Da jætten Koljo rejste rundt i verden

Nedenstående artikel blev bragt 13. februar 2015 i Finlands – og Nordens – største avis, Helsingin Sanomat. Den er her oversat til dansk af artiklens forfatter, Lauri Dammert. Oversættelsen, der er let bearbejdet af Adam Hyllested, bringes med tilladelse fra avisen.

Tegning af Aiju Salminen

Tegning af Aiju Salminen. ©Helsingin Sanomat og Aiju Salminen

Urfinsk lånte ord til germansk og keltisk
De nyankomne indoeuropæere lærte ord af de uralske skovfolk, bl.a. en mængde betegnelser for svin

af Lauri Dammert

Jætten Koljo, som ofte forbindes med døden og med det underjordiske, rejste for flere tusinde år siden fra Ural-bjergene ud i verden for at blive forvandlet til germanernes dødsgud Hel. Koljo kom hjem til Finland igen som ordet Helvetti ’helvede’.

Koljo var ikke alene. Den danske sprogvidenskabsmand Adam Hyllested påviser i sin ph.d.-afhandling, at de indoeuropæiske folkeslag lånte flere ord fra urfinsk og dets slægtsprog.

Sammenlignende sprogvidenskab har en politisk dimension. Den er tit blevet brugt, når man ville vise sit eget folkeslags overlegenhed over et andet. Et kendt eksempel er den påstand, at de uralske folkeslag var teknologisk og politisk betydeligt mindre udviklede end de tilrejsende indoeuropæiske. Derfor lånte de et utal af ord fra de nyankomne, som ikke var særligt interesserede i skovbeboernes måde at tale på.

“Det er imidlertid sådan, at de allerfleste sprog, som har haft kontakt med et andet, har udvekslet ord både frem og tilbage,” siger Adam Hyllested. “Jeg var sikker på, at ord måtte være lånt i begge retninger også i dette tilfælde.”

Han fandt i de indoeuropæiske sprog et større antal uralske ord. En overraskelse var, at mange af disse ord havde med værktøj, dyr, religion og handel at gøre. De kunne eksempelvis være hamara ‘bagsiden af en økse’, som blev til germanernes ord for ’hammer’; pung; flere ord som betyder ‘gris’; det hellige træ pihlaja ’røn’, som blev til  skandinavernes pil, og det allerede nævnte helvede. Hyllested sporer til og med det germanske ord halv tilbage den urfinske handelsterm halpa ’af ringe værdi’, ‘halvennettu ’forklejne’; og han fører søpapegøjens navn lundi/lunne tilbage til det ursamiske ord for ‘fugl’. “Samerne måtte jo betale skatter til de norske konger bl.a. i form af fjer. Dette viser, at ordudveksling har forekommet langt ind i middelalderen,” påpeger Hyllested.

Ord med uralske aner fandtes til og med i så fjerne sprog som keltisk, der kom til Irland og Wales.

Den hellige gris
Lad os vende tilbage til grisene. Hyllested siger, at de uralske folk nok holdt svin som husdyr. De havde også en mytologisk betydning. Indoeuropæerne, som vandrede hertil over stepperne annammede en hel mængde af betegnelser for svin: Ordene *mokku- og *sukko- i urkeltisk samt det danske ord so har eksempelvis deres rødder i det urfinske ord, der er blevet til finsk sika, karelsk čugu og nordsamisk sokki. Bagved førstnævnte term står ifølge Hyllested en ældre form af det finske ord emakko ’so’, som tillige forekommer i mange af vores slægtsprog. Da de nye europæere tog ordet til sig, inkorporerede de også grisens religiøse dimension.

“Ligesom ordet halv har også flere af de ord, som betegner svin, ellers en ukendt oprindelse,” påpeger Hyllested. “Det viser sig nu, at man kan forklare dem via urfinsk. Og det er mere overbevisende at finde en hel gruppe af ord end nogle løsrevne. Forekomsten af urfinske ord i urgermansk og urkeltisk beviser, at ordudvekslingen var mere livlig end hidtil antaget.”

