Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

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Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by ɶʙ ɞʛ »

Xonen wrote: 16 Nov 2021 21:54
sangi39 wrote: 15 Nov 2021 22:09
Xonen wrote: 15 Nov 2021 20:47
ɶʙ ɞʛ wrote: 09 Nov 2021 05:13 Another unusual example:
English "Rat-a-tat" vs Finnish "Hra-ca-ca" (most prominently known in Ievan Polkka)

It's an ambiguous example though, as these words don't actually mean anything, they're normally just filler words used for metrical or rhyming purposes in poetic/musical context.
I'm not entirely sure what sound the <c> is supposed to stand for here, /ts/? In any case, these might actually be real... "cognates", in that it's probably not a coincidence that the nonsense syllables used in humming and scat singing tend to be broadly similar all across Western music.
Took me a second, because it's not part of the Korpiklaani version of the song, haha, but it's "ratsatsaa".
Yeah, well, that's more in line with normal Finnish orthography; <c> isn't really used at all, except in proper nouns, where it's usually pronounced /k/ or /s/ (as in English). Now, <c> is used in the Finno-Ugric transcription system for the affricate [ts], so I guess using it to transcribe Finnish scat singing at least... kind of makes sense? But then again, /ts/ is normally pronounced as a cluster in Finnish, not an affricate.
the bridge of the original, by Loituma
The bridge might well have been added by Loituma, but the original song is much older: the lyrics (or at least the first printed version of them) were published by Eino Kettunen in 1928, and the melody apparently goes back to at least the 18th century.
Is the /hr/ cluster even allowed in Finnish? I believe Estonian does allow it, but there is some divergence. Estonian has more Slavic influence and thus may have standardized <c> /ts/ from Polish c. 1600 (along with the Baltic languages); Finnish has more Germanic influence, and the only significant Slavic influences (the Novgorod regions) use Cyrillic.

I knew that Ievan Polkka was first published by Eino Kettunen in 1928/30, but not that it had an earlier origin.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Vlürch »

ɶʙ ɞʛ wrote: 16 Nov 2021 23:48Is the /hr/ cluster even allowed in Finnish?
Yes, for example:
tahra - stain
vihreä - green
uhri - victim (Swedish loanword)
kehrätä - to purr (of cats; Indo-Iranian loanword)

Also, dialects where /d/ is replaced with /r/ have it a lot more, for example:
mahdoton -> mahroton - impossible
kahden -> kahren - of two; alone (of two people)
suhde -> suhre - relationship
kohde -> kohre - target

Doesn't happen word-initially, though.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Xonen »

sangi39 wrote: 16 Nov 2021 23:40That was something that confused me about the lyrics in the booklet for Ajattara's album Äpäre. I'd have to did it out, but I'm sure it used <c> in place of <k> in almost all instances, possibly except where <k> came after another consonant (where it would remain <k>)?
I'm not familiar with the album in question, but I guess they could be going for some kind of ye olde Fynnyshe feel. Or simply sumthing kewl ya kno, dood.

ɶʙ ɞʛ wrote: 16 Nov 2021 23:48Is the /hr/ cluster even allowed in Finnish? I believe Estonian does allow it
I'm actually not sure about Estonian... But probably not word-initially, at least, considering how limited word-initial consonant clusters are in it in general. Of course, scat singing doesn't necessarily have to conform to a language's normal phonotactics; something like duvja, for instance, doesn't look anything like a normal Finnish word.
Estonian has more Slavic influence and thus may have standardized <c> /ts/ from Polish c. 1600 (along with the Baltic languages); Finnish has more Germanic influence
Um, not really. First of all, Estonian doesn't usually use <c> for /ts/, it uses <ts>. Now, <c> is apparently also pronounced /ts/ before front vowels in the few cases where it does occur, namely foreign proper nouns (so Celsius is something like /tsels:ius/), but this practice was, in fact, probably copied directly from German.

Estonian has enormous amounts of German influence, due to the fact that the country had a German-speaking ruling class for about 700 years. And as far as I'm aware, pretty much all early attempts to write Estonian were made by this German-speaking ruling class, who naturally tended to use a spelling modeled on German, with consonant length mostly ignored and vowel length indicated on the following consonant, etc. I think the most common way to write /ts/ would've been <tz>, but I can't say I have any actual data on that. (Also, I'm fairly sure the same holds for at least Latvian as well, with the modern Czech-inspired orthography being relatively recent.)

The earliest (actual) orthography of Finnish, by contrast, was created by Mikael Agricola, who apparently took inspiration directly from Latin, with some additions from Swedish and German. Incidentally, he also used <tz> for what is now <ts>, but he might not have pronounced it as /ts/; it's generally assumed that it was actually /θ/ or /θ:/ (/ts/ in Finnish being a dialectalism that has since spread to the standard language, possibly partially as a spelling pronunciation).

Of course, neither Finnish nor Estonian actually had a fully standardized written form before the late 19th or early 20th century, so there've been a lot of changes, with numerous different sources of inspiration, in both.
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Re: False cognates

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Xonen wrote: 17 Nov 2021 23:10it's generally assumed that it was actually /θ/ or /θ:/ (/ts/ in Finnish being a dialectalism that has since spread to the standard language, possibly partially as a spelling pronunciation).
I keep hearing this, but with time I've gotten very sceptical about it because I've never heard a single argument to explain it. It's always regurgitated as something unquestionable by Finnish linguists, but wider Uralic etymological stuff barely even mentions it... and I see why, since Finnish /ts/ corresponds to /t͡s/, /t͡ʃ/ or /s/ in all of its closest relatives and it's reconstructed as /*t͡s/ in Proto-Finnic so Finnish having gone through a /*t͡s/ -> /θ/ -> /ts/ shift is just a weird assumption. Especially when it's based on... well, like I said, I've never heard/read any argument even trying to explain why that makes more sense to assume than just /*t͡s/ -> /ts/ deaffrication.

To me it seems far more likely that the Finnish dialects that have /θ/ innovated it, possibly under some kind of Germanic influence. They probably were more widespread in the past, and likely the dialects with /tt/ and /ht/ went through that as a transitional stage, and sure even the ones with /ss/ could have (but at least as likely directly from /*t͡s/), but the idea that the dialects with /ts/ also went through a /*θ/ just makes no sense to me. I'd also think it's more likely that the dialects with /ts/ used to be more widespread as well, and that it was originally influence in the opposite direction that even made it such a "dialectalism".

Maybe I'm not explaining well what I mean, but my point is that it's a simpler explanation that the dialects with /ts/ were more phonologically conservative at least in that regard. Considering those dialects were (and by a few still are) spoken the farthest south, it's consistent with other Finnic languages in that region having /t͡s/ or /t͡ʃ/, so it seems like clear evidence of the dialect continuum that used to exist (and to a lesser degree still does), even between all the Finnic languages and not just Finnish dialects.

