic lengthening before coda /h/ and labialization to irregular influence from /v/. But Karelian shows viyhti; I think this is likely to be more original. In Finnish and Ingrian, evidently *iü > yy. Finnish and Karelian dialects plus Ludian show also viihti ~ viihť, which could be instead the real example of secondary lengthening (but also maybe a parallel development of *iü).
  • *riuhto-, *riuhtat- ‘to rip, tug’ (Fi Krl Izh Lu), with a variant reuhto- in Finnish. Maybe a derivative from Germanic *rīfan- (> Sw. riva) or *reufan (> Eng. reave) ‘to tear’? For *t-suffixed forms, I only know of the noun rift though.
  • Fi. töyhtö ‘tuft, crest’, Krl. töyhäkkä ‘fluffy’, [1] töyhistyö ‘to puff, bristle up’ (probably ← Fi, per öy). Has immediate resemblance with the English, though Scandinavian only seems to have an s-affixed variant tofs (→ Fi. tupsu ‘tuft, tassel’). Looking at Low German could maybe turn up a suitable loan original?

It can be noted that all of these examples occur in the context *-Vft-. This is probably not an accident: **-fk- does not occur in Germanic (possible enough in Russian though, and giving e.g. colloq. Fi. lafka ‘store’ ← Ru. лaвка), while **-VUhR- does not seem to occur in Finnic. A few rare examples of -VihR- can be found, but usually with simplified variants alongside: in Finnish e.g. (standard form first) kaisla ~ kaihla ~ kahila ‘reed’, laina ~ laihna ‘loan’, raihnas ~ raina ‘decrepit, geriatric’, saiho ~ saihvo ‘corral, pen’.

[1] Krl. töyhäkkä has also a 2nd sense ‘haughty’, which together with töyhteä ‘to fuss about’ are probably better compared with Fi. touhuta ‘id.’, touhu ‘fuss, bustle’ (with typical affective/deminutive fronting).

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Posted in Etymology

Dravidian etymostatistics: a rough look

Burrow & Emeneau’s classic Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DED) has been conveniently available online for a while.

I find the online version a bit too spartan though, at least for browsing purposes: when a dictionary has 500+ pages and 5500+ etyma, one would want to be able to find things a bit more effectively than just leafing through at random. The preface has page numbers for sections by letter sections, but these are, unfortunately, unlinked. The print version has by-language indices, but they have been forgone in favor of a search function in the online version. A search function however only works for finding things one already knows of. Also, the “real” lemma of the entries, according to which they are alphabetized, is actually not even printed anywhere! This is a virtual Proto-Dravidian form (I suspect not necessarily valid for the relatively poorly known Northern and Central Dravidian, so maybe more like Proto-Southern Dravidian). If there is a Tamil descendant, it is usually reasonably close to the virtual PD forms used, but often enough there isn’t.

For some added convenience, I’ve thus put together a page-by-page index of my own, recording the first lemma form occurring on each page, and the first few phonemes of what the underlying reconstruction appears to be (though some of these might well be incorrect).


These 503 page-leading entries (I’m ignoring the Appendix in the analysis below) also work as a random sample of sorts of Dravidian reconstructions, and they allow a rough look at the statistical properties of the data.

For strong results on Proto-Dravidian, full by-language stats on the reflexes would be needed, e.g. to filter out data restricted to particular subgroups. This would be quite a bit of work however. But I have recorded the “lemma language” — the language from which the first reflex is given. DED uses a stable order of languages, and the lemma forms run through this list in preferential order: Tamil if available, if not then Kolami, if not that either then Malayalam, etc. This means it’s possible to get accurate reflexation rates for Tamil from just this single sample.

