General sessions

Monday, August 22

Finno-Ugristik 1, 13:30–15:00


Alexandra Kellner & Niko Partanen:

Structural differences in Komi varieties: a corpus-based investigation

This paper investigates structural differences between the two written standards of Komi: Zyrian and Permian. These languages are mutually intelligible and form a dialect continuum. Although their similarities have been widely studied (i.e. Bartens 2000) and lexical differences are well documented, not much attention has been paid to differences in the use of elements common to both varieties, nor have the structual differences been studied using a corpus. We attempt to fill this gap using parallel materials published in the 1930s. We are mainly interested in word order, tense, focus marking and verb derivation. The examples below illustrate our corpus material. Morphological differences are bolded, while word order differences are underlined.

Zyrian: Kor Pekɲitɕa vajis pənar, kutis kevmɨɕnɨ Robinzonlɨɕ, medɨm sijә ez pɨr peʃtʃəraə, a Robinzon ʃuə: "Pɨrala, mɨjɨɕ te polan?" (Tolstoi 1934a: 35)

Permian: Kәr Pecɲitɕa vajis ponarsə, pondis Robinzonəs kornɨ, medbɨ ez pɨr peʃoraas, a Robinzon ʃuis: "Pɨra, mɨjiɕ te polan?" (Tolstoi 1934b: 29)

“When Friday brought the lantern, he started to ask Robinson not to go to the beach, but Robinson said: “I will go, what you are afraid of?

So far, our observations include the following: Permian seems to prefer adpositions in some constructions where Zyrian uses only the illative. Both languages mark focus the same way using third person possessive suffixes, but in numerous instances, Zyrian prefers the second person where Permian uses the third. It can be observed that where Zyrian uses relative clauses with relative pronoun mɨj, Permian tends to prefer various coordination structures without an explicit pronoun. There are also clear differences in the use of the plural, especially with mass nouns. Zyrian uses the second past tense in different contexts from Permian, but otherwise the tense systems are remarkably identical.

Some of these differences may be related to the preferences of individual translators. However, we believe this kind of comparative analysis creates a good foundation for further work. Our results show that despite systematic differences in word order and derivations, which are also partly connected to lexical choices, both Komi varieties studied essentially share one system that has undergone various independent developments. We believe that a more detailed analysis of the differences in the use of shared elements should shed light on the variation possible in Komi. Research that compares different Komi varieties is crucial in order to understand how these language varieties have developed and are used today.


Bartens, Raija 2000: Permiläisten kielten rakenne ja kehitys. Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne.

Tolstoi, L. N. (Ed. Doronin, P.) 1934a: Robinzon. Komi Gosizdat. Syktyvkar.

Tolstoi, L. N. (Ed. Tupicin F. A.) 1934b: Robinzon. Okrizdat. Kudymkar.


Ivan Ubaleht:

Siberian Ingrian Finnish: the Creation of Open Speech Corpus, the Documenting and the Practices of Language Revitalization

The Siberian Ingrian Finnish Language is the mixed Ingrian Finnish and Ingrian variety. The ancestors of the speakers of Siberian Ingrian Finnish spoke Lower Luga Ingrian Finnish and Lower Luga Ingrian varieties. They migrated from the Lower Luga area to Siberia in 1803-1804. D.V. Sidorkevich researched and documented Siberian Ingrian Finnish (Sidorkevich 2011, 2014) in 2008-2014 and also this language was researched by N.V. Kuznetsova (Kuznetsova, 2016) and M.Z. Muslimov.

This paper presents the results of our work on documenting Siberian Ingrian Finnish in 2019-2020. We recorded about 15 hours audio and 1 hour video from 10 speakers during this period. Four expeditions were undertaken to Ryzhkovo and Mikhailovka settlements (Omsk oblast) and also the speakers of this language from Omsk and Oglukhino village were interviewed. We are creating free and open corpus of Siberian Ingrian Finnish (Ubaleht, 2020). About 5 hours of our audio materials and some video materials were published. These speech data are available on GitHub and licensed under CC BY 4.0 ( At present, we are creating annotations for our audio and video materials in ELAN. We started publishing these annotations in our corpus’ repository.

The corpus of Siberian Ingrian Finnish is the part of the Lexeme project. Lexeme is our project for storage speech data and representing of the information about endangered languages. The web part of the Lexeme project will be available via Internet using the domain name in February 2021.

In 2020 there is still a village language community who uses Siberian Ingrian Finnish in the domestic sphere of communication in Ryzhkovo. For the language revitalization we use following practices: we engage native speakers to the annotation of an audio material; we organize events called “speaking club” in which several speakers as well as passive speakers may communicate to each other. Besides, such events give an field material based on spontaneous dialogues.


Sidorkevich, D. V. (2011). On domains of adessive-allative in Siberian Ingrian Finnish. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana, 7(3).

Сидоркевич, Д. В. (2014). Язык ингерманландских переселенцев в Сибири: структура, диалектные особенности, контактные явления (Doctoral dissertation, Ин-т лингвист. исслед. РАН (СПб)).

Kuznetsova, N. V. (2016). Evolution of the non-initial vocalic length contrast across the Finnic varieties of Ingria and adjacent areas. Linguistica Uralica, 52(1), 1-25.

Ubaleht, I. (2020). The Creation of Siberian Ingrian Finnish and Siberian Tatar Speech Corpora. Workshop on RESOURCEs and representations For Under-resourced Languages and domains at SLTC, Gothenburg, 25th November 2020.


Miina Norvik, Yingqi Jing, Michael Dunn, Helle Metslang, Karl Pajusalu, Outi Vesakoski:

Uralic typology in the light of a new comprehensive dataset

Large-scale quantitative studies on the Uralic languages have mainly been based on lexical data (e.g., Syrjänen et al. 2013). In global comparisons of language typology, Uralic languages are often represented by Finnish, Hungarian, and to some extent Estonian (see e.g., Greenhill et al. 2010). Although the family is relatively well studied, and in the course of time their documentation and description has improved in both breadth and depth, their structural features have not received equal representation in databases (e.g. in WALS). The past years have witnessed emergence of new databases that aim for maximally complete coverage. We have been involved in developing the Uralic Typological Database (UraTyp 1.0), which is a typological dataset currently containing 35 Uralic languages. Each language is represented with 360 features that mainly cover the levels of morphology, syntax, and phonology (; Norvik et al., to appear). The features belong to two different datasets: 195 features’ definitions originate from the Grambank database (, developed for world-wide comparison of language structures, whereas 165 features (UT) have been designed specifically to describe the typological variation within the Uralic language family. 

The aim of the paper is twofold: (i) to introduce the UraTyp database and (ii) present a series of analyses (Principal Components Analysis, a model-based admixture analysis) to explore the data and demonstrate its possibilities of use. We ran analyses on the complete UraTyp dataset but also on the GB and UT subsets. In addition, we distinguished between typological domains (phonological, morpho-lexical and syntactic) to study the performance of the main levels of language structure in describing internal variation within the Uralic family. We show that it was worthwhile adding the UT traits and thus creating the joint UraTyp database as they enable one to disperse the subfamilies more sensibly and clearly away from each other than using only the GB data. A model-based admixture analysis was able to identify four distinct areas of historical interaction: the Finnic, Saami, Volga area (incl. Mordvin, Mari and Permic languages), and Ob-Ugric (and Samoyed). As regards the different domains, we are able to show that different domains are responsible for different groupings.


Greenhill, Simon J., Chieh-Hsi Wu, Xia Hua, Michael Dunn, Stephen C. Levinson & Russell D. Gray. 2017. Evolutionary Dynamics of Language Systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (42). E8822–29. DOI:

Norvik, Miina, Yingqi Jing, Michael Dunn, Robert Forkel, Terhi Honkola, Gerson Klumpp, Richard Kowalik, Helle Metslang, Karl Pajusalu, Minerva Piha, Eva Saar, Sirkka Saarinen & Outi Vesakoski. To appear. Uralic typology in the light of a new comprehensive dataset. Journal of Uralic Linguistics.

Syrjänen, Kaj, Terhi Honkola, Kalle Korhonen, Jyri Lehtinen, Outi Vesakoski & Niklas Wahlberg. 2013. Shedding more light on language classification using basic vocabularies and phylogenetic methods: A case study of Uralic. Diachronica 30(3). 323–352. DOI:10.1075/dia.30.3.02syr 

Finno-Ugristik 2, 13:30–15:00


András Bereczki:

The power of the head of state. The character of the political system between the two world wars in Estonia, Finland and Hungary

A respectable number of books were published about the Estonian–Finnish–Hungarian relations in the last decades. The history of the three nations – speaking Finno-Ugric languages and having their own statehood – are mentioned in several books written for university students or in comprehensive works.

There are some studies in which one can make comparisons as well, using different aspects such as agriculture and country life in the three countries, or the career of political leaders (for example Kádár and Kekkonen) etc. . In the works of Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian historians (e.g. Toomas Karjahärm, Seppo Zetterberg, Gombos József), while writing about the history of any of the other two nations, the authors almost obviously refer to or compare it with their own nation or state. However, there have been just a few attempts at trying to focus on the comparison of the history of the three nations and analyzing it.

This study – as a part of a larger project – focuses on demonstrating the main similarities and differences of the three counties’ political systems through the formation and practise of the power of the head of state. Despite of the different starting points and traditions, there are evidently certain similarities as well – respectively in the 1930s in particular –, arising from the same roots of the three nations’ economic and social structure and because of the traditions of their culture, the characteristics of the Eastern and Central European development; the proximity and increasing activity of the two newly rising superpowers, the Third Empire and the Soviet Union.

At the same time, the differences in the past of the countries – e.g. in statehood – and the success of modernization at the beginning of the period examined in the study necessarily had an effect on the operation of the political systems as well. As a result of the comparative historical researches, through the analysis of the parallels and differences, we can gain a clearer view of the history, the political structure and system of Estonia, Finland and Hungary between the two world wars.


Sophie Alix Capdeville:

Saami book history: a challenge to the widespread Eurocentric approaches 

The emergence of Saami Written Culture occurred due to the work of clergy members in Finland, whose roles have been too often emphasized. It was yet not achieved without the help of linguistic masters, Saami speakers who helped considerably the translation work of the pastors appointed in their parishes. The first Saami books were published in Finland in 1825, but the first Saami novel only in 1915. We can see how during the era of the development of written culture, the Saami speakers wrote articles in Finnish newspapers to express the need to develop suitable pedagogical materials for pupils by publishing more translations. At the time of the enforcement of the Finnish Nationalism, some Saamis endeavoured to strengthen their people’s voices.

The Saami book history can be observed as an aspect of Finnish colonialism, which is currently analysed in a wider manner in Finland. The clergyman wanted to civilize a part of the population which they considered as a non-educated minority, by teaching them in Finnish and not in their mother tongue. Some historians have pointed out the importance of the print-capitalism in Finland during the 19th century – a concept presented by Benedict Anderson – to highlight the importance of the development of the vernacular literature at the time of the incipient Finnish nation. However, book historians are challenging this Eurocentric approach of the last decades to insist on the need to analyse book history in the light of multicultural societies; such analysis enables to shed a better light on the Saami book history; although some do consider it as a non-dominant one, it is an important part of the Northern Finnish socio-cultural history. 


Takehiro Okabe:

Soviet-Finnish Controversy over the Kalevala in the First Half of the 20th Century 

This paper treats the controversy over the Kalevala between Finland and the Soviet Union in the first half of the 20th century. The Kalevala is known as the Finnish national epic, but the Soviets claimed that it was a national epic of the Soviet Union, the Karelo-Finnish national epic. While the controversy over the epic within Finland (or between White Finland and Red Karelia) has been well studies, the Soviet-Finnish controversy over this topic has been totally lacked. Given the importance of the Kalevala as a symbol to unite peoples in a national/supranational community, the controversy is important for both Finland and the Soviet Union, especially Soviet Karelia. During the first half of the 20th century, the Kalevala was not only a national symbol, but also a symbol of expansionist ideology of bourgeois and socialist Greater Finland. In that condition, the Kalevala became a highly politicized issue between two countries.

Of these backgrounds, this paper pays attention to the controversy between humanities scholars of the two countries over the Kalevala in the occasions of two centenary jubilees in 1935 and 1949. The aim is to highlight not only the differences of two parties but also the similarities of them in how they, consciously or unconsciously, had built hierarchy among Baltic-Finnic peoples to claim the Finnish/Soviet leadership of the Baltic-Finnic peoples. Furthermore, by comparing the 1935 jubilee with the 1949 one, the paper will demonstrate how the center of the Baltic-Finnic world discursively shifted from Finland to the Soviet Union (including Soviet Estonia) after the Second World War.

Tuesday, August 23

Finno-Ugristik 2, 10:00–12:00


Anja Mikkola:

Folkdance step by step – who is dancing, why and where? / Kansantanssia askel askeleelta – kuka tanssii, miksi ja missä?

In Finland folk dance is mostly a hobby for the general public but there is also plenty of dance education available. 

Performances, concerts and tours abroad are usually organized with a professional dancer as the teacher/choreographer and with professional musicians, but many of the dancers do not have a formal dance qualification.

The most important organizations in Finland are SNL (Suomen Nuorison Liitto), SKY (Suomen Kansantanssin Ystävät) and many others. The Brage union (Finlands Svenska Folkdansring) is smaller and represents the Swedish-speaking dancers.

The opinions of the main actors (such as SNL and SKY) often differ: SKY emphasizes tradition, SNL would reform old conventions and plan new choreographies, yet respecting tradition. At times, debates around these issues have been passionate, with all participants believing they are right.

I have been a folk dancer, folk dance teacher, group leader, choreographer, manager, dressmaker, etc. for over 40 years, and from the perspective of this experience will reflect on the state of folk dance today. What are the factors and elements that keep me motivated? In this context, what is the meaning of friendship, tradition, costumes, the dance itself, dance as art, music, the motion that dancers feel in their body or mind (kinesthetic wellness, pleasure?), the opportunity to share experiences or a safe space together with like-minded people, to participate in festivals all over the world, etc.? Why do people want to keep up this hobby? Why are dance and tradition no longer seen as interesting? What is the influence of charismatic teachers and fellow dancers? What does the relationship between dance, music and physical motion mean? What does the teacher feel when sharing his/her knowledge? How does the dancer's life experience affect his/her dance?

Theoretical point of view

As an insider in this field – dancing has been more than a hobby for me – I believe that auto-ethnography is a practical way to study these questions. However, my perspective is just one part of a larger whole. It is necessary to interview many competent dancers/teachers but also “ordinary people”. I hope to be able to compare reality and stereotypes and find reasons why people maintain or lose their motivation.

There is not much research of folk dance in Finland, but fortunately, there are some quite accomplished researchers, such as Ala-Könni, Hoppu, Nieminen, Bishop, Aronen, and also Parviainen, Välipakka, Anttila, Pakkanen and Sarje. Timo Leisiö is a researcher of ethno-musicology but in his research he has also dealt with dance.

I am at the same time both an informant and an observer. It is challenging; I feel and know that I belong to the group but I am also outside of it. 


László Felföldi:

About the dance traditions of Finno-Ugric peoples as cultural heritage

Problems of dance-heritage creation and its safeguarding as Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), development of heritage industries and heritage communities are part of a multi-faceted and multi-levelled phenomenon offering new paths for ethnochoreological research all over the world. Finno ugric peoples share these problems, partly as effect of the global attitude of everyday people to their „historical-cultural roots”, and partly as elements of the local, regional and international cultural policies. The latter appear mainly in the form of regulations, laws, acts, conventions, declarations etc. Among them, the Paris 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is the most influential international legal measure related to traditional culture in general and dance in particular . Author of this presentation as participant of several expert meetings of UNESCO during the last twenty years, is dealing with the above mentioned issues in relation with the safeguarding activities in the countries where Finno-ugric peoples are living – mostly in Estonia, Finnland, Hungary, Russian Federation. We rely on our own experiences, archive materials and legal texts accessible on internet.

For the creation of a general overview we use the following research questions:

  • What cultural policies or legal frameworks are created for safeguarding ICH? Identification and registry of dance as ICH?
  • What are the insider and outsider perspectives related to aims and strategies of governmental organs versus local practitioners notions of conservation and modernisation?
  • What issues emerge relating to intellectual property, such as formalisation of informal dance and their events into performances or choreographic arrangements?
  • How does dance as ICH promote recognition of embodied identity? Local power, prestige, competition?•
  • How does dance as ICH reveal a collision of social perspectives – single culture versus multicultural, generational, gender?
  • What responsibilities and challenges confront the ethnochoreologist in ICH affairs?
  • What issues arise when dance as intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is turned into a tangible form that is utilized in the activities of authorities, research institutes, museums, touristic agencies, NGO-s, and so on?

In addition to the general overview we will present two concrete examples, one from Estonia (Kihnu Island) and one from Hungary (Busójárás) as ICH items on UNESCO’s Representative list containing dance elements.


Jarkko Niemi:

Analyzing auditory culture: a structural analysis of sound and language patterns in Taz Selkup singing style

This paper contributes to the problem of the structural patterns in Selkup song. The research object is examined from the perspective of ethnomusicology and linguistic anthropology, and it is associated with the domain of traditional performance forms in an orally transmitted indigenous culture, where the (culturally contexted) patterning of a vocal song performance base to interacting elements of both language and sound. During the traditional song performance, the organization of the (vocal, intonational) elements of language and sound differs from the casual speech patterns by its more coherent, metrically motivated form. This way, the traditional vocal song performance creates an ephemeral trace of materialization of these interacting structures. This trace is a representation of the skill of the performance of the culture, and the present project aims to present a culture-sensitive analysis of the organization of these performances, basing to both description of the language and sound phenomena during the performance, and analysis of the interaction of these elements. It is obvious that this kind of analysis also must be put in wider context of the previous research on the local indigenous cultures of western Siberia. In the Taz Selkup case (see, e. g., Kazakevich 2001; Niemi 2001), the most interesting cultures from the perspective of comparison of the performance styles are the neighboring Forest Nenets (see Niemi 2008) and Eastern Khanty (see Schmidt 1995; Csepregi 1998; Niemi 2019 (in press)) cultures. The more encompassing historical Samoyedic context (see Hajdú 1978; Helimski 1989; Niemi 1998; Niemi 2004) is discussed as well.

Selkup Samoyedic oral culture remains one of the least known domains of indigenous cultures in Western Siberia. The scarce publicity of forms of local culture of the different Selkup groups seems to reflect the remoteness of their territories and the great number of Selkup spoken dialects. The first fieldwork-based written recordings of oral culture were made by the Finnish linguist M. A. Castrén in the 1840s, and the first phonograms by Kai Donner in the 1910s. Later, in the 1980s, a Belorussian journalist Viktor Rudolf began to work with the Selkup culture, also producing a collection of audio recordings, especially with the performers from the river Tolka. These later audio collections of Selkup song performances are also valuable in understanding the Selkup sung culture. In general, however, the key progress in the study of the Selkup local cultures (also including collections of audio recordings of oral performances) during the latter half of the 20th century has been made mostly by linguists (e. g., Dul’zon 1966; Kuznetsova 1993; 2002; Helimski 1993; 2002, Kazakevich 1993; 2002; 2010); Alatalo 1994), but also by ethnographers (e. g., Pelih 1981; Golovnëv 1995.


Marko Jouste:

Own, "Mixed" and "Borrowed" Songs - The Makings of Diverse Modern Saami Musical Culture in Finland 

Contemporary Saami music culture can be seen as a local, national, transnational and international phenomenon. Approximately four hundred albums of Saami music were released during years 1966–2016 in four countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia). For a relatively small indigenous people this is a notable amount and emphasizes the role of music in the cultural, political and socioeconomical life. During the last four decades, the Saami culture sector has grown to be an important part of the Saami society, and it is the modern Saami music, born as a part of the National awakening of the Saami people in 1960s and 1970s, that is the most well-known product of Saami culture globally, with many internationally praised Saami artists.A notable feature in the modern Saami music is the fact that it combines Saami traditional music and Western music, making it a flourishing example of musical encounters.

However, modern Saami music was not the first historical genre where one can find shared elements of Saamis and neighboring peoples. I will discuss of the impact of "mixed", "non-Saami" or "borrowed" musical genres to the Saami music culture during the 20th century and how global and national influences are shown in local communities, thus using the concept of glocal. I will give examples taken from Saami psalm tradition, song tradition and the modern Saami music (see Jouste 2017, 2011, 2005). As Hebert and Rykowski (2018, xxvi) point out, "a prominent theme in the study of music glocalization is the question of how individual musicians creatively respond to global flows while simultaneously respecting national and local traditions." The framework for examination is the model of "Ecosystems of Music" and specially its domain "Musicians and communities" presented by Schippers (2016, 10–13).


Hebert, David G. & Rykovski, Mikołaj (2018). "Introduction. An overture to music glocalization." Music

Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age. Edited by David Hebert and Mikolaj Rykowski. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Jouste, Marko (2017). "Áillohaš ja uuden joiun synty". Minä soin – Mun čuojan: Kirjoituksia Nils-Aslak Valkeapään elämäntyöstä. Toim. Valtonen, Taarna; Valkeapää, Leena. Rovaniemi: Lapland university press.

Jouste, Marko (2011). Tullâčalmaaš kirdâččij  ́tulisilmillä lenteli ́ - Inarinsaamelainen 1900-luvun alun musiikkikulttuuri paikallisen perinteen ja ympäröivien kulttuurien vuorovaikutuksessa.Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1650. Tampere: Tampere University Press.

Jouste, Marko(2005). Katsaus pohjoissaamenkielisen virsiperinteen historiaan. Etnomusikologian vuosikirja 17. Toim. Antti-Ville Kärjä & Markus Mantere. Helsinki: Suomen etnomusikologinen seura. 172–197.

Schippers, Huib(2016). "Sound Futures. Exploring the Ecology of Music Sustainability". Sustainable Futures for Music Cutures. An Ecological Perspective. Edited by Huib Schippers & Catherine Grant. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2–18.

Finno-Ugristik 2, 13:30–16:30


Mika Lavento:

The Textile ceramics and its chronological frame in Russia on the ground of AMS datings

[abstract pending]


Minerva Piha:

Research historical perspectives on languages spoken in prehistoric Fennoscandia 

In my presentation, I will present theories about languages spoken in Fennoscandia from the mesolithic Stone Age to the Iron Age. The perspective will be research historical: I will examine how conceptions on prehistoric linguistic situations have changed from the 19th century to the present day. I will present archaeological and linguistic theories on arrival dates and routes of Finnic, Saamic and Germanic/Scandinavian languages. The question of Paleo-European languages of Fennoscandia will also be discussed. A question to be answered is why the conceptions of the prehistoric linguistic situation have changed – what new thoughts have caused the old theories to change. In its essence, the presentation is also a research historical report on how archaeologists and linguists have cooperated in the past and present, and what kind of archaeo-linguistic syntheses have been created on the prehistoric linguistic situations.

