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Thread: Ante Aikio on Proto-Uralic

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    Ante Aikio on Proto-Uralic

    Ante Aikio very recently uploaded on Academia a text concisely entitled "Proto-Uralic": https://www.academia.edu/40193033/Proto-Uralic
    For those who would like to take stock of this important and difficult question, this text is a must-read. All aspects of the problem are treated, including the characteristics of the culture associated with the Proto-Uralic language:
    The most significant conclusions regarding Proto-Uralic society can, however, be based on what is absent in the reconstructed lexicon. Most evident is the complete lack of any vocabulary connected with agriculture, which indicates that Proto-Uralic was spoken in a hunter-gatherer speech community.
    About metallurgy, Ante Aikio stays on the position he assumes since his text from 2015 ("The Finnic ‘secondary e-stems’ and Proto-Uralic vocalism"):

    An issue of more disagreement is whether any vocabulary connected to metallurgy can be traced back to Proto-Uralic. It has often been claimed that a word meaning "metal" or "copper" can be reconstructed on the basis of forms such as North Saami "veaiki", Finnish "vaski" (...) However, also this etymology involves many phonological irregularities, which suggests it is a Wanderwort that spread after the disintegration of the proto-language
    Too bad for some absurd theories spread by some unfortunately too well-known sites.
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    Which hunter-gatherers could it be? WHG or EHG ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gravetti View Post
    Which hunter-gatherers could it be? WHG or EHG ?
    When Aikio speaks of hunter-gatherers (or better, fisher-gatherers, given the important reconstituted vocabulary related to fishing), he speaks of a socio-cultural concept. In fact, I'm willing to bet he has never heard of EHG / WHG and does not care. If we refer to a geographical concept, we should define where "East" begins. There is currently an almost complete consensus to locate the Proto-Uralic formation in the Oka River area after decades of debate between Oka and Kama. In any case, Oka or Kama, I think we can say that this region is "eastern". If you're talking about a genetic component with ADMIXTURE, I'm really tempted to answer that it has nothing to do with the question. But I guess you will not agree
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    I want to commit a brutal off-topic, in regard to my own topic, a linguistical text by Aikio, but perhaps not so off-topic, if we consider what is implicit in Gravetti's question. I've just read on Eurogenes a short answer from David. In my opinion, it should be written in bold capitals and repeated again and again. The question was about Y-Haplogroups and Languages, but in fact, the matter is more generally the relation between Genetics and Linguistics:
    Neither R1a, nor any other Y-haplogroups, are the original PIE, because genes don't speak languages, people do.

    This means that languages can be learned from other people without any gene flow.

    And it's likely that the people living in the PIE homeland belonged to several different Y-haplogroups, and when they migrated to different places they may not have taken all of these haplogroups with them every time.

    Simple logic.
    If on this thread or another the question comes to "Proto-Uralic and Y-haplo N1, or R1a, or..." (I guess that it could happen ) I will certainly have to repeat this quote.
    En North alom, de North venom
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    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Do you really believe that when Proto-Uralic started expanding c. 2000-1500 BC, these people were unaware of advantages of pastoralism and agriculture and used only stone weapons?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristiina View Post
    Do you really believe that when Proto-Uralic started expanding c. 2000-1500 BC, these people were unaware of advantages of pastoralism and agriculture and used only stone weapons?
    Ask Ante Aikio (and the others). I guess that he (they) will ask you how you interpret the fact that all the Uralic words related to agriculture and metallurgy are more or less recent (the oldest being likely from Indo-Iranian) Indo-European loans. Btw, 2000-1500 is rather late for the beginning of the spread and desintegration of PU. Janhunen (2009) gives:
    – Proto-Uralic 3000 BC split into FU and Samoyedic,
    – Proto-Finno-Ugric 2500 BC split into FP and Ugric,
    – Proto-Finno-Permic 1500 BC split into FV and Permic.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    For the forest-tundra cline populations, for which currently no relevant Holocene ancient genomes are available, we took a more generalized approach of using proxies for contemporary Europeans: WHG, WSH (represented by “Yamnaya_Samara”), and early Neolithic European farmers (EEF; represented by “LBK_EN”; Table S2). Adding Nganasans as the fourth reference, we find that most Uralic-speaking populations in Europe (i.e. west of the Urals) and Russians are well modeled by this four-way admixture model (χ 2 p ≥ 0.05 for all but three groups; Figure 5 and Table S8). Nganasan-related ancestry substantially contributes to their gene pools and cannot be removed from the model without a significant decrease in model fit (4.7% to 29.1% contribution; χ2 p ≤ 1.12×10−8; Table S8). The ratio of contributions from three European references varies from group to group, probably reflecting genetic exchange with neighboring non-Uralic groups. For example, Saami from northern Fennoscandia contain a higher WHG and lower WSH contribution (16.1% and 41.3%, respectively) than Udmurts or Besermyans from the Volga river region do (4.9-6.6% and 50.7-53.2%, respectively), while the three groups have similar amounts of Nganasan-related ancestry (25.5-29.1%).





    Figure 5.Download figure
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    Figure 5.
    qpAdm-based admixture models for the forest-tundra cline populations.

