Intense but irregular NWIE and Indo-Iranian contacts show Uralic disintegrated in the West

Open access PhD thesis Indo-Iranian borrowings in Uralic: Critical overview of sound substitutions and distribution criterion, by Sampsa Holopainen, University of Helsinki (2019), under the supervision of Forsberg, Saarikivi, and Kallio.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

The gap between Russian and Western scholarship

Many scholars in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation also have researched this topic over the last five decades. Notably the eminent Eugene Helimski dealt with this topic in several articles: his 1992 article (republished in Helimski 2000) on the emergence of Uralic consonantal stems used Indo-Iranian and other Indo-European loans as key evidence, and it was one of the first serious attempts to stratify the loanwords, paying attention to the non-initial syllables as well. Helimski (1997b) discusses Indo-Iranian loanwords more generally, but it is especially notable for the introduction of the “Andronovo Aryan” idea: Helimski argues that some loanwords in Ob-Ugric and Permic are derived from an unattested, third branch of Indo-Iranian. Helimski’s idea has been supported by at least Mikhail Zhivlov in a 2013 article, but otherwise it has not received wide acceptance. Helimski was also known for his criticism (see especially Helimski 2001) of Jorma Koivulehto’s etymological work: although the main targets of Helimski’s criticism were Koivulehto’s writings on Proto-Indo-European and Germanic borrowings (which fitted poorly with Helimski’s ideas of the Nostratic roots of Proto-Uralic and his other theories on Uralic linguistic prehistory), also some of his Indo-Iranian ideas received unnecessarily sharp criticism in Helimski (2001).

Vladimir Napol’skikh is another important Russian scholar who has written on several occasions about Indo-Iranian–Uralic contacts. His 2014 article is notable for its criticism on Helimski’s Andronovo Aryan theory and his arguments in favour of Indo-Aryan loanwords. Napol’skikh also considered some of the traditional Indo-Iranian loanwords to be borrowings from Tocharian (see below) in some of his earlier works, an idea which has been criticized by Kallio (2004) and Widmer (2002) and which Napol’skikh himself has since dropped in later publications (2010, 2014), where many of these alleged Tocharian loans are again considered Indo-Iranian.

Some of the main characteristics of Russian research is that the earliest Indo-European loanwords are usually considered to represent an inheritance from the Nostratic proto-language (Helimski [2001]; Kassian, Zhivlov & Starostin [2015]), an idea which is not widely accepted by scholars of Uralic in the West. Although this often does not concern the Indo-Iranian loanwords at all, or it concerns only a part of them, the works of Jorma Koivulehto, who dealt with both earlier Indo-European and Indo-Iranian loans, receive so much criticism from the Russian scholars that his important ideas are often totally rejected or left unmentioned in Russian research.

This kind of rejection of central etymological research literature can be considered one of the most pressing problems in Uralic loanword studies, and it leaves a regrettable gap between Russian and Western European scholars in this perspective.




Among the Indo-Iranian loanwords in Uralic, one can easily mention examples that follow the classification of semantic change as described above. For widening or generalization, vasara ‘hammer’ is a good example: the Indo-Iranian original denotes ‘the weapon of the god Indra’ in Indic and ‘the weapon of the god Mithra’ in Avestan, whereas Finnish ‘hammer’ (and the Mordvin meaning ‘axe’) are more general meanings of tools. Fi huhta is a good example of narrowing: Iranian *tsuxta- means simply ‘burned’, whereas in Finnic huhta means specifically ‘a burned patch used in slash-and-burn agriculture’. Metonomy has taken place in Mordvin, where čuvto denotes simply ‘tree’; this probably developed through the meaning ‘wood burned for agriculture’. Khanty (South) wǟrəs denotes ‘horse’s mane’, but its Iranian original probably had a more general meaning of hair (cf. Avestan varəsa- ‘hair of human and animal, mostly hair of the head’).

An interesting example of degeneration is the etymology of Finnic orja ‘slave’, probably borrowed from the Indo-Iranian ethnonym *(H)ārya- ‘Aryan’ (for the original semantics of this word, see the entry *orja in Chapter 2). A similar development is seen in English slave which is etymologically connected to the ethnonym Slav.

Distribution as a criterion in the dating of loanwords

(…) some of the Indo-Iranian loans seem to have a wide distribution, but upon a closer look it becomes clear that they include phonological irregularities, which can only be explained by assuming that they are parallel loans. The ability to recognize parallel borrowings is extremely important in Uralic loanword studies, and it has been developed with success in the research of Germanic and Baltic loanwords (see Junttila 2015).

Interestingly, K. Häkkinen (1983: 207) argues that although words disappear from languages, the most basic words often remain stable and are maintained for longer periods. Although this is probably true, here the notion of “basicness” is something that is open to different interpretations. Many central concepts in culture and livelihoods are often described with prestige words that are borrowed, and these central words can be very easily replaced. In determining the age of the loanwords one has to always keep in mind that a reflex of a very early cultural borrowing from Indo-Iranian to Proto-Uralic/Proto- West Uralic etc. can easily have been lost in some daughter language, if a later prestige loan for the same concept has been borrowed from some later contact language (such as from some form of Germanic or Baltic into Finnic or from some Turkic language into Udmurt, Mari or Mordvin).

In Uralic linguistics the common loanword layers shared by some intermediary proto-language have often been seen as giving support to the reconstruction of these stages, but K. Häkkinen (100–108) considers this problematic. It should also be noted that the distribution of Indo-Iranian loanwords very rarely matches the assumed taxonomic divisions: there are some loanwords confined to the Finno-Permic, Finno-Volgaic or Ugric languages, but very few loanwords that would be Finno-Permic, Finno-Volgaic or Ugric in the way that the word is found in all the languages that belong to the branch.



There are only very few possible examples of a consonantal substitution of the word-initial laryngeal. It seems probable that the word-initial laryngeal, if it was retained, was not substituted in any way in Uralic. *karšV (> Fi karhu), an uncertain etymology, is the only possible example.

(…) Even if *k was a result of laryngeal hardening, the development would probably be earlier than Proto-Indo-Iranian, meaning that by the time the word was borrowed, the Indo-Iranian word simply had the stop *k that was regularly substituted by Uralic *k.

Evidence for Andronovo Aryan and Indo-Aryan loanwords?

None of the loanwords have to be considered as Andronovo Aryan or Proto-Indo-Aryan based on the criteria that were presented in the Introduction. The Uralic palatal affricate *ć or sibilant *ś can in all cases be explained from Proto-Indo-Iranian *ć, and there is no need to assume that it should reflect Andronovo Aryan *ć or PIA *ś. In the etymological material of this study, no further positive evidence was found for the distinction of PU *ś and *ć as substitutions of the Proto-Indo-Iranian affricates. This means that at least in word-initial position there probably was no difference between *ć and *ś, and even though we do not know what this sound was phonetically, it is safe to assume that Uralic words showing *ś reflect a sound substitution of Indo-Iranian *ć and *Ʒ́.

