Etymology squib: riipustaa

I happened today upon a small etymological review article “Lat. scrībere in Germanic“, which argues that this is indeed a loanword rather than a cognate, but a relatively early one, already roughly into Proto-West Germanic. This got me thinking about a possible modern Finnish reflex: riipustaa ‘to scribble letters’. This is not a word of particularly wide currency, and does not even cover the general meaning ‘to write’, which is usually expressed by the native term kirjoittaa (more rarely also piirtää, whose main meaning is ‘to draw’). The word seems to be in fact marginal enough that it is not treated in any Finnish etymological work at my disposal. Regardless resemblance to Latin is quite apparent.

There is room for dout here already to start with. For one, riipustaa exists beside a variant raapustaa, which is in my impression (and by Ghits) even the more common one. Formally both could be also analyzed as derived from the more basic verbs riipiä ‘to rip, pluck, tear, scratch’, raa(p)pia ‘to scrape, scratch’. However the fairly specific semantics regardless lead me to think that the similarity of scrībere and riipustaa is not accidental. If this were a straight-up loanword, raapustaa could have come about as a contamination with raapia (or perhaps its further derivative raaputtaa). As for riipiä, the cognates across Finnic and also Germanic (← *rīfan-, *rīpan- [1]) only seem to show the meanings in the range ‘to rip, pluck, tear’. The dialectal Finnish meaning ‘to scratch’ could be rather by the influence of raapia and/or riipustaa.

It should be also noted that most loanwords from Latin into early Germanic have sooner or later continued their trek further into Finnish: e.g. enkeli ‘angel’, kauppa ‘store, trade’, keisari ’emperor’, kellari ‘cellar’, kori ‘basket’, kyökki ‘kitchen’, luumu ‘plum’, pannu ‘pan’, penni(nki) ‘penny’, piippu ‘pipe’, pytty ‘pot’, säkki ‘sack’, tiili ’tile’, viina ‘spirits’ / viini ‘wine’, ämpäri ‘bucket’, äyri ‘monetary unit’. Most of these are newer loans from Swedish, but earlier loaning roughly to late Proto-Finnic or early Common Finnic would not be unthinkable. One such more widespread case is kattila ‘kettle’, which appears to be reconstructible for Proto-Finnic (> e.g. Veps katil, Livonian kaţļā, South Estonian katõl’, with regular development [2]). Another candidate is ‘pound’: besides Fi. punta there are also Est. pund, Liv. pūnda, which could also all derive already from PF *punta. This word however has undergone so few sound changes on any side of the equation that, in the absense of cognates in Eastern Finnic, I would not rule out later parallel loaning. [3]

This possibility is relevant since quite early loaning would have to be assumed for riipustaa in order to account for -p- (contrast modern Sw. skriva, Low German schrieven). Outright retention of the plosive all the way from Classical Latin seems still unlikely (already Old Norse shows skrifa), but given that also Germanic *f turns up as /p/ in Finnic for a while, substitution of Germanic *-b- as early Finnish -p- seems like it should also continue to be possible even after lenition to *-β- > *-v-. Especially if I’m right about the hypothesis that the introduction of the substitution pattern fv is due to the onset of the sound change *w > v in Finnic and not anything changing on the Germanic side.

Morphologically however riipustaa could not be ancient in this scenario: before the heavy formant -sta- a weak grade would be expected (cf. e.g. riippu- ~ rippu- ‘to hang’ → *rip̆pu-sta- > ripusta- ‘to hang up’, lintu ‘bird’ → *lindu-sta- > linnusta- ‘to hunt birds’), which would here demand a root √riipp- (clearly underivable from Germanic). The other option would be to consider this a fairly recent formation, similar to the likes of maku ‘taste’ → makusta- ‘to savor a taste’ (vs. older mausta- ‘to spice’), julkinen ‘public’ → julkista- ‘to publish’ (vs. older julista- ‘to proclaim). The immediate source of derivation would then probably have to be a noun *riipu ‘scribble’ (from a verb *riipa-, *riipat-, *riipi- or even *riipe- ‘to scribble’). So this idea of riipustaa as a loanword is but a “root etymology”: only the root syllable riip- could possibly derive as an old loan based on scrībere, all else needs to be more recent.

