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Phonology squib: raate

The standard Finnish word for the buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) is raate. This word often appears in overviews of Finnish historical phonology as a supposed example of irregular development of early Finnish *ð. Sure enough, dialect forms like Satakunta rarake, Tavastian

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Posted in Etymology, Reconstruction

On Out of Eurasia and linguistic time depth

So here’s the hypothetical (as developed previously). Suppose modern humans have been hanging out at least somewhere around Eurasia already for 100, perhaps 200, maybe as much as 300 millennia, instead of merely 50–70. Should any of our views on

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Posted in Methodology

Excursion: On Out of Africa

Out of Africa (OOA) has been the main theory of the origin of modern humans since the mid-20th century. Strictly speaking this is only a theory of anthropology. Since language is a human phenomenon, [1] it has however also sprouted

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Problem Statement for Uralic vocalism

As noted in my previous post, I have by now nailed down as my next professional milestone a hunt for previously unnoticed innovative features within the Finnic vowel system. Besides individual surface questions about how the vowel system of Proto-Uralic

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Posted in Methodology, Reconstruction

Not So Freelance Soon

The countdown has begun: my PhD applications are in, to be followed by grant applications later this year (right now I am employed enough with other work). This will surely call for the long-imminent rebranding of this blog away from

Posted in News

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

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Posted in Etymology

An Old Komi inscription

From A. J. Sjögren’s Die Sürjänen (orig. 1829), more exactly the reprint in his Gesammelte Schriften I (1861, edited by F. J. Wiedemann): I do not have a transcription or any other analysis to offer, alas. For one, while “Old

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Posted in Uncategorized

The origin of the Finnic long vowels: An outline

Continued from my thesis release post, as is perhaps appropriate now that I finally have wrapped up my graduation as well. To make it a bit more convenient for readers, I provide here an English outline of the specific topics

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

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

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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

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Posted in Etymology

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