LINGUIST List 13.2351

Wed Sep 18 2002

Books: Historical Ling/Uralic Languages: Kuennap

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  1. LE, Ago Kuennap: Historical Ling/Uralic Languages

Message 1: Ago Kuennap: Historical Ling/Uralic Languages

Date: 17 Sep 2002 14:17 GMT
From: LE <>
Subject: Ago Kuennap: Historical Ling/Uralic Languages

Main Language Shifts in the Uralic Language Group

Ago Kuennap
University of Tartu

The aim of this book is to address the issue of some main language
shifts in the group of Uralic languages. The motive for supposing the
language shifts is based on the newest research results in population
genetics. Thus Lapp (Saami) languages have long been supposed to have
developed in the manner that the Lapps' ancestors shifted from their
earlier language to a Finno-Ugric language form. The author believes
that earlier the Lapps spoke some kind of an unfamiliar language or a
Finno-Ugric language form that they changed for a Finnic language
form. The data of population genetics make one suppose that the
development of Samoyed and Ugric languages took the same course and
that the Samoyeds' and Ugrians' ancestors shifted from their ancient,
probably a Paleosiberian language form to a Finno-Ugric language
form. At this the linguistic data seem to indicate that the Samoyeds
obtained a Finnic(-Lapp) language form. A peculiarity of Mordvin
languages "in word stock they are close to Finnic languages, in
grammar to Ugric and Samoyed languages" makes one also suppose a
language shift.

The introductory chapter I of this book addresses the question of the
historical development of groups of languages by way of convergence
and divergence, gives a short overview of the nature of the innovative
treatment of Uralistics as well as the author's aspirations to
distinguish between the actual factology of Uralic languages and
mythical perceptions emerged in Uralistics. Chapter II is dedicated to
mainly three language shifts in the Uralic language group: Samoyed,
Lapp and Ugric along with Mordvin. Chapter III is meant to set a
background for the language shifts under observation by means of
several more recent investigated concrete lexical and
morphosyntactical treatments. As related to it, the author observes
the substratum toponymic matter of North Russia which is
unquestionably partly of the Finnic type and which testifies to the
existence of onetime spoken languages of that type considerably
farther in the east than the present-day Finnic linguistic area
reaches (supposedly the Samoyeds' shift to a Finnic language form took
place somewhere in the east). The linguistic area of the use of the
accusative and genitive direct objects as well as the initial
component n of personal suffixes in the Uralic language group also
speaks for the shift from Samoyed former language(s) to a Finnic
language form. In Chapter IV an example of evidentiality in the Uralic
language group is given, illustrated by the Samoyed Enets: there is
nothing specifically intrinsic to Uralic languages in it.

The book ends with a Conclusions, an appendix with Figures and a 

ISBN 3 89586 454 4.
LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 45.
66pp. USD 36 / EUR 38 / GBP 24.

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Thursday, January 17, 2002