We can also take a look at the distribution of the lemma languages:

  • Tamil: 353 (≈ 70.2%)
  • Kannada: 49
  • Malayalam, Telugu: both 13
  • Kota: 11
  • Kolami, Kuṛux: both 10
  • Kui: 8
  • Konḍa, Parji: both 7
  • Gondi: 6
  • Pengo, Tulu: both 4
  • Toda: 2
  • Ālu Kuṟumba, Iṛula, Koḍagu, Kuwi, Maṇḍa, Naiki: 1 each

The three other big literary languages unsurprizingly come out on top next to Tamil. Otherwise the order is probably due to factors other than the size and degree of documentation, though. Kolami, as mentioned, is the #2 go-to variety after Tamil, and indeed scores 10 lemma appearences, not far from the larger Malayalam. However Kurux, quite far down the priority list, also reaches the same! This is probably because Kurux is one half of the distinctive Northeastern Dravidian group (together with Malto, which does not appear here), which seems to have a decent amount of unique vocabulary, without parallels elsewhere in Dravidian. Similar cases are Kolami, Kui and Koṇḍa; the first as the largest Central Dravidian language, the latter two in their own distinctive sub-branches of South-Central (or “South II”) Dravidian.

Initial consonants number as follows:

  • k: 100 (Tamil: 72 = 72%)
  • ∅: 99 (Tamil: 73 ≈ 74%)
  • p: 67 (Tamil: 45 ≈ 67%)
  • m: 56 (Tamil: 40 ≈ 71%)
  • t: 54 (Tamil: 35 ≈ 65%)
  • c: 50 (Tamil: 33 = 66%)
  • v: 37 (Tamil: 26 = 70%)
  • n: 27 (Tamil: 20 ≈ 74%)
  • ñ: 5 (Tamil: 5)
  • y: 3 (Tamil: 3)
  • : 3 (Tamil: 0)
  • l: 1 (Tamil: 1)
  • r: 1 (Tamil: 0)

We see here fairly even representation in Tamil, hovering around 70% as could be expected, as well as the phenomenon where only a rather limited selection of consonants have been originally possible word-initially in Dravidian.

For vowels I have counted not just word-initial cases, but rather all first-syllable vowels (so a includes a-, ka-, ca- etc.):

  • a: 152 (Tamil: 107 ≈ 70%)
  • u: 83 (Tamil: 64 ≈ 77%)
  • i: 61 (Tamil: 47 ≈ 77%)
  • e: 46 (Tamil: 24 ≈ 52%)
  • o: 43 (Tamil: 28 ≈ 65%)
  • ā: 44 (Tamil: 33 ≈ 75%)
  • ō: 20 (Tamil: 11 = 55%)
  • ū: 20 (Tamil: 14 = 70%)
  • ē: 19 (Tamil: 13 ≈ 68%)
  • ī: 15 (Tamil: 8 ≈ 53%)
  • (ai: 3, au: 0 — from Tamil only, included here in the a counts)

These now show a fairly different distribution. The cardinal vowels a ā i u ū are represented at about 74% altogether, slightly above the counts from the previous section. The mid vowels as well as ī are by contrast left at only 59% altogether. This difference probably indicates some development of real history. Several possibilities come to mind:

  • maybe Tamil is more archaic, and in the other Dravidian languages, several instances of mid vowels are secondary;
  • maybe the other languages are more archaic, and in (some subgroup including) Tamil, there has been a partial shift from mid to non-mid vowels;
  • maybe the disparity results from differences in post-PD vocabulary that has spread with contacts;
  • maybe the disparity results from the Tamil lexicon being more thoroughly documented, so that e.g. Indo-Aryan “technical” loanwords (likely to have a higher percentage of the cardinal vowels) are better represented.

More detailed comparison would be however required to figure out which, if any, the case is.

