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The Finnic (''Fennic'') or more precisely Balto-Finnic (''Balto-Fennic''; Baltic Finnic, ''Baltic Fennic'') languages, are a branch of the
Uralic language family The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writin ...
spoken around the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
by the
Baltic Finnic peoples The Baltic Finnic peoples, Baltic Sea Finns, Baltic Finns, sometimes also Western Finns, often simply referred to as the Finnic peoples, are Finno-Ugric peoples The Finno-Ugric peoples or Finno-Ugrian peoples, are the Ethnic groups in Europe, ...
. There are around 7 million speakers who live mainly in Finland and Estonia. Traditionally, eight Finnic languages have been recognized. The major modern representatives of the family are
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
and
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
, the official languages of their respective nation states.Finnic Peoples
at
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
The other Finnic languages in the Baltic Sea region are Ingrian and
Votic Votic, or Votian (''vaďďa tšeeli'', ''maatšeeli''), is the language spoken by the Votes A vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Elect ...

Votic
, spoken in
Ingria Historical Ingria ( izh, Ingermaa, fi, Inkeri or '; russian: link=no, Ингрия, ''Ingriya'', , ''Izhora'', or , ''Ingermanlandiya''; sv, Ingermanland; et, Ingeri or ') is the geographical area located along the southern shore of the , ...
by the
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland to the north and E ...
; and Livonian, once spoken around the
Gulf of Riga The Gulf of Riga, Bay of Riga, or Gulf of Livonia ( lv, Rīgas jūras līcis, et, Liivi laht, russian: Рижский залив) is a bay of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . ...

Gulf of Riga
. Spoken farther northeast are
Karelian
Karelian
,
Ludic
Ludic
and Veps, in the region of Lakes Onega and
Ladoga
Ladoga
. In addition, since the 1990s, several Finnic-speaking minority groups have emerged to seek recognition for their languages as distinct from the ones they have been considered dialects of in the past. Some of these groups have established their own orthographies and standardised languages. Võro and
Seto Seto may refer to: Places * Seto, Aichi, production place of Japanese pottery and venue of Expo 2005 * Seto, Ehime, facing the Seto Inland Sea *Seto, Okayama, adjacent to Okayama, in Okayama Prefecture *Seto Inland Sea of Japan *Setomaa (''Seto l ...
, which are spoken in southeastern
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
and in some parts of
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
are considered dialects of Estonian by some linguists while other linguists consider them separate languages.
Meänkieli Meänkieli (literally "our language") is a Finnic language or a group of distinct Finnish dialects spoken in the northernmost part of Sweden along the valley of the Torne River The Torne, also known as the Tornio ( fi, Tornionjoki, sv, Torne ...

Meänkieli
and
Kven Kven may refer to: * Kven people Kven may refer to: * Kven people, a Finnic ethnic group of Norway * Kven language, the Finnic language spoken by them * something from, or associated with, ancient Kvenland * Kven Sea * KVEN, a defunct American ...

Kven
are spoken in northern
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
and
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
respectively and have the legal status of independent minority languages. They were earlier considered dialects of Finnish and are somewhat
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
with it, depending on the dialect. Additionally wasn't officially recognised as its own language in Finland until 2009 despite there being no linguistic confusion about its status. The smaller languages are
endangered An endangered species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group ...
. The last native speaker of Livonian died in 2013, and only about a dozen native speakers of
Votic Votic, or Votian (''vaďďa tšeeli'', ''maatšeeli''), is the language spoken by the Votes A vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Elect ...

Votic
remain. Regardless, even for these languages, the shaping of a standard language and education in it continues. The geographic centre of the maximum divergence between the languages is located east of the
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland to the north and E ...
around
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
. A glottochronological study estimates the age of the common ancestor of existing languages to a little more than 1000 years. However, Mikko Heikkilä dates the beginning of the diversification (with South Estonian as the first split) rather precisely to about 150 AD, based on loanword evidence (and previous estimates tend to be even older, like Pekka Sammallahti's of 1000–600 BC). There is now wide agreement that Proto-Finnic was probably spoken at the coasts of the Gulf of Finland.