The argument I've heard/read that "ackchyually /ts/ in Finnish and all the /t͡ʃ/ and /ʃ/ in other Finnic languages came about because of Russian" sounds like a weird assumption. I mean, the /t͡ʃ/ in Karelian and whatnot doesn't correspond to the /t͡ʃ/ of Uralic languages farther east which preserve Proto-Uralic /*t͡ʃ/, but I don't see why it makes more sense to assume Russian caused them. Even standard Finnish /s/ is post-alveolar since in most dialects that's what it is, so even if other Finnic languages might lean towards alveolar or even dental, it's reasonable to think that Proto-Finnish /*s/ and /*t͡s/ were alveolar and going from /t͡s/ to /t͡ʃ/ isn't a big leap. Maybe Russian influenced it, maybe including even Finnish /ts/ becoming the norm, but Proto-Finnic already had /*t͡s/ so I feel like it's a bit of a leap. I know you didn't argue that, but some people do and it annoys me... not because I'd have anything against recognising Russian influence where it exists (even if I'm sure some won't believe when I say that), it's just that even if it was Russian influence, that doesn't mean it's solely because of Russian. If that makes sense.

Also, sorry for rambling so much... [:$]
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

Post by Omzinesý »

I think the question is what we call Finnish.
The proto-diealects of Finnic were (or so I've been told) Southern dialect, Proto-West-Finnish (more or less what are considered western dialects of Finnish) and Proto-Carelian (including the eastern dialects of what is called Finnish nowadays). What is called Finnish now is a combo of the western group and parts of the eastern group.
Agricola's first written language was exclusively based on the western group. My understanding is that Proto-West-Finnic had /þ:/. Those dialects have /tt/ nowadays, traditionally without consonant gradation (mettä mettät).

But I agree with you that it's natural to think that the western group was innovative (the change that happens between Vulgar Latin and Castellan).
My understanding is that Proto-Carelian (and thus Savo-Karajala neither) didn't have that change.
But something like:
t͡s => t.s => s(1).t => ht (mehtä metät)
t͡s => t.s => s.s (messä (does this have gradation))

t.s is very rare in traditional dialects.
My meta-thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5760
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Re: False cognates

Post by Xonen »

Vlürch wrote: 18 Nov 2021 07:06
Xonen wrote: 17 Nov 2021 23:10it's generally assumed that it was actually /θ/ or /θ:/ (/ts/ in Finnish being a dialectalism that has since spread to the standard language, possibly partially as a spelling pronunciation).
I keep hearing this, but with time I've gotten very sceptical about it because I've never heard a single argument to explain it.
I remember wondering about the same thing at some point, but turns out it's simply because modern researchers have found it unnecessary to reinvent the Setälä (1899):
Spoiler:
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It's always regurgitated as something unquestionable by Finnish linguists, but wider Uralic etymological stuff barely even mentions it...
Well obviously, the question has basically no relevance outside of Finnish, so why would it be mentioned in broader Uralic contexts?

and I see why, since Finnish /ts/ corresponds to /t͡s/, /t͡ʃ/ or /s/ in all of its closest relatives and it's reconstructed as /*t͡s/ in Proto-Finnic so Finnish having gone through a /*t͡s/ -> /θ/ -> /ts/ shift is just a weird assumption.
That is indeed a weird assumption, if we assume it literally as a sequence of sound changes. But as a case of one dialectal feature gaining prestige at the expense of another, it makes perfect sense; the upper classes mostly spoke Swedish as a first language, and Swedish had lost /θ/ a lot earlier. So /ts/, which already existed in some Finnish dialects (either as an affricate or a cluster) started gaining prestige, because it was how the upper classes pronounced that sound when they spoke (or read aloud in) Finnish. Note that descendants of /θ/ are still very much alive in actual spoken Finnish, especially in words that are common in colloquial speech; /ts/ has been creeping in primarily through the written form.

Of course, I guess historical linguistics typically wants to assume that dialects split off from each other like tree branches, each hermetically sealed inside its own impenetrable layer of isoglosses, and that sound changes can only ever run in one direction. Unfortunately, the real world is rarely that simple. For example, New York English has rather famously turned coda /r/ into /Ø/ - and then somehow miraculously /Ø/ back into /r/ in the exact same words! Of course, it's only miraculous if we follow a strict interpretation of old-school historical linguistics, under which that sort of thing simply does not happen. Sociolinguistically, however, it's a lot less weird.

Maybe I'm not explaining well what I mean, but my point is that it's a simpler explanation that the dialects with /ts/ were more phonologically conservative at least in that regard.
Indeed. I don't think anyone's disputing that, but that's not at all incompatible with /θ/ having been more widespread at some point.

The argument I've heard/read that "ackchyually /ts/ in Finnish and all the /t͡ʃ/ and /ʃ/ in other Finnic languages came about because of Russian" sounds like a weird assumption.
Where the heck are you hearing these arguments? :wat: No, obviously the Proto-Finnic was most probably */t͡ʃ/, which then turned into */t͡s/, which in turn became /θ/ in Western Finnish (or maybe Proto-Finnic already had */t͡s/ and Karelian then turned that into /t͡ʃ/, but anyway). If I'm reading Setälä correctly, he actually seems to assume that it would still have been */t͡s/ in Western Finnish late enough to influence the orthographic choices of some of the earliest writers - whom Agricola followed with his use of <tz>. Also, Agricola would probably have been aware of the /ts/ pronunciation on the Karelian Isthmus, having lived in Viipuri for a time - which might be another reason for his use of that spelling. But he might still have pronounced it as /θ/ himself, and simply figured <tz> was as good a way of writing that sound as any.
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Re: False cognates

Post by ɶʙ ɞʛ »

Xonen wrote: 17 Nov 2021 23:10
Um, not really. First of all, Estonian doesn't usually use <c> for /ts/, it uses <ts>. Now, <c> is apparently also pronounced /ts/ before front vowels in the few cases where it does occur, namely foreign proper nouns (so Celsius is something like /tsels:ius/), but this practice was, in fact, probably copied directly from German.

Estonian has enormous amounts of German influence, due to the fact that the country had a German-speaking ruling class for about 700 years. And as far as I'm aware, pretty much all early attempts to write Estonian were made by this German-speaking ruling class, who naturally tended to use a spelling modeled on German, with consonant length mostly ignored and vowel length indicated on the following consonant, etc. I think the most common way to write /ts/ would've been <tz>, but I can't say I have any actual data on that. (Also, I'm fairly sure the same holds for at least Latvian as well, with the modern Czech-inspired orthography being relatively recent.)

