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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

The Relationship of the Altaic and Turkic languages. Origin and development.

The Expansion of the Finno-Ugric Peoples

            The expansion of the speakers of so-called Uralic languages beyond the Volga began with the Neolithic period and led to the formation of a Samoyed languages over a wide area which boundary determining is impossible because of data lack. Harsh natural conditions didn’t conduce to rapid population growth of this large area, so large uninhabited tracts remained here for a long time and attracted new settlers. At the same time, the remoteness of the Finno-Ugric settlements from the centers of agrarian civilization and the natural conditions didn’t conduce to borrowing useful crops and technologies, and to developing agriculture in general. Fishing and hunting dominated by in an economy, and such way of economic development require large territories.
           Studying ethnic processes in the antiquity, V.Gening, referring to V.O.Dolgih's data, states that 36 thousand of Tungus hunters migrated in Eastern Siberia on huge spaces in the 18th century but at the same time the horse breeder and cattlemen Yakuts in number of 28 thousand occupied the 20-30 times smaller territory in the relic forest-steppe zone (GENING V.F., 1982: 103). The number of the inhabitants of some area is limited by the volume of subsistence can be delivered by it. The hunting and the fishing being the basis of production even for small clans required the large spaces. Therefore, if favorable conditions promoted the growth of the population in some habitat, the relative overpopulation was arising, and the way out of this situation was the transition of a part of this excess population to new places (BRIUSOV A.Ya., 1952: 10).
            Having studied the life of the Northern-American Indians, L.Morgan describes the process of their settling insomuch:

            The method was simple. In the first place there would occur a gradual outflow of people from some overstocked geographical centre, which possessed superior advantages in the means of subsistence. Continued from year to year, a considerable population would thus be developed at a distance from the original seat of the tribe. In course of time the emigrants would become distinct in interests, strangers in feeling, and last of all, divergent in speech. Separation and independence would follow, although their territories were contiguous. A new tribe was thus created (MORGAN LEWIS H., 2000: 104).

            Such process of settling is named as the segmentation. And, as Bryusov believed, quite often it covered the large space, and migrants kept away often on significant distance from the primary place of their settlements. Waterways which defined directions of population shifts were usually used .
            The resettlement of Finno-Ugric people on new places occurred little by little so that they did not even notice their movement north- and eastward. Sure, the certain psychological barrier was the passing of the river Volga to be considered as a certain border of the known populated world. But under pressure of neighbors, the ancient Finno-Ugric tribes, first of all Proto-Mansi, Proto-Khanty, Proto-Saamis, searching for new places for hunting and fishing, passed this water barrier. Finding auspicious conditions, they continued the gradual movement on open spaces of the Northern-East Europe. The ethnic groups of Finno-Ugers moved, exact as the Iranians, in the order determined by the places of their former habitats, not out-distancing one another and especially not remaining behind. Staying more long time on the places with favorable conditions, some clans were separated from the language relatives, and the certain changes in their languages were saved and this led to the uprising of separate dialects. For example, the Karelian language could be arisen in such way. Small groups, which lagged behind a great bulk of a tribe, were assimilated by more numerous newcomers.