The research history of the prehistoric linguistic situation can be divided into four main phases: the first phase includes the first thoughts on the languages spoken in Finland. The second phase is the time of the immigration theory, which was replaced by the third phase, continuation theory. The fourth phase are the theories of the 21st century. All the theories comment on the arrival of the Uralic languages and their contacts with other languages in Fennoscandia and neighboring areas.

The very motivation to study the prehistoric linguistic situation has often been to investigate the origin of Finnish (or Baltic Finnic). The origin of Saami languages has mostly been discussed only in connection with Finnish. Only during the last few decades, the need to study Saami from its own basis has gained favors. Such a perspective has also brought to light new material about Paleo-European languages. Such a development in research has also changed the views of linguists and archaeologists quite drastically from the Stone Age roots to the Iron Age arrival for Uralic languages in Fennoscandia.

Central references

Aikio, Aslak & Aikio, Ante 2001. Heimovaelluksista jatkuvuuteen – suomalaisen väestöhistorian tutkimuksen pirstoutuminen. Muinaistutkija 4/2001. 2–21.

Fogelberg, Paul 1999 (toim.). Pohjan poluilla. Suomalaisten juuret nykytutkimuksen mukaan. Bidrag till kännedom av Finlands natur och folk 153. Suomen Tiedeseura, Helsinki.

Häkkinen, Jaakko 2010a and b. Jatkuvuusperustelut ja saamelaisen kielen leviäminen (osa 1 ja osa 2). Muinaistutkija 1/2010 ja 2/2010. 19–36 and 51–64.

Kallio, Petri 2006. Suomen kantakielten absoluuttista kronologiaa. Virittäjä 1/2006. 2–25.

Lang, Valter 2018. Läänemeresoome tulemised. Muinaisaja teadus 28. Tartto: Tartu Ülikooli ajaloo ja arheoloogia instituudi ning Tallinna Ûlikooli arheoloogia teaduskogu ja ajaloo, arheoloogia ja kunstiajaloo keskuse.

Åström, Sven-Erik 1984 (toim.). Suomen väestön esihistorialliset juuret. Bidrag till kännedom av Finlands natur och folk 131. Suomen Tiedeseura, Helsinki.


Mark Goloviznin:

Bessermans’ ethnogenesis conception in context of the history of Cheptsa trade route

The Bessermans are the small nation of European Russia, compactly inhabiting the banks of the Cheptsa River and its tributaries. Ethnogenesis of Bessermans is still disputable, their traditional culture is characterized by interweaving the elements of “paganism” with Orthodox Christianity and Islam. During the soviet period, studying the Besserman problem was severely hindered because of undeclared but long-standing “war for Volga Bulgarian succession”, which have been waged with varying degrees of success by historians from several regions of Russia, primarily Tatarstan and Chuvashia. In this regard, the “Turkic” and “Islamic” aspects of the Besserman problem have come to the fore among other its aspects. However, for example, the so called “openwork weaving” in Besserman women clothes is the result of Russian (Vyatka) influence. Recent studies have shown that the Besserman dialect takes, among all the other Udmurt dialects, the 13th place (out of 18 possible) as concerns the presence of Turkic linguistic elements. On the other hand, it includes many elements of both Northern and Southern Udmurt dialects. One more peculiarity of Bessermans is the absence of “vorshuds” – traditional Udmurt clans united not only by kinship, but also by the veneration of tutelary spirits.

In our talk, we are going to discuss the role of the Cheptsa trade route as a factor of consolidation of ethnic groups in the Ural region. Archaeological data give evidence that even in early Middle Ages Cheptsa region was a heavily populated demographic region with intensively developing economy based on arable farming and crafts. In XV-XVI centuries in the context of aggressive offensive undertaken by Christian and Islamic feudal civilizations, Udmurt traditional society couldn't withstand competition and was constrained to choose between being assimilated or ousted to remote areas. We suggest that Bessermans consisted largely from those groups of Udmurts who tried to choose the third way – to coexist with the representatives of dominant cultures accepting some elements of their beliefs and to join through it to the benefits of civilization. So, the presence in Bessermans culture and language some Turkic, as well as Slavic elements and relics of Orthodoxy and Islam, may be due to their historical role as a “buffer group” in social and trade relations between various ethno-confessional subjects in Cheptsa region. It’s possible to assume that the representatives of Northern and Southern Udmurts belonging to different vorshuds concentrated in Cheptsa trade route coexisting with the strangers in common settlements. Meanwhile, traditional Udmurt pagan society perceived Bessermans as the “dissidents”. All that allows to explain the reasons why Udmurts did not settle together with Bessermans before 1917. Finally, the ethnonym “Bessermans” could be the result of borrowing, roughly in the same way as, for example, the ethnonym for Hungarians (Ungars) had been associated with Magyar tribes.


Aivar Jürgenson:

Siberian Estonians in their mother country - adaptation in last decades

Today, when the topic of receiving refugees is one of the most pressing ones in the European Union, also the Estonian society holds a fierce debate about it. One of the arguments against receiving the refugees is given exactly the weak integration of Russophones in Estonia. The “Russophone” minority in Estonia is comprised of different ethnic groups. While the vast majority are Russians, there are also Ukrainians, Belarusians, Finno-Ugric nations etc, who arrived during the Soviet time. Some of them indeed do belong to the Russian-speaking community. But more importantly, some of the Russian speakers have, in fact, ethnic Estonian roots. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the situation of Russophones changed drastically as a result of becoming a minority in a newly independent country which had been for decades a part of the Soviet Union. Those Soviet citizens who had moved to the territories that were now becoming independent discovered themselves suddenly in a strange situation, where the now officially supported values oriented to the nation-state were different from their own. Many of those recent migrants have been unable to find a substitute for their Soviet identity. The few remaining Soviet values and symbols present in Estonia appear to be guarding the remnants of the lost Soviet homeland. For example the “Bronze Soldier”, a WWII monument in Estonian capital Tallinn, which in the Soviet times was ritually used in Soviet identity politics. Within the context of the complex and controversial history of the Second World War in the Baltics, this symbol has contrasting meanings for the Estonian and Russian speakers. The national conflict that broke out in April 2007 after the Estonian government removed the Bronze Soldier from its original location in central Tallinn, highlighted the previously hidden tensions between Estonians and the Russian-speaking minority. This event prompted social scientists to analyze Estonian integration politics, questions of identity and the inhabitants’ stereotypes and attitudes, and has brought about the foundation of several schemes and efforts to give a boost to integration politics.

This paper focuses on immigrant adaption, integration, ethnic stereotype formation and the fact how the process of stereotype formation can be connected to an individual’s life story and the actualisation of stereotypes linked to concrete situations. The analysis is based on interviews conducted with Russian Estonians who remigrated to Estonia.


Zsuzsa Várnai & Zsuzsa Duray: 

The role of language in indigenous urban identities as percieved by participants of interviews on language and identity

”If you don’t speak the language, you’re excluded. You’re a tough one, so to say.”

This paper presents the project “Minority languages in the process of urbanization: A comparative study of urban multilingualism in Arctic indigenous communities” (NKFIH-11246) and gives an overview of the results.

The aim of the project is to investigate linguistic and cultural identity among North-
Uralic minorities in urban settings and to explore the ways minority members engage in multilingual urban communities and adapt to multilingual contexts. We concentrate on the situation in three northern urban settlements, home to indigenous North-Uralic peoples in Russia (Khanty Mansijsk and Dudinka) and in Finland (Enontekiö).
During the discussion we focus on exploring the identity of today’s indigenous minorities in urban settings. According to our hypothesis, due to various cultural and linguistic traditions and circumstances, it is not the heritage language that is the primary component of ethnic identity in each and every indigenous minority community in our study.
In this paper we seek to address the following question: To what extent is language perceived by the participants as a prominent aspect of their ethnic identity with regard to non-linguistic expressions of their ethnicity, including traditional ways of life, traditional territory and contacts with their heritage community?
Throughout the paper generalizations are avoided and the focus is purposefully on individual experiences and perceptions in order to gain a better insight into what the maintenance of the heritage language means when constructing individual ethnic identities in the communities under investigation. 

The role of language in indigenous urban identities as percieved by participants of interviews on language and identity

”If you don’t speak the language, you’re excluded. You’re a tough one, so to say.”

This paper presents the project “Minority languages in the process of urbanization: A comparative study of urban multilingualism in Arctic indigenous communities” (NKFIH-11246) and gives an overview of the results.

The aim of the project is to investigate linguistic and cultural identity among North-

Uralic minorities in urban settings and to explore the ways minority members engage in multilingual urban communities and adapt to multilingual contexts. We concentrate on the situation in three northern urban settlements, home to indigenous North-Uralic peoples in Russia (Khanty Mansijsk and Dudinka) and in Finland (Enontekiö).

During the discussion we focus on exploring the identity of today’s indigenous minorities in urban settings. According to our hypothesis, due to various cultural and linguistic traditions and circumstances, it is not the heritage language that is the primary component of ethnic identity in each and every indigenous minority community in our study.

In this paper we seek to address the following question: To what extent is language perceived by the participants as a prominent aspect of their ethnic identity with regard to non-linguistic expressions of their ethnicity, including traditional ways of life, traditional territory and contacts with their heritage community?

Throughout the paper generalizations are avoided and the focus is purposefully on individual experiences and perceptions in order to gain a better insight into what the maintenance of the heritage language means when constructing individual ethnic identities in the communities under investigation.

Wednesday, August 24

Finno-Ugristik 1, 10:00–12:00


Marko Jouste, Markus Juutinen & Eino Koponen:

The idiolect of Näskk Moshnikoff's Skolt Saami leu'dd language 

The majority of Skolt Saami language material gathered during the 20th century is spoken language since it was only 1970s when a normative written language was developed. The historical Skolt Saami found from the Nordic sound archives represents heavily specific oral traditions, namely fairytales and Skolt Saami song called leuʹdd, a genre of unaccompanied Skolt Saami songs.

In the paper Kolttalaulujen fonologiaa (1983) Mikko Korhonen gave a linguistic perspective to the research of the language of Skolt Saami leuʹdds and pointed out how leuʹdd-language differs from historical spoken language. Due to the Korhonen's untimely death, he could not continue the work he started. However, during the year 2019 the writers of this paper have begun to investigate the linguistic features of the Skolt Saami leuʹdds. The main focus has been in Näskk Moshnikoff's repertoire, since she holds the record of the longest recorded time frame. From 1910's to 1970's she was recorded tens of times and her repertoire exceeds over 200 archival units.

In our paper we shall describe the main features of Moshnikoff's leuʹdd-language. From her interviews one can find examples of same sentences performed by spoken language and sung language, where differences appear on both lexical and morphological level. This can be seen for example in the following sentences:

Spoken language: Späʹsseb eččam ǩiuggân meäkkai leiʹbstad. Späʹsseb eččam samvar pakk čeeʹstad.

Leuʹdd-language: Späʹsseb šââddaž Koʹsten âʹlǧǧe, ǩiuggân-i meäkkai leeiʹb-e-stad-a di ja samo-var pakk-a čee-je-stad.

There is a particular vocabulary in leuʹdd-language for some concepts such as ‘father’ eččam > šââddaž and ‘mother’ jeäʹnn > njeʹǯǯ. One can also easily notice morphological features. The most common change is the reappearing of the language historical second syllable vowel in word form, where it has disappeared from the present spoken language (jõnn > jõnn-a). In the following sentence these are separated by a hyphen:

"Muäna veʹt-e vääld-a-veâl-a-čep-pe trooiniǩ-e, jõnn-a võnnâz-a".

As one can see, additional vowels appear also on the third syllable even though the language history does not support this formation. Our suggestion is that this can be explained by musical reasons, mainly for enabling singing since vowels are essential for producing a full melody. Furthermore, one syllable particles are commonly used to stretch the meter of the text lines and several different additional suffixes can be added even in the middle of a word (vääldčep > vääld-a-ǥo-jo-čep > vääld-a-veâl-a-čep-pe).

The analytical study of leuʹdd-language is particularly important both for the scientific research of the spoken Skolt Saami and Skolt Saami music. The research is crucial also for the present Skolt Saami generations since these features are essential in performing leuʹdds.


Mari Sarv:

Dialects of Finnic runosong

Runosong can be considered as specific register, poetic language or "code" for poetic expression known in most of Finnic dialects. By now we have at our disposal "big data" of runosong - majority of the whole body of Finnic runosong texts ever collected due to the presence of databases created by Finnish Literary Society and the Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum, all together more than 200000 songs and more than 10 million words (tokens). For the first time in the history we are able to survey this whole body with the help of computational methods to find out which are the tradition regions of Finnic runosongs and what feature is peculiar to each region.

Variation is an essential feature of folklore, but the study of it is complicated by its layered nature. Different aspects of folklore (folkloristic types, topics, poetic form) can follow different variation patterns. In case of textual folklore linguistic variation always underlies the contentual one. Runosongs have their own specific poetic register full with archaisms and specific word forms, which relies on the colloquial language, but this relationship is not always straightforward - in some regions runosong language is closer to the colloquial dialectal language, in others more distant.

Highly variative language is an obstacle to the data-driven access to the content aspects of the runosong corpora, while there are no tools to be able to process the variativity automatically (to lemmatize or grammatically analyze the word forms). There are tools and methods calculating the closeness of text collections, or finding out the abstract topics in the collection of texts. These methods usually presume lemmatized texts and sometimes exclusion of so-called stopwords from calculations. Stylometry is a method for studying variativity of the texts comparing the shares of most frequent sequences (usually words) in different texts (assuming this to form a stylistic fingerprint of a text or author). When applying this method to the regional collections of (unlemmatized) runosong texts, we get an idea of how runosong language variates. Use of most frequent word forms clearly reflects the properties of the language in the first instance, gives us a fingerprint of the regional variant of runosong language. But in addition to that also the dominant genres and topics leave their impact on the results: lyric, narrative, and pragmatic texts differ by their use and frequency of personal pronouns, for example. Also the main topics come forward among the (variation of) most frequent words.

To sum up, regional division of runosong tradition (as well as topical foci) can be drawn by using the methods relying on the wordform frequencies, but results reveal both, linguistic and contentual layers of runosong variation.


Kati Kallio, Maciej Janicki, Eetu Mäkelä, Jukka Saarinen, Liina Saarlo & Mari Sarv:

Comparing oral poetry in Karelian, Ingrian, Votic, Estonian and Finnish languages 

Karelian, Ingrian, Votic, Estonian and Finnish languages share similar oral verse form that is, variably, called Finnic alliterative tetrameter, runosong meter or Kalevala meter. Currently, there are over 240 000 digitized runosong texts in Estonian and Finnish archives and databases, representing numerous genres from epic and charms to lyric, ritual poetry, lullabies, and so on. In addition, there are manuscript collections and sound recordings also in other archives.

In the FILTER-project (, we combine computational and folkloristic, quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the multilevel variation in the digitized corpus of Finnic oral poetry. In the data, a word may appear in several hundreds of different forms, and, on the other hand, some word forms may represent several different words or have different meanings in related languages. The extreme linguistic, poetic and orthographical variation and various biases of the historical source material pose notable challenges especially when using material from several small languages and in bigger quantities.

It is evident some features in this poetic tradition are old and persistent – there are many similar, apparently orally transmitted lines and motifs appearing in the sources from 17th to 20th century, and while the local traditions have their own characteristics and peculiarities, some motifs and verse types are shared across the Finnic area. It is also evident that some lines, motifs and stories are quite recent: the singers were singing old songs, transforming them, and creating new ones. Any story, motif or verse may have spread across the Finnic area at any time during the time the tradition in this poetic meter has existed.

In this paper, we present our ongoing experiments in recognising similar poetic lines and passages, spreads of poem types and motifs, and indications of metrical features in the corpus in relation to language areas.


Risto Järv:

Travelling characters, travelling tales. The Needle, the Glove, and the Squirrel / Spike (ATU 90) 

In the international ATU tale-type index, type number ATU 90 describes the folk tale plot titled “The Needle, the Glove, and the Squirrel” (ATU 90), while it is pointed out that the tale appears with the Finnish, Estonian, Karelian and Cheremis peoples. The plot, that can be classified as an animal tale, contains several characteristics of a tale of magic (three different characters, among which it is the smallest, the Needle, that gets the result; the “main character” finds different objects on his travels that later turn out to be useful). Also, the plot is reminiscent of a formula tale. An extract suggesting this plot has also been found in Karelian runo songs.

There are approximately a dozen variants recorded in Karelia and Finland each, while only one variant is known from Estonia, that was recorded in Setomaa region in 1934. The characters of the Estonian variant are the Needle, the Glove and the Spike (ora). Milieu-morphological adaptation of characters is common in folk tales; however, in this particular case the homonymic similarity of the Estonian word for squirrel (orav) with the variant of the character in Finnish (orava) and Karelia (oravu) compels attention. The Estonian variant, although it is a long sequence of different tale types, has remarkably poorer content than Karelian and Finnish variants. These features rise questions about the reliability of the Estonian variant and the existence of the entire tale type in Estonia.

In the course of revising the typology and the preparation of the academic publication of Estonian animal tales (2019), the workgroup of folk tales decided to include the tale types represented with one or a few variants, if they belong to an international tradition. Nevertheless, the question of the coverage of the tale type in typology arose even in the final stages of the preparation of the publication.

The presentation will discuss the different variants of the tale found among the different Finno-Ugric peoples, as well as typology issues resulting from this in the context of other folk tale loans and the freshly published academic folk tale collection.

Anglistik, 13:30–15:00


Mervi de Heer:

The borrowing profile mediated by the basic vocabularies of Uralic languages

Basic vocabulary lists are a highly accessible data type for cross-linguistic comparison. They are widely used in the field of historical linguistics and computational applications because basic vocabulary carries a signal of vertical relationships. Still, basic vocabulary is not immune to borrowing especially in intimate contact situations and therefore basic vocabulary also contains information about horizontal relationships between languages. The contact history of a language reflected by its loanwords can be characterized as its borrowing profile. Currently, it is not well known to what degree the more restricted basic vocabulary data type can capture a borrowing profile. Extensive research on loanword layers has been conducted for relatively few languages, however, Uralic linguistics has a long tradition of research on loanwords and etymology. Therefore, the Uralic language family provides an ideal opportunity to explore the borrowing profile in basic vocabulary.  

In this paper, the borrowing profiles mediated by the basic vocabulary data (De Heer et al. 2021) of six well-studied Uralic languages are compared to the borrowing profiles of the whole languages represented by large vocabulary stocks. The results reveal that basic vocabulary provides an informative representation of the borrowing profile but the traces of prehistoric loanword layers are emphasized in basic vocabulary. Sociolinguistic circumstances leading to the emergence and differences between the borrowing profiles of basic and whole vocabulary are discussed.

The basic vocabulary approach provides an interesting prospect for cross-linguistic research on languages and language families with limited material available. A wide-scale picture on the contact history mediated by the borrowing profile is also valuable for multidisciplinary research endeavors aiming to integrate information on contact events from various sciences to better illuminate the prehistory of a population.


De Heer, Mervi, Mikko Heikkilä, Kaj Syrjänen, Jyri Lehtinen, Outi Vesakoski, Toni Suutari, Michael Dunn, Urho Määttä and Unni-Päivä Leino. 2021. Uralic basic vocabulary with cognate and loanword information (Version v2.0) [Data set]. Zenodo.

De Heer, Mervi; Blokland, Rogier; Dunn, Michael; Vesakoski, Outi. (submitted manuscript). Loanwords in basic vocabulary as an indicator of borrowing profiles.


Sven-Erik Soosaar:


Traces of Pre-Finnic substrate in Southern Finnic phytonyms 

In recent years considerable advances have been made in genetics and archaeology to trace the population change in prehistoric Baltic area. Arrival of Siberian ancestry attested through genetic analyses coincides with proposed arrival of Uralic languages in the Baltics (Lang 2018, Saag et al. 2019). It is thus beyond doubt that speakers of Uralic languages were not the first inhabitants of present-day Estonia and Latvia. When Uralic speakers arrived to Baltics, it was not uninhabited. The language(s) spoken by the original inhabitants must have left some traces in the Finnic languages in the form of a substrate (Ariste 1962, Ariste 1975; Saarikivi 2004; Frog & Saarikivi 2015). Although some researchers have considered the research of an unknown substrate futile, there has been considerable success in some cases, most notably in the case of Pre-Greek substrate in Ancient Greek.

Phytonyms are a part of the lexicon that is most probable to have retained words from the substrate language (Beekes 2014). Dendronyms are one of the most prominent parts of the phytonyms and they can be used to trace the original homeland of language families. Since tree species have different areal distribution, dendronyms have been used to locate the home of the Finno-Ugric (Uralic) protolanguage (Hajdú 1964). With the arrival of Uralic speakers to the new territories in the Baltic area, it is probable that in addition to contacts with local population and their language they also learned to know and use new species of plants and borrowed the names for these species from their language subsequently preserved in contemporary Finnic languages.

Some Finnic phytonyms are shared with Baltic and most of these are clear loans from Proto-Baltic to Proto-Finnic like herne(s), heinä, takija(s) but in some cases the direction of the borrowing has been unclear, e.g. kataja/kadakas~kadagys/kadiķis. Most probably such stems are of substrate origin.
Using all the available lexical sources for the South Finnic languages, I have sorted out the existing stems of phytonyms and terms for parts of trees and analysed the material in comparison with other Finnic languages.

Using the same methods that have been used by Beekes (2014) for the research of Pre-Greek substrate elements in Ancient Greek, it will be shown, that a considerable amount of South Finnic phytonyms of unknown origin share phonetic and phonotactic features that are characteristic of a possible substrate language. Some of these phonotactic features are atypical for the common Uralic lexicon and have been proposed as typical substrate features long ago (Ernits 1979; 2017), some are new.




Iris Metsmägi:


Uralic etymologies of some Estonian words without Finnish equivalents 

There are about twenty words in (North- and/or South-)Estonian, to which etymological equivalents in other branches of Uralic languages have been suggested, but equivalents in Finnish and other Northern Finnic languages are lacking. (There may be equivalents in other Southern Finnic languages.) In the presentation, an overview of these suggestions will be given, together with an attempt to analyse and evaluate them.

Among these Estonian words, there are old and well-established etymologies, like South-Estonian mõskma ‘to wash’ (UEW: 289, Sammallahti 1988: 538) or kuklane ‘ant’ (UEW 678–679, Sammallahti 1988: 552). Recently, in connexion with revision of some developments in Uralic vocalism, plausible Uralic etymologies have been proposed for Estonian koole ‘ford’ (Aikio 2012: 238, 2015: 63) and mäletama ‘to remember’ (O’Rourke 2016: 243).

