Áīma: Refeeling the Finngreek Climate

This post focuses on the description of the climate of the Helleno-Uralic contact period, through the semantics of topical term proposals.

air, weather (S); wind (He.)
PS *ājmō <? He. áīma / ἄημα < ἄημι <1 PIE *h₂weh₁-

The shift PS *-ō < HS -a is unprecedented and unclear: There are no other HS terms involving PS *-ō; and in loans, PS *-ō appears to primarily reflex from either PG *-ō (PS *ājrō < PG *airō) or PF *-o (PS *vājmō < PF *vaimo; PS *arvō < PF *arvo [if not directly from PFU *arwa]). However, there are other phonemes which result in PS *-ō: PS *pārō < Old Norse bára is one example; although it’s unclear how this change could apply to HS áīma over the result of PS *vājmō. Perhaps PS *-ō occurred within PS to avoid homophony with *ājmē ‘needle’ – the expected outcome of He. áīma – which would have already been present in the language. Perhaps PS *ājmō could have also been influenced by *vājmō.

hot, red hot, fever (PFV); heat, burning heat, fever heat (He.)
PFV *kūma < He. kaũma / καῦμα

U < H loans appear to lose their initial vowel in HU -aũ-/-eũ- diphthongs – and possibly in other environments – although the nature of this process is unclear due to few comparable proposals. In this proposal, the original He. term would have been adjectivized after loaning into Finno-Volgaic.

cold, hot (PFS); frost (PF *pakkainen); frost (He.)
PFS *pakka- ~ PS *pākkës < He. págos / πάγος <1 PIE *peh₂ǵ-

In HS, PS *-ës < He. -os / -ος. As with HFV kaũma, HFS págos is a noun that has been adjectivized in either PFS or PS: I suppose the latter, as PF seems to preserve the original meaning. The suffixation of PF *pakka- with *-inen is like *hepoinen ‘horse’, derived from *hepo(i?) ‘horse’ (cf. Fi. hepo ‘horse’). It is curious that, in their combining forms, Fi. pakkas- (eg: pakkaskausi ‘period of frost’) and hevos- (eg: hevosvoima ‘horsepower’) resemble He. -os (i.e. págos / πάγος, híppos / ἵππος) – although this is more likely a coincidence, given the overwhelming regularity of He -os >> Fi. -o/u∅.

sky, god (PU); air, spirit, spiritual being (He.)
PU *nu-mɜ <? He. pneũma / πνεῦμα << PIE *pnéwmn̥ ‘breath’
Con.: PIE *pnéwmn̥

Although phonologically and semantically suitable, chronology is an issue: Loaning into Proto-Uralic is considered permissible in the context of “Pseudo-Proto-Uralic” (i.e. loaning across a a wide geolinguistic span), but PU *nu-mɜ only reflexes in the Ugro-Samoyedic languages, while some presence in the West Uralic languages would be expected from a Helleno-Uralic loan. Although only reconstructed with the meaning ‘breath’, PIE *pnéwmn̥ includes the Albanian reflex frymë ‘breath, wind, spirit’, which might suggest that the semantics ‘sky/air/wind’ and ‘spirit’ could be reconstructed back to PIE (if the Alb. semantics were not the result of secondary contact with He., given their long history of lexical exchange).

storm, wind (U); stormwind (He.)
PFP ~ PFU? *tule ~ *tuuli ~ *tuulə̑ < He. tʰúellā / θύελλα < He. tʰúō / θύω + áella / ἄελλα < PH *aweľľā / *ἀϜελ-ι̯α < PIE *h₂eu-el- ~ *h₂ewh₁eleh₂ ~ *h₂uh₁-l-yeh₂

In his 1991 work “Uralische Evidenz für die Laryngaltheorie”, Jorma Koivulehto compares PFP *tuxli with PIE *dʰuh₂-li-s < *dʰewh₂- ‘smoke, mist, haze’, on the basis of the laryngeal parallel PFP *-x- = PIE *h₂. However, the UEW presents *tule; Ante Aikio presents *tuuli (p. 229); and Petri Kallio presents *tuulə̑ (p. 166). The “long-vowel; *x ~ *w” problem is reminiscent of the varying reconstructions of PU *puwe ~ *puxi > PF *puu; PU *luwe ~ *luxi > PF *luu; and PU *śuwe ~ *śuxi > PF *suu. Re: the phonetic value of the final vowel, a H > U loan can be interpreted regardless: He. tʰú(w)ellā > U *tuulə̑; or HFP *tʰú(w)ellē (cf. θυέλλη) > PFP *tule ~ *tuuli.