Hyllested betoner, at ordudvekslingen fandt sted i løbet af flere kulturperioder og i løbet af 4000-5000 år. Det, at ordene forekommer både i de keltiske og de germanske sprog, beviser, at disse to folkeslag, som engang talte forskellige dialekter af samme ursprog, holdt sig tæt forbundne også efter invandringen til Europa. Og at de var i kontakt med de uralske sprog.

Jætten Koljo holder udkig i det finske skovlandskab.

Jætten Koljo holder udkig i det finske skovlandskab.

Ordenes udtale forandres over tid, men efter visse faste mønstre og lovmæssigheder. På den måde kan man spore ordenes oprindelse. I de germanske sprog forvandles k regelmæssigt til h og o til a, så *kolja blev til germansk *haljō og med tiden lige så regelmæssigt til nordisk Hel, som indgår i Helvede.

En lægmand kan dog ikke nemt finde disse sammenhænge i moderne sprog. ”De fremtræder klarere og hyppigere, når vi studerer og sammenligner ældre sprogformer og dialekter i både långiver- og modtagersprogene”, forklarer Hyllested.

Hyllested giver altså vore formødre en æresoprejsning – for ord lånes kun, når man har behov for dem. Urfinnerne har altså alligevel haft et og andet interessant at give til de folk, der kom fra steppelandet.

Ti ord, der rejste ud i verden
1. Finsk hamara ‘bagsiden af en økse’ ~ de germanske sprogs ord for ‘hammer’, svensk hammare
2. Finsk punka ‘lille tyk person’, oprindelig ‘udbulning, rund ting’, estisk pung ‘knop; pung’ ~ de germanske sprogs ord for ‘pung’
3. Finsk pihlaja ‘røn’ ~ de skandinaviske sprogs ord for ‘pil(etræ)’
4. Finsk harava ‘en rive’ ~ de germanske sprogs ord for ‘harve’
5. Finsk sika ‘svin’, emakko ‘so’ ~ de keltiske sprogs ord for ‘svin, gris’
6. Finsk halpa ‘af ringe værdi, billig’, opr. ‘reduceretF’, halvennettu ‘forklejne’ ~ de germanske sprogs ord for ‘halv’
7. Finsk minkki ‘mink’ er til gengæld lånt ind i finsk, men dette og de germanske sprogs ord for ‘amerikansk mink’, tidl. den europæiske ‘nertz, flodilder’ kommer af et østligere uralsk ord
8. Finsk haamu ‘spøgelse, genfærd, ånd’, hahmo ‘skikkelse, form, gestalt’ ~ de germanske sprogs ord for ‘en ham’ (dyrehud), tidligere også ‘skytsånd’ og ‘legeme’
9. Samisk baggi ‘opsvulmet ting; lille, tykt og kompakt dyr (især rensdyr)’ ~ nordisk bagge i diverse dyrenavne, fx nordbagge ‘en lille tyk hest’, svensk skalbagge ‘bille’
10. Nordsamisk loddi ‘fugl’, i Vikingetiden *londe (~ finsk lintu) ~ nordisk lundi ‘søpapegøje’

©
Adam Hyllested
Word Exchange at the Gates of Europe – Five Millennia of Language Contact
Københavns Universitet 2014

Call for Papers: Etymology and the European Lexicon

kuastud1maj08

Photo by Anne Trap-Lind.


Etymology and the European Lexicon

14th Congress of the Indogermanische Gesellschaft
University of Copenhagen, 17-22 September 2012

 

 

 
Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the 14th Congress (Fachtagung) of the Indogermanische Gesellschaft / Society for Indo-European Studies / Société des Études Indo-Européennes will be held in Copenhagen from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 September 2012, and will be hosted by Roots of Europe at the University of Copenhagen.