The earliest (actual) orthography of Finnish, by contrast, was created by Mikael Agricola, who apparently took inspiration directly from Latin, with some additions from Swedish and German. Incidentally, he also used <tz> for what is now <ts>, but he might not have pronounced it as /ts/; it's generally assumed that it was actually /θ/ or /θ:/ (/ts/ in Finnish being a dialectalism that has since spread to the standard language, possibly partially as a spelling pronunciation).

Of course, neither Finnish nor Estonian actually had a fully standardized written form before the late 19th or early 20th century, so there've been a lot of changes, with numerous different sources of inspiration, in both.
On the other hand, it may be the case that <z> is normally pronounced /ts/ (as in German) in Finnish, but /s/ in Estonian. The origins of orthography are often quite complicated. It is possible that <c č ć> were standardized in Lietuvan, Žemaitian, etc. around the Rzeczpospolita union in 1569 (or the Jagiełłonian union in 1386), but since Estonia was not governed by Lietuva for most of that time (only briefly in the 17th century), <c> was not adopted there.

There's also the question of <õ>. I believe Estonian uses <ü> for /y/ instead of <y> because some (primarily Võro?) dialects had a 10th vowel /ɨ/ written <y>, maybe adopted from Slavic languages. (Võro uses <y> for Russian <ы>; standard Estonian uses <õ>, which can be realized anywhere from mid to high there)
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Re: False cognates

Post by Vlürch »

Omzinesý wrote: 18 Nov 2021 11:59t͡s => t.s => s(1).t => ht (mehtä metät)
You're right, something like that could also make sense for that shift, I hadn't even thought of a possibility like that. Personally I just thought it's the same kind of thing as how Swedish /f/ was traditionally (and still is in some dialects) replaced with /hʋ/ between vowels... which was part of why I thought it's more likely those dialects traditionally once upon a time had /ts/ but for prestige reasons wanted to replace it with /θ/, except they couldn't pronounce it so it became /ht/, or something like that... which is pretty convoluted, so I also thought "they probably had /*θ/ at some point, even if originally it was probably a replacement of a previous /ts/". But your explanation could make more sense.

Thinking about it, maybe at least in some dialects it was /*ʃt/ as a transitional stage? Because the similar shift /ʂ/ -> /x/ is known to happen in some languages (including Swedish dialects lol), so with Finnish lacking /x/ but having [x] as an allophone of /h/, it doesn't seem like a stretch if /ʃt/ -> /ht/ happened?🤔

Speaking of /f/ -> /hʋ/, it's funny and kinda cool how in Finnish the word for coffee turned out coincidentally more similar to the original word because of how Finnish replaced /f/.
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29I remember wondering about the same thing at some point, but turns out it's simply because modern researchers have found it unnecessary to reinvent the Setälä (1899):
Hmm, yeah, it's not that I dispute it in western dialects (or even if they expanded to be spoken in parts of the east), like I said. It's just the "chicken or egg" or whatever implications that annoy me and I see as pointless and counterproductive.
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Well obviously, the question has basically no relevance outside of Finnish, so why would it be mentioned in broader Uralic contexts?
I mean, even when sound shifts to Finnish are discussed. But if Omzinesý is right about it being a question of what's Finnish and if "Proto-Finnish" still had /t͡s/ or deaffricated /ts/ and not only in the times of "Proto-Finnic", then it does make sense.
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29That is indeed a weird assumption, if we assume it literally as a sequence of sound changes. But as a case of one dialectal feature gaining prestige at the expense of another, it makes perfect sense; the upper classes mostly spoke Swedish as a first language, and Swedish had lost /θ/ a lot earlier. So /ts/, which already existed in some Finnish dialects (either as an affricate or a cluster) started gaining prestige, because it was how the upper classes pronounced that sound when they spoke (or read aloud in) Finnish. Note that descendants of /θ/ are still very much alive in actual spoken Finnish, especially in words that are common in colloquial speech; /ts/ has been creeping in primarily through the written form.
So it's actually Swedish influence that it's pronounced as /ts/ now? [:O] That's the opposite of what I've ever heard or thought possible, but it does make sense. For some reason (I guess because it's more evident) I thought the Swedish influence was mostly limited to vocabulary and grammar trickling down from the elite, and that the pronunciation was more reflective of the pronunciation of the people rather than the elite since in some aspects it seems so phonologically conservative, but I guess that could well be coincidental. Or maybe it's a hybrid, like... the pronunciation used to be very "Swedified" but with time it was "hammered" into sounding more typically Uralic because the elite stopped being Swedish-speaking?
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Unfortunately, the real world is rarely that simple.
Why unfortunately? I think it's pretty cool that "weird" things happen in languages. [B)]
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Indeed. I don't think anyone's disputing that, but that's not at all incompatible with /θ/ having been more widespread at some point.
Mmh, it's not incompatible and I do believe /θ/ was more widespread, but also that /ts/ was more widespread. Especially if the dialect continuum that still existed until whatever point in the past is considered, and the transitional stage between the /t͡ʃ/ of Karelian and /ss/ of southern Finnish dialects (not implying anything about the relationship between Finish and Karelian, just referring to the continuum that used to exist between Finnish and Karelian...) was(/is) the cluster /ts/ in another part along the continuum farther south with Livvi Karelian, it makes sense to assume it must've been farther north as well. I know assumptions shouldn't be made, but otherwise there wouldn't have even been a continuum between Finnish and Karelian in the first place farther north and it'd only have been in the south, and no one disputes that there used to be a continuum farther north as well, so... I don't know, it just doesn't make sense to think there was always a sudden sharp contrast between Karelian /t͡ʃ/ and Finnish dialectal /ht/.
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Where the heck are you hearing these arguments? :wat:
I don't remember where I heard/read that specific argument aside from the Finnish Wikipedia article about Livvi Karelian, but it could be it was just a Russian dude on a chat site who had some pretty weird ideas about Finland and Finnish in general... although I have some memory of reading that argument in some paper written by some Finnish linguist, I'm not really sure about that and could be mixing up the specific thing that was being argued as being because of Russian, and it might have actually been something else and I just misremember it having been the /ts/ thing.

...but really, a lot of the weird shit I've heard about Finnish has been said by just random Russian users on various sites. It just rubs me the wrong way even in the cases where the attitude is positive towards Finnish, and kinda leaves an impression where it's kind of a tiny "seed of doubt" where a part of me thinks it might actually be true even with the most ridiculous arguments, you know?

Maybe it's because I feel slightly self-conscious about how I personally speak, I mean I clearly speak in an eastern Helsinki way but arguably with some things that count as speech impediments... probably because of my dad's inconsistent weird pronunciations. [:$]
Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Also, Agricola would probably have been aware of the /ts/ pronunciation on the Karelian Isthmus, having lived in Viipuri for a time - which might be another reason for his use of that spelling. But he might still have pronounced it as /θ/ himself, and simply figured <tz> was as good a way of writing that sound as any.
Hmm, that actually makes all the sense in the world!
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by Omzinesý »

So the conclusion I get from the thread and Setälä that Xonen quoted is "Things are complicated". [:'(]

Do the southern or eastern Finnic languages have /ts/?