            Having compared an arrangement of Finn-Ugric ancient habitats with their modern residences, one can see that Proto-Saamis, which occupied the most northern area in primary Finno-Ugric territory, were always ahead of all in the movement on the north and finally have occupied the most northern area of Europe in Scandinavia and on the Kola Peninsula. According to the location of their Urheimat, Proto-Estonians and Proto-Finns moved after Saamis, and the former were always to the west of the latter and consequently the way of their migrations laid aside the Baltic Sea on which coast they have stopped. The Balts, which expanded the territories to the north, hindered Proto-Veps, the most western Finnish ethnos, to move on the West therefore Proto-Veps, moved behind of Proto-Estonians and Proto-Finns. Proto-Khanty and Proto-Mansi occupied the extreme east of Finno-Ugric territory. Therefore they have begun movement eastward as the first. Proto-Mansi having been their habitat north of the area of Proto-Khantys, moved to their modern residence by the northern way. There are data about 1096 in the Old Russian Chronicle that some Ugric clan was being settled in the region of the river Pechora. This clan or tribe may be considered as the Mansi. Max Vasmer writes the traces of the ancient Mansi are available at the Upper Pechora and the Izhma river still 1396 (VASMER MAX., 1964-1974, V.1: 330) Hence, it is quite possible that Mansi came to the low Ob relative recently having turned the Urals northerly. On the contrary, Khanty have come on the modern places of their settlements along the course of the river Irtysh and then they got to new contact with Mansi. Proto-Komi moved after Proto-Mansi , and Proto-Udmurts did behind them.
            Mordvinic tribes moved in opposite directions, which determined the division of a initially single language into two dialects. The Erzia’s ancestors moved to the east and north-east, and the ancestors of the Moksha to the south-west. Movement to the north-west was prevented by the Baltic tribes, who began their own expansion eastward. The Erzya, moving after the tribes of Cheremises and Votyaks, stopped at the line of the Volga, occupying the present-day territory of the Nizhny Novgorod region and Chuvashia, as it is evidenced by the local place names. The Erzia’s traces are particularly clear expressed in the Nizhny Novgorod region, not to mention about the Mordovia. Mordvinic toponymy layer is here so dense that the coverage of this issue is a particular topic. Here are just a few examples. The name of the town of Arzamas, obviously, comes from the ethnonym Erzya, but that means the second part of the word – it is not clear. The town of Kstovo was certainly evolved in the old settlement of Strawberry Fields, receiving the name of Erzya kstyi Moksha ksty "strawberry" (the suffix -vo, obviously, has Slavic origin). Erzya ley "river" is present in the name of the river Shemley, lt of the Ozerka, rt of the Kudma, rt of the Volga. This element is found in many place names as in hydronyms and oikonyms the right bank of the Nizhny Novgorod Region (Kavley, Kudley, Motyzley, Seley, Tartaley, Shemley, Chuvakhley, etc.). The village name Kuzhadon in Dalnekonstantinov district can be explained by Erzya kužo, Mok. kuža "glade". The names having the root vele, vile descended from Erzya vele "village". The river Modan, rt of the Seryozha, rt of the Tesha, rt of the Oka – from Erzya, Moksha – moda "land".
            The analysis of the left bank of the Dnieper toponymy has shown that some "dark" place names decipherable by means of the Mordvinic languages. Here are the results of analysis:
            the river (r.) Ilek, lt of the Psel – Erz ilyk "force";
            r. Orzhitsa, rt of the Sula – Mok orzha "sharp";
            r. Psyol, lt of the Dnieper – Mok. psi lay, Erz psi ley "hot river";
            the village of (v.) Pomokli, east of the town of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky – Mok. pomokha "fog";
            the town on Novi (New) Sanzhary in Poltava region – Mok. s’ang’ar’a "green";
            v. Sencha on the river Sula – Mok sench "a mallard";
            r. Sula, rt of the Dnieper – Mok. s’ula, Erz s’ulo "a gut" (if not OE sol “mud, silt, pool”);
            r. Supoy – Erz. s’upav "rich".