Assuming all this eventful history within Finnish is also unfortunately getting rather convoluted. If it is only the semantics of this word that end up nicely matching with Latin, perhaps a more economical solution would be to reverse the direction of the various semantic contaminations I’ve assumed above:

  1. a derivative raapustaa ‘to scrabble, scratch’ comes about in Finnish;
  2. through the influence of riipiä, this develops a by-form riipustaa;
  3. through the influence of Swedish skriva (and, why not, also riimu ‘rune’?) this acquires the meaning ‘to scribble letters’ in particular;

with the net result being that riipustaa is much younger altogether, built up within the last few centuries.

The third point would probably require that skriva gets borrowed into Finnish first, presumably in the form ((s)k)riivata.


At this point I need to finally turn my eye from reconstructive speculation to real data. And a narrower chronology turns out to be vindicated by the Finnish dialects. While Suomen Murteiden Sanakirja has not yet reached R- (probably won’t until a few decades from now; finishing L alone has been taking some five years), it is already possible to see that (s)kriivata ‘to write’ is in fact attested (including even a by-form kriipata)! At least the initial cluster skr- cannot be here anything else but a sign of a recent loanword. [4] Various other evidently related formations have attestations with a cluster kr- as well: e.g. kriipu ‘scratch’, kriiputa and kriiputtaa ‘to draw lines’, and indeed also kriipustaa ‘to scribble’, kriipustus ‘scribble’. Tracing the rise of the forms with -p- rather than -v- is not obvious without access to the entries of the clusterless variants, but I’d still imagine the source is in the end raapia — this, too, indeed also with a variant kraapia (it’s a loanword from Sw. skrapa ‘to scrape’ after all).

Case closed, I think: riipustaa is a recent Finnish-internal formation, evolving on the basis of Swedish skriva, and only accidentally comes again close in form to its ancient Latin original. Seeking a deep-reaching root etymology for a geographically isolated word turns out to be a demonstrably bad idea once again.

[1] Today explained as Kluge’s Law doublets, though I suppose back-loaning from Finnic would also work.
[2] The SE form and North Estonian katel show syncope-then-epenthesis through *kattila > *kattľ, similar to e.g. *akkuna > *akkn > NE aken ~ SE akõn’ ‘window’, *taikina > *taikn > NE taigen ‘dough’. This took interestingly enough only place between a heavy first syllable and a light 3rd syllable. Otherwise V2 survives, e.g. *satula > NE sadul ‘saddle’, *rusikka-s > NE rusikas ‘fist’, *palmikkoi > NE palmik ‘plait’.
[3] This moreover has apparent reflexes even in the Volga region, usually explained as loaned from Gothic: Erzya /pondo/, Moksha /ponda/ ‘measure of weight’, Mari /pundə/ ‘money, capital’. The former interestingly enough appears to have come in early enough to have participated in the lowering of native *u > *ʊ to /o/… I wonder if early Slavic *pǫdъ could work as an alternative more recent loan source (nasal vowels are still reflected as /Vn/ in several early loans to Finnic as well).
[4] For plain kr- in western dialects an onomatopoetic origin might be conceivable, cf. e.g. rapista ~ krapista ‘to rustle’, rätistä ~ krätistä ~ prätistä ‘to crackle’.

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19 comments on “Etymology squib: riipustaa
  1. David Marjanović says:

    I wonder if early Slavic *pǫdъ could work as an alternative more recent loan source (nasal vowels are still reflected as /Vn/ in several early loans to Finnic as well).

    In French, nasal consonants almost always resurface between nasal vowels and following plosives. In Polish, this holds even for following sibilants, so there’s a loud and clear [n] in język “tongue, language”; only the retroflexes never cause this.