Regarding the distribution of the etymologies within Indo-Iranian, all the loanwords which cannot be from Iranian because of the lack of attested Iranian cognates have a more or less secure Proto-Indo-Iranian etymology, and nothing prevents us from assuming that these words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian borrowings. It is also possible that some words with solid Proto-Indo-Iranian etymologies were present in Iranian but were lost before the first Old Iranian texts were composed.



List of Indo-European and Indo-Iranian Etymologies


*ertä ‘side’, *kekrä ‘wheel’, *kečrä ‘spindle’, *mekši ‘bee’, (*meti ‘honey’), *ońća ‘part’, (*orpa ‘orphan’), *peijas ‘feast’, *pejmä ‘milk’, Pre-P *pertä ‘wing’, *repä ‘fox’, *rećmä ‘rope’, *sejti ‘bridge’


*aćtara ‘whip’, *anti/onta, *ora ‘awl’, *orja ‘slave; south’, (*orpa ‘orphan’), *pośi ‘penis’, *śaŋka ‘handle’, Pre-Md *śaγa ‘goat’, *śarwi ‘horn’, *śaδa- ‘to rain’, śara- ‘shit’, *śi̮ta ‘hundred’, Pre-P *śVta ‘hundred’, *śasra ‘thousand’, *śišta ‘wax’, *śoma- ‘sad’, *waćara ‘hammer’, *woraći ‘boar’

Ambiguous early loans (can be either from PII or PI)

*ajša ‘shaft’, *asVra ‘lord’, *iha ‘yearning. passion’, *ihta ‘lust’, *jama ‘twin’, *jawi/jowa (> Mo juv) ‘awn’, *jawi (> PS *jäə̑) ‘flour’, *ji̮ni ‘way, path’, *juma ‘god’, *kana- ‘to dig’, *kara- ‘to dig’, *kata- ‘to graze’, *kertä- ‘to bind’, *ki̮ntaw ‘tree stump’, *kürtńV ‘iron’, PKh *kǟrtV ‘iron’, *kärtä ‘iron’, *martas ‘dead’, *ńātV- ‘to help’, *pakas ‘god’, *para ‘good’, Kh pĕnt ‘way’, PMs *pē̮ńtV ‘brother-in-law’, *pora ‘old’, *poči- ‘to boil’, Pre-P *porta ‘vessel’, *puntaksi ‘bottom’, Pre-Ma *pänti- ‘to bind’, PMa *pärća ‘ear of corn’, *pätäri- ‘to flee’, *saγi- ‘to get, obtain’, *sampas ‘pillar’, *saŋka ‘old’, *sara ‘lake’, *sasara ‘sister’, *säptä ‘seven’, *tajwas ‘sky’, *takra ‘piece of flesh’, *tarna ‘grass’, *tojwV ‘wish’, *toraksi ‘through’, *tora- ‘to fight’, *täjV ‘milk’, *täjinV ‘cow’, *täši, *uška ‘bull’, *wakša- (> PS *wåtå-) ‘to grow’, *wajna- ‘to see’, *wojna- ‘to see’, *wiša ‘venom’, *wi̮rna ‘wool’, *wärkä ‘kidney’, PS *wǝ̑rkǝ̑ ‘wolf’, *wirtV- ‘to hold, raise’, *äŋkärä ‘coal’

List of uncertain Indo-Iranian etymologies

PFi *aiwa (← Germanic ?), Ma *arša ‘mane’, PMs *ǟrV ‘fire’, *aštira ‘barren earth’, POug *ćakV ‘hammer’, *ćara- ‘brown; ? to dawn’, *ćero ‘hill-top’, *ćerti ‘group’, *itä- ‘to appear’, Pre-Fi *karšV ‘bear’, PMs *kīrV ‘iron’, *kota ‘chum’, Pre-Sa *kupa ‘pit’, PFi *kärsä ‘snout’, *maksa- ‘to pay’, PFi *mana-, PUg ? *mańći, Ma marij ‘Mari; man; husband’, *mē̮ja ‘wedding’, *mykkä ‘dumb’, PP *oč ‘corn’, *orpV ‘relative’, PFi *paksu ‘thick’, *peji- ‘to milk’, *pi̮ŋka ‘psychedelic mushroom’ POUg *porV ‘phratry’, Pre-Sa *poti ‘against’, Pre-Fi *šatas ‘germ’, *sentü- ‘to be born’, *šerä- ‘to wake up’, Ms šVšwǝŋ ‘hare’, PUg *śeŋkV ‘nail’, Pre-Sa *soma/sami ‘some’, PP *sur ‘beer’, PFi *süte- ‘to hit’ (< ? *sewči-), Hu szekér ‘wagon’, Kh ʌīkər ‘Narte’ PUg *taja- ‘secret’, Pre-Fi *terni ‘young’, *terwV ‘healthy’, ? *towkV ‘spring’, PWU *utarV ‘udder’ (← Germanic ?; Mari *waδar ← II), *waŋka ‘hook’, Mo E v́eŕges, M vərǵas ‘wolf’

Etymologies that were probably borrowed from another Indo-European source (PIE, PBSl, Germanic, Baltic)

*aisa ‘shaft’ ← Balto-Slavic, PFi *aiwa (← Germanic ?), *apV ‘help’ ← Germanic, *jewä ‘grain’ ← Balto-Slavic, Ma karaš etc. ‘honeycomb’ ← Baltic, (*meti ‘honey’ ← ? PIE,) Fi *ojas ‘shaft’ ← Slavic, *ola ← Baltic, *oŋki ← Germanic, *porćas ← Balto-Slavic, Pre-Sa *porta ‘vessel’ ← Germanic, *salV ‘salt’ (cannot be reconstructed for PU, various later parallel loans), *śi̮lkaw ← Balto-Slavic, *sammu- ← Germanic, *śuka ← Balto-Slavic, Mari *šŭžar ← Baltic/Balto-Slavic or Slavic, *tejniš ‘pregnant animal’ ← Baltic/Balto-Slavic, PWU *utarV ‘udder’ (? ← Germanic)

Early loans into differentiated branches

Proto-West Uralic

Only in Finnic:

*aćnas ‘voracious’, *iha ‘wish’, *ihta ‘lust’, PFi *isV ‘appetite’, *martas ‘dead’, *očra ‘barley’, *peijas ‘feast’, *pejmä ‘milk’, *pe̮rna ‘spleen’, *sampas ‘pillar’, *sooja ‘shelter’, *tajwas ‘sky’, *takra ‘piece of flesh’, *terwV ‘healthy’, *tojwV ‘wish’

All of these words, with the exception of *sooja ‘shelter’, were clearly borrowed into Early Proto-Finnic (Pre-Finnic) at the latest. Formally most of the loans could be from PII or PI.

Only in Saami:

*kata- ‘to graze’, *kertä- ‘to bind’, *pora ‘old’, *wojna- ‘to see’

All of the loans were acquired before the Saami vowel changes. Formally all could be either from Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Iranian.

