Finngreek 101: Nouns 1

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.


-OS

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 (-os>-so):
Valley, Pit/Reservoir = Laakso = Laakos = Λάκος
Laakos>Laakso

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]-.)

Metathesis + Debuccaliztion + -Ch->-Ck-
Path = Polku = Poros = Πόρος
Poros>Porso>Porho>Polku

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.

Venoporo = Boat Path / Canal


-E

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.

-I

An -i final noun in Finngreek can also indicate what was -ις/-is in ancient Greek, but is now -η/-i in modern Greek:

Memory = Muisti = Mvisti(s) = Μνήστις > Μνήστη
Child, Pregnancy = Lapsi = Syllapsi(s) = Σύλλαψις >> Σύλληψη

The suffix -i can also indicate a perceived final syllable loss of a word ending in -si(s) in Greek:

Sense = Aisti/Haisti = (H)aisthisi(s) = Αίσθησις/Αίσθηση
Information/Communication = Tieto = Diadosi(s) = Διάδοσι(ς)

Some proposals could theoretically fit into either category:

Good Luck, Happiness = Onni = Oni(si[s]) = Όνησι(ς), Ονή
Plant, Growth of Plants = Kasvi = Havksi(si[s]) = Αύξησι(ς), Αύξη

Hypsohakri = Tip of the Summit


-MA

The -ma suffix is interesting when comparing Finnish and Greek, because it involves a -t(a) plural form in both languages. This will be discussed more in a post for Noun Plurals.

Rage, Suffering = Vimma = Pima/Piimma = Πήμα
Finn, Person, Human = Suoma = Sooma = Σώμα
Drink = Juoma = Pjooma = Πώμα
Edge, Chasm = Särmä = Sarma = Σάρμα
Power, Battle-cry = Voima = Voima = Βόημα
Fog, Mist, Rain = Usma = Usma = Ύσμα


There are more suffixes to be explained, like -a(s) and -kkoo, in Nouns 2.



Finngreek 101: Verbs 1

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 = 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”


-([O]ISI[N])

-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 = They could see to the pasture
Tattome pjomata = We want drinks
Tattoisime pjomata, kiidos = We would like drinks, thanks


Imperative Verbs

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!