Blog Archives

An old etymology: aistiész

I find it interesting how modern advances in Uralic historical phonology can occasionally turn out to vindicate old sketchy etymological proposals, dating from the earliest phases of scientific comparison of the word stocks of the Uralic languages. One of these

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Posted in Etymology

Etymology squib: Moknams

Reading old source literature is often dreary kind of work, but it has its occasional rewards: you might find out that some problem you’ve been dwelling on has actually long since received a solution, or at least a sketch to

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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

Alternations and “alternations”; with data from Finnish

A theoretical device in historical linguistics that I think can easily go abused is the basic morphophonological concept of “alternation”. To lay some groundwork: an initial issue, on which I may expand more at some point, is that several grades

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Posted in Methodology

Etymology squib: -kko

Assigning meanings to Finnish derivational suffixes can be a pain. Plenty of them show a fairly scattershot selection of meanings. One example is -kko (-kkö); in modern Finnish, following Hakulinen in SKRK (54.15, 56.8 §§), six main functions can be

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Posted in Etymology

Etymology squib: Nauka

A small Eastern Finnic word family with no known origin is Southeastern Finnish nauka, Veps ńoug ~ nåug ‘fish slime’. Possibly Karelian ńaugu ~ ńauguheinä  ‘bur-reed’ also belongs here. This seems acceptable to me: the usage example in KKS comments

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Posted in Etymology

Love, pity and morphology

Finnish armas ‘dear’ has a somewhat interesting etymology: the word is considered to derive by borrowing followed by semantic amelioration from Germanic *armaz ‘pitiful’. If we were given no other data, this argument would have to remain rather hypothetical. The shape

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Posted in Reconstruction

A morphophonological place avoidance effect in Finnish

I brought up Similar Place Avoidance (SPA) a couple of posts ago. Here is a neat case study of it in action, one that I have already noted quite some time ago. An Introduction The Finnic languages are usually considered

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Posted in Etymology

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