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First-syllable *ə in Proto-Mordvinic?

The following is, currently, more of a hypothesis I wish to record than an actual result. Out of the two Mordvinic languages, Erzya shows the simple vowel inventory /i e a o u/ (plus a recent marginal /ɨ/ phonemicized by

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Posted in Reconstruction

Secondary apocope in Mordvinic

According to usual understanding, the Proto-Uralic stem vowel contrast *-A | *-ə is still continued in the Mordvinic languages in nominals of the shape CVCV: word-finally *-A survives as a vowel (mostly *-ə, in some cases *-a), while *-ə is

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Native initial clusters in Udmurt

Typological definitions of Uralic [1] just about always note the lack of native word-initial consonant clusters. While the literary standards have their share of IE-derived clusters by now, in rural dialects and the Siberian languages clusterlessness is common enough to

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Posted in Reconstruction

Etymology squib: *äńćä ‘(rasp)berry’

A repeating complaint I run into with the more impressionistic reconstructions found in the UEW is the frequent use of *ŋ as a kind of a deus ex machina phoneme, reconstructed for all sorts of confusing correspondences of nasal consonants.

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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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Some corollaries of Lehtinen’s Law

Phonemic vowel length occurs in widely across Uralic languages. This, however, is due to various independent developments — for long now, no vowel length is normally reconstructed in Proto-Uralic. Quality distinctions are one common source of length. In particular PU

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