Blog Archives

Phonotactics vs. protolanguages

Phonotactic analysis is probably one of the most straightforward tools for statistical etymology. There are others too — but this is an analysis method that will easily bring up a wealth of data that has no real synchronic motivation (arbitraryness

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Posted in Methodology

Primary vs. secondary *ë

I claimed in my post “Two Lemmata” that the reconstruction of Proto-Uralic *ë rests on quite firm ground by now. Regardless, it is still not too rare to see studies which fail to recognize the idea. [1] Apparently the existence

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Posted in Reconstruction

Notes on Eastern Sami vowel history, part 2

(← Part 1) For initial details: a few complications involving *i and *ë. In the Kola Sami branch (Kildin & Ter Sami), the default reflex of PS *i seems to be /ï/. (I dunno if this is [ɨ] or [ɯ],

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Posted in Reconstruction

Notes on Eastern Sami vowel history, part 1

Recently I sat down with my copy of J. Lehtiranta’s Proto-Samic dictionary, Yhteissaamelainen sanasto (1989; SUST 200) to work out the development of the vowel systems in the Eastern Samic languages. I do not know if this has been done

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Posted in Reconstruction

Proto-Yukaghir voiced stops (and their implications)

One of the more popular proposals for external relationships of the Uralic family is the Uralo-Yukaghir hypothesis. By certain measures it might even count as the most popular one. The idea has been around for a long while, but in

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Posted in Reconstruction

Two Lemmata: PU *ë, PMs *ee *ëë *oo

Not “lemma” in the usual linguistic “citation form” sense, but in the mathematical “intermediate result” sense. I’ve noticed having to clarify these topics at quite a few points, so here’s a single post for the purpose. I’ll keep it brief

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Posted in Reconstruction

Austronesian Needs More Consonants

An interesting recent discovery: a couple of papers from Peter Norquest and Sean Downey, on enriching the consonant inventory of Proto-Austronesian. This is not a completely novel idea to pursue, but this time evidence comes from correlating widely separated branches

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Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

Laterals and Palatals II: Spirantic Boogaloo

A reply I was writing in the comments to the previous post on laterals and palatals was getting long, and started to require tying in some related issues. So, after some further expansion, y’all’re getting a full post on approaches

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Posted in Reconstruction

Reassessing Proto-Mansi *ü

I find the development of *ü in Mansi fairly strange. This vowel is supposedly retained from Proto-Uralic in Proto-Mansi (e.g. *künčə → *künš “nail”) — but would after that only have been retained in Southern Mansi (/künš/), while Core Mansi

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Posted in Reconstruction

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