3.5. Finno-Ugric

3.5.1. Finno-Ugric evolution

Common Finno-Ugric traits include the following:

·       General OV order.

·       Further development of copula support, including copular verb, indefinite/definite terms, third/non-third persons, present/past and indicative/non-indicative oppositions.

·       Cases:

o   Collective marker *-k.

o   Ablative or separative *-ta/-tä.

o   Innovation trend with further distinction of the three local cases, although precise details for a common stage are obscured by later developments.

o   Locative adverb in *-t(t).

·       Coaffix *-s- from western languages is probably to be traced back to the expanding lative of this period.

·       Verbal developments:

o   Past tense marker *-i/i̯, apart from the common in *-ś.

o   Past perfect *-ma/-mä and present in *-pa/-pä may be traced back to this stage, too.

o   Development of a common passive construction can be attributed to this stage, although the innovation continues differently in Proto-Finno-Permic and Proto-Ugric.

·       Development of subordinating conjunctions to combine sentences (apart from the use of nonfinite constructions), probably under the influence of neighbouring Indo-European languages.

·       Reflexive probably formed at this stage from demonstrative pronouns *e- + *čV, but also possibly from a noun meaning ‘(shadow) soul’ (compare the reflexive from Proto-Samoyedic).

·       Regular phonetic changes include:

o   In the first syllable, LPU *äx PFU *ē, LPU *ax → PFU *ō, as well as *VV → *V in a closed syllable, and *o → *u in open syllables before a second syllable *-i.

o   In the second syllable, the opposition *i vs. *ë is probably already neutralised, and only *i is retained. This leads eventually (in a process that continued in the different dialects) to the abolition of *ëand *̅in the first syllable, and *i may then be found with *a or *ä in the second syllable.

o   The consonantal system undergoes little change, with only one systematic evolution of *Vx → *VV before a consonant.

3.5.2. Contacts with Indo-Iranian

Contacts between Proto-Finno-Ugric and Proto-Indo-Iranian were intense and long-lasting, as revealed by the different loanwords proposed to have been acquired in different stages (Koivulehto 1991; Carpelan and Parpola 2001; Katz et al. 2003; Blažek 2005)even if some are disputed (Aikio and Kallio 2005)which have survived in spite of strong posterior Indo-European influences, such as that of Palaeo-Germanic on Finno-Samic (see below § Palaeo-Germanic borrowings).

Pre-Proto-Indo-Iranian loanwords include the following:

·       PFU *aiša ‘shaft’< Pre-PII *aīšā́ ‘shaft’ (< CIE *ħihseħ/ʕwihseħ ‘shaft’)‚ cf. OInd. īšā́, Av. aēsa-.

·       PFU *en-ti < Pre-PII *gjen-ti <*genh- ‘be born’.

·       PU *inš-mi *išmi ‘wonder, sign’ < *gjn̥-né/n-ˀ- ‘know, recognise’ (Koivulehto 1991). Similarly, PFU *inši ‘man’ < PII *gjˀ-(i)e ‘generate’ (Kümmel et al. 2001) hence ‘offshoot; creation, being; kin, family’. The substitution of *gjn̥- by *in is explained by the impossibility of the consonant group **i̯n- in Uralic (Koivulehto 1991), while the presence of a laryngeal may be explained by the late survival in specific groups (see below §II.2.5.2. *CR̥HC). Compare for the adoption from a palatalised velar PFU *sei- ‘eat’ < (Pre-)PII *e- <*gi̯eh- ‘chew’ (Koivulehto 2003).

·       PFU *kekrä ‘cycle’ < Pre-PII *kekro-‚ cf. Skt. cakra- ‘wheel, cycle’.

·       PFU *kesträ ‘spindle, spin’ < Pre-PII *kētstro-, cf. Skt. cāttra-m ‘spindle’.

·       PFU *mertä ‘man, person’ < Pre-PII *m-- ‘death; mortal’ cf. OInd. mr̥tá, OAv. mərəta ‘dead’, also in other LPIE dialects ‘mortal, person’. For o-grade Pre-PII *mor-to- ‘mortal, man’, cf. OInd. márta, Av. masa-, hence PFP *marta, ‘dry(cow), farrow’ < PII *márta-.

·       Maybe from this period LPU *oča ‘see; beware, guard; wait’ ~ Av. axša- < Pre-PII *ok-se- ‘watch’ < *Hokw-se- ‘see; watch’, although it is difficult to explain the apparent Pre-PII *-ks- PU *-č-, so possibly a later, PII loanword that diffused also to Samoyedic. This word has also been explained as from the same root as PU *att- (*ott-) ‘see, look’, also ‘watch, guard, etc.’, although the medial *-t(t)- *-č- is equally difficult to explain.

·       Ob-Ugric *peečəɣ ‘cattle’ ~ Pre-PII obl. *pečeu- points probably to an early, Pre-PII loanword, before the evolution into PII *pačau-. The PFP equivalent, *poča(), may point thus to a slightly later PII stage, which may in turn suggest more continued contact of Finno-Permic with Indo-Iranian languages after the separation of the Ugric community.

·       Difficult to pinpoint is the origin of PFP porćas ‘piglet’ ~ PIr. *párĉah (cf. Av. pərəsa), because of the adoption with o-vocalism, which suggest an ancestral (palatalised) *porĉos.

·       PFU *-teksä ‘ten’ < Pre-PII *dek-s-, cf. Skt. daśa- ‘ten’.

Proto-Indo-Iranian loanwords include:

·       PFU *ara ‘value, price’ < PII *argha- < *algwha- ‘value, price’, also applied to the value of a slave (see above § Economy and technology).