    • j. says:

      The key issues for a Slavic → Mordvinic routing would be East Slavic *ǫ > *ų and following full denasalization (completed ca. 900 CE). Or worse yet, the fact that this word is one of the cases with *un > *ų “> *ǫ”; did East Slavic ever actually route these both through an *ǫ stage, or just merge *ǫ *ų as *ų directly?

      I know of one other word with a PSl nasal vowel that seems to have gone around to/from the east, the ‘mushroom’ word: PSl *gǫba ~ Samic *kōmpë-rë ~ Permic *gob(i) ~ Hungarian gomba ~ Turkic *kömbe ~ more dubious cognates meaning ‘mold, rot’ in Tungusic/Korean/Japanese. At least Hungarian can hardly be from any other source than Slavic, probably ditto for Samic. On the other hand in Permic this is more likely from Bulghar, so we gain no evidence from here for the chronology of nasal vowels vs. the eastward expansion of Slavic. How to connect Turkic and Slavic is not clear to me either, since this word will have to date back to at least the mid-1st millennium in both (I’ve only seen scenarios proposing this to be a Slavic loan in Chuvash while ignoring the cognates in common Turkic).

      For ‘pound’ there’s also a third likely loan source, namely Norse traders, which matches very well with the semantics. I’ve even seen a suggestion that East Slavic *pudъ would be a loan from Old Norse rather than native Slavic. This clearly cannot explain Mordvinic /o/, though: Bulghar loans around the same time already show the *i *u *e *o > /e o u i/ vowel rotation having been completed.

      • David Marjanović says:

        Fascinating questions!

        I didn’t even know the Tatar vowel flip-flop (*/e i ö ü o u/ > /i ə ü ö u o/) was an areal thing.

        • j. says:

          The Proto-Mordvinic flip-flop is probably separate from Tatar (and Bashkir), the chronology seems off by a few centuries too many. The Tatar chainshift might be rather compareable to a few later developments in Moksha: secondary reduction *u *i > /ə/ ~ ∅ (conditional on stress shift) and in innovative dialects *ä *e > /e i/. No sign of a second general *o > **u shift though.

          A really good parallel to Tatar is however the late Proto-Mari vowel shift: *e *i *ö *ü *o *u > *i *ĭ *ü *ü̆ *u *ŭ (where early PMa *ö < PU *ë, and some reshuffling especially among PU *e / *i / *ü).

          That there have been two rounds of close vowel reduction + mid vowel raising in this area is, if I understand correctly, best demonstrated Chuvash, which shows something like *a *o *u > *o *u *ʊ > *u *ʊ *ə > u ŏ ă (and ditto for front vowels). (Khanty to an extent also shows two layers of vowel rotation, but that would be a much longer story.)

          • Crom Daba says:

            AFAIK, Chuvash doesn’t have different reflexes of *o and *u, both are reflected as the back-harmonic reduced vowel. I seem to remember something about there being a roundness distinction among reduced vowels dialectally, but I think it reflected Proto-Turkic roundness.

            • j. says:

              … OK I redug up Róna-Tás’ article “Some Problems of Uralic Vocalism from an Altaicist’s Point of View” and yeah I’m misremembering: what he posits is PTk *a *o *u > early Volga Bulgar *å *u *ʊ > “Proto-Chuvash” *o *ʊ *ʊ (> Anatri /u ɐ ɐ/); plus he compares the first chain shift with Tatar–Bashkir, not the 2nd.

  2. M. says:

    The other option would be to consider this a fairly recent formation, similar to the likes of maku ‘taste’ → makusta- ‘to savor a taste’ (vs. older mausta- ‘to spice’), julkinen ‘public’ → julkista- ‘to publish’ (vs. older julista- ‘to proclaim)

    I always thought that the reason for the julistaa-vs.-julkistaa contrast was that the former was derived from the simpler stem julki- (as in lausua julki, etc.), whereas the latter was de-adjectival and came from julkinen “public” (stem julkis-).