Only in Finnic and Saami:

*asma ‘voracious’, *jama ‘twin’, *kekrä ‘wheel’, *mača ‘insect’

*asma ‘voracious’, *jama ‘twin’, *kekrä ‘wheel’, *mača ‘insect’ Of these, *mača from Proto-Iranian and *jama is ambiguous. As the -sm- in asma does not point to Proto-Indo-Iranian *ć, this is probably an Iranian loan too. It is possible that these words were borrowed into Proto-West Uralic, as there is no general support for a Finno-Saamic proto-language today. As the cognates within Finnic and Saami are regular, there is no need to assume parallel borrowings. *kekrä has to be from Proto-Indo-Iranian.

NOTE. Based on the discussion of stages of borrowing from Indo-Iranian, and of the distribution of *kekrä among Uralic dialects in particular, Holopainen probably means Pre-Indo-Iranian for this example.

Only in Mordvin and/or Finnic and/or Saami (can point to a borrowing into Proto-West Uralic):

*ji̮ni ‘way’, *kečrä ‘spindle’, *rećmä ‘rope’, *śaŋka, *waćara ‘hammer’, *warsa ‘foal’, *wasa ‘calf’, *woraći ‘pig’

Based on phonological criteria, these loans do not form a chronologically coherent layer, but probably their modern distribution is accidental (their original distribution can have been wider). *kečrä ‘spindle’ and *rećmä ‘rope’ are from Pre-II, *śaŋka, *waćara and *woraći from PII, *warsa and *wasa from later Iranian (Alanic). *ji̮ni is ambiguous. Also the loans confined to Finnic and Saami mentioned above probably were borrowed into Proto-West Uralic, as it is a more convincing taxonomic entity than Proto-Finno-Saamic.


Only in Mordvin, Finnic and/or Saami and Mari

*juma ‘good’

This loan can be either from PII or PI. As it is obvious that these four branches do not form any taxonomical entity (Salminen 2002; J. Häkkinen 2009), it is only logical that there are no other loanwords with a “Finno-Volgaic” distribution.

Only in Mari:

*kVrtnV ‘metal’ (← PII, PI or later), Pre-Ma *pänti- ‘to bind’, PMa *pärća ‘ear of corn’, *si̮rńa ‘gold’ (← Old Iranian)

Only very few early Indo-Iranian loans can be found in Mari and in no other Uralic language. It is unclear what the reason for this is. It is, of course, possible that some uncertain loanwords like marij ‘man; Mari’ turn out to be correct after all, but even that does not make the number of loans in Mari very high. The situation has to be explained either with loss of vocabulary and replacement by later loans (from Turkic, and also perhaps from Permic) or with Mari’s location on the periphery at the time of the later contacts with the Iranian languages. Agyagási (2019: 254–258) argues that the current area where Mari is spoken was formed only relatively late, after the Mongol invasion in the High Middle Ages. If this is indeed correct, and Mari was spoken in more northern areas before that, it can be assumed that Pre-Mari had only sporadic contacts with the Iranian languages after it split off from Proto-Uralic.

Only in Permic (early loans; for later loans confined to Permic)

*a(č)wa ‘stallion’, PP *ju ‘awn’, *kertä ‘house’, *kärtä ‘metal’, *kada- ~ *gada- ‘to steal’, *karka ‘chicken’, *parśa ~ *barśa ‘mane’, *parta ‘knife’, *pertä ‘wing’, *poči- ‘to boil’, *porta ‘vessel’, *dura ‘long’, *domV ‘to tame’, PP *śumi̮s ‘band’, PP *šud‘luck’, *uška ‘bull’, *wi̮rna ‘wool’, *wirä ‘man, husband’, *äŋkärä ‘coal’

The number of loanwords in Permic is relatively high, and many of these can be considered to be Iranian loanwords. Technically many loans are ambiguous, but as some of the words were borrowed late due to historical reasons (‘iron’), and some were borrowed into a Pre-Permic which already had a phonological system that was different from Proto-Uralic (*šud- has d which cannot reflect PU *δ).

It is probable that the Permic languages were in continuous contact with the Indo-Iranian languages from the time they split from Proto-Uralic until the early mediaeval era.


Only in Khanty and Mansi (regular cases):

POUg *ēräɣ ‘song’, POUg *eträ ‘clear sky’, POug *mɔ̈ŋki ‘forest-spirit’, *ńātV- ‘to help’, *päčäɣ ‘reindeer’

The number of these etymologies is so low that it is very difficult to determine whether these words were borrowed into Proto-Ob-Ugric or some earlier proto-language, such as Proto-Ugric.

Only in Khanty and/or Mansi and/or Hungarian (regular cases):

*säptä ‘seven’ (Khanty + Hungarian regular), *sara ‘lake’

There are so few convincing loanwords with a “Ugric” distribution that they provide very little evidence. Either of these loans could be from Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Iranian, if we assume that *s > *h was a common Iranian sound change. Both loans were acquired

Only in Samoyed:

*jäwi (> PS *jäə̑), PS *pulə̑ ~ *pi̮lə̑ ‘bridge’, *täjki ‘spear’, PS *wǝ̑rkə̑ ‘wolf’, Pre-S *täši (> PS *tät), *wakša- (> PS *wåtå) ‘to grow’

Of these, only *wåtå- has to be a very early loan because of *s > *t. *jäwi (> PS *jäə̑) and PS *wə̑rkə̑ were possibly acquired before the Proto-Samoyed vowel developments, making them probably early loanwords too. Formally all of them could be either from PII or PI. *pulə̑ ~ *pi̮lə̑ could have been borrowed into Proto-Samoyed (with Iranian *u corresponding to Samoyed *u), and because of the *l the word is probably from a relatively late, Middle Iranian language.

The following loanwords have a distribution with a cognate in both Samoyed and some other branch:

*śaδa- ‘to rain’, *tora- ‘to fight’ (also *itä-, which is more uncertain, belongs here)

Pan-Uralic loans

The following loanwords have a distribution with regular cognates with at least one Ugric branch and some other branch, which points to early borrowing. Although formally *kana- and *kara- are ambiguous, they are probably from Proto-Indo-Iranian because of their distribution. The rest of the loans are from Pre-II or PII.

*kana- ‘to dig’, *kara- ‘to dig’, *meti ‘honey’, *mekši ‘bee’, *orpV ‘orphan’, *ora ‘awl’, *peji- ‘to milk’, *pätäri- ‘to flee’, *śara- ‘shit’, *śoma- ‘sad’

The following loanwords are found in at least two non-adjacent branches of Uralic (the ones listed in the above categories are not counted). As there are no widely accepted criteria for a word to be considered “Uralic”, all of these could be considered loanwords into Proto-Uralic, in this case probably from Proto-Indo-Iranian or Pre-Indo-Iranian.

*ajša ‘shaft’, *anti/onta ‘grass’, *ertä ‘side’, *ki̮ntaw ‘tree stump’, *mertä ‘human’, *orja ‘slave’, *para ‘good’, *počaw ‘reindeer’, *puntaksi ‘bottom’, *saγi- ‘to get, obtain’, *repä ‘fox’, *si̮ŋka ‘old’, *sasara ‘sister’, *sejti ‘bridge’, *śišta ‘wax’, *tarna ‘grass’, *toraksi ‘through’, *wiša ‘venom’



Discussion about the distribution and its impact on Uralic taxonomy

(…) there are Proto-Iranian loanwords which were borrowed simultaneously into several early branches of Uralic, making it likely that Uralic had split into several branches by the time of these contacts.