·       PFU *asëra ‘lord, leader’ < PII *asura- ‘god; leader, lord’, cf. OInd. Ásura-, Av. Ahura- ‘lord’.

·       PFU *ćata ‘one hundred’ < PII atá- (<*któm), cf. Skt. śatám.

·       PFU *ama < PII *ama- ‘twin’.

·       PFU *kurë ‘dig’ < PII *kar-, enlarged *karš- ‘pull; plough’, cf. PII *kší- ‘ploughing, furrow’, PIr. *kāraa ‘to sow, plant, plough’, etc.

·       PFU *mëkšë ‘bee’ < PII *makš- ‘fly, bee’(Lubotsky 2001).

·       PFU *ora ‘awl’ ~ OInd. *ā́rā- (<*ēlā), after the merging of liquids, probably PII and not Pre-Indo-Aryan as proposed by Koivulehto (1991), since it is found in other LPIE dialects with the same meaning. Also, Gmc. *ala(n)- <*HoH-ló-? remains unsuccessfully explained, and a borrowing from a Pre-PII cognate is thus possible, although not warranted with the current data.

·       PFU *ora ‘slave’ < Pre-PII *ara-, the self-denomination of Indo-Iranians, hence ‘Aryan taken as a war-captive, prisoner’, with a semantic shift mirroring Medieval Latin sclāvus ‘slave’, from Late Latin Sclāvus ‘Slav’, because Slavs were often forced into slavery in the Middle Ages.

·       PFU *šistV (*šikśtV) ~ OInd. siktha- ‘beeswax’.

·       PFU *sosra ‘one thousand’ < PII *sa-hasra- / Pre-PII *s-gjhesro- (<*s-ghéslo-), cf. OInd. sahásram, Av. hazanram.

·       PFP *śuka ‘awn, chaff’ < PII / Pre-PIAr. *śuka- ‘needle’, cf. OInd. *śuka- ‘insect’s sting, ear of corn’, Av. *śuka- ‘needle, pin’.

·       PP *sur ‘beer’ < PII *surā- ‘alcohol’, PFU borrowing due to the *s- (Lubotsky 2001).

·       PFP *taš ‘star’ < PII (or PIr.) *tištria- ‘Sirius’.

It is difficult to distinguish any Pre-Proto-Indo-Aryan or Proto-Indo-Aryan loans from those usually proposed:

·       PFU *anta ‘grass’ < PIAr. ándhas- ‘sprout of the soma plant’. The Old Indian word has been connected to Gk. ánthos ‘flower’, less likely to Alb. endë ‘flour’ and Arm. and ‘field’; if so, then any cognate from DIE *andho- ‘sprout’ to Proto-Indo-Iranian would be as good a candidate for the loanword as the Pre-Indo-Aryan stage.

·       PFU *uχë- ‘drink’ ~ OInd. źuhṓti ‘pour in fire, sacrifice’; the initial * points to an earlier stage, cf. PII *j́ʰu-j́ʰeu- <*gu-gheu- ‘pour’.

·       PFU *kuŋe ‘moon; month’ ~ OInd. Gugū́ ‘lunar Goddess’.

·       PFU *reś ‘rope’ < PIAr. *raśmi ‘rein’, is probably from a previous PII *rać- < Pre-PII *reć- given its vocalism, from IE *rek- ‘bind’ (Lubotsky 2001).

Loans closer to Proto-Iranian, identified by their meaning or phonology, include the following (Lubotsky 2001):

·       Ob-Ugric *koras ‘god; heavens’ < Middle Iranian *xar- ‘bright sun’.

·       PP *maäk/maäg ‘stake’ ~ PII *maūkha-.

·       PP *ńań ‘bread’ ~ PII *nagna-.

·       FV *oraśe ‘(castrated) boar’ ~ PII *arā́ha ‘wild boar’, a non-IE word (see §3.4.3. Asian agricultural substratum).

·       PFP *śaka ‘goat’ ~ PII *sćāga-/sćaga.

·       PFU *šorń⁠i or *šar(a)ńa ‘gold’ ~ PII j́ʰaranya (<*gholʕw-) ‘gold’, cf. Av. zaranya-.

·       FP *śuka ‘chaff, awn’, only found in Iranian, cf. YAv. śuka- ‘needle’.

·       Vog. tas ‘stranger’ < Pre-PIr. *dasu- ‘foreigner’ (meaning shift from PII ‘people’, see § Society and laws); an early borrowing due to the *s- (Lubotsky 2001).

·       PP *vork ‘kidney’ ~ PII *vtka-.


3.5.3. Schleicher’s fable in Proto-Finno-Ugric

uči – šepät

uči, ńarana olima,

šepäi̯ näki;

će küsä u̯iχim u̯iχitä,

će enäm kantam,

će koi̯im suχim kantata.

uči šepäi̯ moni:

śüðjämä ćärkë

uräm šepäi̯ ai̯atam äntitä.”

šepät monit: “kuntal, uči!

śüðjämät ćärkë äntitä:

urä, asëra, učin śäχrätä

eči päu̯im erčam teki,

učin aptë epä olik.”

e kulimä uči ńurmik kulkiśa.


·       For ‘not having wool’, the more specific PFU word *ńarV ‘hairless skin’ is found in the first sentence in the essive case (in *-na), with the use of a copulative verb, and both terms in the nominative, with the dependent construction in the past perfect (or participle?).

·       For the negative verb, a system similar to Proto-Finno-Samic is used, conjugating it with the third person singular marked by dialectal LPU present *-pa/-.