Does the sound/cluster in question even derive from PU?
My meta-thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5760
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by Salmoneus »

I think my issue here is with Xonen's original moral/ontological dimension: the idea that it "was actually" /T/, while /ts/ is only a "dialectalism". If you're saying that it started out /ts/ everywhere, always remained /ts/ in some places and is mostly /ts/ now, but was temporarily /T/ in certain dialects, why say that it ever "was actually" /T/? Why not say that /T/ is the dialectalism?

To take an English example: we don't say that 'bird' was actually /boId/ - it wasn't originally, it isn't now, and it only ever was in a particular dialect, albeit an important and influential dialect...
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by Vlürch »

Omzinesý wrote: 19 Nov 2021 13:03Do the southern or eastern Finnic languages have /ts/?
Most of them do have some kind of affricate, either /t͡ʃ/ or /t͡s/, but the correspondences aren't entirely regular (or at least I have no idea about the rules for when what became what, they must be very complex).
Omzinesý wrote: 19 Nov 2021 13:03Does the sound/cluster in question even derive from PU?
I mean, it apparently came from a whole bunch of Proto-Uralic sounds. IIRC Xonen once said the consensus nowadays is that Proto-Uralic <ć> wasn't a separate phoneme from <ś>, so I'm not sure why it sometimes ended up becoming irregularly affricated in Proto-Finnic and Proto-Sami, and sometimes other Uralic languages.
Salmoneus wrote: 19 Nov 2021 14:45why say that it ever "was actually" /T/? Why not say that /T/ is the dialectalism?
I guess the argument is that /θ/ was the "proper sound" because it was in the dialects spoken by the people who created the standard? I don't think that makes it more "legit" in hindsight, though.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by ɶʙ ɞʛ »

It's definitely a possibility as well that more recent geopolitical factors have also shaped orthography. Nazism in the 1930s followed by the switch to Soviet domination in 1945 may have caused the Baltic states to discard a German-based orthography for a Slavic-based one.

How does Estonian borrow Polish and Russian /ʂ/? I think they write it as <š>.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

Post by Xonen »

ɶʙ ɞʛ wrote: 19 Nov 2021 05:26On the other hand, it may be the case that <z> is normally pronounced /ts/ (as in German) in Finnish, but /s/ in Estonian.
Not just "may", that is indeed actually the case. Although neither language actually uses <z> in its normal orthography; again, proper nouns (primarily foreign ones) only.

The origins of orthography are often quite complicated.
Indeed, looking up sources for every tangent this discussion has taken is becoming a bit of a hassle... [¬.¬]

It is possible that <c č ć> were standardized in Lietuvan, Žemaitian, etc. around the Rzeczpospolita union in 1569 (or the Jagiełłonian union in 1386)
As far as I can gather (or read this), <č> has never been used in Polish, and the háček was invented by Jan Hus for writing Czech in the early 15th century. The first writings in (Old) Lithuanian are apparently from the 16th century, with <č> (as far as I can make sense of the lecture on writing linked to on that page) occurring as a variant of <ć> as early as 1599, but only really being standardized in the 19th century.

but since Estonia was not governed by Lietuva for most of that time (only briefly in the 17th century), <c> was not adopted there.
Northern Estonia (where the modern standard Estonian language, as opposed to South Estonian, is from), was never ruled by Lithuania... But in general, I think you're kind of overestimating how much influence whichever rulers the aristocracy had to swear fealty to had on linguistic matters. Estonia and Livonia had Danish kings, Swedish kings, Polish kings, Lithuanian grand dukes and Russian emperors over the centuries, but the local ruling class remained German-speaking. Thus, most early writing in the local languages uses a system resembling German.

Lithuania, by contrast, had a ruling class speaking Polish (well, originally Lithuanian, but they had switched over to Polish by the time anyone started writing in Lithuanian), so early writing in Lithuanian uses a system resembling Polish.

There's also the question of <õ>. I believe Estonian uses <ü> for /y/ instead of <y> because some (primarily Võro?) dialects had a 10th vowel /ɨ/ written <y>, maybe adopted from Slavic languages. (Võro uses <y> for Russian <ы>; standard Estonian uses <õ>, which can be realized anywhere from mid to high there)
Okay, now you're just making stuff up. Estonian uses <ü> for /y/ because German uses <ü> for /y/ (and because it nicely parallels the use of <ä> and <ö>). It previously used <ö> for both /ø/ and /ɤ/ (because those sound more or less the same to someone who speaks German as a first language - and perhaps also because some Estonian dialects actually merge them); the Estonian <õ> is a variant of <ö> introduced by Otto Wilhelm Masing in the 19th century.

This all was in place well before the ten-year period from 1995 to 2005 that <y> was used for /ɨ/ in Võro. After that it was removed; the current orthography of Võro uses <õ> for both /ɤ/ and /ɨ/, and does not use <y> for anything.

Thing is, /ɨ/ in Võro is, at best, a marginal phoneme: it's mostly (albeit not quite entirely) in complementary distribution with /ɤ/, there are no minimal pairs, and apparently even native speakers can't reliably tell them apart - which was a part of why they hated the forced attempt to spell them differently.

ɶʙ ɞʛ wrote: 19 Nov 2021 18:19 It's definitely a possibility as well that more recent geopolitical factors have also shaped orthography. Nazism in the 1930s followed by the switch to Soviet domination in 1945 may have caused the Baltic states to discard a German-based orthography for a Slavic-based one.
Um, no.


Vlürch wrote: 19 Nov 2021 09:58Thinking about it, maybe at least in some dialects it was /*ʃt/ as a transitional stage? Because the similar shift /ʂ/ -> /x/ is known to happen in some languages (including Swedish dialects lol), so with Finnish lacking /x/ but having [x] as an allophone of /h/, it doesn't seem like a stretch if /ʃt/ -> /ht/ happened?🤔
*/ʃt/ > /ht/ has happened in Finnic, along with general /ʃ/ > /h/: lehti 'leaf' < *lešte, heinä 'hay' < *šaina etc. But this happened at some stage in Proto-Finnic, while Savonian /ht/ for <ts> is a much more recent development (like, in the past 500 years or something). How they got from the affricate to /ht/ I don't know, but I guess approximating /T(:)/ with /ht/ could be kind of in the same vein as /f(:)/ with /hv/?