    With makustaa, one could perhaps posit *makunen “a (little) taste” as the source of the verb, even though *makunen isn’t attested (to my knowledge).

    Is there a reason to doubt this analysis, in favor of the one you seem to be advancing here (i.e., that the words with -k- are more recent derivations than the ones without it, and that the lenition process was simply less automatic when the newer derivations took place)?

    • M. says:

      Compare also e.g.:

      edistää “to promote, advance, etc.”, seemingly derived from the adpositional stem ete-, and showing the lenition t > d.

      vs.

      etistää “to front” (as in “fronting of consonants/vowels”, etc.) from the derived adjective etinen (etis-) “front, anterior”.

      • j. says:

        Note first that examples like julistaa, edistää do derive from julkinen, etinen etc.: the segmentation has to be julis-ta-, edis-tä- with the typical verbalizer -tA-. General -sta- only forms verbs for ‘to hunting/gather smth’ (linnu-staa ‘to hunt birds’ etc.) This derivation is seen easily in cases where no bare root survives or where late derivation is ruled out for semantic reasons, such as pakkanen : part. pakkas-ta ‘subzero weather’, but as a verb: pakas-ta- (tr.) ‘to freeze’, (intr.) ‘(of temperature) to drop below zero’; ukkonen : part. ukkos-ta ‘thunder’, but as a verb: ukos-ta- ‘(of weather) to be thundery’ (not rederivable from ukko ‘(old) man’, only from earlier ‘epithet of the sky-god’).

        Causative -(i)sta- is found as a compound suffix too, but it is in the first place precisely from *-is(e)- + *-ta-, and at any rate quite often triggers weak grade cases like raaistaa ‘to make smn/smth brutal’, soukistaa ‘to narrow’, ummistaa ‘to close’ ← raaka ‘brutal’, soukka ‘narrow’, umpi- ‘closed’ (while no **raakinen, **soukkinen, **umpinen exist, and being pleonastic, would not be expected to have existed either). (Indeed, we’d expect **raakainen,**soukkainen — I wonder if we have here another trace of the early reduction *-Aj > *-əj > *-i after heavy syllables as proposed by Kallio.)

        A further complication is that Southwestern Finnish used too to have gradation before -inen, actually consistently the weak grade before -Vi- < *-Vj- in general. Examples of this taken up in standard Fi. are at least the following:
        hevonen ‘horse’ and iäinen ‘eternal’ (< *hëbojnën, *igäjnen);
        aivoitus ‘idea’, velvoittaa ‘to obligate’, virvoittaa ‘to rejuvenate’ (< *ajgojtt-us, *vëlgojtta-, *virgojtta-, all with the typical SW development *-go- > *-ɣo- > -vo-; cf. aikoa ‘to intend’, velka ‘debt’, virkeä ‘awake, lively’);
        valaise- ‘to lighten’ (< †walgaise- < *valgajsë-); häväise- ~ häpäise- ‘to dishonor’.
        Also the rest of Finnic shows a few relicts like Estonian kollane ‘yellow’ < *këldajnën, Livvi syväin > *südäjn ‘heart’. I assume this situation was actually the Proto-Finnic state of affairs, which was early on to some extent analogically reverted in most of Finnic, maybe first by the example of derivatives from *ə-stems where *əj > *i results in an open 2nd syllable (*uutə-jśə-t > *uutisët ‘news’, not **uudijsët).

        I could add that my “feel” is that makustaa is a very new coinage from recent decades, but I’ve not looked into this in detail.

        • M. says:

          OK, fair enough. It seems my views about edistää and julistaa were poorly informed.

          I’m still not quite clear what you think about the origin of julkistaa/etistää/makustaa?

          The hypothesis that comes to my mind (albeit also uninformed) is that they don’t reflect quite the same phenomenon.