Also the fact that many of the Proto-Indo-Iranian loanwords either show a restricted distribution (such as West Uralic *waćara, *woraći) or irregular correspondences (*asVra, *śasra, *śi̮ta) can point to the conclusion that Proto-Uralic was fragmenting by the time when contacts with Proto-Indo-Iranian took place.

The earlier, Pre-Indo-Iranian loanwords usually show a wider distribution and regular sound correspondences. Although the number of these earliest loans is quite small, based on their distribution and regular correspondences it can be assumed that the Pre-Indo-Iranian stage (after RUKI, *l > *r and the merger of velars and labiovelars but before the merger of non-high vowels) was concurrent with Proto-Uralic, with the changes leading to Proto-Indo-Iranian happening after the dispersal of Proto-Uralic.

The distribution of loanwords reinforces the old idea that Samoyed is a lexical outlier, as only few convincing Indo-Iranian etymologies for Proto-Uralic words (*saδa- ‘to rain’, *tora- ‘to fight’) have a convincing reflex in Samoyed. However, the fact that such etymologies exist means rather that the situation is due to lexical loss in Samoyed, and that the earliest contact occurred before Samoyed split off from Proto-Uralic.

There are very few loanwords that have a Ugric distribution (being found in at least one Ob-Ugric branch and Hungarian), and likewise rather few in Ob-Ugric. The few loans that have a distribution confined to Ugric were borrowed before the change *s > *θ took place. This means that the Ugric distribution does not mean much from the point of view of chronology or taxonomy, as the words were borrowed into a language that was still identical to Proto-Uralic. Even some loans borrowed into Khanty and Mansi have to be so early.

Impacts on dating and the location of the contact zones

Because of the very limited number of convincing etymologies found only in Finnic or Saami, it is probable that there were not (extensive) contacts with Pre-Finnic or Pre-Saami after the split of Proto-West Uralic.

The great number of loanwords of varying ages in Permic inevitably points to the conclusion that the pre-form of the Permic branch had been constantly spoken in an area that was adjacent to the Iranian languages. The different layers of loanwords in Permic clearly point to chronological differences in the donor languages, but it also seems that Permic was in contact with various forms of Iranian and not with different diachronic stages of the same language.

In general, the words that have been borrowed are typical cultural words, and the contacts between Indo-Iranian and Uralic seems to have been a typical contact situation in which a culturally less-advanced language group borrows various cultural terms from a more “advanced” group. The words in various loanword layers related to horse and cattle breeding show obvious cultural influence in the field of domesticated animals, and the borrowing of some names of grains points to agricultural influence from the Indo-Iranians on the speakers of Uralic.

Needless to say, many of the borrowings I listed in A Song of Sheep and Horses suffer from the same ailment attributed to Indo-Europeanists in general:

With slight exaggeration one can agree with the remark by Koivulehto (1999a: 209–210) that the Indo-Europeanists often use outdated sources or are simply uninterested in the topic. The problem is further complicated by the various and often obsolete views expressed in even relatively modern Uralicist works, such as those of Rédei (1986c; 1988) or Katz (2003); (…) Mallory & Adams (2006) adequately refer to the importance of the early loanwords, but they use mostly Rédei’s outdated reconstructions and stratigraphy in support of their theories.

I need to review all related texts with this thesis and the works recently published by Kümmel, as well as the recent book of the Leiden school on Indo-Uralic.

Also, does anyone know the (traditional?) why of the resistance to the Indo-Uralic concept among Uralicists? Maybe it’s a reaction against the Nostraticist and Siberian views of Uralic espoused by the Soviets?


22 thoughts on “Intense but irregular NWIE and Indo-Iranian contacts show Uralic disintegrated in the West

  1. Overall, a highly interesting read. Some general criticism though:

    The authors are being too quick to classify as “Proto Indo-Iranian loans”, words which could actually be Uralic in origin. *orja, *asura and *wasara/*waćara are three examples. All three are restricted (most probably) to the Indo-Iranian family among IE languages and to Uralic ! This means their ultimate origin in Uralic is at least a possibility. The Uralic versions could be the ones preserving something closer to the original meaning and later Indo-Iranian is what is “narrowing” the meaning, to use the author’s term. Especially true of the ethnonym (cardinal direction !) deriving from *orja. The semantic shift from an ethnonym to a cardinal direction is very inconceivable IMHO. It would be like a European language having the word for south derive from the ethnonym of an African group. Far more likely that *orja was a directional ethnonym within the Uralic community meaning something like “southerner” and the Indo-Europeanized Uralics (Proto Indo-Iranians) continued the usage as a self identifier. I wrote about this here last year.

    1. About *orja, I find it a very cool idea. I guess that, if Uralic studies were more developed than IE ones – and we had already many certain Uralic borrowings in Indo-Iranian – it would be Indo-Europeanists who would be trying to fit *orja as a borrowing.

      *aryó- is a difficult word to fit as PIE because of the lack of proper attestations beyond IIr. Nevertheless, there seems to be a general opinion among (many?) Indo-Europeanists that the most plausible etymology for Cel. *aryo-, like PIIr. *aryá-, is from a common Proto-Indo-European source.

      It makes much sense (from the perspective of the medieval slave-Slav parallel) to assume a period of dominance of Uralic over Indo-Iranians, hence the borrowing of the word, but a contrast West vs. East Uralic as you propose makes theoretically as much sense, IMHO…

      I am no specialist, but nothing stands out from *orja as “un-Uralic”, so I don’t see why not.

      As for *ásura- it does seem to be a reconstructible Indo-European word, and Indo-Anatolian at that.

      For *wáȷ́ras, I’d agree with you as with the *orja example from a semantic point of view: just as there is a proposed generalization, it could perfectly well fit as an example of narrowing of a borrowed Uralic word, with the meaning of ‘hard’ as a kind of folk etymology based on the pre-existing IE root *weg-. The problem I could have with this example is phonological: it seems to me a priori more likely to have a PIIr. **w(á)ȷ́aras that gives both, than a PU *waćara that would give PIIr. *wáȷ́ras?

      I think 1 and 3 are interesting questions for Holopainen, you could write him to see what his take would be. Phonology, especially in borrowings, and particularly from and to Indo-Iranian, is not something I have read much about…

      1. “but a contrast West vs. East Uralic as you propose makes theoretically as much sense, IMHO…”
        Yes especially considering that the West-East distinction must have originally been a North-South distinction at the time of disintegrating Uralic. Let’s wait for what the ancient genomes from this part of the world would reveal in the coming months..