So it's actually Swedish influence that it's pronounced as /ts/ now? [:O] That's the opposite of what I've ever heard or thought possible, but it does make sense. For some reason (I guess because it's more evident) I thought the Swedish influence was mostly limited to vocabulary and grammar trickling down from the elite, and that the pronunciation was more reflective of the pronunciation of the people rather than the elite since in some aspects it seems so phonologically conservative, but I guess that could well be coincidental. Or maybe it's a hybrid, like... the pronunciation used to be very "Swedified" but with time it was "hammered" into sounding more typically Uralic because the elite stopped being Swedish-speaking?
Um. All languages (and dialects within languages) have been shaped by both internal and external factors taking effect over thousands of years, each with their own unique combinations thereof. So taking what's happened to a single sound in a single standardized variety during the last couple of centuries and using that to draw such sweeping conclusions about the "sound" of the language as a whole seems like a bit of a stretch.

Also, wait till you find out what happened to the Finnish voiced dental fricative...

Xonen wrote: 18 Nov 2021 23:29Unfortunately, the real world is rarely that simple.
Why unfortunately? I think it's pretty cool that "weird" things happen in languages. [B)]
Because it makes historical linguistics considerably harder. Not to mention leading to, shall we say, pointless and counterproductive "chicken and egg" debates in situations like this.


Salmoneus wrote: 19 Nov 2021 14:45I think my issue here is with Xonen's original moral/ontological dimension: the idea that it "was actually" /T/, while /ts/ is only a "dialectalism". If you're saying that it started out /ts/ everywhere, always remained /ts/ in some places and is mostly /ts/ now, but was temporarily /T/ in certain dialects, why say that it ever "was actually" /T/? Why not say that /T/ is the dialectalism?
Because I was talking specifically about what it was actually for Mikael Agricola, and how /ts/ has spread since his time. I seriously cannot tell how there's a moral aspect to this discussion; these are simply questions of historical linguistics. And as is often the case in historical linguistics, there are things we'll probably never know with 100% certainty, but I'm just trying to report the scholarly consensus here.

But we do know that /T/ was considered the standard pronunciation in Finnish at least from the 17th century to the early 19th, because every grammar written during that period explicitly identifies it as such. And I'm calling /ts/ a dialectalism simply in the sense of "not considered standard", not because I subscribe to some kind of retro-prescriptivist ideas on the morality of various 18th century Finnish pronunciations.

/ts/ started taking over as the standard in the 19th century, and it was still rare in actual spoken dialects as late as the early 20th:
Spoiler:
Image
And, as mentioned, it's still far from universal in colloquial speech, tending to occur mainly in words of a more literary register.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by Omzinesý »

Uutizet karjalaikse https://areena.yle.fi/audio/1-50072788 is by the way interesting, and fully understandable through Finnish. Though it's through Finnish Yle, so probably it is quite Finnish-like Karelian.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

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Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03*/ʃt/ > /ht/ has happened in Finnic, along with general /ʃ/ > /h/: lehti 'leaf' < *lešte, heinä 'hay' < *šaina etc. But this happened at some stage in Proto-Finnic
Somehow I managed to completely forget about that. [:$] Maybe subconsciously I was partially thinking of that, though... it having happened once doesn't mean it couldn't have happened again, does it?
Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03Um. All languages (and dialects within languages) have been shaped by both internal and external factors taking effect over thousands of years, each with their own unique combinations thereof. So taking what's happened to a single sound in a single standardized variety during the last couple of centuries and using that to draw such sweeping conclusions about the "sound" of the language as a whole seems like a bit of a stretch.
But my point was that Finnish sounds more Uralic than Indo-European, or at the very least less Swedish, and I was just a bit surprised that a feature that doesn't sound reminiscent of Swedish is also because of Swedish. Are you saying to you Finnish sounds more like Swedish than, say, Karelian or Udmurt? I mean, at the phonetic level in an an abstract reductionist(?) way where actual phoneme distribution and such aren't considered (and only the specific phonetic properties of the shared sounds are considered), it probably does since it doesn't have palatalised consonants or voiced sibilants and has many pronunciations ripped straight off from Swedish, but that's to be expected when Finland was under Swedish rule for over 600 years.

Maybe I'm being Eurocentric. I admit it's possible that non-Europeans, in a situation where they heard samples of spoken Finnish, Karelian, Udmurt and Swedish, would think Finnish sounds more like Swedish than the Uralic languages... but have you never even heard of other Europeans being like "why does Finnish sound Asian?!", usually referring to Japanese specifically? That doesn't mean they think it sounds "Uralic", obviously, if they ask that they won't even know what Uralic is, but it is indicative of at least Indo-European-speaking Europeans hearing it as not sounding Indo-European.
Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03Also, wait till you find out what happened to the Finnish voiced dental fricative...
I know about that, but I don't think it's necessarily relevant at least as far as the arguments about the development of /ts/ in the direction it went go, except maybe it could have something to do with the /ht/ in Savo (dunno). Proto-Uralic had /*ð/, which may not have necessarily been [ð] but similar enough, and I don't see why it wouldn't make sense to think the sound (even if not the contexts it appeared in) remained more or less stable into Proto-Finnic and even Finnish at like a "metaphonemic" level even if its exact pronunciation may have varied and changed. If anything, I think it could've been preserved under the same Germanic influence that resulted in /*t͡s/ becoming /θ/ in the dialects where it did.

As for the Germanic influence, why would Swedish having lost /θ/ and /ð/ before the standardisation of Finnish mean much? Swedish still had those sounds for a while after conquering Finland. And even before then, the vikings raided Finland a bunch and likely at least a few assimilated into Finns on the west coast, and since Old Norse had /θ/, that could've influenced the pronunciation of /*t͡s/ in the western dialects of Finnish. It wasn't long before Agricola's time that Swedish still had /θ/, anyway, from what I gather from the Wikipedia article about Old Swedish... so its spread in Finland could well have simply corresponded with the spread of Swedish influence.

Besides, it's not like Swedish (or Norse) influence contributing to /θ/ is mutually exclusive with the existing /ð/ also having had influence on it. Symmetry is nice and all, and I do like dental fricatives, but I don't see any reason to assume the presence of /ð/ by itself would've had any effect on /*t͡s/ becoming /θ/ because it didn't in other Uralic languages or even in at the very least the far southeastern dialects of Finnish. That's why I think it's more likely /t͡s/ (or maybe even already deaffricated /ts/) was more widespread in the east, and the spreading Germanic influence (likely just Swedish influence) is what was behind the spread of /θ/.
Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03Because it makes historical linguistics considerably harder. Not to mention leading to, shall we say, pointless and counterproductive "chicken and egg" debates in situations like this.
But aren't the mysteries part of what make languages so interesting?
Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03And, as mentioned, it's still far from universal in colloquial speech, tending to occur mainly in words of a more literary register.
I don't know for sure much about outside (eastern) Helsinki, but at least here most people pronounce words like metsä, paitsi, vitsi, satsi, Natsi, patsas, pitsi, hitsi, kaltsi, etc. with /ts/ and in conjugations of verbs like valita. Also, with English loanwords with /t͡ʃ/, it might not always be identical to /ts/ even in fairly well-established loanwords, but there aren't many words where I'd consciously note the difference or any where it'd be universal; this is different from randomly throwing in English words, where it would usually be clearly distinct (even if only alveolar?), since /t/ and /s/ tend to be dental in Helsinki. And in verbs that have /ts/ like viitsiä, it is reduced to /t/ and /tt/ fairly consistently by most people, although there are people who don't do that (and it does arguably depend on "register", but I'd say it's more speech register if such a thing can be said to exist in Finnish (as separate from formality/informality), and not the words themselves).

