Here’s a currently very WIP list of works on Proto-Uralic reconstruction that you will be seeing referenced at times on this blog. For the benefit of the reader, I will be sporadically including commentary on what each source does exactly. (Why is this not a regular feature of bibliographies in general, again?)


FUF = Finnisch-Ugrische Forschung
SUSA = Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja (Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne)
SUST = Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia (Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne)
UAJ = Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher

General-ish sources

Häkkinen ’07 = Häkkinen, Jaakko (2007): Kantauralin murteutuminen vokaalivastaavuuksien valossa. Master’s thesis.
— The original proposal for the East Uralic theory. Includes a useful appendix of the most regularly reflected Proto-Uralic vocabulary attested in at least one Western and one Siberian branch; pooled mainly from Sammallahti ’88 + Aikio ’02 + Aikio ’06.

Häkkinen ’09 = Häkkinen, Jaakko (2009): Kantauralin ajoitus ja paikannus: perustelut puntarissa. In: SUSA 92.
— An attempt to re-locate Proto-Uralic in space and time given his new East Uralic theory.

Janhunen ’81 = Janhunen, Juha (1981): Uralilaisen kantakielen sanastosta. In: SUSA 77.
— The paper to have established today’s standard framework of Proto-Uralic, by comparison of “Proto-Finno-Permic” with Proto-Samoyedic.

Janhunen ’82 = Janhunen, Juha (1982): On the Structure of Proto-Uralic. In: FUF 44.

Sammallahti ’88 = Sammallahti, Pekka (1988): Historical phonology of the Uralic languages (With Special Reference to Permic, Ugric and Samoyedic). In: Denis, Sinor (ed.): The Uralic Languages.
— The best single general overview available so far of the development of Proto-Uralic to its central to eastern descendants (western branches from Samic to Mari are not covered). Essentially an extension of the reconstruction presented in Janhunen ’81. Includes a list of reconstructed Proto-Uralic, “Proto-Finno-Ugric” and “Proto-Finno-Permic” roots and their reflexes in the descendant languages. Rather more reliable than the still frequently impressionistic reconstructions found in the UEW (which you may note I do not list in this section).

Sources for particular details of reconstruction

Aikio ’12 = Luobbal Sámmol Sámmol Ánte (Ante Aikio) (2012): On Finnic long vowels, Samoyed vowel sequences, and Proto-Uralic *x. In: SUST 264.
— Reviews the mentioned topics, finishes by concluding that it is possible to simplify the reconstruction of Proto-Uralic by eliminating instances of *x in syllable-final position (thus e.g. *nälə- “to swallow”, *ńëlə “arrow”, rather than *näxlə-, *ńëxlə as reconstructed since Janhunen ’81.) This is accomplished in part by reviving a soundlaw for Finnic that I’ve taken to calling “Lehtinen’s Law“.

Helimski ’93 =  Хелимский, Е (1993): Прасамодийские *ə и *ə¨: прауральские источники и нганасанские рефлексы. In: …
— Establishes that Proto-Samoyedic *ə is to be split in two vowels, one reflecting PU *i, the other reflecting PU *u.

Helimski ’05 = Helimski, Eugene (2005): The 13th Proto-Samoyedic Vowel. In: …
— Establishes the retention of the PU contrast *i : *e in Nganasan (by implication also in Proto-Samoyedic). These vowels were previously thought to have been merged in Samoyedic.

Reshetnikov & Zhivlov ’11 = Reshetnikov, Kirill & Zhivlov, Mikhail (2011): Studies in Uralic vocalism II: Reflexes of Proto-Uralic *a in Samoyed, Mansi and Permic. (Alternate link.) In: Journal of Language Relationship 5.
— Proposes several new soundlaws, of which I believe the idea that in Permic, *a > *u by default holds water the best.

Zhivlov ’14 = Zhivlov, Mikhail (2014): Studies in Uralic vocalism III. (Alternate link.) In: Journal of Language Relationship 16.
— Further analysis of conditional developments of PU vowels, e.g. a proposal that the shift *ä-ä > *a-i in Finnic should be considered the default development, vs. retention as *ä-ä a conditional one.

Mass lexical sources

UEW = Rédei, Károly & al. (1988): Uralisches etymologisches Wörterbuch.
— The Proto-Uralic and lower node reconstructions presented here are an unreliable mishmash of a couple different models (not only my impression: several studies have determined as much), but this remains highly useful as a data source. I do not plan on mentioning in detail any sources whose content can be found here as well.

FUV = Collinder, Björn (1956/1977): Fenno-Ugric Vocabulary. Uppsala/Hamburg.
— I mention this for completeness’ sake. The book has only marginal amounts of data not covered by the UEW; perhaps most interestingly an appendix of “Indo-Uralic” and “Ural-Altaic” vocabulary comparisons.