        1. It’s funny you would say that, because when I read about the East Slavic cognate I was thinking about the mythical concept of “Southern abode” among Uralic peoples:

          Old Russian ирей (вырей) ‘a southern land to which birds of passage migrate, a fabled magical realm’

          Given that East Slavic peoples clearly represent (in great part) acculturated West Uralic-speaking peoples, it is very interesting that some of them (possibly extinct Volga Finns, or the Chudes) would retain that ‘southern’ meaning instead of the ‘slave’ one. It would confirm the ancient meaning found in North Saami, and it would support your theory, too.

      2. Also if you write him please post the answer (here or in your blog), I would be interested to know if I could add these as potential Indo-Iranian borrowings from Uralic in the book, or there is a good formal reason not to.

        1. I have no formal training in historical linguistics/anthropology, so all of this is little more than guesswork from my side 😉 Anyone reading these comments may pose these questions to the author, if they think these are good ones worth asking.

  2. It seems to me that this comes from a General concept.That there was an invasion of the Indo-European culture of battle axes, then the Indo-European Balts, then the Slavs. So according to the principle of “friend or foe”, “we are not them” – is the scientific paradigm. It is for this ancestral home of Finnish languages moved to Siberia. Otherwise, the puzzle will not work. On the other hand-if we accept Your hypothesis about the correlation of the culture of battle axes with Finnish or PRA-Finnish languages-then we will have to transfer the existence of these languages to the territory of conditional contemporaneous Poland. Hence the expansion.
    sorry for the imperfect English)

    1. If I understand you correctly, yes, that’s the point. If BAC, Fatyanovo-Balanovo and Abashevo were Indo-European, everything shifts east until the Iron Age. BAC becoming a Germanic vs. Balto-Slavic (or Germano-Balto-Slavic?) would bring its own set of complex problems.

      I think the Corded Ware = Uralic requires far less assumptions. I don’t find a late haplogroup replacement a problem. At all.

      It’s like the Anatolian homeland, or the Iranian homeland, or the Out of India homeland. None are impossible, but they require too many assumptions.

      If you add to that that the main reasons to support these today are a) tradition, b) political, c) racial(?), then Occam’s razor becomes the only reasonable option to accept beyond all those infinite feasible models.

  3. Good job with the new ancient dialect maps. But why the association between Srubnaya and Proto-Iranian? The one reason that is usually cited is that the presence of northern Iranian languages is first attested from the western steppe. But those languages could very well be refluxes from the eastern steppe and/or Central Asia. This could have happened anytime in the centuries between early Andronovo and the western Scythian period.

    In fact, I don’t find much compelling evidence for visualizing an Indo-Aryan-Iranian split within Andronovo/Srubnaya, like in Parpola’s proposal. This split, IMO would have solidified much later into the Iron Age. The ongoing contacts and common evolution of IA and Iranian are evidenced by similarities between Vedic and Avestan themes, continuing into the Late Vedic period. Also by shared Iron Age Indo-Iranian tribal names like Kūruš (Vedic. Kuru, Iranian Kūruš ~ Cyrus).

    So a common Indo-Iranian lingua franca for Andronovo, and for parts of the Seima-Turbino network sits well with the evidence. The ancestor of Vedic and Mitanni migrates quite early on, south into the Oxus basin, and gradually, the steppe IE dialects take on more and more ‘Iranian’ features.

    1. Thank you, the maps are in constant update, I try not to commit to any special language location (or culture dates, hence the large time spans), but I needed them for the videos or they would be 10 mins. of symbols popping up and disappearing…

      I don’t disagree with a sort of Late Indo-Iranian lingua franca in the Srubnaya-Andronovo horizon, and the agricultural substrate loans are probably the strongest argument in favour of that option: intense bilateral contacts between the Pontic-Caspian steppe and Turan have to be proposed for those words to be found among Uralic languages.

      The problem I find with that undifferentiated language is:

      a) By the time of the Mitanni dated to the 16th c. BC (if not earlier, in the 18th c. BC, by the mariannu inscription), there was already a differentiated (Pre-?)Proto-Indo-Aryan dialect in the Middle East.

      b) The Proto-Indo-Iranian period is assumed to have happened in the centuries around 2000 BC, based on guesstimates from the Rigveda (itself guesstimated based on language traits) and the Avesta, and also based on the most likely archaeological period corresponding to Proto-Indo-Iranians represented by the Sintashta-Poltavka-Filatovka community, which is a common assumption at least because of (AFAIK) Mallory, Anthony, Kuzmina, etc.

      c) As dealt with by Holopainen in this thesis, the continuous flow of loanwords into Uralic comes from Pre- or Proto-Indo-Iranian, but also mainly from Proto-Iranian to Old Iranian, although they are often difficult to distinguish from each other (depending on the sound changes proposed). Differences between Indo-Iranian and Iranian vs. Indo-Aryan show why the latter is the least likely of all possibilities, most of the time.

      I’d say that, in any case, you can argue that the language of the Srubnaya and related groups of the western steppe (ca. 1800 BC – 1300 BC) was not necessarily Iranian, but maybe more Iranian-like than Indo-Aryan-like, and that the true core Iranian and Indo-Aryan languages developed in smaller regions elsewhere (Iranian close to Yaz, Indo-Aryan close to BMAC?). Same (or reversed) for the language of the Wusun and Kangju that probably stem from the Xiaohe horizon.

      In short, IMHO North-West Indo-European was spoken by the Yamnaya in the Carpathian Basin, but later it was a kind of “disintegrating NWIE” all over the newly developed Bell Beaker territory, which included the Northern IE continuum from where Germanic and Balto-Slavic emerged, and also the short-lived Italo-Celtic community from where Italo-Venetic must have split when crossing the Alps.

      Similarly, I believe Pre-Indo-Iranian must have evolved into Proto-Indo-Iranian in a small region (pre-PIIr. in East Yamnaya and Poltavka, and then PIIr. in Sintashta-Potapovka-Filatovka seems about right), and then it split inexorably into dialects as it expanded, obviously at least in two main groups from the dissolution of the PIIr. community ca. 1800 BC, when linguistic coherence couldn’t have been kept over such a huge territory.

      In any case, I can’t argue on Iranian or Indo-Aryan phonological traits and their evolution better than Kümmel, or Holopainen in this thesis.

    1. “There is a single word borrowed into Vedic and Iranian. There is no nee to state the obvious about the direction of the migration.”

      Correction. “Not a single word” and “no need” Thank you.

  4. The answer for this is probably somewhere hidden on this side, but wouldn’t the pan-Uralic character of some Indo-Iranian LW render them as proto-Uralic and thus put the proto-Uralic and the proto-Indo-Aryan urheimat next to each other, like in Abashevo (proto-Indo-Iranian) next to Pit-Comb (para-Uralic) with (IE-CW-derived, later proto-Uralic) Fatyanovo sandwiched in between? This is corroborated by the fact that the earliest IIr. LW have gone through the proto-Uralic sound changes.

    Fatyanovo (East Baltic hydronyms in the Wolga-Oka tributary may be owed to a later superstrate as Baltic LW in Eastern Uralic are rare) can be considered as an IE-Uralic contact zone and thus be key in explaining the relationship betw. CW and Uralic, in the sense that Fatyanovo may have become linguistically Uralized by incorporating Comb-Ceramic-related native tribes, culturally more adapted to the harsher climate vs. the sessile, agricultural CW people, while genetically maintaining large part of the CW heritage.

