Päivi and Phoebe: A New Perspective

Giuseppe Collignon, Prometheus Steals Fire from Apollo’s Sun Chariot, 1814

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:

Day, Light = Päivä/-i, *peajvē =
Pha/Phaia/Phaiva(-ta plural), Phaive/Phaivi/Pheive/Pheivi/Phoive/Phoivi (-es plural), Phoivo =
Φοίβος/Φοίβε, Φοίβη, Φάεα/Φαύεα, Φαίνω

Φοίβος/Phoebus/Sun = Phaiva(s)/Phoivo(s), Phaive/Pheive/Phoive
Φοίβη/Phoebe/Moon = Phaivi/Pheivi/Phoivi, Phaive/Pheive/Phoive

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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!

Sense = Aisti = Aistisi = Αίσθηση

Sense, Scent, Perception, Feeling:
Aisti<Haisti = Aistisi/Haisthisi, Aisthi = Αίσθηση

To sense/perceive, smell
Haistaa = Aistaa/Aisthaa/HaisthaaAistaan(-om), etc. = Αισθάνομαι

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This is the first word in Finngreek I didn’t find myself! A very cool Finn in our Discord server brought the word to my attention. All I can say is: It’s a good word!

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Aisthaanomaetta haisthisi hypaee = I sense that the smell is good

Aisthi atta aistaam ahypae = The scent that I smell is good

Aisthaame kluklada puulubuutarase = We smell flowers in the garden

Aistisi, idoni = The feeling, joy (Your feeling, my joy)

Sleep = Uni < *Une = Uvne = Ύπνε

Sleep = Uni < *Une = UvneUvni = Ύπνε, Ύπνοι

Sleepy = Unelias = UvneilosUvneljosYvnelias, etc. = Υπναλέος, Υπνηλός, Υπνηλίας

Hypnic (Sleep-inducing), Poppy = Unikko = Uvnikoo = Υπνικός

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As is regular in many word proposals from Hellenic into Proto-Uralic/Proto-Finno-Permic/Proto-Finno-Ugric, etc., the final *-e relates to Greek vocative case. However, because nominative plural is also often a source, I include Greek húpnoi > ípni, as the pronunciation of Greek οι in the modern language is /i/, as in uni – so there are two forms: Uvne and Uvni. Additionally, a third form is available through the artificial hypervowel ei/ej: Uvnei/Uvnej.

This term for ‘sleepy’ is complicated by the sheer variety of derived adjectives from ύπνε which could theoretically follow phonological shifts from Hellenic into Finnic. Because of this, there are various ways to describe being ‘sleepy, drowsy’, etc., such as: Uvneilos/Uvnejlas, Uvneleas, Uvneljos, etc. Additionally, there is a very close phonetic match to unelias, which is hupnelias>ipnilias (υπνηλίας, ‘of drowsiness’), or Finngreek Yvnelias/Uvnilias, etc. I don’t believe this would be the exact word Finnish unelias came from, as it may have only been in use since Koine Greek. However, its phonetic parallels with Greek υπνηλίας make it a great word “Hypæklæssæđe” (for the Finngreek language).

The Finngreek term Uvnikoo is a new favorite of mine. I often demonstrate the vowel stress in Greek being after geminate consonants in Finnish, thus -kko<-koo(-κό). To me, this term helps to illustrate the state of medicine in the “Finngreek era”, with poppy being used as a hypnic (sleep-inducing) substance. Its analgesic properties were probably welcome for anyone who could afford it or grow it (poppies may have originated in the Mediterranean) in Finland, since the lifestyle of living on gruel and working in the harsh fields – or gathering mushrooms and berries all day; stripping bark from trees, and so on – probably wasn’t very kind to the body.

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Some related Finngreek words, which aren’t clear proposals, but fall into the category of “sleep”:

Dream, Paradise = Onni (happiness, luck), Onnela = Onela/Onera, One/Oni/Onei = Όνειρα

Happy, Idyllic, Fantastic = Onnellinen = Onerimen = Ονειρεμένος

This comparison is due to the Komi (Permic) and Erzya (Mordvinic) shared term for “dream”: On/Oн.

I believe these terms, due to their similarities in phonetics and semantics, may not be from a reconstruction like Proto-Finno-Ugric *adema, but actually from ónar/óneira (όναρ/όνειρα), or a similar variant.

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One question arises for me amid these proposals: The origin of Finnish unelma (dream) and unelmoida (to daydream). I looked for comparable terms in Greek. The noun suffix ‘-ma’ is common in both Finnish and Greek; and there is a Greek term for ‘daydream’, oneiropoolejma (ονειροπόλημα; from ονειροπολέω, ‘to daydream/deal with dreams’). However, this term is quite long – and given that Finnish unelma matches more closely with ύπνε, I am inclined to believe that ‘unelma’ descends from a word that was lost (or that I can’t find) somewhere between Late Proto-Hellenic (or Mycenaean) and Homeric Greek. Were unelma<oneiropoolejma, it would require the exchange of *une/*uni in place of oneiro, as well as loss of -πό-.

While this is an obscure mystery (amara mysteejri), we can take away from this post new words to describe sleeping, dreaming – and even a flower!

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Uvneeme nytaethae hameraze = We sleep from night to morning

Uvneilossae? Uvneljomae = Are you sleepy? I’m sleepy

Uvnikoon uvnikluklo = The poppy is a sleep-flower

Toto uvnikoo tehdomae uvnelias = This hypnic (medicine) makes me sleepy

Uvnemuse oneon = In my sleep (there) is a dream

Oneraa kaonii thesiija = Paradise is a beautiful place

Onerimenom ezoemuse kode tehto hypaeduuli = I’m happy in my life when doing good work