Contact-induced Perspectives in Uralic Linguistics
University of Tartu
The author of the book would make an attempt to outline a few features of a recent significant paradigm change in the Uralic (Finno-Ugric and Samoyed) linguistics. The main factor of linguistic processes is supposed to be language contacts, not so much a spontaneous change of languages, although the latter should also be borne in mind. The concept of linguistic affinity has also been subjected to criticism. The common features of Uralic languages developed thanks to various contacts among different languages whereby a language of the lingua franca type could operate as an intermediary.
Thus any Uralic language could always differ from other languages of this group, partly retaining its origin from source language(s), unknown us to date. Later on it could also, additionally, become more similar to other Uralic languages thanks to language contacts or, on the other hand, it could become more different as a result of contacts with others than Uralic languages. The role of a language prestige in the process of language changes through history is being emphasized at present.
The similarities between Finnic-Lapp and Samoyed languages have earlier been regarded as a result of a better survival of the Proto-Uralic heritage at the extreme peripheries of the expansive zone of occurance of Uralic languages. But the Finnic-Lapp--Samoyed similarities may hypothetically be regarded as ontime areal-typological (contact) similarities. Northern Indo-European languages - Germanic, Baltic and Slavic - are supposed to have developed so that the speakers of Uralic language form learned to speak that of the Indo-European.
Ago Künnap is Professor of Uralic Languages of the University of Tartu.
ISBN 9783895869648. LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 39. 2000.