That said, metsä is one word where I personally inconsistently consistently reduce it to just /t/ or /tt/ when inflected for some reason, not sure why. And I heavily lean towards /ks/ rather than /ts/ in things like tuuksä/tuutsä, but I don't think anyone is 100% consistent with those...

Obviously it'll be different outside Helsinki, and even within Helsinki it might vary, but I don't remember the last time I've heard anyone pronounce <ts> as anything other than /ts/ in real life in contexts where it'd be expected to be /ts/, even old people, unless it was obvious they were from somewhere else (I don't mean immigrants, basically all immigrants pronounce it as /ts/ AFAIK). But of course, I'm definitely not a very social person (largely because of social anxiety and stuff) and corona has made it so that I barely go outside at all... still, it's not like even Roihuvuori is a void where speech won't be heard unless you talk to people.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

Post by Omzinesý »

"Viitsiä" comes from western dialects. In eastern dialects, it is "keh(d)ata".
What is "kaltsi"?
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography [split]

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Omzinesý wrote: 20 Nov 2021 19:21"Viitsiä" comes from western dialects.
Wiktionary says it comes from Proto-Finnic, and has a list of cognates in all Finnic languages.🤔
Omzinesý wrote: 20 Nov 2021 19:21In eastern dialects, it is "keh(d)ata".
Really, they have the same meaning in some dialects? To me, that means specifically "to not be ashamed to do" or "to have the nerve to do" something while viitsiä is like "to bother to do" something, and I could never use one in the same context as the other with the same meaning. But Finnish is a mess with the use of words in different ways in different places, so it wouldn't surprise me if they do mean the same thing to some people...
Omzinesý wrote: 20 Nov 2021 19:21What is "kaltsi"?
Cliff, pretty sure it's just a slangy form of kallio.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

Post by Xonen »

Vlürch wrote: 20 Nov 2021 12:52
Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03*/ʃt/ > /ht/ has happened in Finnic, along with general /ʃ/ > /h/: lehti 'leaf' < *lešte, heinä 'hay' < *šaina etc. But this happened at some stage in Proto-Finnic
Somehow I managed to completely forget about that. [:$] Maybe subconsciously I was partially thinking of that, though... it having happened once doesn't mean it couldn't have happened again, does it?
No it doesn't; late medieval Savonian peasants probably didn't have enough of an understanding of Proto-Finnic sound changes to go "hey we already did this one, let's think of something else".

Are you saying to you Finnish sounds more like Swedish than, say, Karelian or Udmurt?
No, I'm saying Finnish sounds like Finnish, Karelian sounds like Karelian and Udmurt sounds like Udmurt. Finnish and Karelian are closely related enough that they still sound quite similar, but neither of them sounds much like Udmurt. And none of these sounds much like Swedish, either, in the sense of rikssvenska (although come to think of it, both it and Udmurt do seem to have a thing for alveolopalatal fricatives...). There are, I guess, similarities between Finnish and finlandssvenska, but trying to separate which parts of that are Swedish influencing Finnish, Finnish influencing Swedish, both retaining charasteristics of some kind of ancient Baltic-Finnic-Germanic sprachbund, or whatever, is probably an exercise in futility (or maybe a topic for a doctoral dissertation; either way, not really something we're going to advance much by wildly speculating on this board).

In any case, the very fact that finlandssvenska sounds quite a bit like Finnish, while rikssvenska does not, is an excellent example of how different even two varieties of the same language can sound. I therefore don't really understand what a "Uralic" or "Indo-European sound" is supposed to mean. And certainly not how such a "sound" could depend on changes in some individual fairly low-frequency phoneme.

but have you never even heard of other Europeans being like "why does Finnish sound Asian?!", usually referring to Japanese specifically?
Not that I recall, no. But again, the very notion of something sounding "Asian" is... weird, to say the least. Japanese sounds absolutely nothing like Mandarin.

I have heard of people remark on the similar sound of Finnish and Japanese specifically, though. And hey, I agree: they do sound kind of similar. Both have a relatively simple syllable structure and contrastive length both in vowels and consonants, with consonant length being independent of neighboring vowels and vice versa, and length in general being independent of stress.

So on one hand, two varieties of the same language can sound quite different, while on the other, even two completely unrelated languages can sound fairly similar due to pure coincidence. Indeed, I'd say Finnish sounds more like Japanese than it does like Udmurt. Which again brings us to the question of how there could possibly be such a thing as a Uralic sound.

Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03Also, wait till you find out what happened to the Finnish voiced dental fricative...
I know about that, but I don't think it's necessarily relevant at least as far as the arguments about the development of /ts/
It's not, but it's another example of the modern standard pronunciation being influenced by Swedish.

As for the Germanic influence, why would Swedish having lost /θ/ and /ð/ before the standardisation of Finnish mean much? Swedish still had those sounds for a while after conquering Finland. And even before then, the vikings raided Finland a bunch and likely at least a few assimilated into Finns on the west coast, and since Old Norse had /θ/, that could've influenced the pronunciation of /*t͡s/ in the western dialects of Finnish. It wasn't long before Agricola's time that Swedish still had /θ/, anyway, from what I gather from the Wikipedia article about Old Swedish... so its spread in Finland could well have simply corresponded with the spread of Swedish influence.
The modern standard pronunciations were established in the 19th century, so the relevant Swedish influence is 19th century Swedish-speaking intelligentsia getting caught up in Finnish nationalism and starting to learn Finnish. It has absolutely nothing to do with Old Swedish or Vikings or even Agricola.