    From the Uralic urheimat in the Wolga-Oka-Kama area it may have spread through Netted ware and the Seima-Turbino phenomenon into previously para-Uralic, Comb Ceramic areas, which due to the relatedness leads to the known difficulty of finding a non-Uralic substrate eg in Finnic, Mordwinic, Permic etc. (vs. clear evidence in Saami and Samoyedic).

    This would IMO be a likelier scenario than vice-versa explaining how the CW-derived Baltic (through Baltic Bronze Age) and Indo-Iranian (through Abashevo, Sintashta, Andronovo) people became Indoeuropeanized for which I see a lack of conveying vehicle and motivation.

    1. What you propose as likelier scenario seems to require too many assumptions, seeing how Comb Ceramic groups were replaced by Corded Ware. It’s like arguing for Anatolia Neolithic-derived groups representing evolving Indo-Europeans: not impossible, but not likelier, either. Either that or we have a different opinion on what is likely to have happened among prehistoric groups and their languages during massive migrations and population replacements…

      1) West Uralic, particularly Finnic and Samic, show few and early (likely Pre-Indo-Iranian) loans, probably dating to a time when groups like Battle Axe and Fatyanovo – Abashevo were still in close contact and probably had intense interactions. There are sites where Battle Axe and Fatyanovo replaced each other, such as near the Moscow River. Both groups must have shared similar dialects, based e.g. on the recently spread eastern CWC groups, marked by R1a-Z645 subclades, and can be easily correlated with early West vs. Central vs. East Uralic dialects. All of that justifies early contacts with Indo-Iranian by West Uralic, which could have been mediated by the then phonologically similar East Uralic dialect.

      2) On the other hand, contacts of Finnic and Samic with Palaeo-Germanic are continuous, from Pre- to Proto-Germanic examples, and more intense than those with Indo-Iranian, which place them in the Baltic during the whole Bronze Age. They share the same seal hunter substrate, associated with the Pitted Ware culture, which place them in Scandinavia as early as the 3rd millennium BC. Contacts of Early or Pre-Proto-Finnic with Early or Pre-Proto-Baltic / Proto-Balto-Slavic are also intense. The earliest hydrotoponymic layer in north-eastern Europe is Uralic, without a trace of any ancient Indo-European layer. On the other hand, the vocabulary in West Uralic doesn’t point to an ancestral homeland related to the sea, much less to the Arctic or Siberia. I don’t see how it is better justified to associate Pre-Proto-Germanic with BAC, or Pre-Proto-Balto-Slavic with Fatyanovo, or Northern IE with BAC, etc.

      I am not sure the theory concerning the “Netted Ware expansion” is right, but mostly an attempt by Carpelan and Parpola to explain the expansion of a similar textile ware in north-eastern Europe in a way that accounts for the traditional “CWC=IE”, so that it explains how Uralic might have spread from the traditional Upper Volga homeland. The fact is that textile ware appears first around the Gulf of Finland and spreads later in the east, being a decoration that is fairly easily copied, especially among traditions of corded decoration. I keep this supposed cultural expansion in the maps because of these authors, and because it might fit the Mordvinic expansion, but I really doubt textile ware spread in this simplistic way, since there are distinct groups among the supposed Netted Ware groups (such as Sarsa-Tomitsa), so that three groups can be easily identified as adopting slightly different but related ornamentation patterns, and in ancient languages simplistically as Finnic (Textile), Samic (Sarsa-Tomitsa) and Mordvinic (Netted).

      I am hardly an expert in archaeology, but the pattern of “looking for Uralics” in a simplistic way seems to be repeated from time to time since the 1990s, always in the shadow of the Indo-European homeland in archaeology, but also in genetics.

      For example, now that haplogroup N seems to come much later, and people supposed that hg. N was a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer marker of Uralic peoples from North-Eastern Europe, Lang has done the same as Kristiina Tambets, by reviewing his 2016 assessment of Baltic-Finnic contacts (already influenced by ancient DNA and the “CWC=IE” idea, compared to his earlier writings), and has now drawn an imaginary line dividing regions of similar pottery in the Iron Age, to fit what he has been told about the arrival of hg. N. I guess this imaginary line will have to be shifted west into Poland and Sweden once he is told that hg. N is found in ancient DNA up to these countries… The Uralic-speaking peoples of Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden in the Iron Age? The hg. N and “Siberian” ancestry that changed language here but not there? I somehow doubt it…

      All of these new hypotheses supposedly born out of the ancient DNA record seem to me like obvious attempts to keep previous archaeological theories (including wrongly evaluated and dated cultures) for personal or professional reasons, fitting them with inferences from modern haplogroups or “ethnicities” (including selecting Basques, Finns, or East Slavs as model of some ancestral groups they are quite obviously not derived from), and now trying to combine both of these traditions with the current research of ancient cultures and DNA. Not the best of materials and methods to discuss ancient cultures and their languages, if you ask me.

      For example, I don’t see it taking much effort (that is, unless you favour a Basque nativist origin) in assuming that Bell Beaker-derived groups adopted non-IE languages in Iberia, France, or even Italy (if one accepts a local origin for Tyrsenian). I don’t see how this motivation for accepting that language shift among long-term closely interacting groups is any different from assuming a similar period of interaction between Uralic-speaking Abashevo and Indo-Iranian-speaking Poltavka. In fact, there is clear evidence of Yamnaya-like peoples surviving in the steppes during the whole period, despite outer burials being rather unexplored compared to those within settlements

      Even Anthony (2007, 2015) considered that Abashevo must have learned Indo-Iranian from the steppe through a patron-client relationship first, and then kept Poltavka traditions despite replacing their population in the southern Urals, and continuing their culture in a way that it must have symbolically meant something. Genetics shows this complex cultural diffusion model of ‘there and back again’ steppe-CWC-steppe is unnecessary, with a majority of Poltavka-like herders being dominated over by Abashevo chiefs for centuries from the typical fortified settlements. Similar setting as is supposed for non-IE groups of hg. R1b

      Now, turning to what you think is a likelier scenario, assuming that the swift replacement of Comb Ware populations was followed by the selective adoption of Uralic in some regions but not others, only to justify that Abashevo was Indo-Iranian-speaking (or that some haplogroups among some modern Baltic-, Slavic-, or Germanic-speaking peoples derive from ancestral Indo-European speakers?) seems to me wholly unnecessary. Not impossible, not even unlikely. Just not likelier. Not by far.