The He. semantics are preferred in comparison with PFP *tuuli vs. PIE *dʰuh₂-li-s, as the PFP form’s reflexes only show ‘wind, weather, storm, breeze’, while the PIE form’s reflexes show none of these meanings. Although not listed as a primary meaning in the UEW, I reconstruct ‘storm’ back to PFU due to its presence in Finnic, Mari, and Ugric (exclusively so in the latter two, according to UEW).

mist, fog (F); rain (He.)
Fi. usma << He. húsma / ὕσμα

A variant of Fi. usva, I consider usma to represent an original value -m-. Although written as -s- in He. (h)úsma, the pronunciation would have originally been /z/: This is reflected in HMa. proposals (eg: sarkazmós). As there was no /z/ in Proto-Finnic, /s/ would have been the closest approximation available in its phonology. It is unclear whether He. h- would have been inherited into the F(S?) term.

Vē̃nos: Resailing the Finngreek Ship

In my previous post, I discussed the hypothetical Helleno-Uralic immaterial culture. In this post, I will now discuss the foundations of the Helleno-Uralic material culture: The methods of physical exchange between the ancient Greek and Uralic peoples.

Once again, I partly draw on the the reconstruction of the Proto-Uralic material culture by Ante Aikio in his paper Proto-Uralic (p. 47), as an outline for which objects can be considered relevant to the reconstruction of the Helleno-Uralic contact period.

The Helleno-Uralic material culture, as I reconstruct it, was relevant to the settlement of Hellenic colonists along the northern Black Sea during the Archaic period of ancient Greece. This expansion relied on nautical transportation between the Greek homeland and what is today southern Ukraine and southwest Russia. As such, the Helleno-Uralic material culture centered on ships. During this contact period, ships would have been used for travel along the river systems of northeast Europe: Especially the Dnieper and Don rivers, at the mouths of which were founded the Hellenic settlements of Olbia and Tanais*, respectively. In addition, through the use of portages, travel might have been made possible to neighboring rivers. This will be discussed in detail in an upcoming post on the dating and locating of Helleno-Uralic contact.

For now, I will focus on the lexical reconstruction of the Helleno-Uralic ship, its accessories; and other terms I find relevant to the traveling material culture (but not the traded materials themselves, which I will discuss in a later post). I will address one term found in Aikio’s material reconstruction (*tukta = *dugātā́), as well as my own additions pertaining to specifically Helleno-Uralic contact. These terms are not representative of all the material culture(s) of the period, but represent the catalyst for the development and continuation of exchange between the Hellenic and Uralic peoples.

*Tanais was not founded until the Hellenistic period of ancient Greece, which postdates the beginning of Helleno-Uralic contact. However, Greeks were present in the locale of the Tanais settlement since the 7th century BCE (cf. Taganrog settlement). In addition, the major and relatively nearby Archaic settlement of Pantikapaion had already been established in the 7th century BCE.


boat (FV), ark (He.)
Fi. venho, NSa. vanas, Er. venč / венч << PFV **venos* <?> He. vē̃nos / βῆνος (“= κιβωτός“)

The Uralic languages have inherited various terms for ‘boat’ from the IE languages. Jorma Koivulehto describes PFV *veneš < PIE/PreII/Early PII *wen-(e/o-) (cf. PII *wán- ‘tree, wood’ > Sanskrit vána / वन – with PFV *veneš being “… so far, the only case on the strength of which an old deverbal suffix -eš has been posited…”. I do not have an opinion on the validity of U *-eš; but I rather reconstruct an original PFV *venos < IE *-os (eg: He. -os / -ος), based on HS aídalos and pā̃ros (PS *-ës < He. -ος), and Fi. venho, from which I reconstruct venho < PF *venoh < PFV **venos (cf. Fi. venhe < PF *veneh). The provenance of He. βῆνος is unclear, but it can not be directly inherited from PIE *wen-, as He. would not reflex β- from PIE *w-: So its consideration as a loan is more likely. Loaning from II (i.e. Scythian) does not explain well the presence of He. -ē̃-, unless it were an Attic-Ionic development from an original Doric *βᾶνος. This is perhaps a worthwhile consideration in light of HU *dugātā́; but re: Uralic, PFV *ven- shows a stronger correspondence, which rather suggests U > H loaning, regardless of the ultimate origin of the PFV term. However, given the morphology of the term (*-os), U < H loaning can not be ruled out – in which case the appropriate HFV reconstruction might rather include initial v͔- (representative of a previous /b/).