          I.e., my guess is that julkistaa/etistää/etc. are the result of applying the pattern of -(i)nen (adjective) : -(i)staa (verb), and bypassing lenition of the stem (just as the lenition is bypassed in the partitive singular (-sta) of the adjective forms).

          By contrast, since maku isn’t an -(i)nen stem, derivation of makustaa from maku would require a different mechanism. Perhaps there was a desire to avoid confusion with maustaa (granted, a similar factor might have contributed to etistää and julkistaa); and perhaps makustaa also shows a sporadic tendency to restore -k- specifically (which, because it normally disappears when lenited, may be more prone to cause confusion than the consonants that are simply voiced when lenited).

          Is there evidence that gets in the way of these ideas, too?

          • j. says:

            Right, I agree that their derivation is slightly different. The prime cause for this though is surely that julkistaa and etistää are literary/acrolectal coinages vs. makustaa a colloquial/mesolectal one (not quite basilectal, it’s made it into the modern standard after all).

            Literary coinages are also usually actually more likely to show gradation than colloquial ones: writers are more likely to have some linguistic education and hence to treat gradation as a general/prescribed rather than lexicalized process. This in mind I think it is reasonably out of the question that these two would skip over gradation just by analogy… which leaves homonym avoidance.

            For makustaa I’d inversely lean more towards simple analogical retention of the stem, in particular since there is no semantic gap to be filled strictly speaking, due to the established existence of maistella ‘to sample or savor flavors’.

            You’re correct that non-gradation of -k- is fairly common colloquially. E.g. my mother regularly inflects vuoka ‘baking mold’ as vuokan despite the readily available example of ruoka : ruuan ‘food’ (mesolectal; the literary standard still prescribes the clunky-ish ruoan and vuoan), or, gradated forms of several verbs such as kirkua ‘to scream’, nurkua ‘to groan, complain’, parkua ‘to wail’, särkyä ‘to break (intr.)’, velkoa ‘to dun a loan’ are avoided entirely due to evidently appearing ungrammatical to many people either way.

            • M. says:

              But are even most educated speakers sufficiently versed in Finnish etymology to know that there is a pattern to be deviated from in the first place?

              I can’t think of much readily-available evidence that de-adjectival verbs of this type (-inen > -istaa) cause the stem-final consonant to lenite, aside from the aforementioned julistaa and edistaa. And I have to wonder whether most Finnish speakers – unless they’re versed in etymology – will easily recognize these verbs as derivatives of julkinen and etinen, as opposed to simply “stem-cousins” thereof.)

              Also, because the partitive singular of -inen adjectives doesn’t affect the stem-final consonant (julkinen : julkista), at least not in the modern standard language, it seems to me that speakers have at least as much support (if not more) for the inference that -inen adjectives are invulnerable to stem lenition.

              Homonym avoidance may have played some part in the creation of julkistaa and etistää, but I question how much the creators of these terms (whoever they were) really pondered the possibility of giving them the forms julistaa and edistää instead.

              • j. says:

                Of course they are, “most educated speakers” include also linguists, who were at the forefront of the development of literary Finnish in the 19th and early 20th century. Who else do you think would coin a verb for “to front in articulation” anyway?

                Interestingly explicit examples of -inen-istaa are really very rare either way, outside of a few specific configurations like -llinen-llistaa, -lainen-laistaa, -mainen-maistaa. (And some of their later developments, e.g. the morphological clipping of Latinate-root adjectives like ‘logical’ from loogillinen to looginen, ditto then loogillistaa > loogistaa ‘to make more logical’ — this change is as recent as the 1950s–60s.)

                Speakers definitely will not conclude that “-inen adjectives are invulnerable to stem lenition” since this is a highly productive suffix, hence always segmentable, and the underived shorter stem is very often indeed an independent word that obviously gradates; arki : arjenarkinen, kelta : kellankeltainen, maku : maunmakuinen… Or, if you mean inferring anything about the gradatability of the derived stem in -ise-, this does not sound sensible either, since normally derivation can only affect gradation by “shielding” a root, not by affecting gradatability as such.