The 14th Congress is dedicated to the theme of Etymology and the European Lexicon. Priority will be given to submissions which raise issues of general relevance to Indo-European studies, rather than dealing with isolated problems within individual branches; however, all submissions relating to this general theme are welcome.

Possible subjects or subthemes could include the subgrouping of the Indo-European languages (e.g. NW Indo-European, Balkan Indo-European, the Centum-Satem division, Italo-Celtic, Balto-Slavic), the European lexicon as evidence for when and how Europe became Indo-Europeanized (e.g. semantic “packages”, Wörter und Sachen, culture-words), issues relating to pre-IE substratum languages, or to conditions in other European language families (Vasconic, Tyrrhenian, Uralic, Altaic, Semitic etc.) that may shed new light on IE or on the relations between IE and these languages.

There will be no keynote speakers or parallel sessions; all submissions will be given equal consideration, but slots are limited.

Authors wishing to have a paper considered for the congress should submit an abstract of no more than 1,000 words (not including references) to rootsofeurope@hum.ku.dk. The closing date for submission of abstracts is the 20 February 2012. Accepted papers must not be published before the time of the conference.

Further information, including registration forms and information regarding travel and accommodation, will be posted on the website of Roots of Europe (rootsofeurope.ku.dk) in due time.

Inquiries should be directed to the secretaries at Roots of Europe: Janus Bahs Jacquet (jacquet@hum.ku.dk) and Tobias Mosbæk Søborg (tms@hum.ku.dk).

Best regards from
Jens Elmegård Rasmussen
on behalf of the organizing committee, the Roots of Europe team in Copenhagen

Long-range shooting with recoil

S.A. Burlak, M.A. Zhivlov and I.B. Itkin have reviewed Jens Elmegård Rasmussen & Thomas Olander (eds.): Internal Reconstruction in Indo-European (2008) in the latest issue of Voprosy jazykoznanija (5, 2010:130-135). I find it positive that the reviewers take the time to thoroughly discuss most of the individual articles, and even more so that they devote almost one and a half columns to my contribution, “Internal Reconstruction vs. External Comparison: The Case of the Indo-Uralic Laryngeals”. 41HenwlmkxL__SL500_AA300_

However, that gladness quickly turns to indignation as it becomes clear that the reader is presented with a distorted impression of the content. My etymologies are rejected without motivation, and the reader is not provided with any information about why they were proposed in the first place. The four or five main points of the article, although deducible from the abstract and conclusions, are practically left out of consideration.

The reviewers start out by characterizing me as an “adherent of the Nostratic hypothesis”, although this cannot be explicitly inferred from the article. I have an open mind on these matters, but as it happens, one of my main points is that Nostratic etymology, because it is too focused on a search for cognates between Indo-European (IE) and Afro-Asiatic, can lead to wrong conclusions about Indo-Uralic (IU), and that it can prove fruitful to carry out bilateral or trilateral comparison before turning to the multilateral one. I am focusing on relations between IE, Uralic, and Yukaghir, but this does not necessarily imply that I have a firm opinion on more distant relationships (primarily because I do not yet have sufficient knowledge of the other languages involved). IU does not equal Nostratic. We must distinguish between these different levels of macro-comparison (or, perhaps rather, different degrees of khalepo-comparison), even though long-rangers on one side as well as their critics on the other hardly ever do so.

Saami (long-range?) hunters depicted in Olaus Magnus: Historia gentibus septentrionalibus (1555)

Saami (long-range?) hunters depicted in Olaus Magnus: Historia gentibus septentrionalibus (1555)

