Blog Archives

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

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

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

Probing the roots of Samoyedic

Last year I participated in a fruitful Academia.edu session on loanwords from Turkic into Samoyedic. I am now honored to see that the final article — P. S. Piispanen 2018, Turkic lexical borrowings in Samoyed, Acta Linguistica Petropolitana 14(3) —

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Posted in Reconstruction

Dravidian etymostatistics: a rough look

Burrow & Emeneau’s classic Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DED) has been conveniently available online for a while. I find the online version a bit too spartan though, at least for browsing purposes: when a dictionary has 500+ pages and 5500+ etyma,

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

Thesis release, DIY edition

One would think finishing a thesis were enough to stop needing to worry about it, but sometimes not. Earlier this year I finished my Master’s thesis on the origin of the long vowels in Finnic languages (after about three years,

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Posted in News, Reconstruction

Notes on the phonology of Kamassian

For a language family mostly made up of minority languages, Uralic is really quite well documented by any standards. Most of the smaller languages have received decent descriptions already in the 19th century, and many also theoretically updated reflections later

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Posted in Reconstruction

A Fourth Laryngeal in PIE

The Proto-Indo-European laryngeals seem to form, in most people’s thinking, a kind of a phonological subsystem. Usually they end up as a class of back fricatives, or at least some kind of weaker back consonants. They certainly have similar diachronic behavior…

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Posted in Reconstruction

The fate of *w in Altaic

A fairly striking typological commonality between the “micro-Altaic” language groups: Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic (Tk, Mg, Tg) is the lack of a labial glide such as /w/. This is clearly out of line among both the world’s languages in general,

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Posted in Reconstruction

Stop voicing across Uralic: some musings

Finnish often gets used as an example of a language that does not contrast voiced and voiceless consonants. While this is not really correct for Standard Finnish (which at least prescribes all of the voiced stops /b d g/), it’s

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Posted in Reconstruction

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