                • M. says:

                  Of course they are, “most educated speakers” include also linguists, who were at the forefront of the development of literary Finnish in the 19th and early 20th century. Who else do you think would coin a verb for “to front in articulation” anyway?

                  You might be right about etistää (though I thought it had some non-linguistic meanings as well — “to move forward (in a queue/row/etc.)”, perhaps?), but as far as julkistaa, I don’t think we can’t assume that it was coined by a linguist who knew that it “should have” taken the form julistaa instead.

                  (NB: I really dislike the term “literary Finnish” as translation of kirjakieli. The term “literary” doesn’t encompass the language of newspaper articles, technical manuals, etc., as kirjakieli does. I think that another expression, like “(standard) written Finnish”, should be promoted instead.)

                  Speakers definitely will not conclude that “-inen adjectives are invulnerable to stem lenition” since this is a highly productive suffix, hence always segmentable, and the underived shorter stem is very often indeed an independent word that obviously gradates; arki : arjen → arkinen, kelta : kellan → keltainen, maku : maun → makuinen… Or, if you mean inferring anything about the gradatability of the derived stem in -ise-, this does not sound sensible either, since normally derivation can only affect gradation by “shielding” a root, not by affecting gradatability as such.

                  I’m having difficulty following.

                  Let me try to rephrase the claim I’m making:
                  Given so many adjectives in -inen, and given that the partitive singular suffix fails to trigger stem lenition in *any* of them (arkista, not **arjista), it doesn’t seem so unikely for speakers (i.e. those who aren’t linguistically educated) to infer that, once the suffix -inen has been added onto a stem, nothing further can be done to this stem (in terms of inflection or derivation) to trigger lenition of the root-final consonant.

                  Thus, even a derivational suffix that creates a closed syllable, like -sta-, won’t necessarily cause the stem-final consonant to be lenited, if the speaker who coins this derivation is operating under the aforementioned inference.

              • j. says:

                (We’ve hit thread depth, so I am indenting two steps.)

                as far as julkistaa, I don’t think we can’t assume that it was coined by a linguist who knew that it “should have” taken the form julistaa instead

                I could hunt down the details of this in principle… but before that, I wonder if you’re making the error of assuming that Finnish used to have no verb for ‘to publish’ before someone one day coined julkistaa? Actually julistaa used to cover both this sense and ‘to proclaim’, and the newer variant was likely established specifically for the sake of disambiguating. So one doesn’t even need to be linguistically educated enough to know that the verb for ‘to publish’ “should” have a weak grade, it is sufficient to be literate enough in the Finnish of the time to know that it actually does currently have a weak grade.

                It doesn’t seem so unikely for speakers (i.e. those who aren’t linguistically educated) to infer that, once the suffix -inen has been added onto a stem, nothing further can be done to this stem (in terms of inflection or derivation) to trigger lenition

                Once we go linguistically uninformed enough, it will be outright the case that nothing can be done to the stem, period. I don’t actually expect people to find the relationship between -inen and -istaa transparent, even though it remains in principle analyzable.

                • M. says:

                  I wonder if you’re making the error of assuming that Finnish used to have no verb for ‘to publish’ before someone one day coined julkistaa?

                  No, not at all.

                  Actually julistaa used to cover both this sense and ‘to proclaim’, and the newer variant was likely established specifically for the sake of disambiguating.

                  If true, this does suggest that homonym avoidance was a decisive factor in the creation of julkistaa – though it doesn’t quite show that the coiner(s) of julkistaa were aware that they were “violating” a morphophonolgical rule by doing so.

                  (For example, until you corrected me earlier in this thread, I didn’t realize that julistaa was from julkinen to begin with, as opposed to some other julki-based stem.)

                  Once we go linguistically uninformed enough, it will be outright the case that nothing can be done to the stem, period.