The reviewers claim that my comparison of the IE word for ‘hand’ and Uralic ‘limb’ fails since the PIE reconstruction is in fact *ĝʰes-r/*ĝʰos-to- rather than *ĝʰes-nt-, thus not corresponding to PU *jäsVnV. It is true that the IE daughter languages point to *ĝʰes-r, *ĝʰos-to- (or ĝʰes-to-), while my protoform is the result of internal reconstruction. The stem surely does not exhibit a typical heteroclitic pattern, and it is conceivable that ‘hand’ (Hitt. kessar, Skt. hásta-) was earlier inflected like Hitt. gipessar, gipesn- ‘cubit, ell’, cf. Skt. gabhasti-. Most heteroclitics have stems alternating between nominative -r and oblique -n(t)-, and these are probably ultimately identical to each other as shown by Birgit Anette Olsen in several papers. I admit that this should have been mentioned explicitly, and that the IE reconstruction should have been more precise. However, this does not at all affect the validity of my comparison; no matter how you reconstruct the stem-element under discussion, it does not form part of the root in either group. I show this by a hyphen which the reviewers have unfortunately omitted in their rendering (*jäsVnV instead of *jäsV-nV). They do not seem to take the root comparison proper into account, nor do they evaluate this or any other sound correspondences presented.

As for *kumte ‘wide; approximate number’, the reviewers claim that the latter meaning does not exist. In the article, however, I refer explicitly to Björn Collinder (in Die Sprache 13:182) to whom we owe the IU etymology, and the reconstructed meaning is based on Collinder’s examples: “Fi. kymmenkunta ‘etwa zehn’, satakunta ‘ungefähr hundert’, kyläkunta ‘Dorfgemeinde’. Wogulisch hånt bedeutet ‘Heer’, ungarisch had ‘Heer, Familie, Schar’”. The reviewers seem to care only about forms mentioned in Károly Rédei’s Uralisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.collind1

They subsequently claim that I should reconstruct *kaswa, not *kawk-sa- for ‘high’, but this is not my idea either. I refer loud and clear to Jorma Koivulehto 1991 (Uralische Evidenz für die Laryngaltheorie); again, my references have been ignored by the reviewers.

And so it continues: Simply stating that PIE *h3meyĝʰ- ‘urinate’ cannot be compared to Proto-Yukaghir (PY) *onćə- ‘water’ does not count as proper scholarly criticism. One might just as well claim that Arm. get ‘river’ cannot be compared to Alb. ujë ‘water’. The claim obviously requires an accompanying explanation, and I give that to the reader, but the reviewers not only forget to mention the third relative, PU *kunće ‘urine; urinate’, semantically reminiscent of the PIE form while at the same time superficially similar to the PY one; they also withhold from the reader the sound-laws that fully account for every single part of the lexemes in question, including the loss of the h3 correspondent in Yukaghir. As I present it, the phonological correspondence is entirely regular. Ironically, while I regard this as one of the most striking cognate sets (it would never be taken for a loanword), the reviewers rather use it as a prototypical example of the invalidity of my comparisons.

Finally, I am criticized for equating the IE item *ĝʰalgʰ- ‘pole, stake’ with as many as three Uralic ones. Now, first of all, I write “and/or” between the Uralic items, obviously indicating that they are normally considered distinct, and that, although they can formally correspond to the IE item, they need not all be related to it nor to each other. Secondly, it is quite normal in Uralic linguistics to separate roots if no known derivational relationship can be applied to them, even in cases where the semantics, the physical similarities and the distribution among the daughter-branches tell us that they are probably ultimately related, albeit in ways that we have not yet uncovered. It is important to note in this respect that the three reconstructed forms are from different chronological stages; *jälŋV ‘tree trunk’ is Proto-Uralic, *jalka ‘leg, foot’ is Fenno-Ugric, while *jalaka ‘elm’ is Balto-Fennic.

Of course none of the etymologies would be convincing if I presented them in the way that the reviewers claim that I do. I conclude that none of their objections appears to be valid.

I find it a bit odd that as many as three reviewers can agree on such ill-founded criticism, especially when their main point is that in Copenhagen, like everywhere else, we use the wrong methodology. It is very easy to refute critique of that kind, but it is still a pity that you have to meet it even from reviewers otherwise known as serious and excellent linguists.