Blog Archives

Assibilation in Finnic iteratives

With the assibilation *ti > *ci > si being one of the best-known innovations in Finnic, one would think it would have been researched to exhaustion long since. But there still seem to be new discoveries available. The best-known examples

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Posted in Etymology

Etymology squib: Pyytää (and a tangent on Mansi velars)

The Finnic verb root *püütä- (Fi. pyytää, etc.) has two distinct senses: ‘to ask for’ on one hand, ‘to hunt’ on the other. These could plausibly be considered connected, with the former as the original sense, the latter developing as

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Posted in Etymology

*wu > *u in Finnic

One minor phonological innovation in Finnish is mentioned in historical overviews far more often than could be expected from its lexical frequency: the loss of a palatal semivowel *j when preceding its vocalic counterpart *i. This is probably because the shift

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Posted in Reconstruction

12 + 1 old Indo-European loan etymology sketches

Most of the following are not-fully-polished thinking-out-loud analyses. Feel free to point out any inconsistencies, unadmitted weaknesses, and other general plotholes that you may spot. 1. peni No clear Proto-Uralic root for ‘dog’ is known. We instead have one eastern

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Posted in Etymology

A Phonotactic Allewrgy…?

There are, I think, several things off about the current understanding about the treatment of the consonant clusters *wr and *wj in Proto-Finnic. There are no generally accepted instances of *-wr- in Proto-Uralic (though see below for one proposal), and

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Posted in Etymology, Reconstruction

Early a-umlaut in West Uralic?

In a footnote to my previous post I passingly speculated that Finnic *ä-backing: *ä-ä > *a-ə (> late Proto-Finnic *a-i : *a-ë-) should perhaps be split in two phases: stem vowel reduction leading to a split from *ä-ə as an

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Posted in Reconstruction

*ä-backing in Finnic, part 1: Overview

Over the last few years, one of the more interesting research topics in Uralic historical phonology and etymological phonology has been the Finnic sound change *ä-ä > *a-ə. Not only does this turn out to explain numerous other puzzles in

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Posted in Reconstruction

Etymology squib: Seistä

The Finnish verb seistä ‘to stand’ has an interesting defective inflection. Only forms with the consonant stem seis- exist, including e.g. the citation form; some other infinite forms (e.g. seisty ‘having stood’, seisten ‘by standing’), and several imperative forms (seiskäämme

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Posted in Etymology

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

Gradation of *st in Finnic (and related complications)

The development of consonant gradation in Finnic (and why not, also elsewhere in Uralic) is one of those topics that really needs a new monograph-scale treatment one of these days. Not just for the sake of collecting the accumulated knowledge

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Posted in Reconstruction

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