Classification

The Finnic languages are located at the western end of the Uralic language family. A close affinity to their northern neighbors, the
Sami languages Places * Sápmi (, smj, Sábme / Sámeednam, sma, Saepmie, sju, Sábmie, , ) is the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people. Sápmi is in Northern Europe Northern Europe is a loosely defined Geography, geographic ...

Sami languages
, has long been assumed, though many of the similarities (particularly lexical ones) can be shown to result from common influence from
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
and, to a lesser extent,
Baltic languages The Baltic languages belong to the Balto-Slavic The Balto-Slavic languages are a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It traditionally comprises the Baltic languages, Baltic and Slavic languages. Baltic and Slavic languages sha ...

Baltic languages
. Innovations are also shared between Finnic and the
Mordvinic languages The Mordvinic languages, also known as the Mordvin, Mordovian or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki''), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprising the closely related Erzya language and Moksh ...
, and in recent times Finnic, Samic and Mordvinic are frequently considered together.


General characteristics

There is no
grammatical gender In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langua ...
in any of the Finnic languages, nor are there articles or definite or indefinite forms. The
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
(the way the grammatical function of a
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone, but a word on this definition alw ...
affects its production) is complex. Morphological elements found in the Finnic languages include
grammatical case Grammatical case is a term regarding a manner of categorizing s, s, s, s, and s according to their traditionally corresponding s within a given , , or . In some languages, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, s, participles, prepositions, numerals, art ...
suffixes, verb tempus, mood and person markers (singular and plural, the Finnic languages don't have
dual Dual or Duals may refer to: Paired/two things * Dual (mathematics), a notion of paired concepts that mirror one another ** Dual (category theory), a formalization of mathematical duality ** . . . see more cases in :Duality theories * Dual ...
) as well as participles and several infinitive forms, possessive suffixes, clitics and more. The number of grammatical cases tends to be high while the number of verb infinitive forms varies more by language. One of the more important processes is the characteristic
consonant gradation Consonant gradation is a type of consonant mutation (mostly lenition but also assimilation) found in some Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 language A language ...
. Two kinds of gradation occur: radical gradation and suffix gradation. They both affect the
plosive In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...

plosive
s , and , and involve the process known as
lenition In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
, in which the consonant is changed into a "weaker" form. This occurs in some (but not all) of the
oblique case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
forms. For
geminate In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical p ...
s, the process is simple to describe: they become simple stops, e.g. ''kuppi'' + ''-n'' → ''kupin'' (Finnish: "cup"). For simple consonants, the process complicates immensely and the results vary by the environment. For example, ''haka'' + ''-n'' → ''haan'', ''kyky'' + ''-n'' → ''kyvyn'', ''järki'' + ''-n'' → ''järjen'' (Finnish: "pasture", "ability", "intellect"). The specifics of consonants gradation vary by language (see the separate article for more details).
Apocope In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular ...
(strongest in Livonian, Võro and Estonian) has, in some cases, left a phonemic status to the phonological variation in the stem (variation caused by the now historical morphological elements), which results in three phonemic lengths in these languages.
Vowel harmony In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
is also characteristic of the Finnic languages, despite having been lost in Livonian, Estonian and Veps. The original Uralic palatalization was lost in proto-Finnic, but most of the diverging dialects reacquired it. Palatalization is a part of the Estonian literary language and is an essential feature in Võro, as well as Veps, , and other eastern Finnic languages. It is also found in East Finnish dialects, and is only missing from West Finnish dialects and Standard Finnish. A special characteristic of the languages is the large number of
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s. There are 16 diphthongs in Finnish and 25 in Estonian; at the same time the frequency of diphthong use is greater in Finnish than in Estonian due to certain historical long vowels having diphthongised in Finnish but not in Estonian. On a global scale the Finnic languages have a high number of vowels.Feature 2A: Vowel Quality Inventories
at
World Atlas of Language Structures The World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS) is a database of structural (phonological, grammatical, Lexical (semiotics), lexical) properties of languages gathered from descriptive materials. It was first published by Oxford University Press as ...