                  I am positing a class of speakers who are literate (or otherwise informed) enough to perceive the -inen > -istaa connection, but don’t have a deep enough etymological background to see that this derivation “should” entail lenition of the stem-final consonant (unless blocked by anti-homonym measures, etc.).

                  Such speakers may not have been the ones who coined julkistaa and etistää, specifically. But it doesn’t seem implausible for such speakers to be responsible for coinages of this type.

                  As far as the connection between -inen and -istaa verbs: do you really think it’s that opaque to most speakers?

                  It seems like something on the order of the connection between English adjectives in -able and nouns in -ability. Not every English speaker perceives this connection with equal ease, but it’s not any sort of rarefied knowledge, either.

              • j. says:

                the connection between -inen and -istaa verbs (…) seems like something on the order of the connection between English adjectives in -able and nouns in -ability. Not every English speaker perceives this connection with equal ease, but it’s not any sort of rarefied knowledge, either.

                I do think it’s much less transparent, already for the simple reason that there are very few explicit doublets. In my experience most Finnish speakers tend to perceive endings primarily by their semantics and phonology anyway, not by their “actual” morphology (which often ends up being a sort of a scholarly internal reconstruction). In this case deadjectival causative verbs ending in -istaa include also some simple -ta-derivatives of adjectives ending in non-segmentable -is (e.g. kaunistaa, tiivistää, valmistaa), and maybe as the largest group today, derivatives where -istaa has been applied as a single compound suffix. E.g. hoikistaa, kallistaa, kiristää, puhdistaa, raaistaa, suoristaa, tarkistaa, tylpistää, vankistaa — from hoikka, kalteva, kireä, puhdas, raaka, suora, tarkka, tylppä, vankka, and not **hoikkinen, **kaltinen, **kirinen, **puhtinen, **raakinen, **suorinen, **tarkkinen, **tylppinen, **vankkinen. For an explicit example, here’s an instance of a long-time editor of Finnish on Wiktionary segmenting tasa-arvoistaa as tasa-arvo+istaa, not as tasa-arvois+taa.

                (Even conflating these types is not the end of it: here’s a further example of a second Wiktionary editor segmenting ruskistaa as ruski+staa, and here a third segmenting ehdollistaa as ehdollis+staa…!)

                Weak grades before any type of -(i)staa are in any case quite consistent. A few exceptions like muikistaa, virkistää, ylpistää ~ muikea, virkeä, ylpeä can perhaps be based on patterns like synkkä ~ synkeä ~ synkistää where the verb actually does have a weak grade, once compared with the right adjective variant. For muikistaa this can be outright proven by southern Karelian — which also has muikistoa, except here -k- can only be the weak grade of *-kk-; regular *-k- would instead give -g-, as in the plain adjective muigie.

                …Actually now that I check, even julkka ‘handsome, impressive’ is attested in the Finnish dialects. In principle it could be that it’s this that julkistaa comes from in the first place? Surely not organically to its current meaning, but maybe via the common 19th century process of people promoting dialect words to “modern” meanings.

                • M. says:

                  OK, I stand corrected. The comparison with Eng. -ability was probably an overreach.

                  Still, I’ve seen enough examples of -inen > -staa over time — yhtenäistää, tasapäistää, yhdenmukaistaa, etc. — to think that this connection is perceived by a substantial number of people who aren’t language specialists, even if not by a majority.

                  Weak grades before any type of -(i)staa are in any case quite consistent.

                  I’d agree that they are consistent in cases where the formation process was

                  [adj. stem] + -(i)staa

                  (as with hoikistaa, etc.)

                  But, when it comes to the slightly different formation process of -inen/-is- + -taa, avoidance of lenition may be the norm (in the modern-day language, at least).

                  Two more examples I’ve dug up where the stem is a candidate for gradation, but fails to undergo it: entistää, arkistaa < entinen, arkinen .

  3. M. says:

    “don’t reflect quite the same phenomenon” –> “aren’t all of the same origin”

    “shows a sporadic” –> “reflects a sporadic”

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