This is a short and temporary post about what’s happening behind the scenes at Finngreek. Here’s what’s up!
Lessons 1-21 are being revised to have more accurate and concise information. During this time, you may not be able to access certain lessons while under revision. I apologize for the inconvenience, but hope you will be pleased with the results! The goal is for Finngreek to be as simple and helpful as possible, maximizing words made from etymological comparisons, while eliminating outdated and inaccurate words. This may mean there will be less words in the language – but of a better quality.
Finngreek is now being enriched with more Uralic languages than ever before. What had started out as a few comparisons between Finnish and Greek has evolved into equations sourced from reference materials for more than 20 Uralic languages, meaning that the Finngreek language is now a mosaic of Hellenic and Uralic words. This will somewhat lower mutual intelligibility between Finns and Greeks, but create a more developed picture of what kind of language was being exchanged during the hypothetical Helleno-Uralic contact.
We are expanding to more platforms. Finngreek.com began as an isolated project, but since its foundation, there is now Finngreek on Reddit, Discord; and very soon, new social media will be unveiled. Stay tuned to enjoy brand new content!
I want to thank all of you who have been with this project since its inception – and who continue to join every day. This website had its 1-year anniversary on the 7th. So much has changed from then to now; and there is always so much to do. As silly as it may seem, this project has become my life’s work: I intend to see it through to the very end. The support you all have given me has been lían loista – too wonderful! – and I truly appreciate all of you who travel with me on this journey.
To me, Finngreek and its inferred history is best summarized as Oikeia Kiikeia: A proper frenzy. From this suitable chaos, I hope we can discover more about the past, and bring it to the future.
The lands of the Uralic peoples are known for their loista (splendid!) Northern Lights, which fill the sky with fleeting arrays of colors, ephemerally dancing across the polar night. Because the Aurora borealis is such a stunning phenomenon, it would stand to reason that, if Greeks and Hyperboreans (our theorized Proto-Uralic population) were in contact, this could be shown through a shared term. In this case, we are going to explore three proposals which could potentially illustrate a mutual observance of these blazing Fox-Fires. Let’s take a journey.
Our first word for the Northern Lights is Arevothulés, the Finngreek form of Finnish Revontulet.
Literally meaning ‘fox-fires’, the Finnish name for the Northern Lights describes the tail-like blaze of the Aurora borealis. Revon<Repo (fox) has a decidedly IE origin, but from which language is unclear. Greek Αλεπού<Αλωπώ<Αλώπηξ fits as well as any other candidate, with the prefixing form Alepo-/Αλεπο- fitting the best – However, synchronicity may be an issue.
Tuli (fire), from Proto-Uralic *tule, is compared with Thulí/Θυλή (tʰulé) and θύλημα, meaning ‘burnt sacrifice/offering, incense’, and goes back to the verb θύω, from which a similar comparison – Wind = Tuuli = Thuulli = Θύελλη – is also derived, along with several other terms in Finngreek, such as Thuosko/Thuoks (incense/perfume), from Finnish Tuoksu and Greek Θύος-σκ-/ (Θυοσκόος, Θυοσκοπία, etc.). The term Αlepothulés/Αλεποθυλές does not currently exist in Greek, but it is constructed to follow the natural structure (eg: Alepopordí/Αλεποπορδή) of Alepo- with an -ή final noun as a compound term. If Tuli and Thulí/Θυλή are cognates, then the “fire” involved might be comparable with the meandering motions of smoke rising from burning incense, which evokes the Aurora.
Arevothulés/Αlepothulés: Northern Lights, Fox fires, Trail of incense smoke
The next term is Harp, which can end in -a, -e, or -i, due to multiple derivations.
The question mark between Proto-Samoyedic *karpə and Proto-Uralic *korpe- indicates that their etymological connection is uncertain. If they are related, then Nenets Harp/Χарп is connected with Finnish Korventaa/Kärventää (to scorch), and possibly Hungarian Hervad (to fade).
On the Hellenic side, The verb Harpázå/Αρπάζω, meaning ‘to seize hastily’, has a variety of derived terms, like Αρπακτικός (that which can easily/suddenly seize or ignite), Άρπαγμα (prey, windfall/good fortune), Αρπαλέος (devouring/consuming; attractive/alluring/charming), and Αρπάλιμος (defined as Προσφιλής: Beloved, lovely, pleasing).
The etymology of Αρπάζω, and its relation to other Greek terms, is disputed. It has been compared with Harpy/Άρπη (bird of prey), which may or may not be from Proto-Indo-European *serp- (to creep, crawl), like the Greek Hérpis/Έρπης (“snake”, shingles) and Herpetón/Ερπετόν (snake, creeping animal), with Aeolic Orpetόn/Ορπετόν suggesting (h)Arpetόn/*Αρπετόν.
With these potential connections in mind, the semantic possibilities for Finngreek Harpe are: 1. Something that devours, seizes, or burns suddenly, or is seized/burned suddenly 4. Prey, or an object of desire: Something lovely, pleasing, and/or alluring 3. A bird of prey (Harpy) 4. Something that creeps and crawls, such as a snake
There’s not a way for me to say any one of these could be more certain than another, at least until etymologists can make final decisions on the Indo-European and Uralic sources which my comparisons are reliant upon. The Northern Lights, as they would have been observed by the Helleno-Hyperboreanic peoples, could have been compared with fire, a bird, a creeping animal, or even simply an alluring object.