*My reconstruction of PFV **venos is incomplete due to 1. Lack of clarity on the Moksha reflex (Koivulehto provides Mo. venəš, while Neahttadigisánit provides venež / венеж; and 2. The perceived irregularity of Er. venč, where venaz might be expected (cf. HEr. kʰówos, kǐ́rios): Perhaps the Er. phonology relates to the partial FS process of -nVs>-ns/h(V), as seen in Kildin Sa. vens, Ter Sa. vâns, and Fi. venho/e.

skápʰos ~ skápʰē
boat (Mansi); ship, light boat, skiff (He.)
Mansi xāp / ха̄п <? He. skápʰos / σκάφος ~ skápʰē / σκάφη < skáptō / σκάπτω < ?

This proposal assumes s- loss due to Uralic restrictions on initial consonant clusters. PFU *k > Man. χ is regular (cf. PFU *konɜ (*kana) >> Man. χanəl / ханул). On these grounds, He. >(>) Man. loaning seems reasonable; but FEE describes potential loaning of the He. verb σκάπτω from a European substratum: So a conclusion would be premature.

pulk, small sled pulled by a person or animal (PS); small boat towed after a ship (He. [as ἐφολκίς])
PS *pulkke < He. epʰolkḗ / ἐφολκή? ‘tension, pull, dragging, towing’ <1 PIE *selk-

PS *pulkke appears to align phonologically with He. ἐφολκή, but semantically with ἐφολκίς. Perhaps *pulkke was a unique nominalization of fem. adj. ἐφολκή < ἐφολκός > Fi. polku (cf. polkea << He. *ἐφολκέω [*= ἐφέλκω ‘to drag or trail after one’] < επί ‘upon’ + ὁλκέω ‘to pull, haul [esp. a ship]’).

crossbar or seat in a boat (PU); rowing bench in a ship (He.)
PU *tukta < He. *dugātā́ / *δυγατά ~ zdugētḗ / ζυγητή <1? PIE *yugóm ‘yoke’

The semantics, as found in Hsch., rely on “= κλεὶς”: ‘bar, bolt, rowing bench in a ship’. It is easy to assume this meaning applied, because the more basic He. form zdugón / ζυγόν likewise meant ‘crossbar, thwarts/benches joining the opposite sides of a ship (in pl. ζυγά)’. As for the phonetics, the He. form is somewhat ambiguous: PU *-a parallels Dor. -ά – further justified in an expected Dor. δ- for Att./Ion. ζ- (cf. δυγός ~ ζυγός) – although a Dor. form of ζυγητή is not attested, requiring my own reconstruction as HU *dugātā́. However, Ko. sti̮k ‘crossbar’ shows s-, not found in other U reflexes. This is explained as “secondary”, which I neither agree nor disagree with. If it is secondary, He. d- > PU *t- could be attributed – if rather primary, He zd- > PU *(s)t- could also be suitable. Re. medial -ā- loss in Uralic, a comparison is drawn with HFS tʰy̌́gatēr > Early PS *tüktär. This does not explain HU *-gāt- > PU *-kt- >> Sa. -tk- in totko: But since PU *tukta >> Sa. totko has already been reconstructed, I do not attempt to resolve this.

mḗlē ~ mḗlǣ?
paddle, rudder (PU); probe, specillum (He.)
PFP *melä <> He. mḗlē / μήλη < ?

The overall vowel correspondence is unclear, as the reconstruction mḗlǣ would imply that α>η occurred asymmetrically (if μήλη < *μα-λα). Alternatively, FP > He. loaning is not ruled out, given the unknown etymology of He. μήλη. Re. semantic distance: Compare the shape of the specillum.

bottom (of a vessel)
PFP *puntɜ-ksɜ ~ PU *puntaksi > PMa. *pŭndaš ~ (Pre)PMa. **pŭndakS? > He. púndaks / πύνδαξ < ?
Con. “Germanic loanword mediated through a northern Balkan language” (Mihaylova 2016, p. 312), as would be evidenced by H Púdna / Πύδνα (a place in Macedonia; see Kretschmer 1933, pp. 115-119). However, FEE describes this proposal (along with several others) as unconvincing. I am also unconvinced, due to the lack of both evidence and need for H -dn- > -nd-; or PreH -dn- > H -nd- metathesis (see below).

If PU *puntaksi < PII b(ʰ)udʰna- continues to be accepted without objection (Holopainen 2019, p. 194), then He. πύνδαξ, of PreH origin, bears closer affinity to U than II in three regards: p-, -nd/t-, and -k-:

p-: Α “convincing” explanation has not been made for He. π- vs. φ- (FEE), which could rather be derived from a U *p- without phonological issue.