Medial consonants are more varied still. I’ve included sub-counts for the nasal+stop clusters and geminates (no other clusters seem to have occurred in Proto-Dravidian; “extended” nasal+geminate cluster series are proposed for PP ~ NP correspondences between languages, but these would take more than just casual eyeballing of lemma forms to identify):

  • : 71 (Tamil: 53 ≈ 75%) (ṭṭ: 27)
  • r: 71 (Tamil: 48 ≈ 68%)
  • k: 47 (Tamil: 32 ≈ 68%) (kk: 18)
  • l: 38 (Tamil: 24 ≈ 63%) (ll: 6)
  • : 35 (Tamil: 24 ≈ 69%) (ṯṯ: 2)
  • : 31 (Tamil: 26 ≈ 84%) (ḷḷ: 7)
  • : 31 (Tamil: 25 ≈ 81%)
  • t: 27 (Tamil: 19 ≈ 70%) (tt: 6)
  • c: 22 (Tamil: 12 ≈ 55%) (cc: 5)
  • : 23 (Tamil: 16 ≈ 70%) (ṇṭ: 13)
  • m: 20 (Tamil: 13 = 65%) (mp: 7)
  • : 19 (Tamil: 18 ≈ 95%) (ṉṯ: 0)
  • y: 17 (Tamil: 13 ≈ 76%)
  • p: 12 (Tamil: 7 ≈ 58%) (pp: 9)
  • v: 11 (Tamil: 8 ≈ 73%)
  • n: 7 (Tamil: 4 = 57%) (nt: 5, including all of the Tamil cases)
  • ñ: 8 (Tamil: 4 = 50) (only in ñc)
  • ∅: 7 (Tamil: 6 ≈ 86%)
  • : 6 (Tamil: 3 = 50%) (only in ṅk)

There are now also some new top scores in representation. The 6/7 count for zero “medials” (in fact mostly monosyllabic roots) is probably just due to pronoun roots & similar grammatical elements often being shorter than proper lexical roots, and being likely to survive more widely.

The coronal nasals seem to indicate a real sound change. Alveolar is highly common by itself, while dental n is absent entirely, aside from the cluster nt (in this sample at least). Cf. that word-initially however only n occurs, not . But it seems likely already from this data that these were allophones of each other at some point. And, quite obviously, no palatal **ñ or velar **ṅ should be recognized as distinct either.

The retroflexes ṭ ṇ ḷ r̤ [ɻ] are fairly strongly represented, while palatals c ñ fairly weakly, but again this could have many explanations.

I’ve taken a brief look at the co-occurrence of these three root phoneme positions too. Nothing really extraordinary turns up, though. *v- plus labial vowel is disallowed, a few phonetically awkward or unstable combinations like *ki- *ke- *-iṭ- *-eṭ- are somewhat rare, Similar Place Avoidance turns up among the C…C combinations. The weirdest-looking total gap is **c…r̤; and on a closer look even this is accidental (the full DED does include a few cases, none just happen to be the first on their page).

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

Thesis release, DIY edition

One would think finishing a thesis were enough to stop needing to worry about it, but sometimes not.

Earlier this year I finished my Master’s thesis on the origin of the long vowels in Finnic languages (after about three years, three advisors and three downsizes in coverage). The topic has been for long under debate, but seems to now have settled on a new fairly economical solution. This hinges on what I call Lehtinen’s Law: in early Finnic, *a *ä lengthen under fairly specific conditions and are then raised to *oo *ee. What I have ended up covering is a detailed overview of the earlier research and what the big picture looks like currently, including several new details: e.g. the observation that several loanwords from Indo-European, such as *soola ‘salt’, provide corroborating evidence for a development *aa > *oo in Finnic. (This will be, I hope, a prelude to a string of papers where I aim to rework the phonological reconstruction of Proto-Uralic into a less Finnocentric mold.)

Unfortunately something in the University of Helsinki thesis repository backend has been broken for several months now, with no ETA for a fix, and new Master’s theses have not been uploaded since March. Until recently all I have offered interested colleagues asking is that the thesis “will be coming” online at some undefined point (edit Jan 2019: official release now here). Over at this blog, I don’t think I’ve more than passingly alluded to it being finished.

The time is ripe to do something about this myself though. I’ve recently put together a slightly fixed version (mainly inserted missing references, or the details of some that were still “forthcoming” by the time I left it in) and just emailed a copy to some people. On the weekend I’ve also uploaded the work on Academia.edu for public access. If you’d rather download it right away, I also have a direct download link.