My personal feeling is that, while Harpy/Άρπη bears perhaps the closest resemblance to Finngreek Harpe, I don’t imagine a bird, sickle, tooth, fish, etc. (other meanings of Άρπη) when I look at the movement of the Aurora. The motion of the Northern Lights very plainly appears to me as either a slithering snake (‘Ερπης, *Αρπετόν), or as a line of fire igniting across the sky, depending on the formation of the lights – as well as the aforementioned stream of smoke from incense. Since the Aurora is also very beautiful, ‘object of desire’ seems suitable as well. With all of this in mind, the Helleno-Samoyedic construction results in this Finngreek term:
Harp(-a/-e/-i): Aurora; Snake; Fire (when moving across distance); Allure/Object of desire
Finally, there is Sela. Sela is constructed from two sources: 1. Finnish Salama (lightning/flash), from Proto-Uralic *śala (to flash/lighten) 2. Greek Sélas/Σέλας (light/brightness) and Selá/Σελά (to shine), which is either from “Pre-Greek”, or Proto-Indo-European *swelō (to glare, burn). In this case, it would be cognate with Sanskrit Surati/सुरति (to rule, shine), Lithuanian Svìlti (to singe), and Proto-Germanic *swelaną (to burn).
In modern Greek, Σέλας also means ‘aurora’, such as the Bóreio Sélas/Βόρειο Σέλας, or Northern Lights. In Finngreek, this is written as Borjasela(ma), as if a Finnish compound Pohja(n)-salama. Because the Greek term is neuter, -ma might be a missing suffix in another variety as seen with Finnish Sala-ma. This allows for two plural forms: Borjasélata and Borjaselámata.
Sela(-ma): Aurora, Lightning, Shine, Flash
Practice Sentences Arevothulés on Áranáimase = The Northern Lights (Fox Fires) are in the Autumn air Alepothulémata on Sýskausínmose = The Northern Lights are in the Autumn air Harpe seláhamaráse = The Aurora shines in the dark Borjaséla borjoise on = The Northern Lights are in the north Nóe borjaselámata phaná = See the Northern Lights shine
We now have three terms for the Aurora: Arevothulés, Harp, and Sela. It brings me great pleasure to enrich the Finngreek vocabulary with such a multitude of Helleno-Uralic proposals for the Aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, as nature has always offered a generous source of etymology and inspiration for this language project.
In the future, I would like to find a comparison with Sami Kuovskâs/Guovssahas, because its s-final morphology suggests to me an Indo-European source. However, I have yet to find anything convincing – but if I do, I look forward to editing it into this post!
In the case of observing the Aurora, it requires a historical stipulation that either a Hellenic people, or Uralic peoples (Hyperboreans) with knowledge of the Greek language, gave names to the Northern Lights from Hellenic sources (perhaps with the exception of Finnish Salama, which does not carry this meaning). This could place the northern (vs. Greece as southern) Helleno-Uralic contact zone somewhere within the arctic reaches of Fennoscandia and Russia – indeed very far north for a Greek population to reach if this contact occurred. Historical references to Hyperborea place it very far from Greece, beyond the Scythian steppelands, across the Riphean mountains – which have been associated in antiquity and modern times with the Ural mountains – until finally reaching the edge of the earth. Conversely, another northern contact period could have involved Mycenaeans in Scandinavia and the Baltic – of which more can be read about here and here – from where Greek language would have reached Proto-Uralic and/or Proto-Finno-Ugric through its western periphery.
All of these speculations depend on historians reaching a consensus about the time and place of the Proto-Uralic Urheimat (homeland), as well as the chronologies and ranges of its split into its descendant languages. Wherever the true Hyperborea was located, I hope to find it; and believe that its location may contain a wealth of archaeological treasures, as well as insight into how so much archaic Greek could have been loaned in the Uralic languages.
I wish you all Syyskausi Zilo, or Ara Onisi: Autumn Happiness!
Being the simpler explanation of the two Finngreek words for ‘autumn’, we will first discuss the religiously-based Sýskausi. This is a compound term in both Finnish and Greek, but with divergent meanings. In Finnish, Syys simply means ‘autumn’, while Kausi means ‘season, period, term’. In Greek, Σῦς (Sys) means ‘pig’, and Καύση<Καύσι (Kausi) means ‘a burning’.
At first glance, while the phonologies of these terms are perfectly matched, their meanings do not seem related. However, the reasoning may lie in a historical basis: The Eleusinian Mysteries – in particular, the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, which were held once a year, in September or October, and lasted for ten days. One of the rituals of this celebration involved initiates bathing in the sea along with their individual sacrifices, which happened to be piglets. After the purifying bath, the piglets were brought by the initiates from Phaleron Harbor to the Eleusinion, a temple in Athens dedicated to Demeter and Persephone. When they had arrived, the piglets were sacrificed, and either eaten by the attendants, or fully charred as an offering. This explanation could give the necessary background to a term like Sýskausi, wherein an annual autumnal sacrifice of pigs to the pyre resulted in a semantic shift, with Syys (from Proto-Finnic *sügüs – compare Proto-Indo-European *suH- [pig] with Greek sys/hys, which I reconstruct as a long form *syhys) becoming an abbreviated form for ‘autumn’, and Kausi (of uncertain origins in Uralic and Hellenic) meaning a ‘burning’ that is significant to a certain time of year, which would evolve in Finnish to mean a season. I speculate that either bonfires and/or burnt sacrifices were a regular practice to denote the passing of the seasons, for a variety of reasons.