Subgrouping

The Finnic languages form a complex
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
with few clear-cut boundaries. Innovations have often spread through a variety of areas, even after variety-specific changes. A broad twofold conventional division of the Finnic varieties recognizes the Southern Finnic and Northern Finnic groups (though the position of some varieties within this division is uncertain): † = extinct variety; (†) = moribund variety. A more-or-less genetic subdivision can be also determined, based on the relative chronology of sound changes within varieties, which provides a rather different view. The following grouping follows among others Sammallahti (1977), Viitso (1998), and Kallio (2014): * Finnic **
South Estonian South Estonian is spoken in south-eastern Estonia, encompassing the Tartu, Mulgi, Võro and Seto Seto may refer to: Places * Seto, Aichi, production place of Japanese pottery and venue of Expo 2005 * Seto, Ehime, facing the Seto Inland Sea *Se ...
(Inland Finnic) ** Coastal Finnic *** Livonian (
Gulf of Riga The Gulf of Riga, Bay of Riga, or Gulf of Livonia ( lv, Rīgas jūras līcis, et, Liivi laht, russian: Рижский залив) is a bay of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . ...

Gulf of Riga
Finnic) ***
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland to the north and E ...
Finnic **** Northern Finnic ***** Western Finnish ***** Eastern Finnic ****** Eastern Finnish ****** Ingrian ****** Karelian ****** Ludic ****** Veps **** Central Finnic ***** (North/Standard)
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
*****
Votic Votic, or Votian (''vaďďa tšeeli'', ''maatšeeli''), is the language spoken by the Votes A vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Elect ...

Votic
The division between South Estonian and the remaining Finnic varieties has isoglosses that must be very old. For the most part, these features have been known for long. Their position as very early in the relative chronology of Finnic, in part representing archaisms in South Estonian, has been shown by Kallio (2007, 2014). However, due to the strong areal nature of many later innovations, this tree structure has been distorted and
sprachbund A sprachbund (, lit. "language federation"), also known as a linguistic area, area of linguistic convergence, diffusion area or language crossroads, is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...
s have formed. In particular, South Estonian and Livonian show many similarities with the Central Finnic group that must be attributed to later contact, due to the influence of literary North Estonian. Thus, contemporary "Southern Finnic" is a sprachbund that includes these languages, while diachronically they are not closely related. The genetic classification of the Finnic dialects that can be extracted from Viitso (1998) is: * Finnic ** Livonian (
Gulf of Riga The Gulf of Riga, Bay of Riga, or Gulf of Livonia ( lv, Rīgas jūras līcis, et, Liivi laht, russian: Рижский залив) is a bay of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . ...

Gulf of Riga
Finnic) **
South Estonian South Estonian is spoken in south-eastern Estonia, encompassing the Tartu, Mulgi, Võro and Seto Seto may refer to: Places * Seto, Aichi, production place of Japanese pottery and venue of Expo 2005 * Seto, Ehime, facing the Seto Inland Sea *Se ...
(Inland Finnic) **
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland to the north and E ...
Finnic *** Northern Finnic **** West Ladoga ***** Western Finnish ***** Eastern Finnic ****** Eastern Finnish ****** Northern Karelian ****** Northeastern coastal Estonian ***** Ingrian ***** Kukkuzi dialect **** East Ladoga ***** Southern Karelian ***** Livvi–Ludic–Veps *** Central Finnic **** (North/Standard)
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
**** East Central Finnic ***** Eastern Estonian *****
Votic Votic, or Votian (''vaďďa tšeeli'', ''maatšeeli''), is the language spoken by the Votes A vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Elect ...

Votic
Viitso (2000) surveys 59 isoglosses separating the family into 58 dialect areas (finer division is possible), finding that an unambiguous perimeter can be set up only for South Estonian, Livonian, Votic, and Veps. In particular, no isogloss exactly coincides with the geographical division into 'Estonian' south of the Gulf of Finland and 'Finnish' north of it. Despite this, standard Finnish and Estonian are not mutually intelligible.


