The name for bear in Finnish, Karhu, has been suggested by some to be derived from the adjective Karhea, meaning ‘rough, coarse, uneven’. However, in Finngreek, the opposite seems more suitable: Bear = Karhu = Harku = Άρκος/Άρκου, Αρκούδα Compare with this derived term from Oikos/Οίκος in Greek: Suitable = Oikea = Oikeia = Οικεία
This would make -ea/-eia/-εια a Helleno-Uralic adjectivizing suffix for nouns, to describe being ‘of’ or ‘from’ the noun. Harkeia would still have probably originally referred to bear fur, in particular the outer layer of guard hairs present in bear fur. However, in Finngreek, Harkeia can describe anything like the physical or behavioral properties of a bear.
Slope = Rinne = Riinnæ = Ρίνα
There is also the short form Rin/Riinn per Greek ῥῑ́ν. Riinnæ in Finngreek means ‘slope/hillside/mountainside’, as well as ‘nose’ (Greek). While Proto-Finnic *nenä (nose) bears a resemblance to Rina (compare Estonian Nina), the reconstruction of -e- vs. -i- would make it an irregular doublet, and less likely. If the Uralic etymology for Rinne is correctly from Rinta + -e, it would additionally carry the meaning ‘chest’. This might have a connection with Rinón/Rinós/Ρινόν/Ρινός (shield), with final-syllable stress resulting in metathesis of either -n or -s into -nta. However, if Rinta and Ρινόν are connected, then Rinne would not need to be from Rinta + -e, but rather from Rin/Ris/Ρίν/Ρίς, which may be Pre-Greek.
Musician = Muusikko = Muusikkoo = Μουσικό(ς)
The Finnish word for music, Musiikki, is probably borrowed from Swedish Musik, from Latin Mūsica, from Ancient Greek Mousikḗ/Musikii/Μουσική. However, the term for musician involves what is considered a native Finnish suffix for beings: -kko. This suffix is etymologized as being from Proto-Finnic *-kko(i), from the diminuitive suffix -kka + -o. However, in Greek, -(i)kó(s) is also used to denote beings and likeness – and is seen in the same context as the Finnish suffix: Compare Fyysikko (physician) with Φυσικός, Poliitikko (politician) with Πολιτικός, and Unikko (poppy) with Υπνικό (hypnic). Whether -kko would be a Finngreek feature is unclear, as it would ultimately be from Proto-Indo-European *-kos, which creates deadjectival and desubstantival adjectives denoting a characteristic. However, the geminate -kk- of -kko suggests the final stress of Greek -kó, which results in Finngreek -kkoo.
Room = Huone = Hoore = Χώρε
The Greek word Χώρε, the vocative form of Horos/Χώρος, is considered Pre-Greek. The phonological comparison with Huone involves ώ>oo>uo (compare Proto-Finnic *hooneh and Estonian Hoone), as seen in comparisons like:
The change of VrV>VnV is also seen in comparisons like Puna = Puraa = Πυρρά, meaning ‘red’.
To exert, struggle, try hard = Ponnistaa = Ponniisthae = Πονείσθαι
There is some etymological uncertainty with this proposal. Finnish Ponnistaa has been etymologized from Ponsi, which primarily refers to part of the stamen of a flower. However, it can also refer to ‘vigor’. It is ultimately listed as being from Proto-Finno-Permic *ponte. The Greek Πονείσθαι/Πονέεσθαι is from the verb Πονέω, from Ponos/Πόνος, meaning ‘hard work, bodily exertion, toil’. The comparison of the Finnish verb suffix -(i)staa with the Greek mediopassive ending -(ί)σθαι is considered regular Finngreek. However, while *ponte might be cognate with Pone/Πόνε (vocative of Πόνος), the original meaning – as well as its non-Finnic reflexes – appears to be unavailable online. The *-t- may be akin to the *-p- in Proto-Uralic *kumpa (wave). Compare Greek Kuma/Κύμα. Alternatively, Ponsi might be cognate with Ponisi/Πόνηση, also meaning ‘toil, exertion’.