As a side-note on this topic, Finnish Syys – and especially Syksy – might have been influenced by a series of other Greek terms (if they were used in these senses during the time of contact) relevant to practices of the harvest, which start with the sy(-n-)/συν- prefix, meaning ‘with’ – such as Syksylos/Σύξυλος, meaning ‘all the wood together’, which could imply preparation for a fire. However, there is no clear way to qualify this possibility.
Now we can get into our more elusive, and perhaps elder, term for Autumn: Ára.
While on the surface this appears to be a more simple equation than the previous one, it’s actually much more complicated. To start with the Uralic portion:
The reconstructed term *ërö is Proto-Samoyedic, which is considered the earliest group of Uralic languages to branch off from Proto-Uralic. This term is not found meaning ‘autumn’ in the Finnic languages, just as Syys/Syksy is not found in Samoyedic – but *ërö is compared with Proto-Uralic *ëde, meaning ‘year, autumn’. However, *ërö has also been compared with Proto-Uralic *äre, which is found in the Permic languages, Komi and Udmurt, as the term Ar, meaning ‘autumn, year’: So regardless of whether Proto-Samoyedic *ërö comes from Proto-Uralic *ëde or *äre, it comes from some word which potentially carried the meaning(s) ‘year, autumn’. This is where things get interesting, with the Greek word Οπώρα/Οπάρα/Οπώρη.
There are obscure etymological proposals regarding the PIE origin of this term:
Proto-Indo-European: *(s)h₁ós-r̥ ~ *(s)h₁és-n̥s, from *(s)h₁es- (harvest, crop, fruit) Armenian: *(h)o(h)ár-a- Old Armenian: ար-ա-ց (ar-a-cʿ) Hellenic: *(h)ohər ⇒ Hellenic: *opohərā (contracted from *opi(h)ohərā, + *opi- (related to Ancient Greek ἐπι- (epi-), from *h₁epi (“on, at”) Ancient Greek: ὀπώρα (opṓra, “end of the summer, start of autumn; harvest, fruit”) “(Οπώρα) Seems to be a contraction of an original *ὀποσάρα (*oposára)” “From the base of ὀψέ and ὥρα”; Or instead, “From ὄψ and ὥρα.”
Compare this with the following: Proto-Indo-European: *yóh₁r-o-s, *yóh₁r-eh₂, from *yóh₁r̥ (year; oblique stem *yéh₁n-) Ancient Greek: ὥρᾱ (hṓrā)
I have compiled these varied proposals from the etymological dictionaries of Anatole Bailly, James Strong, and Liddell & Scott. Based on their proposals, I cannot make any clear assumption about the origin of Οπώρα: However, I am willing to analyze Οπώρα/Οπάρα as Ώρα/*Άρα, with Οπώρη or Ώρη being the Ionic equivalent.
One thing that sticks out to me in this information is the exclusivity and similarity of the proposed Greek and Armenian reflexes: The only two descendants of the PIE term *(s)h₁ós-r̥ are the Proto-Armenian *(h)o(h)ár-a- and Proto-Hellenic *(h)ohər(ā). There have been varying proposals of a Graeco-Armenian Hypothesis, in which Greek and Armenian evolved from a common ancestor after Proto-Indo-European. This theory, depending on the proposer, can be accompanied with other IE languages, such as Macedonian and Phrygian, but their poor attestation leaves the correct classification unclear. I don’t currently have a stake in this debate; but I have noticed similarities between a few words in the Armenian and Uralic languages: For example, ‘Good’ (Armenian Bari, Northern Sami Buorre) and ‘Young’ (Arm. Nor, Proto-Finnic *noori).
It is generally accepted by etymologists that Proto-Uralic and Proto-Indo-European shared some degree of contact which resulted in the sharing of loanwords (with some going much further, to propose a common Indo-Uralic genetic origin, sometimes as a subclade of the Nostratic theory). The Finngreek or Helleno-Uralic theory does not support a genetic relationship between Indo-European and Uralic, but does support a PIE-PU contact period; as well as a later Helleno-Uralic contact period extensive enough to have significantly influenced the Uralic languages, as well as Hellenic spirituality, during a timeframe between Mycenaean Greece and the Late Archaic period of ancient Greece (approximately from 1600 to 500 BC), due to synchronous phonological developments, and my perception of the Uralic peoples as the likeliest candidates for having had been the Hyperboreans, given proposed cognates related to oracular activity, such as Ennustaa = Εννυστάζω (To tell the future, practice/undergo oneiromancy), Noita/Noaidi (shaman/witch) = Νοητά/Νοητής (controller of that which is imagined/of the mind), and Päivä/Peivi/Beaivvas/Piejjve (sun/day) = Φοίβος/Φοίβε/Φοίβη (Phoebus: Apollo, God of the Sun; and Phoebe/Artemis, twin-Goddess of the moon), with the Hyperboreans having had been renowned by Greeks for their devout worship to Phoebus, as well as for having set up religious institutions in Greece.
