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Thread: Contacts between Finnic and Celtic? Merlijn de Smit 09.08.2019

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    Contacts between Finnic and Celtic? Merlijn de Smit 09.08.2019

    Comments are welcome on Academia. Contacts between Finnic and Celtic? Merlijn de Smit 09.08.2019

    A very honest and rigorous text about a very speculative and controversial topic.

    https://www.academia.edu/40045312/Co...nic_and_Celtic
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Double post
    Last edited by etrusco; 08-14-2019 at 08:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anglesqueville View Post
    Comments are welcome on Academia. Contacts between Finnic and Celtic? Merlijn de Smit 09.08.2019

    A very honest and rigorous text about a very speculative and controversial topic.

    https://www.academia.edu/40045312/Co...nic_and_Celtic
    Cannot read the paper now but easily come to my mind the words of Tacitus about the strong similarity between the language of the britons and that of the estii. So perhaps there were really celts that far east.

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    De Smit mentions the Aestii. But of course Tacitus cannot be considered as a faithful witness. For my part, I'm on the very sceptical side and I will keep in mind the following methodological comment :

    Obviously, if contacts between Uralic and Celtic were anything but marginal, they would have been established by now, and establishing similarities such as those mentioned above is hazardous in the absence of generally accepted sound substitutions. The likely marginal nature of such supposed contacts furthermore
    means that general sound substitutions may never be established as there never will be enough material to go upon. We are thus restricted to a pre-scientific comparison of phonologically and semantically similar forms, which may or may not provide a basis for more rigorous investigation later on.
    One will say that it's more or less always the case with all substratum conjectures (not to mention the macro-families theories...), reason why these conjectures often feed the creativity of some people who are not real linguists but defend borderline theories. But of course it's not at all the case of De Smit.


    edit: my preceding sentence is indeed too rough. Correction: ... it's the case with MANY substratum conjectures . e.g. the Germanic substratum in Uralic languages can of course be identified at a plainly scientific level.
    Last edited by anglesqueville; 08-15-2019 at 07:16 AM.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    It's not Celtic, imo, but something equally archaic and not marginal contacts either but one of the constituent elements of Finnic, the Indohittite like one, which is responsible for the verbal morphology, pronouns, likely negative particles, interrogatives etc.

    Some of the words he mentions do not exist only in Celtic.

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    In general, people like Kortlandt, Parpola have said some interesting things. Kloekhorst especially. But everything they say should be double checked. Often the evidence are not consistent with the conclusions.

    Haakinen has written an article 'Uralic evidence for the Indo-European homeland', where he mentions some loans, supposedly, from 'Early Proto-Aryan'.

    One of them is
    EPA *kekro- → EPU *kekra/i ‘annual cycle’ (Carpelan & Parpola 2001)

    That, basically, along with the evidence from Greek and Sanskrit where meanings like cycle are attested (in Greek the meaning 'circle' is primary) is evidence against reconstructing a meaning 'wheel' (at least for ePIE) and says nothing about the homeland.

    In Greek also, there are some words that belong, supposedly, to the 'pre-Greek substrate' (according to Beekes) like
    kirkos/krikos 'ring'
    kulindo 'roll' / kulio 'roll' (from which in modern Greek we have cilao/cilo and tsulao/tsulo 'roll', the second not from Attic likely where PG u>y)
    kulindros 'cylinder' etc.

    Haakinen considers reduplication 'distinctively Indo-Aryan', even though it exists in Greek, Phrygian, Latin and apparently Gothic at least, too.

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    Indo-Iranian loanwords in Uralic are well known now and universally admitted. It's far from being the same story with Indo-Hittite and anything related to the Indo-Uralic hypothesis. For example, you can say that Koekhorst' theory of enclitic possessive particles (in early Hittite, as a relic of Indo-Uralic) seduces. But we are entitled to ask a scientific theory to be more than attractive. Anyway concerning specifically the Celtic-Uralic speculative loans every hypothesis is highly problematic imho. In the wait of something really convincing I confess that personally, I will stay with the hypothesis of resemblance by chance.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    There should be some short of statistical models to prove resemblance by chance.

    Many things that are 'generally accepted' are based on premises which are empirically false. For example the following neogrammarian doctrine: 'a diachronic sound change affects simultaneously all words in which its environment is met, without exception', is empirically false.

    Either way, proto-Finnic has *piv 'day, light'

    For PIE, traditionally, they reconstruct bʰeh₂-, from which we have reconstructed proto-Indo-Iranian *bʰHas, reconstructed proto-Greek *pʰos
    Here words from the other branches: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Recon...B0eh%E2%82%82-

    If we take into account the data from Hittite and Tocharian, where reconstructed *bʰ seems to correspond to p, and since the abscence of an 'a' phoneme is quite rare what is reconsructed as bʰeh₂- could have been really something like ~pa-

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    As a pure amateur, I don't see any credible relation between PU *pjw and PIE bʰeh₂-, firstly because the idea that *pjw could be a suffixed derivative (*pj(i)- w) doesn't hold water. I remember clearly that Ante Aikio rejected Saarikivi's arguments in favour of this thesis, and btw there is no clear example anywhere of such a -w suffix. Anyhow the question here is not at all of the borrowings from IE to Uralic. Of course, there are, and many. The question is of linguistical contacts between Celtic and Uralic (precisely proto-Finnic or Proto-Saamo-Finnic, given the chronology). I may of course be wrong, but I would not bet a single cent on that.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Ok. I agree with the second part, but concerning the rest some of the 'loans' can be part of the original lexicon of PU on one hand, on the other hand there can be loans from lost, unattested IE languages.

    I will mention a few examples though, slightly off topic, but in order to make obvious where I'm coming from.

    There is a presentation online by someone called Martin Kuemmel with a title 'Early Indo-Iranic loans in Uralic', where he also considers the possibility of loanwords from Uralic to PIIr

    PU *pe̮ŋka ‘mushroom’ PIIr. *bʱang- ‘narcotic’

    But Latin has fungus 'mushroom', and some have compared it to Greek spoŋɡos / sphoŋɡos 'sponge'

    PU *weŋćə ‘knife’ PIIr. *wā́ćī- ‘axe’

    But Greek has eŋkhos 'spear' (which can descend from *weŋkhos, considering the loss of w before e word initially)

    P(F)U *kota ‘hut’ PIr. *kata- ‘house’

    Greek has koi̯te 'bed' and a meaning that approximates English 'abode' to 'nest' (used for wild animals, birds)

    PU *kala ‘fish’ PIr. *kara- ‘big fish’

    Greek has galeos, galee used for big sea animals/fish, from weasels to dogfish (it is considered part of the substrate, but we just need a loan from a language that treated 'labiovelars' like Albanian or Lithuanian')

    And an example concerning the other direction:
    pPIIr. *pć/w- > PIr. *pac/w- ↣ *pč- > Ug ‘reindeer calf'

    Latin has pecunia 'money' from pecu 'cattle'

    ***
    Concerning the supposed loans from Celtic, first of all if the simalr words exist only in Celtic and PU, then common substrate or chance similarity can be considered.

    If there are parallels in other branches, the two things that should be considered, first of all, them being part of the original lexicon of PU or being loans from a distinct IE branch.


    ***
    Concerning what is rejected or not, when something fits the narrative ('Kurgans' expanding from their... Khanate), people get less strict. For example, Greek words for 'wheel' and 'horse' are irregular, but the etymologies are not rejected.
    Last edited by Kanenas; 08-15-2019 at 05:24 PM.

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