What’s going on with Finngreek? Updates!

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to be as simple and helpful as possible, maximizing words made from etymological comparisons, while eliminating outdated and inaccurate words.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 Hyperborean Aurora: Reflecting the Northern Lights through Finngreek Etymology

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.

Northern Lights = Harp/Χарп (Nenets) < *karpə <? *korpe- (‘to blaze/scorch’) =
Harpa/Harpe/Harpi =
Αρπ- (Απράζω, Άρπη, *Αρπετόν, etc.)

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 selá hamaráse = 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!

The Uralic Origin of Finngreek: A Sami Source

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:

Wife (Inari Sami) = Kálgu = Hálokho = Άλοχος
Drum (Northern Sami) = Gobdis = Kopti = Κόπτει (Strike/Beat/Pound/Knock)
Rain (Ter Sami) = Âbbʹre = Ambre = Όμβρε
Squirrel (Inari), Tail/Rear = Uárree = Órre = Όρρε
Eye (Lule Sami) = Tjalmme = Thalmé = Οφθαλμέ
Air/Wind (Inari) = Alme = Anme = Άνεμε

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.)

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

_______________________________________________________________________

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!

Hungarian-Hellenic Affinity: Teljes = Τelḗeis (Τελήεις)

(This post is not written as an article, but just notes about my proposal of affinity between the following Hungarian [and thereby Uralic] and Hellenic terms.)

teljes (also **tele/teli** for ‘full’):

entire, full, total

complete

τελήεις/telḗeis:

(of sacrificial victims) complete, perfect, entire, without blemish

(of animals and humans) full-grown, adult

Related to, and largely synonymous with…

τέλειος:

having reached its end, finished

(of victims) complete, perfect, entire, without blemish

(of animals and humans) full-grown, adult

(of persons) absolute, complete, accomplished, perfect

(of things)

(of prayers, vows, etc.) fulfilled, accomplished

(of numbers) full, complete

(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

last

(neuter substantive) a royal banquet

(feminine substantive) a full stop, period

(adverb) at last

completely, absolutely

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:

Samoyedic: *kïj

Kamassian: ки (ki)

Ugric:

Hungarian: hó, hold

Mordvinic:

Erzya: ков (kov)

Finnic: *kuu

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.

Finngreek Syntax

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)

Mja pjomaan tåtå?
Mja pjoma tåtåån?
Mjaan tåtå pjoma?
Mja tåtå pjomaan?
Tåtå pjoma mjaan?
Pjomaan tåtå mja?

The last one is pretty unusual, and I would probably never naturally think or say it, but it’s still understandable to read, which underlines the free word order. Let’s try a more complex sentence:

The fruit is made by the tree / Hedloba tehdontae phuthe (fruit made-is tree-from)

Hedloba tehdontae phuthe
Phuthe tehdontae hedloba
Tehdontae phuthe hedloba
Hedloba phuthe tehdontae
Phuthe hedloba tehdontae
Tehdontae hedloba phuthe

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 = Sooma tso rooga
Because the person and food are both in 3rd person, there is no way to determine who is eating whom. If it were “Rooga tso sooma“, then the food would be 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, the sentence order can be free again:

The person eats the food = Sooma tso roogan

Sooma tso roogan
Roogan sooma tso
Tso roogan sooma
Sooma roogan tso
Roogan tso sooma
Tso sooma roogan

Now you can make any three-word sentence into 6 options. Poikilia poikitse!