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Etymology squib: *paliti

Ranko Matasović, in a recent paper “Substratum words in Balto-Slavic“: Balto-Slavic also has a number of verbal roots which do not appear to have any cognates elsewhere. (…) • BSl. *pel-/ *pāl- ‘burn’ > PSl. *paliti ‘burn’ I will take

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

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

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

Indo-Iranisms galore?

Currently I am making my way through a fascinating and peculiar book: Hartmut Katz’s posthumously released Studien zu den älteren indoiranischen Lehnwörtern in den uralischen Sprachen (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2003). Fascinating, in that the book’s ~700 loan etymologies, some

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Posted in Commentary, Etymology

Interplay of minor soundlaws: Samic glide clusters

Shifting and widening my scope a little, here’s a look into the history of two consonant clusters across the Samic languages as a whole. The two-glide cluster *-jv- is a simple place to start. The development of this is straightforward:

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Posted in Reconstruction

*ŋ in Ugric and Uralic: A Proto-Phoneme in Need of Cleanup

I’ve previously posted about the Proto-Uralic “dental spirants”, and on the problems concerning their reconstruction. These are however far from the only PU segments whose reconstruction involves unsolved difficulties. The velar nasal *ŋ provides examples of some different types of

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Posted in Reconstruction

An Accidental Reprise

My recent etymological proposals in the previous post have turned out to not be news after all. Petri Kallio has informed me that essentially identical etymologies for the Finnic words for “aspen” and “horse”, ie. based on a metathesis of

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Posted in Etymology

A Sušpicious Absense

Here’s to resume the topic of sibilant+stop clusters in loanwords into Finnic, previously treated in “Extending a substitution pattern”. This time I’m focusing on clusters involving the bilabial stop /p/. For some reason, clusters of the type /Sp/ were originally

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Extending a substitution pattern

In relatively new loans into Finnish (for the last 1500 years, at least; AFAIK similarly in most other Uralic languages), *s+stop clusters are uniformly retained medially (piispa “bishop”, masto “mast”, viski “whisk(e)y”) and simplified to the stop initially (piikki “spike”,

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