Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen 61


Jaakko Häkkinen, University of Helsinki []
After the protolanguage: Invisible convergence, false divergence and boundary shift

I discuss the processes involved in the birth of a language family: what kind of processes can happen or may have happened between the common protolanguage and the present-day languages. I do not consider the subject at a purely theoretical level, but rather through examples drawn from the Uralic studies. I name certain processes which have not (to my knowledge) previously been explicitly analyzed. I also argue that the taxonomic structure of a language family cannot be reliably reconstructed on the basis of the lexical level, and even less so if based on lexical retentions, which has been the common practice in lexicostatistic studies.

Václav Blažek, Masaryk University []
Was there a Volgaic unity within Finno-Ugric?

The purpose of the present study is to determine if the Volgaic branch (consisting of Mordvin and Mari) represents a real taxonomic unit in terms of the genetic classification of the Finno-Ugric/Uralic language family.

Michael Knüppel, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen []
Ugrisch und Penuti

The article deals with attempts to “connect” the Ob-Ugrian languages with the Penuti group of languages spoken in North America (California, Oregon etc.) in terms of a genetic relationship. Such attempts were undertaken by Otto J. v. Sadovszky (1925–2004), who considered the speakers of Penuti languages to be migrants from the Ob-Ugrian area in North Siberia; he tried to establish a new language family, which he and his followers called “Cal-Ugrian”. In the article, I first outline previous attempts to connect American Indian languages with Siberian languages, language families and groups of languages. I then present theories attempting to establish a relationship between the Uralic and the North American languages, as well as v. Sadovszky’s “Cal-Ugrian” theory; and demonstrate the weakness of the methods used by v. Sadovszky and his students.

Silvia Kutscher, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Munster []
Emotionsverben im Estnischen: Konstruktionsvarianz und Kausalstruktur

The article deals with the constructional variation of emotion predicates in Estonian. It gives an overview of constructional types, including information on their quantitative distribution. I show that one characteristic of Estonian is the formation of pairs of converses, i.e. paired emotion verbs, which have the same emotional semantics but different argument realisation patterns. These converses are based on derivational morphology, such as the causative morpheme ‑ta ‘CAUS’. Causative derivation has been adduced in the theoretical literature as support for the assumption that the cross-linguistically widespread constructional variation in emotion predicates has its origin in a difference in the causal structure in verbal semantics. The article shows that the data for Estonian contradict this assumption.