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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

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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

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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

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Posted in Reconstruction

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

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

Mari *a versus *o: some preliminary notes

A little thing that has been vexing me pretty much ever since I first for some fateful reason decided to take a look at Uralic vowel history is the distribution of *a versus *o in Mari. These two Proto-Mari vowels

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Posted in Reconstruction

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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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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