Some suggestions should be rejected on phonological grounds, like the etymology for Estonian aas ‘meadow’ (UEW: 3), moreover, there is a more credible alternatve explanation (EEW: 5). Some etymologies, like the Uralic etymology for Estonian kõba ‘pine bark’ (UEW: 180, Sammallahti 1988: 537, Aikio 2015: 60), should be considered uncertain due to the scarce and ambiguous data about the Estonian word itself, although the comparison is phonologically correct.

Several suggested equivalents concern only Mordvin, or Mordvin and Mari languages, e.g. those for Estonian pähn ‘linden’ (UEW: 726), lell ‘uncle, father’s brother’ (EEW: 1277), püdal ‘horseleech’ (UEW: 733–734). Even if at least part of these comparisons are phonologically and semantically acceptable, the further etymology of such words stlll needs investigation.


Aikio 2012 = Luobbal Sámmol Sámmol Ánte (Ante Aikio) 2012. On Finnic long vowels, Samoyed vowel sequences, and Proto-Uralic *x. – Tiina Hyytiäinen, Lotta Jalava, Janne Saarikivi, Erika Sandman (eds). Per Urales ad Orientem: Iter polyphonicum multilingue. Festskrift tlllägnad Juha Janhunen på hans sextioårsdag den 12 februari 2012. (= MSFOu 264), 227–250.

Aikio, Ante 2015. The Finnic ‘secondary e-stems’ and Proto-Uralic vocalism. – Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 95, 25–66.

EEW = Mägiste, Julius 1982–1983. Estnisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Helsinki: Finnisch-Ugrische Gesellschaf.

O’Rourke, Patrick 2016. Comments on Proto-Uralic etymology: derivations and lexemes. – Linguistica Uralica LII, 241–246.

Sammallahti, Pekka 1988. Historical Phonology of the Uralic Languages with Special Reference to Samoyed, Ugric and Permic. – Denis Sinor (ed.), The Uralic languages. Description, history and foreign infuences. Leiden, New York, København, Köln: E. J. Brill, 478–554.

UEW = Rédei, Károly 1986–1991. Uralisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.



Finno-Ugristik 1, 13:30–14:30


Katalin Sipőcz & Bernadett Bíró:

Evidentiality in Mansi dialects

Evidentiality is a grammatical category with source of information as its primary meaning. Markers of information source are called evidentials and they are usually part of the verbal paradigm. Typologically there are languages with grammaticized evidential systems, while other languages apply evidential strategies. The marking of evidentiality can be obligatory in some languages and optional in others. The category interacts with several fields of grammar, such as epistemic modality, aspect and tense, furthermore cultural linguistic factors may also be associated with it.

A grammaticalized evidential system can be found in several Uralic languages (Estonian, Livonian, Mari, Permic, Ob-Ugric and Samoyedic languages), and in these languages the participle form of the verb carries this function in most cases. Also in Mansi the non-finite verb forms are used in this function. In the literature and in the grammar of Mansi these forms have traditonally been called narrative or non-witnessed mood (in Russian neochevidnoe naklonenie), and the term evidentiality has been connected to this phenomena only recently (Skribnik & Kehayov 2018).

The dialectal distribution of this category in Mansi is remarkable. This kind of use of non-finite forms is typical for the Northern dialect but absent from the Southern dialect. The analysis of the Eastern and Western dialects shows that also these dialects differ from Northern Mansi in this respect. Also within the Northern dialect it is observable that the use of evidentiality varies in the subdialects or even between speakers. All these phenomena indicate that this category may be a new phenomenon mainly in the Northern dialect. (It is noteworthy that a similar observation was made for the Khanty language (Csepregi 2014).)

In our presentation, we aim to present the Mansi dialects from the point of view of evidentiality: (1) how is the source of information expressed in different dialects and (2) what is the role of the non-finite forms in different dialects. Furthermore, we argue that the formation and use of this category in the Northern dialect can be explained by cultural and environmental factors in addition to the presumed areal effect.


Márta Csepregi: Evidentiality in dialects of Khanty. LINGUISTICA URALICA L 2014 3.

Skribnik & Kehayov 2018: Evidentials in Uralic Languages. In: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (ed). The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality



Sándor Szeverényi:

Cultural and cognitive motivation in cohesion and coherence in Nganasan personal narratives 

In the talk I will analyze Nganasan conversations and narratives. The aim of the analyses is to present and systemize narrative strategies in the spoken Nganasan language from the perspectivization point of view.

Nganasan is the northernmost indigenous language of Eurasia and the Russian Federation. It belongs to the Samoyedic branch of of the Uralic language family. Nganasan is a moribund language, the number of its speakers is appr. 125 (2010).

Nganasan has several linguistic features that are not present in the western Uralic languages, such as evidentiality system, TAM system and reported speech constructions. The complex analysis these features can serve as a basis for further ethnolinguistic – cultural and cognitive – studies.

I use an annotated corpus: the texts were annotated and can be found in the Nganasan Spoken Language Corpus (Brykina et al. 2018). The corpus serves for base of textological and discourse analysis of Nganasan narratives: I will focus on cohesion and coherence expressed by

  • deictically sensitive elements: tense and aspect marking;
  • morphological markers of evidentiality;
  • reporting speech constructions with utterances predicate.

The main research question is whether there is correlation between the choice of a TAME category and the genre of a text in the light of perspective of the original speaker.

The results show that there is a strong correlation between the above mentioned features. The Nganasan speaker almost always marks his/her “responsibility” for the truth of an utterance.


Brykina, Maria, Gusev, Valentin, Szeverényi, Sándor and Wagner-Nagy, Beáta 2018: “Nganasan Spoken Language Corpus (NSLC).” Archived in Hamburger Zentrum für Sprachkorpora. Version 0.2.

Anglistik, 15:30–17:00


Viktor Martinović:

Gothic loanwords in Hungarian? A case study of computer-assisted borrowing detection

A number of computer-assisted approaches have been introduced to the field of historical linguistics during the past two decades - most of them focus on the creation and analysis of phylogenetic trees and few on how words are and were transferred horizontally -- between languages spoken in areal proximity during the same time. The Python software package "loanpy", which I have been developing as part of my doctoral thesis at the University of Vienna since 2018, aims to fill this gap. It takes lexical data from a hypothesised source and target language as input, together with etymological data, and returns a list of candidate loanwords, for manual review. A detailed description of the workflow will be published at I have applied this new method to search for Gothic words that may have entered Early Ancient Hungarian in the 4th century AD in an area that roughly corresponds to today's Ukraine. Results are still under review and will be published in my dissertation, presumably in summer 2023.


Markus Juutinen:

Russian loanwords in Skolt Saami

In this presentation I will examine Russian loanwords in Skolt Saami. My aim is to analyse the semantics of the loanwords and to investigate what can be said about the chronology of sound changes in Skolt Saami based on Russian loanwords. My main source of data is the dictionary of T. I. Itkonen (1958) in which the author proposed more than 850 Russian origin loanwords in the Saami languages spoken in the Kola Peninsula.

The integration of the Kola Saami into the Russian Empire and their adaptation to Russian culture began already in the Middle Ages, at the beginning via Karelians. The direct Saami–Russian contacts began only later. However, the contacts weren’t intensive at the beginning and at least most of the Russian loanwords in Skolt Saami must be relatively new. This can be determined based on the sound changes. The nasal plus stop/affricate clusters haven’t been denasalized in the Russian loanwords of Skolt Saami as in older vocabulary, which shows that the Russian loanwords have been borrowed after the denasalization wasn’t any longer a productive sound change in Skolt Saami. The denasalization spread from the west to Inari Saami in the late 16th or early 17th century (Sammallahti 1998: 29) and only after that to Skolt Saami.

Even though different layers of German and Finnic loanwords have been studied quite a lot, the loanwords of Russian origin are little studied. One of the reasons is the distribution of the loanwords. There are at least 700 Russian origin words in Skolt Saami in all kinds of semantic fields but Inari Saami and North Saami spoken to the west from Skolt Saami have only a couple of dozens of Russian loanwords and the languages even far west have no proposed Russian loanwords. The Russian origin vocabulary is a distinctive feature of Skolt Saami and the Saami languages spoken in the Kola Peninsula which is the main reasons why Inari Saami vocabulary differs a lot from Skolt Saami (Rydving 2013: 161–166) even though both languages are usually counted as Eastern Saami languages (e.g. Sammallahti 1998: 6).


Itkonen, T. I. 1948: Koltan- ja kuolanlapin sanakirja I–II. Wörterbuch des Kolta- und Kolalappischen. I–II. Lexica Societatis Fenno-Ugricae XV. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.

Rydving, Håkan 2013: Words and Varieties. Lexical Variation in Saami. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia 269. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.

Sammallahti, Pekka 1998: The Saami Languages. An Introduction. Kárášjohka: Davvi Girji OS.


Roza Laptander:

Names of lichen and other reindeer food in Nenets language

The Nenets language has many words for deer lichen nyada. This feature of the Nenets language can be explained by the needs of the reindeer herding culture, since reindeer feed on lichens for almost most of the year, except for the summer months. And since deer lichens have a certain value and signifcance in the life and work of nomadic reindeer herders, each Nenets name of a lichen is very detailed and determines the place of its distributon in the tundra and the place of growth, a descripton of the type of lichen common in dry or wet places, on earth or stones, in hills or meadows, in forests or mountains. However, there are no special names for fowers or herbs in the Nenets language. All herbs and almost all fowers have only the common name ngamde"d, the separate name of all herbs is ngum'. The paucity of fower and herb names can also be related to the relatvely short and intense summers in the arctc tundra, when grasses bloom for less than a month. Only a few plants included in the diet of reindeer and especially loved by them have their own names in the Nenets language.

Finno-Ugristik 1, 15:30–17:00


Merja Salo:


Reciprocal and related constructions in Khanty 

Some kind of reciprocal pronoun ńuʌ ’one another, each other’, which accepts a case suffix directly after it, is known in several Khanty varieties: VVj ńula, V also ńul, Trj J ńuʌa, ńuʌ, DN Fil. Ts. ńuta, Kr. ńutȧ, KoP ńutȧ, ńut, Ni Š ńuta Š also ńut, Kaz ńǫʌa, KazSt ńǫʌ ‘together, one another, each other’. It functions also as a prefix (e.g. DEWOS 1048, OW 647a-b). Often it is possible to interpret ńuʌ as an adverb ‘together’, which probably was the original meaning. The word is documented in Mansi dialects, but it is lacking in the northernmost areas. The new Kazym Khanty dictionary gives one good example: ńoʌ weʌti ‘to fight intensively’ (HRS 224). In the following example of Surgut Khanty the reciprocal pronoun takes a lative suffix:

1) min ńuʌ-a jǝm koʌ-ǝt jastǝ-mǝn (KRHS 79)
we(du) respr-lat good word-pl say.pret-1du
‘we said(du) good words to each other’

In Vasjugan Khanty, the situation differs. Filchenko (2010: 349–353) renders many examples, where the marker of reciprocity ńul is so strong that the predicate verb can be the third person of singular. It can also show plural activity, as seen in (2):

(2) älǝŋ jäľǝγs-ǝkǝtǝ-t kölö ńul wel-ǝt (Filchenko 2010: 305)
morning fight-inchoat.pret-3pl all respr kill.pret-3pl
‘they started to fight in the morning and all killed each other’

Often Khanty grammars do not even mention the term reciprocal pronoun. However, there are many ways to code this kind of action of at least two participants towards each other. In Shuryshkar Khanty the adverb jăχa ‘together’ can be used as reciprocal pronoun:

(3) kašǝŋ puš śi wer eʌti jăχa χoj-ʌ-ǝw (Lel’hova 2012: 182)
every time this thing pop respr clash-pres-1pl
‘every time our views clash over this thing’

(4) ʌin amp-ǝt iti jăχa śăk-sǝ-ŋǝn (Lel’hova 2012: 196)
they(du) dog-pl pop respr cling-pret-3du
‘they clung together like dogs’

If the noun kŭt ‘distance’ bears a possessive suffix, its meaning changes into ‘among(st), between’, and this combination can act as reciprocal pronoun in Shuryshkar Khanty:

(5) ow peʌa aŋkǝrmi-man, kŭtʌaʌ ińśma-ʌ-ǝt (DS 60)
door pop look-ger respr.px3pl ask-pres-3pl
’looking at the door they keep asking of each other’

The reciprocal meaning can be expressed in many different ways, which obviously need further research.

DEWOS = Stenitz, Wolfgang 1967–1991: Dialektologisches und etymologisches Wörterbuch der Ostjakischen Sprache.
Filchenko, Andrey 2010: Aspect of the Grammar of Eastern Khanty.
HRS = Solovar, V. N. 2014: Hantyjsko-russkij slovar’ (kazymskij dialekt).
KRHS = Volkova, A. N. & V. N. Solovar 2016: Kratkij russko-hantyjskij slovar’ (surgutskij dialekt).
OW = K.F. Karjalainens Ostjakisches Wörterbuch I–II. LSFU X. 1948.


Marianna Anduganova:

Uniqueness of Graphical Stylistics in the Sacred Texts of Khanty and Mari Ethnic Prayers 

Khanty and Mari people live in different parts of the Eurasian continent. In spite of, being so far climatically, culturally, territorially, both of these nations are Finno-Ugric peoples and they have saved their primordial ethnic religion. The most part of Sacred Texts have been saving in oral form. By the XXI century our civilization has just a little part of such kind of texts in writing. They were collected by different scientists from Russia, Finland, Hungary and Germany.

We are interested in the texts which were published and collected by Khanty and Mari people because their attitude to these materials is very personal, intimate and tremulous. So they try to use different graphic tools to express linguistic, ritual and psychological specific features of their national Ethnic Prayers.

Sacred texts were not collected by linguists and it is impotent to investigate for the theory of coding and encoding and how graphical cods of information were used. Sometimes cods were expressive sometimes neutral. The goal of our research is to compare language material in diachronic aspect and to reveal unique and universal ways of graphic representation of the texts which have special value for humanity.

Writing tradition and history of Khanty and Mari languages is not the same, but they are classified as languages ‘with a recent system of writing’. This fact, by no means, is a reason of being small amount of Khanty and Mari Sacred Texts in written form at present days.

This is due to nothing else than religion and very personal attitude to the proses of praying, spiritual relationships between prayer, Gods and Godhoods etс. It is language in action which obviously proofs that Ethnic Sacred texts are the highest form of textual existence of humanity with idiosyncratic secrets of their saving and reproduction thousands and thousands years.

It is necessary to notice that graphical stylistics is not spelling. It is another and specific form of emotive expressions of feelings in writing form. Sometimes graphical stylistics is connected with syntactical and phonological stylistics.


Mária Sipos:

On the individual level / stage level distinction in Kazym Khanty 

The paper aims to describe the use of the nominative and the lative cases in individual-level and case-level predicates in Kazym Khanty.

The Khanty language (Uralic, Ob-Ugric) is spoken in NW-Siberia, and the Kazym dialect belongs to its northern dialect group. Khanty has been influenced by the Russian language for centuries, especially after 1917. Today, in the Khanty language, investigations find a wide scale of both material and pattern borrowings from Russian.

In the Russian language, in the past tense, individual-level and stage-level predicates are differentiated mainly by the use of the nominative and the instrumental cases. The nominative case is used when no form of the be-verb is present in the sentence, i.e. the instrumental is used as predicate to the following forms of the verb ’be’: infinitive, future tense, imperative, conditional, gerund. However, in the past tense, nominative denotes permanent state, while instrumental is used to express temporary status. Even in brief descriptions it is also added that permanent status may also be denoted by the instrumental (concerning the past tense) (Wade 2011: 125-126).

In the Kazym Khanty dialect, the two nominal cases appearing in individual-level / stage level contrast are nominative and lative cases. Similarly to Russian, the lative case is never used when there is no be-verb present in the predicate, and the nominative and the lative cases are generally associated with individal and stage levels, respectively. However, in Kazym Khanty, it is not only permanent states that can be expressed using either of the two cases but also we can find examples of sentences describing a temporary state with a nominal part in the nominative.

In the paper, I am planning to give an overview of the use of the nominative / lative cases in two distinct periods, namely, in the middle of the 20th century on the one hand, and in the first two decades of the 21st century, on the other hand. My hypothesis is that, although there are still minor differences between the two systems, the earlier Khanty practice was seriously influenced by the Russian language, and that using the appropriate sources, it is possible to detect two different stages in the process of language change. To that end, besides grammars (e.g. Russkaya 1961, Solovar 2009), various text publications will be surveyed from both periods. These findings are expected to help us have a better understanding of the present situation concerning stage level / individual level distinction in North Khanty.


Russkaja, Ju. N. 1961. Samoučitel’ xantyjskogo jazyka. Učpedgiz. Leningrad.

Solovar, Valentina N. 2009. Paradigma prostogo predloženija v xantyjskom jazyke. L’ubava, Novosibirsk.

Wade, Terence, 2011. A comprehensive Russian grammar. Wiley – Blackwell.

Thursday, August 25

Anglistik, 10:00–11:30


Tatiana Devyatkina & Serafima Panfilova:

Religious and magical roots of fortune-telling in the traditional culture of the Mordva 

In the traditional culture of the Mordva, like in many other cultures of the world, fortune-telling was practiced to obtain information about future events by means of religious and magical rituals. Fortune-telling practices of the Mordva were first mentioned in the written sources of the 18th century as parts of obsequial and remembrance, wedding, birth, household rites as well as in pagan prayings and songs. Fortune-tellings were practiced individually and collectively by males and females, young and middle-aged people. The popular questions asked in the process of fortune-telling concerned life and death, marriage, wealth, harvest.

There existed special fortune-tellings included in the pagan ritual festivals of the Mordva – Ozks. After the conversion to Christianity, these traditional ritual festivals had been transformed and adjusted to the new religion. People began to perform them the day before the major Christian holidays: Christmas, Epiphany, Old New Year, sometimes St. Peter’s Day – July 12. And fortune-tellings, being part of the old rituals, were considered most precise and revealing people’s fate if performed the day before the most important Christian holidays. The Mordva believed that by using special objects and choosing the right place and time, with the help of their dead ancestors’ spirits and evil forces, it was possible to establish an information channel with the other world and thus find out about the future.

As a rule, dark, “unclean” places were chosen for fortune-tellings (a bathhouse, a cow-shed) and also border spaces (gates, draw-wells, crossroads; the last were deeply symbolic). Late evening and midnight were considered the best time to fortune tell. Early morning (before sunset) were used more seldom. When performing fortune-tellings dealing with establishing contacts with supernatural forces, people used special objects to protect themselves from the evil spirits. Even after the conversion to Christianity the Mordva kept on fortune-telling and considered it an integral part of their traditional culture. Due to the negative attitude of the official Orthodox church, everyday individual fortune-tellings, such as folk signs, dream interpretations, nature and animal behavior interpretation, became very popular and collective ones almost vanished.

Nowadays, though transformed, fortune-telling is still practiced by the Mordva in a number of ways. Fieldwork data shows that fortune-tellings are mainly performed in rural areas by members of marginalized communities.


Elena Elts:

Museums of Vepsian culture and ethnocultural rights 

Due to the rise of ethnonational movements of Vepsians and other Finno-Ugric peoples in regions of the Russian Federation and building the national, international societies and institutions promoting cultural and natural heritage of peoples of Finno-Ugric group since the late 1980s, in regions and municipalities with high concentrations of ethnic minorities, there have been mechanisms for cooperation between the authorities and civil society. As a result, the cultural and ethnic policy in regions includes the various actions that seek to emphasize ethnic identity and realization of self-consciousness through indigenous identity. Among other things, the promotion of local museums, traditional arts and crafts and introduction and the implementation of festivals, the most famous of which is annual festival “The Tree of Life”, held since 1987 in areas of the Republic of Karelia, Leningrad oblast and Vologodsky region.

Spontaneously created collections were taking on an ethnic dimension in the 1970 and under the rise of ethnonational movements of Vepsians became involved in work of realising the Vepsian ethnocultural rights.

Local museums, many of which have their roots in school museums, began to emerge in 1970 with collecting of Vepsian artifacts in indigenous areas, the assimilation of artefacts in private and non-state public collection. The pupils and teachers collected the items in the deserted Vepsian villages; the collections of material culture continued to accumulate through the gifts of local peoples.

Inherited from the Soviet period well-established forms school museums have achieved important ethnic significance in the contemporary ethnically active periodе thanks to folklore activities, voluntary Vepsian language learning, guided tours led by pupils, folk arts and handicraft, direct relationship to the material world raising a particular type of ethnic awareness.

The process of developing of the network of school museums have been hindered by the lack of official status and methodological assistance, liquidation of a number of schools. The future of school museums (provision of/search for the physical space to house the museum, the museum status, voluntary or state-financed work related to ethnic activites etc.) has been placed in the hands of local authorities, regional formal Vepsian ethnic organizations and local communities. The initiative to gather museum collections was launched by persons, who sought to maintain a disappearing heritage.The collection concept, the number and inventory of exhibits, conservation and exhibition activities of the museums rest on the vision of collector–initiator, depend on their current status and are not always clear-cut. A key feature is the demonstration of artefacts of Vepsian traditional culture in their own original environment, which forms with the surrounding nature and culture a single living complex, is perceived as peculiar part of today's culture of Vepsians and contributes to preservation of local community’s cultural heritage, to development and to the fashioning of its national identity. Organizational and legal forms of museums and forms of museum work remain dynamic and balancing and strongly depend on initiatives of local authorities, local enthusiasts, Vepsian ethnic organizations, regional target programmes. Local museums closely relate to the other cultural and educational institutions, such as libraries, schools, House of cultures and Vepsian ethnic organizations handicrafts centres.


Aado Lintrop:

About a contemporary Seto holiday held in August each year 

Setos are an ethnic and linguistic minority in south-eastern Estonia and north-western Russia, mostly Orthodox Christians. First Seto Kingdom Day was celebrated in 1994. The idea was borrowed from Norway, where descendants of 17th Century Finnish immigrants each year proclaim their Republic. In 1989 or 1990 Estonian folk group Hellero visited this Republikken Finnskogen and leader of this group Paul Hagu started to think how to organise similar event in Estonia. As he worked from 1991 till 1993 with the manuscript of Seto epic “Peko”, preparing its publication, he took the explanatory story of Seto Kingdom from the epic. “Peko” was created by traditional singer Anne Vabarna in 1927. On the request of Estonian scholar Paulopriit Voolaine she made old Seto god of fertility Peko a human being and king of Setos. Illiterate Vabarna sang in traditional style about 8000 verses, her son Ivo wrote the text down and sent it in May 1927 to Voolaine. The epic remained unpublished till 1995.

