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Revisiting Setälä’s *pk

In 1907, E. N. Setälä published one of his last comparative linguistic works: [1] “Finnisch-ugrisches pk (~ βk)” (in FUF 6; nominally dated to 1906), on a minor addition to the cluster canon of Proto-Finno-Ugric. This was a follow-up to

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

Details of some vulpine words in Uralic

A recent open access paper by half a dozen Leiden Indo-Europeanists: Palmér, Jakob, Thorsø, van Sluis, Swanenvleugel & Kroonen, “Proto-Indo-European ‘fox’ and the reconstruction of an athematic ḱ-stem” presents a very thorough analysis of various core IE words for medium-sized

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

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

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

Proto-Uralic *ŋx?

My earlier post ‘Swan’ in Uralic alluded to the possibility of reconstructing Proto-Uralic also *x in positions where it has not previously been considered to occur, particularly by reanalyzing some clusters with *k in them. This is not an idle

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Posted in Reconstruction

Prothesis in Permic (and related matters)

A certain type of soundlaw that frequently seems to occur across the Uralic languages is the prothesis of a labial semivowel before “medium-strong” labial vowels. Two clear examples are Samic and Finnic, where this has occurred before the long vowel

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Posted in Reconstruction

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