      In fact, I really, really doubt that any Indo-Europeanist or Uralicist from the 1960s-1990s, with the current data from archaeological cultures and ancient DNA, would reach a different conclusion than mine. Especially if there were no access to modern DNA to contaminate that assessment…

      1. I can remember the theories presented before the arrival of aDNA which don’t give the best testimony to solely archeology-based ethnic ascription (although Lex Kossina has been vindicated in general). By comparision, who would have expected an Ugric language in Hungary based solely on the archeological (and genetic) record? Therefore just some general remarks (and as I’m not that well-versed in those archeological niceties):

        CWC is a fully neolithic culture while the Uralic tribes adopted only part of the Neolithic package enabling also the early entry of economically similar N-rich Siberian groups (I’d agree that Uralic was originally associated predominantly with R1a.). Reversing neolithization would be relatively unparalleled. Isolate CW settlements eg in the NE Baltic may have shared the fate of the Norwegian settlement on Greenland that ended in the climate cooling of the late MA. Also wasn’t there on Eurogenes a post about a study which showed closer affiliation of Estonian Bronze age populations to today’s IE-Baltic people than to Estonians themselves, indicating that Uralic is the newcomer.

        That there are no proto-Uralic numerals is pointing at a subneolithic origin for Uralic, too, as these would be expected for a Neolithic culture considering the increased trade and planning for the winter needed in an agricultural society.
        Ex negativo one could expect some smoking gun and clearer evidence if such a widespread and significant culture as Corded Ware would have been Uralic (eg by toponymy, substrate in R1a-rich IE populations, remnant populations).

        1) No objections.
        Looking at the dialect map, doesn’t the earliest split in the Uralic tree appear to have happened in the wider Oka-Wolga-Kama area?
        2) I think, we had this discussion before: I doubt the ancience of proto-Germanic loans into Finno-Samic.(Grimm’s law, reshuffling short o,a>a, long o,a>o probably only date to the last centuries BC. (cf. already Streitberg 1905)) and see the gravity center of Germanic rather in the South (subsequent Unetice, Sögel-Wohlde, Jastorf). What would you make of the genetic relationship betw. the Finno-Samic and Mordvinic branch (which AFAIK has no Germanic loans)?

        Have you an educated guess for the language of Comb Ceramic Culture? Structurally these facts must be brought in compliance:
        1) The relative recent age of proto-Uralic given the loan word situation.
        2) The higher age indicated through lexicostatistics by the low number of pan-Uralic cognates.
        3) No clear, structurally divergent substrate in the Comb Ceramic area (which itself is too large to be “the” proto-Uralic.
        Wouldn’t considering Comb-Ceramic para-Uralic (with its region bordering to the Eurasian steppe as the hub from which proto-Uralic as lingua franca of NE Europe evolved) be the most natural explanation to bring that into compliance? In this scenario there could have been “creolization” of proto-Uralic with its para-Uralic siblings (which statistically is difficult to discern) with not much population shift required.


        1. reversing neolithization would be relatively unparalleled

          Actually, it is clear that CWC groups from around the Baltic (re)turned to hunting and fishing, because of their better prospect than with farming (or, alternatively, worse climate at the end of the 3rd millennium). My post on BAC has a recent paper of the Finnish group covers that, but most papers on Baltic CWC and Bronze Age Fennoscandia would cover that, too.

          This “Mesolithic language” that should fit Proto-Uralic, as academics like(d) to describe it, can be also said to be the main language of most steppe, forest-steppe, and forest peoples of the whole Eastern European region, before, during, and after Repin/Yamnaya and Late Trypillia/Corded Ware.

          The CWC community IMHO probably evolved from (mainly) hunter-fisher-gatherers who adopted cattle-breeding for a very short period in the Late Eneolithic, before many among them reverted to hunter-gathering. For the Yamnaya it began centuries earlier with Repin, and that way of life was maintained for millennia among its surviving groups, hence the continuity in vocabulary among most of the attested IE dialects.

          That “reverting” to hunting, fishing, and gathering is true whatever language CWC spoke, whether IE or Uralic – I don’t like the term “para-” because it gives way to infinite potential scenarios. I doubt that this trend among groups derived from Late Neolithic groups of the Eastern Baltic and the Forest Zone fits Balto-Slavic vocabulary, though.

          That there are no proto-Uralic numerals is pointing at a subneolithic origin for Uralic, too

          I don’t think a lack of reconstructed numerals would point to a sub-Neolithic culture, at least I don’t see the reason why.

          In any case, Uralic did indeed have numerals. I think the very thesis linked to in this post covers that issue, at least at some point and tangentially.

          Ex negativo one could expect some smoking gun and clearer evidence if such a widespread and significant culture as Corded Ware would have been Uralic

          We’ll have to agree to disagree. The only place where Corded Ware doesn’t leave many traits is, in fact, the territory where Uralic languages were not eventually attested, i.e. in Central Europe; and even then I have my doubts that a few “Afroasiatic-like” traits of Pre-Celtic IE of the British Isles can’t be attributed to this influence. Like the influence of Uralic on Indo-Iranian, the potential influence of Uralic in north-central Europe is unexplored, rather than non-existent. Studies on IE hydrotoponymy around the Gulf of Finland abound, and they haven’t found any ancient IE layer AFAIK; I don’t know about studies on non-IE hydrotoponymy in Scandinavia…

          There are shared Uralic loanwords in Proto-Celtic and Palaeo-Germanic*, a rather odd contact area, if Uralic hadn’t been neighbouring both dialectal areas at some point. The structural influence on Balto-Slavic is IMHO unquestionable, and is mostly rejected based on self-imposed constraints (such as, “there can’t be a Uralic substrate to Balto-Slavic”…).
          *That’s on the latest Leiden book on Indo-Uralic. Before that, it was already known for Celtic (see Hyllested).

          Wouldn’t considering Comb-Ceramic para-Uralic (with its region bordering to the Eurasian steppe as the hub from which proto-Uralic as lingua franca of NE Europe evolved) be the most natural explanation to bring that into compliance?

          I don’t have anything against the concept of Comb Ceramic area being “para-Uralic”. Indo-European is said to be Indo-Uralic under (NW) Caucasian influence, so it would be quite fitting to describe other groups derived from hunter-gatherer pottery as closer to Uralic. On the other hand, it has to be sufficiently different to allow for the known “Proto-European”, “Palaeo-Lakelandic”, and “Northern Russian” substrates described to influence or neighbour Uralic dialects in North-Eastern Europe until relatively recently.

          As for “creolization”, I was asked the same recently about the Old European cultures – based on the genetic impact of Suvorovo migrants – and about Bell Beakers, based on the genetic impact of previous Anatolia_Neolithic-like inhabitants. That argument would account, I guess, for anyone to keep old theories, such as, Gimbutas’ Kurgan Europe vision and Vennemann’s Vasconic Europe, respectively.

          Again, that would be the realm of the possible, not the likely, IMO.