Republic of Forest Finns - Republikken Finnskogen – gave idea for the Seto Kindgom Day, Peko epic gave ideology. As king Peko is dead and resting eternally in cave under the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery, in Seto Kingdom rules his regent. Election of the regent is central event of Seto Kingdom Day. The holiday consists also from different competitions and parade of the Seto Kingdom Army.

During some last Seto Kingdom Days more than 600 persons clad in Seto folk costume and about 1500 - 2000 other visitors participated each year. Main organiser of Seto Kingdom Day said in February 2019 that Seto Kingdom has become one of four main landmarks of the Seto culture in addition to folk costume, song tradition and orthodoxy. Regent of king Peko acts nowadays as official leader of Seto people. He or she has meetings with parliament and government members, visits President of Estonian Republic etc.

Slawistik, room 6, 10:00–12:00


Helka Riionheimo, Natalia Giloeva & Maria Kok:

Yle uudizet karjalakse - ylen hyvä: Translating Finnish Yle News broadcasts in Karelian

In February 27, 2015, the Finnish broadcasting company Yle launched a new Yle News service, Uudizet Karjalakse (‘news in Karelian’). The service produces a weekly radio newscast and a selection of online news texts in Karelian – an endangered minority language spoken in Finland and Russia. The news are translated (from Finnish) and broadcast by Natalia Giloeva, a native speaker of Olonets Karelian, who also is a researcher and teacher of Karelian language and a widely recognised language activist. During the past five years, she has developed a routine for news translation and created a whole new genre for Karelian.

Translating into an endangered language differs in many respects from translating into majority languages (see e.g. Kolehmainen, Kuusi and Riionheimo eds. 2017). For example, news that concern modern Finnish society require modernisation of the Karelian vocabulary, which has previously been used mainly in rural and domestic spheres. The pluricentricity of the Karelian language presents additional challenges: the translator must navigate on the border of two majority languages and two different societies. Furthermore, translating into a lesser-used language is complicated by the scarcity of resources, both human and material (Kudashev & Pasanen 2005).

The presentation is based on interview data and autoethnographic observations. The aim is to describe the complex process and practices of news translation and radio broadcasting (cf. van Doorslaer 2010) in the context of Karelian, beginning from selecting the material to be translated and ending in the audience feedback and involving the roles of both the responsible Finnish journalist and the Karelian translator. Relevant viewpoints include e.g. the function and target group of translation, information seeking practices, global and local translation strategies, translation aids, creating new vocabulary, working within strict time limits, and translator’s sense of responsibility.

van Doorslaer, Luc 2010: Journalism and translation. In: Handbook of Translation Studies Volume 1 (2010), pp. 180–184. Kolehmainen, Leena & Kuusi, Päivi & Riionheimo Helka (eds.) 2017: Translation in Language Revitalisation. A special issue of trans-kom. Journal of Translation and Technical Communication 10: 2.

Kudashev, Igor & Pasanen, Päivi (2005) Kääntäjän ja tulkin tiedonhausta ja tiedonhallinnasta. In: Yli-Jokipii, Hilkka (ed.) Kielen matkassa multimediaan. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 75–92.


Susanna Virtanen & Csilla Horváth:

Лылыӈ ла̄тыӈ - Living Language. Challenges in applying modern pedagogy to an endangered language 

The aim of the paper is to introduce and to discuss the work process of writing a textbook of Mansi as a foreign language for university students, with special attention to the problems concerning language ideology and standardisation. The presentation briefy introduces the aim of the project, the situation of urban Mansi linguistic vitality and Mansi language use. The presentation focuses on the linguistic and sociolinguistic problems emerging during the edition of the textbook, as well as their discussion with the Mansi community, and the possible effects the problems and their solution may have on Mansi language use and teaching Mansi for Mansi children.

The textbook includes grammar lessons, texts representing different topics and styles, and vocabulary lists. The print textbook will be implemented with audio materials and multimodal exercises on an online platorm, created during fieldwork in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. The 15 chapters aim to give a practical guide to everyday Mansi life, including various aspects of traditional and urban life as well.

The project Mansin kielen alkeisoppikirjan toimitustyö ja julkaisu [Editing and publishing a beginner’s textbook of Mansi, Koneen Säätö_202005748] is financed by the Kone Foundation, it is carried out at the University of Helsinki, by two researchers of the Mansi language and a Mansi native speaker, with strong collaboration of Mansi organisations and individual Mansi specialists of teaching the Mansi language. The data used in the presentation concerning Mansi language use and the sociolinguistic vitality of the language were collected during fieldwork in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (eight times between 2006 and 2019).


Ruslan Terentev:

Teaching the Vepsian language in schools in Karelia 

This report presents some problems relating to the Vepsian language teaching in Karelian schools in the Russian Federation, focusing on the teaching work and the peculiarities of the Vepsian language teaching methodology in the Soviet period as well as today. The textbooks and other teaching materials are analyzed too. It is important to identify the language attitudes and views, so as to find out the factors that contribute to a greater interest of children in learning the Vepsian language. This will help to decide if my historical homeland (Vepsian national Region - "Vepsän rahvahaline volost’") loses or regains the native language.


Valts Ernštreits & Gunta Kļava:

A world without informants – overcoming challenges in creating a Livonian place name archive

Currently ~30 individuals can communicate in Livonian (Livones) and ~250 individuals identified as Livonian in the last census (Census 2011). Due to the history of the Livonian speech area and the loss of the last compact Livonian-inhabited territory after the creation of a border zone on the Baltic Sea coast during the Soviet occupation, the Livonians were scattered across Latvia and the world and the transmission of language and knowledge of Livonian Coast geography was interrupted. Also, for historical reasons, archives on Livonian language, folklore, and cultural objects were assembled and so are still mainly found at institutions in other countries (Ernštreits 2012).

The UL Livonian Institute is adding a Livonian place name collection to the Livonian language database cluster (which contains a lexical database, morphological database, and corpus). This is the next logical step and establishes a mapped open-access Livonian place name database linked to geospatial data. This project first arose due to practical reasons linked with introducing bilingual road signs in the historical Livonian territories.

No single Livonian place name source exists and place names form only a small part of lexicographic studies. Recording place names through field work is not possible, as there are few Livonian speakers and their link with areas inhabited by their ancestors is indirect and their knowledge of Livonian place names is meagre. Thus, the Livonian language corpus is used instead of informants, and allows one to identify Livonian place names and also localization information.

However, there is a source, which can be used for collecting Livonian place names. It consists of lexical and object card files and descriptions, folklore collections, etc. The metadata in these collections contain references – often in Livonian – to the time, method, and place where each item was recorded.

The creation of this place name database opens new possibilities for access to Livonian archives, ensuring their availability for research as well as data interconnectedness. It makes it possible to link place names, geospatial data, and information from other fields (e.g., on informants, dialect materials, objects, folklore, oral history collections, etc.), creating new opportunities for research of Livonian heritage. It will also make data available for purposes beyond research (e.g., digital exhibits or the use of cartographic products resulting from this project for education on regional heritage, cultural tourism, municipal strategy development, business, etc.).

The resulting products and discoveries will also be useful to other communities, and the synergy among archives can create a rich, high-quality resource for studies in many fields. It will also ensure effective use of data for the preservation, maintenance, and development of any low-resource language or cultural community with limited data, personnel, or financing.


Census 2011 = Centrālā statistikas pārvalde. Tautas skaitīšana (Census), 2011. Available online at zivotaji-pec. Accessed on 15.06.2019.

Ernštreits, Valts (2012). Lībiešu valodas situācijas attīstība Latvijā. In I. Druviete (ed.) Valodas situācija Latvijā: 2004–2010. Rīga: Latviešu valodas aģentūra, pp. 142−166.

Livones = Lībiešu valoda (Livonian language). Available online at Accessed on 15.06.2019.

Finno-Ugristik, room 1, 10:00–12:00


Johannes Hirvonen:

Negative Polarity Items without overt licensing in Meadow Mari, a Strict Negative Concord language

Meadow Mari is a strict negative concord language in the sense of Giannakidou (2000), respectively a type NV-NI language following Haspelmath (1997). In this type of language, strong Negative Polarity Items (NPI) must co-occur with sentential (or non-finite) negation (1, 2) (Saarinen 2015: 346) and NPIs cannot license each other without negation (3):

(1) Tə ver-əm ńi-gunam og-əna mondo / *monde-na.
this place-acc n-when neg.1pl forget.cng forget-1pl
‘We will never forget this place.’

(2) [Ńi-gö-n šinča-š logal-də-me ] izi šügar lij-ən šinč-e.
n-who-gen eye-ill catch-neg-ptcp small grave be-cvb sit.down-pst.3sg
‘A small, inconspicuous grave (lit. catching nobody’s eye) grave appeared.’

(3) Ńi-gö ńi-mo-m ok pale / *pal-a.
n-who n-what-acc neg.3sg know.cng know-3sg
‘Nobody knows anything.’

The NPIs prefixed with ńi are strong NPI (cf. Giannakidou & Zeijlstra 2017) which means that unlike weak NPIs (for example, English any) they do are not licensed in other cross-linguistically common environments for NPIs such as questions or conditionals (cf. Haspelmath 1997: 33–35).

Besides presenting the basic facts about strict negative concord with these NPIs in Meadow Mari, this talk will specifically address some apparent exceptions to their licensing conditions, namely special contexts where – contrary to expectation – these NPIs can appear without overt negation. Among these cases of exceptional usage are constructions such as paratactic negation (4) or a special superlative which morphosyntactically resembles a comparative (5):

(4) Semon [ńi-mo-m pelešt-aš-at ] aptəran-en.
Semon n-what-acc say-inf-add be.astonished-pst.3sg
‘Semon did not know what to say.’

(5) Tudo [ńi-gö deč saj-ən ] paša-m əšt-a.
3sg n-who from good-adv work-acc do-3sg
‘S/he works best of all (lit. better from nobody).’

This talk will address the properties of these and other special usages of NPIs with ńi in Meadow Mari and discuss possible implications of their distribution for typologies of negative concord and NPI licensing.


Giannakidou, Anastasia. 2000. Negative ... concord? Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 18, 457–523.

Giannakidou, Anastasia & Hedde Zeijlstra. 2017. The landscape of negative dependencies: Negative Concord and N-words. In Martin Everaert & Henk van Riemsdijk (eds.) The Wiley Blackwell companion to syntax, 2nd edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Haspelmath, Martin. 1997. Indefinite Pronouns. Oxford: OUP.

Saarinen, Sirkka. 2015. Negation in Mari. In Matti Miestamo, Anne Tamm & Beáta Wagner-Nagy (eds.) Negation in Uralic languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 325–352.


Natalia Kalanova:


Semantic properties of some free choice indefinites in Hill Mari 

This study concerns two indefinite pronoun series having the free choice function (in terms of Haspelmath 1997, Giannakidou 2001) in Hill Mari. The data were collected in fieldwork in the village of Kuznetsovo and its surroundings (Mari El, Russia, 2018–2019) mainly by elicitation, as well as by consulting the corpus of transcribed oral narratives (63522 tokens).

I will focus on pronouns with indefiniteness markers šon and popaza. Both of them have verbal origin: the source of šon is the verb šoaš ‘reach’ (homonymous forms: converb and 3SG preterite), and popaza goes back to the verb popazaš ‘get’ (non-past tense, 3SG). In spite of their similar reading in some free choice contexts (1), these series show considerable semantic differences that have not been discussed in the previous works (Alhoniemi 1993: 87–91, Savatkova 2002: 168–170, Kalanova 2019 etc.)

(1) vas’a ma šo-n-ә̑m / ma-m popaz-a näl-eš
Vasya what reach-CVB/PRET-ACC / what-ACC get-NPST.3SG take-NPST.3SG
‘Vasya buys just anything’.

The biggest difference between the šon- and popaza-series lies in the compatibility with specific contexts. Although according to (Haspelmath 1997: 77) the same series cannot cover both free choice and specific known functions, my data show that the šon-series can actually combine them (2). One possible explanation is that the source construction of the šon-series, a free relative clause, allows both definite and universal readings (Dayal 1997).

(2) mӛń-ӛn ma šo-n-em / *ma-em popaz-a /
I-GEN what reach-CVB/PRET-POSS.1SG what-POSS.1SG get-NPST.3SG
*ma popaz-a-em ulә̑
what get-NPST.3SG-POSS.1SG exist
‘I have got something’.

My data also reveal that the distribution of the series depends on some more semantic factors, e.g. on whether the choice is made once or repeatedly and on what referential properties the set for the choice has. I have also come across some restrictions related to the semantic class of a verb. Thus, the popaza-indefinites do not combine in my data sample with verbs of emotions, knowledge and skills:

(3) mӛń-ӛn papa-m maxań šo-n /
I-GEN grandmother-POSS.1SG which reach-CVB/PRET

*maxań popaz-a jamak-vlä-m päl-ä
which get-NPST.3SG fairy.tale-PL-ACC know-NPST.3SG

‘My grandmother knows any fairy tales’.

I will elaborate on the unusual properties of the šon-indefinites compared to the typological data from (Haspelmath 1997) and the other semantic differences between the šon- and the popaza-series.


Alhoniemi A. (1993). Grammatik des Tscheremissischen (Mari): mit Texten und Glossar. Hamburg: Buske Verlag.
Dayal V. (1997). Free relatives and "ever": Identity and free choice readings. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 7, pp. 99-116.
Giannakidou A. (2001). The Meaning of Free Choice. Linguistics and Philosophy 24, 2001.
Haspelmath M. (1997). Indefinite Pronouns. Oxford: Clarendon.
Kalanova N. (2019). Semantic Properties of Indefinites in Hill Mari. Talk at the IFUSCO XXXV, Wien Universität.
Savatkova A. (2002). Gornoe narechie marijskogo yazyka [Hill Mari language], Savariae.


Anna Danilova:

Taxis interpretation of –n converbs in Hill Mari

My talk deals with factors which contribute to the temporal meaning of –n‐converbs in Hill Mari. The data were collected in the village of Kuznetsovo and its surroundings in 2019 mainly by elicitation.

According to [Savatkova 2002: 234-235], -n‐converbs can denote in different cases either actions simultaneous to that of the main verb or actions preceding the latter. In [Krasnova et al. 2017: 163] it is noted that the meaning of –n‐converbs changes in accordance with «the nature of the actions they denote». Riese et al. [2019: 267-268] point out that in Meadow Mari the interpretation depends on the context and semantics of the verb in question. However, it is still underdescribed what factors influence the meaning of the converb and how exactly they operate.

I argue that the main contributing factor to the simultaneous/anterior interpretation of n‐converbs is the actional class of a verb. I tested verbs of six actional classes, divided in accordance with the procedure suggested by Tatevosov [2005]: stative <S; S>, processual <P; P>, weak inceptive-stative <ES, S; S>, weak telic <ES, P; P>, strong telic <ES; P> and punctual <ES; ->. The procedures of actional classification and of compiling the verb sample will be explained in the talk. Stative verbs allow for the simultaneous interpretation only:

(1) moskva-štә̑ ə̈l-en, mә̑ń šukә̑ jažo-m už-ә̑n-am
Moscow-IN live-CVB I many good-ACC see-PRET-1SG
‘When I lived in Moscow I saw many good things’

(2) *moskva-štә̑ ə̈l-en, mӛń joškar-ola-š ӛl-äš vanž-en-äm
Moscow-IN live-CVB I Yoshkar-Ola-ILL live-INF move-PRET-1SG
‘After I lived in Moscow I moved to Yoshkar-Ola’

Processual verbs are consistently compatible with both interpretations. Weak inceptive-statives and weak telics show ambiguity which will be elaborated on in the talk. Strong telics and punctuals have the anterior interpretation.

(3) *mӛń kol-en sv'aščen'n'ik-ә̑m šüd-en-äm
I die-CVB priest-ACC call-PRET-1SG
‘When I was dying I called for a priest’

(4) kol-en mӛń rok lӛväl-nӛ ki-äš tӛngäl-äm
die-CVB I ground low-IN2 lie-INF begin-NPST.1SG
‘When I die I will lie in the ground’

I will discuss some other semantic properties of ‐n‐converbs as well, in particular the idea of a short time interval in anterior contexts and the issue of whether this is a semantic component or an implicature.


Krasnova N., Yefremova T., Riese T., Bradley J. Readling Hill Mari Through Meadow Mari. [Release 1.0] Vienna: University of Vienna, 2017. (Published online at Accessed on 25.09.2019).

Riese T., Bradley J., Schötschel M., Yefremova T. 2019. Mari (marij jylme): An Essential Grammar for International Learners. [Draft version] Vienna: University of Vienna, 2019. (Published online at Accessed on 22.09.2019).

Savatkova A. A. Gornoje narechije marijskogo jazyka [Hill dialect of Mari]. Szombahtely: Savariae, 2002.

Tatevosov S. G. Akcional’nost: tipologija i teorija [Actionality: typology and theory]. Voprosy jazykoznanija 2005, 1: 108-141.


Iuliia Zubova:

Reflexive questions in Standard and Beserman Udmurt 

Polar questions in Udmurt are most commonly formed by the use of the enclitic particle =a combined with the focused constituent of the question, and a typical wh-question does not employ a question particle. However, a range of particles (different from the question particle) can be used within both polar and wh-question constructions. The scope of this study is the use of particles within question constructions which give rise to a specific question type, namely reflexive questions (“do not oblige the addressee to answer but express the speaker’s interest in an issue” (Krifka 2011: 1743)). The following particles are considered: meda, medak, medam (Standard Udmurt); =ke, meda, medam, medaz (Beserman Udmurt).

(1) Standard Udmurt

So-os kyšnoja-šʼk-o-z-y=a
that-pl marry-detr-fut-3-pl=q
‘Whether they will marry?‘

(2) Beserman Udmurt

Ku meda ušʼt-o-d=ke
When ptcl open-fut-2sg=ptcl shop-acc-2sg
‘When will you open the shop?’

In the context of a polar question (1), the particles can only be used if the question particle is present. The constructions with the particles can occur in embedded clauses. In spontaneous Beserman speech, the particles can double or cluster together (meda=ke).

In the presentation, I am going to address the following issues:

  • What is the possible connection of the listed particles with their source elements (the optative marker medam, the conditional conjunction/indefinite pronominal marker =ke).
  • Syntactic properties of the investigated particles.
  • The difference in the interpretation of the particles between the polar and wh-question constructions.

Anglistik, 13:30–15:00


Cecilia Hedlund:

The language of Nicolaus Andreae’s books 

In 1619 the priest Nicolaus Andreae in Piteå published two books in Sámi, an ABC-book and a missal. These books are the earliest known texts in the Sámi language. However, the language in these books has been heavily critcized by later scholars. Wiklund (1922:24) meant that the translator had little or hardly any knowledge of the language, and that the Sámi population must have had great difficultes to understand the books. Qvigstad & Wiklund (1899:11) wrote that Nicolaus Andreae did not know how to inflect the words; he just put them after each other and treated the language as it was some sort of Chinese.

Another fact that has puzzled scholars is that the Sámi vocabulary in the books seems not to belong to the Pite area but from a place further to the South (Bergsland,1984:B:1). Hasselbrink (1958:24-25) further noted that Swedish and Finnish words are inserted in the text ”when the author does not find words in Sámi”. A Finnish influence has been noted by Wiklund (1922) and Bergsland (1984:B:1) also in the morphology. Sköld (1984:15fn) suggested that the language could have been some kind of pidgin that was used by the birkarls to communicate with the Sámis. This idea was adopted by Korhonen (2007), who pointed out that the fact that Nicolaus Andreae belonged to a birkarl-family makes it plausible that the form of the language originated in a domain of trading and tax collection.

In my presentation I intend to look closer at the syntax, morphology and vocabulary used in the 1619 publications, in order to define how and to what extent the language form have been influenced by foreign languages (Swedish and Finnish). Further, I also want to discuss whether there are any linguistc traits that can have its origin in a pidgin variety.


Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi:

Representations of Meänkieli and Kven in Finnish and Swedish/Norwegian Media 

Meänkieli (also known as Torne Valley Finnish or Tornedalsfinska) is an endangered Finno-Ugric language spoken by around 50,000 people in Northern Sweden along the River Torne by the Finnish border. Meänkieli became an official minority language in Sweden in 2000. It is classified as Provincial on the Ethnologue as it is a statutory provincial language in the administrative area municipalities Gällivare, Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala and Övertorneå. In spite of the supportive legislation and the generally positive attitudes most speakers of Meänkieli are older adults. Younger people understand Meänkieli but are less able to speak the language themselves. Various revitalisation measures and recent positive media coverage have helped to improve the status of the language.

Kven is spoken by around 2000 people in Northern Norway. It became a national minority in 1998, and in 2005 it was classified as a language in its own right rather than a dialect of Finnish. The Ethnologue classification for Kven is moribund: most of the speakers are elderly. A revitalisation programme is run by, e.g., Kainun institutti and Haltiin kväänisentteri, with financial support from the Norwegian state.

The purpose of my paper is to compare the representations of Meänkieli and Kven in Finnish mainstream media to those in Swedish and Norwegian mainstream media. The data comes from articles published by the Finnish broadcasting company YLE and the main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the Swedish Radio and Dagens Nyheter, and the Norwegian NRK and Aftenposten over a period of 10 years.

My research questions are: Does Finnish media classify Meänkieli and Kven as dialects? Is the coverage more positive in Swedish/Norwegian media than in Finnish media? What ideologies govern the reporting on Meänkieli and Kven? Has the reporting changed in the ten-year period?

The study is qualitative and comparative. I will make use of Content Analysis (Krippendorff 2013) in which discourse content is analysed and classified. Furthermore, in accordance with Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 2013) the media discourse will be analysed on three levels as follows. 1) A micro level: I will investigate representations of Meänkieli and Kven in individual articles, and exemplify them with extracts and sample wordings. 2) A meso level: I will account for the intertextual, historical and societal context of the articles linking them to the micro and meso levels. 3) A macro level: I will analyse the ideologies governing the reporting in the three countries. My results are informed by theoretical framework of critical studies and post-colonial studies: discourse and texts are seen as a signifying practice that creates and helps to maintain societal power structures.


Tobias Weber:

The lost recordings of Kraasna: A case for a philological stance in documentary linguistics 

From three field trips to the South Estonian Kraasna maarahvas, only written sources were said to be available, with the only recordings either demolished on the spot or "disappeared". Yet, the wax cylinders, made by H. Ojansuu in 1914, were safely stored in an archive in Finland for most of the last 80 years, but were unknown to the Estonian philologists working on this variety. The presentation sheds light on the meta-documentary processes at the time of recording and the philological work necessary to make these special legacy materials usable for the scholarly community again.

The largest task in the process was the identification of recordings and linking them to transcriptions and publications, thereby dealing with considerable variation in the transcriptions and different sources at hand. Furthermore, meta-data was mostly absent from the set of legacy materials, requiring philological methodologies to establish links and fill blanks in the meta-data. While this could not always be done to a degree of absolute certainty, considerations about the establishment of authoritative versions brought the work on the Kraasna legacy materials into the contemporary debate about the scientific grounding of linguistics - whether it is to be seen as an objective, replicable science or should be treated with philological care, observing the various contexts of creation and reception of textual artefacts. Based on my experiences in working with the Kraasna recordings, I believe that the latter stance deserves more attention than it currently receives; meta-data need to be a central aspect of linguistic description and not just a by-product of documentation. As a consequence, Finno-Ugric linguistics with its deep roots in philology and experience in working with legacy materials, can provide valuable examples in favour of the philological stance in language documentation.

Finno-Ugristik 1, 13:30–15:00


Fedor Rozhanskiy & Daria Zhornik:

On the correlation between stress and vowel duration in Hill Mari

One of the many differences between Meadow and Hill Mari is accentuation. In Meadow Mari, stress can fall on various syllables, while Hill Mari is usually described as having stress on the penultimate syllable (Саваткова 2002: 53). In their experimental phonetic research, Зорина (1981: 76) and Викстрём & Зорина (2007: 86) claim that stressed vowels are usually longer than unstressed.

The main aim of our study is to examine the strength of the correlation between the vowel duration and the position of stress. The feld data for this research were recorded in the village of Mikryakovo in 2016-2017 from five female speakers of different age (born in 1941, 1957, 1965, 2000, and 2002). Bi- and tri- syllabic words were recorded in phrase-medial and phrase-final positions. Overall, more than 2500 token words were recorded and analysed in Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2019).

The token words were grouped according to the distribution of reduced vowels (ə or ə̑) into four disyllabic (CVCVC, CVCəC, CəCVC, and CəCəC) and seven trisyllabic structures (CəCVCVC was not atested).
According to our measurements, consonants do not vary in duration according to the structure. For vowels, the primary factor is whether a vowel is full or reduced: the duration of a full vowel is approximately twice the duration of a reduced vowel. Based on these findings, we propose an empirical model where the sum of all vowel durations in the word is taken as 100%, and the distribution of particular durations depends only on the difference between full and reduced vowels. For instance, in a word with the structure CəCVCəC (cəgekəm ‘swallow-acc’) the ratio of the vowel durations is 25%, 50% and 25% respectvely.

The comparison of the average vowel durations in every structure with the duration predicted by the proposed model shows that the model accurately describes the data recorded from the eldest native speaker. The data recorded from other speakers demonstrate lengthening of the penultimate syllable. This lengthening is especially distinct in one of the younger native speakers whose speech shows the strongest Russian influence.

Based on these results we hypothesise that the lengthening of the penultimate syllable as a bearer of stress is an innovation (at least in this variety of Hill Mari) that is developing under Russian influence.


Boersma, Paul & David Weenink. 2019. Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 6.1.04. Available online at <htp://>. Retrieved on 15.09.2019.

Зорина, Зоя Г. 1981. Длительность гласных горного диалекта марийского языка. Вопросы марийской диалектологии. Йошкар-Ола, 71–100.

Викстрём, Оксана & Зоя Зорина 2007. Звуковой строй современного горномарийского языка. Йошкар-Ола.

Саваткова, Анна А. 2002. Горное наречие марийского языка. Szombathely.




Germina Gordienko:

Vowel harmony as an accentual system of agglutinative languages

VH is a means of consolidation of relatively independent morphemes of certain agglutinative languages into words. In inflectional languages, this function relies on word stress. Comparison of it with VH reveals, in addition to complete functional analogy, similarities in the principles of implementation, which makes it possible to apply the nomenclature of accentology to VH and even consider it within the framework of a general accentological theory. Such an attempt was made by the accentologist Paul Garde in the book L'accent (1968; 2013), where it was proposed to consider the syllable that determines harmony as stressed, and the neutralization of the feature in subsequent syllables as an analogue of reduction in unstressed syllables.

As part of the phonological typology of Leningrad phonological school, a functional approach to VH is being developed using accentological concepts: accent unity, strong and weak morphemes, accentogenic morphemes (cf. controlling and controlled morphemes in: R. Vago. Issues in vowel harmony. 1980. P. XI), VH clitics etc. This approach can also be called morphological, since the realization of harmony is determined by the properties of morphemes, similar to the accentual properties of morphemes in languages with free (= morphologically determined) stress. Considering that morphemes of VH languages are functionally charged with VH accent properties, the coexistence of VH with free stress, which also implies accent properties of morphemes, is problematic.

VH languages are characterized by a less prominent fixed stress of a special type (e. g. word-initial stress and trochaic stress patterning in Finnic), which, perhaps, complements VH in the delimitative function and in the organizing of compound words. With the decay of VH, a system of free stress begins to develop. The Uralic languages show various stages of the process. Phonological factors may influence the place of fixed stress (cf. the shift of stress from close to open vowel in Moksha); later morphologization of the place of stress may take place as in the Permic.

The decay of trochaic stress patterning or similar systems with secondary stress leads to a greater emphasis on the main stress syllable; as a result, reduction of unstressed syllables develops, leading to the loss of vowels and obstructing the realization of VH.




Michela Russo:

Palatal vowel harmony in Finnic languages: an Element Theory hierarchical account of transparent vs. non transparent vowels 


Palatal Harmony (PH) in Finnic languages involves agreement between vowels based on a set of properties that correlates with unary phonological primes, namely the unary |I| phonological Element (see Kiparsky & Pajusalu 2003). PH involves the licensing of the |I| elements in the nuclei from adjacent nuclei and harmony is a local process (Walker 2011 and for Finnish Kiparsky 1980; Campbell 1980; Ringen 1976; Krämer 2003; Hulst 2018). PH is evident via agreement within morphemes, when morphemes are attached into complex words: suffixes agree in frontness/backness values depending on the vocalic quality of the stem.

(1) Stem + Suffix : [±back] alternations depending on the stem:

              e.  tyhmæ + stæ                                                                    f. tuhma+ sta 

                  (I.U)        (A.I)                                                                    (U)         (A)

However, in Finnish the vowel [i] plays a neutral behavior (also the neutral [e], long and short), i.e. the vowel [i] acts as a transparent vowel. When it follows a back vowel, the suffix is back:

(2)Transparent Vowel Root:

[velje llæ]   ‘brother +INF’

(I.A) (I.A) (A.I)

(I)   (I)    (I)

We aim to analyze Finnish PH in our Government Phonology (GP) framework in which Elements have a hierarchical relation, i.e. a head-dependency relation. For instance, the vowel [æ] is given by the combination of a head and a dependent: (A.I). In our framework, our Elements have an x-bar structure {I  v A U I v}: dans (II (II.A)) = [e] the ATR element to the left is an adjunction. Dans (UI (UI. U)) = [y] the head, along with a complement, form a maximal projection. Thus, the general format given to elements is always: (EˈY (Eˈˈ/EˈE°.Z)).

In Finnish, the element I is variable, depending on the neutral vowels in the root:

  1. Variable (I) with derivational suffixes:

k o t {} + na  [koti-na] ‘house +INF’

         (U.A)  (I)     (A)

In our model the [ö] = [ø] and the [ü] = [y] Elements representations are not ambiguous:

(4) Elements representations of front rounded vowels

[y] = (I (I.U))               vs.               [Y] = (U (I.v))

[œ] = (U (I.A))              vs.               [ø] = (I (U (I.A)))

In this way, the combinations of Elements (I) and (U) do not give the same result, as it happen in some GP Elements representations:  [y/Y] = (I.U) / (I.U) or [ø/œ] = (I U A) / (I U A). If we assume (4), in Finnish the variability of the (I) spreading does not depend on representations, since (I) is always a head, not only in the transparent vowels {y ø i e}. Positing two structures for [y] and [ø] is not a solution for explaining the variable behavior of transparent vowels in Finnish. In this talk, we aim to account for the behavior of transparent vs. non neutral vowel in PH Finnish, i.e. the constraints on licensing despite the presence of the (I) element in the structures and despite the opacity of the neutral vowels in the PH licensing.



Friday, August 26

Anglistik, 10:00–12:00


Shoju Chiba:

Depicting semantic similarities with valency: how syntactic information can enrich the lexical descriptions of verbs and nominals 

This study shows how a modern semantic word embedding approach can facilitate the understanding of valency, hence enriching the description of syntactic configuration patterns. At the same time, by taking into account valency information, we can discover a good amount of (previously unconceived) semantically related word in various contexts, which contributes to the improvement of the semantic analysis of Finnish.

The study of valency of Finnish language has been handled both in syntactic and educational contexts. In the former approaches, the obligatory vs. optional status of the nominal phrases with a syntactic marker (case, for example) is described in association with a verb (or a verb type). Descriptions are mainly lexical, but they could lead to a richer constellation of syntactic dependency patterns. The subjective (and quantitative) support for further descriptive study is needed. The latter studies pursue the lexical enrichment of learners’ vocabulary, so that complements (elements which carry a government relationship) with special morphological markers, for example, are picked up and listed in the S2 literature (e.g. Jönsson-Korhola & White 1997). This again needs further objective verification and enrichment.

Previous pilot studies (Chiba 2016, 2017 and 2019) showed that lemma-based analysis using Word2Vec doesn’t always produce the best output and may produce even unsound "topical" list of words as "semantic" neighbors. Rather, as the studies proved, lexical data with relevant morphosyntactic/semantic/meta-linguistic annotations are valuable in evaluating the vectorized semantic behaviors of words.

A model of dependency-based word embeddings, proposed by Levy & Goldberg (2014), applies dependency information to word2vec-style word embeddings and successes in depicting semantically related words with functional similarity. This study extends the model and introduce syntactic notion of head, among others, to the syntactic seed of the word embeddings. This small addition brings interesting effects, so that we can pick up the lexically related words occurring in syntactically similar positions. The list is assessed further using the frequency and TF-IDF values and collocational information calculated from the corpora separately, which we believe will form the good base to compile effective educational materials.

Finally, the study argues the implication of our "layered" approches, so that the present valency-aware methodology can fit especially well to Finnish and similar morphologically rich agglutinative languages.


Riku Erkkilä:

What constitutes a “limit” in Udmurt?

The spatial case system of Udmurt has a peculiar feature: In addition to the (more or less) typical four-way division between location, source, goal, and path, Udmurt displays a division in its source- and goal-cases, I. e. there are two source-cases (elative and egressive) and two goal-cases (illative and terminative). The division of labor of between elative and egressive on the one hand, and illative and terminative on the other, has been discussed before (e. g. Bartens 2000: 104‒109; Kondrat'eva 2011: 161‒193). In these accounts the concept of “limit” has been used: “(…) ulottuuko [liike] ainakin rajalle asti (terminatiivi)”, “Egressiivi ilmoittaa (…) mistä alkaen liike suuntautuu” (Bartens 2000: 105, 107); “(…) предельный падеж может указывать: а) в сочетании с глаголами движения – на достигнутый предел”, “(…) основной семантической функцией отдалительного падежа является указание на место или предмет, от которого (с поверхности которого, из внутренних пределов которого) начинается, исходит движение.” (Kondrat'eva 2011: 171, 191). Nevertheless, this concept distinguishing the cases from each other seems to be somewhat vague.

The use of terminative. According to Kondrat'eva, Берлин-озь [Berlin-term] expresses the end limit of movement. The fact that  there is no actual movement in the sentence is not important for the argument. What is important, however, is that in example 2 (from Udmurt corpus [Arkhangelskiy 2021]), the constituent marked with illative (Берлин-э [Berlin-ill]) seems also to express the end limit of movement.

(1)                 (Kondrat'eva 2011: 171)

                      Берлин-озь  вуы-ны       малпа                      вал              – öз            кылды

                      Berlin-term arrive-inf      think.prs.3sg             be.pst.3sg    neg.pst.3sg  form.cng

                      ‘He wanted to go to Berlin, (but) didn’t get the chance.’

(2)                 (Удмурт дунне 07.05.2010/Udmurt corpus)

                      Горд    Арми-лэн      воинъ-ёс-ыз                   пыр-изы       Берлин-э.

                      red       army-gen      soldier-pl-poss.3pl         enter-pst1.3pl   Berlin-ill

                      ‘The soldiers of the Red Army entered Berlin.’

This leads to the question: What constitutes the limit from which or up to which the action proceeds? There seems to be a parameter that has thus far been ignored in the descriptions of Udmurt limit-cases, namely the semantics of the verb.

In this paper I will address this question and explore the parameters behind the choice between the [+limit] and [‒limit] spatial cases in Udmurt. The data is collected from Udmurt corpus (Arkhangelskiy 2021). I analyze the type of action the verbs express with each case, confining the study to spatial relations.



Arkhangelskiy, Timofey 2021: Udmurt corpus < 1.12.2021>

Bartens, Raija 2000: Permiläisten kielten rakenne ja kehitys. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.

Kondrat'eva 2011 = Кондратьева, Н. В. 2011: Категория падежа имени существительного в удмуртском языке. Монография. Ижевск: Удмуртский университет.




Heidi Niva:

Olen lentämässä todennäköisesti Chileen. ‘I am flying to Chile, probably’. The polysemous Finnish progressive construction in expression of intentions and future time reference                                                                                                                                                 

The presentation discusses the different usages of the Finnish progressive construction olla V-ssA. Olla V-ssA is a polysemious construction that can express location, progressivity, and also intention and future time reference. The presentation focuses on the expressions of intention and future time reference.

The construction consists of the verb olla ‘be’ and non-finite verb form in the inessive case. Based on the non-finite verb form, the olla V-ssA construction can be seen as two subconstrucions: (a,b) an infinitive progressive construction (olla V-mAssA) and (b) a deverbal noun progressive construction (olla V-OssA). The infinitive progressive construction is a highly productive construction that accepts all the verbs, whereas the deverbal noun progressive construction mostly co-occurs with the general motion verbs mennä ´go´, tulla ´come´ and lähteä ´leave´.

(a)   Olen ostamassa uutta puhelinta ‘I am buying ~ going to buy a new phone’.

(b)   Olen lentämässä todennäköisesti Chileen ‘I am flying ~ will fly to Chile, probably’

(c)    Eli oon menossa elokuussa Powerparkkiin. ’So I am going ~ will go to Powerpark in August’

Without contextual clues, the expressions in the examples (a, b, c) are temporally ambiguous.  In these examples, the interpretation of ongoingness and the interpretation of intention/future time reference are both possible. The progressive reading is not present when the expression is interpreted with a future time reference.

In the presentation, the progressive construction olla V-ssA is studied from the viewpoint of temporal polysemy, aspect and constructional change. The main changes that appear in the construction are the changes of temporal and aspectual meanings and the possibility to use partitive aspect in a context where genitive object is more preferable.

The usage of olla V-ssA can be seen as a relatively new innovation. The motivation and the development of the usage of the construction in future time expressions are studied from the viewpoint of multiple motivation and constructional network. It is suggested that the infinitive subconstruction  olla V-mAssA is influenced by other constructions that share similar features and (may) express future time reference as well. One such construction is the deverbal noun construction olla V-OssA, which has occurred in expressions of future time refence already before Modern Finnish (before 20th century). The semantics of motion, aspectual features and progressivity are central factors in the development of the future time reference of olla V-OssA. In the case of the verb tulla ‘come’, also viewpoint and second-hand information contribute.

Moreover, it seems that the element of intention does not necessarily precede the element of prediction in the development of the Finnish progressive construction olla V-ssA.

Keywords: future time reference, aspect, progressivity, infinitive construction, constructional network, constructional change




Maria Fedina & Marina Fedina:

About the documentation of the Izhma dialect of the Komi language

Language documentation has started to develop in the Russian science only recently. The given project is the first of its kind, implemented in the Komi Republic and results of which are now actively sought after by other regions.

The main objectives of the project “Iźva Komi: Building an annotated digital corpus for future research on Komi speech communities in northernmost Russia” were a sociolinguistic study of the territories inhabited by Izhma Komi people, a comparative study of local subdialects and the creation of an electronic archive of annotated recordings. From 2014 to 2016 during 4 expeditions to Izhemsky and Sosnogorsky districts of the Komi Republic, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the Murmansk Oblast, 196 Izhma people aged 5 to 80 years participated in the study, 157 interviews lasting from 20 minutes to 1 hour were recorded. Records of interviews are digitized, some of them are transcribed with translation into Russian and English. In addition, 16 records from old collections were restored.

As the result of the project, the electronic resource of oral speech “Komi mediateka” (available on: was created. It is an electronic reference and information system based on an electronic archive of annotated records of dialect texts of the Komi language. The library contains various texts, the majority of which are interviews on various topics.

The uniqueness of such a resource lies primarily in the representation of culture, language, living conditions and everyday life of Izhma Komi people.

Currently, there are about 60 processed interviews in the working base of the collection that last from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, there are fewer available on the website. This collection provides wide opportunities for linguistic research and is quite easy to process thanks to the ELAN program.

The informant's speech can be studied by breaking it into the smallest phonetic units – from the phrase to the segment unit. This allows, for example, to consider and establish the sound features at the level of a phrase, phonetic syntagma, phonetic word, syllable and sound. This is especially true for a comparative study of local varieties of the Izhma dialect, in which sounds differ in quality, for example, long vowels, soft consonants.

In the collection, one can identify vocabulary, stable expressions that are not fixed in dictionaries and scientific works. For example: гöрышше – poor man.

Also, ELAN allows to identify the frequency of use of certain graphemes, words, word forms, morphemes, etc. It is worth noting that in this regard the Komi media collection does not yet have broad capabilities to determine the frequency of certain language elements, but work is underway.

Along with morphological studies of Komi, the media collection is an excellent basis for the study of dialect syntax. It should be noted that there is simply no major scientific research on Komi dialect syntax.

Afrikanistik, 10:00–12:00


Péter Horváth & Szilárd Tátrai:

Construal of person, tense and mood in lyrical discourses 

The presentation studies the specific discourse situation of lyrical poem, focusing on construal of person, related to tense and mood. The prototypical scheme of lyrical discourse outlines the decisive factor of the present ‘here and now’, including the ever-present reader (see Tátrai 2015, Simon 2016). The paper presents the typical and less typical patterns of person-marking in Hungarian poems and formulates some methodological proposals about the corpus-based investigation of person-marking in lyrical texts. The corpus of the analysis consists of the poetic oeuvre of three Hungarian classical modern poets (Endre Ady, Mihály Babits and Dezső Kosztolányi). The grammatical features of verbs are annotated by the NLP tool e-magyar developed at MTA Research Institute for Linguistics (Váradi et al. 2018, Indig et al. 2019).

According to our hypothesis, the frequency of first person singular, present tense verbs is relatively high in the analyzed corpus, compared to other discourse types. This hypothesis is formulated on the basis of the supposed scheme of lyrical discourse related to direct verbal interactions. Besides the investigation of the relation between person, number and tense, the presentation analyzes the frequency distribution of the three Hungarian verbal moods (indicative, conditional and imperative) in relation to person and number. The aim of the analysis is to answer the question whether there are typical participants in the lyrical discourse (the speaker, the hearer, or a third person in the fictive speech event) who – compared to other participants – take part more frequently in non-factive events, which are hypothetical, wished, or expected events.

Indig, Balázs – Sass, Bálint – Simon, Eszter – Mittelholcz, Iván – Vadász, Noémi – Márton, Makrai 2019. One format to rule them all – The emtsv pipeline for Hungarian. In: Proceedings of the 13th Linguistic Annotation Workshop. Association for Computational Linguistics. 155–165.

Simon, Gábor 2016. On patterns of intersubjective cognition in didactic poetry. Logos & Littera: Journal of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text 3 [2]: 90−112.

Tátrai, Szilárd 2015. Apostrophic fiction and joint attention in lyrics. A social cognitive approach. Studia Linguistica Hungarica 30: 105–117.

Váradi, Tamás – Simon, Eszter – Sass, Bálint – Mittelholtz, Iván – Novák, Attila – Indig, Balázs – Farkas, Richárd – Vincze, Veronika 2018. e-magyar – A digital language processing system. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018). Paris: European Language Resources Association (ELRA). 1307–1312.


Rodolfo Basile:

Situative strategies in Finno-Ugric

In my paper I discuss what I call situative strategies in Finno-Ugric languages. Situatives can be considered borderline cases of existential predication, which e.g. in Finnish (Hakanen 1972) is prototypically characterized by a clause-initial locational element, absence of verb agreement, and the alternation of clause-final nominative and partitive e-subjects (Huumo & Helasvuo 2015). Existential sentences can feature not only the verb to be, but also the so-called lexical existentials, i.e. verbs that, in addition to predicating the existence of a referent in a given location, also have more complex semantics. They give information about what the subject-like referent is doing, starts or ceases to do in the given location. One of the most common lexical existentials is the Finnish verb löytyä ‘to be found’ (1).

(1) Sängy-n a-lta löyt-y-i ruumis
bed-GEN under-ABL find-REFL-3SG cadaver.NOM
“There was a body/A body was found under the bed.”

This verb, despite its complex semantics, often only conveys the meaning that something is there, thus behaving like the verb ‘to be’, the existential verb par excellence (Basile & Ivaska, forthcoming). Interestingly, this semantic feature is maintained also when the construction is not per se existential. This happens in many Indo-European languages, like Russian (2) or Italian (3).

(2) Я нахо-жу-сь в отчаянн-ом положен-ии
I find-1SG-REFL in desperate-PREP situation-PREP
“I am (find myself) in a desperate situation.” [Glosbe]

(3) La Finlandia si trov-a in Europa
the Finland REFL.3SG/PL find-3SG in Europe
“Finland is (found) in Europe.”

In Finno-Ugric, alongside the reflexive derivation strategy found in Finnish or Udmurt (4), passive participles can also be found, like in Meadow Mari (5) or Erzya (6).

(4) Тат-ын инты-я-ськ-е «Этапной пункт» музей.
here-LOC place-VBZ-REFL-3SG ‘’-’’ museum
“Here there is the museum «Etapnoj punkt» (lit. places itself).”

(5) ГМО-м Марий Эл-ыште му-мо ог-ыл
“GMOs are not found in Mari El.”

(6) Но сим-ема-сь муе-в-и тесэ
but drink-NMLZ-DEF find-PASS-NPST.3SG here
“But drinks can be found here.” [Volga-Kama corpora]

In Udmurt, a verb derived from the noun “place” is used, with the same effect of the museum being situated in a given place. The sentence in (4) is also existential from the point of view of the word order, but even if we changed it, the verb could semantically speaking be easily substituted by a copula.

To sum up, I will investigate what I call situative strategies in Finno-Ugric and sketch a typology of them. Situatives have the main goal of conveying the piece of information that something exists somewhere, but usually without the characteristics of e-sentences. They do it by other means, e.g. verbal derivation, and often feature prototypical subjects (except in (5)) and word order. The verb that characterizes this type of construction typically has complex semantics (to find, to place), but functions as a copula.


Basile, R., & Ivaska, I. (submitted to JEFUL) Löytyä-verbin konstruktioiden yhteydessä esiintyvä subjektivaihtelu.
Hakanen, A. (1972). Normaalilause ja eksistentiaalilause. Suomen Kielen Laitos.
Huumo, T., & Helasvuo, M. L. (2015). On the subject of subject in Finnish. Subjects in constructions–canonical and non-canonical, 13-41.


Tímea Borbála Bajzát:

A syntactic description of Hungarian auxiliaries. A functional cognitive approach 

The paper presents a corpus-based study whose aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the Hungarian auxiliary. The paper addresses three particular auxiliary + infinitive constructions, focusing on the possible varieties of word-order. The study builds upon the theoretical foundations of functional cognitive linguistics (Langacker 2008). The study focuses on the following composite structures: tud [‘can’] + infinitive, akar [‘want’] + infinitive and mer [‘dare’] + infinitive, foregrounding the word-order variation of the constructions. The analysis of word-order variation applies theoretical assumptions and terminology of András Imrényi’s model of the network structure of Hungarian clauses (Imrényi 2017). The model analyses clause structure as a multi-dimensional network, which provides a comprehensive framework for the description of semantic and operational aspects of the clause, also integrating the issue of word-order. Thus, the model allows for a more detailed and subtle description of the Hungarian auxiliary + infinitive construction compared to earlier structural analyses (cf. Kálmán et al. 1989). Furthermore, the model successfully integrates scalar description by the analysis of deviations from the unmarked default (Imrényi 2017).

The data of the study was drawn from the Hungarian National Corpus (v2.0.5) (Oravecz et al. 2014) from the Corpus of the Old Middle Hungarian (Novák et al 2018), and from the Hungarian Generative Diachronic Syntax (Simon 2014). The data represent three different eras in the history of Hungarian, which allows us to compare the three auxiliary + infinitive constructions from a diachronic perspective. This also opens the way for a better understanding of word-order variation in the course of history and the process of grammaticalization.

Novák, Attila – Gugán, Katalin – Varga, Mónika – Dömötör, Adrienne 2018. Creation of an annotated corpus of Old and Middle Hungarian court records and private correspondence. Language Resources and Evaluation.

Imrényi, András 2017. Az elemi mondat viszonyhálózata. [The network structure of Hungarian clauses.] In: Tolcsvai Nagy, Gábor (ed.): Nyelvtan. A magyar nyelv kézikönyvtára 4. Osiris. Budapest. 663–761.

Kálmán С., György – Kálmán, László – Nádasdy, Ádám – Prószéky, Gábor 1989. A magyar segédigék rendszere. [The system of Hungarian auxiliaries.] In: Telegdi Zsigmond – Kiefer, Ferenc (eds.): Általános Nyelvészeti Tanulmányok XVII. Akadémiai Kiadó. Budapest. 49–103.

Langacker, Ronald W. 2008. Cognitive Grammar: A basic introduction. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

Oravecz, Csaba – Váradi, Tamás – Sass, Bálint 2014. The Hungarian Gigaword Corpus. Proceedings of LREC.

Simon, Eszter 2014.Corpus building from Old Hungarian codices. In: Katalin É. Kiss (ed.): The Evolution of Functional Left Peripheries in Hungarian Syntax. Oxford University Press. Oxford.


András Imrényi:


Topic elicitation: a cognitive-functional approach to Hungarian multiple questions 

Following up on an earlier talk on this topic, I present a cognitive-functional analysis of a type of multiple question in Hungarian which requires a pair-list answer, cf. (1).

(1) A: Ki mit eszik reggelire?
who what.acc eats breakfast.for
’What is everyone having for breakfast?’

B: Én rántottát, Kati müzlit, Péter vajas kenyeret.
I scrambled.eggs.acc Cathy muesli.acc Peter buttered bread.acc
’I (eat) scrambled eggs, Cathy, muesli, and Peter, bread and butter.’

In the literature, the crucial issue is the status of the first interrogative pronoun in (1A). Surányi (2007) notes two properties which such elements share with topics: “they are presuppositional, and they correspond to topicalized phrases in appropriate answers”. However, he stops short of analysing them as syntactic topics, at least partly for theory-internal reasons.

From a cognitive perspective, the pattern can be seen as a result of merging two constructions (learned pairings of meaning and form), the Topic Construction (TC) and the lexical category of interrogative pronouns. The topic slot of the Topic Construction is filled by an interrogative pronoun, with this merger producing emergent consequences, i.e. a construction in its own right that I will call Topic Elicitation Construction (TEC).
The TEC inherits from the lexical category of interrogative pronouns the property that the addressee is asked to specify a referent. However, in line with the TC, the specification of this referent serves the purpose of introducing an entity with which the subsequent message stands in an aboutness relation. In informal terms, while the function of a wh-question with an ordinary topic (Kati mit eszik reggelire? ‘As for Cathy, what does she eat for breakfast?’) can be described as “I’m telling you which entity we talk about, and will you please tell me what you know about it?”, the TEC can be paraphrased as “Will you please tell me which entity you talk about, and then also add what you know about it?”.

The proposal accounts for the pair-list expectation through the fact that if only one referent were to be specified (or multiple referents about which the same message is expected to hold), the speaker of the question could do this work herself. Leaving the job for the addressee(s) implies the need for specifying a set of referents, each associated with a distinct proposition. In real-world situations, this set often corresponds to the group of addressees, with the TEC allowing the speaker to use a single utterance for asking the same question from all of them.

Surányi, B, 2007. Focus structure and the interpretation of multiple questions. In: Schwabe, Kerstin & Susanne Winkler (eds.), On information structure, meaning and form. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 229–253.

Slawistik room 1, 10:00–12:00


Kaisa Rautio Helander:

Cultural knowledge of Saami place names and landscape features as an example of cultural conceptualization 

The relationship to land is central to Saami culture, hence places have a crucial meaning for Saami communities. Use of place names and terms for landscape features play an essential role when speaking about and describing places and landscape. In my presentation, I shall discuss cultural knowledge of Saami place names and landscape features, and the ways in which this kind of cultural knowledge is reflected and expressed in the Saami language.

Cultural conceptualizations as cognitive processes, developed through interactions between the members of a cultural group, form the starting point of my presentation. These conceptualizations are negotiated and renegotiated through time and across generations. Cultural conceptualizations are composed of cultural schemas and cultural categories as patterns of distributed knowledge across the cultural group. (Cfr. Sharifian 2003; 2017).

I shall discuss place naming and the use of topographic appellatives in the Saami languages as an example of cultural conceptualization. I shall pay particular attention to what is essential for cultural conceptualizations of Saami nomenclature, giving examples of what kind of features and cultural categorizations the PLACE-schema in Saami language can contain. Comparisons will also be made with the neighbouring languages.


Sharifian, Farzad 2003: On Cultural Conceptualisations. Journal of Cognition and Culture 3, 187–207.

Sharifian, Farzad 2017: Cultural Linguistics. Cultural conceptualisations and language. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Henna Massinen:

Karjalaisten lehmän- ja hevosennimien venäläisperäisyyden ajallinen ja paikallinen variaatio 

This paper examines temporal and spatial variation in the Russian impact in Karelian horse and cow names. The focus is on how the Russianness in the names varies in different parts of the Karelian-speaking area, what the principles of giving Russian names have been, and how Russian and Karelian components are mixed in the names. The main aim of the study is to draw a general picture of how the Russian language has affected Karelian horse and cow names, and how its impact manifests itself in the name data from different ages.

The data of the study consist of names collected in the Karelian-speaking area during a long period of time. Older Karelian names are represented by the animal name data of the Dictionary of the Karelian language (Karjalan kielen sanakirja, KKS), which was collected by several researchers during 1890s–1960s. KKS includes name data from all the Karelian-speaking areas, that is, from the areas of White Sea Karelian, South Karelian and Olonets Karelian in Russian Karelia, the former Finnish territory of Border Karelia, and the Karelian areas of inner Russia (mainly Tver Karelia). The comparison data are horse and cow names collected in the Tver Karelian villages in 2016 and 2018 and Olonets Karelian villages in 2012.

In the data of KKS, names with Russian origin are in the minority. According to the data, cows are usually given a Russian name based on their date of birth (eg. Piätköi < piätničč|ä ~ -y etc. < Ru. pjatnica ’Friday’), while horses are usually named according to their colour (eg. Beloi < Ru. belyi ’white’). Cow names of Russian origin have been documented especially in White Sea Karelia and Olonets Karelia as well as in Border Karelia, while horse names of Russian origin are mainly found in the Olonets Karelian data. In the KKS data, there are plenty of names in which Karelian and Russian are mixed in different ways (eg. Buurikki < Ru. buryi ’brown’ + Karelian suffix -kki; ufatkusarvi ’a cow with curvy horns’ < Ka. ufatku < Ru. uhvat ’oven fork’ + Ka. sarvi ’horn’). According to the new data, present-day Karelians mostly give their cows and horses Russian names. However, there are also Karelian names in the new data, as well as names in which Karelian and Russian components are mixed. All in all, the data draw a complex picture of the Russianness of Karelian horse and cow names, and this picture is linked to the general Russian influence in the vocabulary of the Karelian language.


Karjalan kielen sanakirja I–VI. [Dictionary of the Karelian language I–VI] – Pertti Virtaranta & Raija Koponen (eds.). Lexica societatis fenno-ugricae XVI. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society. 1968–2005.


Denis Kuzmin:

Christian forenames in the Veps language (Христианские имена в вепсском языке) 

In my presentation I analyze forms of Christian names, used in the past and in the present on the territory of Vepsian ethnic group’s settlement – in the regions of Karelia, Leningrad and Vologda. After accepting Orthodox religion, Vepsians adopted new Christian names, which were later processed according to the phonetic and morphological norms of the Veps language. In Veps language, canonical Christian names received a lot of folk variants, part of which were derived from the Russian language forms, spread on neighboring Russian territories.

a → o transition:

This feature appears at the start of quite a number of names where the opening a in Russian full calendar names and their colloquial forms changed to o: Ogoi - Агафья; Ol’koi - Александр.

o → a transition:

In some Vepsian forms of canonical names there is an inverse phenomenon - functioning of the vowel a on the place of original o: Radi - Родион, Kandroi – Кондрат, Patei – Потап.

e → о transition:

This type of reflecting the original “e” of canonical names in the Veps language is apparently connected with a well-known phonetic characteristic of North-Russian dialects: Ouša - Евдокия, J’ovl’oi - Евгения.

Quite a number of changes can be observed also in the consonant system.

Reflexion of the Russian ф (f)

The labial sound f had been missing from the Veps language for a long time. Neither was it originally part of North Russian dialects. So its role in the borrowed personal names of Vepsians was played by such consonants or groups of consonants as h, hk, p, v: Ohkoi - Афимья, Ehoi - Ефим, Pilip(a) - Филипп, Vate – Фаддей.

Reflexion of the Russian в (v)

In the Vepsian language the Russian v (в) is most often matched by the Vepsian v, but where v is found in a combination of letters in front of a consonant its place is taken by the vowel u, which together with the preceding vowel form a diphthong: Moura – Мавра, Ouša – Евдокия, Gouša – Гаврил. Sometimes, the position of the Russian v (в) opening a word is taken by b: Blas(a) - Влас.

Reflexion of the Russian nasal н (n)

The initial consonant n (н) in Vepsian variants of Russian names if often changed to m, but this transition happened already when canonical names were adjusted by North Russian patois, and it was in this form that the names were adopted by Vepsians: Mikit(a) - Никита, Mikoi – Николай.

Simplification of initial consonant groups

Unlike in Russian, consonant clusters opening a word were not typical in the Veps language. In such borrowing names from the Russian language one of the consonants was lost from the cluster: Mitrei - Дмитрий, Lad’u – Владимир, Paroi – Прасковья.

Prosthetic consonant

In the Vepsian environ, some names beginning with a vowel gain a prosthetic consonant, i.e. a consonant is added at the very beginning of the word: Šol’oi, Šol’koi – Елена (Олёна), Gul’a - Ульяна, Иулита, L’oul’oi – Ольга.

Thus this presentation focuses on the analysis of the main principles of phonetic adoption of Russian name forms in the Veps language.


Nikolai Kirsanov:

Relations between Slavic and Finnic place-names in Ingermanland and neighbouring areas as contact date markers

Widespread in the region of Peter the Great's Ingermanland Governorate twin names of nearby places (when one can suppose splitting of a previously indivisible unity following or followed by e.g. a language shift) and toponymic “rhymes” of rather distant places give a researcher a possibility to use them as split (and implicitly, contact) date markers. Assuming certain conservativity in Baltic Finnic adaptations of imported place-names I present some reconstructions of possible Slavic place-names of Ingermanland dated back to times before the rise of Eastern Slavic pleophony (e.g. Finnish Karstala > Russian Коростовицы and boomerang Russian Карстолово) or, more generally speaking, the eliminaton of liquid diphthongs. Of a special interest is also the development described in Shevelov's hypothesis— the development of the long u through the diphthong ui into the Russian ы in the toponyms of the area (e.g. Finnish Kuippina vs. Russian Кипень) and in the borrowed apellatves (хип vs huippu, лыжи vs luistin etc.). Moreover, some earlier sound changes like the palatalisation of velars in both Slavic and Votian (in cases like Jarvigoištšülä this could lead to e.g. rerendering of the suffix -гоща '-goštša'), and even the retroflexion of x seem to manifest themselves in the names I present to a degree that cannot be explained by simple coincidence.

Keywords: Baltc Finnic, import grammar, Ingermanland, onomastics, Eastern Slavic



Slawistik room 6, 10:00–12:00


Eszter Ruttkay-Miklián & Zoltán Gulyás:

Regulyversum – Antal Reguly’s heritage on-line

The aim of the presentation is to report on an on-going project called „Regulyversum”.

Antal Reguly (1819-1858) is a scholar born in Zirc, a pioneer of research among Finno-Ugric peoples. He collected linguistic and folklore material in Finland, Lapland and among the peoples living along the Volga River, he made ethnographical notes, drew maps. During his travels of approximately 10 years he subjected everything to the exploration of knowledge: he was unsparing of his health and he went on with his researches despite suffering from financial problems. His notes were left behind without translations and references, for Antal Reguly died suddenly at the age of 39. The majority of his bequest has not been published up until now. The project „Regulyversum” aims at the survey of the bequest and its publication on a multilingual website.

Antal Reguly’s life (1819-1858) is regarded as ’mystical’, ’tragic’ or ’unknown’ at best, because of the short life span, the unprocessed collected material, the unanswered questions, his financial problems and his illness. On the other hand he was a young man of brilliant talent and high ambitions who was ahead of time on more than one area of science and he still gives material to process for generations and put down the first written material of certain peoples. His letters and diaries are still unpublished, although these sources give clues to Reguly’s personality, motives, aims. Several excerpts of the manuscripts were published, but this does not substitute for the publication of the entire work – the project focuses on these sources.

The project aims at the digitalization of the sources. The manuscripts uploaded to the websites as pictures or texts in faithful transliteration. Their original language is Hungarian or German, besides these the texts are translated into Russian. The collection of objects is to have photos and descriptions. The website facilitates the cross-references between certain types of sources which results in a complex picture. The website will map the sources and provide space for a collection of articles and links.

The Regulyversum project supports the new permanent exhibition on the life and work of Antal Reguly in his memorial museum, opened in 2021.


Sofia Björklöf:

Maps illustrating the speech areas of the Finnic varieties of western Ingria and northeastern Estonia 

The presentation studies maps used to illustrate the speech areas of the Finnic varieties in western Ingria and northeastern Estonia. Maps are discussed starting from the oldest, von Köppen 1849, moving on to presenting and comparing different maps published in linguistic literature, and ending with entirely new maps compiled by the author as well as especially drawn for her doctoral dissertation by a more skilled cartographer . Never before have the speech areas of Vote, Ingrian, Estonian (Coastal and Eastern dialects), and Ingrian Finnish been presented on a single map.


v[on] Köppen, P[eter] (ed.) 1849: Ethnographische Karte des Peterburgischen Gouvernements. St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften.


Timo Rantanen, Outi Vesakoski & Jussi Ylikoski:

Geographical Database of the Uralic Languages 

There is a long tradition of presenting the geographical distribution of Uralic languages as printed maps. There are some general cartographical overviews of the whole language family that necessarily generalize the distributions of individual languages. Precise spatial information on individual languages does exist, but it is scattered across the linguistics literature as a part of language documentation. Public outreach regarding the Uralic languages, research on language distribution and spatial approaches in integrative studies of human history in the Uralic speaker area would all benefit from a digitized cartographical presentation of the speaker areas.

We initiated a cartographical digitalization project, Geographical Database of the Uralic Languages, where the distributions of all Uralic languages are collected for the first time in one database in a digital format. The work has been conducted using geographic information systems (GIS), which allow excellent possibilities to manage, process and visualize spatial data. However, presenting speaker areas is not a straightforward task – or more generally, defining any distribution range is a challenge given that the occurrence of species or speakers is rarely evenly distributed over the whole area. As a consequence, mapmakers’ decisions have a great impact on the appearance of the geographical extent of phenomena. We executed the project by digitizing language distributions from earlier studies. In many cases the primary method of the speaker area depictions remained unclear and in later publications the distributions were repeatedly presented without critical re-evaluation. To update the information, we co-operated with the expert authorship of the forthcoming handbook The Oxford Guide to the Uralic Languages. The experts reviewed the maps, which were then re-drawn according to their comments. The maps cover both current and traditional distributions, the latter referring most often to the situation at the beginning of the 20th century. The outcome is an extensive database of previous and new information on distributions as polygon objects as well as new and consistently created maps.

The compiled database and use of GIS methods allow flexible visualization possibilities. Spin-off projects could easily add other spatial information to the database. We will offer the database for public use, with an article describing the cartographical study. We also aim to build a map service to offer easy web-based access to the datasets for those without GIS-expertise. As a response to this presentation, we hope to get feedback for optimizing the user-friendliness of the map service.


Christine Bethge & Saara Julia Wille:

Specialised Information Service for Finno-Ugric / Uralic Languages, Literatures and Cultures 

Collecting literature on Finno-Ugric Studies in Germany is closely linked with the University of Göttingen and its library – since their foundation in 1734. Today Göttingen State and University Library (SUB Göttingen) has the largest collection in the field of Finno-Ugric literature in Germany. The holdings amount to approximately 150.000 bibliographic items.

Since 2017 the SUB Göttingen has been establishing the project Specialised Information Service for Finno-Ugric / Uralic Languages, Literatures and Cultures [in German: Fachinformationsdienst Finnisch-ugrische / uralische Sprachen, Literaturen und Kulturen – FID FINNUG] It is part of the nationwide funding programme ‚ The Specialised Information Services‘ of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The objective of the Specialised Information Service for Finno-Ugric / Uralic Languages, Literatures and Cultures is to provide specialist literature and information nationwide for researchers working in the fields of Finnougristics/Uralistics, Finnish and Hungarian Studies as well as for research of the regions Finland and Hungary. Main tasks are demand-oriented acquisition or licensing of highly specialized digital and printed media in their original language, which would not be accessible in Germany otherwise.

Slawistik room 7, 10:30–12:00


Helen Plado, Liina Lindström & Maarja-Liisa Pilvik:

Negation patterns in Võro and Seto

There is a general typological tendency to place the negator before the main verb in standard negation, i.e. to use preverbal negation (Dahl 2010: 23, Dryer 2013). However, several Finnic languages also make use of postverbal negation. In South Estonian dialects Võro and Seto, both pre- and postverbal negation (examples 1 and 2, resp.) as well as double negation (3) occur.

(1) ei võiq jättäq vällä
neg can leave:inf out
‘(one) can not leave (it) outside’

(2) ku marju saa as, syss...
when get neg.pst then
‘when (we) did not get berries, then...’

(3) inne ei tulõ vällä eiq ku
before neg come out neg than
‘(S)he doesn’t come out before midday’

Iva (2007: 103) has claimed that postverbal negation is predominantly used in Seto, but it is also widespread in Central and Eastern Võro-speaking areas. Lindström et al. (in prep.) have also demonstrated that postverbal negation is the main pattern in Seto. In the same study, Lindström et al. briefly looked at the Võro data for the comparison. Based on that one can conclude that regarding negation, there is a striking difference between Võro and Seto: in Võro, preverbal negation prevails. However, there is no comprehensive usage-based study on the distribution of the three negation types in Võro.

In this study we look at the use and spread of preverbal, postverbal, and double negation in Võro and Seto dialects. The data are gathered from the Corpus of Estonian Dialects ( By applying quantitative variationist methods, we look for the variables that affect the choice between pre- and postverbal negation. The main research questions are: 1) Is there areal variation in using negation types as claimed earlier? 2) Does the choice of negation type depend on linguistic or nonlinguistic factors? We hypothesize that areal differences exist and that the use of negation types is primarily conditioned by previous context (there are persistence effects, i.e. tendencies to repeat linguistic patterns, Szmrecsanyi 2005) and the individual speaker rather than linguistic factors such as tense and mood.


Dahl, Östen 2010. Typology of negation. – In Laurence R. Horn (ed.), The Expression of negation, 9-38. Berlin:
De Gruyter Mouton.
Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb. In: Dryer, M. S. & Haspelmath, M. (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Iva, Sulev 2007. Võru kirjakeele sõnamuutmissüsteem. Tartu: Tartu ülikool.
Lindström, Liina, Maarja-Liisa Pilvik, Helen Plado (in prep.). Variation in negation in Seto.
Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt 2005. Language users and creatures of habit: a corpus-based analysis of persistence in spoken English. – Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 1, 113-149.




Jutta Salminen:

Finnish negative indefinites as NPIs

Many Uralic Languages display strict NC, i.e. a negative concord pattern, where the clause negator is always obligatory, and this has led to conclusions that Finnish would do so as well (see Van Alsenoy & van der Auwera 2015: 537). However, the Finnish negative indefnites (NIs), such as kukaan ‘anyone’, are no negative concord items (NCI), cf. senki ‘nobody’ in Hungarian, but clearly negative polarity items (NPI) (ibid. 537–541; Vilkuna 2015: 469). My aim is to motivate this NPI analysis and to draw a line to the near phenomenon of NC, on the one hand, and to the recurring definitions of NPIs, on the other.

The key difference between the NPIs’ and NCIs’ polarity dependencies is that NPIs are licensed pragmatically in several non-veridical contexts, whereas NCIs (in strict NC languages) are generally only licensed syntactically by a clause negator, and thereby more closely associated with negation (Giannakidou 2020; Haspelmath 1997: 196–197; Israel 2011: 43–45; Tovena 2020). In addition, a part of NCIs’ distributional profile is their ability to function alone as negative fragment answers (Giannakidou 2020: 459). Finnish NIs lack this ability in Standard Finnish, as the negative auxiliary (e-) is obligatory in a negative answer. The NPI analysis is further supported by the fact that these items, unlike NCIs, are licensed in various non-veridical contexts and also long-distance (Vilkuna 2015: 477; cf. Giannakidou 2020: 471). However, despite the distributional similarities, Finnish NIs differ from many NPIs in that they occur clause-initially before the negative marker: kukaan ei tullut ‘no-one came’ (cf. e. g. Tovena 2020: 222; Haspelmath 1997: 214–215). Thus, instead of a universal rule, the NPIs’ bar from clause-initial position is only a strong tendency (Haspelmath 1997: 217). Even if the clause-initial use shows similarity to strict NC patterns (Giannakidou 2020), in the light of the whole distribution of the Finnish NIs items, it is most plausible to treat them as NPIs throughout their different uses and explain the difference from many other NPIs by language specific properties.


Giannakidou, Anastasia 2020: Negative Concord and the Nature of Negative Concord Items. In: Viviane Déprez & M. Teresa Espinal (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Negation, 458–478. Oxford: OUP.

Haspelmath, Martin 1997: Indefinite pronouns. Oxford: OUP.

Israel, Michael 2011: The Grammar of Polarity. Pragmatics, Sensitivity, and the Logic of Scales. Cambridge: CUP.

Tovena, Lucia M. 2020: Negative Polarity Items. In: V. Déprez & M. T. Espinal (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Negation, 391–406. Oxford: OUP.

Van Alsenoy, Lauren & Johan van der Auwera 2015: Indefinite pronouns in Uralic languages. In: M. Miestamo, A. Tamm & B. Wagner-Nagy (eds.), Negation in Uralic Languages, 519–546. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Vilkuna, Maria 2015: Negation in Finnish. In: M. Miestamo, A. Tamm & B. Wagner-Nagy (eds.), Negation in Uralic Languages, 457–485. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.




Jun’ichi Sakuma:

On Passive Voice and Resultative Aspect in the Finnish Language

In the Finnish grammar, a subpart of sentences whose predicate contains a so-called reflexive suffix (e.g., Puu kaat-u-i. “The tree fell down.”) is often called personal passive (cf., Hakulinen et al. 2004). In contrast with impersonal passive (e.g., Puu kaade-tt-i-in. “The tree was chopped down.”), personal passive has a subject, which agrees in person and number with a matrix predicate. In this paper, however, I will argue that the sentences in question can be characterized in a more feasible way by categorizing them with reference to the aspect system of the Finnish language. This will be done from a theoretical point of view, using instances obtained from the Finnish language corpora (cf., Nedjalkov 1988 and Koontz-Garboden 2009 among others).

In previous studies, it has been pointed out that the reflexive suffixes (-U-, -tU-, -UtU-, -(V)VntU-, -AhtU-) show reflexivity, automativity or passive voice (cf., Koivisto 1991 among others). What should be noticed are the following facts: 1) the actor participant of personal passive sentences is not only suppressed but also irrelevant; 2) it is difficult to differentiate between automative and passive use; 3) some instances of the reflexive suffixes indicate neither reflexivity, automativity or passive voice; 4) some verbs can contain two reflexive suffixes together with a causative suffix -ttA- (e.g., huk-u-tta-utu-a “to drown oneself (intr.)”) ; 5) it is possible to attach a reflexive suffix to a certain kind of intransitive predicates (e.g., istu-utu-a “to sit down (intr.)”, cf., istu-a “to sit (intr.)”). The last-mentioned fact is theoretically notable, as it shows that the reflexive suffix does not always change the transitivity of predicates.

We should also not overlook that all the examples under consideration contain one and the same suffix, i.e. the reflexive suffix. This means that what we should do is to seek commonalities rather than to classify minutely them. From a theoretical point of view, it is important to note that all the sentences in question entail a result-oriented viewpoint. This observation can be verified through comparison between predicates containing a reflexive suffix (e.g., pudo-tta-utu-a “to drop oneself (intr.)”) and their semantically equivalent ones (e.g., pudo-ta “to drop (intr.)” and pudo-tta-a “to drop (tr.)”). Such comparisons reveal that the former predicates differ from the latter ones in their corpus-based collocational distribution. Based on these observations, we can conclude that all the predicates containing a reflexive suffix can be better comprehended by treating the suffix as a marker of resultative aspect. In other words, what these predicates have in common is the fact that they all indicate a resultant state together with a transient process ending to it.


Hakulinen, Auli et al. 2004. Iso suomen kielioppi. Helsinki: SKS.

Koivisto, Vesa. 1991. Suomen verbikantaisten UtU-verbijohdosten semantiikkaa. Suomi 161. Helsinki: SKS.

Koontz-Garboden, A. 2009. Anticausativization, Natural Language and Linguistics Theory 27: 77-138.

Nedjalkov, Vladimir (ed.). 1988. Typology of Resultative Constructions. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Finno-Ugristik 1, 10:00–11:30


Esa-Jussi Salminen:

Ethnofuturistic aspects of the Udmurt literature translated into Finnish

Quite a small amount of Udmurt literature is translated into Finnish. There are till now only 8 publications: Joutsenet Jumalan kasvoilla (1994), Suuren guslin kaiku (1995), Tieni Raamattuun (2003), Carelia 8/2008 (2008), Dorvyžy (2009), Volga-antologia (2010), UgricSlam!2010 (2010) and Bjarmia-antologia (2015). They consist mainly Udmurt poetry. Udmurt literature is more translated into Estonian and Hungarian than into Finnish. Translation from Udmurt to Finnish began only in 1990s and it is steadily going on. Literary prizes and other Finno-Ugric projects give new impulses translation activities. At this moment, at the highest levels of readiness, is the largest publication of Udmurt literature of all time in Finnish: a collection of 37 Udmurt short stories. It will be published in spring 2020. Why is Udmurt literature still so unknown for ordinary Finnish readers? Why is it so important to translate Udmurt literature to Finnish, or is it?


Cornelius Hasselblatt:

From Translation to Adaptation: The changing pattern of evolving small literatures 

It is well-known from cultural and literary history that creating texts in a given language often starts with translating some existent text from another language. Consequently, in numerous Finno-Ugric languages, the first printed book is a translation of something. It might be a part of the Bible as the Livonian gospel of Matthew (1863), a translation of a catechism (Estonian, 1535; Erzya, 1806) or other religious texts (Saami, 1619). A primer (Finnish, 1543) or even a grammar (Mari, 1775) seem to be the exceptions. Generally spoken, genuine ‘own’ texts emerge in a later stadium.

In the 21st century the situation seems to have changed as will be shown with the Vepsian example. With some thirty books in the 1930s and an interruption until the late 1980s, this language has a very small book and text production. When the (partly) Vepsian-language newspaper Kodima was launched in 1993, the ‘newspaper’s main goal was to unite the people into a nation [...] [and] to develop different literary genres in Vepsian....‘ (Zaitseva 2015: 160-161) To test (or prove) the possibility of this, Nina Zaitseva published her epic Virantanaz in 2012. Even ten years earlier, Igor Brodski’s novel Kalarand was printed in Finland, which was a novelty in the field. It was the first novel written in Vepsian and there was no tradition of longer epic texts in this language.

These works clearly are independent works of art, but there are, of course, parallels to other texts from world literature which have influenced them. The aim of the paper is to show that young literatures have developed other means than translation only to reach a certain artistic level and a certain diversification. The study of world literature and the adaptation from patterns found there may be one of them.


Brodski, Igor. 2002. Kalarand. Roman. Juminkegon paindused 25. Kuhmo.

Hasselblatt, Cornelius. 2020. Die Leiden des jungen Igor. Zu Igor Brodskis wepsischem Roman Kalarand. – Kīel joug om šīld. Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Eberhard Winkler. Herausgegeben von Hans-Hermann Bartens, Lars-Gunnar Larsson, Katja Mattsson, Judit Molnár und Tiina Savolainen. Harrassowitz Verlag. Wiesbaden. 127-139.

Zaiceva, Nina. 2012. Virantanaz. Vepsläine epos. . Juminkegon painadused 95. s.l.

Zaitseva, Nina. 2015. Virantanaz – an epic in Vepsian? About the first attempt at an epic. – Eesti ja soome-ugri keeleteaduse ajakiri 6/1. 157-174.


Helena Soini:

The Images of a stone in the Finnish poetry in the second half 20th century in comparative context 

The paper discusses the images of a stone in the Finnish poetry in the second half of the 20th cent. Turning to this image, poets connect the modern perception of the world with mythological concepts. Each poet brings a personal attitude and national specificity to the rethinking of images. The literary sources and the continuity of artistic images are analyzed; the relationship of the «second» modernism poetry with the landscape and cultural tradition is investigated. So, some of the motives in the work of Thomas Eliot, who saw spiritualized matter in the image of a stone, are typologically similar to the poetic views of Finland's writers. Of course, the image of a stone as a symbol of North is constantly appearing in poetry and art of people who live in the North. Ancient Icelandic poetry and north Russian epics are accustomed to the plot that was typical for ancient heroic epic poems – giants turning into a stone. In Edda`s poems Stones are, in a way, bones of the earth. According to Neonila Krinichnaya opinion, there is a connection between stones and the concept of totemic ancestors themselves. Russian artist and poet Nikolay Roerich finds the way to the sources of art through understanding the culture of stone, as «stone... have heavenly origin». Poet and philosopher Vladimir Solovyov has another opinion on the image of a stone. This image obviously has negative connotation. Poet loves indigent country despite it being full of stones, he praises it,, because the true human spirit that challenges heavens is born here. Getting into the living of stone is one of the key features of Finnish poetry both in Finnish and Swedish. Poets inflate traditional mythological world view with new feelings, they also bring new meaning and interpretation. Poets like Ralph Nordgren (1936–2014) and Lars Huldén (1926–2016) bring humor and Aila Meriluoto (1924) introduces the negativity of it. Meriluoto grows accustomed to the stone even identifies herself with it. Nordgren takes the position of an outside observer, distancing himself from stone's image. Lassi Nummi (1928-2012) sang «for all people» and picked the stone.Meriluoto creates a number of stone images (“stone God”, “stone truth”, “stone humanity”). Poets following her either replenish this collection of “stones” or reject it altogether. Nummi creates the image of «Mielen kivi, Joka painaa» (A mindstone, which weights).

The first sigh of a new poetry being born is negation of those stone feelings of a human stone. The very same title can be seen on Jenni Haukio’s collection of verses «We are not stones!» (2002).The image of a stone, evolves from serious (primary matter) to humorous. The images of stone in the poetry of Finland is multifaceted. Poets interpret them differently. Poets bring new shades of feelings and give new meaning to the traditional mythological attitude.

Anglistik, 13:30–14:30


Fruzsina Krizsai, Csanád Bodó, Fruzsina Sára Vargha, Zsuzsanna Kocsis & Gergely Szabó:

Language ideologies in Hungarian dialectology of the second half of the last century

While methodological issues of Hungarian dialectology are already reflected from the first half of the 20th century (Csűry 1936; Végh 1953; Deme & Imre 1975 cf. Sinkovics 2009), theoretical and language ideological roots of the discipline still have not been adequately clarified. Although general theoretical foundations were not expected at that time, the influence of structuralism appeared at the level of dialect descriptions (e.g. as Béla Kálmán defines dialect as a term for different territorial versions of a language, and each dialect has their own phoneme system and complete grammar (1966: 7–9), Jenő Kiss (2001: 27) states that “structurally, they [i.e. the dialects] are not part of a linguistic system or variants of a language, but form a set of similar systems”), and the principles of data collection bulid on the concept of the idealized native dialect speaker (Deme & Imre 1975; Balogh 2001).

Since a large amount of data was collected in accordance with these guidelines, clarifying these ideologies is crucial: theoretical and ideological background have a fundamental role in how we interpret dialects and what consequences these interpretations entail to speakers. For this reason, in this talk we provide a systematic overview on the theoretical embeddedness of representative works of Hungarian dialectology, and this overview sheds new light on the language ideologies of methodological guidelines from the 20th century.

Reflections on the theoretical background and language ideologies of dialectologists organising and doing fieldwork is a clue to get a more precise view of the validity scope of data and to discover the possibility of comparative analysis with different types of data. It is the first step to orient the discipline toward new directions in the 21th century, such as computational dialectology or Citizen Science.


Balogh, Lajos 2001. A nyelvjárási anyaggyűjtés. [Data collection in dialectology]. In Kiss Jenő (ed.): Magyar dialektológia. Budapest: Osiris Kiadó. 157–174.

Csűry, Bálint 1936. A népnyelvi búvárlat módszere. [Methods of studying the vernacular]. Budapest: Turul-Szövetség.

Deme, László & Imre, Samu 1975. A Magyar nyelvjárások atlaszának elméleti-módszertani kérdései. [Theoretical and methodological issues of General Atlas of Hungarian Dialects]. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

Kiss, Jenő 2001. A nyelvi változatosság és a nyelvváltozatok. [Language variability and language varieties]. In Kiss Jenő (ed.): Magyar dialektológia. Budapest: Osiris Kiadó. 25–30.

Kálmán, Béla 1966. Nyelvjárásaink. [Our dialects]. Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó Vállalat.

Sinkovics, Balázs 2009. A nyelvváltozatok és a nyelvművelés. [Language varieties and language cultivation]. In Borbély Anna, Vančoné Kremmer Ildikó & Hattyár Helga (eds.): Nyelvideológiák, attitűdök és sztereotípiák. Budapest–Dunaszerdahely–Nyitra: MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet–Gramma Nyelvi Iroda–Konstantin Filozófus Egyetem. 90–98.

Végh, József 1953. A nyelvjáráskutatás időszerű kérdései. [Current issues of Hungarian dialectology]. Magyar Nyelvjárások (2): 43–58.


Jaak Prozes:

The Komi National Movement: The Reasons for Its Peculiarities. 

The Komi national movement differs from the national movements of other Finno-Ugric peoples. Despite the fact that they converted to Orthodoxy in the 14th century and were already under the rule of the Moscow Grand Duchy in the 15th century, they were able to preserve their natonal characteristics like language, culture, and traditions. At the beginning of the 20th century (1917-1920), they were more ready to accept the idea of national self-determinaton in the form of autonomy, i.e. the autonomy which would have its own sovereign decisions, for example, on the ownership of natural resources or its own armed forces. 

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the Komi were the first to try to use the movement of the Finno-Ugric peoples for social and political purposes, for instance, the convocation of the 1st World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples. The Komi people were also the first in Russia who convened in 1991 in January 1. the 1st Congress of the Komi people. The Komi were the only ones who achieved recognition in the Constitution in 1992 that their Congress and its organization (the Commitee for the Revival of the Komi People) are the highest representative organizations of the Komi people and have the right to legislative initiative. And in the same year, a law on languages was adopted which recognized the Komi language as the state language. 

All this means, the Komi people which according to the census held in Russia in 1989 made up 23.3% of the total population in the Komi Republic (43.3 % of Mari, 32.5 % of Mordovians, 30, 9 of Udmurts) achieved such results that other Finno-Ugric peoples have never achieved.

In my report, I will examine the reasons why the national elite of the Komi people has achieved more results than other Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples. What was the phenomenon of the Komi people and its elite? Why did they distinguish themselves in this regard? In my research I will analyze the ethno-demographic characteristcs of the Komi people, issues of education, accomplishment, and religion. 




Afrikanistik, 13:30–15:00


Hajime Oshima:

Preferred Order of Possessive Plural Construction in the Burgenland Dialect of Hungarian in Austria 

In this study, I analyze the Hungarian possessive plural construction used by Hungarian/German bilingual speakers living in Burgenland, Austria. The Burgenland dialect of Hungarian uses a possessive plural construction that is not found in Standard Hungarian, as shown in example (1).

(1) a. gyerek-e-i-m [Standard Hungarian]
‘my children’

b. dzserëk-em-i͜ëk [Burgenland Hungarian]
‘my children’ (Imre, 1971)

As reported in Imre (1971), the Burgenland dialect uses a different plural marker which is not inserted but suffixed after the possessive singular form, as shown in (1b). The marker -i͜ëk found in the Burgenland dialect is actually cognate with Standard Hungarian -ék, which marks associative plural, as shown in (2).

(2) Péter-ék
‘Péter and his family or friends or associates’

Burgenland Hungarian -i͜ëk is, like Standard Hungarian, used for associative plural, but it also functions as an additive plural marker used in the possessive construction, in which case it can be added to animate or inanimate nouns (3a, b).

(3) a. macská-m-i͜ëk
‘my cats’

b. szemüveg-e-m-i͜ëk
‘my glasses’

In (3), Burgenland Hungarian -i͜ëk does not mark associative plural, but marks possessive plural. How can we account for such a development in function? One possibility is that the possessive plural construction was modelled after the construction found in German. Let us see the German example, i.e., meine Kinder (my children), of the possessive plural form. As can be seen in the German example, the plural marker is added in the word-final position. The possessive plural form has the same structure in Burgenland Hungarian.

(4) a. gyerek-e-m > gyerek-e-i-m [Standard Hungarian]
child-POSS-1SG      child-POSS-PL-1SG
‘my child’              ‘my children’

b. dzserëk-ë-m >   dzserëk-ë-m-i͜ëk [Burgenland Hungarian]
child-POSS-1SG      child-POSS-1SG-ASSOC.PL

c. mein Kind > meine Kinder [German]

Cross-linguistically, “the expression of number occurs closer to the noun base because it is more relevant to the meaning of the noun” (Bybee, 1985: 34). Accordingly, the Standard Hungarian possessive plural form is thought to be more natural than the Burgenland Hungarian form. This lends support for the hypothesis that the construction found in Burgenland Hungarian emerged as the result of the influence of German.

Finally, corpus data demonstrates that the order is preferred in the other possessive plural expressions (ex. ennyi͜ë-m-ek ‘mines’).


Bybee, Joan. L. 1985. Morphology A study of the relation between meaning and form, Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Imre, Samu. 1971. A felsőőri nyelvjárás, Nyelvtudományi értekezések 72., Akadémiai kiadó, Budapest.




Tamás Halm:

Deep down, Hungarian is still OV: Evidence from Radically Truncated Clauses

1. Introduction

In contemporary syntactic literature, the VP in Modern Hungarian is taken to be head-initial (VO) (cf. É. Kiss 2013 and references). This makes Hungarian a typological outlier within its language family: the Ob-Ugric languages, Khanty and Mansi, are strictly V-final (OV). The head-initial VP is also an outlier within the broader architecture of Modern Hungarian: other domains such as the NP, the PP, and the PossP are known to exhibit various head-final phenomena. É. Kiss (2013) argues that Proto-Hungarian has inded been SOV, however, historical word order changes resulted in Old (and thus, Modern) Hungarian becoming Top Foc V X. In my talk, I will argue that while the neutral (i.e., topicless and focusless) full sentence, the PredP is indeed V-initial, there is strong new evidence that the unextended minimal VP is head-final. This means that Modern Hungarian is typologically better-behaved than previously thought. I will also show how that a head-final VP can help us to gain a better understanding of a broad range of phenomena such as predicate adverbial participles, nominalizations, locative constructions, inherent telicity, verbalizer-drop, the base form of so-called –ik verbs and imperatives infinitives a.o.

2. Data and Analysis

Full neutral sentences in Hungarian are verb-initial:

(1) Le-vit-te a szemet-et János.
vm-take-pst the rubbish-acc John
‘John took out the rubbish.’

This shows that the extended VP (the PredP) is verb-inital. So far, however, there has been no direct way to observe whether the minimal VP itself is verb-initial: since the verb obligatorily moves out of minimal VP in the course of deriving the minimal sentence (PredP), the structure of the minimal VP is irrevocably obscured.

However, a newly discovered clause type, so-called Radically Truncated Clauses (used in informal registers to describe a succession of sub-events (or a single subevent) within a well-defined containing situation) provide direct evidence for the structure of the minimal VP:

(2) [Namármost amikor én alud-t-am ott, úgy kezd-t-em, hogy]
well when I sleep-pst-1sg there so start-pst-1sg that
‘So when I was sleeping there, the way I started was

szemét le-visz, szoba rendbe-rak, fürdőszoba el-pakol...
rubbish vm-carry room vm-put bathroom vm-pack
I took out the rubbish, I cleared the room, I cleared the bathroom.’

RTCs lack subject or object agreement:

(3) a. sör meg-isz-(*ik)
beer vm-drink-3sg
‘I/you/etc. drink/drank the beer.’

They also lack all tense, aspect and mood features. The object lacks accusative case marking and cannot have a definite article. RTCs are strictly O VM V:

(4) a. tévé be-kapcsol       b. *be-kapcsol tévé
television vm-switch          vm-switch television
‘I/you/etc. switch(ed) on the TV and open(ed) the beer.’

I will claim that RTCs are VPs lacking all higher projections including vP, the inflectional do-main (from ModP to AgrSP) and the higher functional domain (PredP to CP). Therefore, in RTCs, there is no verb-movement, which means that the observed surface word order directly reflects the underlying structure and shows that the VP is, in fact, head-final.


Bartos, H. 1999. Morfoszintaxis és interpretáció: a magyar inflexiós jelenségek szintaktikai háttere.

É. Kiss., K. 2006. The Function and Syntax of the Verbal Particle.

É. Kiss, K. 2013. From Proto-Hungarian SOV to Old Hungarian Top Foc V X.

Halm, T. 2021. Radically Truncated Clauses in Hungarian & Beyond. Syntax 24:3, 376–416.


Riku Erkkilä & Tomi Koivunen:

INs and ONs in Uralic languages

 Uralic languages use a variety of means to express spatial relations: spatial cases, relational nouns (RN), which are inflected in spatial cases and can syntactically be used as adpositions or adverbs, and true adpositions and adverbs. These are used to express different kinds of spatial relations between Trajector and Landmark. These relations can be expressed with topological (e. g. in, on, near), and Frame of Reference (FoR; e. g. in front of, behind) information. In addition, both types can incorporate information on the motion of the Trajector (e. g. to, from, along). The difference between topological and FoR information is that when FoR is expressed, a coordinate system is specified, and the relation expressed is tied to this coordinate system (Levinson 2003: 24‒61). With topological information no such coordinate system is present (Levinson 2003: 71‒74).

Levinson and Wilkins (2006: 550‒552) have argued that the more basic relations are expressed more frequently with simpler forms. In the case of the Uralic languages this would mean that topological and motion information should be expressed mostly by cases, because they are more basic relations than e. g. relations with FoR information. However, this is not always the case. On the contrary, our data shows that more basic relations can readily be expressed by more complex forms.

In this paper we examine the following Uralic languages: Mordvin and Permic languages, and Mari. All these languages use both spatial cases and RN to express spatial relations and (except Mari) have a spatial case system, that makes a four-way distinction between location, source, goal, and path[1]. Especially Permic languages have extended this system, but in this study we will focus on the four basic relations.

Compared to some other Uralic languages, e. g. Finnic languages, the languages in our sample code direction in their case systems, but do not distinguish between different orientations (cf. Kagan 2020: 77‒78). In other words, they do not distinguish e. g. being inside or outside with only cases, like Finnish does. In the kinds of systems we have studied, the case normally expresses the basic relation in which the Trajector interacts with the Landmark. However, when the basic relation is in or on, the RN meaning ‘in’ and ‘on’ are frequently used instead of the plain cases which would be expected, as in (1). The preliminary results shown below show that an in-relation which would be expected to be expressed with only case is frequently expressed with RN instead.


(1) Erzya (MokshEr v.3/Syatko-2006_1_79-84.txt)

     Źars           kekše-ź           ašt’e-ś                                kurakšo-ńt’          pot-so (...)

     how.long    hide-cnv         be.situated-pst1.3sg            in-ine

     ’How long was he in hiding in the bush (...)’
























Table 1. In-relation expressed by RN in the sample.


In this paper, we will address the question why the RN ‘in’ and ‘on’ are chosen over a plain spatial case in situations, where in or on is the basic relation between Trajector and Landmark. Our hypothesis is that the perception of the relation between Trajector and Landmark affects the choice between cases and RN more than the simplicity of the relation. That is, our data shows, that more complex forms are frequently used to express more basic relations. This contrasts with the theory set forth by Levinson & Wilkins (2006), and thus gives valuable new information on the typology of spatial relations.



Kagan, Olga 2020: The semantics of case. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Levinson, Stephen 2003: Space in language and cognition. Explorations in cognitive diversity. Language, culture and cognition 5. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Levinson, Stephen & David Wilkins 2006: Patterns in the data. Towards asemantic typology of spatial description. In Levinson & Wilkins (eds.) Grammars of space, pp. 512‒552. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


[1] We consider the Mari postposition expressing source, γə̑č, as an equivalent of case, because it functions as one in respect to the studied problem.




Slawistik room 1, 13:30–14:00


Taarna Valtonen:

Place Names of Multilingual Aanaar (Inari), Finland: Place Names in Contact 

In this paper I wish to present some of the results gained during my three-year research project Place Names of Multilingual Aanaar funded by the Academy of Finland between 8/2017–8/2020. The overall idea of the project is to study the place names of the municipality of Aanaar (North Saa. Anár, Fi. Inari, Swe. Enare) in Finland as a system. Since there are four languages (Aanaar (Inari) Saami, Skolt Saami, North Saami and Finnish) spoken in the area, the major part of my project is aimed to clarify how the interaction between these languages can be attested in present day place names. The most important material in this sense are those place names that have been borrowed from one language to another .

It has been suggested (e.g. Helander 2008: 119; Söderholm 1986: 9–12) that there is a specific loaning/borrowing pattern between Saami languages and Finnish that regulates the place name loaning/borrowing processes. Since these languages descend from the same branch of the western Finno-Ugrian protolanguage (often known as Proto-Finno-Saamic or Early Proto-Finnic) they also share basic grammatical structures and there are several hundred word roots that are common to both language groups (partly common origin, partly early loans). Furthermore, the varieties of Finnish spoken in the northernmost parts of Fennoscandia (e.g. Kven, Meänkieli or Torne Valley Finnish, northern Finnish dialects) have loaned large amount of lexemes from Saami languages. This makes the loaning of place names between these languages easier than between, e.g., Saami and Scandinavian languages. This should be true also when loaning from one Saami language to another but the question has never been systematically studied.

I wish to test the hypothesis presented by Söderholm and Helander with my material by asking if there is one common pattern that can be applied to all place names of Aanaar loaned from a Saami language to Finnish. Further, I wish to explore the possible differences between Saami–Finnish and Saami–Saami loaning/borrowing patterns. The main focus of this paper is directed to the borrowing of the morphological phenomena and to construction of loaned/borrowed place names.


Helander, Kaisa Rautio 2008: Namat dan nammii. Sámi báikenamaid dáruiduhttin Várjjaga guovllus Norgga uniovdnaáiggi loahpas. Dieđut 1/2008. Sámi allaskuvla, Guovdageaidnu.

Söderholm, Eira 1986: Mønstre innen et flerspråklig stedsnavnsystem. Namn og Nemne 3/1986 s. 7–17.

Slawistik room 6, 13:30–15:00


Eva Saar & Heinike Heinsoo:


Ohoh! The characteristics of Finnic reduplicative words 

The paper presents the results of comparative study of the composition and characteristics of reduplicated words in Finnic languages: Estonian, South Estonian, Votic, Ingrian, Finnish, and Karelian.
In comparison with many other language families, in Finnic languages reduplication is not very productive. However, it is not absent in the area as it has been indicated on the world’s map of reduplication (Rubino 2005: 13). In Finnic, reduplication is typologically only phonological (see the typological distinction in Inkelas (2008)), and full reduplicatives are mostly represented by ideophones and interjections, e.g. Ingrian huhhuh (marking tiredness), Estonian ohoh (marking amazedness) etc.

In the presentation the focus lies on the composition and function of Finnic (partly) reduplicated adjectives and adverbs.

I. Reduplicative compounds based on alliteration and assonance (AA).
In Finnic languages, a number of adjectives and adverbs are formed with the help of reduplicated particles. The function of the reduplicated part is to intensify the meaning of the full word (head of the compound). The modifiers of compounds are typically sound combinations with the (C)VCV-structure, where the repeated part is the beginning of the full word (until the 1st vowel). Interestingly, the modifiers without independent meaning use derivational suffixes, which are not used in any other part of speech. As the comparative investigation revealed, similar reduplication patterns are used in Estonian, South Estonian, Votic, Ingrian, and Karelian language; whereas the derivational suffixes following the first syllable of AA vary in the language family, e.g.:

(C)V+tšOi *(C)V+pOi
(C)V+li; (C)V+ri

South Karelian: vätšöi vähäne ‘few’
Olonets Karelian: ytšöi yksinäh ‘all alone’

Karelian: sebo selgei ‘clear’
Finnish: apo auki ‘fully open’
Ingrian: köpöi köühä ‘poor’
Votic: kupo-kuiva ‘dry’

Estonian: võhi-võõras ‘strange(r)’
South Est. (Seto, Võro, Lutsi): ühi-ütsidä ‘all alone’
Votic: köhi-köyhä ‘poor’
South Est. (Leivu): ali-al ́l ́as ‘green’, muri-must ‘black’

The reduplicated compounds with AA are often lexicalized, and closed for further derivation. For example, it is common to derive adverbs from adjectives, e.g. Estonian uus ‘new’ → uue|sti ‘newly’, but that pattern does not widen for reduplicated adjectives (uhiuus ‘totally new’ > *uhiuuesti). The former productivity of the pattern is improved by the series which use the same reduplicated part for different full words, e.g. in Ingrian: puʙoi puhaz ’absolutely clean’ and puʙoi pun̆nain ’totally red’; keʙoi keltaiŋ ’very yellow’ and (läheŋ) keʙoi kerrāz ’(I go) at once’.

II. Echo-word formation and sound universals.
Due to AA, the adjectives and adverbs described above are in some respect similar to echo-words (see Stolz 2008), which exist in different languages (Eng. kissy wissy, piggy wiggy etc.). Those are present also in Finnic, e.g. ‘in disorder’: Est. pilla-palla, Vot. mürri marri, Fin. hujan hajan, Kar. puksin paksin, Ing. murssim marssin. However, unlike the compounds described earlier, the latter do not necessarily involve any component with (fully) independent meaning. The group of words discussed here belongs to the category of phrasal compounds. The Finnic echo-words follow the universal of having higher vowel in the first part of the compound.


Inkelas, Sharon 2008. The dual theory of reduplication. In Linguistics 46 (2), 351-401.
Rubino, Carl (2005). Reduplication: form, function and distribution. In Studies on Reduplication, ed. Bernhard Hurch. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 11–29.
Stolz, Thomas 2008. Total reduplication vs. echo-word formation in language contact situations. In Language Contact and Contact Languages. Eds. Peter Siemund, Noemi Kintana. (Hamburg Studies in Multilingualism 7.) Amsterdam– Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 107–134.




Triin Todesk:

Restrictions to event modification with -dzhyk in Komi 

Although primarily used as a comparison suffix with adverbs and adjectives, the Komi element -dzhyk also appears as an modifer of finite and infinite verb forms (Cypanov 2005) and also nouns, postpositional phrases, etc. (Coates 1982). It appears with finite verbs in the Komi-Zyrian literary language and in most of the Komi-Zyrian dialects, in Komi-Permyak, the verbal uses are noted in the Northern dialect group. This paper discusses examples from Komi-Zyrian (Komi) literary language.

In affirmative (1), the so-called augmentative clitic functions as an increaser of the event’s intensity or speed (Cypanov 2005: 248) or other manner-related feature depending on the semantics of the event, or it modifies the quantity of the event, either cumulatively or cardinally. In negation (2), -dzhyk reduces the intensity, quality or quantity of the situation by augmenting the negation verb (2). It may also add an approximative reading in negation referring to the successfulness of the event. The distribution of the possible readings of -dzhyk depends on context and event structure (Todesk 2015).

(1) Tajö rödtödzhyk daj sedlöys sy vylyn. (Juhnin 1941) ‘This (one) trots better and has a saddle on.’

(2) Ta vösna sijös hishchnöj zverjas ozdzhyk kazjavny. (Gamsa 2002) ‘For this reason the predators do not notice it as much.’

The clitic does not appear with all events and as is the case with the intensity and quantity modifers the clitic corresponds to, the restrictions are based on the syntactical and semantical features of the event. Based on an acceptability test carried out with young speakers of Komi, the main restrictive features are clause complexity, event telicity and plurality (see Kennedy and McNally 2005, Fleischhauer 2013 for other languages), subject number and type, and polarity. Clause complexity refers to the event being either a single verb (munny ‘go’) or a complex construction (kolö munny ‘is necessary to go’). Telicity includes atelic (unbounded) and telic (bounded) events, and event plurality refers to either singular perfective or progressive events, or plural imperfective-habitual events (Wellwood et al. 2012: 216). Subject is described either by number: single/collective or distributive, or by type: it is general person or there is subject drop. Polarity simply refers to negation and affirmation.

In the assessment test, when modifed by -dzhyk, the sentences that expressed a generic subject involved in a present tense general/habitual event were rated higher than singular events carried out by a single subject in a vague context. Also, simple clause, atelic event and general reading of the clitic increased acceptability, while complex clause, telic event and narrow reading of the clitic reduced it. Negated events received the highest approval ratings (based on literature, negated events are also more common with -dzhyk than events in affirmation).


Coates, J.G. 1982, The -джык Comparative Suffix in Contemporary Komi Usage. – Transactions of the Philological Society 80, 119–129.

Cypanov 2005 = Цыпанов, Е.А. 2005, Грамматические категории глагола в коми языке. Сыктывкар. 244–254.

Fleischhauer, Jens 2013, Interaction of Telicity and Degree Gradation in Change of State Verbs. – Studies in the Composition and Decomposition of Event Predicates, Dordrecht–Heidelberg–New York–London, 125–152.

Gamsa 2002 = Некрасов А.И. 2002, Чужанінӧй менам - мыла сьыланкыв: Висьтъяс, мойдъяс, олӧм серпасъяс. Сыктывкар: «Эскӧм» издательство

Juhnin 1941 = Юхнин В. 1941, Алӧй лента. Первой книга. Сыктывкар: Коми госиздат

Kennedy, Chistopher, Louise McNally 2005, Scale Structure, Degree Modification, and the Semantic Typology of Gradable Predicates. – Language 81, 345–381.

Todesk, Triin 2015. The verbal augmentative and the inherent properties of verbs in Komi. – Linguistica Uralica LI 2015 1, 28—43.

Wellwood et al. 2012 = Wellwood, Alexis, Valentine Hacquard, Roumyana Pancheva 2012, Measuring and Comparing Individuals and Events. – Journal of Semantics 29, 207—228.




Csilla Ilona Dér:

Sz’al, nemtom ’So, I dunno’ – The formal and functional variation of the discourse marker nem tudom in Hungarian

The talk focuses on the constructions nem tudom ~ nemtom (lit. ’I don’t know’) in Hungarian that can have – besides its referential use – many different interpersonal and textual roles: it can express different subjective and intersubjective meanings (speaker’s uncertainty, mitigation, face-saving) and/or function as topic-/turn-management-device (cf. Pichler 2013, Kugler 2015).

Our main aim is to describe the variability of the longer and the shorter form in different regions, registers/genres, analysed by gender and age-groups. With the exploration of the relation between the formal and functional variants we try to answer the following questions:

  • What are the most typical functions of these constructions in contemporary Hungarian?
  • Where do these constructions occur: at the left or the right periphery?
  • What other discourse markers can they combined with?


Kugler Nóra 2015. Megfigyelés és következtetés a nyelvi tevékenységben. Budapest: Tinta.

Pichler, Heike 2013. The structure of discourse-pragmatic variation. Amsterdam – Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Slawistik room 7, 13:30–15:00


Gábor Tillinger:

The problematic descriptions of the Komi-Zyrian conditional particle in grammars and dictionaries - theory versus reality 

In my paper, I would like to discuss why the descriptions of the Komi conditional particle эcькö are problematic in the more or less well-known grammars, dictionaries and course-books. There are several factors that can cause either confusion or lack of understanding. The different works very often mention only one thing, namely that the usage of Komi эcькö can be compared to that of Russian бы. However, while standard Russian only combines past tense verb forms with бы when expressing counterfactual conditional, one can use past, present, and future verb forms with эcькö in Komi – a fact that is seldom mentioned. Very few authors draw attention to this feature through some examples (e.g., Lytkin et al. 1955, 1967; Rédei 1978; Riese 1984). Although the semantical differentiation between the different tenses combined with эcькö appears to be quite clear thanks to their few examples, it is neither mentioned, nor is it enlightened by the examples that past tense forms are also used in Komi to express present/future counterfactual conditional (actually, quite frequently) – something that becomes obvious when reading modern Komi texts. These authors assume that the use of different tenses is simply tense-related, but my corpus analyses show clearly that probability can be a very important factor. What is more, эcькö in Komi often seems to be omitted in the protasis, regardless of whether the protasis precedes the apodosis (with эcькö) or not – another phenomenon that is usually not described. Further obscurity can be observed when it comes to word order, in particular with regard to where эcькö should be placed in different types of sentences. As part of my paper, I would like to give an overview of the minimalistic descriptions of conditional sentences and the use of эcькö in Komi as found in different works (e.g., Beznosikova, Fokos-Fuchs, Lytkin, Motorina, Rédei, Riese, Tsypanov, Wiedemann etc.), and I would like to draw attention to some questions that can arise in relation to the usage of эcькö as found in modern Komi texts, based on my Komi corpus analyses.


Sierge Rasmus:

Dual number in the dialect of Ohcejohka 

In this paper I study dual number in the North Saami dialect of Ohcejohka. Dual number is claimed to be vanishing for example in the North Saami dialect of Ofoten and Sør-Troms. Informal sources point out that dual number is in flux also in the core area of Saami homeland. I discuss the topic from two perspectives: first I will take a look at congruence of subject and predicate and secondly at possessive suffixes. In North Saami both of these traditionally have dual morphology.

Examples that gathered from contemporary media language seem to point out that dual morphology is not as stable in younger generations as it is in older speaker’s speech. Younger speakers use both plural and dual forms in the same sentence: for example, dual personal pronoun as a subject combined with predicate in plural form or vice versa. My research task is to find out how much variation there is.

Six younger generation Saami speakers (age 15–25 years) were individually interviewed for this study. In semi-structured interveiws they were given a task to translate sentences from Finnish to North Saami. This data was then compared to descriptions of the language and interviews that were recorded from older speakers in the same area in the 1990s and 2010s.

Preliminary results show that the system of possessive suffixes seems to have collapsed. The younger generation still produces them but they use possessive suffixes irregularly and there does not seem to be a stable system in place. Dual number in subject pronouns and predicate forms are stable in some informants speech, some of them have slight variation and one of the six seem to have more irregularities. Older speakers rarely have exceptions when dual number is concerned. This indicates that the younger generation is more heterogenous than older speakers.

This sample doesn’t represent younger generation completely so for more detailed information of how much different kind of speaker’s would need larger amount of informants. Other interesting possibility is to have longitudinal study with these same informants to see if they acquire for example possessive morphology later in life.

Keywords: North Saami, Grammatical Number, Dual, Possessive suffix, Sociolinguistics


Merit Niinemägi:

Language revitalization and grammatical variation: The Aanaar (Inari) Saami conditional mood 

The last comprehensive study on the usage of the conditional mood in the Saami languages dates back to 1980 (Bartens). While in the data analysed by Bartens, the conditional mood still occurred to varying degrees in all Saami languages, more recent researches suggest that the westernmost Saami languages (South Saami, Ume Saami, Pite Saami) have lost the conditional mood entirely.

Aanaar (Inari) Saami, which belongs to the Eastern branch of the Saami languages, has preserved the conditional mood. However, the Aanaar Saami mood system has not been subject to any recent research. The present study aims to partly fill this gap, providing an insight into the form and usage of the Aanaar Saami conditional mood.

The Aanaar Saami mood system consists of four moods: indicative, imperative, conditional and potential; all of which can be traced back to Proto-Saami. The Aanaar Saami conditional marker is ‐č- ~ ‐čč- which descends from Proto-Saami *-kči- ~ *-hči- and is thought to be a cognate to the conditional marker -ks(i)- found in Estonian and Livonian. (Sammallahti 1998: 83–84)

The conditional perfect is expressed by two periphrastic constructions which are considered to be identical in meaning. Consider the following examples for the conditional perfect expressed by the copula in the conditional mood and the main verb in the past participle (1) and by the copula in the indicative past tense and the main verb in the infinitive (2):

(1) mun li-čč-im halijd-âm

(2) mun lijji-m halijd-iđ
1SG be.PST-1SG want-INF

‘I would have wanted’

Aanaar Saami is traditionally spoken in the northernmost part of Finland and, with a number of 350 speakers, is classified as a seriously endangered language. The recent revitalization of Aanaar Saami has caused a significant growth in the number of L2 speakers whose native language is Finnish. (Pasanen 2015: 78)

This paper focuses on the conditional mood in present-day Aanaar Saami, dealing amongst others with the question of whether the revitalization process has (had) an impact on the morphosyntactic features of Aanaar Saami, i.e. the form and usage of the conditional mood. Particular attention will also be paid to the variation of the two constructions used to express the conditional perfect. The data of this study consists of language samples from the 1950s on the one hand and recent data collected by the author on the other hand.


Bartens, Hans-Hermann 1980. Die Verwendung von Konditional und Potential im Lappischen. Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilainen Seura.

Sammallahti, Pekka 1998. The Saami languages: an introduction. Kárášjohka: Davvi Girji.

Pasanen, Annika 2015. Kuávsui já peeivičuovâ ’Sarastus ja päivänvalo’. Inarinsaamen kielen revitalisaatio. Uralia Helsingiensia 9. Helsinki: Unigrafia Oy.

Finno-Ugristik room 1, 13:30–14:30


Edit Zsadányi:

The New Subaltern in the Novels of László Krasznahorkai and Sofi Oksanen 

Following Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s argumentation on the concept of the subaltern, I will compare the narrative strategies of László Krasznahorkai’s Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming with Sofi Oksanen’s Purge. I will focus on the varieties of free indirect discourse occurring in these novels, which enable the narrator to represent history as it is imprinted in the average people’s mind. Characters do not have the slightest chance to influence historical events and tendencies, yet they are able to develop a too well-known personal skill in Eastern Europe: the skill of survival. Despite their often miserable circumstances, characters are able to survive historical and personal traumas.

The notion of the subaltern as created by Antonio Gramsci and developed further by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1988, 1999, 2000) can be redeployed into the study of these novels. Spivak convincingly claims that the subaltern cannot speak in the language of the dominant discourse, therefore, mainstream representation cannot guarantee that the voices of subordinate groups will be recognized. Addressing the issues of globalization, migration, human trafficking and the insufficient functioning of international humanitarian organizations, Spivak has recently reinterpreted her earlier ideas and has created the concept of the new subaltern. The new subaltern is not excluded, but connected to the global network of advanced capitalism, yet remains entirely disempowered without any rights of citizenship. She claims that works of art provide excellent opportunities for patient and complex communication with the new subaltern, in which we can interiorize the capacity of “learning to learn from below” (2014, 10).

I am interested in the fictional condition, in which characters accept their miserable circumstances as given and unchangeable, but the entire fiction with its textual devices, such as various forms of free indirect discourse, is able to call the reader’s attention to the special skills of survival, thus the novel gives voice to characters’ unarticulated wishes and desires.

In this way, it is us, present day readers, who can learn something from the new subaltern as it is represented in the examined novels. We can learn something important from these novels since they present an altruistic approach to understand the world of those who were victims, yet survivals of dictatorial social and historical tendencies.


Eszter Éva Hörcher:

Parallel straights – A comparative literary analysis of the existential and moral viewpoints of Rosa Liksom and Krisztina Tóth 

In my comparative examination, basically I focus on the critical voice, social sensitiveness and existential approach which could be considered as essential point in Rosa Liksom’s Väliaikainen (2017, using the Hungarian translation) and Krisztina Tóth’s recent short stories (Párducpompa 2017, Fehér farkas 2019).

The main aspect in this literary examination is the relationship of alienation and the existential and moral crisis in wealthy and indigent people, shown across their everyday life and behaviour. The group of customers are the most significant category of urban human beings. The physical, mental and spiritual progression are in inverse proportionality of each other. Liksom and Tóth emphasized the human mental deconstruction and the significance of psychological self-maintainment. The authors focus on the individual and common decadency across the style of self-disclosure. The authors highlight the phenomena of judgement, prejudice, the all-time superiority of the ego, the social problems and reflect to several contemporary phenomena (xenophobia, homophobia, family conflicts, negative interpersonal communication). Furthermore, the writers consider to the concept of the ‘norm’, the ‘standard’, the ‘acceptable’ in social, ideological and individual point of view, inside the frame of moral approach.

The textual differences can be traceable in the comparative approximation, followed the narratological ways and style. The scenes are contributed by the monologues and dialogues: what things are watched and experienced. The authors express and transmit the substantial messages, across a demonstrative and historiographic manner. Their style is exact, pure and well-interpretable. These texts could be considered as complete documentaries of a society or documented literary texts.