Blog Archives

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

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Etymology

Problems in Indo-European vocalism, part 1

Looking at Indo-European studies has for a while now been giving me an impression that the usual vowel system reconstruction has unnoticed flaws in it. They are different issues from the long-running debate on the reconstruction of the stop system,

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

On *ü in Mari vs. Proto-Uralic

It is always a low note of sorts when a scientific dispute gets resolved by quietly shifting consensus (e.g. due to proponents of one side passing away) rather than by actual discussion. One of these seems to be the status

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Commentary, Reconstruction

More on umlaut chronology in Samic

I recently proposed that the fission of Proto-Uralic *ä and *e into more open and more close vowels in Samic, depending on the following second-syllable vowels (“stem type”), should be dated already to the dialectal West Uralic era, given that

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Etymology, Reconstruction

Early a-umlaut in West Uralic?

In a footnote to my previous post I passingly speculated that Finnic *ä-backing: *ä-ä > *a-ə (> late Proto-Finnic *a-i : *a-ë-) should perhaps be split in two phases: stem vowel reduction leading to a split from *ä-ə as an

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

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

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

*ä-backing in Finnic, part 1: Overview

Over the last few years, one of the more interesting research topics in Uralic historical phonology and etymological phonology has been the Finnic sound change *ä-ä > *a-ə. Not only does this turn out to explain numerous other puzzles in

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

Finnic o-umlaut, continued

I’ve often seen the Finnic languages considered to demonstrate that vowel harmony acts a counterforce to the common tendency for second-syllable (“stem”) vowels to trigger various conditional developments (umlauts) of first-syllable (“root”) vowels. At least within the larger Uralic comparative

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Commentary, Etymology

Some observations on Votic õ versus o

One of the bigger open problems of Finnic historical phonology is the shift *o > õ in Southern Finnic. The non-front non-open illabial vowel õ found across Southern Finnic — the exact realization varies from /ɤ/ to /ɨ/ — most

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

Close vowel reduction in Samoyedic

A well-known feature of the Samoyedic languages is a split development of Proto-Uralic *u. The standard analysis (as first proposed, IIUC, by Janhunen 1981) is that this occurred depending on the original stem type. *u becomes *ə before original 2nd

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Reconstruction

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.