  5. Anyone know the words to “milk” or “to milk” in Hittite, Tocharian, and Proto Indo Iranian.? What about the word for wine in Hittite,a Tocharian?,PII

    1. You might want to check this paper, The Word for Wine in Anatolian, Greek, Armenian, Italic, Etruscan, Semitic and Its Indo-European Origin:

      It can be shown that Hittite u̯ii̯an(a)- ‘grapevine; wine’ continues a Proto-Indo-European nomen agentis *u̯éi̯h 1 -on-/ *u̯ih 1 -n-́ ‘twiner, creeping plant, grapevine’, and that this stem formation provides the derivational base for further Indo-European words for ‘wine’ such as Latin vīnum < *u̯ih 1 -n-ó- and Greek οἶνος < *u̯ói̯n-o- < *u̯ói̯(h 1 )-n-o-, with the corresponding affiliation adjective preserved in Armenian gini ‘wine’ < *gu̯īníi̯o < *u̯oi̯n-ih 2 ó-. The morphological structure of the respective base word and its derivatives corresponds to regular Proto-Indo-European patterns of word formation and is therefore congruous with the assumption of an Indo-European origin of the lexemes in question. Accordingly, it is likely that the etymologically isolated Semitic *u̯ai̯nu ‘wine’ was borrowed from Mycenaean Greek and that Proto-Kartvelian *γu̯ini̯o ‘wine’ is a loanword from Proto-Armenian or its prestage.

      1. Carlos—– The microbiome of Steppe Kurgan samples around specific regions{Caucasus-Bulgaria-Yeast/Bacteria-Goldilocks region} might yield some important linguistic clues, for words like “ferment” or “boil” in the above languages. Also, the microbiome may reflect the health of dairy steppe pastoralists in fighting pathogens– Yersinia pestis?

        Your Airways Have a Microbiome, And It Could Even Have a Link to Asthma

        Geography, Ethnicity or Subsistence-Specific Variations in Human Microbiome Composition and Diversity
        Microbiome Research Is Becoming the Key to Better Understanding Health and Nutrition

        To make wine- requires grapes, local Georgian yeast.
        Indigenous Georgian Wine-Associated Yeasts and Grape Cultivars to Edit the Wine Quality in a Precision Oenology Perspective
        To make yogurt Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria found in Bulgaria on vegetation is used.
        Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus survive gastrointestinal transit of healthy volunteers consuming yogurt
        Then you also have specialty bacteria in Kumis, Kefir,cheese etc…. around the Volga-Caucasus -Steppe region.

  6. @all: New book, Dispersals and Diversification, edited by Matilde Serangeli and Thomas Olander.

    Two interesting, and probably opposing chapters (I don’t have access to them):

    1) Ancient DNA, Mating Networks, and the Anatolian Split, by David W. Anthony:

    Mating networks are a new category of measurable human relationships, recently revealed by studies of ancient DNA. Mating networks were regional human populations with distinctive combinations of genetic traits. Because languages usually were learned from the same parental sources that provided genes, languages probably showed at least an equivalent level of regional patterning and diversity. Four genetically defined mating networks are relevant for understanding the genetic characteristics of the steppe populations that probably spoke Proto-Indo-European dialects. These four mating networks are named and described and their changing relationships with each other are reviewed using a combination of archaeological and genetic evidence. The still-undecided question of where the oldest phase of PIE was spoken is reviewed, with suggestions for resolving where and when the separation of Anatolian, the first and oldest split in the Indo-European (IE) language family, occurred.

    My guess is, Anthony will repeat his recent model about R1b-rich Khvalynsk peoples of Pre-Yamnaya ancestry representing Indo-Anatolian, but will also try to keep his previous ideas about how other Middle Eneolithic groups of the steppe spoke some forms of IE.

    At least Kortlandt is taking note of the Indo-Anatolian origins, too.

    2) The Archaeology of Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Anatolian: Locating the Split, by Kristian Kristiansen.

    The 4th millennium BC stands out as a period of increasing interaction between the Caucasus, Anatolia, the Levant and Greece, stimulated by movements of groups of people at land and sea, including the Black Sea coast (Bauer 2011), which had both genetic (Damgaard et al. 2018; Lazaridis et al. 2017; Wu et al. 2018), cultural and linguistic consequences, including Anatolian, which split off during the early to mid 4th millennium BC from early Maykop groups in the northern Caucasus. After the middle of the 4th millennium steppe Maykop expanded north, leading to the formation of the Yamnaya Culture and Proto-Indo-European, which by the beginning of the 3rd millennium saw the development of ancient Tocharian and the first migrations towards the east (Altai) and the west (Europe). Thus, for reasons given below, I argue for the “Indo-Hittite” hypothesis, using “Proto-Indo-Anatolian” for the source of both (Proto-)Anatolian and the rest of the Indo-European languages, reserving “Proto-Indo-European” for the source of the non-Anatolian languages.

    What can I say. I’m glad the Copenhagen lab supports my analyses of Steppe Maykop as it relates to Corded Ware, but I don’t think it applies to Yamnaya. As always, Kristiansen doesn’t disappoint when developing new theories trying to associate CWC with Proto-Germanic, as in his previous writing


    From the previews I can see, both Anthony and Serangeli (and partly also Kristiansen, in his own convoluted way…) point to the expansion of the Yamnaya as the pastoral culture that best explains the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans, confirming previous theories combining linguistics and archaeology.

    It seems to me like a very irregular volume, with potentially very interesting contributions, such as Thorsø’s on Graeco-Armenian, or Hyllested’s on post-PIE cereal terminology, apart from the article on the origin of “wine” I already posted, but also some questionable papers (beyond Kristiansen’s new ideas), like Johnson’s on the “complexities” of culture, or Scarborough on the “promises” of cladistics.

    Not really a book worth €105.00 / $126.00, compared, for example, to the better quality open access journal also published by Brill…

  7. Carlos—– The microbiome of Steppe Kurgan samples around specific regions{Caucasus-Bulgaria} might yield some important linguistic clues, for words like “ferment” or “boil” in the above languages.
    To make wine- requires grapes, local Georgian yeast.
    Indigenous Georgian Wine-Associated Yeasts and Grape Cultivars to Edit the Wine Quality in a Precision Oenology Perspective
    To make yogurt Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria found in Bulgaria on vegetation.
    Kumis, Kefir etc….

    “You might want to check this paper, The Word for Wine in Anatolian, Greek, Armenian, Italic, Etruscan, Semitic and Its Indo-European Origin:

    It can be shown that Hittite u̯ii̯an(a)- ‘grapevine; wine’ continues a Proto-Indo-European nomen agentis *u̯éi̯h 1 -on-/ *u̯ih 1 -n-́ ‘twiner, creeping plant, grapevine’, and that this stem formation provides the derivational base for further Indo-European words for ‘wine’ such as Latin vīnum < *u̯ih 1 -n-ó- and Greek οἶνος < *u̯ói̯n-o- < *u̯ói̯(h 1 )-n-o-, with the corresponding affiliation adjective preserved in Armenian gini ‘wine’ < *gu̯īníi̯o < *u̯oi̯n-ih 2 ó-. The morphological structure of the respective base word and its derivatives corresponds to regular Proto-Indo-European patterns of word formation and is therefore congruous with the assumption of an Indo-European origin of the lexemes in question. Accordingly, it is likely that the etymologically isolated Semitic *u̯ai̯nu ‘wine’ was borrowed from Mycenaean Greek and that Proto-Kartvelian *γu̯ini̯o ‘wine’ is a loanword from Proto-Armenian or its prestage.

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