Now, dental fricatives were probably on their way out from Finnish anyway at that point, so the fact that Swedish-speaking folks couldn't pronounce them either isn't the only or even the main reason why they were phased out from the standard. However, the pronunciations that replaced them, namely /ts/ for <tz> and /d/ for <d>, were quite clearly chosen at least partially because they were intuitive spelling pronunciations for Swedish-speakers; neither of these had much support in actual spoken Finnish dialects. Going by those, we'd expect /t(:)/ or maybe /s(:)/ for the former, and /r/ or nothing for the latter.

and since Old Norse had /θ/, that could've influenced the pronunciation of /*t͡s/ in the western dialects of Finnish [...] Besides, it's not like Swedish (or Norse) influence contributing to /θ/ is mutually exclusive with the existing /ð/ also having had influence on it. Symmetry is nice and all, and I do like dental fricatives, but I don't see any reason to assume the presence of /ð/ by itself would've had any effect on /*t͡s/ becoming /θ/ because it didn't in other Uralic languages or even in at the very least the far southeastern dialects of Finnish. That's why I think it's more likely /t͡s/ (or maybe even already deaffricated /ts/) was more widespread in the east, and the spreading Germanic influence (likely just Swedish influence) is what was behind the spread of /θ/.
If anything, it's kind of weird that some dialects of Finnish apparently had, for a time, a phonemic voicing contrast for just one pair of consonants, and that was the dental fricatives... Anyway, I guess it's possible that Old Norse or Old Swedish influenced the development of /θ/ - but in that case, it's kind of weird that it doesn't seem to occur in loanwords from those. (Or does it? At least I can't think of any examples.) However, /t͡s/ > /θ/ is a perfectly natural sound change, so I don't see any reason why we'd necessarily have to attribute it to any outside influence at all.

Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03Because it makes historical linguistics considerably harder. Not to mention leading to, shall we say, pointless and counterproductive "chicken and egg" debates in situations like this.
But aren't the mysteries part of what make languages so interesting?
You tell me: you're the one who made that complaint in the first place.

Xonen wrote: 19 Nov 2021 21:03And, as mentioned, it's still far from universal in colloquial speech, tending to occur mainly in words of a more literary register.
I don't know for sure much about outside (eastern) Helsinki
Well yeah, if I had to name a place in Finland that I think would be least likely to hold onto traditional dialectal pronunciations of any kind, that would probably be pretty much it.

but at least here most people pronounce words like metsä, paitsi, vitsi, satsi, Natsi, patsas, pitsi, hitsi, kaltsi, etc. with /ts/ and in conjugations of verbs like valita
Right, I should probably have specified: we're talking about /ts/ spreading to words which traditionally had some other sound in most dialects of Finnish (i.e. /θ(:)/, /t(:)/ or /s(:)/). Obviously, Mikael Agricola did not pronounce, say, natsi as /nɑθ:i/, since he lived about 400 years too early to have to worry about Nazis. Similarly, vitsi, pitsi and satsi are loans from Swedish (vits, spets, sats), while hitsi and kaltsi are modern slang. In none of these has /ts/ replaced an earlier sound.

The relevant ones for the discussion here are metsä, paitsi and patsas, as well as the -itse- verbs. Although I'd argue that patsas might fall into the more literary register of words; how often do we actually talk about statues in casual speech? And as you mention, metsä shows a lot of variation... But then, we don't actually have much real forest in Helsinki, we just have small metiköitä, and at least a metikkö is always a metikkö, never a metsikkö. I'll grant that paitsi (in the combination sitä paitsi) is quite common and pretty much always has /ts/; then again, paitsi että can still become paittiet.

And yes, a small number of -ita verbs show -itse- in conjugation. But the most common one, tarvita ('to need'), certainly becomes tartten (or tarviin) and not tarvitsen. The third person for verbs like valita might also still be valittee; I guess one factor influencing the preference for valitsen in the first might be that valitten feels wrong due to /t:/ otherwise being mostly under consonant gradation, but valiten doesn't really look like a normal finite verb form, either (indeed, it would clash with the instructive gerund). Although I've heard some people solving the problem by using valiin for it, and once caught myself using tuomiittekste instead of tuomitsettekste (from tuomita 'to judge'), so who knows, maybe a new pattern is emerging here. Be that as it may, this verbal conjugation is kind of a special case, since it's subject to such odd alternations (and apparently, verbs of this class already showed a bunch of variation even back in the <tz> days).

So yeah, maybe "mainly in words of a more literary register" was exaggerating things a bit, at least for Helsinki (and to be fair, something like half the country speaks like Helsinki these days). However, at least the most common words, like katsoa ('to look') and etsiä ('to look for', 'to seek') etc. are certainly still pretty much universally pronounced with /t:/ in the strong grade forms and /t/ in the weak. No-one says mä katson, it's always mä katon.

I'd say it's more speech register if such a thing can be said to exist in Finnish (as separate from formality/informality), and not the words themselves).
Obviously, register matters: the more formal the register, the more people will approximate the standard. But the point is that some words are pronounced with /ts/ even when speaking in a highly informal register; no-one from Helsinki will ever say patas for 'statue' (although someone from Savitaipale just might).
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

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Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38No, I'm saying Finnish sounds like Finnish, Karelian sounds like Karelian and Udmurt sounds like Udmurt. Finnish and Karelian are closely related enough that they still sound quite similar, but neither of them sounds much like Udmurt. And none of these sounds much like Swedish, either, in the sense of rikssvenska (although come to think of it, both it and Udmurt do seem to have a thing for alveolopalatal fricatives...). There are, I guess, similarities between Finnish and finlandssvenska, but trying to separate which parts of that are Swedish influencing Finnish, Finnish influencing Swedish, both retaining charasteristics of some kind of ancient Baltic-Finnic-Germanic sprachbund, or whatever, is probably an exercise in futility (or maybe a topic for a doctoral dissertation; either way, not really something we're going to advance much by wildly speculating on this board).
I guess.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38I therefore don't really understand what a "Uralic" or "Indo-European sound" is supposed to mean. And certainly not how such a "sound" could depend on changes in some individual fairly low-frequency phoneme.
Well, in the big picture it does make a difference even if it's one sound. When I mentioned that, I wasn't talking about just one sound anyway. I'm also not sure how to define "Uralic sound" or "Indo-European sound", only that there is a difference...
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38But again, the very notion of something sounding "Asian" is... weird, to say the least. Japanese sounds absolutely nothing like Mandarin.
Yeah, obviously, which is why I mentioned specially Japanese in the case of people who know at least that. But there are people who don't know about the fact that Japanese sounds nothing like Mandarin and so on, because they're completely ignorant about those languages, and they just note that "Finnish sounds Asian" because they don't know which language is which.

Of course Finns know that Finnish is Finnish, and it's in the direction of "Japanese sounds like Finnish" rather than the opposite. But like, a couple of years ago my mum used to not be able to tell apart Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. She was literally better at telling apart based on appearance than languages. Watching a lot of Japanese, Korean and some Chinese and Hong Kong films has helped a lot and nowadays she can easily tell the languages apart (with occasional exceptions). It was through little things like various individual words she learned to recognise from each language, and the solidification of the connection between the languages and people's appearance, so in other words exposure (even if only in films), that made her learn to tell the languages apart. Before then, she always thought Japanese sounds like Finnish (and occasionally Korean too), but wasn't confident in telling apart Japanese from other languages.