            Judging from the scant demonstrative place names, Mordvinic tribes occupied the left bank of the Sula and the basin of the Psyol and Vorskla, ie north-western part of the Bondarikha culture. Such localization of Mordvinic settlements gives warrant to bind confidently known the Bilske settlement with the city of Gelonos described by Herodotus. This hypothesis has been long advanced by B. Shramko, but V Il’inski has proved its failure (IL'INSKAYA V.A., 1977: 91-92). Herodotus stated that the wooden city of Gelonos was in the country of Budinoi and hillfort Bilske is located at the old channel of the Vorskla opposite the town of Kotelva in Poltava Region. The Budinoi are considered to be the forefathers of Mordvins Therefore Mordvinic epic about the building of a large city( MASKAYEV A.I., 1965: 298) confirms the made hypotheses. The Bondarikha culture, that existed in the interval 1200 – 800 years BC, is associated with its predecessor Maryanovka one, which relics are found on the Desna, Seym, Sula, Vorskla, Sev. Donets and Oskol (BEREZANSKAYA S.S., 1982: 41). There goes out between the Sula and Desna the Bondarikha culture beyond the border of Maryanovka one. It was here that the Lebedivka culture was located later, which bearers were defined as the Anglo-Saxon. Coming to the left bank of the Dnieper the Anglo-Saxon pushed the Mordvinic folk beyond the Sula, but may also assimilated its remnants, as reflected in the lexical correspondences between the English and the Mordvinic languages which can not be explained otherwise.
            Later, apparently, Mrdvins had to return to their ancestral lands and further to the territory of the present-day Mordovia and could mediate the transfer of German words to other Finno-Ugric tribes. For example Mari pundo “money” corresponds OE pund “a pound, a measure of weight". Obviously the word came into the Mari languge through Mordvinic which have words pandoms "to pay" and pandoma "pay, fee" borrowed from the Anglo-Saxon. These words also exist in other Germanic languages. It is believed that they were early borrowed from Latin, where there is pondō “pound” and pondus “weight” . The Mari word can be borrowed from Rus pud of the same origin, surprisingly, however, it is closest to Latin pondō. It may be coincidence, but two other Mari-Latin parallels draw attention: Mari pundash "bottom" – Lat fundus “bottom, base", Mari tuto "full" – Lat totus "whole, total". We can not exclude that certain words might wander long distances in very remote times.
            English, the word fang could evidence in favor of the contacts of the Anglo-Saxon with the Mordvins, because similar words meaning "tooth" are present also in the Finno-Ugric languages (Mansi puŋk, Khanty pöŋk, Hung fog, Lap pānnj, Udmurt, Komi pin'). In Mordvinic this word has the form pey, but it could sound different earlier, because the Talish language has word pingə "fang" which could be borrowed from Mordvinic (other Iranian languages have no similar word). However, it is believed that the meaning "fang" of the English word had evolved from OE fang "hunting, spil" which stayed semantically enough far. It is nterestingly that Old English had another word for "fang" of unknown origin. It may indicate the presence of the Anglo-Saxon in eastern Europe, because there is a group of words of different meaning but deriving from the Turkic čočqa "pig" – Os tusk'a "a boar", Hung tuskó "stump" Moksha shochka, Erzya chochka "a log" which correspond to the OE tūsc "fang" (yet Ung tüske "thorn", Veps t'ähk, Fin tähkä "a spike").
            A good argument in favor of Anglo-Mordvinic contacts is the correspondence of archaic Eng leman "a lover" and Mordvinic (Moksha and Erzya) loman’ "a man." At first sight, this is a distant relation, but it is not. There is in Ossetian the word lymän "a friend" semantically close to the English word, and this immediately changes the attitude to the correspondence. The relationship between the Ossetian and Mordvinic words was spoken yet by V. Abayev, but he believed that the word was borrowed in Mordvinic from the "Scythian" language. In fact, the origins of words to be found in OE el "alien" and mann "a man." The Morodvin word has correspondences in several Finno-Ugric languages having meaning "a man" or "a stranger" (Vep łaman, Lap olmenč, Mari ulmo, Moksha lomanen’, Mansi elm), so of course it was borrowed from Old English, and then spread among other Finno-Ugric peoples. It may be noted that the semantic relationship of words "a friend" and "a stranger (man)" is understandable, because in ancient times there friendly relations always existed between members of different ethnic groups (kunaks). Subsequently the Anglo-Saxons borrowed from the ancestors of Ossetians the word lymän "friend" and redefined it as a "a lover".
            Here are yet a few possible Anglo-Mordvinic matches:
            OE ampre “sorrel” – Mok, Erz umbrav “sorrel”;
            OE glæs "glass" – Mok klants’ "glass",
            OE lætt "a lath" – Mok lata, Erz lato "roof, fore-roof";
            OE maser "maple" – Mok maraz’ "Tatar maple",
            OE pǽl, pal“a post, pole”- Mok p’al "a stake";
            OE sot "soot" – Mok, Erz sod "soot",
            OE tōl "a tool" – Mok tula, Erz tulo "a wedge".
            Archaeological sites of the Magyars have been found in the Lower Kama land and Bashkirian Urals. We are that "Old-Hungarian tribes appeared in the Western Urals area no earlier than the turn of the 6-7th centuries and remained there until the thirties of the 9th century AD" (KHALIKOV A.Kh., 1985: 28). However, this does not imply that the Magyar Urheimat was somewhere in the Urals, as many believe, including the Hungarian scientists (VERES P. 1985).