SKRK = Hakulinen, Lauri (1941–1978, reprinted 5th edition 2000): Suomen kielen rakenne ja kehitys. Helsinki: Otava/Helsingin yliopisto.
— A detailed survey of the history of Finnish; rather thin on any comparative data, but perhaps most interesting for its massive, near-comprehensive listings of Finnish words by their morphological and etymological origin.

SSA = Itkonen, Erkki; Kulonen, Ulla-Maija (eds., 1992–2000): Suomen sanojen alkuperä. Etymologinen sanakirja (3 vols). Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura/Kotimaisten kielten keskus.
— The closet thing currently available to a treatise of the common Finnic lexicon, this etymological dictionary of Finnish goes well beyond its stated task in listing all known Finnic or Uralic cognates, and including much dialectal material not in active use in modern Finnish.

Csúcs ’05 = Csúcs, Sándor (2005): Die Rekonstruktion der permischen Grundsprache. Bibliotheca Uralica 13.
— An attempt to reconstruct Proto-Permic. Lexically and grammatically rather exhaustive. The analysis of historical phonology, though, suffers greatly from taking the reconstructions presented in the UEW as a given fact, and from an abundance of “sporadic” sound changes.

Honti ’82 = Honti, László (1982): Geschichte des obugrischen Vokalismus der ersten Silbe. Bibliotheca Uralica 6.
— An attempt to reconstruct Proto-Ob-Ugric (though the Mansi-only or Khanty-only lexicon of Uralic inheritance is not covered). Leaves no shortage of open questions, but much like the UEW, works as a useful data source.

Janhunen ’77 = Janhunen, Juha (1977): Samojedischer Wortschatz. Castreanumin toimitteita 17.
— The main released lexical source on the reconstruction of Proto-Samoyedic. In need of an update in some aspects by now, though (see e.g. Helimski ’93 and Helimski ’05 above).

MoWb = H. Paasonen’s Mordwinisches Wörterbuch. Lexica Societatis Fenno-Ugricae 23.
— A comprehensive dialect dictionary of the Mordvinic languages. Not especially etymological, aside from indicating young Russian and Turkic loanwords. Could use an index as well…

SkWb = Alatalo, Jarmo (2004): Sölkupisches Wörterbuch. Lexica Societatis Fenno-Ugricae 30.

Individual etymological literature

Aikio ’02 = Aikio, Ante (2002): New and old Samoyed etymologies. (Alternate link.) In: FUF 57.
— A paper expanding the pool of Samoyedic lexemes with regular Uralic etymologies by almost one third: from 140 (as previously in Janhunen ’81 and Sammallahti ’88) to 180+. Also discusses in detail the implications of this data for the reconstruction of Proto-Uralic, Proto-Samoyedic, and the sound changes between the two.

Aikio ’06 = Aikio, Ante (2006): New and old Samoyed etymologies (Part 2). (Alternate link.) In: FUF 59.
— Some addenda to part 1, including further 14 new Uralic etymologies for Samoyedic word families.


Honti, Lászó (1997): Az ugor alapnyelv kérdéséhez. Budapesti Finnugor Füzetek 7.
— A small article collection over the topic of Proto-Ugric.

  • “Az ugor nyelvek jellemző vonásai”: A summary of shared Ugric sound changes, grammatical features, and lexicon. Rather suffers from confirmation bias in attempting to cram in also shared features found also outside Ugric (in e.g. Samoyedic), or in only Hungarian and one of the Ob-Ugric branches.
  • “Az ugor hangtörténethez”: An attempt to form a chronology for the consonantal sound changes between Proto-Uralic and the Ugric branches.
  • “Ugor alapnyelv: téves vagy reális hipotézis?”: More polemics over the question of Ugric as a valid subgroup of Uralic.

Häkkinen ’84 = Häkkinen, Kaisa (1984): Wäre es schon an der Zeit, den Stammbaum zu fällen? In: UAJ Neue Folge 4.
— Critique of the traditional Uralic family tree, especially the “Finno-Permic” and “Finno-Volgaic” nodes.

Salminen ’02 = Salminen, Tapani (2002): Problems in the taxonomy of the Uralic languages in the light of modern comparative studies.
— Essay on the unreliability of the traditional binary Uralic family tree.

Viitso, Tiit-Rein (2000): Finnic Affinity. In: Congressus Nonus Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum I: Orationes plenariae & Orationes publicae.
— Focuses on the subgrouping on Finnic, but includes also the most up-to-date version of his analysis of the main Finno-Ugric consonant isoglosses.

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