Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen 53


Raija Bartens
Über die Deklinationen im Mordwinischen

The first aim of this paper is to find out how the two declensions of the Mordvin languages, the basic declension and the definite declension, have come into being. Secondly, the various ways of using the Mordvin case forms as construction elements in sentences are scrutinized: first, the predicate – in Mordvin, nouns can be used as predicates – then the subject, the object, the oblique and, finally, loose elements of the sentence. Special attention is given to the influence of definiteness on the case marking. Finally, it is assumed that in Mordvin the need to mark the PATIENT as definite was the main motive for the development of the definite declension.

Kaisa Häkkinen & Terttu Lempiäinen
Die ältesten Getreidepflanzen der Finnen und ihre Namen

[The oldest grain plants of the Finns and their names]

Archaeologists and linguists agree that the ancestors of present-day Finns must have lived in Finland by the Stone Age, before there was any botanical evidence of grain cultivation. The names of grain plants are innovations, possibly loanwords. All macrofossils of grain plants dated to the period before Christ have been found in western Finland, though new archaeological research in southeastern Finland may change this picture; however, it is probable that grain cultivation came to (western) Finland from the west or the south.

In this article, the grain plants and their Finnic names are examined, combining the results of palaeobotanical and linguistic research; both show that the grain plants and their names, despite their all-Finnic distribution, are innovations of different ages. The first grain plants were barley (Fi. ohra, usually considered a Baltic loanword but possibly older) and wheat (Fi. vehnä, an Eastern Finnic word with cognates in the Volgaic languages, or nisu; the two Finnic words might reflect the possible twofold' origins of grain cultivation in Finland). The cultivation of rye and particularly oats began much later, and their names are Germanic loanwords: Fi. ruis is a typical "Wanderwort", while Fi. kaura recalls one of the many Germanic words for 'oats'.

Riho Grünthal
Kann man auf die ostseefinnisch-permische Gleichsetzung fi. joukko ~ wotj. l'uk, juk ~ syrj. juk verzichten?


Oleg Sergeev
Alexander Bessonov's "Cheremissko-Russkij slovar'" of the second half of the 19th century

This paper concerns the manuscript of "Cheremis-Russian Dictionary" of the second half of the 19th century. At present the dictionary is kept in the State Archive of the Kirov region. The author of this unique text is A. G. Bessonov of the Kazan linguistic school, the famous scholar of Turkic languages in the Volga region, ethnographer and folklorist. Considerable help in collecting the material was given by N. P. Ostroumov, who was Professor N. I. Ilminski's student and later the teacher of Tatar in the Kazan church seminary. Two Mari women, Tokmakova and Vorontsova (unfortunately first names are not mentioned), Urzhum and Jaransk dialect speakers, were among Bessonov's helpers.

The first reference to the "Cheremis-Russian Dictionary" occurs in Professor I. G. Ivanovs monograph "History of the Mari Literary Language" [Yoshkar-Ola 1975, p. 34], but he does not discuss the dictionary itself. This article gives the first detailed historico-linguistic and paleographical analysis of this invaluable literary text of the Mari language of last century.

Dimitri Nesanelis
Correlation between ritual and children's game in Komi traditional

This article studies the relationship between world view, rituals and games, as reflected especially in Komi children's games, on the basis of new field research. Children's games often preserve archaic elements and rituals, but they are more than "survivals of rituals". Games and rituals can be regarded as different but interacting means of transmitting the information significant for the collective.