Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate

Category of words in some Uralic languages
Languages of Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate
RegionNorthern Europe
Extinct1st millennium AD
Language family
unclassified
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
GlottologNone
Pre-Finno-Ugric.png
Languages in the early iron age

Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate refers to substratum loanwords from unidentified non-Indo-European and non-Uralic languages that are found in various Finno-Ugric languages, most notably Sami. The presence of Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate in Sami languages was demonstrated by Ante Aikio.[1] Janne Saarikivi points out that similar substrate words are present in Finnic languages as well, but in much smaller numbers.[2]

The number of substrate words in Sámi likely exceeds one thousand words.[3]

Borrowing to Saami from Paleo-Laplandic probably still took place after the completion of the Great Saami Vowel Shift. Paleo-Laplandic likely became extinct about 1500 years ago.[4]

The Nganasan language also has many substrate words from unknown extinct languages in the Taimyr peninsula.[5]

Theories

According to Aikio, the speakers of the Proto-Samic language arrived in Lapland around 650 BC and fully assimilated the local Paleo-European populations by the middle of 1st millennium AD. In his opinion, the detailed reconstruction of these languages is impossible.[1]

The languages of more eastern post-Swiderian cultures might have influenced Finno-Ugric languages as well. According to Peter Schrijver, some of these substrate languages probably had many geminated consonants.[6][7] A lexical comparison with the hypothetical Pre-Germanic substratum yields no results.[8]

Some examples of Kildin Sami words and corresponding Northern Sami cognates without convincing Uralic/Finno-Ugric (or any other) etymologies:[9]

Kildin Sami Northern Sami English
kut’t’k heart
vuntas sand
poav’n hummock
k’ed’d’k geađgi stone
piŋŋk biegga wind
ket’t’k’ geatki wolverine
nigkeš pike (fish)
murr muorra tree
cigk mist
mun frost
pin’ne to herd, to look after
čujke čuoigat to ski
luhpel’ 1 y.o. reindeer
kipp’tε to cook
kuras guoros empty
modžes beautiful
n’učke njuiket to jump
čacke čiekčat to throw
tuллtε duoldit to boil
kuarktε to boast
лujx’ke to cry
nissε to kiss
madt trouble
Substrate words from Ante Aikio (2004)[1]
North Saami English
beahcet fish tail
cuohppa fish meat
šákša capelin
ája spring
skuoggir ethmoid bone
šuorja giant shark
buovjag beluga
ruomas wolf
bákti cliff, rock
gieva boghole
váiši wild animal
itku shady place
roggi hole
sátku landing place
skuolfi owl
čuovga light
soavli slush
gákšu she wolf

Most of these words have cognates in all Sami languages. A more extensive list of such words can be found in G.M. Kert's 2009 work on Sami toponymics.[10] Semantically, pre-Sami substrate consists mostly of basic vocabulary terms (i.e. human body parts) and nature/animal names, and lacks terms of kinship and societal organization, which suggests a rather low level of socioeconomic development in pre-Sami cultures.[11]

Some possible substrate words can also be found in Finnish.[12]

Finnish English
saari island
niemi cape
oja ditch
nummi moor
ilves lynx
koipi leg (of a bird)
nenä nose
jänis hare
salakka bleak (fish)
liha meat

Pre-Finno-Volgaic substrate

There are also some examples of possible substrate words in Finno-Volgaic languages that differ from the Pre-Sami substrate, i.e. Proto-Finno-Volgaic *täštä "star", or *kümmin "ten".[13][14]

Some words in Finno-Volgaic languages contain rare consonant clusters, which suggests loanwords from unknown languages.

Finnish words such as jauho (eng. flour), lehmä (cow), tähti (star), tammi (oak) and ihminen (human) could be substrate words.[13]

Aikio (2021) lists some other substrate vocabulary as:[15]

Proto-form Gloss
*wakštVrV maple
*wešnä wheat / spelt
*päkšnä lime tree
?*riŋiši drying kiln
?*räppä(-nä) smoke hole
*tammi oak
*särńä ash
*ša/u(w)p(k)a aspen
*le/i(j)p(p)ä alder
*pVškV(nä) hazel

Irregular correspondences among Uralic languages are frequent among some words, such as 'to milk' and 'hazelnut'. These are presumed to be non-native loanwords by Aikio (2021):

Language Form Gloss Etymology
Finnish lypsää to milk < *lüpsä- or *lüpćä-
Mordvin lovso, lofca milk < *lupsV or *lipsa
Mari lüštem, dial. lüśtem, lǝštem to milk < *lüstä- ? < *lüps-tä-
Komi li̮śt̮i- to milk < PNo *lüćtV- or *lućtV- (? < *lü/upć-tA-)
Language Form Gloss Etymology
Finnish pähkinä, pähkenä (hazel)nut < *päškinä (?)
Mordvin päšťä, päščä (etc.) (hazel)nut < *päš?
Mari pükš hazelnut < ?*pekši
Udmurt paš-, puš- hazel(nut) < *pVškV or *pVkšV

