Blog Archives

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

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

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

Three observations on Bactrian

As a part of my ongoing quest to get a better handle on the Indo-Iranian languages (mostly, yes, but not only due to their important early contact influence on the Uralic languages), some time ago I caught wind of Saloumeh

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Posted in Reconstruction

Were there Proto-Samic *š-stems? Some issues of Samic-Finnic chronology

Despite ongoing disputes about the subgrouping of the Uralic family, it is clearly the case that the Finnic and Samic languages have been at least neighbors for several millennia now, exchanging linguistic features and material back and forth. With care,

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Posted in Reconstruction

Proto-Uralic *ë in Mari

Mari is one of the key languages for the reconstruction of Proto-Uralic *ë, in having a mostly unique reflex *ü > Hill Mari /ü/ ~ Meadow Mari /ü/. The only other known regular source of this vowel correspondence is would-be

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Posted in Reconstruction

“Anti-etymologies”

Sometimes I feel I’d like to see an anti-etymological dictionary. Given two or more different etymological dictionaries, especially for an entire group of languages, typically one of them (usually from the older end) is going to end up being less

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Posted in Etymology

Phonology squib: ‘Clay’ in Proto-Uralic

I have a principle that applies quite often when working with quantity-over-quality mass comparative dictionaries (papers, databases, etc.): what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The UEW is, unfortunately, a repeat offender on assertions without evidence. This

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Posted in Reconstruction

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

*ü > *i, *ü in Samoyedic

I have noted before that Proto-Uralic *ü, whose reconstruction has at times been opposed by various scholars, has never received a truly detailed defense. Arguments contra have never been very detailed either — but one recurring claim has been that

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Posted in Reconstruction

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