However, in regards to the potential of Uralic affinity with terms isolated to Hellenic and Armenian – if there is any truth to the Helleno-Armenian theory – this might suggest a separate period of contact, perhaps 1,000-1,500 years prior to Finngreek contact. This would be true only if it postdated core Proto-Indo-European exchange with the Proto-Uralic peoples (or perhaps if Proto-Helleno-Armenian was the final extension of the PIE language, after the departure of the Proto-Indo-Iranians, while contact with the Proto-Uralic peoples continued), and if the affinity of terms between Armenian and Uralic was not the result of an undocumented contact period between the two groups after Proto-Hellenic had already migrated into the Balkans. Generally, where Proto-Samoyedic comparisons in Finngreek are involved, there is demand for finer details to ascertain a distinction between the Hellenic and PIE terms: This would also be the case when considering the possibility of a third, intermediate period of Helleno-Armenian contact with Proto-Uralic. I will post an update about this idea if it continues to appear.
Getting back to Finngreek: Because this comparison ultimately comes down to Ára, equivalent to Greek Ώρα, this word can be used to describe time and seasons in general (especially at the peak or prime of a time/season: The Harvest), although its primary meaning is ‘autumn’, as well as ‘year’ (found in Ancient Greek and Udmurt). However, Ώρα in modern Greek means ‘hour’ or ‘time’, while Φθινόπωρο (Fthinópåro), or the rarer Μεθόπωρον, is used to refer to autumn proper, literally meaning ‘the decline of Οπώρα’, with the season Οπώρα originally having had been the time between the rising of Sirius and Arcturus, or from late July until the middle of September. However, its meaning shifted from ‘late summer, early autumn’ to plain ‘autumn’ over time.
Now that we’ve made it through the background of Ára, let’s take a deeper look:
Autumn/Harvest, Year =*äre, *ërö = Ára/Áre, Åros/(h)Oros = Ώρα/*Άρα/Ώρη, Ώρος
The Samoyedic reflexes of *ërö are: Selkup: Ara (compare Ώρα/*Άρα, Οπάρα [Laconian Greek]) Kamassian: Ere (Compare Ώρη, Οπώρη [Ionic Greek]) Mator: Öröh (Compared Ώρος/Oros, masculine form, with s>h debuccalization) Forest, Tundra Nenets: Ŋī̮ɬ’ū, Ŋēŕō Enets: Narra Nganasan: Narro (Initial N-/Ŋ- in Nenets, Enets, and Nganasan is a regular innovation from Proto-Samoyedic)
This is all under my assumption that *ërö and Komi/Udmurt Ar still deserve comparison.
Before we finish this post, I’d like to go over the Finngreek seasons:
Summer, Fallow = Kesä = Kherse = Χέρσε This comparison is favored against that with PIE *(s)h₁es-, due to the common meaning ‘fallow’.
Autumn, Pig Roast; Autumn/Harvest, Year = Sýskausi; Ára
Winter = *Tälwä (Finngreek reconstruction: *Tele) = Tele/Teli = Τέλη I reconstruct *Tele due to the following reflexes: Hungarian: Tél, Téli (adjective form) Eastern Khanty: Tələg (perhaps from Τέλος) Mari: Tel/Tele Erzya: Tele The -i found in Finnic and Samic is iotacism (e>i) as seen in -η. This word is directly related to the Uralic and Greek words for ‘perfect, complete, full’, as well: Finnish Täydellinen and Τετελεσμένος, Hungarian Tele/Teljes and Greek Τέλειε/Τελήεις, etc, meaning they are all, along with ‘winter’, from PIE *kʷel- (to turn).
As you can see, there is one season missing: Spring. I’ve yet to find a convincing comparison with Proto-Finnic Kevät or Proto-Uralic *keŋä – and there may not be one. Certainly, the Uralic languages are entitled to their own word for a season. There are a few words I’ve considered might be related, but none have stood out as being exceptional. However, there are still terms which can be used to describe springtime in Finngreek, such as Nosto (Rise/Return – compare Nostella = Αναστέλλω, and the rise/return of Persephone, for semantic and phonological contamination), Aksvi* (Plant/Growth; Kasvaa = Αυξάνω/Αύξω), and Arkha (Beginning; Alkaa = Άρχω).
(*Aksvi does not represent the proposed synchronous phonology, but is a consolidation designed for easier mutual recognition, versus Havks-i. This is an irregular comparison which is only suggested due to the greater proximity of *kasvada(k) and αυξάνω vs. other IE reflexes.)
The Finngreek seasons reflect what would have been the agricultural practices of their time: Fields kept fallow in the summer, the collection of ripe crops in the early autumn (along with a spiritual sacrifice of swine), and the completion of another agricultural cycle in the winter. It was an orderly practice of following the rhythms of nature – along with a reliable ritual culture – in order to attain sustenance, as would be expected of any ancient civilization.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. When the humidity of summer finally drops, the sky turns a deeper shade of blue, the leaves begin to burn with the flames of fall foliage, and the breeze carries the fragrance of fruits and fire, I feel serene – but the most precious thing about fall is its ephemerality: Three fleeting months that stay with me all year long.
Ára ánme thúos ámbre ónnisi katá pyrínemí purá
Autumn air an aromatic rain happiness pours my crimson core
I hope you all will have an Ehývasýskausi, and an Oikeiahára. Happy Harvest!
Finngreek started out as a project that was based on lyrics in Finnish music, which I recognized as similar to Greek words. Because of this, the Finngreek language has a Finnish bias from the comparisons I’ve made, which can also be seen in the name Finngreek itself. I have spent more time comparing Greek with Finnish than I have any other Uralic language, in part due to its accessibility online.