That which is seen, View, Thought = Νäkymä = Nóhema = Νόημα
These terms are probably not perfect cognates, since Νäkymä is derived from Νäkyä, rather than being directly derived from Νähdä. However, they both go back in Finngreek to Proto-Uralic *näke- (to see) and Greek Νοέω (to see, observe, perceive, think). These näke- and no(h)e- roots are ultimately paired with the -ma(t[a]) suffix, resulting in Finngreek Nóhema (pl. Nohémata). In Finngreek, Nóhema refers to anything that is seen or perceived, such as scenery, photographs, videos, ideas, and dreams.
Night, Waning = Yö<*Üje = Pye/Víi = Πύη
This is a phonologically suitable, but overall unclear proposal. Πύη/Pýe/Píi is listed as a “possibly false reading” of Φθόη in the work of Aretaios, an Ionian physician from Cappadocia; and this would give Πύη the same meaning as Φθίσις: A decline or decay; as well as the waning of the moon. If Πύη is the source of Proto-Uralic *üje, then the night would be akin to the waning or decline of the day.
The phonological basis is as follows: Overwhelming initial p- loss in Uralic reflexes, with p->v- retained in Moksha Ve and Komi-Zyrian Voj. The remaining -ye can be compared with proposals like Työ = Δύη, and Lyö = Λύε. Various Uralic reflexes show at least partial iotacism as occurred into modern Greek Pýe>Píi, such as Kildin Sami Ɨjj, Livonian Īe, Udmurt Uj, and Hungarian Éj.
Sentences help to build Finngreek reading skills while comparing the Finnish and Greek languages through simple phrases. The Finnish and Greek appearing in these comparisons is not always grammatically correct, as the emphasis is on the vocabulary itself. Please only use these texts to learn Finngreek.
It’s such a dim night = On tosi hämärä yö On tosi hamará pye Όν τόση αμαυρά πύη
Your sense of smell is keen = Haistisi sun on kärkevä Haisthisi su on hakrivǽ Αίσθηση σου όν ακριβής
I’ll need a drink of mead, thanks = Tarvitsen mehi-juoma, kiitos Tárphthen methipjóma, kídos Τάρφθην μέθη-πώμα, κύδος
I want a drink of mead, thanks = Tahdon mehu-juoma, kiitos Tátto methupjóma, kídos Τάττω μέθυ-πόμα, κύδος
See the sun shine = Näe päivän lämmetä Nóe phoivon lámpesthæ Νόε φοίβον λάμπεσθαι
I see the sun shine = Näen auringon palaa Nóen aurion phaná Νόειν αύριον φανά
The mouth speaks, then the ear hears = Suu puhuu sitten korva kuulee Stúma phusó kíthen kórra klúe Στύμα φυσά κείθεν κόρρα κλύει
The seer teaches to many = Noita opettaa paljoihin Noitá rophetáze poljoisin Νοητά προφητάζει πολλοίσιν
The seer prophecies the result = Noaidi* ennustaa tulos Noitís ennustáze telos Νοητής εννυστάζει τέλος
The tall tree always grows = Pitkä puu aina kasvaa Psiklé phué aéna havksáne Ψηλή φυή αέναα αυξάνει
This week’s entry is simply a poem with comparative texts. As always, the Finnish and Greek texts aren’t grammatically correct, because they are direct translations of Finngreek terms. Please only use them to learn Finngreek.
Since this is creative writing, the spelling is not standardized like in the lessons, and the word order is free, which may make it more difficult to read. If you’d like an easier text, check out The Fox and the Bear, Part 1.
The order of texts (top left to bottom right) is: Finnish, Finngreek, English, and Greek.