Southern Finnic

The Southern Finnic languages consist of North and South Estonian (excluding the Coastal Estonian dialect group), Livonian and Votic (except the highly Ingrian-influenced Kukkuzi Votic). These languages are not closely related genetically, as noted above; it is a
paraphyletic In taxonomy, a group is paraphyletic if it consists of the group's last common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor excluding a few—typically only one or two—Monophyly, monophyletic subgroups. The group is said to be paraphyleti ...

paraphyletic
grouping, consisting of all Finnic languages except the Northern Finnic languages. The languages regardless share a number of features, such as the presence of a ninth vowel phoneme ''õ'', usually a close-mid back unrounded (but a close central unrounded in Livonian), as well as loss of ''*n'' before ''*s'' with
compensatory lengthening Compensatory lengthening in phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular la ...
. (North) Estonian-Votic has been suggested to possibly constitute an actual genetic subgroup (called varyingly Maa by Viitso (1998, 2000) or Central Finnic by Kallio (2014)), though the evidence is weak: almost all innovations shared by Estonian and Votic have also spread to South Estonian and/or Livonian. A possible defining innovation is the loss of ''*h'' after sonorants (''*n, *l, *r'').


Northern Finnic

The Northern Finnic group has more evidence for being an actual historical/genetic subgroup. Phonetical innovations would include two changes in unstressed syllables: *ej > *ij, and *o > ''ö'' after front-harmonic vowels. The lack of ''õ'' in these languages as an innovation rather than a retention has been proposed, and recently resurrected. Germanic loanwords found throughout Northern Finnic but absent in Southern are also abundant, and even several Baltic examples of this are known. Northern Finnic in turn divides into two main groups. The most Eastern Finnic group consists of the East Finnish dialects as well as Ingrian, Karelian and Veps; the proto-language of these was likely spoken in the vicinity of
Lake Ladoga Lake Ladoga ( rus, Ла́дожское о́зеро, r=Ladozhskoye ozero, p=ˈladəʂskəjə ˈozʲɪrə or rus, Ла́дога, r=Ladoga, p=ˈladəɡə, fi, Laatokka arlier in Finnish ''Nevajärvi'' ; vep, Ladog, Ladoganjärv) is a Fresh ...

Lake Ladoga
. The Western Finnic group consists of the West Finnish dialects, originally spoken on the western coast of Finland, and within which the oldest division is that into Southwestern, Tavastian and Southern Ostrobothnian dialects. Among these, at least the Southwestern dialects have later come under Estonian influence. Numerous new dialects have also arisen through contacts of the old dialects: these include e.g. the more northern Finnish dialects (a mixture of West and East Finnish), and the Livvi and varieties (probably originally Veps dialects but heavily influenced by Karelian). Salminen (2003) present the following list of Finnic languages and their respective number of speakers.


List of Finnic innovations

These features distinguish Finnic languages from other Uralic families:


Sound changes

Sound changes shared by the various Finnic languages include the following: * Development of
long vowels In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langua ...
and various
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s from loss of word-medial consonants such as *x, *j, *w, *ŋ. ** Before a consonant, the Uralic "
laryngeal Laryngeal may mean *pertaining to the larynx *in Indo-European linguistics, a consonant postulated in the laryngeal theory *Laryngeal consonant See also

* Laryngealization * * {{disambig ...
" *x posited on some reconstructions yielded long vowels at an early stage (e.g. 'wind' > ''tuuli''), but only the Finnic branch clearly preserves these as such. Later, the same process occurred also between vowels (e.g. *mëxi 'land' > ''maa''). ** Semivowels *j, *w were usually lost when a root ended in *i and contained a preceding front (in the case of *j, e.g. *täji 'tick' > ''täi'') or rounded vowel (in the case of *w, e.g. *suwi 'mouth' > ''suu''). ** The
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans ...