I am thinking of putting together an English summary of this at some point, since the topic is likely of interest also beyond people who read Finnish. For starters, however, you can already check out e.g. the various vowel correspondence tables: p. 58 (a rough outline of the default development of Proto-Uralic non-close vowels *e, *ä, *ë, *a, *o), p. 77 (the cognates elsewhere in Uralic of Finnic *oo) and p. 88 (same for *ee).

Comments and questions are welcome, on this post or through other channels (email, PMs, etc.)

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Posted in News, Reconstruction

A research project wishlist

I’m only starting out on real scientific publishing (it looks like my first squib-size article, currently in peer review, will be out in early 2019), but during the years I’ve run this blog and worked on my thesis, I’ve already racked up a fair-sized publication plan and stack of article drafts. There will be roughly one for each of the various conference presentations I’ve given so far, maybe a dozen that would expand on various blog posts, and a handful of thesis work leftovers. Many others have not been announced in any fashion.

Looking at the far end of the list though, I think I’ve been tacking on also ideas that aren’t really research plans as much as things I wish someone would do. Many of them call for substantial background work, and in the foreseeable future of 5-10 years, they will be unlikely to fit on my plate. The following are free for grabs, if anyone reading by any chance happens to be looking for research project ideas:

  • An updated handbook on the history of Finnish — the last updated version of Hakulinen’s Suomen kielen rakenne ja kehitys came out in 1979, and a lot has happened since then. In particular the overview of native vs. borrowed components in the Finnish lexicon seems long out of date.
    — I would likely start on some component of this myself if nothing has happened by let’s say 2030, but that’ll be a while still.
  • A study of the lexicon of Kukkuzi Ingrian/Votic. Researchers have waffled back and forth on if this Finnic variety should be considered a variety of Votic with an Ingrian superstrate, or a variety of Ingrian with Votic substrate, mostly on phonological and morphological criteria. With the 2012 release of the extensive Vadja keele sõnaraamat, it should be possible to investigate if there is also an anomalous amount of vocabulary that’s either present in Kukkuzi and absent elsewhere in Votic, or absent from Kukkuzi but well-represented in the other Votic dialects.
  • Similar studies to the previous could be probably also done to check how coherent “Ingrian” really is (with or without Kukkuzi) — the main varieties are clearly delineated, and all show their own similarities varyingly also with Votic, Ingrian Estonian, the two Ingrian Finnish varieties (Savakko and Äyrämöinen), Southeastern Finnish, and Karelian. There could be other Kukkuzi-esque misanalyzed varieties mixed in here as well.
  • A comparative reconstruction of Proto-Hungarian, based on not just the philological Old Hungarian evidence but also the evidence of the various Hungarian dialects. Handbooks sometimes state that all the modern dialects could be derived from “Middle Hungarian” circa 1500–1600, but this is obviously nonsense at least in the case of the Székelys. Many other dialects could also have diverged earlier, only to be later assimilated back towards the mainstream. Loanword evidence would be also important (for one thing, they completely destroy the theory that Old Hungarian would not have had vowel length), and obviously Uralic ancestry would have to be kept an eye on too. — Sometimes the term “Proto-Hungarian” is used instead for the prehistorical pre-migration ancestor of Hungarian, but I cannot recommend this practice: this time depth is firmly within the “single-branch” phase of Hungarian and cannot be probed by the comparative method.
  • A study of substrate in Ob-Ugric. Mansi and Khanty gain their similarity from at least three sources: the two are related (minimally within Uralic), they form a common language area (as shown by isoglosses that only cover parts of both languages) and share later contact influences (most importantly from Komi, Tatar and Russian), but on archeological and anthropological grounds, an additional fourth source could be a pre-Uralic substrate of western Siberia (Helimski’s “Yugra”). What comes up if we apply modern methods of substrate language research to the two?
  • A comparison of the Ugric and East Uralic hypotheses. There is by now a good amount of data that has been collected purportedly in support of a common Ugric (Hungarian–Mansi–Khanty) group within Uralic; but it has been pointed out that the original and clearest point of evidence, the rearrangement of the PU sibilant system (traditional formulation: *s *š *ś > *θ *θ *s, later *θ > Hung. ∅ ~ Mansi *t ~ Khanty *ɬ) applies also to Samoyedic, leading to a larger grouping recently named “East Uralic”. This is the case for at least a few other features too. Does all this end up showing that either or both of these groups should be considered areal?
    Some other possible sub-angles include: is some of the common Ugric vocabulary better considered loanwords e.g. from Hungarian into Ob-Ugric? Can previously unidentified OU-Samoyedic cognates be found? How many of the commonalities could be potentially interpreted as shared retentions rather than shared innovations? How does the alleged Ob-Ugric subgroup compare with either hypothesis?
    — I will be doing at some point at least the related comparison of the East Uralic hypothesis with its clear opponent, the long-standing Finno-Ugric hypothesis (which, as far as I can tell, has always remained merely a glorified assumption that has never been studied in detail, either pro or con).
  • A bibliography of Indo-Uralic studies, either a simple list of works, or a more detailed breakdown by etymology. It would be interesting to see e.g. how much of the compared material across the times is individually reconstructible within the two families … there is sometimes “cherrypicking” of words from just one subfamily, and in at least some cases they turn out to be clearly better analyzed as loanwords from IE into Uralic.
  • Studies on the history of extensively spread areal sound changes. Two that come to mind easily are w > v, found pretty much everywhere between the Atlantic Ocean and the Urals; and p > ɸ > h/f, found across Eurasia roughly in a belt from Hungary to the Aleuts, as well as across most of Northern Africa plus Arabia. It is not clear to me if the two last-mentioned are really two separate areas, or rather just one, or perhaps more than two.
  • A look at what level of language Zipf’s Law follows — orthography, phonology, phonetics? (This could have been done already, I have not searched for this in detail.)
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Posted in Commentary