alsó – lower, alacsony – low
Kurd alçax- low
bitorol – to usurp
Kurd bîtir – to get
csipö – thigh
Kurd çîp – calf (a parf of leg)
csiriz – shoe glue
Kurd çirîsk – glue
csirke – chicken
Kurd çêlîk – nestling
csizma – knee-boot
Kurd çekme – knee-boot
dúc – slanting supporting pole
Kurd doş – slope
épit – to build
Kurd ebinî – construction
hó – month
Kurd hov – month
lomb – leaves
Kurd lam – leave
méreg – poison
Kurd merk – poison, Osset. märg – poison
száraz – dry
Kurd şorax – dry
teher – load
Kurd tex’ar – weight
kos – ram
Tal. gyz it – ram
kutya – puppy
Tal. kütilə – puppy, Afg. Kutaj – puppy
mezö – field
Tal. məzə – field
nиz – to look
Tal. nəzə – to see
taraj – comb
Tal. tyrnie – to comb
terel – to drive
Tal. təranən – to drive, Osset. täryn – to drive
vad is wild
Tal. vaz – wild
rem – horror
Gil. rəm – horror
rés – chink
Gil. rəxnə – hole
veszte is death
Gil. vəsta – to end
            This assumption can be true according to the Mordvins, but concerning to Hungarians there is an opinion, that they should live somewhere near-by the Urals at some time. Maybe, the opinion about the Ural Urheimat of Magyars has been formed on the warrant of obvious and far-reaching influence of Turkic languages on Hungarian at the conventional assumption, that the native land of Turks was somewhere on Altai. This assumption resulted notion about the Volga-Ural region of cultural and linguistic interaction of the Uralic and Altaic ethnoi (GARIPOV T.M., KUZYEV R.G., 1985). But, as we have seen, the Urheimat of Magyars was in Eastern Europe, their first contacts to Turkic speakers occurred just here, instead of nearly of the Urals. The existence of certain linguistic contacts between the Magyars and the Indo-Iranians going in the more distant past allow the possibility that the Hungarians could cross the Volga already at historical time. Specialists have long known the special Hungarian-Ossetian language connections, but more important for determination of the Magyar settlements are the connections of theHungarian language with Kurdish, Talyshi, and Gilaki. The most convincing examples of possible Hungarian-Iranian lexical correspondences are shown in Table 9.

            At left: Table 9. Hungarian-Iranian lexical correspondences.

            There are still a lot lexical correspondences between the Hungarian and other Iranian languages, but they have by the great deal the Ossetic parallels too, therefore they can prove the contacts of the ancient Magyars with the ancient Ossets at later times. The examples of matches resulted in the table between Hungarian and Kurdish, Talishi and Gilaki languages cannot go back to the historical times as Magyars could not have their habitats near to the other Iranian peoples, except for the Ossets, therefore they have to certify language contacts between Magyars and Iranian tribes when those still stayed in Eastern Europe.
            We admit that ancestors of modern-day Mansi and Khanty went for the Volga under the pressure of Proto-Komi and Proto-Udmurts which all over again have occupied their former areas, and then went for the Volga too. According to this, Magyars should expand also their territory as a result of natural overpopulation. Obviously, they crossed the Don's displacing there Iranian inhabitants, though as usually it happens in such cases, some deal of them stayed on the native sites.

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