However, Finngreek is much more than just a proposed relationship between Finnish and Greek: It also involves the Uralic language family as a whole. Sometimes, a word in Estonian, Hungarian, or a minority language in Russia – like Moksha – can phonologically parallel Greek more closely when compared with its cognate Finnish reflex. This is because the hypothetical Finngreek contact period would have likely taken place when Proto-Finno-Ugric was a living language, with cognates also proposed in Samoyedic, making it applicable to Proto-Uralic etymology as a whole (however, these are complicated, given that Greek-Samoyedic comparisons are often too close to Proto-Indo-European to ascertain an exclusive connection).
The reason I’m bringing this up in a blog post is because I am in the process of enriching Finngreek vocabulary with a variety of non-Finnish Uralic words – especially from Sami. The Sami languages contain various words which are comparable with Greek, but may have been lost in Finnic languages, or preserve certain phonemes which have changed in Finnish from a common source. This means that Finngreek, while named after the Finnish language, has certain vocabulary that is not always going to be recognizable to Finns. Some examples include:
Additionally, there are words in Greek which can be equally compared with Finnish and Sami, resulting in multiple forms of a word, like Ourá (compare Orava, related to Uárree), or Noitá/Noitis (compare Noita/Noaidi, in Finnish/Northern Sami, respectively). This variety can either be the result of related Greek terms – like Finngreek Ourá/Órre – or because of different endings between Finnish and Sami which are both found in Greek – like Noitis/Νοητής being nominative, and Noitá/Νοητά being vocative. This is a complex situation that is relevant throughout Helleno-Uralic comparisons, and plays into the overall unique vocabulary of the Finngreek language.
Some of these proposals go against the organization of phonological developments from Proto-Uralic into descendant languages, meaning that I have certain disagreements with the reconstructions of some Uralicists, where I may believe a certain vowel or consonant to be more suitable than what is currently accepted (eg: Instead of the current PU reconstruction for ‘eye’, *śilmä, I would instead reconstruct *tʰalmé/*tʰəlmé/*tʰelmé, (with a/ə/e depending on whether Οφθαλμέ is really Pre-Greek, or if it has an IE origin). Having more Uralic reflexes to compare with Greek means that I can make more thorough comparisons, due to the different phonological shifts that have taken place in sub-Uralic language groups.
At this moment, I am focusing on discovering and including more Helleno-Samic comparisons, because I’ve been introduced by some kind Sami people to resources which allow me to do so. Over time, I hope to not only add more Sami words to Finngreek, but from all the Uralic languages where they can be found. This means that, while Finngreek will always have a Finnish foundation, it will become a more enriched mosaic of Uralic terms, spanning all the way from Nganasan to Hungarian – from Selkup to Sami – and every language inbetween.
I am debating whether or not to continue using the name Finngreek, as I want the name of my project to accurately portray that the language, with its included etymological proposals, involves a tapestry of Uralic vocabulary and grammar. It may be that certain Uralic groups were either more relevant to, or better preserved, my proposed historical connection with Greece.
For example, I believe the gender dualism of Phoibos/Phoibē (Φοίβος/Φοίβη; pronounced as Fiivos/Fiivi in modern Greek), or Apollo/Artemis, may be best preserved in Northern Sami Beaivváš/Beaivi, showing that there is a masculine form of the name, whereas reflexes like Inari Peivi and Finnish Päivä are more obscure (although Finnish does have the given name Päivi for women, which is quite popular). This is an important situation to understand, because an underlying tone of my proposed Helleno-Uralic contact is that the Uralic people involved were, at least in part, the Phoibos-worshipping Hyperboreans, who helped to settle and manage religious rites at various spiritual centers of Greece. Of course, it is also possible that Proto-Uralic *päjwä is just the vocative form of Φοίβος, Φοίβε/Phoibe/Fiive, with the final –ä in Finnish being a shift specific to Finnish, as Proto-Samic *peajvē exhibits the final -e in most reflexes.
This particular word for ‘sun’ is only found in Finnic and Samic languages, which might imply that either the direct ancestors, or areal influencers, of the Finnic and Samic peoples were the main group involved in contact with Greece, while other Proto-Uralic peoples might have only played a peripheral role, or not have been involved at all. This is a complicated puzzle of relationships between Uralic languages and Greek, with the proposed periods of contact perhaps being as early as the Proto-Hellenes or Mycenaeans with the Proto-Uralic peoples (either including or excluding the Samoyedic peoples), and/or as recent (in the case of Hungarian) as a contact period between Byzantines living on the north coast of the Pontic Sea with the migrating Magyars. The ways which words were loaned among the diverse Uralic languages is obscure.
Hopefully, the additions of more Uralic languages into Finngreek can provide clarity. For now, Phåívånkheíli – The Language of the Sun – will continue to brightly burn with autumn’s approach.
(The featured image is sourced from this article on the genetic histories of Uralic peoples.)
This word has taken me a long time to find: I searched through English and Greek wiktionaries, as well as lsj.gr (A very useful site on Ancient Greek), unable to find a semantic comparison for ‘boat’ that was a convincing phonological source. However, upon discovering the majesty that is Hesychius of Alexandria’s “Alphabetical Collection of All Words“, I now have open-source access to a treasure trove of obscure Greek words, many of which have fallen out of use.
Βῆνος/Bênos (defined by Hesychius as “κιβωτός”, meaning ‘ark’ [like Noah’s ark]), which would be pronounced in modern Greek as Vinos, is one of the aforementioned obscure words, and thus must be learned for the modern Greek speaker. However, its phonology is quite regular.