New and updated links

Updates to blog sidebars are easy to overlook. So, this is to note some historical-linguistics-related journals or publication series available online that I have added links to recently:

  • A nyelvtörténeti kutatások újabb eredményei
    Article collection series from University of Szeged. The archive includes also several smaller release series, and the more specifically Hungarological series A mai magyar nyelv leírásának újabb módszerei.
  • Keleti szemle / Revue orientale (previously tangentially mentioned on Tumblr)
    An early 20th century Hungarian journal. From the viewpoint of this blog, one noteworthy contribution is Heikki Paasonen’s six-part article series “Beiträge zur finnischugrische-samojedischen Lautgeschichte” in vols. 14–17 (1912–1917). This is maybe the culmination point of pre-World War Neogrammarian efforts in Proto-Uralic phonological reconstruction, charting out consonant correspondences from PU to Samoyedic in nearly the same shape as known today. (I am considering posting more detailed a commentary later on.)
  • Magyar nyelvőr
    Long-running Hungarian linguistics journal. Recent issues are available online too, but I’ve linked instead the older archives, which include also some general comparative studies. E.g. volumes 11–12 (1882–1883) have, in several installments, Munkácsi’s lengthy re/overview of the Finno-Ugric theory as seen through Budenz’ comparative dictionary. (The archives could really use an index, though.)
  • Studia orientalia (previously tangentially mentioned in my post on Meshcheran)
    An ongoing e-journal on one hand, a sizable monograph etc. archive on the other, covering several fields: literature, linguistics, sociology, ethnography etc. The most common topics are Indology and Altaistics, with occasional coverage also from Africa and elsewhere in Asia. A few of the article collections even have Uralistic and Indo-Europeanist tidbits, e.g. Bertil Tikkanen and Asko Parpola‘s Festschriften.

I have also fixed the broken Fenno-Ugrica Suecana link, and added a permalink to my post indexing the Studia Uralo-Altaica series, which seems to be a popular visitor destination.

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Posted in Commentary, Links

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