    For populations to the east of the Urals (Enets, Selkups, Kets, and Mansi), EHG + Yamnaya + Nganasan provides a good fit, except for Mansi, for which adding WHG significantly increases the model fit. For the rest of the groups, WHG + LBK_EN + Yamnaya + Nganasan in general provides a good fit. 5 cM jackknifing standard errors are marked by the horizontal bar. Details of the model information are presented in Table S8.


    For the four forest-tundra cline groups east of the Urals (Enets, Selkups, Kets and Mansi), the above four-way model estimates negative contribution from EEF (< −1.6%). Replacing EEF with EHG, one of the top f3 references for these groups, we obtain well-fitted models with a small WHG contribution (χ 2 p ≥ 0.253; −1.0% to 5.5% WHG contributions). The three-way model excluding WHG shows a good fit for Enets, Selkups and Kets (χ 2 p ≥ 0.098; Figure 5). Simpler models without either EHG or WSH ancestry do not fit (χ 2 p ≤ 0.019 and 0.003, respectively), suggesting a legacy of the ancient WHG-ANE cline.

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/327122v1.full

    Is there some possible connection between these studies? WHG is a small but significant component in most Uralic-speaking populations in Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anglesqueville View Post
    There is currently an almost complete consensus to locate the Proto-Uralic formation in the Oka River area after decades of debate between Oka and Kama.
    Quote Originally Posted by anglesqueville View Post
    – Proto-Uralic 3000 BC split into FU and Samoyedic,
    Agriculture spread to the area of Volga and Kama during the Fatyanovo period (ca. 3200 BC–2300 BC) and continued with the Abashevo period (ca 2500–1900 BCE).

    ”Metal finds and signs of metalworking appear at Volosovo and Garino-Bor sites gradually towards the late 4th millennium BC and with notable regional differences: sites near copper sources show evidence of advanced metallurgical knowledge whereas finds are fewer or absent elsewhere. Virtually all Volosovo and Garino-Bor metal artefacts have been made of copper smelted from local copper-bearing sandstones, and the artefact repertoire consists of simple tools and ornaments, bits and pieces of metal, as well as clay crucibles”.

    Archaeology shows that there is agriculture and metallurgy in Oka Kama area by the 4th millennium BC in the area which is according to you the area of origin of Proto-Uralic, so why do you want to make yourself believe that Proto-Uralics were unaware of these developments around them?

    One can find many very different views. These articles by Asko Parpola are also interesting:
    https://www.sgr.fi/sust/sust264/sust264_parpola.pdf

    Formation of the Indo-European and. Uralic (Finno-Ugric) language families in the light of archaeology: Revised and integrated 'total' correlations
    Last edited by Kristiina; 08-29-2019 at 05:23 PM.

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    You make a large use of the verb "to believe". I don't believe that the people who spoke proto-Uralic didn't know metallurgy, and I don't believe that they did. I'm not a believer. As a pure amateur, I only trust (because it's the best option) in the specialists in Uralic linguistics, and in the methods of historical Linguistics. Aikio is far to be the only one who on the basis of the reconstructed Proto-Uralic lexikon claims that its speakers had a neolithic ( even mesolithic according to Janhunen (*)) culture. As far as I know, there is on this question a large consensus inside the linguists community. As it seems that you don't agree, you have to debate, not with me of course but with these specialists themselves. You can for example easily mail Aikio through Academia ( https://samas.academia.edu/AnteAikio ). If you do and get an answer I hope you will be kind enough to publish it.

    (*) " In fact, the cultural vocabulary we know from Proto-Uralic does not even represent a ‘Neolithic’ but, rather, a Mesolithic stage of development (as was once pointed out to the present author in an oral comment by Terho Itkonen). Thus, the Proto-Uralic lexicon comprises several words for typical pre-Neolithic cultural innovations, including ‘bow’ (*yïngsi) and ‘arrow’ (*nyïxli), ‘ski/s’ (*suksi), and ‘row’ (*suxi-). Other items connected with the subsistence methods of a hunter-gatherer community include the words for ‘fish’ (*kala), ‘egg’ (*muna), ‘nest’ (*pesa), as well as ‘hunt’ (*nyoxi-), while, with the single exception of a word for ‘tame’ (*ïnyi, implying perhaps the keeping of dogs), there is no indication of any kind of agriculture or cattle breeding, nor of any major social innovations. The often-quoted item for ‘metal’ (*wäcka), also discussed by Kallio (2006: 6–8), is not informative in this context due to the possibility of internal and external loan contacts during the post-protolanguage period" (Janhunen, "Proto-Uralic, what, whre and when?")
    Last edited by anglesqueville; 08-29-2019 at 08:14 PM.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Unfortunately, there is behind an old-fashioned thinking which has inferiority and superiority as essential concepts. In reality, knowledge is floating around and spreads from the centre to the peripheries. It is not anybody's exclusive merit.

    People learn new things. You need not invent an idea but you can adopt it. In my opinion, all these loanwords clearly show that Proto-Uralics were capable of learning new things and were transformed during the Bronze Age from hunters to modern pastoralists.

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