Uusi usma hämärä laaksoihin ennustaa Pilvi-noita nokkela näkee nummen näkymässä
Valomuisti nyt kiihkeä tunne pitkä, mieli puna Aistisi tosi oikea mutta en ton ymmärrä
Ongelma jäädyttää päivän iskusi iskee ydintä Kuulen äänen alkaa puhua sitten sumu lyö vimma
Ja polun elää venho mun eroihin luistaa ryypätä unikko mehu rakastaa opettaa.
Finngreek Stories are designed to help readers learn the Finngreek language. These stories contain comparative texts in Finnish and Greek, to make learning easier. However, as Finngreek is based on ancient etymological comparisons, and has a different grammar from both languages, the Finnish and Greek texts appearing in these stories are not always grammatically correct. Please do not use these texts to study the Finnish and Greek languages: These texts are only for studying Finngreek.
The Fox and The Bear Kettu ja Karhu Kerdo ka Harku Κερδώ και Αρκούδα
The fox is red, and the bear is dark. Kettu on puna ja karhu hämärä on. Kerdo on pura ka harku hamaraa on. Κερδώ όν πυρρά και αρκούδα αμαυρά όν.
The red fox sees the berry-tree. Puna kettu näkee marja-puun. Pura kerdo noheei morja-phueen. Πυρρά κερδώ νοέει μορέα-φυήν.
The dark bear sleeps, but then hears the fox. Hämärä karhu nukkuu, mutta sitten kuulee ketun. Hamaraa harku nukheuuei, muunno kiithen kluuei kerdon. Αμαυρά αρκούδα νυχεύει, μούνο κείθεν κλύει κερδώ.
“Look, fox! It is my food.” Näe, kettu! On ruoka mun. Noe, kerdo! On rooga mu. Νόε, κερδώ! Όν ρώγα μου.
“But I want it, bear! It is red, and a fox is red, so it is suitable for a fox.” Mutta ton tahdon, karhu! On puna, ja kettu on puna, joten on oikeia kettuihin. Muunno ton tatto, harku! On pura, ka kerdo on pura, pjothen on oikeia kerdoisin. Μούνο τον τάττω, αρκούδα! Όν πυρρά, και κερδώ όν πυρρά, πόθεν όν οικεία κερδώισιν.
“It’s mine, fox, as a bear is strong.” On mun, kettu, koska karhu on mahdikas. On mu, kerdo, hos harku mahtikaa on. Όν μου, κερδώ, ως αρκούδα μαχητικά όν.
“A bear is strong, but a fox is too smart.” Karhu on mahdikas, mutta kettu on liian nokkela. Harku on makhetikaa, muunno kerdo on liian noheraa. Αρκούδα όν μαχητικά, μούνο κερδώ όν λίαν νοερά.
The fox awaits the morning-sun in the dark, thick mist. Kettu odottaa aurinkoa hämärä paksu usmassa. Kerdo rodokaa aurino hamaraa pakhu usmaesa. Κερδώ προδοκά αύριον αμαυρά παχύς ύσμα έσω.
The bear sleeps again, as the sun is almost rising. Karhu jälleen nukkuu, koska päivä melkein nostelee. Harku pjallein nukheuuei, hos phoive mellein anostelleei. Αρκούδα πάλιν νυχεύει, ως φοίβε μέλλειν αναστελλέει.
As the light shines, the fox again sees the red tree. Koska palo palaa, kettu jälleen näkee puna puun. Hos phano phanaa, kerdo pjallein noheei pura phueen. Ως φανός φανά, κερδώ πάλιν νοέει πυρρά φυήν.
The fox finds that the bear has shut its eyes*, and then… Kettu löytää karhu sulkee silmän, ja sitten… Kerdo leyttei harku sunkleei thalmon, ka kiithen… Κερδώ λεύττει αρκούδα συγκλείει οφθαλμόν, και κείθεν…
What will happen next? Stay tuned for Part 2!
