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Etymology squib: *paliti

Ranko Matasović, in a recent paper “Substratum words in Balto-Slavic“: Balto-Slavic also has a number of verbal roots which do not appear to have any cognates elsewhere. (…) • BSl. *pel-/ *pāl- ‘burn’ > PSl. *paliti ‘burn’ I will take

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

A note on the Mitian Argument

An article to have caught my attention tonight: Mikael Parkvall (2008), Which parts of language are the most stable?, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung 61/3. The main momentum of the paper is to define a statistical measure of the “arealness” or “geneticness”

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Posted in Commentary

On *ü in Mari vs. Proto-Uralic

It is always a low note of sorts when a scientific dispute gets resolved by quietly shifting consensus (e.g. due to proponents of one side passing away) rather than by actual discussion. One of these seems to be the status

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

The phonetic vagueness of laryngeal theory

While I continue to be strictly speaking Not An Indo-Europeanist, I regularly keep reading about comparative Indo-European research just as well. Including not only matters with immediate relevance to Uralic studies, but also the usual controversy honeypots: interpretations of the

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

Errata for the Karelian dialectal atlas

A recent acquisition of mine has been the not long ago released dialectal atlas of Karelian: Диалектологический атлас карельского языка / Karjalan kielen murrekartasto, Helsinki 2007; based on data collected in the 1930s. Covering 209 traits — many of them

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Posted in Commentary

Finnic o-umlaut, continued

I’ve often seen the Finnic languages considered to demonstrate that vowel harmony acts a counterforce to the common tendency for second-syllable (“stem”) vowels to trigger various conditional developments (umlauts) of first-syllable (“root”) vowels. At least within the larger Uralic comparative

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

Etymology squib: Huoma & co.

An interesting paper I’ve recently found, by Kirill Reshetnikov from 2011: “Новые этимологии для прибалтийско-финских слов”, Урало-алтайские исследования 2 (5): 109–112. A Russian-only journal is a slightly odd location for publishing research on Finnic etymology, but I suppose technically still

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

Five Shortcuts to Writing a Heavyweight Etymological Dictionary

Minor apologies for the clickbait-satire title (I do not actually enumerate any shortcuts in this post), but the arriving summer is making me jocular I guess. :) My current stop on what seems to be turning into an unofficial world

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

Some things rotten in the history of Tungusic

On a whim, I’ve started to investigate the lexicon of Proto-Tungusic, which the Moscow school of Nostraticists maintain a handy database of (as they do for pretty much all Eurasian language families). I am currently about 10% in, having looked

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

Indo-Iranisms galore?

Currently I am making my way through a fascinating and peculiar book: Hartmut Katz’s posthumously released Studien zu den älteren indoiranischen Lehnwörtern in den uralischen Sprachen (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2003). Fascinating, in that the book’s ~700 loan etymologies, some

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

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