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Päivitetty 18.3.2006  –  Palautteet

Virittäjä-lehti  >  Hakemistot  >  Kirjoitukset ja tiivistelmät: 1/2006 (110)

On the Absolute Chronology of the Proto-Languages of Finnish

The proto-languages of Finnish have usually been dated as follows:

As the table shows, the dating of the later proto-languages has been modified considerably over the years, whereas the dating of Proto-Uralic has remained at around 4000 BC (if less reliable dating based on archaeological continuity, lexicostatistics, etc., is left aside). The dating of Proto-Uralic has been supported by linguistic palaeontology. For example, Common Uralic *pata ‘clay pot’ cannot have existed before the sixth millennium BC, and Common Uralic *ś ‘metal’ cannot have existed before the fifth millennium BC.

However, loanword studies contradict the dating of Proto-Uralic to 4000 BC. Two reasons are given for this. First, Proto-Indo-Iranian loanwords with a wide distribution in the Finno-Ugrian languages suggest that the branches of Finno-Ugrian had not yet linguistically diverged from one another in the latter half of the third millennium BC, when Proto-Indo-Iranian was most likely spoken. Second, Northwest Germanic loanwords in Finnic and Sámic similarly suggest that Finnic and Sámic were still two dialects of the same Proto-Finno-Sámic language as late as the latter half of the first millennium BC, when Northwest Germanic most likely came into being.

Hence, while the dating of the later proto-languages shown in the table appears to hold true, that of Proto-Uralic to 4000 BC seems to be too early. There cannot have been several millennia between Proto-Uralic and Proto-Finno-Sámic, the reconstructions of which suggest they were almost identical with one another. This being the case, the spread of Proto-Uralic can hardly be connected with the spread of the Combed Ware Style 2 culture around 3900 BC. However, the spread of e.g. the Sejma-Turbino Transcultural Phenomenon as late as around 1900 BC would be a chronologically more plausible archaeological correlation. The writer supports the notion that there was clearly a Finnic homeland on both sides of the Gulf of Finland at the beginning of the Current Era.

Petri Kallio