Of the reconstructions, Proto-Samic *Vënës is the most accurate, showing the preservation of final nominative (presumably masculine) -s. In Finnish Venho, the -s may have metathesized with penultimate -o- (a relatively regular occurrence: Compare Laakso = Λάκκος; Urho<Uros = Ούρος, etc.). In addition, this now penultimate -s- has debuccalized into -h- in the presence of -n-, likely resulting in the shift: Benos>Venso>Venho. My proposal of Proto-Finnic *Venso is meant to serve as a simplification of the currently reconstructed *Veneh, due to the likelihood that the final -e in Finnish (i.e. Vene) is actually a preserved vocative form: Βῆνε. In Finnish, vocative masculine -e is preserved as /e/ from Greek. The case of the Finnic reflexes Veneh/Venhe may be due to contamination from the original forms of Venos/Vene (Compare the Eastern Samic reflexes Vens [Kildin] and Vâns [Ter], which show the -ns- cluster).
In the case of Samic vowel reflexes such as Northern Sami Vanas, there may be two separate situations occurring: A regular opening of -os to -as; and either a raising of -e- to -a-, or a preservation of an original Doric form of Βῆνος, which would be Βᾶνος/Banos>Vanas.
As the reconstruction of these terms in Uralic appears restricted to Finno-Samic, it is conceivable that areal contact between the diverging and diverged dialects resulted in a series of cross-contaminations, explaining the unique correspondences across the aforementioned languages.
The significance of Venos/Vene (the Finngreek forms) is that it provides a written attestation for the potential of sea travel – although an intermediate land route would still be necessary – during the period of Uralo-Hellenic contact, which has always been significant to the Finno-Samic and Hellenic peoples. This reconstruction expands on the geography where interaction would have taken place, which had until now been obscured by the inheritance of a non-Greek IE term (*meri) to describe the sea in Finno-Samic.
(Featured image: The Finnish pollution control vessel Louhi)
The ancient Venos, of the hypothetical Finngreek times, is a legacy that could live on today in the maritime nations of Finland and Greece. Greece is the largest shipowning nation in the world, with a history of maritime trade extending to at least the Mycenaean period (~1600 BC onward); and Finland is world-renowned for its shipbuilding industry, including some of the largest passenger vessels having been built in the southwestern city of Turku – not to mention being home to one of the world’s oldest fishing nets, from 8,540 BC, thousands of years before Helleno-Uralic contact occurred.
(Top picture: Hercules and Omphale, by Jacopo Amigoni)
The etymological research undertaken for Finngreek suggests a possible connection between Helleno-Uralic contact and oracular activity.
Holy, Sacred = Pyhä = Pythā = Πῡθώ, Πῡθῐ́ᾱ
Pythā (the Finngreek form of Πῡθώ) means ‘Pytho(n)’. Pytho is the ancient name of Delphi, and the Python was the monstrous snake which lived at the Oracle when it was dedicated to Gaia (the Earth), until it was slain by Pythian Apollo, making the Oracle of Delphi instead dedicated to him. The Pythia was the high priestess of the Oracle, and the one who breathed the sacred fumes in order to give prophecies to her supplicants. Finnish Pyhä, from reconstructed Proto-Finno-Permic *pišä (with which I disagree), has an interesting duality along with its Uralic cognates: The descendant terms (except for Finnic and Samic) primarily have a strongly negative meaning, including ‘unholy, heathen, sin, dirty’, and ‘foul’. I wonder about whether this might have implications for the “evil” that was the Python; or even conversion from paganism to other religions. Regardless, the resulting Finngreek term is Pythā (-ā because ä = a, ā = ω). This analysis comes with more terms:
Man, Slave, Servant = Orja = Orjā(n) = Ορεάν/Ορειάν Perfume, Incense = Tuoksu = Thuosku = Θύος/Θυοσκόος/Θυοσκοπία/θυΐσκη/Θύλημα < Θύω Storm, Wind, Future; To come = Thulla, Thuuli, etc.* < Θύελλα/Θυέλλη < Θύω (*There is a great deal of variety to this term: Thullea, Thule, Thulli, and so on.)
Starting with Orjā: The Finnish term Orja (slave) has been compared with ‘Aryan’, but it is unknown where both terms come from. Finngreek offers an alternative etymology for Orja, being Ορεάν(ες), which is the term for ‘men’ in the Pythia’s mystical language that she spoke at the Oracle of Delphi. The semantics of ‘slave, servant’ from Uralic reflexes, if stemming from Ορεάν, would not describe the life of a typical slave, but the male priest attendants of the Pythian high priestess.
The Greek Θύω (To sacrifice, burn, consult [an oracle]; to rush in, storm, rage), may have resulted in a wide array of terms in Finnish and Greek. This includes Greek Θύελλα (Storm), Θύος (Burnt sacrifice), Θυοσκόος (The sacrificing priest), Θυοσκοπία (Divination), θυΐσκη (Incense holder), Θύλημα (Incense), along with many other terms; as well as Finnish Tulla (To come), Tulva (Flood), Tuleva (Future), Tuuli (Wind), Tuulahdus (Breeze, Gust, Waft, Blowing), and Tuli (Fire).
I hypothesize that these terms all illustrate the experience of the Oracle: Receiving a prophecy from the holy “Priestess of the Python”, during which she was intoxicated with the sweetly perfumed, smoky vapors rising from under the earth.
