The Hypervowel Heart (Finngreek: Hyvǽđifyrín) is a method to explain the relationships of vowels between Finnish and Greek. There are two types of hypervowels: 3-range (Hre-aule), and 5-range (Vindi-aule).

Three-range hypervowels (Hreaulehyvǽđes) consist of three vowels in a chain, where the middle vowel is considered the hypervowel. For example: If a vowel in Finnish is an “e”, and a vowel in Greek is an “i”, the hypervowel is “ei”. This is shown as “e-ei-i” in the hypervowel system.

Likewise, five-range hypervowels (Vindiaulehyvǽđes) consist of five vowels in a chain, where the first and fifth vowels are represented in the middle hypervowel. For example: If a vowel in Finnish is an “a”, and a vowel in Greek is a “u”, the hypervowel is “o”. This is shown as “a-å-o-uo-u” in the hypervowel system.

Here are some example of words that can be proposed as related through their hypervowels:

Highland = Ylämaa + Ypsåma (Ύψωμα). The hypervowel is A (æ-a-å). Note that the vowels ä and ω equal æ and å, respectively. This results in Finngreek Yvama.

Sublime = Ylevä + Ypsilaa (Υψηλά; modern Greek pronunciation). The hypervowel is EI (e-ei-i). This results in Finngreek Yveila, or Yvejlá. Please note that ei=ej, because this hypervowel oftentimes corresponds with the Greek letter ejta (Ηη), which held this phonetic value in Ancient Greek.

Moon = Kuu<*kuŋe + Kiikle (Κύκλε; modern pronunciation). The hypervowel is Y (u-y-i). This always corresponds with the letter ypsilon, which was pronounced /y/, as the letter is pronounced in modern Finnish. This results in Finngreek Kyykle. However, it can also be written Kuukle, which I often do to make it easier to recognize for Finns and Greeks, due to the similarity of u and υ.

Basically, hypervowels correspond to phonological values which are found in Ancient Greek and Proto-Hellenic – and how they descend into the modern Finnish and Greek languages.

Many times, Finnish and Greek vowels are only one degree apart (if they are not just the same phonetic value). For example:

Mountain = Vuori + Ori<*worwos (Όροι/Όρη). The letter W (digamma) was lost in Greek, but its remnants can still be seen in Homeric ouros (ούρος), where *wo>ou (/u/ in modern Greek); and Mycenaean Greek (wo-wo). While a range of three vowels is not demonstrated, the hypervowel is still known because of the relationship between the adjacent vowels o and uo/wo. Therefore: o-uo-u. In Finngreek, I normally write mountain as Wori.

Five-range hypervowels are rare by comparison, and only correspond to certain phonological values. One that is common throughout Indo-European languages is the e-o shift. Basically, throughout the evolution of languages, the vowels e and o can trade places. For example:

Tax = Vero + Foros (from fero/φέρω, ‘to carry/bring’). The Ancient Greek origin demonstrates the e in modern Finnish Vero. This is technically an example of a 5-range hypervowel, where the hypervowel is A (e-æ-a-å-o). However, in Finngreek, this manifests as a word with multiples varieties: Vero/Fero, and Voro/Foro.

This is a big part of the Finngreek concept of Poikilia Poikitse, which means “Variety Everywhere”. The relationships of vowel phonemes through their hypervowels can result in multiple ways that words can be written and pronounced.

In Finngreek, hypervowels are used to propose the common origin of modern Finnish (via Proto-Finnic and Proto-Uralic) and Greek words from archaic Greek. They are essential for understanding vowel shifts. The Hypervowel Heart I’ve made does not explain every way vowels can share relationships (one good example of this is the Greek αυ > Finnish ä, which I will discuss in a later post). However, a Uralic word can not be proposed to be loaned from Hellenic, unless the root word adheres to the vowel relationships illustrated in the Finngreek Hypervowel Heart.

I hope this has helped to answer some questions you may have about hypervowels. Feel free to ask more about the Hypervowel Heart in the comments!

2 thoughts on “The Finngreek Hypervowel Heart (Hyvǽđifyrín)

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