NOTES: – All words appearing in this story are considered etymologically related in one form or another, except for Finnish Ja and Greek Και (and), where a proposed connection is instead found with Finnish Kaa. This is the basis for Finngreek Ka(a), meaning ‘and/with, too’. – Finngreek Harku can also be written as Harko, given Nganasan Ngarka. The actual comparison involved is Karhu = Harko = Άρκος, but since standard modern Greek uses Αρκούδα, Harku is also an acceptable form. – Κερδώισιν (plural dative form of Κερδώ) is not an attested form, but is constructed based on other nouns with irregular -ώ(-ν, -ς) declension. – *”Harku sunkleei thalmon” literally means “the bear shuts the eye”.
This week’s post is about the basics of noun suffixes in Helleno-Uralic theory. There are patterns of phonology and morphology which are used to recognize the likelihood of nouns being related through Finngreek contact. Sometimes, a word in Finnish or a Uralic language is identical to its proposed Greek equivalent; and sometimes, changes happen which can be described as “regular” or “irregular”, depending on whether these shifts co-occur in other comparisons. This is not a comprehensive guideline, but an introduction to Finngreek noun morphology and phonology. This lesson covers aspects of the Finngreek noun suffixes -os, -e, -i, and -ma.
The Finnish language lacks productive gender, meaning that words do not follow the complex grammatical rules of gender found in many Indo-European languages, such as Greek. However, non-productive suffixes indicating gender and case can still be found in Finngreek. For example, the -os nominative suffix:
Shaking, Mixing = Seos = Seos = Σέος
This is considered a 1-to-1 correspondence, as virtually every phoneme is preserved. However, in Finngreek phonology, -os can undergo several changes, such as:
Loss of final -s Quantity/Value, Number/Word = Luku = Logos = Λόγος Outfit, Fleece = Puku = Pokos = Πόκος Here, and in all other comparisons, it is unclear whether o>u or -os>-o occurred first.
Ravine = Rotko = Raktos = Ρακτός Mist, Fog, Rain, Hot Spring = Utu/Udu = Udos = Ύδος Heap/Size, Entirety/Bulk, Body/Mass = Koko/Kogu = Hogkos = Όγκος Summit = Huippu = Hypsos = Ύψος
Metathesis + Debuccalization (-os>-so>-ho) Boat = Venho = Venos = Βῆνος Venos*>Venso>Venho (*A possibly more accurate reconstruction at time of contact would be Banos/βænos, given the assumption of -α->-η-, as well as Samic reflexes showing Van[s]-.)
This last example seems like a lot, but it’s not unprecedented in Finnish. An example I see as evidence of -Cos>-Cko (C representing a liquid consonant) is Uros>Urho>Ukko.
In Finngreek, final -e nouns mean one of two things: A masculine/feminine word in the vocative (vs. nominative) case; or a feminine word ending in -η in Ancient Greek (not -ις>-η). Looking back at a previous comparison, we can analyze a Finnish term in its nominative and vocative forms:
Masculine -ος/-ε Boat = Venho = Venos = Βῆνος (nominative) Boat = Vene = Vene = Βῆνε (vocative)
Most examples can only be reconstructed in a vocative case: Lake (Proto-Uralic), Place = *towe = Tope/Tokwe = Τόπε < *tò(w)-kʷV- Satiety = Kyllä = Kore/Koorre = Κόρε Thunder God, Eagle = Perkele = Perknee = Περκνέ Sleep = Uni < *une = Uvne (Hupne) = Ύπνε Moon = Kuu < *kunge = Kukle = Κύκλε
Feminine -η Tree/Noble Growth (of a plant), Nature = Puu < *puwe = Phue = Φυή Billow, Censer = Tuiske = Thuiske = Θυΐσκη Yard, Field, Area = Alue = Aule = Αυλή
Iotacism (the change of a vowel towards /i/) of -e>-i can occur in -η final nouns:
Moor/Pasture = Nummi = Nomi/Nommii = Νομή Door, Opening (architectural) = Ovi < *owe = Opi = Οπή Pond, Scum = Lampi = Lampi = Λάμπη Point, Tip = Kärki = Hakri = Άκρη These terms are now pronounced with /i/ at the end in both languages, but would have originally been pronounced with a final -e.