-nd/t-: He. presents -tn- (πότνια), -tʰ- (ἔθνος), and -dn- (ὕδνον – from PreH): So internal metathesis from an II or Pre-Greek loan would be unnecessary. This does not, however, explain -nd- < PU *-nt-, where instead PMa. *pŭndaš agrees with He. -nd-.

-k-: Neither -ks nor -Hs are present in PII *bʰudʰnás, leaving open the comparison of the denominative PU suffix *-ksɜ (UUE p. 117) with He. -(α)ξ, although this comparison is made strictly on a phonological vs. morphological basis, since “-ks(V)” has not yet been demonstrated as a HU suffix; and He. -αξ is a suffix found in both IE and PreH etymologies (eg: IE κόραξ and μεῖραξ, PreH λάβραξ and σκύλαξ). However, in light of the Ma. variant pŭntakš (UEW #1512), I posit (Pre)PMa. **pŭndakS, which would phonologically parallel He. púndaks, and imply a PMa. ~ PrePMa. > He. loan. Based on this, I reconstruct HMa. púndaks ~ *púndakS with the meaning ‘bottom (of a vessel)’, where “vessel” could refer to a container, sled, or possibly ship (cf. Ma. pundaš / пундаш “кленча, тер пундаш” = ‘bottom of a bottle, sled’ [MED]).

Based on this information, I reconstruct HMa. púndaks ~ púndakS with the meaning ‘bottom (of a vessel)’, where “vessel” could refer to a container, sled, or possibly ship.

handle (Fi.); handle, handle of an oar, oar (He.)
PF kahva <? He. kṓpā (cf. kṓpē / κώπη) << PIE *kóh₂p-eh₂

The exact reasoning behind the phonological shifts is uncertain. He. -ṓ- > PF *-a- vs. He. ō̃ > PF *-oo- may be due to the acute vs. circumflex accentuation. The original reconstruction of F *-h- is reminiscent of PIE *-h₂-: Perhaps this laryngeal was still pronounced in archaic Greek; or perhaps it was a F innovation (cf. Fi. kahvi < Swe. kaffe). He. -p- > F -v- is regular.

laĩf͔os ~ laíf͔ē ~ laĩf͔a ~ laív͔a
ship (Fi.); sail (He.)
PF *laiva > He. laĩf͔os / λαῖφος ~ laíf͔ē / λαίφη ~ laĩf͔a / λαῖφα ~ laív͔a / λαίβα < ?

The definition of He. λαίβα as τρίβων ‘worn garment, threadbare cloak’ may relate to λαῖφος/λαίφη ‘shabby, tattered garment; piece of cloth or canvas, sail’ (modern He. λαίφος means ‘small sail’); and is also defined as ἀσπίς ‘shield’, as with laĩpʰa / λαῖφα (and pl. acc. λαίας). The etymological connection between these terms is unknown; but all are defined as “Pre-Greek” due to the phonetic variations. Since PF *laiva has a clear etymology with regular phonology, it is suitable to consider the various He. terms as the result of PF > H loaning. The semantic discrepancy of Fi. ‘ship’ with He. ‘sail’ and ‘shield’ is unresolved; I speculate that the He. terms may have originally described the Finnic sails and vessels – perhaps in a pejorative manner. He. λαῖφος is attested in Homer’s Odyssey with the meaning ‘ragged cloth, poor garment’, with the meaning ‘sail’ found in other Archaic poetry: So it is unclear which meaning was original. The phonetic ambiguity of HF -f͔- ~ -v͔-, along with the the semantic variation between terms, makes this proposal uncertain. The HU value f͔ suggests a later loan, but these terms were present since the Archaic period, which is synchronous with initial contact: So it may rather be that He. pʰ / φ was the closest phonetic approximation (along with b / β for PF *v) that was available at the time and place of loaning.

askérā ~ askérē ~ áskaros?
step (PU); shoe (He.)
PU *aśke-lɜ ~ *aśkili ~ *aćkali- <> He. ἀσκέρα ~ ἀσκέρη ~ ἄσκαρος? < ?

The direction of loaning is unclear due to ambiguity of the PU suffix *-li; but PU has a more basal verb root *aśke ~ *aćka- ‘to step’. He. ἀσκέρα ‘winter shoe with fur lining’ has been compared with ἄσκαρος ‘type of shoe’, compared with askós / ἀσκός ‘bag made of animal skin’, compared with askéō / ἀσκέω ‘to work on, form, exercise, train’ – which are all of Pre-Greek or unknown etymologies. Also compare Fi. askare ‘chore’, of unknown etymology. The discrepancy *-śk- vs. *-ćk- is reminiscent of He. páskos / πάσκος <? PF *paska < PU *paćka ~ *pućka. This might strengthen the argument for a H < U loan.


