Blog Archives

Some Recent Vogulology

(By current standards this perhaps should be “Mansilogy” or “Mansi Studies”, but “Vogulology” just has a good sound to my ear.) 1. Word-final vowels This summer has seen the publication of the Festschrift Ёмас сымыӈ нэ̄кве во̄ртур э̄тпост самын патум

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Posted in Commentary, News

No mid vowel dissimilation in Greek — nor Finnish?

I recently read “Deconstructing ‘height dissimilation’ in Modern Greek” (Journal of Greek Linguistics 3, 2002) by Julián Méndez Dosuna. I don’t really dabble in Modern Greek dialectology, but this struck me as an interesting paper for its methodology regardless, and

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Posted in Reconstruction

Two steps towards re-rooting Ludian phonology

Historical/comparative phonology of the Finnic languages has reached remarkably thorough coverage already in the mid-20th century. Nearly all major varieties and numerous smaller dialect groups (particularly but not only of Finnish) have had their specific history covered by at least

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Posted in Reconstruction

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

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

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

Yurats Addenda

One step up from the likes of Meshcheran, probably the most obscure Uralic language to have still been rudimentarily documented is Yurats: a Northern Samoyedic language recorded in one wordlist by G. H. Müller in the mid-1700s. As far as

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Posted in Etymology

Observations on second-syllable vocalism in Khanty

This summer I’ve finished digitizing the main bulk of comparative data from László Honti’s Geschichte des obugrischen Vokalismus der ersten Silbe (1982): his 724 Proto-Ob-Ugric reconstructions and their descendants in the individual Mansi and Khanty varieties. Before making this available in

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Posted in Reconstruction

Subgrouping and ontology

Before going into more detailed analysis, I should however also emphasize one deeper theoretical aspect of subgrouping. Some people might look at my previous list of four methods of synchronic subgrouping, and their various weaknesses, and go “OK, so does

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Posted in Methodology

Thoughts on lexical data and its subgrouping

A general theory of distributional analysis of lexical data that incorporates also a degree of historical analysis remains a thing I would like to exist. I’ve seen plenty of work of some kind done on this already, yes, but most

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Posted in Methodology

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