Blog Archives

Notes on Janhunen’s Law

(Part ca. 3 of n in my irregularly scheduled series of Introducing Named Soundlaws in Uralic Studies. [0]) The issue, as I see it Most of the vowel correspondences we now think to be regular between Samoyedic and the rest

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Posted in Reconstruction

State of the Blog: Second Decade

Blogging here at Freelance Reconstruction has been slowing down in recent times, as we approach the 10-year anniversary of its WordPress iteration, coming up just at the start of the next year. [1] In 2013–2019 I have been writing about

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Posted in News

Long-Distance Comparisons As Butterflies

One of the rationality-cluster blogs here on WordPress, Aceso Under Glass, a while ago posted about a concept I find immediately useful: “Butterfly Ideas“. Roughly speaking, hypotheses that need further development, are probably not ripe for serious criticism as they


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Posted in Methodology

Language Family Tectonics

Basic research in historical linguistics is mostly done within individual families: we take a swath of attested (in most cases modern) languages, and work towards the past to figure out their development from a common origin, one group at a

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Posted in Methodology

Reviewing UraLex

Nerdsnipe of the day: the BEDLAN team, researching diversification of the Uralic languages interdisciplinarily, mentioned earlier today that they will be soon uploading version 3 of their UraLex dataset of basic vocabulary across Uralic. I thought this might be a

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Posted in Commentary, Links

A Finnic Family Tree

I was recently asked on Twitter about the history and subclassification of Finnic. [1] Whipping up a full-length discussion paper or even a polished nice-looking family tree would be more work than I can produce on short notice or on

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

*-ətA adjectives in Mordvinic

Across Finnic and Samic, one of the more characteristic adjective endings is *-əta ~ *-ətä; yielding e.g. Finnish -ea ~ -eä, Estonian -e, Northern Sami -at. The Permic cognate *-i̮t is also at least relatively common. Because Of Reasons I

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Posted in Etymology

Will Someone Please Reconstruct Proto-Kurdish Already

Some things about comparative linguistics you might just take for granted in your own little corner of a particular language family, until you start looking at how they do things in others. In Uralic studies, we’ve known for 200+ years,

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

Phonological Renormalization

A small definition of a concept. Across the dialectology of various languages we very often find almost the same segment inventory despite various innovations. I call this phenomenon “phonological renormalization”. It seems somewhat mysterious at first: it is hard to

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Posted in Methodology

Revisiting Setälä’s *pk

In 1907, E. N. Setälä published one of his last comparative linguistic works: [1] “Finnisch-ugrisches pk (~ βk)” (in FUF 6; nominally dated to 1906), on a minor addition to the cluster canon of Proto-Finno-Ugric. This was a follow-up to

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction