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A few more possible traces of the lost language chain of North-East Europe/[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

My line of reasoning, questioning the (sheer) divergence of the origin of Finnic languages, has received more food for thought when I recently re-read papers of a number of researchers. The researchers first of all include AnuReet Hausenberg. A.-R. Hausenberg indicates that there are numerous exceptional similarities between some of the east- and southward Finnic languages and Permic languages, in particular in case of the Veps, SouthEstonian and Komi languages, and suggests, as a source of these similarities, a kind of a lost link in the chain of languages of the north-eastern area of Europe (Hausenberg 1996 : 180, 182; 2001 : 318).

1. Bernhard Walchli observes certain peculiarities of Livonian and, by means of comparisons, he also comes to Permic languages, to Komi in particular (Walchli 2000). I would begin with B. Walchli's arguments on the negative form in Livonian. He indicates that the Livonian negative expresses the person and tense by the forms of the negative auxiliary, and the number by the forms of the main verb, in a somewhat defective manner, though. He emphasises that in general the same principle is applied also in the Komi (and Udmurt) language. The manner of the formation of the Veps negative is principally similar to that in Livonian and Komi. The following table with the examples given by Walchli offers a good survey of the situation under discussion in all three languages mentioned (Walchli 2000 : 222).


B. Walchli considers the manner of formation of the Livonian negative as a result of an interaction of internal factors (Walchli 2000 : 222-223). I could not agree with B. Walchli's latter statement because it is based on nothing else but the assumption according to which a full paradigm of the negative auxiliary was used in Proto-Finnic. To begin with, I have my doubts about the existence of a onetime unified Proto-Finnic in general, second, the mutual similarity of Livonian-Veps-Permic in the formation of the negative cannot be merely an accident, caused by a parallel development. I would rather support A.-R. Hausenberg's assumption about an earlier contact between some of the east- and southward Finnic languages and Komi language, possibly through the medium of some language(s), extinct to date. Based on all said above, I would return to my earlier supposition that, as proved by the oldest texts, both in the North- and SouthEstonian languages, the negative was formed much in the same manner (see e.g. Kunnap 2001 : 127-131).

2. Seppo Suhonen has pointed out that the object of the Livonian imperative both in the affirmative and negative may take the genitive form, e.g. vota sie obiZ 'take the horse' and alavota sie obiZ 'don't take the horse' ("(don't) take of the horse"). In this case he regards the negative form as a Livonian-Latvian areal phenomenon, because in the prohibitive form the Latvian object is often also in the genitive (however, in the Latvian western dialects it is more often in the accusative) (Suhonen 2001 : 575). Since the Livonian usage under observation differs from the usage of other Finnic languages, it could, of course, be regarded as a Latvian influence. This it brings us back to the question why in certain cases in the Baltic and EastSlavic objects are used in the genitive.

Bo Wickman, in studying the Mordvin direct object, has pointed to the train of thought of Ferdinand Johann Wiedemann, close to my own line of reasoning that the genitive became a case form for a direct object in Finnic. I have namely regarded as reliable that the genitive with the suffix -n has actually been one of the earliest Finnic object cases (see e.g. Kunnap 2000 : 28-31). One of the probable transitions of the genitive with the possessive meaning to an object case could be illustrated by a Finnish example *han lehman (attribute) tappava (present participle) 'he, slaughtering the cow' ("he, the slaughterer of the cow") > han lehman (direct object) tappaa (present tense 3Sg) 'he slaughtersthe cow'. Wiedemann wrote about the rule of an indefinite object in Mordvin in the nominative case as follows, "Eine scheinbare Ausnahme findet bei den Infinitiven und Participien statt, welche als Nomina das von ihnen abhangige Object naturlich nicht im Nominativ, sondern immer im Genitiv zu sich nehmen, mag es ein bestimmtes oder ein unbestimmtes sein, z. B. tu? li?sme? v?sneme 'er ging ein Pferd zu suchen' (eigentl. 'zum Suchen eines Pferdes'), karma? jovkso? jovtamo 'er fing an eine Geschichte zu erzahlen (die Erzahlung einer Geschichte)', karman narmone? kundamo 'ich will ein Vogel fangen' u. s. w." (Wiedemann 1865 : 45). In his turn, B. Wickman adds to it, "Thus, if we regard the infinitive or participle as a noun, we must regard the "object" as a genitive attribute, but if we regard the infinitive or participle as a verbal form, we may say that the latter has an object, but anyhow it is clear that the ?-form in the above examples is originally a genitive and not an accusative." (Wickman 1955 : 41). Aulis J. Joki, commenting on B. Wickman's analysis of the Mordvin object, notes that he could probably state that the genitive is actually the Mordvin object case (Joki 1957 : 10). In my view, it could have been so from the very beginning, without ever having the -m ending accusative in Mordvin (or in Finnic).

3. Why in certain cases in Baltic and (East-)Slavic languages objects are used in the genitive? We know that in Baltic and (East-)Slavic languages the partiality of the direct object can be expressed by the genitive, e.g. Latvian bij man dziesmu 'I had songs', Russian daj vody 'give the water'. Nowadays researchers are inclined to suppose that the semantically motivated alternation in the case forms of the Baltic and (East-) Slavic subject and object is associated with Finno-Ugric languages or is even a result of the latter's influence: in the subject the nominative and in the object the accusative alternate with the partitive/genitive (Kont 1967 : 5; Thomason, Kaufman 1988 : 245; Tkaaenko 1989 : 81-82; Klaas 1996 : 38-44; Kunnap 1997, especially p. 81). We get the following picture about the correspondences among Finnic-Baltic-Slavic:
 Finnic Baltic and (East-)Slavic
Total object Genitive Accusative
Partial object Partitive Genitive

The opposite function of the genitive in Finnic, on the one hand, and in Baltic and (East-)Slavic languages, on the other, is hard to associate with anything at this point. Earlier, I have proposed that if we proceed from the supposition that the use of the genitive as a case form of the subject and the object in Baltic-Slavic is a result of the influence of Finnic(-type) languages, we would comprehend it so, perhaps, that there was a pattern how to use the genitive in a new function--in that of partiality (see e.g. Kunnap 2000 : 30). At the same time, a noticeable resemblance in several respects, particularly in the pronunciation, between Mordvin languages and Russian is well known. We can suppose that when onetime speakers of Finnic(-type) and Mordvin(-type) languages took over the Baltic and Slavic language forms which, in the course of time, resulted in the emergence of Baltic and East-Slavic languages, including Russian, a strong FinnoUgric substratum preserved in those languages. In Mordvin(-type) languages, similarly to Finnic(-type) languages, the genitive was used as an object case. On the other hand, Mordvin languages by far do not distinguish between an object of partiality and a full object in the manner the Finnic languages do. It is easier to figure out the formation of the presentday usage of cases of the partial and full objects in Baltic and East-Slavic in the intersecting spheres of influence of Finnic- and Mordvin-type lan guages. Besides, in the intermediate space of the present-day area where Finnic and Mordvin languages are spoken today there were definitely other, extinct by now, Finno-Ugric languages whose object cases we know nothing about. If the genitive object of the Livonian imperative prohibitive speech is not the consequence of the Latvian language but represents the usage of those extinct languages, it becomes clearer why, for instance, one can say in Russian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (genitive) 'don't drink water'. Actually, the greater density of use of the genitive object in prohibitive speech in definite Latvian dialects shows the influence of the Livonian(-type) language( s) on Latvian rather than vice versa.


Hausenberg, A.-R. 1996, Onko komin ja itamerensuomalaisissa kielissa areaalisia yhteispiirteita?--CIFU VIII. Pars IV, 180-182. -- 2001, Kadunud luli Kirde-Euroopa keeleahelas.--CIFU IX. Pars IV, 314-319.

Joki, A. J. 1957, Eine Untersuchung uber das Objekt in den uralischen Sprachen. --FUF 32. Anzeiger, 1-41.

Klaas, B. 1996, Similarities in Case Marking of Syntactic Relations in Estonian and Lithuanian.--Estonian: Typological Studies 1, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 4), 37-67.

Kunnap, A. 1997, Uralilaisten kielten lantinen kontaktikentta.--Itamerensuomi - eurooppalainen maa, Oulu (Studia Historica Fenno-Ugrica 2), 63-74.

-- 2000, Contact-Induced Perspectives in Uralic Linguistics, [Munchen-Newcastle] (LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguitics 39).

-- 2001, On Some Peculiarities of the Estonian Language.--Estonian: Typological Studies V, Tartu (Tartu Ulikooli eesti keele oppetooli toimetised 18), 123-137.

Suhonen, S. 2001, Itameren alueen kieliareaaleja.--Unnepi konyv Keresztes Laszlo tiszteletere, Debrecen-Jyvaskyla (Folia Uralica Debreceniensia 8), 569-580.

Thomason, S.G., Kaufman, T. 1988, Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London.

Wickman, B. 1955, The Form of the Object in the Uralic Languages, Uppsala.

Walchli, B. 2000, Livonian in a Genetic, Areal and Typological Perspective, or Is Finnish Better Finnic than Livonian?--Facing Finnic. Some Challenges to Historical and Contact Linguistics, Helsinki (Castrenianumin toimitteita 59), 210-226.

Wiedemann, F.J. 1865, Grammatik der Ersa-mordwinischen Sprache, St. Petersburg.

Kont, K. 1967, O partitive v finno-ugorskih qzykah.--SFU III, 1-6. Tkaaenko O. B. 1989, Oaerki teorii qzykovogo substrata, Kiev.

(AGO KUNAP (Tartu))
Ago Kunnap

 Livonian 'live' Komi 'give'
 Present Past Present Past

1PSg ab jela iz jela og set eg set
3PSg ab jela iz jela oz set ez set
2PSg ab jela izt jela on set en set
1PPl ab jelam izt jelam og (e) setej eg set ej
3PPl ab jelat izt jelat oz setni ez setni
2PPl ab jelat izt jelat on (e) setej en(e) setej

 Veps 'bind'

1PSg en sido
3PSg ij sido
2PSg ed sido
1PPl emei sidogoi
3PPl ij sidogoi
2PPl etei sidogoi
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Author:Kunap, Ago
Publication:Linguistica Uralica
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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