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!

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!

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!

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

The Finngreek Hypervowel Heart (Hyvǽđifyrín)

The Hypervowel Heart (Finngreek: Hyvǽđifyrín) is a method to explain the relationships of vowels between Finnish and Greek. There are two types of hypervowels: 3-range (Hre-aule), and 5-range (Vindi-aule).

Three-range hypervowels (Hreaulehyvǽđes) consist of three vowels in a chain, where the middle vowel is considered the hypervowel. For example: If a vowel in Finnish is an “e”, and a vowel in Greek is an “i”, the hypervowel is “ei”. This is shown as “e-ei-i” in the hypervowel system.

Likewise, five-range hypervowels (Vindiaulehyvǽđes) consist of five vowels in a chain, where the first and fifth vowels are represented in the middle hypervowel. For example: If a vowel in Finnish is an “a”, and a vowel in Greek is a “u”, the hypervowel is “o”. This is shown as “a-å-o-uo-u” in the hypervowel system.
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Here are some example of words that can be proposed as related through their hypervowels:

Highland = Ylämaa + Ypsåma (Ύψωμα). The hypervowel is A (æ-a-å). Note that the vowels ä and ω equal æ and å, respectively. This results in Finngreek Yvama.

Sublime = Ylevä + Ypsilaa (Υψηλά; modern Greek pronunciation). The hypervowel is EI (e-ei-i). This results in Finngreek Yveila, or Yvejlá. Please note that ei=ej, because this hypervowel oftentimes corresponds with the Greek letter ejta (Ηη), which held this phonetic value in Ancient Greek.

Moon = Kuu<*kuŋe + Kiikle (Κύκλε; modern pronunciation). The hypervowel is Y (u-y-i). This always corresponds with the letter ypsilon, which was pronounced /y/, as the letter is pronounced in modern Finnish. This results in Finngreek Kyykle. However, it can also be written Kuukle, which I often do to make it easier to recognize for Finns and Greeks, due to the similarity of u and υ.

Basically, hypervowels correspond to phonological values which are found in Ancient Greek and Proto-Hellenic – and how they descend into the modern Finnish and Greek languages.
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Many times, Finnish and Greek vowels are only one degree apart (if they are not just the same phonetic value). For example:

Mountain = Vuori + Ori<*worwos (Όροι/Όρη). The letter W (digamma) was lost in Greek, but its remnants can still be seen in Homeric ouros (ούρος), where *wo>ou (/u/ in modern Greek); and Mycenaean Greek (wo-wo). While a range of three vowels is not demonstrated, the hypervowel is still known because of the relationship between the adjacent vowels o and uo/wo. Therefore: o-uo-u. In Finngreek, I normally write mountain as Wori.
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Five-range hypervowels are rare by comparison, and only correspond to certain phonological values. One that is common throughout Indo-European languages is the e-o shift. Basically, throughout the evolution of languages, the vowels e and o can trade places. For example:

Tax = Vero + Foros (from fero/φέρω, ‘to carry/bring’). The Ancient Greek origin demonstrates the e in modern Finnish Vero. This is technically an example of a 5-range hypervowel, where the hypervowel is A (e-æ-a-å-o). However, in Finngreek, this manifests as a word with multiples varieties: Vero/Fero, and Voro/Foro.

This is a big part of the Finngreek concept of Poikilia Poikitse, which means “Variety Everywhere”. The relationships of vowel phonemes through their hypervowels can result in multiple ways that words can be written and pronounced.
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In Finngreek, hypervowels are used to propose the common origin of modern Finnish (via Proto-Finnic and Proto-Uralic) and Greek words from archaic Greek. They are essential for understanding vowel shifts. The Hypervowel Heart I’ve made does not explain every way vowels can share relationships (one good example of this is the Greek αυ > Finnish ä, which I will discuss in a later post). However, a Uralic word can not be proposed to be loaned from Hellenic, unless the root word adheres to the vowel relationships illustrated in the Finngreek Hypervowel Heart.

I hope this has helped to answer some questions you may have about hypervowels. Feel free to ask more about the Hypervowel Heart in the comments!