At times, I’ve frustrated myself with how far I’ve gone in order to find comparisons – how I’ve complicated things which, at a later time, are revealed to be simple. The Finngreek project has been a tidal series of creating, erasing, and revising proposals, in order to build the ideal language from the proper etymologies. However, I’m getting to a point where not only vowels make sense, but consonants as well. As I gain experience and resources, establishing relationships has become an increasingly more relaxed task.
Regarding Päivä (day, sun), with which I had previously speculated on a connection with the Greek terms Pyr/Πυρ+Auos/Αύως or Auge/Αυγή (with now justified doubt, however), I see that it’s another situation involving words I had already known, but not thought to connect (As I had compared Puutarha with Πουλυβότειρα vs. the appropriate Φυταλιά<pu-ta-ri-ja). There are now two words (perhaps ultimately from the same source) which I am speculating on in regards to the following:
Päivä = Φοίβος/Φοίβη<bʰeigʷ- <(?) Φάος/Φαύος<bʰeh₂-
It is not my assertion that φοίβος<φάος, but the view of some entries found at LSJ. It is definitely an interesting relationship phonetically, if they are related. Looking into these terms:
Φοίβος/Φοίβη (Phoebus/Phoebe): Phoebus (Phoibos in the Greek transliteration) is a proper noun and epithet of Apollo (who was conlfated with Helios, the Sun God), from the word φοίβος (bright, pure, radiant), which then makes Apollo “The Bright One”. Phoebe is associated with Selene, Goddess of the Moon, and is the feminine counterpart to Phoebus (compare Selene and Helios with Artemis and Apollo).
Φάος/Φαύος (Phaos/Phauos) is, semantically, a near-perfect match with Päivä: It describes the sunlight in Homer’s Iliad and Plato’s Republic, and alludes to the day in Euripides’ Rhesus.
In regards to which term appears phonetically to be a potential cognate or ancestor of Päivä, there are a couple things to consider. Φοίβος/Φοίβη exhibits a presumed develarization from gʷ>b>v. It is realistic that η could manifest as either ä or i (eg: Päivä>Päivi = Phoibe/Fivi), given η<α. However, Ι’ve only recorded η>/i/ when in the final position, so η>ä in final would be unprecedented. In this case, while Φοίβη may be able to explain Päivi, it could not simultaneously explain Päivä. This could allude to Päivä having originally been a masculine word, which could be related with Apollo<~Helios as the charioteer of the sun. This would imply Päivä<Φοίβος.
*bʰeigʷ- > *bʰoigʷ-o- > Φοίβο- > Päivä However, I have a reservation about o>ä. On a purely phonological basis, I prefer: *bʰeigʷ-e > Päivä The final -e represents vocative case (Φοίβε), which is a common feature in comparisons. This is in comparison with Proto-Samic *peajvē, which I believe may be the only other real descendant of Proto-Uralic *päjwä beyond Proto-Finnic *päivä, making is a word exclusive to the Finno-Samic contact area. The proposed absence of e>o ablautization is something I’m studying in a few of my proposals. However, if *bʰeigʷ- was the ultimate source of Päivä, but it was not through Hellenic, then it would have had to have been directly from PIE, as other IE descendants do not share these phonological shifts.
Meanwhile, Φαύος (the Aeolic form of Φάος/Φώς) contains the letter ypsilon, which can result in front-vowel harmony (a>ä: Αμαυρά>hämärä). However, while Φάος contains the initial pha- – which manifests in related word like Φαίνω and Φαεινά – as well as the plural -ta suffix (compare Päivät and Ta Phaea/Τα Φάεα, presumably Φαύεα in Aeolic) – it is unclear whether or not this phonology could better justify itself as cognate with Päivä, vs. Φοίβος/Φοίβε, Φοίβη, etc.
Regardless, the words themselves allow for a variety of constructions:
Auri plus Phaiva = The sun is also the Sun Kuukle plus Pheivi = The moon is also the Moon Mja phaiva nyn? = What day is now? Uros poljophaivakaa = The sky is with much daylight Lavkophoivos yveilaa! = The white Phoebus is sublime!
(in arithmetic) those numbers which are equal to the sum of their divisors
the third bowl offered to Zeus
(of the gods) perfect, omnipotent, infinite
(neuter substantive) a royal banquet
(feminine substantive) a full stop, period
(adverb) at last
The Hungarian is ultimately from Proto-Uralic *täwde, with cognates like Nganasan ťerə, Inari Sami tievâs, Finnisη täydellinen (‘perfect’, which I compare with reduplicated τετελεσμένος/tetelesmenos, ‘that which has been perfected’); while the Greek is from PIE *kʷel-. Out of all IE descendants, only Greek presents *kʷ>t. Furthermore, the semantic value of “full, complete” in Greek Τελήεις/Τέλειος does not appear present in IE cognate terms (from what is available on Wikipedia) descended from *kʷel-, itself meaning ‘to move/turn’. This is also the source of *kʷékʷlos > κῠ́κλος/kúklos , which I believe is related to Proto-Uralic *kuŋe, with the listed descendants:
Kamassian: ки (ki)
Hungarian: hó, hold
Erzya: ков (kov)
In Hungarian, telihold is the full moon. I believe the Greek equivalent would be τέλειε κύκλε (or perhaps τελήεν κύκλε). If Τele/Teli=Τελή/Τέλει- are related, Hungarian is phonologically closer to the Greek term than any other IE or Uralic language (with Khanty [also Ugric] tel a close second).