Toponyms

Some toponyms in Finland appear to be of non-Uralic origin; for example, a word "koita" regularly appears in hydronyms for long and narrow bodies of water and is thus probably the continuation of the native word for "long, narrow".[16]

Many other toponyms in Finland seem to come from a substrate language or from many substrate languages: among these are Saimaa, Imatra, Päijänne and Inari.[17]

There are also toponyms from a substrate language in Sápmi; for example, an ending -ir (< *-ērē) is commonly found in names of mountains and is probably the continuation of the substrate word for mountain.

Other such toponymic words are *skiečč 'watershed', *čār- ‘uppermost (lake)’, *jeak(k)- ‘isolated mountain’, *nus- ‘mountain top on the edge of a mountain area’, *sāl- ‘large island in the sea’, *čiest- ‘seashore cliff’, and *inč- ‘outermost island’.[4][1]

Languages

Because there are irregularities in Sami substrate words, they might have been borrowed from distinct, but related languages. In the west, the substrate languages probably had an s-type sibilant which corresponds to an š-type sibilant in the east.[4]

Because we only have fragments of Lakelandic Sami which were preserved in Finnish placenames and dialectal vocabulary, the features of the Paleo-Lakelandic substrate in Lakelandic Sami cannot be studied. Many placenames in Finland come from Sami words of unknown origin which are likely substrate words, such as jokuu from Proto-Sami *čuokōs ‘track, way’.

The Sami substrate in Finnish dialects also reveals that Lakelandic Sami languages had a high number of words with an obscure origin, likely deriving from old languages of the region.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Ante Aikio (2004). "An Essay on Substrate Studies and the Origin of Saami". Irma Hyvärinen / Petri Kallio / Jarmo Korhonen (Eds.) 2004: Etymologie, Entlehnungen und Entwicklungen: Festschrift für Jorma Koivulehto zum 70. Geburtstag, Pp. 5–34. Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 63. Helsinki.
  2. ^ Janne Saarikivi «Studies on Finno-Ugrian substrate in Northern Russian dialects Archived 2017-08-30 at the Wayback Machine». Tartu University Press, 2006; pp. 257—279.
  3. ^ Aikio, Ante. 2012. An essay on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory. In: A Linguistic Map of Prehistoric Northern Europe, 63–11. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia = Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 266. Helsinki.
  4. ^ a b c d https://www.sgr.fi/sust/sust266/sust266_aikio.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ Juha, Janhunen. "Nganasan —a fresh focus on a little known Arctic language" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Напольских В. В. К реконструкции лингвистической карты Центра Европейской России в раннем железном веке Archived 2017-09-27 at the Wayback Machine // Журнал «Арт» № 4, 2007 (in Russian)
  7. ^ «Palaeo-European substratum in Lappish: looking for links to Celtic?» // Celto-Slavica-2. Second international colloquium of Societas Celto-Slavica. Moscow, 2006; pp. 66-67
  8. ^ Кузьменко Ю. К. «Ранние германцы и их соседи: Лингвистика, археология, генетика.» СПб.: Нестор-История, 2011., стр. 181 (in Russian)
  9. ^ Керт Г. М. (G. M. Kert), 2003. Этногенез саамов // Прибалтийско-финские народы России. Москва. С. 43-48. (in Russian)
  10. ^ Г. М. Керт «Саамская топонимная лексика» (in Russian; see pp. 140-154)
  11. ^ Г. М. Керт «Саамский язык (кильдинский диалект): фонетика, морфология, синтаксис». «Наука», Л., 1971 (in Russian; see p. 9)
  12. ^ Saarikivi, Janne (2 December 2006). "Substrata Uralica : Studies on Finno-Ugrian Substrate in Northern Russian Dialects". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ a b Неиндоевропейский субстрат в финно-волжских языках | Mikhail Zhivlov (in Russian)
  14. ^ Kantauralin ajoitus ja paikannus: perustelut puntarissa | Jaakko Häkkinen (in Finnish)
  15. ^ Luobbal Sámmol Sámmol Ánte (Ante Aikio); Sámi Allaskuvla, Guovdageaidnu. 2021. The layers of substrate vocabulary in Western Uralic. Sub-Indo-European Europe: Problems, Methods and Evidence (Leiden, Aug 30, 2021 presentation).
  16. ^ https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/38908/southeas.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "Saimaa".
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