velar nasal
*ŋ was vocalized everywhere except before *k, leading to its elimination as a phoneme. Depending on the position, the results included semivowels (e.g. *joŋsi 'bow' > ''jousi'', *suŋi 'summer'> ''suvi'') and full vocalization (e.g. *jäŋi 'ice' > ''jää'', *müŋä 'backside' > Estonian ''möö-'', Finnish ''myö-''). * The development of an alternation between word-final *i and word-internal *e, from a Proto-Uralic second syllable vowel variously reconstructed as *i (as used in this article), *e or *ə. * Elimination of all Proto-Uralic palatalization contrasts: *ć, *δ́, *ń, *ś > *c, *δ, *n, *s. * Elimination of the affricate *č, merging with *š or *t, and the spirant *δ, merging with *t (e.g. *muδ́a 'earth' > ''muta''). See above, however, on treatment of *čk. * Assibilation of *t (from any source) to *c before *i. This later developed to widely: hence e.g. *weti 'water' > Estonian and Finnish ''vesi'' (cf. retained in the partitive *wet-tä > Estonian ''vett'', Finnish ''vettä''). *
Consonant gradation Consonant gradation is a type of consonant mutation (mostly lenition but also assimilation) found in some Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 language A language ...
, most often for stops, but also found for some other consonants. * A development *š > h, which, however, postdated the separation of South Estonian. Superstrate influence of the neighboring Indo-European language groups (Baltic and Germanic) has been proposed as an explanation for a majority of these changes, though for most of the phonetical details the case is not particularly strong.


Grammatical changes

* Agreement of the attributes with the noun, e.g. in Finnish ''vanho·i·lle mieh·i·lle'' "to old men" the plural ''-i-'' and the case ''-lle'' is added also to the adjective. * Use of a copula verb like ''on'', e.g. ''mies on vanha'' "the man ''is'' old". * Grammatical tenses analogous to Germanic tenses, i.e. the system with present, past, perfect and pluperfect tenses. * The shift of the proto-Uralic locative *-nA and the ablative *-tA into new, cross-linguistically uncommon functions: the former becoming the
essive case In grammar, the essive case, or similaris case, (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a grammatical case.O'Grady, William, John Archibald, Mark Aronoff, and Janie Rees-Miller. "Morphology: The Analysis of Word Structure." Contemporary Li ...
, the latter the
partitive case The partitive case ( abbreviated , , or more ambiguously ) is a grammatical case Grammatical case is a linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well a ...
. ** This resulted in the rise of the
telicity In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
contrast of the object, which must be in the
accusative case The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phras ...
or
partitive case The partitive case ( abbreviated , , or more ambiguously ) is a grammatical case Grammatical case is a linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well a ...
. * The rise of two new series of
locative case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
s, the "inner locative" series marked by an element *-s-, and the "outer locative" marked by an element *-l-. ** The inessive *-ssA and the adessive *-llA were based on the original Uralic locative *-nA, with the *n assimilated to the preceding consonant. ** The elative *-stA and the
ablative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, ...

ablative
*-ltA similarly continue the original Uralic ablative *-tA. ** The origin of the illative *-sen and the
allative In grammar, the allative case (; list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ; from Latin language, Latin ''allāt-'', ''afferre'' "to bring to") is a type of locative case, locative grammatical case. The term allative is generally used for the la ...
*-len is less clear. ** The element *-s- in the first series has parallels across the other more western Uralic languages, sometimes resulting in formally identical case endings (e.g. an elative ending *-stē ← *-s-tA is found in the Samic languages, and *-stə ← *s-tA in the
Mordvinic languages The Mordvinic languages, also known as the Mordvin, Mordovian or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki''), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprising the closely related Erzya language and Moksh ...
), though its original function is unclear. ** The *-l- in the 2nd series likely originates by way of affixation and
grammaticalization In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes i ...
of the root *ülä- "above, upper" (cf. the prepositions *üllä ← *ül-nä "above", *ültä "from above").


See also

*
Proto-Finnic language Proto-Finnic or Proto-Baltic-Finnic is the common ancestor of the Finnic languages, which include the national languages Finnish and Estonian. Proto-Finnic is not attested in any texts, but has been reconstructed by linguists. Proto-Finnic is i ...
* Birch bark letter no. 292


Notes


Citations


References

* * * * * * *


External links

* * * Swadesh list for Finnic languages (from Wiktionary's ) {{DEFAULTSORT:Finnic Languages