And online, I've come across non-Finns being like "Finnish sounds Asian" and I assume the people who think that are thinking of Japanese specifically but they don't know they're thinking of Japanese specifically so they just say "Asian". It sounds like a weird and possibly in some contexts even racist thing to say, but that's probably not the intention. It's just been Americans, or at least I assume just Americans (I can only remember actually talking to one person saying that, who was American, and it was in the context of me linking some Finnish song to him), so it could just be an attempt at not being weird about it and ironically thus being weird about it.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38I have heard of people remark on the similar sound of Finnish and Japanese specifically, though. And hey, I agree: they do sound kind of similar. Both have a relatively simple syllable structure and contrastive length both in vowels and consonants, with consonant length being independent of neighboring vowels and vice versa, and length in general being independent of stress.
Yeah.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38So on one hand, two varieties of the same language can sound quite different, while on the other, even two completely unrelated languages can sound fairly similar due to pure coincidence. Indeed, I'd say Finnish sounds more like Japanese than it does like Udmurt. Which again brings us to the question of how there could possibly be such a thing as a Uralic sound.
Maybe saying "Uralic sound" wasn't the most sensical thing to say, but my point was just that Finnish doesn't sound like all the Indo-European languages spoken in Europe either to Finns or to the speakers of all the Indo-European languages spoken in Europe. The farther back in time you'd go, the more true that'd logically be, and I doubt during the modern standardisation native speakers had zero input on how it turned out even if it was led by people who spoke Finnish as a second language.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38It's not, but it's another example of the modern standard pronunciation being influenced by Swedish.
Oh, yeah, in that case.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38The modern standard pronunciations were established in the 19th century, so the relevant Swedish influence is 19th century Swedish-speaking intelligentsia getting caught up in Finnish nationalism and starting to learn Finnish. It has absolutely nothing to do with Old Swedish or Vikings or even Agricola.
So we're kind of talking about two different things. If /θ/ was spread because of Old Swedish or Old Norse influence or both, and if it was the standard pronunciation before the modern standardisation, it is relevant in that it was the "standard" before the standard. That's what I find hard to believe in the first place, or I mean I believe it was widespread, but like I've said many times, I also believe /ts/ was more widespread at least at some point. It's possible all the dialectal pronunciations derived from /θ/ in a straightforward way, but it seems more likely it spread from the west. That's the core of what I'm trying to say, that it doesn't matter even if /θ/ really had become the most widespread pronunciation before standardisation (which I doubt, but whatever) because during standardisation it "reverted" to /ts/ and that became the most common.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38Now, dental fricatives were probably on their way out from Finnish anyway at that point, so the fact that Swedish-speaking folks couldn't pronounce them either isn't the only or even the main reason why they were phased out from the standard. However, the pronunciations that replaced them, namely /ts/ for <tz> and /d/ for <d>, were quite clearly chosen at least partially because they were intuitive spelling pronunciations for Swedish-speakers; neither of these had much support in actual spoken Finnish dialects. Going by those, we'd expect /t(:)/ or maybe /s(:)/ for the former, and /r/ or nothing for the latter.
Sure, but there was also intentional influence from eastern dialects even outside of Finland (and maybe even other Finnic languages?) when the language was standardised, so that's another reason for /ts/. It was probably a mix of both influences, but there was /ts/ in extreme southeastern dialects throughout all the changes in other dialects.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38If anything, it's kind of weird that some dialects of Finnish apparently had, for a time, a phonemic voicing contrast for just one pair of consonants, and that was the dental fricatives...
I hadn't even though about that, but yeah, it is pretty weird.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38Anyway, I guess it's possible that Old Norse or Old Swedish influenced the development of /θ/ - but in that case, it's kind of weird that it doesn't seem to occur in loanwords from those. (Or does it? At least I can't think of any examples.)
Hmm, I don't know, but you do have a point. Although it could still be explained if loanwords still went through a "nativisation" process even while the sound was changing if it was initially restricted to second-language speakers of Finnish and then their children, and/or if the loanwords didn't catch on in the form that had the sound, but... I don't know, I think something like that would be possible since loanwords are kind of a different thing from native vocabulary until they stick, but maybe you're right.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38However, /t͡s/ > /θ/ is a perfectly natural sound change, so I don't see any reason why we'd necessarily have to attribute it to any outside influence at all.
Maybe I'm just drawing a blank, but I can't think of any language that had the shift /t͡s/ > /θ/?
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38You tell me: you're the one who made that complaint in the first place.
Eh, just because something is annoying doesn't mean it can't also be interesting. Mysteries themselves are always interesting, but sometimes the arguments about them can get annoying.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38Well yeah, if I had to name a place in Finland that I think would be least likely to hold onto traditional dialectal pronunciations of any kind, that would probably be pretty much it.
Fair enough, yeah.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38Right, I should probably have specified: we're talking about /ts/ spreading to words which traditionally had some other sound in most dialects of Finnish (i.e. /θ(:)/, /t(:)/ or /s(:)/).
Mmm, I guess there's a bit of "chicken and egg" because I figured by the logic that it used to be /θ/ until standardisation, those words (or at least the ones that existed at the time) would've all have had /θ/ as well. But maybe that's not true.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38Although I'd argue that patsas might fall into the more literary register of words; how often do we actually talk about statues in casual speech?
Dunno, occasionally there's talk about a certain statue in Roihuvuori that some people find controversial since it's two naked ladies and it's outside an elementary school (and at least once someone put bras on them, which also caused some controversy). But of course it's not like you'd randomly ask someone "hey, what do you think about that statue?" when you walk past it and another person walks past it in the opposite direction or anything...
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38and at least a metikkö is always a metikkö, never a metsikkö.
Pretty sure I alternate between them tbh. I think my mum always says metsikkö, but I could be wrong.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38paitsi että can still become paittiet.
Interesting, to me that sounds wrong.
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38No-one says mä katson, it's always mä katon.
True, or at least I've also never heard anyone say that as far as I can remember unless they were trying to sound weirdly formal or whatever.
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Re: Questions on Finnish and Estonian Phonology and Orthography

Post by sangi39 »

Vlürch wrote: 22 Nov 2021 11:38
Xonen wrote: 21 Nov 2021 22:38However, /t͡s/ > /θ/ is a perfectly natural sound change, so I don't see any reason why we'd necessarily have to attribute it to any outside influence at all.
Maybe I'm just drawing a blank, but I can't think of any language that had the shift /t͡s/ > /θ/?
Spanish had /t͡s̪/ > /s̪/ > /θ̟/
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