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to be as simple and helpful as possible, maximizing words made from etymological comparisons, while eliminating outdated and inaccurate words.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 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.)

Finngreek and the Oracle of Delphi

(Top picture: Hercules and Omphale, by Jacopo Amigoni)

The etymological research undertaken for Finngreek suggests a possible connection between Helleno-Uralic contact and oracular activity.

Holy, Sacred = Pyhä = Pythā = Πῡθώ, Πῡθῐ́ᾱ

Pythā (the Finngreek form of Πῡθώ) means ‘Pytho(n)’. Pytho is the ancient name of Delphi, and the Python was the monstrous snake which lived at the Oracle when it was dedicated to Gaia (the Earth), until it was slain by Pythian Apollo, making the Oracle of Delphi instead dedicated to him. The Pythia was the high priestess of the Oracle, and the one who breathed the sacred fumes in order to give prophecies to her supplicants. Finnish Pyhä, from reconstructed Proto-Finno-Permic *pišä (with which I disagree), has an interesting duality along with its Uralic cognates: The descendant terms (except for Finnic and Samic) primarily have a strongly negative meaning, including ‘unholy, heathen, sin, dirty’, and ‘foul’. I wonder about whether this might have implications for the “evil” that was the Python; or even conversion from paganism to other religions. Regardless, the resulting Finngreek term is Pythā (-ā because ä = a, ā = ω). This analysis comes with more terms:

Man, Slave, Servant = Orja = Orjā(n) = Ορεάν/Ορειάν
Perfume, Incense = Tuoksu = Thuosku = Θύος/Θυοσκόος/Θυοσκοπία/θυΐσκη/Θύλημα < Θύω
Storm, Wind, Future; To come = Thulla, Thuuli, etc.* < Θύελλα/Θυέλλη < Θύω
(*There is a great deal of variety to this term: Thullea, Thule, Thulli, and so on.)

Starting with Orjā: The Finnish term Orja (slave) has been compared with ‘Aryan’, but it is unknown where both terms come from. Finngreek offers an alternative etymology for Orja, being Ορεάν(ες), which is the term for ‘men’ in the Pythia’s mystical language that she spoke at the Oracle of Delphi. The semantics of ‘slave, servant’ from Uralic reflexes, if stemming from Ορεάν, would not describe the life of a typical slave, but the male priest attendants of the Pythian high priestess.

The Greek Θύω (To sacrifice, burn, consult [an oracle]; to rush in, storm, rage), may have resulted in a wide array of terms in Finnish and Greek. This includes Greek Θύελλα (Storm), Θύος (Burnt sacrifice), Θυοσκόος (The sacrificing priest), Θυοσκοπία (Divination), θυΐσκη (Incense holder), Θύλημα (Incense), along with many other terms; as well as Finnish Tulla (To come), Tulva (Flood), Tuleva (Future), Tuuli (Wind), Tuulahdus (Breeze, Gust, Waft, Blowing), and Tuli (Fire).

I hypothesize that these terms all illustrate the experience of the Oracle: Receiving a prophecy from the holy “Priestess of the Python”, during which she was intoxicated with the sweetly perfumed, smoky vapors rising from under the earth.

Terpe!

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.