The type(s) of boat(s) used is unclear; but it is inferred that, due to its description as an ‘ark’, the vē̃nos boat was flat-bottomed: This description is suitable to a boat used for river travel, as it would prevent its púndaks from running aground on the riverbeds – as well as on the shallow depths of the Sea of Azov. Perhaps long-distance travelers would have embarked and disembarked the vē̃nos in one of the colonies of the Bosporus, such as Pantikapaion or Phanagoria (or Olbia if on the Dnieper). From there, the vē̃nos would have been rowed north up the river(s) of Scythia during ice-free months. The rowers of the vē̃nos would have sat upon the *dugātā́, and rowed their mḗlē in unison. Sails were probably not a major feature of this boat.

The skápʰos appears to be (in the Helleno-Uralic world) a Ugric phenomenon, which might attest nautical travel along rivers better suited to small vessels, in an area outside the more central Helleno-Finno-Volgaic(-Permic) zone. This will be discussed more in an upcoming post.

The pʰolkḗ might have been a barge towed by the vē̃nos; or alternatively, a sled pulled over land and ice by some means – perhaps the primary form of winter travel, perhaps on the same frozen rivers as would have been traveled by the vē̃nos when ice-free. It would be contextually related to the pʰolkós as the path itself, showing tracks of the pʰolkḗ.

The askérā may have been a winter shoe that was suitable to wear in the cold weather of the northern contact zones. It is unclear what roles the kṓpā and laĩf͔os would have played in Helleno-Uralic contact. If they are tenable proposals, they would appear confined to Helleno-Finnic contact.

Kiitos Paljon = Kǐ̃dos Pollʲón = Κῦδος Πολλόν

So much done, yet so much to do. I am now proposing new terms on Reddit on a daily basis – we’ll see how long that can last.

I have been working on Helleno-Uralic theory for almost two years now. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing, with only maniacal enthusiasm to guide me in lieu of an education in historical linguistics. The current form of Finngreek is actually the third version I created (plus a recent, important orthographical revision): The other two versions now a distant memory. I look back at words and ideas I proposed two years ago with self-pity – and yet somehow, through every flaw, I am at a point now where I am more confident than ever to share my research with the world.

The main project I am working on now is my first academic paper. I hope for it to be complete before the year’s end. In this paper, I will divulge the anthropological and linguistic reasonings behind my theory. It will be an expansive – but hopefully succinct – foray into my current state of mind regarding Helleno-Uralic contact.

I have removed virtually all content from this website, because it is terribly outdated. The “About” page also requires extensive revision: I will probably rewrite the entire page from scratch, once I have finished my current studies regarding the background information behind my proposed contact period(s).

When I had started Finngreek – back when it was not Helleno-Uralic theory but “Helleno-Finnic theory” – my inspiration was to create an auxiliary language through which Finnish and Greek speakers could easily communicate, helping to re-cement a bond I had felt existed since 3,000 years ago.

More than ever, I continue to believe that around 2,700 years ago, a Hellenic adstrate in the Uralic language continuum resulted in a considerable amount of lexical affinity between (ancient) Greek and Finnish, Estonian, Sami, Hungarian, Khanty, Mansi, Mari, Moksha, Erzya, Udmurt, Komi, Nenets, Nganasan, Selkup, and so on. However, the more new proposals that have come into play, the more painfully evident it has been made that a mutually intelligible auxlang for any single Uralic language with Greek is simply out of the question. Even just within Greek, it is impossible to achieve mutual intelligibility with Finngreek, due to the considerable amount of obscure and obsolete Hellenic terms involved.

On the bright side, this inevitable truth has allowed for Finngreek to become a unique and abundant – if not grammatically stunted – (re)constructed language, offering great insight into the cross-cultural basis for Helleno-Uralic theory. While there are still various problems requiring attention (eg: Differentiating between Hellenic and Proto-Indo-European in ambiguous contexts), I have finally established a reliable phonological paradigm for the evaluation of my proposals: And through this, I am steadily nearing the moment when I can publish my research to share with the world. Once my paper is finally released, I will be able to contribute more time to blogging here, and creating educational and artistic content on Youtube and other platforms for the discussion and celebration of Finngreek and Helleno-Uralic theory.

I’d like to wish you all onḗn kǐkeíān (frenzied fortune) and kǐ̃dos pollʲón (much praise)!