Academic journal article Trames

The So-Called Uralic Original Home (Urheimat) and the So-Called Proto-Uralic

Academic journal article Trames

The So-Called Uralic Original Home (Urheimat) and the So-Called Proto-Uralic

Article excerpt

1. Introductory remarks

Following the debate that has been going on over the issue referred to in the title, we can say that the most crucial propositions of Indreko's study have still not been fully answered. (See Indreko 1948, about the origins of Samoyeds and the Saami /Lapp/, the relations between European and Asian cultural centres, the origins of Finno-Ugrians, the issue of original Europeans, the relations between the Mediterranean and periglacial zones /see the arrowheads with a conical edge found in the northern part of the Pyrenees, in the Baltic States and in Central Russia/.) It is a pity that Indreko's splendid study has made so little impact on the research devoted to the Uralic original home during the past 50 years.

During the past five years, however, contemporary research on the Uralic original home and the inseparable Proto-Uralic has gained momentum. This positive shift might be attributed to the application of new interdisciplinary approaches, and the greater time depth as opposed to the ones assumed and applied in former linguistic research.

2. The Northern Eurasian Linguistic Zone (NELZ) investigated from linguistic, genetic, anthropological and archaeological aspects

There are still several disputes going on concerning the development and the appearance of the earliest anatomically modern human in Europe but we can safely claim that he was present in Europe as early as 35-40 (maybe a bit more) thousand years ago, as there are also traces of him both in the central part of Northern Siberia, and at the lower part of the River Lena. There were some relations to be detected (exchange of goods, intermarriage) among the various communities already in the first phase of the anatomically modern human. On the vast territory, not only genetically and anthropologically different races, but also different cultures and languages developed. Due to the relations between the human communities described above, there might have been some similarities among these races, cultures and languages, while certain regional differences still continued to prevail. Relations between the communities were probably affected by climatic and geographical circumstances. (For instance, during the time of the last European glacial maximum, from 23,000 to 19,500 BC, the land stretching between Fennoscandia and the Alps was uninhabitable. There were some European regions, like Franco-Cantabria and the Dnieper-Don region where refugia were formed. After the glacial maximum people abandoned these refugia and populated the formerly uninhabited parts of Europe such as Northern Europe. During the same period of time, Siberia was not covered with ice.)

2.1. Now let us cite a few examples how these community relations, supposedly lasting for many thousand years, have shaped the linguistic, genetic, anthropological and archaeological character of NELZ.

The linguistic situation of Northern Eurasia, irrespective of the genetic classification of languages, seems to exhibit a great deal of similarity (e.g. except for Yenisei languages arriving relatively late in the area, all the dialects belong to the agglutinative-isolating language type, and they likewise show a similar tendency in the linguistic development of local cases and number. In these very categories we can trace other similarities such as identical phonemes K, T, N M, L, applied as local and numeral morphemes, or the omission of P in grammatical functions.) (See more details in e.g. Pusztay 1987, 1990a, 1995.)

Genetic research has shown trans-Uralic connections moving from east to west. On the basis of their genofond, Finns do not differ from other Europeans, but the C/T transition appearing in their Y chromosome, which is typical in the Baltic states but is missing as we move on further south, is present in 86% of Yakuts, and 58% of Buryats (Savontaus & Lahermo 1999, Norio 1999). C allele cannot be traced in the central and southern European peoples, but is present among several Northern Asian peoples (the Saami and the Cheremis from the Finno-Ugrian peoples) and therefore it must be originating from Northern Eurasia. …

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