This is another example of a term that does not exist “as-is” in PIE, but rather has developed into Hellenic and the Uralic languages with a higher phonological and exclusive semantic affinity.
The original Greek meaning re: Oikos is, quite simply, a house. The original Finnish meaning of *oikeda is constructed to have probably described something that is straight, right, or correct.
When looking into the derivatives (where Οίκος is considered the “original” Greek word, and Oikea the “original” Finnish word in regards to their respective etymological trees), some interesting terms and meanings can be observed. From Finnish Oikea is derived Oikeus, meaning “law, justice, court”, as well as “rightness, fairness”. From Oikeus, there is a compound word that, for obvious reasons, catches my eye: Oikeudenmukainen. I previously introduced the term ‘mukainen’ in this long rant about who the Greeks in Finland might have been. Basically, Mukainen means ‘consistent, compatible, compliant’, and the greater term Oikeudenmukainen describes something which is ‘just’ or ‘fair’.
Given that the Finnish derived terms focus heavily on law and justice, I focus my attention on Greek terms derived from Οίκος with similar meanings:
Οικέω: Inhabit, Colonize, Settle, Manage, Direct, Govern, Am Governed Οἴκημᾰ: Home, Building, Chamber, Brothel, Temple/Shrine, Prison/Cell, etc. Οἴκησις: Management, Administration Δῐοίκησῐς: Housekeeping, Control, Government, Administration, (later) Diocese Σῠνοικίζω: To make someone live with someone, To give someone to someone else in marriage, To combine/unite Οἰκοδεσπότης: Master of a house, Native ruler (vs. foreign ruler) Οἰκονόμος: Master of a house, Steward of an estate, Manager, Administrator Οἰκονομέω: To manage, To dispense, To order, To regulate
The term Οικονόμος (source of the word Economy) is of interest to me, because Nomos/Νόμος (Noummos/Νούμμος in Doric) is defined as, among other things, a law or ordinance. In searching for a Finnish counterpart to Nomos, the only one I have so far in Finngreek is: Pasture/Moor = Nummi = Nomii = Νομή which is derived from Νόμος.
Whether Finnish Oikeus could be a semantic counterpart to Oἰκονομῐ́ᾱ is unclear, but it is clear that both roots of the compound Oikonomia can be found in some form in Finnish.
From these terms, the main question I have is how they might relate to inequality (eg: slavery) vs. friendship. In Ancient Greek, derived terms of Οίκος can describe anyone from a neutral inhabitant of a home, to a colonist, to a prisoner or slave (Οἰκεύς, ‘Inmate of a house, servant’; I am not certain how connected this word might be with Oikeus, despite phonological affinity, as they may have formed separately, which resulted in different definitions), to a domestic animal, to a builder (Oἰκοποιός, perhaps related somehow to the meaning of something ‘straight, not bent/crooked’?), to a friend or kinsman (Oἰκειόω, ‘to make someone one’s friend/kinsman’).
Further obscuring the power dynamic (or lack thereof) that these cognates may represent, the ‘manager’, or Oikonomos, “Often functioned as the “steward” of a household, and was generally a freedman – i.e. a slave released from forced, legal servitude… (whether free-born, or, as was usually the case, a freed-man or slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age (J. Thayer)”.
Regardless of what relationship Oikeia/Oikea describes during the period when Greeks and Finns would have prehistorically been in contact with each other, the modern terms, in both languages, signify something positive. Modern Greek Οικεία means ‘familiar, personal, intimate’, while Finnish Oikea describes, among other things, correctness and justice. However, the semantics ultimately connecting the two involves that which is “suitable, appropriate, fitting, and proper.” Because of this, the following is constructed in Finngreek:
Totopokoon oikeia = This garment is suitable Tatabaita oikeaa = This shirt fits Oikeontae? = Is this correct? Worespoikimehenoikeande vena heiposukaa jon kravaaizdas vena kampolinde = After (going) through the mountains, go to the right on your horse, if you need to go into town Kinuothirviion oikeiaan emii = That deer belongs to me Nomiiseon oikeathirves koju tso kluklada = In the pasture, there are friendly deer which eat flowers Oikeiaas favitoemperikle… = You are right about the food…
The word order of sentences in Finngreek is, like Greek and Finnish, very flexible. The structure is understood by the suffixes at the ends of words. Here are some examples of the free word order in Huve/Hypae:
What drink is this? / Mja pjoma an tåtå? (å may be o/å/a: totoon/tåtåån/tataan)
In each sentence, the same information is communicated, because Finngreek syntax relies on suffixes, instead of word order. We know that the Hedloba is made by the Phu, because it is Phuthe, with the -the meaning ‘from’. Also, we know that the Hedloba is the object instead of the subject (The fruit is made vs. The fruit makes [from the tree]), because the ending of the Tehd- root is -ontae, which is passive, instead of the active -an suffix.
Now, there is one situation where word order does matter in Finngreek: Simple SVO. Because Finngreek doesn’t have articles (a/the) with cases like Greek – nor a true partitive case like Finnish – direct subject>object in 3rd person may rely on the subject to be placed before the object.
The person eats the food = Ahrava tso rahito Because the person and food are both in 3rd person, there is no way to determine who is eating whom. If it were “Rahito tso ahrava“, then the food is eating the person.
However, there is one way this sentence can be made flexible: With the -n accusative suffix.
I don’t often use the accusative -n suffix, but it is still useful in situations like this. By simply adding -n to the end of the object (think like -ontae), the sentence order can be free again: