From a glance, the equation for ‘to sing’ doesn’t seem remarkable. Many languages use the sound “Lala” as an onomatopoeia to express the sound of singing, from English to Chinese. However, Finnic and Greek are unique in that they have this sound as a stand-alone verb to express ‘to sing’.

Finnish ‘laulaa’ is from Proto-Finnic *lauladak. Other descendants include Karelian ‘laloa’ and Estonian ‘laulma’. Greek ‘lalåå/λαλώ’ means ‘to sing, talk, speak’, and is also seen in the mediopassive form ‘lalūmä/λαλούμαι’ and ‘lalūū-‘ prefix. Related words include λαλιά/λαλιή/λάλον (speech, voice, language), λάλημα (chatterer), and λάλος/λάλου/λάλα (talkative).

There is a similar set of words in IE languages regarding ‘to lull, lullaby’, such as Latin ‘lallo/lallus’ and Lithuanian ‘laluoti’. However, these terms all carry the meaning of sleepiness and laziness, which is not present in the Finnish and Greek words; these languages have separate terms for ‘to lull, lullaby’. On the contrary, the Finnish and Greek terms seem to express energy, such as Finnish laulattaa, ‘to want to sing/to cause one to sing’. However, given the phonetic components; that Latin heavily adopted Greek words; and that my proposed Hellenofinnic contact period spans the range of the Baltic sea, I believe it’s possible these terms could have all been related at one point, perhaps stemming back to the Greek λαλώ, which has an unclear etymology.


To sing = Laulaa = Lalaa/Lalww/Lalåå/Laloo/Laluu = Λαλώ/Λαλάω

Song = Laulu = Lalu/Laaluu = Λαλού-, Λάλου

Sound/Voice = Ääni = Aedi = Αυδή

(compare Votic ‘Ääli’ for d>l shift)

To pronounce/enounce/articulate/speak/voice/sound = Ääntää (Äännän) = Aedae = Αυδάω (Αυδάειν)


Aedaen aedimu = I voice my voice

Aedaen aediemii = I voice my voice

Laluu lalumu = I sing my song

Ajam atta laulaasu kaoniia! = I think that your singing is beautiful!

Puliintunaedi aedae puuluθae = The bird’s voice sounds from the tree

Poljopuliintu lalaa paraviivapan = Many birds sing on the beach

Laloomeemperikle kuukle = We sing about the moon

Laloome kuukleemperikle = We sing about the moon

Vois kuu muu nyn? Hypae! = Can you hear me now? Good!

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