An -i final noun in Finngreek can also indicate what was -ις/-is in ancient Greek, but is now -η/-i in modern Greek:
In order to make the study of Finngreek more accessible, Finngreek.com is now a weekly blog! Every week, a post will be made to provide information and materials for learning the language. These posts will be organized into Categories for relevance. Today’s post is about Verbs 1.
The Finngreek language has a simple way of dealing with verbs, based on comparisons between Greek and Finnish, as well as other Uralic languages. While there is not a complete conjugation system, which will require long-term study of non-Finnic branches, basic sentences can still be formed from proposed etymological links.
Today’s post is a relaxed guide about using basic verbs and productive verb suffixes.
Indicative Present Verbs by Person and Number
The primary verb endings of Finngreek are mainly found in the indicative mood, present tense verb suffixes. 1st singular; -ing = -en = -ein = -ειν 2nd singular = -et = -eis = -εις 3rd singular/plural* = -ee = -ei = -ει 1st plural = -emme = -eme/-eemme = -έμε 2nd plural = -ette = -ete/-eette = -έτε
*In Finngreek, 3rd person plural is the same as singular, because the plural Finnish and Greek suffixes are not connected (-vat and -σιν/-sin, respectively).
With the exception of active infinitive -ειν, all suffixes listed above are indicative present.
Examples: Noein phanon = I see the light, Seeing the light Noeis phoivon = You see the sun Kluuei roglema = He/she/it hears the problem, They hear the problem Lalaamme lalon = We sing the song Tektete duulia = You all do the work
As can be seen in Lalaamme, the verb suffix is dependent on the final vowel of the verb root it is attached to: Since the verb ‘to sing’ is Lalaa, it is just Lalaamme, and the -e- of -eme is omitted.
On = On = Όν On is the copula verb (‘to be, is’) of Finngreek, from the Finnish 3rd person singular indicative present copula On, and the Greek active participle(s) Όν/Ών. In Finnish, On means ‘is/are’ (plural [Puhekieli]); and in Greek, Όν means ‘being’. In Finngreek, ‘is/being/are’ are all On.
Examples: Usma on pakhu / Usma pakhu on / On usma pakhu / Pakhuusmaon / Pakhúsmån “The mist is thick” Usmata on pakhu / Pakhúsmatån “The mists are thick”
-oisin = -oisin = -οίσιν The suffix -oisin can be broken down into multiple variants, such as -aisin and -iisin. This suffix involves Greek optative and Finnish conditional verbs, but the etymology of Finngreek -oisin is actually from Finnish and Greek plural nouns in the illative and dative cases, respectively. In Finnic languages, debuccalization sometimes results in -isin>-i(h)in; and in modern Greek, the dative case was lost. In Finngreek, however, it’s a productive noun and verb suffix.
Adding -oisin to nouns describes a direction towards/with them; and adding it to verbs gives them a conditional (would) or optative (could) mood.
Examples: Emperataa = To understand Emperataaisin = I would/could understand Noei nommiin = They see the pasture Noeisi nommiisin = Theycould see to the pasture Tattome pjomata = We want drinks Tattoisime pjomata, kiidos = We would like drinks, thanks
In both Finnish and Greek, the 2nd person singular imperative present verb suffix is -e, and occasionally may be another vowel, like -a. This ending turns a statement into a command.
Noeis rakton = You see the ravine Noe raktoisin! = Look into the ravine! Kluueis muusiikkiin = You hear the music Kluue muusikkooisin! = Listen to the musician! Rodokaas venoisin = You wait for the boat Rodoka, vene! = Wait, boat!
If you need a comparative equation for any of the Finngreek words used in this post, feel free to leave your request in the comments!
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.