Blog Archives

Notes on Mari stem vowels

Though I often enough blog here about issues of consonantism too, it is clear that the largest challenges remaining in Uralic historical phonology concern vocalism. Our current standard model of Uralic vowel history is mainly rooted in Samic, Finnic, and

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Posted in Reconstruction

Thoughts on lexical data and its subgrouping

A general theory of distributional analysis of lexical data that incorporates also a degree of historical analysis remains a thing I would like to exist. I’ve seen plenty of work of some kind done on this already, yes, but most

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Posted in Methodology

Weighing etymological distributions

I’ve sometimes remarked (but until now, not on this blog) that one interesting difference between Uralic and Indo-European studies is radically different approaches to lexical reconstruction. Uralic studies have for long hung on to the idea of a deeply stratified

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Posted in Methodology

A morphophonological place avoidance effect in Finnish

I brought up Similar Place Avoidance (SPA) a couple of posts ago. Here is a neat case study of it in action, one that I have already noted quite some time ago. An Introduction The Finnic languages are usually considered

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Posted in Etymology

Some things rotten in the history of Tungusic

On a whim, I’ve started to investigate the lexicon of Proto-Tungusic, which the Moscow school of Nostraticists maintain a handy database of (as they do for pretty much all Eurasian language families). I am currently about 10% in, having looked

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

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

Statistical etymology: A Votic example

I have last Friday picked up a dictionary of the Mahu dialect of Eastern Votic (Castreanianumin toimitteita 27, 1986), based on Lauri Kettunen’s collections from about a hundred years ago. [1] This is not a particularly huge book, with only

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Posted in Methodology

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